Tag: Thriller

2019, Movies

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival

Once again I only saw 5 movies this year. As with previous years, the reason for that will become apparent in a month or so. But, as usual, we managed to do a pretty good job picking movies and only saw movie I wouldn’t recommend seeing, which is a pretty good ratio.

2019, Movies

Incitement (2019, Yaron Zilberman)

This is a nearly flawless dramatization of the radicalization of the man who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. It is apparently the film time a film has been made about the assassination, likely because of how raw the wound still is 25 years later. But I would say that this is absolutely the film to …

2016, Movies

Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg)

Peter Berg excels at a kind of hyper competence, where his films are technically extremely well made and impressive but which lack subtext or critical thinking. I often hate his films even though I have to grant that they always have exceptional production values. But this one is (a little) different. I think this is …

2019, Movies

Mano de obra [aka Workforce] (2019, David Zonana)

This a very well-made, fascinating drama about manual labourers in Mexico City which threatens to become a thriller but consistently subverts your expectations and ends up having more in common with classical tragedy. It’s a debut, so I was very wary of choosing to see it, but this is a remarkably self-assured film. I strongly …

2009, Movies

Cellule 211 (2009, Daniel Monzon)

The “good guy in a bad place” (i.e. a hero stuck in a prison) is a tired story for many reasons, but perhaps the most annoying aspect is that, usually, Our Hero is recently arrived (in this case, in the prison) and yet, somehow, manages to befriend the/a leader immediately. It’s so dumb and such …

2018, Movies

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018, Henry Dunham)

This is a very stagey film – so stagey you’d think it was a play – that overcomes that limitation by being expertly made, even though it is Dunham’s first time directing a feature. (It’s a miraculous debut, in terms of Dunham’s ability to film and edit – I would sworn this was not a …

2018, Movies

Hold the Dark (2018, Jeremy Saulnier)

Expectations are an awful thing. I have seen and enjoyed every previous feature film Jeremy Saulnier has made. At some point I was going to see one I didn’t like. I’m not saying I didn’t like this, exactly, but I’m definitely struggling with it in ways I didn’t struggle with his previous two movies, and …

2018, Movies

The Realm aka El reino (2018, Rodrigo Sorogoyen)

This is a deeply flawed but otherwise pretty incredible thriller about white collar political corruption in Spain. The good aspects of it are so good that I really want to overlook the massive problems – such as the run-time – but I don’t think I can. Let’s put it this way: for 2/3rds of this …

Uncategorized

The Accountant (2016, Gavin O’Connor)

This is a kind of bizarre hybrid of an action movie with a serial killer-style crime investigation combined with forensic accounting – yes, I know how that sounds – that is surprisingly effective much of the time, but has some massive flaws that keep it from really working. Mild Spoilers

2015, Movies

Sicario (2015, Denis Villeneuve)

This is an extraordinarily tense and well-directed thriller about the escalation and increased militarization of the Ward on Drugs. For the most part, I really, really liked Sicario, but I struggled with something and I’m not sure whether or not it could have ended better. SPOILERS

1977, Movies

Capricorn One (1977, Peter Hyams)

I went through a really serious conspiracy movie phase – specifically a ’70s American movie phase – when I was in my early 20s and that’s probably why this movie was on my list. But in the ensuing years I not only stopped drinking the conspiracy theory koolaid personally, but I have also begun to …

2017, Movies

TIFF 2017 Racer and the Jailbird (2017, Michaël R. Roskam)

This is an entertaining, albeit slight, amalgam of the bank heist genre with one of those romances where the two alpha leads, who do risky things in their professional lives, fall in love with each other, but which is pretty much entirely ruined by an absolutely bonkers left turn (well, a series of left turns) …

2013, Movies

Coherence (2013, James Ward Byrkit)

This is one of those super talky, high concept science fiction films which feels like it was written for the stage. (Many of these have been written for the stage, but this one apparently was not.) There are a lot of these films by this point and it’s sort of become its own sub genre. …

1968, Movies

The Bride Wore Black (1968, Francois Truffaut)

This has to be seen as the spiritual predecessor to Kill Bill, even if Tarantino insists he’s never seen it. The overall plot is just too similar, though Tarantino made far superior films. (I suppose it’s also possible someone just told him the plot, or he read the novel. SPOILER ALERT

2016, Movies

Passengers (2016, Morten Tyldum)

I feel like every single time I watch one of these legendary blockbuster bombs I find myself asking the same question: did I watch the same movie as everyone else? Make no mistake: this is not a good film. But once you’ve been told something is The Worst over and over again, your expectations get …

2015, Movies

The Invitation (2015, Karyn Kusama)

I am usually a man who can watch and appreciate a movie despite my mood at the time. But every so often a movie doesn’t meet my mood. And so I find myself reviewing this film without, perhaps, giving it its due, because I should have been watching something more frivolous. SPOILERS

2016, Movies

Triple 9 (2016, John Hillcoat)

I am always flabbergasted by movies with huge, all-star casts that somehow suck. I am particularly flabbergasted when it seems obvious to me that these actors could have easily figured out the movie was going to suck and so should never have signed up for them movie in the first place. Such a movie is …

2014, Movies

Black Sea (2014, Kevin Macdonald)

For the most part, this is a pretty effective submarine movie with a great, out-of-character performance from Jude Law. It does what a submarine movie should do, and it does it well. There are, however, a few major quibbles that I have that hampered the movie in my mind. They involve some MAJOR SPOILERS.

1968, Books, Fiction

A Case of Need (1968) by Michael Crichton writing as Jeffery Hudson

This is a real page turner and it’s easy to see why it’s the book that properly launched Crichton’s career: it’s full of detailed information about contemporary medicine but Crichton uses that detail to drive the plot, not to overwhelm the reader in minutiae (as some “techno thriller” writers do). Though this type of thriller …

2013, Music

Bastards (2013, Claire Denis)

Denis takes your typical revenge thriller plot – solitary man’s loved one(s) is wronged and he seeks revenge – and flips it on itself. The solitary man is solitary because he works on tankers. His family is hurt by a suicide – not, on its face, a wrong inflicted upon them. And the world he …

2013, Movies

The Purge (2013, James DeMonaco)

The opening text this movie displays, explaining what ‘the purge’ is, is basically the pitch meeting for this movie. The filmmaker likely walked into an office, said those exact words, mentioned some actors for the key roles, and got this green-lit. This film is a perfect symbol of what is wrong with “high concept” films …

2015, Movies

Awaken aka A Perfect Vacation (2015, Mark Atkins)

Is this where B-movie (and C-movie) actors go to die? This movie features Darryl Hannah (though she has few lines) Edward Furlong (!!!!!!!!!!!!) Vinnie Jones (but of course) Jason London (!!!) The Robert Davi (seriously!) David Keith (!) and Christa Campbell (you’d know her to see her)

2009, Movies

Pandorum (2009, Chrstian Alvart)

Pandorum has a neat concept to start, but unfortunately it is undercut by overly explanatory title cards – better the movie open with Bower coming out of his chamber, I think. But, that being said, otherwise the movie seems quite strong at first. The reveal is way too early, but otherwise it’s good. There are …