Tag: Thriller

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) …

2014, Movies

Cold in July (2014, Jim Mickle)

I’m not sure exactly what to say about this bizarre film that offers a new twist (or several) on the age old “redemption through violence” theme in American cinema. The plot goes a very different way than I would have ever expected which is to the novel’s credit, I guess. But that big left turn …

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 by this point and it’s sort of become its own sub genre. I’m …

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 …

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. Such a movie is Triple 9, a film which somehow includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody …

2014

Black See (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.

2014, Movies

71 (2014, Yann Demange)

This is a mostly stellar thriller set in Belfast in 1971. I think this would have been an exceptional movie had a surer hand with more experience directed it. Though tense, I can imagine a better (or more experienced) director making a more tense film. While I’m at my nit-pikcing, the framing device of the …

2014, Movies

A Most Violent Year (2014, JC Chandor)

Chandor’s skill is that he can take realistic situations that seem like might not have enough drama for film and turn them into gripping films. Like the best filmmakers of the American Renaissance, Chandor can take wrest drama and suspense from something like minor corruption. This is a film that unwinds slowly, so slowly that …

2010, Movies, TV

Stonehenge Apocalypse (2010, Paul Ziller)

How do I put into words how monumentally dumb this movie is? I’m not really sure. It’s one of those films that you want to live blog o live tweet because of the inane/insane lines, the utter ignorance of scientific facts and the budget (and what is forces the characters to do/say). It’s just awful. …

2014, Movies

Non-Stop (2014, Jaume Collet-Serra)

This is one of those Liam Neeson action movies. It’s also one of those thrillers set on a plane. And like so many of both of these types of movies, if you think about it for a moment, everything falls apart. I can’t tell you how many things are wrong with the plot of this …

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 …

2009, Movies

Black Sheep aka Oveja Negra (2009, Humberto Hinojosa Ozcariz)

This is a movie that tries to tell a relatively simple story using complicated narrative techniques. The movie is told in flashback, almost entirely, but the reason for use of flashback is not revealed until the film’s reveal and, until that moment, it’s hard to know why exactly the film is told in flashback because …

2009

Case 39 (2009, Christian Alvart)

Renee Zellwegger, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper and Callum Keith Cennie star in this film. Why have you never heard of it? Well, the reason is because this film is awwwful and my guess is that it was dropped at some point when nobody would pay attention to it. It is awful in so many ways: …

2009, Movies

Angels & Demons (2009, Ron Howard)

This is one of those movies where even a little bit of a thought unravels everything. Tom Hanks’ character makes insane “deductions” and everyone (rightly) thinks he’s insane, yet somehow the plot machinations always bear him out. It’s utterly ridiculous stuff, especially the climatic scenes where there’s literally no way that anyone could have possibly …

2006, Movies

The Departed (2006, Martin Scorsese)

Note: I haven’t seen the original film. Many years ago, I watched Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear and hated it. I have no idea if that teenaged opinion is valid, but I think the experience scarred me for a long time, and so I avoided this remake. (Also, I didn’t like the previous two films …

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) And some other familiar faces, all surrounding one …

2015, Movies

TIFF 2015: Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2015) (14/15)

This is the second straight excellent thriller from Saulnier, featuring “real people” in movie thriller situations. Much like his classic Blue Ruin – which I strongly, strongly suggest you see if you haven’t seen yet – this film combines an incredibly tense thriller with elements of (very) dark comedy, to great effect. I had such …

2015, Movies

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015, Christopher McQuarrie)

This is an entertaining film – and another one of the successful sequels in what has to be one of the more surprising franchises of the last few years – and it is continuing the recent trend of having real stunts in blockbusters. Unfortunately, too many of these otherwise good stunts go too far and …

1997, Movies

Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)

I saw this years and years ago, and I didn’t like it. I don’t know why. I guess it was just the stubborn thing for me to do. I didn’t like Pulp Fiction the first time, either. I guess I can see why people thought of this as some kind of misstep from the wonder …

2014, Movies

Nightcrawler (2014, Dan Gilroy)

Is this Gyllenhaal’s best performance? I don’t know any sociopaths but I feel like this has to be one of the best portrayals – or more accurate, I should say – that I have seen, at least in terms of believability. Certainly this is much more believable than a serial killer. It’s also a pretty …

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 …