• Second Chance

    Second Chance

    A Mexico 3D Mitchum B-noir with two suits fighting to the death in a canyon tramway on the poster feels like it should be forever filigreed with Best Movie Ever™ status. If we ignore the peaky unfinished-looking colorization and plot simplicity, there are some good lines and regional scenery—esp. the mountaintop costumed fiesta and mountain range photography—and it's slightly more thoughtful than expected. Remember when a new piece of technology was enough to base a film premise on?

  • Black Widow

    Black Widow

    A sympathetic fall guy must go up against a town gossip, a pushover, a homewrecker and the police to clear his name in this high-society battle royale. Who will prevail? Find out next in tonight's episode of Murder Masterpiece with your host Mortimer the Murder Mudskipper.

  • Golgo 13: The Professional

    Golgo 13: The Professional

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    This is one of those cases where just listing things that happen in the film would better suffice than offering my own description. Eight minutes in and Golgo was already sniping his second target, this time in front of the guy's family, and I lol'd. Immediately after, he lays stock-still in a bed like he's getting an MRI as his girl quivers in naked ecstasy on top of him. Sweet sax plays while he guns down hoodlums in a forest…

  • Small Kill

    Small Kill

    At one point, a screaming naked guy runs down the street and in context it's not that surprising.

  • Deadly Twins

    Deadly Twins

    An 80's SOV and poliziotteschi? Compelling. There's a lot of style pressed out of the microbudgetry here, resulting in highly hallucinogenic schlock writ in uncanny acting/dubbing and preternatural dissolving between sequences; one plot element hails straight from the land of shadows and dust motes. What action there is was extremely entertaining (junkyard smashing, warehouse demolition, helicopter escape) but unfortunately a bit too scant in the runtime. One guy gets almost playfully attacked in a car wash and hosed with one of those sprayer things—not severely, mind you, just having a good time like cheerleaders at a car wash. Life is a gambol we're forced to abide.

  • Ghost Writer
  • Drifting Clouds

    Drifting Clouds

    A glimpse into an everyday stark and dispassionate Scandinavia, dry conversation in Ikea rooms and working stiffs left behind in the capitalist decline, all the zest and joie de vivre of a fish farm. Cool lachrymose gypsy music and theatrical blocking and composition. Miraculously ends in a happy ending (yay!); I love a good "scrappy team put their heads together to hatch a winning plan" trope. Life sucks but who cares.

    Watched this with the collab.

  • Exiled

    Exiled

    Kathryn Bigelow moodiness at factor 11 (opening with slow pans of waving lace curtains, lady standing surreptitiously in a darkened doorway crevice, bluesy guitar). This might be the most accordance with my aesthetic taste that I've yet seen in a gangster film: nightime entrada, lambent lights, brooding synths, big drama and scenic grandiosity. The most innovative shot was a firefight in the entries of a building facade like a Lethal Enforcers level. Minimal dialogue and supersimple plot, but one of the best-feeling immersion trips I've had in a while.

    Watched this with the collab.

  • Elmore Leonard's Gold Coast

    Elmore Leonard's Gold Coast

    This looks so damn stylin; it starts with Marg pulling up in a Lincoln wearing sunglasses and takin a slow drag of her cig, later standing poised by her mansion against a cloudy blue sky, later late-night swimming with Caruso in the illuminated neon blue pool, later they cruise a red convertible down the palm-lined Florida coastline, then later at the end Marg wearing funereal black atop a balcony framed like a stained glass Madonna. Some of the loudest gunshots…

  • 711 Ocean Drive

    711 Ocean Drive

    Basically He Walked By Night with more personality and a wider scope, dramatizing real stories about how radio technology innovated crime, even opening and closing with the government warnings about how this stuff is dangerous so watch your back. While the central arc is basic, there's a wealth of moviemaking in the varied characters, schemes, twists, clever punchlines and so much scenery, a very good-looking noir with inky dalliances in bars, boardrooms, beaches, horse races, Palm Springs hotels....ending in a…

  • Frankie and Johnny

    Frankie and Johnny

    Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer might be the coolest couple ever. Michelle apparently had a reliable niche going in this time period playing glum and gloomy love interests, if this, Scarface, Married to the Mob, Into the Night and Tequila Sunrise are any indication. I liked this one a lot because I'm a big fan of both the male magic pixie and love stories about dreary people finding warmth stashed away somewhere like Incan gold, which lo and behold, actually…

  • The Rocking Horsemen

    The Rocking Horsemen

    Classic surf rock rules (The Ventures, Dick Dale, Los Straightjackets, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Man or Astroman, et al.), and black metal surf rock is rad too. It's good to know the artform is being safeguarded by Japanese highschool bands. We don't need no small-town conformity when we got 1965 Guyatones. Incredibly slow, but I enjoyed the music, dissolves and camera motion. Least enlightened Buddhist monk ever.

    Watched this with the collab.