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Archive for the tag “crime”

Ryan Gosling Teams Back Up with Nicolas Winding Refn for “Only God Forgives”

Just knowing that Nicolas Winding Refn is directing Only God Forgives would be enough for me to want to go see it. However, after seeing the above trailer, it quickly jumped to one of my most anticipated films in the coming months. Nicolas Winding Refn has proven he is a talented director (see Drive and Valhalla Rising) and with Only God Forgives, he rejoins Ryan Gosling, who starred in his prior film Drive. This bodes well for this release as the two seem to work quite well together, with Gosling able to really let his acting skills out with Refn’s characters. Let’s hope Refn can continue his streak of high quality films. If you enjoy crime thrillers and striking visuals, and don’t mind some quite graphic violence, look out for Only God Forgives when it releases this July.

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“Trance” – Danny Boyle’s Follow-Up to the Opening Ceremony

If you were a movie director who just spent the last four years creating the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics, what would you make your next project after the Games? Danny Boyle decided to change directions away from the large scales and bombast of the Olympics opening ceremony and take a trip back to his roots with “Trance”. Boyle’s first film was crime thriller “Shallow Grave”, and it seems he is looking to come full circle with his upcoming release focusing on an art thief who has lost his memory. The cast, including James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson among others, is talented and should make the film’s story keep you on the edge of your seat. Boyle’s directing talent is immense and many of his usual techniques should fit nicely with the genre. I just hope “Trance” doesn’t fall into the territory of some of his recent work, such as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours” (while Boyle’s directing is great, the films were not that interesting to me). Can “Trance” recapture Danny Boyle’s earlier magic?

“Jackie Brown” (1997) Movie Review

Jackie Brown Movie Poster

As I mentioned previously in my review of “Django Unchained”, I am a Quentin Tarantino fan. He is an extremely talented director, with many of his films having spots in my personal film collection. Yet, for some reason, I had never known about or heard of “Jackie Brown”. Releasing between “Pulp Fiction” and the “Kill Bill” films, “Jackie Brown” is an easily overlooked, under-the-radar Tarantino film about an airline flight attendant, a gun-runner, a recently released convict, drugs, guns, cash, and some members of law enforcement. Classic set-up for a Tarantino film right? Then why is this film always overlooked when it comes to discussions on Tarantino’s works? I don’t have an answer to that, but I can tell you about my viewing experience.

To begin, “Jackie Brown” is classic Tarantino. It fits perfectly right next to “Pulp Fiction” and before “Kill Bill” as you have a similar style to the former, with a female protagonist like the latter. Within that framework, and with the aforementioned characters and items, Tarantino crafts a slick crime thriller whose plot is constantly engaging. The twists and turns that the film takes over its 2.5 hour running time are entertaining to the point that you don’t always quite know what to expect from this group of characters. Further, the film moves at a fairly steady pace, never really getting bogged down, nor moving too quickly. Sure, there are some scenes that run a little long, but Tarantino loves his dialogue, and that makes some of those scenes.

Speaking of which, the film is just as well-written as any other Tarantino film is. He has always been lauded for his clever and quality scripts, and this one is no exception. Sure, some characters are a little eccentric, which Samuel L. Jackson always does right with his character having a dialogue that consists of 40% f-bombs, 30% racial slurs, and 30% of everything else. This is where Tarantino always succeeds – crafting humorous dialogue across serious scenes that still manages to make the viewer attached to each character’s fate, and “Jackie Brown” is a perfect example.

As always, Tarantino puts together a phenomenal cast, with Pam Grier putting in a great performance in the lead role.

As always, Tarantino puts together a phenomenal cast, with Pam Grier putting in a great performance in the lead role.

In mentioning characters, I will again give credit to Tarantino for bringing together an immensely talented cast. From Samuel L. Jackson, to Robert De Niro, to Robert Forester, there is a star-filled cast that performs to a high level (even down to its minor characters – Chris Tucker makes a nice comedic appearance). Still, I have to give a special mention to Pam Grier, who delivers a perfect performance as “Jackie Brown” and really revitalized her career (she was in “Mars Attacks” the year before). With such a great cast, the film really feels authentic in its execution.

Lastly, I just need to quickly mention the soundtrack for the film. Once again, Tarantino is often noted for his soundtrack choices and implementation. Here, “Jackie Brown” has become one of my favorites amongst all of Tarantino’s works. The soundtrack is exceptional in its selection and use throughout the film, and adds another layer of style to the film.

Overall, “Jackie Brown” is a great film. It doesn’t quite top the like of “Pulp Fiction” or “Inglorious Basterds” (my two Tarantino favorites), but it should easily be in the conversation next to any other Tarantino film. I am still amazed at how I was unaware of this film, and how unknown it is compared to Tarantino’s other works. I know I, for one, will be recommending it to anyone who enjoys Tarantino, or to any crime thriller fan (or even just a general film fan). Has anyone else seen “Jackie Brown” – what did you think? Where does is rank among Tarantino’s film library for you?

Final Score – 9.0/10

Why You Should Watch “Elementary”

Elementary Title

I usually follow a few television series’ at one time – ever since my first experience with a DVR, I’ve never looked back. Still, despite the DVR giving me potential to watch as many shows as time allows, I prefer to follow only a handful of shows to avoid getting bogged down with too many characters and so that I can better enjoy each show’s storyline. That being said, there are a few shows that have really caught my interest and had me anticipating each new episode. Previously, this list included “Dexter”, “The Walking Dead”, and “The Office” (during its first 5 seasons). CBS has now caught my interest with “Elementary” – which now sits atop the list of shows I am currently following.

Despite borrowing an idea for the modernization of Sherlock Holmes from the UK’s “Sherlock”, “Elementary” succeeds as its own entity. The combination of Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu works wonderfully among the New York City setting. The two are great together and help draw the most out of each other’s characters. Further, the back story behind both Holmes and Watson, along with the reason for their current relationship is a nice twist to bring Sherlock into the 21st century.

Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller work wonderfully together as Holmes and Watson.

Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller work wonderfully together as Holmes and Watson.

When you hear the name Sherlock Holmes, you likely immediately think of the classic mysteries and puzzles. This is where I was initially skeptical about the show, but an area that it completely surprised me in. Each episode’s individual case is always cleverly designed and keeps the viewer integrated into the developments. Combined with the continual story of Holmes’ and Watson’s characters, “Elementary” is quickly becoming one hell of a series and easily one of the best new shows on television. With nearly 20 episodes aired, and the season extended to a total of 24 episodes, it seems like “Elementary” won’t be going anywhere anytime soon (I really hope it can keep up its quality through a few more seasons). There is still time to get on the bandwagon and catch up on some of the past 17 episodes from this season before the final few episodes begin to air starting on March 14th. I, for one, am excited to see how this season ends and will be eagerly anticipating a second season.

Has anyone been watching “Elementary”? What do you think about the show’s first season?

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