Crime

Brillante Mendoza – Kinatay AKA The Execution of P (2009)

“Daniel Kasman” wrote:
Dedicate a movie to one thing, respect the singular attention of the camera, and a film should be rich enough to overcome just about anything. Brillante Mendoza gives almost half of his film Kinatay to the nocturnal drive of a group of policemen out of Manila to its suburbs, and another half hour of night awaits them at their destination, a police black site. This rich vision of so much gloom, dim suspension, no action, no spectacle, no drama is a beautiful thing, something out of an avant-garde film dedicated to textures, subtle shifts in color, and spatial uncertainty of a sunless world. Read More »

Eduardo Mignogna – La fuga (2001)

Quote:
Argentinean helmer Eduardo Mignogna is best known for mellers like the award-winning “Autumn Sun” (1996) and “The Southern Lighthouse” (1998), but the ambitiously-structured crowd pleaser “The Escape,” based on his own novel, shows him extending his range almost too far. Pic pays the dramatic price for mixing popular genres — including jail-bust thriller, meller and gangster drama — and, though well-crafted and entertaining, sometimes feels contrived and manipulative. Final sensation is of a great story cannily told, and these simple old-fashioned virtues, plus the current interest in Latino cinema, could be enough to generate offshore interest outside standard Latino territories. Read More »

Fritz Lang – M [Universum, 80th Anniversary Edition] (1931)

Quote:
The horror of the faces: That is the overwhelming image that remains from a recent viewing of the restored version of “M,” Fritz Lang’s famous 1931 film about a child murderer in Germany. In my memory it was a film that centered on the killer, the creepy little Franz Becker, played by Peter Lorre. But Becker has relatively limited screen time, and only one consequential speech–although it’s a haunting one. Most of the film is devoted to the search for Becker, by both the police and the underworld, and many of these scenes are played in closeup. In searching for words to describe the faces of the actors, I fall hopelessly upon “piglike.” Read More »

Romain Gavras – Le monde est à toi AKA The World Is Yours (2018)

Synopsis:
A small-time dealer dreams of another life but can’t afford it. To escape, he must accept one last job involving Spain, drugs, the Illuminati and his overbearing mother. Read More »

Charles Barton – Smooth as Silk (1946)

Lawyer Kent Taylor (Mark) helps writer John Litel (Steve) by defending his relative Danny Morton (Don) in a drink-driving case where he is guilty. Taylor manipulates witness accounts so that Morton goes free and he does this on the understanding that Litel will give his girlfriend Virginia Grey (Paula), the lead role in his new play. Well, after the court case, Litel goes back on his word and, understandably, Taylor is not happy, especially when Grey’s true character begins to reveal herself as she ruthlessly pushes her self-interest. Time for a murder…… Read More »

Michael Cimino – Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

Plot Synopsis [AMG]As much an eccentric character study as a road movie, Michael Cimino’s directorial debut follows the adventures of a quartet of misfits in their life of crime. Retired thief Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood) and sweet drifter Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) meet cute when Thunderbolt jumps into Lightfoot’s stolen car to escape a gunman. The pair embarks on an oddball journey to get Thunderbolt’s loot from an old robbery before his former associates, the sadistic Red (George Kennedy) and cretinous Goody (Geoffrey Lewis), get to it first, but all four are too late; the one-room schoolhouse hiding place has apparently vanished. So instead, the four play house and work legit jobs while they plot to rob the same place Thunderbolt and Red hit before. Read More »

Nagisa Ôshima – Kôshikei AKA Death by Hanging (1968)

Quote:

A clinically presented series of stark white, unembellished placards illustrates the sobering statistical data for the overwhelming public sentiment against the abolition of the death penalty as an off-screen narrator (Nagisa Oshima) provides a snide, but impassioned rebuttal to popular opinion by presenting a objective documentary of the austere and impersonal milieu associated with the methodical process of carrying out a state execution through the specific example of the appointed hanging of a convicted rapist and murderer known only as ‘R’ (Do-yun Yu): an empty, minimalist sitting room that provides an illusive, parting glimpse of a semblance of home for the condemned prisoner as he makes his way into the execution room, an assembly of unnamed official guests waiting in a segregated viewing room to witness the macabre ceremony, a procedural rehearsal of the chamber’s fail-safe sequence as the prisoner is blindfold and fitted with a noose, the actuation of trap door, the median measured time of 18 minutes before the heart completely stops and a staff physician (Rokko Toura) is able to record the official time of death. Read More »