The Good: Viggo Mortensen owns every second he is own the screen. Armin Mueller-Stahl quietly demands to be watched and heard in every scene — which is exactly what is needed as the kind restaurant owner, family man and head of a Russian mob. The killings in the public bath — brutal, but believable. The twist near the end — I totally did not see it coming and loved it.
The Bad: The movie is slow to get started and then moves at a steady pace. The violence is there, but not as bad as you may have heard.
The Ugly: “Okay. Now I’m going to do his teeth and cut off his fingers. You might want to leave room.”
The Summary: “Eastern Promises” is a brutal look at the Russian mafia. Viggo Mortensen gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the “driver.” The violence may put some off, but it grounds the movie’s reality. I have a feeling that this one is going to grow on me as time passes.
The Pitch: “Training Day” meets “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” without the comedy and where Ferris is an over-the-edge ex-marine.
The Good: The scene when Bale & Rodriguez attempt to sell a handgun in a Tex-Mex bar. The tension throughout the movie — who’s going to die?
The Bad: There’s a lack of redeeming characters. The movie is dark, dark, dark.
The Ugly: How disappointed I am, that I didn’t like the movie more.
The Summary: “Harsh Times” was too bleak for me. Good director, good cast, but without characters that I could really get behind.
The screenplay was created by James [novelist and screenwriter – do I really need to list credits for him?] Elroy, Kurt [“Equilibrium” “The Recruit”] Wimmer, and Jamie Moss.
It stars: Keanu [“Matrix”] Reeves, Forest [“The Shield”] Whitaker, Hugh [“House”] Laurie, Chris [“Fantastic Four”] Evans, Cedric “The Entertainer,” Jay [“Suicide Kings”] Mohr, Terry [“Harsh Times”] Crews, Naomi [“28 Days Later”] Harris, and Amaury [“Prison Break”] Nolasco.
It was directed by David [“Harsh Times”] Ayer.
The Pitch: “The Shield” meets “Training Day.” Keanu plays a bad cop falsely accused of killing his old partner who had been talking to internal affairs. His team has a cover-up in place, but Keanu wants to find the killers… no matter the cost to him or the team. Soon no one can be trusted.
The Good: * The story. The action from the opening scenes to the end. * The cast. Chris Evans, Naomi Harris and Cedric the Entertainer need special mention as they made the scenes they were in even better. I was worried that Cedric would be out of place in a serious movie, but he made his character work. * The Tension: The scene in the apartment especially — “I am your nightmare.” The scene in the car when Keanu works the handcuffs and the two scenes that follow — not your typical turn of events. * The ending [as surprising and as bold as the ending of “The Mist.”]
The Bad: everyone.
The Ugly: the two gangbangers after being dug up.
Summary: Although not a classic, “Street Kings” will definitely find a home in my dvd collection. If you’re looking for action in the “Training Day” vein, then “Street Kings” is for you.
Femme Noir is a cartoon crime comic inspired by Eisner’s The Spirit, Gould’s Dick Tracy, plus a healthy mix of cliffhanger serials, B-movies, pulp magazines, and more. Each issue will feature a 28 page standalone story [how rare is that!] plus two pin-ups by guest artists!
Issues #1 and #3 are inked by Horacio Ottolini, issues #2 and #4 by Mark Stegbauer. Colors are provided by Melissa Kaercher and Matt Webb. As an added bonus, each issue is offered with two covers: one pencilled by Joe Staton and then digitally painted by Alfredo Lopez Jr, with the second by a guest artist. Those guest artists are Brian Bolland, Matt Haley, Phil Hester, and the late Mike Wieringo. [Some fans will buy the issues just for the guest covers!]
The official Femme Noir website is http://www.femme-noir.com. Check out the website and if you like what you see, help me spread the word. [And no, I’m not getting any kickbacks. I like Chris Mills’ work — especially his crime comic Gravedigger — and I’d like to see Chris and Joe Staton get the audience they deserve on Femme Noir. If it wasn’t a worthy comic, I wouldn’t be talking it up… and you wouldn’t still be reading this.]
The Good: not going Hollywood and changing the story; Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Woody Harrelson and Kelly MacDonald are perfectly cast; the scene where Chigurh brings the cuffs to the front, strangles the deputy and then calmly cleans his wrists; when Moss stumbles on the drug-deal-gone-bad aftermath; when Chigurh makes the old man “call it”; Moss barely escaping into the river and then coming out to calmly prepare for the “next attack” which is barreling at him; Moss’ dialogue with his wife and later Carson Wells; Sherriff Bell’s dialogue with everyone; the pacing; when Chigurh appears behind Carson Wells on the steps; Woody Harrelson’s scene with Bardem; the direction.
The Bad: Anton Chigurh. Nothing else comes close to being “The Bad.”
The Ugly: Doctoring your own gunshot wound; and when you hear “there’s a bone sticking out of your arm.”
If you haven’t yet, you should read the book and then see the movie. That way, come Oscars you’ll be ahead of the curve.