Crime Films

Thief Movie

Continuing through our exploration of the first feature films of prominent directors, Cargill and I arrive at the debut outing of one of my absolute favorite filmmakers: Michael Mann. In 1981, Mann brought us a gritty, savvy techno noir that starred James Caan as cinema’s coolest Thief. From the growling single-mindedness of its protagonist to the sights and sounds of, respectively, stunning cinematography and a pulsing Tangerine Dream score, Thief is that rare first film that never misses a beat and solidifies a director’s style in an instant. Don’t rob yourself of the fun of listening to Junkfood Cinema this week. You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #39 Directly



“Guess I got what I deserved.” Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” provided a fitting sendoff to arch criminal Walter White in the final scene of Vince Gilligan’s landmark television drama Breaking Bad. We guess that’s all the show had to say. All that remained was silence, and, honestly, a fairly formidable void. Where now would audiences go? What did we deserve? As far back as we can remember, crime films have been a staple of American cinema. From the roaring days of James Cagney and the Warner gangster movies to the golden age of Scorsese, it seemed evident that the one place crime almost always paid was at the theater. Still, when looking back over the year in film that was 2014, it can’t be denied that the genre took some rather interesting turns and indeed experienced an embarrassment of riches that would make Henry Hill’s Lufthansa heist seem like small potatoes.


Rza Directing

Anyone who spent their teen years driving around in their mother’s hand-me-down car with the windows rolled down and the Wu Tang Clan blaring on the stereo knows that the RZA, the GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, the Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, and the Masta Killa have a deep, abiding love of kung-fu movies. And, in the years since their musical heyday, RZA has taken this love further by composing the score for modern martial arts movies like Ghost Dog and Kill Bill, by trying his hand at being an actor, and even by becoming a director with his upcoming martial arts epic The Man with the Iron Fists. RZA doesn’t plan on stopping there either, apparently his experience directing a movie was so positive that he’s already lined up two more projects.


Howard and Olivieri

Up until this point they’ve been calling David Ayer’s upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring crime film Ten. Which has made sense, because its a story about 10 DEA agents who rip off a drug cartel and then get bumped off one by one. But Ten is also a generic title that could mean just about anything, so in order to make the film stand out and be more recognizable they’ve now given it the super descriptive and unforgettable title of…Breacher. Okay, so that just makes it sound like this is a movie about a whale or a submarine. Who actually knows why they changed the title, but the deed has been done, and the important thing to focus on is that there’s some new casting news that might be of interest. Breacher, as has been reported, comes from a Skip Woods script that’s loosely based off of an Agatha Christie story called “And Then There Were None.” Christie’s original story detailed the systematic comeuppance of ten previously unpunished murderers. Seeing as the very core of this story is a group of people getting what’s coming to them, it’s going to be very necessary for Ayer to compile an ensemble cast. And as much as we all might love to watch Schwarzenegger don various wigs and prosthetics to play every part, that’s kind of Eddie Murphy’s thing, and wouldn’t be appropriate.



When Cormac McCarthy writes a script for Hollywood, it seems that everyone and their brother comes out of the woodwork to try and get a job on the production, right quick. It wasn’t long after it was announced that his original screenplay, The Counselor, existed before it was also announced that Ridley Scott would be directing and Michael Fassbender was attached to play the lead role. And ever since then, there’s been a who’s who of entertainment industry royalty lining up to get in on the fun. Not too long ago it was said that Javier Bardem and Jeremy Renner were being looked at for the two remaining male roles, that of the villain and a drug runner, and that Natalie Portman was showing interest in coming in as the female lead.



I break Quentin Tarantino’s career up into two stages. The first stage consists of his first three films, which are all crime movies, are all set in L.A., and which all just feel very much like “Quentin Tarantino movies” (a genre unto itself back in the 90s, if you lump in all the pretenders). After those first three films, he took a pretty lengthy six year break, and then he came back and started exploring other genres, making movies that were largely homages to the B-cinema he enjoyed in his youth. While there’s a soft spot in my heart for most of Inglorious Basterds, in general I prefer that first stage of Tarantino’s career to what came after. And as far as that first trilogy of crime films goes, I think most people are in agreement that Pulp Fiction is the masterpiece. It was the one that broke down the doors of the movie industry and ushered indie filmmaking into the mainstream, and it’s the one most often referenced when people talk about his career; so I’m not going to focus on that one here. I’m going to focus instead on Tarantino’s debut feature Reservoir Dogs, which was the film that first got heads turned in his direction, and which still gets mentioned right alongside Pulp Fiction as badass things from the 90s. And also I’m going to focus on Jackie Brown, which is kind of the forgotten Tarantino film. This is one that doesn’t get brought up much these […]

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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