Crime Movies

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What’s the one thing every rundown apartment that a college sophomore is sharing with his five best friends and every $30m mansion that a famous rapper lives in for five months out of the year have in common? The Scarface poster they have framed on the wall in the living room. There are a handful of gangster films that have become modern classics – The Godfather and Goodfellas being the other main two – but in recent years, Brian De Palma’s Scarface has really pulled ahead of the pack when it comes to pop culture relevance and awareness among a younger generation. Which kind of makes sense, seeing as The Godfather and Goodfellas are better-made films that deal with more mature themes and Scarface is the sort of empty, flashy nonsense that would appeal to young people and rappers. Really, at this point, should Scarface even be mentioned in the conversation of great modern gangster movies anymore? It’s got a lot of issues. Jacques Audiard’s 2009 prison epic, Un prophète, isn’t necessarily underrated in the sense that the people who saw it didn’t like it, but it’s underrated in the sense that not nearly enough people, at least in the United States, have seen it. Here we have one of those rare films that is just artsy enough to be respected by film snobs and just entertaining enough to be enjoyed by more casual audiences that it could conceivably become a perennial top contender when it comes to widely agreed […]

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Now that he’s had his screenplay Argo produced as one of the highest-profile films of the year, and one of the front-runners for all of those little golden statues that are going to be given out during the upcoming awards season, screenwriter Chris Terrio finds himself in the position of suddenly being a sought-after talent. So what’s his next move going to be? Variety says that he’s going to be writing a crime movie for George Clooney and Paul Greengrass. To be more specific, Clooney and Grant Heslov, the team behind Argo, will be producing this new feature, Paul Greengrass will be directing, and Clooney will also star. There isn’t yet any word on what exactly this movie is going to be about, but seeing as Argo was such a success, Terrio has had several scripts strong enough to appear on the Black List, Greengrass earned himself quite a few fans with his handling of the Bourne franchise, and George Clooney is one of the few bankable stars left in the business, one would have to consider this new project to be one of the highest profile currently in development, even with no other information available.

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Richard Kelly’s first feature film, Donnie Darko, was pretty off the wall, and a little bit of a mess, but generally it was well-liked by most people who saw it. His next couple of films, Southland Tales and The Box, however, saw Kelly take his ambitions even further, and resulted in films so strange and confusing that not many people could get behind them. Then you have Nicolas Cage, who’s pretty much the king of being so strange and confusing that people can’t get behind him. Seeing as he’s an ambitious artist much like Kelly, people have called Cage’s performances ill-conceived, awkward, or just plain awful, but nobody has ever accused him of being boring. And every once in a while you get that one that he knocks completely out of the park. Kelly and Cage are two combustible creative elements, so, even if the results turn out awful, it should still be great fun to see what they produce when they get together. In what may be the most terrifying actor/director combination since Cage teamed up with Werner Herzog, Variety is reporting that Cage and Kelly are all set to collaborate on a crime thriller called Amicus.

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A while back David Cronenberg dropped the bombshell news that there were plans for an Eastern Promises sequel, Stephen Knight was already writing a script, and there was even some interest from Focus Features in getting it made. Instantly, fans of slicked back hair, tattoos, and vodka shot grimaces rejoiced at the possibility all over the world. But “script being written” is a long way from “actually being made” in the life of a potential project, so how’s the progress on this one going these days? Turns out, pretty dang good. Vulture is reporting that not only is the first film’s star, Viggo Mortensen, looking like he’s ready to come back and make the sequel, but French actor extraordinaire Vincent Cassel is currently in negotiations to return as well. Mortensen and Cassel teaming up for anything has to be seen as great news. Report that they’re working together on a straight-to-video Gone Fishin’ sequel and it would be exciting. But this? This could be one of the rarest things in the world: a non-superhero sequel that movie fans actually want to see.

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Killer Joe

William Friedkin’s (The Exorcist, Bug) latest thriller, Killer Joe, looks gritty, greasy, and gross, the sort of crime movie that makes you feel like you have to take a shower after you watch it. It’s full of bad people making evil decisions; which, according to noir morality, is going to spell certain (and likely bloody) doom for everyone involved. Sometimes watching a movie like that can be a masochistic experience, but when the film in question stars names like Thomas Haden Church, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, an adorable-while-spinning Juno Temple, and a seemingly motivated Matthew McConaughey, more likely than not the experience is going to be fascinating. Killer Joe’s new trailer has violence, matricide, deep shadows, rain storms, Southern accents, dilapidated pool halls, people putting their sister up as collateral, and I think someone gets killed with a can of pumpkin pie filling. It looks moody, and dangerous, and it warns us that the film has an NC-17 rating.

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Casting on Sofia Coppola’s new celebrity-obsessed crime movie The Bling Ring seems to be coming together quite quickly. It was just about a week ago we learned that Emma Watson had signed on to become the first actor confirmed for the film, and now THR has news that she’s being joined by a gaggle more. The biggest name added to the cast is Leslie Mann (Knocked Up), who is set to play the mother of two of the female members of this teenage crime ring – but she’s not alone. This movie tells the based-on-a-true story of a bunch of teenagers who break into celebrity homes, and Coppola reportedly wants to use it as an opportunity to break in a bunch of young new actors. Perhaps the biggest break is going to come to Israel Broussard (The Chaperone), who gets to play the male lead. But, in addition to him, young actresses named Katie Chang, Claire Pfister, and Georgia Rock are all set to make their feature debuts here, and American Horror Story actress Taissa Farmiga is on board as well (in just her second feature appearance). With the members of the crime ring coming together so nicely, will it be long before we start to get word on which celebrities will be making cameos as the people whose houses get broken into? Call me crazy, but it seems like there’s some potential for hilarity there.

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If you had bet that Sofia Coppola’s next film would deal with disaffected young women in some way, then it turns out you’re a big winner. And if you imagined it would be a look at the bored lives of the rich and depressed, then congratulations, you were pretty spot-on. But what may come as a surprise is that, despite Coppola’s trademark inert style, her next film is going to have something of an action element. Based at least in part on true events, The Bling Ring tells the tale of a group of fashion- and celebrity-obsessed teens in Beverly Hills who form a crime ring and proceed to break into celebrity homes. Coppola says that the film will “reveal a sobering view of our modern culture,” which sounds about right if you replace the word “sobering” with the word “infuriating.” The movie is intended to be an ensemble piece, and Coppola says of pre-production so far, “I’m excited about the young cast we’re assembling and I’m looking forward to shooting on location here in Los Angeles.” While most of the specifics of who make up this exciting young cast aren’t known, we do know that Coppola and her producers have landed a pretty huge name already.

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Once upon a time, Michael Mann was on my list of directors whose work I always anticipate. His status in my eyes has been diminished a bit over the course of the last decade, but every once in a while he still comes out with an interesting project, like 2004’s Collateral, so rumblings of Mann directing a new movie are always newsworthy to me. Especially since he’s only been doing about one every three years recently. With that in mind, Deadline Lake Forest has some news today that made my ears perk up a bit. Apparently Mann is currently negotiating to direct a spec script called The Big Stone Grid. It’s a police thriller by S. Craig Zahler that’s said to be in the same vein as Se7en and Marathon Man, and that tells the story of two detectives who uncover an extortion ring operating in New York City.

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He hasn’t even started shooting yet on the next Hugh Jackman-starring superhero movie The Wolverine, but director James Mangold has already got his next project ready and waiting. Mangold and his producing partner Cathy Konrad have procured the remake rights to an Icelandic film called City State, which was something of a crime film, and Mangold intends on directing said remake himself. I don’t even think that City State has been released in the States, so I don’t know anything about it, but it was made by a filmmaker named Olaf de Fleur Johannesson, and according to the Mangold story that appeared on Deadline Heimaey it tells the story of four lives that intersect when foreign drug lords try to take over the Icelandic drug trade. The four characters include, “ … a crooked police captain in love with a prostitute, an aging crime boss with a heart condition looking to get out of the game alive, a mechanic determined to avenge the death of his unborn child, and a female cop who is attacked by thugs and takes matters into her own hands.” Probably my favorite thing that Mangold has done is Copland, which was also a character piece set largely in a criminal underworld, so it sounds to me like this project would be a good fit for him. The Wolverine I’m still kind of worried about though, because his work on Kate & Leopold did NOT convince me that he could direct Hugh Jackman as a believable […]

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Oh, Jerry Warren. Duke of Schlocky Horror Films (he wasn’t prolific or notable enough to be The King). The Wild World of Batwoman is a blatant rip-off of several films and a desperate attempt to piggyback on the popularity of the Batman television series of the 60s. It makes no sense, except for the fact that Batwoman and her Batmaidens fight evil by Go Go Dancing. This method is still used in the NYPD to this day. At some point, Batmania wasn’t catching fire like it used to, so Warren changed the title to She Was a Hippy Vampire. Both trailers are included here, but no explanation for the movie’s plot could be found.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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