Kill the Irishman

This Week in Blu-ray

It’s always a special week for This Week in Blu-ray when I can say that I’m on time. Last week was a mess, but this week we come roaring back with some great titles. It’s made even more special with the release of one of the best movies I saw in 2010, Legend of the Fist. My Donnie Yen addiction kicks into high gear while my lack of interest in big, studio-funded comedy and alien invasion films becomes readily apparent. Plenty to rent this week, a few precious titles to buy and that Red Riding Hood movie from Catherine Hardwicke right where it belongs: bringing up the rear. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen As you are undoubtedly aware, the movie theater is no place for hooting and hollering. Audiences should be present, but unheard. I know this as well as anyone out there, having sat through hundreds, if not thousands of movie with some of the stuffiest people on the planet (other film critics). But there was something about Legend of the Fist. When it screened for the audiences of Fantastic Fest last year, it jumped into our laps and demanded that we cheer. So there I was, alongside fellow critics Drew McWeeney and Brian Salisbury, reduced to cinema fandom’s equivalent of a “woo girl” by the first 20-minutes of this Donnie Yen action opus. It played like Saving Private Ryan, but with a little Asian dude running around killing Germans in the most creative of […]

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This Week in DVD

This is the second week in a row featuring a metric ton of new releases, and as usual there’s more worth a rental than there are worth buying and avoiding combined. Some of the more recognizable titles this week include the fun Donnie Yen action pic Legend Of the Fist, the alien action movie Battle: Los Angeles, and the Owen Wilson-led gross-out comedy Hall Pass. Two of this week’s better releases though come completely out of left field (for me anyway). One is a cool and casual cop show from A&E and the other is a relationship drama starring the always lovely Rashida Jones. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Monogamy Theo (Chris Messina) and Nat (Rashida Jones) are young, engaged, and in love… but that may not be enough to save their relationship. Theo’s side job sees people hiring him to photograph them out in public without their precise knowledge, but when a woman hires him to watch her in the park things take a dark turn. He becomes obsessed with her sex-filled evenings and begins to question his own allegiance to monogamy. Both leads give strong performances, but Messina is fantastic as he descends into an emotional spiral. Character study, love story, and a dash of romantic thriller with a strong ending. This is not a happy, feel-good movie, but it is a pretty powerful one.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with Viva Riva! writer/director Djo Tunda Wa Munga and veteran actor Vincent D’Onofrio. Plus, our very own Landon Palmer takes on Gordon and the Whale‘s Kate Erbland in the movie news quiz, and we end up talking about Human Centipede 2: Electric Sand Paper Mastubation-aloo. If you own the copyright on the phrase “sandpaper penis,” we may owe you some money. Please don’t let that scare you away. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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As you might know, Kill the Irishman is based on a lot of true stories. It’s also based on what little can be known about those true stories. Starring Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Linda Cardellini, and Christopher Walken, the film focuses on Danny Greene, a brutal man in league with the mob during the rough and tumble times of 1970s Cleveland. Fortunately, Cleveland looks exactly the same, so setting it in the 1970s wasn’t a big deal. The movie is out on DVD this week, and included in the special features is a documentary about the real-life story. This clip is a little bit sad, a little bit grotesque, and it’s a stirring reminder of the violence that men do.

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The Week That Was

It was another scorcher of a week here on FSR (isn’t it always, though?) in which we reviewed the weekend’s big releases, talked incessantly about the latest H’wood developments and for good measure, made fun of everyone in the process. In fairness, we did plenty of snarking but we’re always fair. Even with the likes of McG and Joel Schumacher. It’s what sets us apart from other movie blogs. Also setting us apart is the giant mound of excellent content that you can read after the break, in a little ditty we like to call The Week That Was…

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Car bombs dominate the cinematic landscape in Kill the Irishman. They do so literally, as there’s practically a new explosion every ten minutes, and psychologically, as the fear of the bomb, the pervasive threat of a sudden and spectacular death, powerfully informs the lives of the gangsters in filmmaker Jonathan Hensleigh’s true portrait of the mob wars that rocked 1970s Cleveland. The thick, persistent tension which comes with the understanding that it could all be over at any second cuts through the familiar mob movie tropes. Despite the presence of standards such as clandestine meetings in dark restaurants and thickly-accented spaghetti-inhaling goombas, Hensleigh’s film — which he co-wrote with Jeremy Walters (based on a book by Rick Porrello, an Ohio police chief) — hews closer in tone to a war picture than Goodfellas. Thus, with notable visceral force, the film conveys organized crime’s sheer futility, the pervasive notion that it’s comprised of grown men with outsized egos engaged in deadly battles for scraps of nothing.

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It’s still unclear what to expect from Jonathan Hensleigh’s Kill the Irishman, but Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Linda Cardellini are involved, so it hardly matters. The plot focuses on a man the mob just can’t kill. Also, Christopher Walken and Val Kilmer are in a movie together, in case you didn’t hear before. In this clip, Linda Cardellini plays a brazen barmaid who gives Ray Stevenson’s character a smile and pick up line that would melt steel.

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