Sunday, March 20, 2016

I Saw This!! It's a Crime!!

I Saw This (double exclamation point) is our all-too regular feature wherein Graig or David attempt to write about a bunch of movies they watched some time ago and meant to write about but just never got around to doing so. Now they they have to strain to say anything meaningful lest they just not say anything at all. And they can't do that, can they?

The Return of the Original Paragraph.

Run All Night, 2015, Jaume Collet-Serra (The Orphan) -- download
The Drop, 2014, Michaël R. Roskam (Bullhead) -- Netflix
Seven Psychopaths, 2012, Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) -- Netflix
Red Eye, 2005, Wes Craven (Swamp Thing) -- Netflix

I consider Run All Night the spiritual sequel to Liam Neeson's A Walk Among the Tombstones. In the latter Neeson is an ex-cop investigating crime, in the former, an ex-enforcer for the mob. Again with Neeson and the capable violence. Again with the aging Liam Neeson not comfortable with his former lives.

Jimmy Conlon worked for Shawn Maguire, head of a waning Irish mob in NYC. Jimmy's son is Joel Kinnamen, still looking for a great role since The Killing, but always putting in quality work.  Mike (Kinnamen) hates Jimmy but a plot intervention, that could have been the elevator pitch for John Wick, has Mike witnessing Shawn's son in a drug deal gone wrong and being forced to kill the son. Now Shawn wants Mike dead and Jimmy has to protect him.

The best bits are between Shawn (Ed Harris) and Jimmy, two old gangsters who genuinely care for each other but cannot doff the responsibilities they have. Shawn's son was an idiot but Shawn has to avenge him. Jimmy has no real connection to his son, but has to protect him. So, Jimmy and Mike run all night chased by gangsters and dirty cops and a weirdly placed Common as a quiet hitman, who seems to be making a guest appearance in this movie.

The Drop brings Tom Hardy into yet another weird role which he pulls on like an old sweater, it completely enveloping him. Accent, mannerisms, look -- all change again, as Hardy plays Bob a mild mannered bartender in Brooklyn, used as a drop for the mob. Drop bars collect money for the mob and occasionally they become the center of BIG drops, tons of dirty money that no petty crook in his right mind would rob. But if they didn't, we wouldn't have a movie.

Hardy plays Bob not just as mild mannered, but somewhere along the spectrum. So meek, he puts up with shit from everyone and is laughed at for it. But from scene one, we know there is something behind those eyes that are always glancing left or at the ground, mumbling his responses. He won't get involved in cousin Marv's (James Gandolphini) scheme to rob his own bar and he is extremely hesitant to take care of an abused pit bull puppy he finds in the trash. But everyone else's machinations force Bob to come into his own.

This is a well crafted crime thriller on the slow side of things. But intentionally and, remember, Hardy was able to pull off a movie that was solely contained in a car -- he can do slow, and do it well. And I really liked seeing him play off Noomi Rapace, much more than I did in Dead Man Down. But oddly, the characters are interchangeable. Not sure who decided she will ever play the abused woman hiding from society. Next to Bob, Noomi's Nadia is ebullient. And Bob likes the puppy, so he gets my smile.

In Bruges was one my favourite movies that I can remember very little of. I was looking forward to  the next by McDonagh and have no idea why it took this long for me to sidle over to it. Like the former, Seven Psychopaths is a comedic romp around crime. Colin Farrell is back, this time as a screenwriter trying to find his next piece. Cliches abound in his character, from blank pages to a single success before this wall, to being a drunk. His best friend, the off Sam Rockwell is that friend, the one you don't know why you stick with, because he keeps on fucking up your life. This time it starts with him trying to insert his own character into Farrell's script, which happens to be Seven Psychopaths. And thus begins quite the meta movie.

Its funny, well scripted and has a ton of solid B-movie people like Tom Waits, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken. But like the other, I doubt I will remember it much beyond the writing of this segment.

What? This average crime thriller from 2005 was directed by Wes Craven? Weird. And no, its not a thriller pretending to be a horror. Its just an average, decently presented thriller about a terrorist who ropes a pretty young hotel manager into his plot. Rachel McAdams is the pretty, young thing playing off Cillian Murphy (as Jackson Rippner; now ain't THAT a handle). The funny thing is that she is too good for such a throw away role, so the character is not just a pretty young thing, and ends up turning the tables on Murphy.

But still, the movie barely rates one paragraph. And how did 2005 get so... dated looking? Seriously, I was starting to get offended by the 1990s looking like the ancient past, but now only 10 years ago looks like my childhood?  Urgh. Getting old can mess with your perception, especially as you get older. No, that is not pithy. In 2005, 1995 just looked like it was around the bend. But in 2015, the year 2005 looks positively ancient. I believe its more a product of my mind aging.

See what I did there?