Browse Category: Crime

RECAP: Red Heat

Red Heat (1988): Walter Hill

Buddy cops were all the rage in the 1980s. Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hrs., and Lethal Weapon are three examples of genre-defining hits that resonate today.

Red Heat is decidedly in a second tier. It grossed $35 million, less than half of cop parody movie The Naked Gun.

The film has one iconic moment, a shot in which Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body is loving filmed from the ground up. Only the great statues receive better filming.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A Soviet cop tracks a Soviet drug dealer through Chicago while a local cop attempts to ruin the investigation.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Heat

Heat (1995): Michael Mann

More than 20 years after appearing in The Godfather: Part II, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro finally appeared together on screen. To drive home the point, both were credited on screen in the opening titles.

Heat hit theaters between Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans and The Insider. Each film is memorable for its uniqueness and Mann’s particular brand of camera work.

And yes, this movie nearly reaches three hours, but three compelling hours, wrapped around an all-time great gun fight.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A cop and robber find themselves more alike than not, try to kill each other anyway.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Sicario

Sicario (2015): Denis Villeneuve

What’s more dangerous, more convoluted than policing the drug trade? That question is raised by the 2015 drug update Sicario. What does “sicario” mean? According to the intro, it’s what the Jews called people who actively opposed Roman leaders. In Mexico, a sicario is a hitman.

Acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins picked up his 13th overall and fourth consecutive Oscar nomination, all of them losses. The visuals were terrific, but I found Johann Johannsson’s Oscar-nominated score the movie’s real star.

Deakins and Josh Brolin both worked on another movie focusing on the drug war around El Paso, 2008’s Best Picture winner No Country for Old Men.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The US wages secret war against the Mexican drug cartels.  Continue Reading

Blackhat

Blackhat (2015): Michael Mann

Subsumed in the Oscar wake of January 2015 came another Michael Mann camera shaker. Critically and commercially, it was a dud. The onscreen action, while explosive, didn’t come enough, and a strange editing choice derailed any chance of hitting with the people.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Superhacker Nick Hathaway can get out of jail free if he catches the superhacker who blew up a Chinese nuclear plant.  Continue Reading

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