Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘Crime Dramas’

In the Electric Mist – Starring Tommy Lee Jones

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 22 January 2012

In the Electric Mist (2009)  Directed by Bertrand Tavernier, starring Tommy Lee JonesJohn GoodmanPeter SarsgaardKelly MacdonaldMary Steenburgen and Levon Helm.  In this crime drama, laced with magical realism, set in the bayou and back country of Louisiana, Tommy Lee Jones, portraying an recovering alcoholic, Vietnam veteran, parish police detective, investigates the murder of a young prostitute.  Though the cast is clearly top notch and the potential to be more is there in the portrayals by all of the major actors; unfortunately, their acting seems, somehow, somewhat uninspired.  The failure to really come together could very well be due to the poor screenwriting, based on the novel In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke, that fails to create much tension or develop characters, and is otherwise equally ineffectual and splintered.  (PR)

See our posts on the films The Company Men, The Fugitive, starring Tommy Lee Jones and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library…  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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Traffic – Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Starring Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas (Oscars for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and more)

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Traffic (2000)   Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich (2000), Solaris (2002), The Informant! (2009) and many others), starring Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid, and others.  Traffic, a multi-Oscar-winning crime drama about the drug trade in Mexico and the U.S. in which multiple interconnected story lines are woven together is a tension-filled tour de force characterised by the excellent directing of Soderbergh, some excellent writing, by Stephen Gaghan, and superb, understated acting on the part of Benicio del Toro.  The four stories which make up the film consist of 1)in Tijuana, Mexico, the struggle between the corrupt army, the federal police and two important drug cartels, in which del Toro excels; 2)in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, the story of a newly-nominated U.S. “Drug Czar” with a 16-year old addict daughter; 3)in San Diego, California, the efforts of the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) to arrest and prosecute a major drug trafficker and protect a key witness in his drug trial and, 4)also in San Diego, the efforts on the part of the wife of the arrested trafficker to maintain their business.  The ensemble of the cast is really quite good: Michael Douglas and Amy Irving in the Washington “Drug Czar” story-line; Don Cheadle and Luis Guzmán in the DEA story-line; Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid in the San Diego drug trafficker story-line, and, of course Benicio del Toro in the Mexican story-line.  Soderbergh not only directed the film, but also shot it, with distinctive color-based atmospheres for each story-line.  The end result is an excellent, unsentimental drama, full of tension, that is a must-see. (PR)

Traffic won the following Academy AwardsBest DirectorBest Supporting Actor (del Toro), Best Film Editing (Stephen Mirrione), and Best Adapted Screenplay; it was also nominated for Best Picture, but lost to Gladiator, by Ridley Scott.  Traffic, and Benicio del Toro won numerous other awards, as well.

See our posts on the films Syriana, The Informant! and Solaris, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and also the films, The Pledge, with Benicio del Toro, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Game, starring Michael Douglas, and Vantage Point, starring Dennis Quaid.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library…  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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Get Carter – Starring Michael Caine

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 11 December 2011

Get Carter (1971)(DVD) – Directed by Mike Hodges (Pulp (1972), Croupier (1998), I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2003)), starring Michael Caine (The Ipcress File (1965), Alfie (1966), Sleuth (1972), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The Cider House Rules (1999), Children of Men (2006) and many, many other films) and others.  This excellent and iconic British crime drama in which a London gangster, a magnificent Michael Caine as coldly impassive Jack Carter, investigates his brother’s death, and released in 1971, the same year as The French Connection, another superb example of gritty, bleak and fatalistic neo-realism, is thought to be one of the best British films of all time, and certainly of its genre.  Deceptively simple in its story, and unrelenting in its depiction of virtual soullessness, Get Carter, is full of subtle complications and scathing observations on any number of social issues, from grotesque English class injustice, to hypocritical so-called liberation of women, to the oppressiveness of architecture, just to name a few.  Get Carter is undoubtedly a must-see film (though absolutely not to be confused with the abominable 2001 remake of the same name, starring the dubiously talented Sylvester Stallone).  (PR)  (Note that Caine, as Carter, is reading a Raymond Chandler novel on the train to Newcastle, among other small, sly cinematic inflections.)

See our post on the film I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, also directed by Mike Hodges, starring Clive Owen, and see our post on the excellent film The French Connection, starring Gene Hackman.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray disks.  Have an exceptional personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

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French Connection II – Starring Gene Hackman

Posted by the editors on Saturday, 10 December 2011

French Connection II(1975)(DVD)   Directed by John Frankenheimer (Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), Grand Prix (1966)), starring Gene Hackman (Mississippi Burning (1987), Unforgiven (1992), The Firm (1993)) with Fernando Rey (Tristana (1970), Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)).  While this crime drama may not be up to the level of its predecessor, the enormously successful The French Connection (1971), French Connection II still qualifies as a tense and very good film, largely thanks to dominating presence and inspired acting of Gene Hackman, who portrays the narrow-minded and obsessively determined New York narcotics detective in both films.  Though The French Connection was ostensibly based on fact, and shot in a cold, hostile and decrepit New York City, which in fact was one of the striking screen presences in the film, French Connection II is admittedly purely fictional, and is shot in the French Mediterranean city of Marseilles, home of the dreaded international heroin smuggling organisation, the French Connection.  Marseilles offers an exotic backdrop, a mix of bikini-clad beach-goers and narrow, garbage-strewn ethnic quarters, for Detective Popeye Doyle’s (Hackman) dogged pursuit of French Connection king-pin Alain Charnier, called Frog One, portrayed by Fernando Rey in both films.  With excellent acting by Hackman and some wrenching and wonderfully tense scenes, French Connection II, though perhaps not quite achieving the iconic cinema status of the first film, is nevertheless a great crime drama and, frankly, in itself, a must-see film. (PR) (Pay special attention to the excellent scene between Hackman and Cathleen Nesbitt, as “The Old Lady”.)

See our previous posts on the film The French Connection starring Gene Hackman and on the film Scarecrow, starring Hackman and a very young Al Pacino.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

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Posted in Blu-ray Disks, DVDs, film, Film Reviews, General, Movies, Nothing Is Invisible, nothingisinvisible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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