Tag: thriller

  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho still slaps, 60 years later

    Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho still slaps, 60 years later

    Alfred Hitchcock’s always-relevant 1960 thriller Psycho still has the power to shock, amuse, and provoke.

  • Elisabeth Moss has a villain problem in The Invisible Man

    Elisabeth Moss has a villain problem in The Invisible Man

    For a movie named after the antagonist, Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man has a villain problem. At one point, Cecelia (Elisabeth Moss) asks an interesting question: her husband is famous and wealthy, and can have anyone — so why her? In one question, she essentially admits her longstanding insecurity at having a handsome rich man […]

  • Relentless Withholding: Michael Mann’s Public Enemies

    Relentless Withholding: Michael Mann’s Public Enemies

    Khoi Vinh rightly observes in Minimalism, Michael Mann and Miami Vice that “Mann has produced a taut, stylistic and often brutally impersonal filmography that seems most interested in the concept of work” (via Daring Fireball). I wholly understand and laud the aim of a minimalist, “relentlessly withholding” narrative, but I don’t believe it’s ignorant or […]

  • Which Way Is Up: Michael Mann’s Miami Vice

    Which Way Is Up: Michael Mann’s Miami Vice

    The simple truth is that I hated Michael Mann’s Miami Vice on first viewing. On a technical level, it was marred by hideously poor sound — for which I blamed the particular theater I happened to see it in, but a friend of mine had the same complaint about a totally different venue, suggesting something […]

  • Gritty, Grimy, and Graffitied: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

    Gritty, Grimy, and Graffitied: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

    Plenty of genre movies have been set in New York City, such as Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (devilry on the Upper West Side), Walter Salles’ Dark Water (ghosts on Roosevelt Island), Guillermo Del Toro’s Mimic (vermin in the subway), and Spike Lee’s Inside Man (thievery on Wall Street). The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, […]

  • Vin Diesel is a Man Alone, in Babylon A.D.

    Vin Diesel is a Man Alone, in Babylon A.D.

    Vin Diesel has made something of a specialty in dystopian science fiction movies, possessed of astonishing visuals but horrifically bad scripts. I’m looking at you, Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick) Does he seek these kinds of projects out, or has he been typecast as a weary but action-ready man of the future? Mathieu […]

  • Life by Remote Control: Surrogates

    Life by Remote Control: Surrogates

    Surrogates is an elegantly literal twist on the classic sci-fi theme of living through avatars. Cyberpunk writers William Gibson and Neal Stephenson pioneered virtual reality as a setting for the dramatic exaggeration of issues first sparked by the very beginnings of internet chat rooms. Their predictions have already come true, in part, in the form […]

  • Laurence Olivier wrestles Gregory Peck in The Boys From Brazil

    Laurence Olivier wrestles Gregory Peck in The Boys From Brazil

    Franklin J. Schaffner’s The Boys From Brazil is one of those they-don’t-make-them-that-way-anymore that I miss: the paranoid thriller that blends sci-fi with politics. I’m thinking Coma, The Manchurian Candidate, and Jacob’s Ladder. It’s often a fool’s errand to complain about plausibility in genre flicks, but I think internal consistency is a reasonable baseline. So I’m […]

  • Sass and Kick Ass: James Bond: Casino Royale

    Sass and Kick Ass: James Bond: Casino Royale

    Paradoxically for one of the freshest James Bond films ever made, Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale (2006) is actually the third adaptation of the character’s debut in Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel. After a largely forgotten 1954 TV movie in which “Jimmy” Bond was awkwardly Americanized, the same premise was parodied in a 1967 farce bearing the […]

  • Lean, Tailored, and Ferociously Fit: Jason Statham in Transporter 3

    Lean, Tailored, and Ferociously Fit: Jason Statham in Transporter 3

    Transporter 3, produced by Luc Besson and directed by Olivier Megaton, is an international product tailored for the American market. Despite its French locales, German cars, and adorably freckled Ukrainian hottie, the hero and villain are both quite American. The titular Transporter is Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a fighter and driver par excellence who earns […]