Sunday, December 16, 2012

44 Inch Chest (2009)

"Fear is stronger than love"

So, If you're into Euro-Ensemble-Foul-Mouthed-Geezer-Gangster-Black Comedy-Psychoanalytical-Revenge-Films, then this is your bag, baby!

Colin Diamond's (played by Ray Winstone) wife has decided to move on with another man.  Colin has a meltdown and his friends come to his rescue.

The friends in question include Ian McShane, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane and John Hurt (he, of Alien chestburster fame).  Truer brothers, a man could never find.

The movie unfolds much like a play.  We have one main focal set piece with ancillary scenes which serve to flesh out the story.

So, your friends wife leaves him for another man.  What do you do?  You kidnap the adulterous fellow, beat him and leave him to the mercy of your jilted friend.  Right?  Well,...that's what happens in this movie.

This is one of those movies where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.  Wait,...the parts of the whole are greater than the sum.  No, the parts of the sum...are...uh...nevermind.

Excellent performances, by all.  The ending left some viewers hanging, but it works for me. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prime Cut (1972)

Prime Cut turned 40 this year.  It's a bizarre little sleazy 70's mob movie that, well..., you just gotta see it.

Lee Marvin plays a badass enforcer (totally cast against type) for the Chicago Irish mob who is sent to America's heartland to collect money from Mary Ann (Hackman), who is holding out on the mob.

Most of the action takes place in Kansas City. Where is that?  Kansas (is that too obvious a guess?)?  Utah?  Oklahoma?
Well, wherever it is, they've got county fairs, first place ribbons, pie eating contests and women in pig pens.

More highlights?...Hackman at his slimy-grinning-mustachio-ed best, Sissy Spacek at her young, tender best, car vs wheat baler, and Lee Marvin almost gets stabbed to death with a weiner.

We also get some nice down-home insults thrown about like...

"You old cheese..."
"You old weevil, you..."
"You old...sow belly..."
"You cot'damn cow dung!!!" 

Everyone is reluctant to use their guns in this movie until the final climactic shoot out.  Who knew that a sunflower field could be so exciting?  All set up against the backdrop of an impending storm.

Lalo Schifrin goes bluegrass.  Check it out!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Badass TV Cop Show Themes

The Rookies (1972-1976)  Thank you, Elmer Bernstein

Composer Morton Stevens masterpiece.  Ohhhhh, man!!!  You better check your pulse if this one doesn't get you going.  Hawaii Five-0 (1968-1980)

Sammy Davis Jr adds vocals over Dave Grusin and Morgan Ames "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow".  Baretta (1975-1978)

S.W.A.T. (1975-1976) Performed by Rhythm Heritage and composed by Barry de Vorzon of The Warriors (1979) fame. 

Adam-12 (1968-1975)  Composed by Frank Comstock

Jack Elliott composed the soundtrack to Jiggle Television.  Charlies Angels (1976-1981)

Vega$ (1978-1981) Dominic Frontiere got P.I. Dan Tanna dancing.

QT loves Quincy Jones.  You should, too.  Ironside (1967-1975)

The Starsky & Hutch (1975-1979) theme music changed throughout the shows run.  Tom Scott's theme is the one that I'm most familiar with.  Turns out Season 1 had a theme written by Lalo Schifrin. Awesome.  Check it out on youtube. 

The Streets of San Francisco (1972-1977)  Composed by Partick Williams

TJ Hooker (1982-1985) Mark Snow knows you can't go wrong with horns.

CHiPs (1977-1983) John Parker knows you can't go wrong with horns, too.

I know, it's a horrible theme song, but I love Kojak!!!

Morton Stevens did Hawaii Five-0 AND Police Woman (1974-1978)?!?!?!  Genius!

The Mod Squad (1968-1973)  Earl Hagen composed this thumping masterpiece. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Badass Crime Film Music

The Taking of Pelham 123 (1974) David Shire's funky horn blast ridden score. 

The Legendary Ennio Morricone touches The Untouchables (1987)

The Long Good Friday (1980) Francis Monkman bookends this great flick perfectly.

La Polizia Sta a Guardare (1973)  That's Italian for "This Song is teh Cool"

Kavinsky's Nightcall sets the tone, perfectly, for Drive (2011)

Superfly (1972) Curtis Mayfield can do no wrong.

Wendy Carlos falls in love with synthesizers and we fall in love with A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Lalo Schifrin's Scorpio's View from Dirty Harry (1971).  Drums and Horns make me feel lucky.

I was running right behind Duvall and Joe Don when I heard Jerry Fielding's Hotel Corridor/Bad Right Ear from The Outfit (1974)

Here's an obscure one....

John Carpenters riff on The Immigrant Song.  Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Bobby Womack's ode to the hard knock life.  Across 110th Street (1972)

Terrence Malick's Badlands (1973)  So cool, True Romance ganked it.  Carl Orff's dreamlike Gassenhauer.

The Giallos Flame - Crime Squad

Strange Shadows in an Empty Room (Blazing Magnum) (1976)

As the two titles of this film indicate, we're looking at a movie that establishes residence in both hardboiled 70's cop movies and gialli crime thrillers. 

This italian production is way over the top.  Brutal beatdowns, transvestites, a mind blowing car chase, John Saxon, babies at knife point, cop vs helicopter and a midget, for good measure.

Stuart Whitman plays a cop who will stop at nothing, and I mean nothing, to find his sisters killer.  John Saxon, in a rather subdued role, plays his partner and, as always, oozes cool.   This movie can be a little confusing with all the red herrings and suspects.  Well, I'm confident the other elements of the film will be reason enough to revisit this film in your efforts to clear up the story line. 

We have to talk about this car chase.  I wouldn't argue with anyone who claimed that this was the greatest 70's car chase on film.  It's 10 minutes of jaw dropping action.  The video is on youtube (the tranny fight is on there, too).  H.B. Halicki would have been proud.  I know, I know.  It sounded dubious to me when I first heard about it, as well.

This is great 70's trash cinema!  You owe it to yourself to watch this!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Made (2001)

-Are you strapped?
-What, motherfucker?
-It means are you carrying a gun.
-I know what the fuck "strapped" means! What's up with this 21 Jump Street shit, man?

Made stars Jon Favreau (Bobby) and Vince Vaughn (Ricky) in what feels like a buddy-cop movie.  Except, it's a buddy-wannabe-criminal movie.  Actually, it a buddy-inept-wannabe-criminal movie.  This movie is hilarious!

Two childhood friends on the fringes of the crime world, decide to take a chance on a life of serious organized crime.  It could be the change they need.  Crime is easy, it's their friendship that could kill them.

Peter Falk stars as the local crime boss who decides to give the boys a shot.  This may be Falk's greatest role.  I would equate it to Burt Reynolds role in Boogie Nights.  Everyone ends up asking "Where has this guy been for the last 15 years?"

The gist of the movie revolves around  Bobby doing his best to take this opportunity seriously and Ricky doing his best to "roll hard" in the glamourous gangster role and screwing everything up in the process.

We get a few Sopranos alums to add a little hollywood crime authenticity, and Vince Vaughn at his ad libbing best.  Enjoy. 

Kiss of Death (1995)

What a great flick.  Loosely based on the 1947 film noir of the same name, Kiss of Death is a great crime thriller with an absolutely amazing cast.  

I've never seen the original.  I'm sure that those who have would say that the original is better.  To that, I say, "Nicholas Cage."  

Nick Cage (Little Junior) would have probably been heralded as some ridiculous heretical lunatic acting god in the 40's.  Actually, some consider him as such, now.  The man is bench pressing strippers, sucking on an inhaler and method acting a man out of an eighteen wheeler, head first into the concrete.  Exactly how film fans love him. Out of control.  

I'd give you a rundown of the rest of the cast, but I don't really like to type.  Check it out on IMDB. It's impressive.  Now, consider that David Caruso was given top billing over all of them.  He's not half bad, in the movie, but it just doesn't look right, on paper. 

David Caruso (Jimmy Kilmartin) plays an ex con who is drawn back into "one last job" out of a debt of gratitude.  Then, (didn't see this coming) everything goes wrong.  More jail time, personal tragedies and a second chance later, Jimmy is working undercover to help catch Little Junior for the DA.  

This one is dark, gritty, street level fun that everyone should enjoy.

I'm going on record as saying, "I love this movie". 

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Executioner (Murder Mafia Style) (1978)

"-We don't even know that's Chuckie's finger. 
-That's his finger, allright.  I seen it on him a million times."

I present the Mob/Exploitation masterpiece, Duke Mitchell's The Executioner.

Duke Mitchell used to be part of an entertainment duo known as a knockoff of the Martin and Lewis act. I guess he was pretty successful.   Fast forward to 1972.  Duke sees The Godfather and decides, "I can do that."  So he does.  You gotta give the guy some credit.  He wanted to make a movie, so, he sinks his life savings into the endeavor.  That takes guts.  Unfortunately, guts don't equal talent.

Now, some movies, you just gotta let some things slide.  There's gonna be a lot of sliding here, folks.

Duke (writer/director/producer/star), billed here as Dominic Micelli, puts together a film that does not fail to astound.  Not in the same way as The Godfather, mind you.  This is a whole different "astound".

Duke's character, Mimi, after having been deported to Italy with his crime boss father, decides it's time to come back to America and reestablish his family name to the streets.  Usually, one man doesn't just show up and take over the mob, but Mimi, more or less, does.  Of course, bodies start to mount up, mobsters feel slighted and things, generally, start to back fire.

Duke takes care to write in a few juicy pro-Italian monologues for himself and then spends the meat of the movie desecrating his heritage.  All in good fun, I'm sure.

Now, this movie is equal parts Exploitation as it is Mob movie, and those exploitation elements are grand.  I will not spoil these scenes for you, since the "shock" of these elements are a huge part of the fun of experiencing this film.

Try to track this one down.  If, for no other reason, just to say you saw it. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nighthawks (1981)

When it comes to naming characters, Sly Stallone has got to be the most creative and cool cat on the planet.  Lets take a look...

Paradise Alley - Sly Stallone as...Cosmo Carboni
Cobra - Sly Stallone as...Marion Cobretti
Over the Top - Sly Stallone as...Lincoln Hawk
Demolition Man - Sly Stallone as...John Spartan
The Specialist - Sly Stallone as...Ray Quick
Daylight - Sly Stallone as...Kit Latura
and now I give you...

Nighthawks -  Sly Stallone as....DEKE DASILVA!!!

Deke DaSilva
Deke DaSilva.  I just love saying that.  Try it.  Here.  I'll type it again so you can say it with me.  Deke DaSilva.

This name gave writer David Shaber the opportunity to pen such classic lines as

"Deke, you shoulda taken the shot."
"Deke, what are you doing back here?"

I'd venture to say that you could add the name Deke to the beginning of any classic movie line and create, yet another, equally classic line.

Deke, I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse.
Deke, I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore.
Deke, May the force be with you.

See what I mean?

So, Nighthawks is a great action/crime thriller from the early 80's.  I get the sense that it just doesn't get the love it deserves.  To be honest, I'd more or less forgotten about it until I found the DVD sitting on a used dvd shelf a few years back.

Sly and his cop buddy Lando Calrissian are two tough New York cops who are selected to be trained in anti terrorist techniques in anticipation of the arrival of international terrorist Wulfgar, played by Rutger Hauer.  I believe this was Rutger's first english speaking role and predates his role in Blade Runner by a year.

Man, Rutger is one ruthless villian in this movie. Blade Runner, Nighthawks and his role as The Hitcher in 86 pretty much solidified his place, in my mind, as the ultimate bad guy for the 80's.

We get an appearance by Joe Spinell and The Bionic Woman, herself, Lindsay Wagner

Blood, shoot outs, an airborne bus, explosions, and Helicopter vs. Sky Tram!!!

I thought the soundtrack on my DVD seemed odd.  Did a little research.  Turns out second release had some copyright issues, so some of the music was replaced. The original DVD has the original soundtrack but it is a full frame vhs port.  So, take your pick.

Nighthawks 1981
I rate it 9 out of 10 Deke's

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Outside Man (1972)

"He forced me to cook him dinner.  I served him chicken cacciatore with wine and mushrooms and all,...I mean,...knowing he was French and all.

I felt like I should probably do some kind of write up on the movie that is this blogs namesake.

The Outside Man is a French thriller, set in LA about a hit man who gets the job done and then finds out that he has now become the hunted. The meat of the film is spent trying to find out the source of the double cross.

What a cast! Ann-Margret, Roy Scheider, Angie Dickinson and 20 seconds of screen time for Alex Rocco.  For me, the presence of Alex Rocco can legitimize any film.  So who plays the leading role?  Some French dude.  I'm not familiar with French cinema.  Those who are, can probably spout off more info than I can regarding Jean-Louis Trintignant (aka the outside man).  Whatever his credentials, his time on screen can best be described as "cool".

Roy Scheider is cool, too.  And silent.  I think the man was given a total of 5 lines of dialogue.  Unfortunately, the script kind of relegated his character to being, what has to be, one of the most inefficient hit men on film.  I guess he couldn't be too good at his job, or the movie would have been over in the first ten minutes.  

This movie also has some of the most unexciting car chases ever put on film.  I guess all the money had dried up after all the actors took their salaries.

Despite it's shortcomings, there is something really really cool about hanging out with these characters.  I mean, they are wearing suits and shooting guns, right?  Plus, Angie Dickinson and Ann-Margret are excellent eye candy.  I should also mention that there are 2 or 3 scenes in this film that would make any exploitation film fan proud.  I won't ruin them for you.

Shootout in a funeral home?  Yes, please!

The film has some expected eurocrime leanings.  You get sprinklings of humor, melodrama, noir and action, throughout.  The pacing is slow to deliberate.  What a great score!!!  

Be careful watching you tube vids related to this movie.  Most will give away the fun surprises.  Like this movie and be cooler than all your friends. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Charley Varrick (1973)

So, I finally got around to watching Charley Varrick.  Awesome!!!

Walter Matthau is mainly loved for his comedy turns. (see Grumpy Old Men, Grumpier Older Men, Bad News Bears, and The Odd Couple)

Since I'm not really a big comedy guy (like my brother), I hold him close to my heart for his work during his "hard boiled" 70's movie trilogy stint.  That trilogy consists of the following:


Now, admittedly, I have not seen The Laughing Policeman, yet.  Someone was kind enough to leave a copy on the interwebs, for me (thank you).   If it's anything like Pelham and Varrick, I won't be dissappointed.

Charley is essentially the leader of a small time heist gang who ends up taking down a small town bank that is, unbeknownst to them, laundering large amounts of money for the mob.  

YESSSS!!!  How many folks have had the opportunity to use the word "unbeknownst"?   I'll be honest, I had to look up the spelling.

So, Charley ends up on the wrong side of the mob and they send a hitman after him.  That hitman is the legendary Joe Don Baker!  I Love Joe Don Baker!!!  You will too, once you see Walking Tall (1973)!

Or The Outfit (1973) or Framed (1975) or The Pack (1977)

...or Fletch (198?)

I'm older than you...and cooler than you.

I don't know that I need to say too much more about Charley Varrick.  If this bare bones write up hasn't got you hooked, we ain't kin.  

Check out Charley Varrick, NOW!!!