Trailer #2 for John Hillcoat’s Triple 9

Here is faster paced, more plot and character heavy UK trailer for the increasingly awesome looking new John Hillcoat picture, Triple 9. A collection of corrupt cops attempt a massive heist, and to distract the rest of the cities branches of law enforcement, they plan to murder one of their fellow officers to create a ‘999’ call which would have most of the police in the city converge in a location as far away the robbery as possible. Featuring the very well stocked cast of Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackey, Gal Gadot, Clifton Collins Jr., and Kate Winslet.

Triple 9 hits US theatres in February 2016, and apparently the European market will get a chance to see it as well, albeit no release date is indicated in the trailer.

TIFF Review: Felony

FELONY

In the course of a day, detective Malcolm Toohey goes from participating in a major sting operation that gets him shot, to celebrating and singing Bon Jovi with his officers in the cop bar, to hitting a child with his vehicle while driving under the influence. A good man at heart, he suffers from extremely poor judgement in that moment of trial and choses to hide behind his badge. Weather it is fear of losing his professional shine, or simply the shame of his folly, he tells a big lie that will ripple through out his family life, professional life and of the lives of the boys family. It will also have the audience consider some tricky moral and ethical situations over the course of about three days of Toohey’s guilt compressed into 100 minutes of solid drama, along the similar lines of Mystic River or Copland.

Felony was written by and stars Joel Edgerton, and it was made in the genre hotbed of Australian that produced other sticky crime dramas The Square and Animal Kingdom. There is particularly powerful performance from consummate professional Tom Wilkinson playing seasoned detective Carl Summer, who delivers the big ‘circle the wagons’ movie-speech at the heart of the films headspace: Why should cops or ‘good’ people don’t need the courts or prisons, because their own guilt is punishment enough for their ‘accidental’ crimes? After detective Summer helps cover for Towhee’s misdeeds, he does not take kindly to Toohey’s conscience flaring up, as the little boy’s head wound gets worse. Aggressively pushing the ‘don’t hurt the police brand‘ Summer has also to deal with his Ed Exely type new partner Jai “Son of Diehard” Courtney who plays the crisp, by the book detective Jim Melic. The young and idealized Melic becomes suspicious of the whole situation immediately based on observations on how Toohey’s response in the 911 call placed, and the jittery body language when he is talks with Summer. It doesn’t help things that Melic has taken a bit of a fancy to the boy’s young mother.

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DVD Review: Polisse

Director: Maïwenn
Screenplay: Maïwenn, Emmanuelle Bercot
Starring: Karin Viard, Joey Starr, Marina Foïs, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Maïwenn
Producer: Alain Attal
Country: France
Running Time: 127 min
Year: 2011
BBFC Certificate: 15

For a change I thought I’d open this review with a fact about this film that I found quite surprising; the gritty police drama Polisse is directed and co-written by (as well as stars) Maïwenn, who was the blue alien opera singer Diva Plavalaguna in Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. I don’t know why I found that of particular interest, but it seemed like such an odd fit I thought it was worth a mention.

Anyway…

Polisse follows the day to day workings and after hours lives of the Child Protection Unit of the Paris Police Department. A young photojournalist (Maïwenn herself) is assigned to follow the unit for several months and she (along with the audience) gets to discover the horrific acts perpetrated behind closed doors throughout the city as well as get up close and personal with one of the officers, Fred (Joey Starr), with whom she starts an affair.

Maïwenn spent time working with real police officers to inspire the film and indeed the structure and presentation is that of an observer studying their activities (embodied by her character in the film of course). We never linger on single cases – rarely getting closure on any of them, and the visual style is of a fly on the wall documentary, so everything is experienced from a distance. This prevents the extremely heavy subject matter from getting too hard to bear, but allows for a large volume of cases to be presented, creating a sense of the overwhelming horrors that the officers have to face every day. From the opening scene where one tries to question a 6 year old girl about whether or not her father has been touching her inappropriately, we know this isn’t going to be easy going.

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Top 10 Corrupt Movie Cops

Apparently our friends over in the criminal justice department are also big movie dorks as well. And what kind of movie would they like the best? The kind with corrupt officials of course! So I stumbled upon this list the other day about movie cops gone bad. Seems like an easy topic to list off, but there were several on here I almost forgot about. There are probably hundreds more, but here are ten good ones. Beware that there may be some *SPOILERS* in the text that follows. And I need to rewatch L.A. Confidential someday soon.

 
 

10. Dudley Smith, L.A. Confidential
You may want to think of James Cromwell as the sweet farmer who gave a pig a chance in Babe, but he shows another side of himself in L.A. Confidential. He basically controls the organized crime in L.A., blackmails city officials to get his way, and murders (or has someone else murder) everyone that gets in the way of his quest for drugs and power. It’s hard to even keep track of all the people he kills during the movie and before it even starts. This may have just been the unedited Babe sequel, Babe: Pig in the City.

 


 

9. Norman Stansfield, Leon the Professional
If you haven’t seen this film, you should if only to see a bad-ass 12-year-old Natalie Portman. She plays Mathilda, a girl whose whole family has been murdered by corrupt DEA agents headed up by Norman “Stan” Stansfield. Mathilda’s father had been keeping cocaine for the agents, but they found out he’d been keeping some for himself, and Stansfield, who’s addicted to drugs himself, decided to take out the whole family. Mathilda was out shopping when the murders happened, so now Stansfield wants to find her and kill her. She’s not totally helpless since she finds a father figure in the hitman down the hall, but it’s still not very nice of this officer to be trying to gun down a little girl.

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Russel Crowe and Laura Dern in Tenderness Trailer

TendernessMovieStillI was going to ask how a film about a murderous teen starring Russel Crowe and Laura Dern managed to get under my radar but considering the fact that this is directed by John Polson of Swimfan and Hide and Seek, it may not be as surprising.

Tenderness stars Crowe as Detective Cristofuoro, a man without a family who becomes obsessed with trying to figure out if a teen (played by Jon Foster) killed his family and whether he’ll strike again. It’s a bland looking little picture, one I’m surprised managed to attract both Crowe and Dern.

It was shot in 2006, shopped around AFM last year, opened in a few markets but has only recently been picked up by Lionsgate for North American distribution. Doesn’t look promising but Crowe and Dern have me curious to see if this is better than the trailer suggests.

Trailer tucked under the seat!

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God Bless Iceland

GodBlessIceland

Having just talked about Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story on the recent cinecast and coming to the conclusion that it is a solid skimming of the half century of greed and short term thinking in corporate America, here would be a nice double bill. Because it is from Iceland, famous for cold temperature and, well, viking culture, their recent banking collapse was also captured in a documentary that has a distinctly darker and more sinister aesthetic the dry sarcasm on display in much of the portly liberal’s cinema.

Ironically titled “God Bless Iceland” (and just because it is on my brain, the religion/capitalism (a strongly executed portion of Moore’s film) is explicitly referenced in this title), focus is on the folks that lost everything and the Riot police designated to keep order. It ain’t a pretty look at the country recently voted (based on 2007 data) by the United Nations as the 3rd best country to live on the planet.

(Hat tip to Twitch (and Movie Club Podcast) regular Omar Swarez)
Trailer is tucked under the seat.
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Still Floating in the Wind: The Yellow Handkerchief Trailer

TheYellowHandkerchiefMovieSA year ago, I came across news that William Hurt and Maria Bello had worked together on a film. A remake of Yôji Yamada’s 1977 film, The Yellow Handkerchief is the story of two kids (Eddie Redmayne and Kristen Stewart) on a road trip. Along the way, they pick a man who has recently been released from jail (Hurt) who is on his way to see his wife (Bello).

Since its original run at Sundance and SFIFF, the film has continued to make appearances through various festivals but it has yet to find an American distributor and considering it’s been floating around for well over a year, it seems unlikely the film will be picked up for theatrical distribution any time soon. Though reviews have been predominantly positive, it looks like the only people excited for the film are Twihards who will latch on to anything even remotely associated with the saga. In this case, that fixation may prove helpful.

I’m hopeful this won’t get buried away somewhere and then quietly dumped onto DVD.

Trailer is tucked under the seat!

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Clint Eastwood’s Changeling Trailer

Changeling Movie StillNow that folks have seen a full trailer for Clint Eastwood’s upcoming film Changeling, the web buzz for Angeline Jolie’s performance (what little of it we can see from the trailer) is possible Oscar. That’s all well and good but seeing her in the trailer, I’m not as convinced. Instead, I’m more interested in the film due to the earlier reviews, most of which praise the director but make little mention of Jolie’s performance.

Regardless of your personal reason for interest, of lack there of, in the film, it certainly looks interesting. Jolie plays Christine Collins, a woman whose missing son is “returned” only he’s not really her son. To avoid a scandal, the police set up an elaborate scheme that eventually sees Collins institutionalized. Alongside Jolie, the film also stars John Malkovich as a Reverend who wants to help Collins, and Colm Feore.

I’m not a big fan of either Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River and I skipped Flags of Our Fathers all together but I did see and love Letters from Iwo Jima and that film alone would buy anyone a whole lot of credits. It just happens to be Eastwood. I’m willing to give this a look even though it doesn’t look immediately appealing.

Changeling opens October 31st.

Thanks to our our friends at Film Junk for the heads up, the trailer is tucked under the seat!

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Review: Elite Squad

Elite Squad One Sheet

Director: José Padilha (Bus 174)
Writer: José Padilha, Bráulio Mantovani
Producers: José Padilha, Marcos Prado
Starring: Wagner Moura, Caio Junqueira, André Ramiro
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 115 min


Perhaps it’s to the first world’s fascination with the underbelly of society that has sparked a far more mainstream, open arms approach to films depicting the difficult lives of individuals essentially living in war zones. While documentaries bring us the realities of what’s really going on feature films, regardless of how realistic, seem to have much more widespread and mass appeal. But it’s not fair to account the successes of some of these films solely to the pallets of the masses because in truth, the films themselves are amazing works. Perhaps the most notable of the bunch is 2002’s City of God which, aside from being a critical and commercial success, also seemed to mark a shift in focus of international film from Europe and Asia to South America not to mention that it ushered in a new era of Brazilian filmmaking.

Elite Squad Movie StillWhereas City of God focused on the hardships of life within the slums of Brazil, director José Padilha has chosen to look at the trials faced by the men working on the other side of the law and the result is the deservedly award winning Elite Squad. The story takes place in 1997, months before the arrival of the Pope. Nascimento, a Captain in a special police force named “BOPE”, is at the end of his rope and ready for a career change but he wants to ensure that he is replaced by a capable man, an individual that can uphold the law and lead his squadron effectively. Amidst the corrupt cops of the city’s police force, and through a believable series of events, he meets two straight cutting rookie cops who might make good replacements. The rest of the film follows the two men’s struggles through boot camp and the eventual conclusion of the film will leave you gasping for more.

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