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Showing posts from August, 2010

Defendor

Defendor does what Kick-Ass tried to do: portray a superhero in a realistic way, except unlike Kick-Ass, it doesn’t veer into overkill by the second act. This hero has no powers, no fortune, and sometimes no clue. When he gets punched he bleeds, and most people rightfully think there is something wrong with him.
Woody Harrelson plays a construction worker called Arthur Poppington who is Defendor by night. To call his costume rudimentary would be flattery. He has to paint his mask on his face; the big D on his black sweatshirt is just pieces of duct tape, and his helmet makes him look like a coal miner. A camera is attached to his suit so that he can bring evidence to the police, but it is recorded on VHS tapes. Not exactly the bat suit from The Dark Knight. Even the patient police captain (Clark Johnson) tells him he can’t do anything with these tapes because of the low image quality.
Arthur is no martial arts experts either. When he is on a roof and sees a dirty cop (Elias Koteas) rou…

Mesrine: Killer Instinct

It is tough to be a gangster. Sure, the life can be glamorous and filled with excitement if you are really good at what you do, but as one character informs the audience in Mesrine: Killer Instinct (directed by Jean-Francois Richet), the best you can hope for is to be able to run a nice bar in your golden years. Even that character doesn’t make it to the end of the movie.
Vincent Cassel plays Jacques Mesrine, a Robin Hood like figure whose criminal career apparently became legendary in his native France. Like all gangsters, he started small and climbed his way up. After returning from Algeria where he was a soldier, he decides to follow his criminal friend Paul (Gilles Lellouche) around instead of taking a job from his father. He becomes a crafty burglar and gets the attention of a local mob boss called Guido (Gerard Depardieu). At first Mesrine is not intimated by a man he sees as inferior because of his age, but he should mind his sidearm since the old man is still a good pickpocket.…

Double Indemnity

Film noirs are great and great film noirs are works of art. In 1944 Billy Wilder directed “Double Indemnity,” which is a great movie by all accounts. Shot in black and white and featuring shadows, cigarette smoke, men wearing fedoras, and a femme fatale this is a tale of greed and lust in Los Angeles.
Fred MacMurray plays Walter Neff, an insurance investigator who walks into his office late one night bleeding from a gunshot wound. He sits at his desk, turns on a tape recorder and explains how he came to be in this situation. It began when he went to renew coverage for the car of a rich oil man, Mr Dietrichson (Tom Powers) but instead he talks to the man’s wife, Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) who is standing at the top of a staircase wearing a towel. At first they talk about insurance, then how nice it would be to see each other again. When Walter returns one afternoon Phyllis casually talks about how risky her husband’s job is and if it would be possible to give him a life insu…