Detroit (2017)

Detroit
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Based on: the Algiers Motel Incident
Cast: John BoyegaAlgee SmithAnthony MackieJacob LatimoreJason MitchellKaitlyn DeverHannah Murray, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor, John Krasinski
Seen on: 12.12.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
1967. After a party in a speakeasy, the (white) police arrests the (black) party goers very publically, leading to protests in the community. During the ensuing riots Larry (Algee Smith) and Fred (Jacob Latimore) stay at the Algiers Motel which is close to the riot area, where the atmosphere is still rather light. But when the police reach the motel, things turn bloody for the guests very quickly.

Detroit is a hard-hitting, very effective film. It’s a film with a lot of weight that impressed me (as a white European) a lot.

Continue reading

Blue Steel (1989)

Blue Steel
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red
Cast: Jamie Lee CurtisRon SilverClancy BrownElizabeth PeñaLouise FletcherPhilip BoscoKevin DunnRichard Jenkins
Seen on: 7.8.2016

Plot:
Megan Turner (Jamie Lee Curtis) only just finished police school and she’s eager to work and to prove herself. On her first patrol, she becomes involved in a robbery, leading to her shooting the armed robber. One of the bystanders, Eugene (Ron Silver), grabs the robber’s gun, though, and leaves before he can be noticed. Since it now appears that Megan shot an unarmed man, she is suspended from work, only to be reinstated after a deadly bullet is recovered from a murder scene with her name carved onto it – and homicide detective Nick Mann (Clancy Brown) counts on her help to catch the killer.

Blue Steel is a more than decent thriller with a fantastic Jamie Lee Curtis and a tense story. It pretty much kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

bluesteel

[SPOILERS] Continue reading

Near Dark (1987)

Near Dark
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red
Cast: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein
Seen on: 21.4.2016 (totally missed to review this one, so a late addition)

Plot:
Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) lives a rather quite life with his family on their farm. But then he meets Mae (Jenny Wright). She’s beautiful and mysterious and he falls for her head over heels. Happy with any way that means spending time with her, he offers her a ride home. As dawn is fast approaching on their ride, he asks her for a kiss – but Mae bites him instead, turning him into a vampire. Before the sun rises, Caleb finds himself with Mae and her group, facing a completely new life that is much more than he bargained for.

I had never seen Near Dark, so when the Filmmuseum showed it, I jumped at the chance. But this might be another instance where you have to have seen the film in younger, more formative years to really fall in love with it. I enjoyed it, but not much more.

neardark Continue reading

Re-Watch: Point Break (1991)

Point Break
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: W. Peter Iliff
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey, Lori Petty, John C. McGinley, James Le Gros, John Philbin, Bojesse Christopher (and Anthony Kiedis)
Seen on: 26.1.2016

Plot:
Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) just aced his FBI training and is ready to go into the field. He is assigned to long-served, cranky Pappas (Gary Busey) who is less than happy about having to take care of this newbie. But in Johnny, Pappas finds somebody not only willing to listen to his theory that a string of successful bank robberies is committed by a group of surfers, but to do something about it. Johnny starts to learn to surf with the help of Tyler (Lori Petti) and gets closer with the charismatic Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) who soon becomes their prime suspect.

Point Break has many strengths, though it isn’t a perfect film. But both Swayze and Reeves are perfectly cast (which, especially in Reeves’ case is important). Their chemistry together make the film as worthwhile as it is.

pointbreak

[SPOILERS] Continue reading

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Zero Dark Thirty
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, Scott Adkins, Mark Strong, Édgar Ramírez, Mark Duplass, James Gandolfini, Stephen Dillane, John Barrowman, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Taylor Kinney

Plot:
Maya (Jessica Chastain) works for the CIA and has just been sent to Pakistan. Her mission is to find out where Osama bin Laden is hiding. A mission that takes her from torturing prisoners under the the tutelage of colleauge Dan (Jason Clarke) to plain old research. When she stumbles across the name of a guy she believes is a close collaborator of bin Laden, she becomes obsessed with finding him as the most direct way to bin Laden himself.

I really did my best to be interested in this film. Admittedly, the topic is not so much my cup of tea, but it is important. Unfortunately the movie is so very boring that, with the best of motivation, it was impossible to keep up the interest. I mean, I know they searched for this guy a very long time – but was it really necessary that the audience feels every minute of that 10-year-search? At some point I just gave up and fell asleep for a little while – just to get away from the boredom of it all for a bit.

zero-dark-thirty

Continue reading

Strange Days (1995)

[Part of the Science Fiction special in the Vienna Filmmuseum.]

Strange Days is a film by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D’Onofrio, William Fichtner.

Plot:
1999: Lenny (Ralph Fiennes) is a former cop who now makes his money by selling discs that can be inserted into the so-called SQUIDs: machines that can record everything a person experiences and can play it back to somebody else so that they experience it themselves. These recordings are illegal, and often record illegal things happening. Lenny’s life is pretty pathetic, he barely makes enough money to survive and he still dreams of his ex-girlfriend Faith (Juliette Lewis). The only constants in his life are his friends Max (Tom Sizemore) and Mace (Angela Bassett). In the middle of the world preparing for the new millenium, Lenny stumbles upon a conspiracy somehow involving Faith.

Strange Days is a pretty fantastic movie. The cast is great, the ideas interesting and even though the camera moves practically all the time, it never gets too shaky. The weakest point is the script, though – the big twist at the end is way too obvious, most of the characters are a little flimsy and the dialogue hurts a bit sometimes.

Continue reading

The Hurt Locker (2008)

[Somehow, I missed to review this when I actually saw it, so you’re getting a bonus review today.]

The Hurt Locker is Kathryn Bigelow‘s newest movie, starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, David Morse, Guy Pearce and Ralph Fiennes.

Plot:
Iraq. After the accidental death of one of their team (Guy Pearce), Sgt. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) get a new member in their bomb squad – Sgt. James (Jeremy Renner). Though James is an exceptional bomb defuser, he’s also a crazy risk taker, which puts the team under considerable strain.

The Hurt Locker says things about war that are rarely said, which makes it an important film. The cast is really good, too but the movie has its lengths and I just can’t stand the shaky cam.

Continue reading