If you’re looking for some seriously hardboiled pulp fiction or a classic gangland thriller to add to your watchlist, here’s MMM’s suggestions for six of the best – including famous films you might’ve forgotten or mysterious movies you never even knew existed…
Classic. Original. Stunning. Much darkness and awesome over-acting and … well… over-everything. A truly great alternative to the usual comic-book adaptations from DC and Marvel, the original Sin City movie is just so OTT that even the monstergorybits are eye-poppingly amusing as well as horrible. No PCness here at all. None.
Based around several stories from Frank Miller’s superb graphic novels, all the segments are part of a big picture, which has all manner of shared themes… yadda yadda. Actually, never mind all that. Great performances, astounding art and a great way to turn off reality for a couple of hours. A serious antidote to ennui, too.
Utterly blindingly brilliant, this. You’d already know about this hardcore caper-chase movie if it had starred Ryan Gosling or Jake Gyllenhaal. Instead it sneaked under the radar cos it’s got Robert Pattinson instead. Still shaking off his soppy teenage romance schtick, Pattinson delivers a defiantly gritty five-star performance as a (fairly hopelessly bad) bank robber on the run… who detours to take his ‘special’ brother with him.
Chaos and bloody mayhem ensue, involving dodgy drug deals, busting the wrong guy outta hospital, and a situation which goes from worse to irredeemable in short order. Think Coen Brothers by way of Nicholas Winding Refn, with a sprinkle of Guy Ritchie thrown in for good measure.
The plot may be beyond belief, but the strength of the characters carry it convincingly, and catch you off-guard with some surprisingly affecting emotional gut punches. Look out for the directors / writers / actors, Josh and Benny Safdie. They’ve got serious potential.
You’ve heard of money laundering, right? This is killer laundering. Hapless Hong Kong types are getting murdered, left right and with abandon by a chap from the laundry. Then their bodies go and get … erm … laundered.
The whole bizniz is misteressminded by a defrocked shrink who appears to hate everyone and wants them all dead and paid for. All goes well until…
…until the boss killer guy starts being haunted by the ghosts of those he’s killed. So it’s a cautionary tale. Also very funny. There should be more like this.
Could this crime/heist masterpiece possibly be as good as our recollection of it? It kept us transfixed for almost three hours, so that’s a resounding ‘yes’, then! Al Pacino before he turned the amplifier up to 11; Robert de Niro when he made ‘menacing’ an art form; Val Kilmer before the pies. Sheer brilliance all round. And how come we’d forgotten that Jon Voight, Bill Fichtner and Tom Sizemore were in it as well?
Shame about the mumbly dialogue and over-pumped incidental music. Even with those handicaps, it still had us yelling ‘no no no don’t do it’ for the final 15 minutes…
GUNS, GIRLS & GAMBLING
Some truly entertaining movies simply slip beneath the radar. Even movie nuts like — ahem – us miss little lost gems like this one. It is a complete frolic. Everything is in the title. The plot is simple (a stolen Apache mask) with a twist (stolen by only one of several Elvis impersonators from a casino) and another (the Apaches never made such masks), and a neat motive (‘find the mask and we’ll give you $1,000,000; fail to find it and we’ll kill you’).
Add in bonkers presentation, some fun performances and crackers characters (a killer blonde who quotes Edgar Allan Poe before doing the killing thing?), and – whoops! – the evening’s gone and you’re still smiling. Loads of fun.
A weird little noir thriller; sorta like Sin City, if you squint sideways. It’s extremely stylish, deliberately strange, hated by proper grown-up film critics, and so inevitably we thoroughly enjoyed it. Plenty of fatal femme, hapless hitmen and a mysterious criminal mastermind. Everyone is being set up to take a fall. But what’s with the suicidal English teacher?
We spent the first half hour saying ‘I have no clue what’s happening here,’ and ‘is that the same woman, wearing a wig?’
Damn fine Saturday night movie.
Movies reviewed by Frank Westworth and Rowena Hoseason