Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

The Ambivalence of Justice – Dragged Across Concrete & The Highwaymen

Posted 17 Apr 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews

By Ezra Stead

Dragged Across Concrete, Canada / USA, 2018

Written and Directed by S. Craig Zahler

The Highwaymen, USA, 2019

Directed by John Lee Hancock

It’s been a while since I attempted a double review, but these two recent movies have enough in common that I’ve found myself thinking of them both in the same “breath” fairly often since viewing them, and I certainly think there would be a significant overlap in their fans, if they manage to reach enough people to truly gain a fanbase (Dragged Across Concrete only played one week at a couple of theaters in New York City, and The Highwaymen has an – actually more advantageous for gaining viewership – almost exclusively online release on Netflix). They are both of the type of movies commonly (and usually unkindly) referred to as Dad Flicks, provided your dad is okay with some pretty harsh, abrupt violence. They each, in their own ways, evoke an earlier, more classical era of cinema – Dragged the mid-to-late ’70s, Highwaymen perhaps even earlier, to the new cinema of the late ’60s, i.e. the films of Sam Peckinpah from that era (as well, of course, as Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde). They are also two of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year.
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Johnny Dangerously – Sneaky Bastages With .88 Magnums

Posted 30 Jun 2015 — by contributor
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Mike Shaeffer 

Johnny Dangerously is riddled with sight gags.Johnny Dangerously, USA, 1984

Directed by Amy Heckerling

“I’ve been fulfilling a lot of people’s prophecies about me; I’ve become a real scumbag.” –Danny Vermin (Joe Piscopo)

In 1984, director Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless) gave us the comedy Johnny Dangerously, starring a dapper Michael Keaton, fresh off the success of Mr. Mom. Keaton’s performance in last year’s Birdman, which netted the Oscar for Best Picture, was one of his best. It was a delight revisiting his gangster persona to see just how well the actor and this gangster spoof have aged.

One of the first elements that establish this film as a gangster flick is the setting—the Lower East Side of New York City during the height of Prohibition. After a brief set-up introducing Keaton as our protagonist, we flash back to city streets filled with Studebakers, alleys ruled by an Irish mobster called Jocko Dundee, played with humor and charm by the late, great Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein).  Read More

Manhattan – Not the One I Know, Woody

Posted 31 Jul 2013 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Manhattan, USA, 1979

Directed by Woody Allen

Manhattan is beautifully shot an well-acted, but also pretentious and self-absorbed. In the interest of returning this site to our original mission statement of “Movies I Didn’t Get,” I am now going to take on a film that is generally considered to be something of a sacred cow. I have had a long and tumultuous relationship with the films of Woody Allen, partly because, even more than the average artist, his personal life is so very intertwined with his work. Even when not playing the lead character himself, as he so frequently does, Woody’s protagonists are generally thinly veiled (or not at all veiled, as he says in the underrated 1997 film Deconstructing Harry) versions of himself, and the stories he tells are often segments of his own life story. At his best (Annie Hall, Stardust Memories, Hannah and Her Sisters), he produces smart, funny, insightful work that truly captures the human condition in a universal way. At his worst (Celebrity, the dreadfully overrated Midnight in Paris), his work can be insufferably self-absorbed and pretentious. Though the critical establishment would appear to strongly disagree with me on this, I find Woody’s 1979 “masterpiece” Manhattan to be mostly in this latter camp.  Read More