Category: Uncategorized

MOVIE REVIEW | Sully (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “One of the best movies of 2016.”

“Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time.”

Heroics are what movies are made for.  Sure, there’s drama and pathos and catharsis and comedy and a million other things that movies are made for.  But big screens, surround sound, movie star charisma and stunning visuals all get the chance to show off and really go for broke when a movie is built around a hero doing something extraordinary.

On the one hand, it was only a matter of time until a movie was made about the real life heroic daring do of pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger.  Almost just as inevitable was the fact that he would be played the ultimate everyman, Tom Hanks. With so much seeming so obvious about this movie, the one thing that had me optimistically unsure of what to expect was its director. How would the stripped back, no nonsense story telling and film making of Clint Eastwood translate the possible inspirational schmaltz of a movie like Sully? (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***B&D SUNDAY FLASHBACK*** Captain Phillips (2013)

Paul Greengrass certainly has a thing for telling true stories.  He also has a thing for trying to give you both sides of the story and flesh out the bad guys as much as the good.  So much so, it’s always hard to think of them as simply bad guys by the time you get to the end.  Sure, they do bad, often horrendous things, but Greengrass is always sure we get to see at least some of what lead them to those terrible actions.  And that’s certainly the case with Captain Phillips.

It’s 2009, and Captain Richard Philips (Tom Hanks) is leaving on a merchant voyage around the horn of Africa.  The movie then cuts to Muse ‘Skinny’ (Barkhad Abdi), a Somali forced into piracy by some variety of local ass kicker.  With a crew of eager villagers, he hits the water in search of a big pay day.

There is very little setup and Greengrass keeps things moving at a cracking pace.  In no time at all, Hanks and his crew are at sea and spot the two small speed boats loaded up with dudes and machine guns on their tail.  This is a really intense sequence, and impressive too, when you see the ingenious, yet really simple and practical ways, Hanks and his crew fight of the invaders with no weapons.  But this can’t last forever, and eventually, the pirates board Hanks’ ship and take control.

It can’t be easy telling a true sorry, maintaining tension and suspense and keeping an audience’s attention when most of them already know so much of the story.  Or even if they only know one fact, like that Captain Phillips is alive and well today.  So alive and well, he was able to write the book that Captain Phillips the movie is based on.

But even knowing that, it never took the edge off this movie for me for a second.  At this stage, I feel like I’m in the swing of how Greengrass makes his movies.  But there’s something about them that still catches me a little off guars in the best possible way.  His version of shaky camera work, frenetic editing and visceral style makes all the cheap imitations just look like, well, cheap imitations.

We all know Tom Hanks is an amazing actor, but there are times in Captain Phillips when he really knocks it up a notch.  His final scene alone can take the credit for any Oscar attention he gets.  And that comes after two hours of watching him be fantastic.  But somehow, he finds a way to bring it home even stronger in those last few moments.

Captain Phillips is a great combination of story, director and performance to make what is possibly the most intense movie to come out this year.  And the fact that it’s out so soon after Gravity makes that impact even more impressive.

(Original review posted Oct 28, 2013)

Captain Phillips
Directed By – Paul Greengrass
Written By – Billy Ray 

MOVIE REVIEW | ***B&D SATURDAY FLASHBACK*** The Seven Year Itch (1955)


When I think of Billy Wilder, I think of pretty dark and / or cynical stuff, like Sunset Boulevard or The Apartment, or not so long ago, Lost Weekend.  I don’t think of screwball comedies.  I know he made Some Like It Hot and that for some people, that’s the epitome of a screwball comedy, but I just found it boring, corny and too predictable every step of the way.  So, with that as my only previous experience with Wilder on comedy, it’s probably for the best that I didn’t know going in that The Seven Year Itch is a) a screwball comedy, and b) directed by Billy Wilder.

The opening scene shows the American Indians who inhabited Manhattan back in the day, shipping their wives and kids off to cooler climates to escape the blistering New York summer.  When the narrator calls this scene out for being pointless and serving no real purpose, I was straight away on board with this movie.  That’s the kind of joke I can really get behind.

Cut to present day 1955 and a Manhattan train station is full of men in suits, bidding goodbye to their own wives and children, off on summer vacations while their husbands stay to work in the city.  Main character Richard Sherman, played by Tom Ewell, explains this summer ritual by talking aloud, to himself.  This continues for the remainder of the movie.  If he’s not talking to another character, he’s talking to himself, explaining every thought, every nuance of the situation, every beat of story, so the audience always knows exactly what’s going on in his head.  This is the most blatant signifier that The Seven Year Itch is based on a play where a character vocalising their internal monologue wouldn’t seem as out of place as it does on the screen.  It kind of annoyed me at first, but once I got into the groove, it actually lead to some of the movie’s best jokes.

It turns out that it was quite common back then for blokes to bang around while their old ladies were off on holiday with the kids (it was a simpler time).  So when Ewell realises a new girl is staying in the apartment above him, and that this new girl is played by Marilyn Monroe, he starts to freak out about the inevitability of her gagging for a bit of what he has to offer.  His constant delusions about his own irresistibility, his paranoia and his guilt over things he hasn’t even done all pile on top of each other, getting funnier and funnier, until he learns a valuable lesson about how lucky he is to have his wife and son.  It’s not as sappy that sounds though.

I get that Marilyn Monroe is a bit of alright, but I don’t get the appeal of her schtick.  Why did men go so crazy for her annoying little girl voice and even more annoying delivery?  The infantilization thing is just creepy.  And it means I really have no idea if she’s actually a good actor or not.  Is it all an act and she’s delivering an amazing performance?  Is she high as shit on quaaludes?  Is she high as shit on a Kennedy or two?  I really have no idea.  But I do know The Seven Year Itch is a solid comedy that holds up after almost sixty years.

(Original review posted Sept 24, 2013)

The Seven Year Itch
Directed By – Billy Wilder
Written By – George Axelrod, Billy Wilder


wicker man 1973
Sometimes, the best thing can happen to a cult classic or almost forgotten gem, is to have a really shitty remake made.  Before the 2006 Nicholas Cage version of The Wicker Man became the butt of a million jokes, I had no idea there was an earlier version.  But in the years since, I’ve heard 1973’s The Wicker Man talked about more and more, and always with a lot of affection.

Edward Woodward is Sergeant Howie, a Scottish policeman who receives an anonymous letter about a missing girl on the small, mysterious island of Summerisle.  That same day, he flies to the island and begins an investigation.  It’s immediately obvious that the locals don’t take too kindly to strangers ‘round them parts, and Howie quickly takes an antagonistic stance against the Summerisle natives, including the buxom pub landlord’s daughter (the boobs akimbo Britt Ekland) and Christopher Lee as Lord Summersle.

Howie soon suspects that the entire population of the island, is in some way complicit in the girl’s disappearance, or possible death.  Following a religion that Howie condemns as a heathen cult, he is disgusted by the residents of Summerisle and their views on sex, sexuality and the spiritual beyond.

Sure, there’s the story of occult, there’s the cast of creepy characters, there’s the ever present feeling of death and deception.  But the constant feeling of unease, dread and terror comes from the music.  The Wicker Man is filled with creepy ass characters singing creepy ass songs.  All of them infused with a traditional Scottish / Gaelic feel that gives them the added weight of centuries of history and tradition.  The feeling that these songs have been sung by these nut jobs’ ancestors for centuries makes them all the more scary.

Yet, as off putting and skin crawling as they can be in places, the songs also have a strange hypnotic effect, that made me check iTunes for a soundtrack as soon as the movie was over.  The songs are a so trance like, you’d almost understand if Howie become a devout cult member five minutes after landing.

While watching The Wicker Man, I thought Howie’s religious views really dated the movie and its makers.  At one stage, soon after his arrival on Summerisle, he accuses a local of following a ‘fake’ religion, while he asserts his own belief in Christianity.  That really struck me as ignorant, since all religions, regardless of craziness, are basically as fake or as legit as each other.  But now I realise the movie is a lot smarter than I was giving it credit for.

The character of Howie and his religious rigidity are a comment on the narrow mindedness of popular religion.  His own beliefs, while more socially acceptable, are just as blind (and blinding) as the Summerisle nut bags.

Now that I’ve seen this movie, I have to think the notorious Nicolas Cage remake is entitled to some of the credit for the recent increase in the original’s reputation.  Maybe the fans of the original were always out there, and just felt no need it sing its praises until the 2006 shit bomb, but that version has definitely played a part in the renewed interest into the 1973 outing.

(Original review posted March 25, 2014)

The Wicker Man
Directed By – Robin Hardy
Written By – Anthony Shaffer

MOVIE REVIEW | Citizen Ruth (1996)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Even with the hindsight of the rest of Alexander Payne’s, Citizen Ruth has a fresh, unique feel to it.”

Ruth 1
“I slept in a few dumpsters. Maybe I slept on some babies.”

Besides directing segments in a couple of soft core pornos for Playboy, director Alexander Payne is definitely on the prestigious side.  He’s made six features, five of which have all scored Oscar nominations of some description.  None of which take place in America’s usual movie locations like New York, LA and Chicago.  Alexander Payne tells stories about middle America, or in the case of The Descendants, Hawaiian America.  These unusual, uncommon settings are always filled with unusual, uncommon characters.  Is he making fun of these places and their inhabitants?  Is he celebrating them?  It’s a fine line that Payne walks expertly.  And he’s done so since the very beginning, as evidenced by his feature debut, Citizen Ruth.

Unmoving and with a look of complete boredom and detachment, Ruth (Laura Dern) lays under a filthy man in a filthy apartment as he pumps away.  When it’s done, Ruth doesn’t even get the one thing she wanted from it, a bed for the night.  The man kicks her out, sending Ruth to her brother Tony, (Jim Kalal) looking for a place to stay.  Instead she gets his disgust and $15.  Enough to buy a can of spray paint from the local hardware store to get high and OD.  Taken to the emergency room, Ruth recovers to the news that she is, in fact, pregnant.  With four kids already taken away from her by the state, the fed up Judge Richter (David Graf) imprisons Ruth for endangering her unborn child. (more…)


In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s a tale of murder, mystery and intrigue, never needing to actually show any of the gruesome details.”


“Please promise me never to wear black satin or pearls… or to be 36 years old.”

Alfred Hitchcock had directed more than twenty films in his native England before making the move to Hollywood to make Rebecca.  The change of continent had no effect on the oh so Britishness of his first Tinsel Town endeavour.  Rebecca is more English than the Queen flashing a bad toothed grin on a double decker bus in the rain while enjoying tea, crumpets and perpetuating an out of date, irrelevant system of monarchy.

Hitchcock was notoriously overlooked by the Academy and never won a Best Director Oscar.  But with Rebecca, he did score his biggest Oscar success when it won for Best Picture.  Sure, it’s no Vertigo, North By North West, Psycho or a dozen other better Hitchcock movies people would rank above it, but at least his only major Academy win didn’t come with some genre crap like The Birds. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SUNDAY FLASHBACK*** 12 Years a Slave (2013)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “For all its harsh realism, it never let me forget I was watching a prestige movie.”


“I will not fall into despair! I will keep myself hardy until freedom is opportune!”

Slavery is bad, you guys.  Did you know that?  If not, you should probably watch 12 Years a Salve.  Because it’s really determined to teach you that.  So determined in fact, it’s willing to forgo all subtly, all nuance and all attempts to surprise you in any way.  Because it really, really, really wants you to know that slavery is bad.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m making light of slavery.  I’m making light of this movie and it’s oh so earnest approach to this Issue (with a capital “I”).  It doesn’t matter how important the subject matter of a movie is, that’s no excuse for bland, predictable, box ticking film making. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SATURDAY FLASHBACK*** Spring Breakers (2013)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “There’s a fine line between commenting on something and indulging in it.”


“Just pretend it’s a video game. Like you’re in a fucking movie.”

Harmony Korine might not be the creepiest old perve in Hollywood, but he did get his start in the industry as an apprentice to the creepiest old perve in Hollywood, Larry Clark.  Way back in the mid-90s, Korine, then in is early twenties, wrote the screenplay for Kids, Clark’s feature film debut telling the story of sex, drugs and aids in New York, as perpetrated by teenagers.  Takeaway the aids, move it to Florida and ad a whole heap of fluro, body glitter and Skrillex, you get Spring Breakers.

Korine moved into the director’s chair pretty soon after Kids and has stayed in the ultra low and micro budget world, building an ultra micro cult following.  But with Spring Breakers, he was given the budget and cast to go for the mainstream.  And that’s exactly what’s he’s done…  Or at least, attempted. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SUNDAY FLASHBACK*** Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A little ham fisted and predictable.”


There’s a reason some actors stay famous long after they’re dead.  Sometimes you might not know them by name or even when you see them, but you’ve subconsciously been taught their mannerisms, catch phrases, quirks and ticks trough constant pop culture references, bad impressions and parodies.  Jimmy Cagney is one of those dudes.  His signature performances all happened around four decades before I was born, bit his name, and more prominently, his schtick, are very familiar.  Through Bugs Bunny cartoons and even the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie (‘coz you know what kids of the 80s loved? References to movie gangsters of the 30s) I knew who the “you dirty rat” guy was.  What I didn’t know why was why I knew who he was all these years later.   Watching Angles With Dirty Faces showed me why.

Like Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart and Kathryn Hepburn, Cagney just has a persona and charisma that are too big and entertaining to be forgotten.  And in the case of Angles With Dirty Faces, he thankfully has a persona and charisma big enough and entertaining enough to make up for a pretty half assed, predictable movie.

James Cagney is Rocky Sullivan, as a street hood kid, he robs a train with his best mate Jerry Connolly, played by Pat O’Brien.  Rocky gets caught, goes to reform school and grows up to be a noted gangster, constantly in and out of prison.  Jerry grows up to be the neighbourhood priest.  After his most recent stint in the can, Rocky gets out expecting $100,000 and a full partnership in the rackets with his lawyer, Humphrey Bogart’s Jim Frazier.  Bogie’s got new business partners and an aversion to giving Cagney the 100k, so shit has to go down.  But before shit can reach critical go downery, Cagney’s Rocky befriends the new generation of street hood kids who spend the rest of the movie torn between mentors, the gangster Rocky, or the priest Jerry.

Angles With Dirty Faces is a little ham fisted and predictable, but most of that is easy to look past.  It only really hits a wall in the last scene or two when the notorious Production Code kicks in.  You see, back in the day, the Production Code made it basically illegal for a movie to show bad guys getting away with anything.  Angels With Dirty Faces tries to have it both ways.  Rocky is clearly the hero and we’re on his side the whole way has he shoots and kidnaps his way to victory.  Then, with maybe ten minutes left to go, the film makers remember they’d better stick to the code if they want move released, so they jarringly cut to a more morally acceptable conclusion for Rocky Sullivan.

Tacked on ending aside, it’s a more than entertaining movie with Cagney and Bogart adding plenty of awesome anytime they’re on screen.  But the best thing about Angles With Dirty Faces came a year later.  It’s like someone decided to keep the good bits (Cagney, Bogart, gangsters and guns), leave out the bad bits (the kids, the shoehorned in morals, the love story that goes nowhere) and remake it as 1939’s The Roaring Twenties.  Now that’s a Cagney / Bogart gangster picture really worth seeing.

(Review originally posted Aug 13, 2013)

Angles With Dirty Faces
Directed By – Michael Curtiz
Written By – John Wexley, Warren Duff

Other Opinions Are Available.  What did these people have to say about Angels With Dirty Faces?
Slant Magazine
AMC Filmsite
Bogie Film Blog

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SATURDAY FLASHBACK*** Nico: Above the Law (1988)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Not once, but twice within the movie, characters call Segal’s character by his real name ‘Steve’, instead of ‘Nico’.”

NIcoWow, somehow I’ve lasted this long, over 200 posts, without writing about this cinematic genius.  How have I written about several Billy Wilder movies, half a dozen Cary Grant performances, countless Oscar winning writers, directors and actors, yet this man (unjustly ignored by the Academy in all categories) has gone completely ignored until now?  Even now as I start to write, I know I could never do him justice.  For he is Steven Segal, and the first time he deigned to blow the world’s collective mind was Nico: Above the Law.

As Nico, Segal narrates the opening minutes and gives the audience a quick rundown on who he is, where he’s been and where he is, just to make sure we’re up to speed.  It turns out, Nico was recruited by the CIA when he was 20 because he was good at karate.  Yep, it makes sense that being able chop boards of wood in half with your bare hands is how the Central INTELLIGENCE Agency finds the best and brightest.

He sees some shit go down, becomes disillusioned and quits the CIA, only to emerge years later as a Chicago cop with a partner played by Pam Grier (career headed down) and a wife played by Sharon Stone (career headed up).

There’s a story about some old bullshit, but it’s not important.  When I was 12 or 13 and thought these kinds of movies were the best, I could have recited every intricate plot point of something like this, or Lethal Weapon, or Tango and Cash or Death Warrant.  But when I watch them now, I never pay any attention to the story, because it just doesn’t matter.  I don’t do this consciously, my brain just decides there’s no point wasting energy on it.  All of a sudden the end credits are rolling and realise I’ve retained nothing.

Here’s an indication of the kind of movie you’re dealing with in Nico: Above the Law.  Not once, but twice within the movie, characters call Segal’s character by his real name ‘Steve’, instead of ‘Nico’.  To me, there are three ways in which that happened…
a)    The film makers are so half assed, they didn’t notice it on set or in the editing room.
b)    They did notice it in editing, but the movie was made so fast and cheap, it was the only take they had both times and just had to live with it.
c)    They did notice it in editing, had other takes to choose from, but no one involved could be assed putting in the effort.  Because they realised they were only making Nico: Above the Law.  So who gives a shit?
It’s got nothing on the five minute soliloquy about environmental preservation delivered at the end of On Deadly Ground, but it’s great to see Segal’s pretentions emerged fully formed in his debut when Nico: Above the Law finishes with his half whispered, lobotomised voiceover declaring, “Whenever you have a group of individuals who are beyond any investigation, who can manipulate the press, judges, members of our congress, you’re always gonna have within our government, those who are above the law”.

(review originally posted Jan 8, 2041)

Nico: Above the Law
Directed By – Andrew Davis
Written By – Steven Pressfiled, Ronald Shusett, Andrew Davis

Other Opinions Are Available.  What did these people have to say about Nico: Above the Law?
Roger Ebert
The New York Times
Rental Rehab


In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A really impressive effort from a first time director.”

The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.

“For instance, there was this Turkish guy once. He fucked up and owed Milo some money. So I went over to his place. I’d been there many times before, asking for the money in a polite way, without any luck. Finally, I took a knife, stabbed it in his kneecap and teared the shit up. Sometimes, I’d like to have another job. Believe me.”

Before scoring a massive, mainstream hit full of Gosling goodness with Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn directed one of the most mind blowing movies I’ve stumbled across in recent years with Bronson (it’s like Chopper…  If the main character was more insane, more violent, more darkly hilarious and based just as much on a real world figure.  Seriously, if you haven’t seen Bronson, you really should).  But before that, and whole lot of other stuff, Nicolas Winding Refn kicked off his career with Pusher.

As the title suggests, this is all about the world of drug dealing.  Kim Bodnia plays Franky, a low level Copenhagen dealer who’ll sell whatever he can his hands on to make a buck and fund his own habit, as well as drinking and hanging out with his partner Tonny, played Mads Mikkelsen.   Franky already owes Milo, his local wholesaler of the hard stuff, 50,000 kroner, until the promise of one big sale to an ex-prison buddy puts him closer to 300,000 in debt.

Soon, Franky is going from one end of Copenhagen to the other, trying to call in money owed to him, borrow more, make deals and do anything he can to pay his debts and save his life.  I don’t think it’s any accident on the part of the screenplay that almost every “deal” is done on credit.  Constantly Franky and others buy and sell everything from drugs, to firearms, to mobile phones, and on almost every occasion, when it’s time for money to change hands, the buyer is asking for credit with a promise to pay soon.  It’s like the entire black economy of the movie is nothing more than numbers floating in the air, based on and handshakes and promises.  Which makes it only hit harder when the very real, very mortal consequences begin to bare down on Bodina’s Franky.

One thing I really liked about Pusher is its objectivity.  This is no cautionary tale about the pitfalls of a life of crime or drug use.  But at the same time, it’s in no way a glorification of any of that either.  It looks like an accurate, fly on the wall account of people doing a particular job and the bullshit that comes with it.  Well, it looks accurate to my white bread, suburban, upper working / lower middle class eyes, anyway.  Franky is never portrayed as a hero or tragic victim.  He’s a man doing what he thinks needs to be done it.  He’s not misunderstood, he’s not struggling with any inner demons, he’s just dealing with decisions he’s made and the consequences that come with them.

As pretentious as it may sound to say, the camera really is almost its own character in Pusher.  Constantly in motion, even when the characters it’s shooting are not, the camera work goes beyond hand held.  Almost every single scene starts and finishes with the camera following someone in and out of the given location.  This might be one of the only movies I’ve ever seen where we see characters’ backs almost as much as their faces.  But this non-stop motion really does add to the movie, making the viewer almost as anxious and on edge as Franky when the walls start to close in around him.


This is a really impressive effort from a first time director and you can see hints of where he was headed with something like Drive more than fifteen years later.  And maybe the Scandinavian setting, characters and costumes threw me off, but it doesn’t look fifteen years at old at all, it has aged really well.  Seriously though, if you haven’t seen Bronson, see it first.  Then give Pusher a go if you have time.

(Review originally posted Aug 5, 2013)

Directed By – Nicolas Winding Refn
Written By – Jens Dahl, Nicolas Winding Refn


In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says:Battle Royale is ultra violent, ultra cheesy, ultra goofy and ultra everything. And it’s all of these things in all of the best ways possible.”


The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.

“So today’s lesson is, you kill each other off till there’s only one left. Nothing’s against the rules”.

The tamest Japanese movies are still pretty extreme compared to their western counterparts. They’re not afraid of high concepts and not afraid to go big, broad and blustery with their execution. And when they decide to go extreme by their own standards, shit is gonna get crazy. So when I heard about the concept of Battle Royale, I knew I was in for something special.

“At the dawn of the millennium, the nation collapsed. At 15% unemployment, 10 million were out of work. 800,000 students boycotted the schools. The adults lost confidence and, fearing the youth, eventually passed the Millennium Educational Reform Act, AKA the BR Act”. So reads the opening titles of Battle Royale. Now that I’ve seen the movie, I don’t see how the BR Act helps counteract things like unemployment, but if you’re looking for logical answers to questions like that, you’re not in the right frame of mind to enjoy the insanity of this movie. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***TOM WEEK*** The Fugitive (1993)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “As fun as The Fugitive is, there’s no real substance beneath its thrill ride style.”

 Fugitive 1
“So he showed up not dead yet. Let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls. Don’t ever argue with the big dog, because the big dog is always right.”

It’s been a long, long time since the name Harrison Ford has been able to sell a movie to a wide audience.  Even updates of Indiana Jones and Star Wars are more about the franchises and less about the bloke starring in them.  But in the early 90s, before he was some old crank who slept walked through cookie cutter crap, he was a middle aged almost-crank, who put in some effort when starring in cookie cutter mediocrity, like The Fugitive.

One night, doctor Rickard Kimble (Harrison Ford) comes home to find his wife being attacked and killed by a one armed man.  They fight, but the killer gets away and Kimble is tried and convicted for the murder.  Being transported in a prison bus, another inmate shivs a guard and the ensuing chaos causes an accident the gives Kimble the chance to run.  Hot on his tail, is Deputy US Marshall, Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Once (2007)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I never for a second questioned the earnestness or truth behind the songs.”

Once 1
“Fantastic stuff. That’ll be a hit, no question.”

Twice in my life, I’ve seen a movie in the cinema and had to go buy the soundtrack the very next day.  The first time was after seeing Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1.  Overseen by the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, the music in that movie was a visceral gut punch like nothing I had heard before.  These days, a few of those songs have remained on my phone and iPod, and they get listened to in full maybe half the time they pop up on random.  But that’s about it.  The other movie that made me immediately buy its soundtrack resulted in an entire album that has stayed on regular rotation in the almost decade since.  Knowing that the music has held up so well, I had high hopes about the movie itself doing the same, which is why I re-watched Once.

He may spend his days playing crowd pleasing hits for spare change in a Dublin pedestrian mall, but a local busker (credited only as ‘Guy’ and played by Glen Hansard) comes alive at night when he plays his original, heartfelt music to no one.  No one except a pretty Czech immigrant (credited only as ‘Girl’ and played Marketa Irglova).  After being his appreciative audience of one, the two strike up a conversation that leads to their mutual love of music.  An accomplished pianist and singer herself, they collaborate on one of the guy’s songs and all goes well…  Until he makes a move.  With a young child in Dublin and a complicated relationship with the father still in the Czech Republic, romance is not something she’s looking for. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | ***CSNY WEEK*** Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield Again (1967)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s the kind of album where disliking a particular song was no big deal, because I knew whatever came next would be different enough to at least be interesting.”

Buff 1
I’ve always assumed that Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as their output with the addition of Young, would be some tedious, hippy shit.  I’m not sure why I think that, because I can’t name a single one of their songs off the top of my head.  I also assumed the same presence of tedious hippy shit from Buffalo Springfield, the previous band of Stills, Crosby and Young.  And this time, I did have at least one song the base that assumption on, the wet, painful For What It’s Worth.

Maybe it was a great song in the 60s, but in the decade since, it’s just been co-opted too many times by lazy movies and TV shows as a shorthand for the 60s.  But the enduring legacy of the band, and its members, is too big to ignore.  So I took a chance on Buffalo Springfield Again.

Immediately, Mr. Soul makes me feel better about taking that chance.  Because Mr. Soul is a solid rock song.  Louder guitars and more oomph than I ever would have expected from this band.  And while it’s backed by up something a little more folkie in A Child’s Claim to Fame, it’s a version of folkie that is more lively and less nauseating than that genre description usually indicates. (more…)

TRAILER | Woody Allen’s Cafe Society

Cafe.jpg has posted the trailer for Woody Allen’s latest, Café Society.  According to the article, “Jesse Eisenberg plays Bobby, a young man who moves to Los Angeles where he’s taken in by the allure of the movie business. Aside from being charmed by the glamour that’s surrounding him, in the clip he looks to be falling for the character played by Kristen Stewart and he’s also charmed by Blake Lively’s character.”

According to the trailer, Eisenberg twitches up a storm to emulate classic, 70s era Woody.

Read the full Rolling Stone article here.



R.I.P | Merle Haggard (1937 – 2016)


I haven’t listened to nearly enough Merle Haggard to be anywhere near an authority on his music.  But have heard enough to know that I need to hear more.  I’ve also heard enough about Haggard and his music to be pretty bummed when I woke up this morning to the news of his death.

Along with people like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard helped redefine country music and make it a little more dangerous and exciting.

So, here are a few links to do him a lot more justice than I ever could.

The A.V Club Mourns a “Country Music Legend”

Merle Haggard tells Esquire “What I’ve Learned”

Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters) talks to Merle Haggard on his podcast, Walking the Floor

And, my own review of what has now become Merle Haggard’s final studio record, last year’s awesome duet with Willie, Nelson, Django and Jimmie.

MOVIE REVIEW | 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & dangerous says: “As far as tense, claustrophobic, nail biting thrillers go, this is pretty fantastic.”

Cloverfield 1
“Crazy is building your ark after the flood has already come.”

As I said in my Super 8 review, I’m a recent JJ Abrams convert.  His association with the twist and cliffhanger heavy Lost, along with his seeming obsession with keeping everything about his movies a secret seemed like over compensation for having no real substance.  Then, last year, I finally watched Lost and loved it.  The Abrams lead Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the franchise comeback we were all hoping for back when George Lucas made the prequels.  Even Abrams’ Star Trek movies made me enjoy a franchise I’d never cared about before.  All of that is to say that if 10 Cloverfield Lane came out a year ago, I never would have bothered with it.  But my 2015 year of Abrams meant that now, seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane was a forgone conclusion.

Driving through dark, country roads at night, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is distracted by a phone call from her fiancé and flies off the road.  She wakes with a broken leg, chained to a stretcher in a concrete bunker.  Understandably freaking out, she only panics more when she meets Howard (John Goodman), the man who mended her leg and chained her to the bed.  He attempts to put Michelle’s mind at ease by explaining that they are in an underground bunker, possibly the only survivors left in the world after some sort of massive attack.  Was it the Russians, was it aliens?  Howard has plenty of theories.

Also in the bunker is Emmett (John Gallagher Jr).  Several years ago, he worked as laborer, helping Howard build the bunker.  When the attack began, he went back to Howard for refuge.  Eventually, Michelle sees enough evidence to believe Howard and Emmett’s story, and the three even begin to live a somewhat normal, almost familial life.  But there’s always an uneasiness and suspicion between the three that never totally goes away.

Before my Abrams 180, 10 Cloverfield Lane is in no way the kind of movie I would actively seek out.  I’m not into thrillers, I’m not into horror and I’m not heavily into sci-fi.  And based on the trailers, this movie could have been all three of those.  But I’m really glad I did give this a go, because as far as tense, claustrophobic, nail biting thrillers go, 10 Clovefield Lane is really fantastic.  Winstead sells the evolution of going from petrified prisoner, to trusting house guest.  And Goodman expertly slips back and forth from menacing, to caring, to slightly sinister, to believable savior so well, that it’s totally understanding that Michelle might come to be genuinely grateful for his efforts.  Until the next little detail is just that tiny bit off, and the suspicion comes flooding back.
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When it first came out, Abrams copped a bit of flack from fans of the original Cloverfield because it turned out that 10 Cloverfield Lane was in no way a sequel of that movie.  No returning characters, no giant monster to contend with, no real links at all the previous movie at all.  Abrams’ defense was that this is a “spiritual” sequel, and that he may produce more movies with Cloverfield in the title that have nothing to do with either of these.  On the one hand, I call bullshit on that excuse.  It’s obvious that they had made a cool, modest thriller, and realised that cramming “Cloverfield” into the title would mean an automatic audience.  On the other hand, I have to respect that kind of marketing genius.

10 Cloverfield Lane
Directed By – Dan Trachtenberg
Written By – Josh Campbell,  Matthew Stuecken,  Damien Chazelle

Other Opinions Are Available.  What did these people have to say about 10 Cloverfield Lane?
The A.V Club
The Guardian
Jon on Film

MOVIE REVIEW | Hail, Caesar! (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & dangerous says: “The Coen Brothers have taken a lot of the greatest hits of their own work, and combined it for a movie that might be one of their absolute best when it comes to comedy.”

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“Next week I won’t be able to fit into my fish ass.”

I’m a massive fan of the Coen Brothers.  Well, maybe I’m a faux massive fan, because it took me three or four weeks to finally see their latest, Hail, Caesar!  But I’m a big enough fan that I felt guilty about taking so long to see it.  And I’m a big enough fan that I felt some sort of vindication when it turned out to be as amazing as it was.  Like I deserve points for never once thinking it would be anything less that.

In 50s Hollywood, Eddie Manix (Josh Brolin) is a fixer for Capital Pictures.  Whatever problems are happening in the studio, on movie sets, with actors, Eddie is the man to fix it.  He’s the kind of guy whose first name basis relationship with a local beat cop can sweep a possible porn bust under the rug, he can fend off rabid gossip reporters (Tilda Swinton as twins Thora and Thessaly Thacker), convincing them that they don’t have a story, and he can placate the many fragile egos of the stars and directors that surround him.

In a single day, Eddie has to deal with a starlet (Scarlett Johansson as DeAnna Moran) who’s fallen pregnant out of wedlock, and a cowboy rope twirler (Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle) who the studio has decided to turn into a prestige picture leading man.  And worst of all, he has to deal with the kidnapping of the star of his biggest movie.  Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is the lead in ‘Hail, Caesar!: A Tale of the Christ’, the biggest movie of the year for Capital Pictures.  But with only a few days left of shooting, he is kidnapped by disgruntled screenwriters who have turned to communism after earning so little for their work over the years.

The trailers made it clear that Hail, Caesar! is Joel and Ethan Coen working in broad comedy mode.  But more than that, it’s almost a culmination of a lot of their comedies over the years.  There’s the all powerful movie studio of Barton Fink, the rapid fire, beat perfect, rhythmic dialogue of a The Hudsucker Proxy, the call backs and recurring jokes of O Brother! Where Art Thou?, the ever expanding chaos of a Burn After Reading.  They’ve taken a lot of the greatest hits of their own work, and combined it for a movie that might be one of their absolute best when it comes to comedy.

Calling back a lot of their regular players, all the familiar faces deliver.  Of course George Clooney is brilliant as a clueless, pampered star.  In her one and only scene, Francis McDormand gets what might be the biggest laugh in the entire movie.  Josh Brolin is at his stony faced, dead serious best amongst all the craziness.  And I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen Scarlett Johansson do comedy before, but her work here as a brassy, no bullshit broad shows that she should go for laughs more often.

But the real stand out is someone who’s new to the Coen Brothers’ world, and new to me as an actor as well, Alden Ehrenreich.  If there’s a heart to Hail, Caesar!, it’s Hobie Doyle.  His innocence, his faith in people, his openness to seeing the good in everyone he meets in the ruthless business of Hollywood…  All that, plus he’s just down right hilarious.

This is also one of the best showcases of the technical skill of the brothers Coen.  The movies within the movie are all so specific to the era, with their own styles, tones and visual language, and the Coens recreate them all to a tea.  There’s the Busby Berkeley water ballet, the gun slinging, trick riding, guitar plucking western, the sword and sandal epic, the upper class parlour piece, the big scale musical…  The Coens don’t just emulate these movies, they actually make them.
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Hail, Caesar! hasn’t done well at the box office, and I have no idea why.  It has a cast full of big names (I haven’t even mentioned Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum yet), and it’s so crowd pleasingly funny.  Well, it was pleasing to the crowd I saw it with.

Which gets me to my confusion about its lack of box office, maybe it’s a sleeper hit.  Because is saw it several weeks after release, at four o’clock on Good Friday afternoon, and the theatre was packed.  In the old days, I would have put that down to nothing else being open on a Good Friday, so people would see anything to elevate their boredom.  But I had a cheeky beer at three different pubs on my way to the cinema, so those sorts of places were open, giving everyone in my cinema other options.  But they chose well, they saw what I’m sure will be remembered as one of the Coen Brothers best comedies.

Hail, Caesar!
Directed By – Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Written By – Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Other Opinions Are Available.  What did these people have to say about Hail, caesar!?
The A.V Club
The Guardian
Sarah E Bond