Category Archives: Crime

EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL & VILE (2018): The Things I Liked…

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019), Lily Collins, Zac Efron
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019), Lily Collins, Zac Efron

Ted Bundy, one of America’s most infamous serial killers is very much at the centre of director Joe Berlinger’s film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Yet the story is really told from the perspective of Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer. As such, like Kloepfer, we don’t get to be there with Bundy as he commits his shockingly evil crimes (thank goodness!) We also don’t get to know any real shocking  details about the crimes until the trial towards the end. What we do get is a front row seat to watch Bundy some time after he commits a crime and pretends to be as normal and decent as the next guy. It’s sad but like a true psychopath, he succeeded at it. A lot.

Starring Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Jim Parsons and John Malkovich, I watched Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile because of the very interesting subject matter and the new perspective. Another reason is to see Efron succeed in a more serious role than he’s taken on in recent years. I’m happy to say that he does well. I was particularly impressed during the moments he gave the audience a glimpse into the true darkness within his character’s soul. His time at the dog’s home is one such example.

I don’t believe there was a single dull moment during this movie and contrary to what the trailer made many feel, I don’t consider Berlinger’s film to be one that glorifies or celebrates Bundy. It’s instead a movie that portrays Bundy as he was known to be and part of that is that he was sadly almost as charming as he was wicked, evil and vile.

I say watch Berlinger’s movie, Just don’t watch it expecting explanations and / or deep dives into Bundy’s past that highlight what could have led him to such darkness. For this is a film about Bundy but the focus is on Kloepfer’s experience.

Parsons and Malkovich’s characters are memorable. Overall though, it’s really Collins by whom I was most impressed. She may be an actor with a forever youthful face, but the lady has great instincts. Her telling of Kloepfer’s story will have you mad at Kloepfer, sad for Kloepfer and by the very end,a little surprised in general but definitely extremely relieved for Kloepfer.

Happy Film Loving 

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LYING AND STEALING (2019): New Trailer From Theo James, Emily Ratajkowski, Fred Melamed…

Lying And Stealing (2019), Emily Ratajkowski, Theo James, Vertical Entertainment US
Lying And Stealing (2019), Emily Ratajkowski, Theo James, Vertical Entertainment US

Read my spoiler-free movie review of Lying & Stealing (2019)


Theo James and Emily Ratajkowski’s latest crime / drama Lying And Stealing is co-written and directed by Matt Aselton.

A gifted art thief who wants out and an aspiring Hollywood actress with huge debt team up to pull off the ultimate con / heist. All so they can can be free of their troubles…

I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised by this one.

A part of me kind of needed to see more of an example of the consequences for James’s character if he were to just abandon his criminal lifestyle. I think that such a clip would have made me buy into the villainy of Fred Melamed’s Dimitri character a tad more.

Fred Melamed, Aris Alvarado, Fernanda Andrade, Tim Bader and Ray Ray Chase also star.

Lying And Stealing Release Dates: July 12th, 2019 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

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JOHN WICK (2014): The Things I Liked…

John Wick (2014), Keanu Reeves, Lionsgate
John Wick (2014), Keanu Reeves, Lionsgate

Everything that happens at the start of John Wick may not feel as perfectly put together story-wise as one might prefer. However, it isn’t long after the beginning and / or end that one realises the story and sometimes the dialogue didn’t feel especially polished for a reason. The reason being, the main focus of John Wick is really the fight choreography, stylish shots and shoot-out fun. That isn’t to say that you can’t have both a very well put together story and fun shoot-out action in the same movie. You just won’t necessarily get that here.

Directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, I liked seeing Keanu Reeves as a highly skilled and certainly well-dressed hitman. I had fun as the camera followed him as he moved around the city of New Yorkenacting revenge against the people who killed his precious dog.

It’s clear now why post John Wick viewing, ‘All that for a dog?‘ was a common question asked by a number of people. The story could have been executed in a way that meant such a question never even arose but the filmmakers had other plans. And anyway, for me, the killing spree wasn’t so much about the dog but rather, everything that the very precious dog represented.

All things considered, John Wick isn’t my favourite revenge movie. It also isn’t the worst. The moments that featured a noticeable light blue wash over the film’s imagery, denoting the coldness of the characters, their actions and mindset were one of the key highlights.

I’m quite certain that it’s not just me who kept picturing how a good a John Wick video game might look as the movie played. I definitely imagine that those who like shoot out games, don’t mind relatively graphic violence and enjoy stylishly executed cinema will have the best time.

Happy Film Loving

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21 BRIDGES (2019): New Trailer From Chadwick Boseman, Taylor Kitsch, Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons…

21 Bridges (2019), Chadwick Boseman
21 Bridges (2019), Chadwick Boseman

Starring Chadwick Boseman, and J.K. Simmons, 21 Bridges is a Brian Kirk directed crime / thriller about a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killer.

Additional key cast includes Taylor Kitsch and Sienna Miller….

I’m excited about what looks like an all night chase sequence.

Additionally, I don’t know if I’m happy or disappointed that this trailer didn’t reveal one of the young killers was actually a relative of Boseman’s character.

Keith David, Stephan James, Dale Pavinski , Christian Isaiah and Jamie Neumann also star.

21 Bridges Release Dates: July 12th, 2019 (US); August 23rd, 2019 (UK)…

Happy Film Loving

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A VIOLENT SEPARATION (2019): New Trailer From Brenton Thwaites, ALYCIA DEBNAM-CAREY, Claire Holt, Francesca Eastwood…

A Violent Separation (2019), Brenton Thwaites

New crime / thriller A Violent Separation stars Brenton Thwaites, Claire Holt, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Francesca Eastwood.

From directors Kevin and Michael Goetz, it’s the story of two brothers struggling with the terrible truth behind a tragedy…

Besides wanting to know what actually happened, I’m quite interested in the emotional journey of the young police officer and how that will end, considering his involvement.

Michael Malarkey, Gerald McRaney, Ben Robson, Izzy G., Peter Michael Goetz, Lynne Ashe and Silas Cooper also star.

A Violent Separation Release Dates: May 17th, 2019 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

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JOKER (2019): New Trailer From Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro…

Joker (2019), Joaquin Phoenix, Warner Bros. Pictures
Joker (2019), Joaquin Phoenix, Warner Bros. Pictures

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz and Robert De Niro, Joker is an exploration of Aurthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society and eventually driven insane until he become’s Gotham City’s best known psychopathic murderer.

Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover (2009), other key cast includes Bryan Callen, Shea Whigham, Frances Conroy…

I’m going to start by addressing the rather humongous and certainly beautiful elephant in the room. ‘Heath Ledger, Heath Ledger, Heath Ledger, Heath Ledger. The Dark Knight , The Dark Knight , The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight.’ OK. I’m done.

To clarify, my intention is certainly not to take anything away from Phoenix who I also appreciate, especially since his great work in Gladiator (2000). However, I just had to do the above because Ledger’s performance was pure magic and permanently fixed in my memory as one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.

I’m still definitely looking forward to watching this deep-dive into Joker’s journey, from failed comic to psychopathic murderer. Additionally, I actually can’t wait to compare both Phoenix and Ledger’s performances – just to see which I prefer.

Glenn Fleshler, Brett Cullen, Marc Maron, Douglas Hodge and Josh Pais also star.

Joker Release Dates: October 4th, 2019 (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

THE HIGHWAYMEN (2018): The Thing I Liked…

The Highwaymen (2019), Woody Harrelson, Kevin Costner
The Highwaymen (2019), Woody Harrelson, Kevin Costner

The Highwaymen, the story of the two police officers who came out of retirement to catch infamous bank robbing outlaws Bonnie & Clyde is a movie I don’t regret watching.

The reason I watched the film at all was my curiosity about the retelling of the famous Bonnie and Clyde story from the perspective of the officers who ended their bank robbing and killing spree. That along with my general appreciation of both Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson’s talents. In fact the dynamic between Costner and Harrelson is my favourite thing about director John Lee Hancock’s movie. I also enjoyed the exchanges between the highwaymen and other law enforcement officers.

In terms of the thing or two that I enjoyed less about The Highwaymen, I wish it had moved a little faster and/ or contained  a tad more excitement. At the same time though, considering the fact that the two highwaymen had just come out of retirement, I may have been asking for a little too much.

Watch it if you’re really curious. Just don’t be surprised if you  find yourself getting distracted quite easily.

Happy Film Loving 

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TRIPLE FRONTIER (2019): The Things I Liked…

Triple Frontier (2019), Oscar Isaac, Netflix
Triple Frontier (2019), Oscar Isaac, Netflix

Triple Frontier, the action / adventure about five former Special Forces operatives who’s planned heist in South America becomes an epic battle for survival is a movie I found to be just okay.

Starring Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Pedro Pascal and Garrett Hedlund, the performances were generally good. In terms of the themes featured, I like what director J.C. Chandor’s film had to say about the high price of greed. I’m also happy that Triple Frontier shed some light on the plight of US veterans. Particularly the general discontent in reference to how they really could be better taken care of. 

As for the reasons why I didn’t find the finished product quite as thrilling as hoped, it firstly has something to do with how easily I was able to predict an outcome or two early on. Secondly, considering how each character’s backstory was presented so very briefly, it didn’t allow for me to properly connect with a fair amount of them, if any in a meaningful way. This too relates to the villain who barely had any screen time. I needed to see more evidence of why he was really deserving of the attack. Intellectually it’s clear, yet more visual evidence would certainly have been great.

Lastly, I know that Affleck’s character is in essence quite depressed and therefore not fully himself. However, I somehow still find it hard to completely believe that he behaved the way he did during the actual heist. Or that no one else stood up and stopped his ‘madness.’ To put it another way, I really thought that they’d have planned better generally and in regards to how to deal with anyone who tried to go beyond the agreed plan of action.

I certainly don’t regret giving just over two hours for this movie but I do wish it had me half as hooked and was as well written as Sicario (2015). Now that’s a tension filled thriller and a half. 

Happy Film Loving 

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