Neil LaBute's LAKEVIEW TERRACE (2008, 110 min.) on Netflix for the first time."Inspired by true incidents..." until a so-preposterous-for-words Hollywood ending and final act resolve simplistically what was shaping up to be a complicated human drama about race and police privilege. Sam Jackson plays a widowed veteran LAPD cop with a major passive-aggressive chip on his shoulders that he at first takes out on his teenage children, then turns on an interracial newlywed couple (pre-"Watchmen" Patrick Wilson and pre-"Scandal" Kerry Washington) that moves next-door to his cul-de-sac. While the story at first tries to justify Jackson's behavior as the over-the-top concerns of a strict father (I'd be pissed too if my neighbors made love in their pool in front of my children or threw cigarette butts into my yard), it doesn't take long for this LAPD cop to show his true psycho colors.Produced by Will Smith and helmed by toxic masculinity expert Neil LaBute ("In the Company of Men"), "Lakeview Terrace" is a slow-burn dick-measuring contest between flawed neighbors in which we're not asked to sympathize with anyone (even though the script bends-over-backwards to pile-on racial resentment against the mixed couple) until late into the story, when Jackson's Abel Turner becomes irredeemable. Shame we only get a couple of scenes of Sam Jackson being an actual LAPD cop (one of which sets-up the far-fetched finale), since they're (a) the best scenes in "Lakeview Terrace" and (b) are the closest we come to explanations why the otherwise-normal Abel goes off the deep end. A lot more cerebral and thoughtful than I expected, even though the so-dumb-it-hurts final 20 minutes descends into exploitation-level fare. Worth a look.
THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR (1975, dir. Sergio Martino) This should be a good watch for those looking for something different in the realm of Italian genre cinema. I watched it for giallo day but quickly realized, as Mr. Vargas wrote yesterday, that SUSPICIOUS DEATH is more of a poliziotteschi than a giallo. It also is a comedy in certain parts. Yet another solid film from Martino's 1970s era.
This film made me realize that I was pigeonholing Martino because he did "Torso." In reality all the Italian directors from this era (including the likes of Fulci) were jack-of-all-trades that could helm a western one week, a comedy the next and a horror flick a week later. "Death of a Minor" is an entertaining mix of exploitation genres, and that's its strength. :-)
Across 110th Street (1972)Well that movie was fantastic.
Right?? I watched it for Blaxploitation day and it’s easily my favorite so far this year.
I know what you mean the movie feeling well lived in. The movie feels like it just picks up at a more action point of these characters lives. I mean the reaction Quinn has when he realises he has knocked out the suspect says everything, how flawed, brutal he is, or these tiny moments of humanity. It really is exquisite.
Hollywood Vice Squad (1986)It's about the men and women who who work on the Vice Squad. Dom Dom.Actually not as sleazy as I thought it was going to be. Didn't stop it from being a very special episode for most of it. It did feel like a really early pilot for SVU.But there are some nutty moments, such as a cop getting on a moving bus before Speed and an odd Santa Claus moment that no one asked for. But Dame Kerry Fisher and Ronnie Cox in the cast, it's entertaining. Also this is the movie the Postcards from the Edge is paraodying.
"Arizona Heat" 1988, Dir. John G. Thomas. Michael Parks plays tough, chainsmoking, mom/daughter banging Detective Larry Kapinski who is reluctantly partnered with lesbian Detective Jill Andrews (Denise Crosby). Hijinks, misogyny, homophobia, unwanted kisses and serial killings ensue. Considering Kapinski's stance on mental health, I do believe this flick might be an Earl McGraw origin story.Also, what the hell is going on with lightning in Arizona? My God, they should declare a state of emergency.
Prime Target (1989, dir. Robert L. Collins) Made-for-TV Cop drama starring Angie Dickinson as a detective investigating a series of deaths involving female officers. I love everything about this movie. The saxophones, the sleazy male cops, Angie being a total badass. It’s even got Charles Durning straight crushing it as always, not to mention Yaphet freaking Kotto!
Dirty Harry (1971)The thing I love most about Junesploitation is that I’m watching so many classics i’ve never seen before. This one more than lived up to my expectations. Clint Eastwood at the height of his powers and Don Seigel just doing a hell of a job directing. I don’t even know what else to say about this one because I’m sure it’s all been said before, but I loved it.
Samurai Cop (1991)Not only was this guy not a Samurai, he was barely a cop, and this was barely a movie. I recommend all of you watch it immediately, preferably with a copious amount of alcohol in your system.
Miami Supercops (1985)I wanted to see more Terence Hill/Bud Spencer movies, so I suppose I brought this on myself. This was their second-to-last collaboration, and by many accounts their weakest. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if I agree with those accounts because this was a pretty dire, leaden affair.Hill and Spencer are a cop and ex-cop, respectively, who are given a very convoluted reason to get back together after many years and go undercover as patrolmen in Miami in order to catch someone who slipped away from them years earlier. Or something. What can I say, it doesn’t work at all and only shows signs of life at the very end when there’s a silly shootout of the sort you’d expect in the later, PG-rated, Guttenbergless Police Academy sequels. Very disappointing.
Psycho Cop Returns (1993) Dir. Adam RifkinOfficer Joe Vickers returns to kill everyone at a bachelor party held in an office building. Leave your brain at home, go along for the ridiculous ride and prepare for some of the greatest dialog ever put on screen. This film knows exactly what it is and embraces it fully. Highly recommended but try and find the unrated version as the R-Rated one is HEAVILY cut.
Can I ask how you saw this? I have wanted to see it for years.
Hanzo the Razor: Sword of Justice (1972)This movie and its sequels are streaming on the Criterion Channel, which one would think implies a certain respectability. I had no idea going into it that this movie's hook would be how Hanzo interrogates female suspects with his large... "sword of justice" I guess. This is the kind of movie that would be hard to enjoy in good conscience outside of Junesploitation. I'd still be hard pressed to say I enjoyed it but it's not out of place among exploitation films.
Operações Especiais (2015, dir. Tomas Portella)Felt like watching something more modern in the middle of all the 70's and 80's sploitation goodness, so pretty randomly picked this off Netflix. It's a Brazilian film about a squadron of cops who are sent to clean up a small town of crime and corruption, and it focuses on a new recruit, a young woman among the otherwise all-male squadron.It's less action than I was expecting, focusing more on the corruption investigation and how a woman copes in a man's world. Cleo Pires' rookie is a compelling character but everyone else is just a cardboard cutout. A decent movie, but a bad choice for Junesploitation. Thankfully it's Zombies! day tomorrow!
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Maniac Cop 2 (1990, dir. William Lustig, First Time Viewing on Amazon Prime)This movie pulls a Congo and kills off Bruce Campbell at the beginning. Other than that flaw, I enjoyed this movie a lot. #RIPStunts
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)What Carpenter has done with this, technically his second film, is so brilliant. He made a western and a zombie movie, set in reality, as a 70s cop action/drama. It goes places you do not expect. It gets even better the more I think about it. I don't see how he didn't get him any job he wanted after this.
MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE (1993) Fascinating how this series has created its own mythology, equal parts supernatural weirdness and corrupt-cops-in-the-mean-city stuff. The ending car chase is especially over-the-top. So, I really dug this movie, but looking at the internet I see that many fans consider it the worst. Director Bill Lustig was among them, allegedly walking off the set and having a co-producer take over. I don’t know. I guess, for me, weaker Maniac Cop is better than no Maniac Cop at all. Bonus #Godzillasploitation: GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER (1971) The series goes back to being sci-fi action rather than a full-on kiddie show. It’s also very much of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, with Bond-style opening credits and a trippy psychedelic nightclub, and a groovy bonfire party. The pollution talk is really just an excuse to create a new monster, but I like that this beastie is something other than another dinosaur-type. Then there’s flying Godzilla, which must be seen to be believed.
Dragnet (1987)Just the fact ma'am.I remember watching this movie a lot as a kid, like a lot (it was this an Turner and Hooch on repeat), even with a twenty year gap I could still remember certain lines. 'Those Damn Pagans must be on NoDoz.' 'Kids, it'll grow back.' I adore the first 30-40 minutes of this movie, till about when they leave the Pagan party. I don't think you will find funnier. Hanks and Aykroyd are so on point. I love how it's Hanks that is the straight man to Aykroyd's ruler straight tie Joe Friday, but still gets his moments of genuine Hanks shouty awesomeness. Chris Plummer looks like he is having a blast. And just when I think nothing could ever beat Wilfred Brimley's accent in Hard Target, Dabney Coleman gets me to hold his beer. What is that accent? I don't know don't care I love it. I do think Dragnet does sag a little in the middle when it starts ticking off every 80s action movie troupe. And you realise the plot mechanics don't exactly fit together. I mean I get Plummer's over all plan, but it feels very convoluted. But then Aykroyd tries to arrest Plummer in a bathroom and it's a great moment just for it's sweetness in a weird way.This was a movie I almost forgot about. Which, is sad because it feels like out one of those unrated 80s buddy cop comedies which should get more love.
Psycho Cop Returns (1993)Bob Vance from Vance Refrigeration is back as a serial killer cop, this time killing off participants in a bachelor party in an office building. The set up is super silly, as is the dialog. Chaybee is right, leave your brain out of this one, you won't need it. That said, it is entertaining in its own way.
Nightstick (1987)Not great, but it reminds me of the cop shows my mom would watch when I was little, so for that reason alone I enjoyed it. The only things missing were the L. Ron Hubbard Dianetics commercials. Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019)I thought my kids forgot about wanting to see this, but they reminded me last night that we haven't seen it yet. I took them this afternoon and now I've forgotten about it already.
Oof. I went to see Pikachu with some friends who love Pokemon. They were having a blast and I was so bored. I guess it served the fans?
Fast Five (2011)After seeing the Hobbs and Shaw trailer, my kids wanted to see a F&F movie. My youngest's favourite actor is Rock "The Dwayne" Johnson, so I picked this one. And he's a Super Cop in this. He only has to walk into a room, and tilt his head slightly, and 10 seconds later he knows everyone and everything that had happened there. While some people have soured on The Rock (poor choices of roles?), I'm still always enthralled to see him, if only from his sheer physical presence alone.
I still love the Rock. I know he's not an "artist" and clearly cares more about business than film, but I always have fun watching him.
The Black Belly of the Tarantula (1972, dir. Paolo Cavara)I just couldn't let Giallo day go so soon. Fortunately, this Giallo was also a cop drama, so life finds a way. Despite the sick and twisted premise (a psycho injects beautiful women with the poison of a wasp to paralyze them and force them to witness their own murders) this flick is fairly tame and most of the murders happening off screen. The Inspector who serves as our protagonist is fine, but a bit of a sad sack who is constantly making terrible decisions. I did really like the final reveal. The movie's good, but not one of my favorites.
Bad Boys II (2003)I lived in Miami for a year and a half. I remember when this happened. There was millions of dollars in property losses. Something like 63 people died. It was a real tragedy. At least we got that ecstasy.
Dredd (2012)In the 3rd DIMENSION! I'm a tiny bit disappointed that I wasn't able to see those enchanting Karl Urban eyes in 3D. Do you think Sylvester has seen this? Is Rob Schneider still alive? This movie is better than Judge Dredd and a lot better than The Judge. Sorry, Roberts.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)Man, what a masterpiece of adult cinema - not THAT kind of adult cinema, but like, you know, movies for adults - they used to make a lot of em - this one is awesome from start to finish with one of the best casts ever. I've watched Jaws a million times, but had never seen another movie with Robert Shaw and, guys, he's really great - Jaws wasn't just a fluke (a little marine biology joke there for you sea-nerds)! I don't know if this is one of those movies everyone has seen, but HIGHLY recommend it!
Malibu Express (1985, dir. Andy Sidaris) and Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987, dir. Andy Sidaris)An Andy Sidaris double feature! There are cops, sure, but mostly there are P.I.s and DEA agents and naked people and double entendres and guns and razor frisbees and blow-up dolls and boats and mustaches and snakes.
Code of Silence (1985)I had never seen this one and came across it on Amazon. I thought I was in for a trashy good time due to the presence of Chuck Norris, and was pleasantly surprised (and kind of disappointed) that this movie is actually pretty good! I do love some nice mid-80s grungy Chicago locations, and it's got the most Chicago-y cast of mugs I've ever seen in a movie. I mean, just Dennis Farina alone. Several of these walking Italian beefs would show up again as cops in the Fugitive.The plot is fine - Chuck Norris is a leather-jacketed cop who tells the truth about police corruption, and as a result, has to take on a drug cartel without any help from the rest of the force for breaking its CODE OF SILENCE, by using his typical half-assed karate or whatever. The mustache budget alone must have been astronomical.
Have you seen "Above the Law"? Same director, same locations, same cast of supporting actors (minus Farina) and basically same plot, but with wirey-thin Steven Seagal as the cop. Makes a great double-bill with either "Code of Silence" or "The Fugitive." :-)
Thanks! I feel like I saw bits and pieces of it when it was on cable in the 90s, but I couldn't tell you anything about it. I definitely need to revisit it, if only to see Seagal running around Chicago like a girl. I believe Marked for Death also was supposedly set in Chicago, but a version of Chicago with palm trees.
When Andrew Davis directs (which he didn't in "MFD") you can rest assured it's Chicago proper. :-)
CRIME STORY (1993):I'm usually a fan of Jackie Chan (you might call me a Jackie Fan), but this one was more of a straight action/drama than an action/comedy. It was a bit bland. It didn't help that it was an English dub that made Jackie sound like an incredibly WASPy accountant.
Police Story 2 (1988)The fights, stunts and explosions are all predictably amazing, but this is a bit too long in the tooth, and everything doesn’t quite gel together as well as the first movie. Still, Chan does his best, and I’m pretty sure that at least 80% of the stunt team are certifiably insane human beings.