PARTY GIRL (1995)

Directed By: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer 
Written By: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer & Harry Birckmayer 
Story By: Sheila Gaffney & Daisy Von Scherler Mayer & Harry Birckmayer 
Cinematograhy By: Michael Slovis 
Editor: Cara Silverman 

CAST: Parker Posey, Guillermo Diaz, Anthony DeSando, Liev Schrieber, Omar Townsend, Donna Mitchell, John Ventimiglia, Dwight Ewell

Mary is a free-spirited young woman with a run-down New York apartment and a high fashion wardrobe. She calls her godmother, a librarian, for bail money after being arrested for throwing an illegal party. To repay the loan, she begins working as a library clerk. At first she hates it, but when challenged decides to master the Dewey Decimal System and become a great library clerk, while romancing a falafel vendor and helping her roommate in his goal to become a professional DJ.


Mary is a free-spirited young woman with a run-down New York apartment and a high fashion wardrobe. She calls her godmother, a librarian, for bail money after being arrested for throwing an illegal party. To repay the loan, she begins working as a library clerk. At first, she hates it, but when challenged decides to master the Dewey Decimal System and become a great library clerk, while romancing a falafel vendor and helping her roommate in his goal to become a professional DJ 

This film is a perfect time capsule of the ’90s and the new york party scene circuit. As far as independent cinema. It’s a mainstream story. It was a surprise hit that was even turned into a disastrous sitcom starring Christine Taylor. The sitcom couldn’t catch the magic of the film nor the charisma of Parker Posey. ‘As her performance in this film is star-making.


This is the film that has made me a life Long fan of Ms. Posey. It introduced me to her and unfortunately, she has rarely gotten a role that lets her shine as bright as she does here. It’s a star-making role and Ms. Posey is excellent in the lead. She is funny Perfect pitch and comic timing. There really is no reason she is not a world-class star by now. Many other actresses have gotten famous with lesser material. If only she was a comedian or a strictly comedic actress.


She would probably be at the top of her game by now, But alas she is a real actress able to do comedy and drama in one quick swoop. This is a movie that can’t help but put a smile on your face.

Not a fairy tale even though she has a prince in the form of a falafel vendor. He does not sweep her off her feet to take care of her, but he does support her. This is after all a tale of empowerment. A woman’s film a guy could stand to watch.

I can’t say enough good things about this movie. Which would still be good, not great without parker posey in it but together they are dynamite. It’s kismet. The role was meant for her. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing it. Like Reese Witherspoon in LEGALLY BLONDE and Heath Ledger in THE DARK KNIGHT.


I remember seeing this film the same day as seeing THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF 2 GIRLS IN LOVE. I only decided to watch this film on a whim since so many people had gotten tickets to see it. My Cousin said we should since she was interested in seeing it too so we snuck in. I was pleasantly surprised. it was a breath of fresh air and eye-opening in the way to entertain and get laughs on a low budget. I enjoyed it more than the film we had just watched.


I think that day cemented not only my love of indie cinema but knowing that I wanted to be a part of it somehow.


This movie has the spirit of the story The Little engine that could. The story is slight, but through the characters more than the situations it makes an impact.


It’s a rated R film but really should be rated PG-13 Due to language partial nudity and drug use.


A MUST SEE


GRADE: A

SOUND OF METAL (2020)

Directed by: Darius Marder
Written by: Darius Marder & Abraham Marder
Story By: Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance
Cinematography: Daniel Bouquet 
Editor: Mikkel E.G. Nielsen 

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Matthieu Amalric, Lauren Ridloff, Chelsea Lee

A heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.


The audience experiences the fear of his hearing loss as well as his disorientation at learning how to communicate itself In The deaf and rehab community that he is part of 

This is felt so much by the end it barely feels like they are actors and what we are watching is mroe a documentary or real life 

While experiencing this it is a learning g experience for us both and once we seem to get into the groove of things. The film and the lead character shakes it up. Somewhat as a necessity as it seems that is how he lives his life. The film seems to move Ali g the same way but completely naturalistic. So that we are always thrown off also. Which keeps things interesting but never quite at peace. Even in the more tranquil scenes.

In the end he learns that what he had might. It has been worth it as once he has truly

Found a community that actually accepts him. He rejects them To a certain degree to get back his former life that was rebellious but was fitting into a certain kind of normal. So that even as a punk he kind of sells Out for normalcy and love and kind of shoots himself in the foot as the world he once knew moves on without him. 

That while he has changed for the better so had his girlfriend and what he desired to be with her ends up not totally being worth it. As coming. Back into her life kind of makes her go back to the times when she was unstable and causes relapses even though they saved one another.

Riz Ahmed totally owns this role and is or. If the better performances seen in 2020 he is strong as his character is forever unsettled. As even when he is at peace he never stops and slows down enough to appreciate it and look towards the future.

Olivera Cooke is almost unrecognizable in her supporting yet pivotal role. She serves as the light at the end of the tunnel. As in the beginning, she is his desperate half. Soon as his disability comes to the forefront it’s interesting how the roles kind of change and she has to be a caretaker as he slowly and angrily unravels. She is his peace.

The film is a tragedy as it leaves the ending ambiguous but all that he has done to survive to a certain degree isn’t worth it and he has burned too many bridges to go back 

How the film came to be was that director Derek cut originally had planned to make a docufiction film starring a real-life couple in a band going through the same situation and while the film was in post-production the film never quite hit completion to satisfaction.  Writer-director Darius was so moved by the story he was asked and given permission to work it in any way he wanted to after having worked with Derek as a screenwriter in the movie THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES. It does have vibes of his style.

This film has a devastating and honest beauty to it. 

Grade: B+

187 (ONE EIGHT SEVEN) (1997)

Directed By: Kevin Reynolds
Written By: Scott Yagemann
Cinematography: Ericson Core
Editor: Stephen Semel

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, John Heard, Kelly Rowan, Clifton Collins Jr., Karina Arroyave, Tony Plana, Lobo Sebastian, Jack Kehler, Jonah Rooney, Method Man, Richard Riehle, Antwon Tanner 

15 months after being stabbed 9 times by a student at work as a high school teacher in NYC, Mr. Garfield is working in LA as a substitute teacher come full-time. He refuses to be a victim anymore.


This is the story of a man, a teacher pushed over the line. A vigilante tale that shows the bloody aftermath. Rather then it just solving everything. That revenge can make some things worse m. As there will always be someone else to take the place of the initial problem. 

It seems in the end all this was meant to teach his tormentors enemies a lesson. One way or another. To make characters who were actually willing to see past all of this and understand this is not a lifestyle.

By the end even in death, there seem to be everlasting enemies.

The film seems to want to make a point but by the end. The lesson seems kind of empty 

The film seems to have a dry and saturated style and film style. That keeps things interesting and vivid. At times it makes the look seem all the More desperate and offers a kind of stuck-in-the-dumps look for the character’s surroundings.

The film shows not all the Villains are criminals but also the so-called do-gooders. It plays it’s morality like a modern-day western. Where once the hero has let the villains get to him that he behaves like them he has been infected with their propensity towards violence and menace. While trying to show that some hope can grow in the middle of nihilism.

Though this is more of a character study with Star Samuel L. Jackson in the starring role. One of his first. It also is a character study of two characters bound to clash. As each raises the stakes against one another.

This also allows him to be an orator and raise his voice which is one of his strengths as an actor.

Thigh the film is filmed and treated more as a thriller. Most of the time it speaks more through emotions and moods rather than physical. 

This is one of the first movies where Samuel L. Jackson is in the leading roles. Which was one of the reasons at the time that inspired me to see it In Theaters on opening weekend. Where I ended up loving the style of the film but by the end felt mildly disappointed.

Here his character is ambivalent about the danger he faces from his students before he is actually attacked by one. He decides to relocate to what looks like another rundown urban school. Where things are on at first and even has a kind of blossoming friendship/romance until she sees his scars so that rejection eats at him couples with threatening and menaces at school all over again. Triggers him and when the principal is mroe screwed of being sued then protecting his staff. He feels that he so left with only one other option. 

The film also offers Karina Arroyave one of the biggest roles of her career. As most do her career before this film she had been playing small roles in these types of films where an educator makes a difference. (LEAN ON ME, STAND AND DELIVER) in smaller roles. Here she gets a string vulnerable role where she gets to make a mark as one of the mroe innocent characters. Where her character is treated mroe like property of the gang in a more sexual way. (This might be why as she in real life is older than her character but still looks young. Why she got the role instead of someone who might have been age-appropriate.)  In this battle fo wills between the teacher and Clifton Collins Jr. (in only the second I had seen him in a film) 

I remember him from his first role in THE STONED AGE and then an about-face in this film.  so just him  showing range in his first roles so early was impressive. As soon he would be all over the place in different roles though usually Criminals. Though none ever felt the same as the last. 

He has had a long career, sometimes he can be bland as in light it up where you expect him to do more as it I was one fo the roles he can do easily and bring Charisma maybe not his fault maybe the script or director’s fault 

One of the big calling cards of the movie’s promotion was the casting of rapper Method Man in the film. At the time he was the hot new rapper part of the Wu-Tang Clan at the time. Here he has a small cameo role in the film. The same thing happened when he was cast in the film COPLAND.

The last act of the film that is based around the movie THE DEER HUNTER. Is truly bonkers even as it tries to be run of the mill.

As this is a film that you can easily write off as simplistic or one-note as just another Vigilante thriller but the film is much more interested in the characters, motivations, guilt, and morality behind their actions and decisions.

This was also director Kevin Reynolds follow-up film to WATERWORLD. Where obviously he was trying to make a much smaller and more dramatic film. 

In The end, this comes off as the Los Angeles version of a street movie and a skewered look at the teacher who makes a difference genre. Showing more the dangers they face in the day today. 

Grade: C+

THE OFFENCE (1973)

Directed By: Sidney Lumet
Written By: John Hopkins
Based on the play “THE STORY OF YOURS” by: John Hopkins
Cinematography: Gerry Fisher
Editor: John Victor Smith

Cast: Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Vivien Merchant, Ian Bannen, Derek Newark, Ronald Radd

A burnt-out British police detective finally snaps whilst interrogating a suspected child molester.


This is obviously based on a stage play as a good portion of Sidney Lumet films are. He finds interesting ways to open the play up for the film. Making the Non-Dialogue scenes just as enriching as the dialogue-filled ones. 

The film is a tight expenditure that lets you come up for breath at first but as it goes along it begins to pull you under 

As usual Sean Connery does best when working with director Sidney Lumet and some of the few times he ever lets himself be vulnerable on screen. Here he is just filled with raw emotions spilling out all over the place. 

This feels more natural for all involved next to the movie THE HILL. Though less tortuous.

How he goes from Being the investigator and soon the roles are reversed after an act of violence due to suppressed anger finally exploding out 

Watching basically a man have a mental breakdown throughout the film. This is the case that breaks him and learns of what the job has done to his psyche the things he has seen and witnessed. It keeps the film riveting. 

While he takes out all of his rage and anger but under a moral code. Where at his breaking point his mind might be just as warped as those who he investigates. As after all these years being witness to the aftermath of crimes and having to psychologically get into the heads of the criminals and suspects, has taken its toll. 

The third act fills in the puzzle where the confrontation actually happened and we only saw the aftermath, after a while, it keeps us on our toes as to whether it is justice or if it is going. Where we suspect especially due to the outrage and constant flashback of thoughts.

The film becomes claustrophobic as it goes along and the noose seems to tighten around the main characters.

Grade: B

WHITEOUT (2009)

Directed By: Dominic Sena 
Written By: Eric Hobber, Jon Hobber & Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes 
Based on the Graphic Novel By: Greg Rucka & Steve Lieber 
Cinematography By: Christopher Soos 
Editor: Martin Hunter 

 Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Columbus Short, Tom Skeritt, Alex O’Loughlan

U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko tracks a killer in Antarctica, as the sun is about to set for six months.


Based on the Graphic Novel of the same name. This film is good as a basic thriller. That seems to be the major problem of the film. You have seen all of this before the basic storyline with its twists and turns only this time the deadline is set to solve it because there is a winter storm approaching. Also, it’s setting in freezing Antarctica as it’s location set’s it apart. Those are really the only things that set the film apart from the many thrillers you have seen by now that start and begin the same way. It’s no one in particular fault.


The director knows what he is doing in fact I actually like his other films KALIFORNIA and SWORDFISH (Yes I like SWORDFISH I’m not ashamed)


I think one of the things I find amazing is that it took 4 Screenwriters to write this. It seems like a film made by a committee. Like the film could have been original but it seems like anything that strayed too far was cut out. It feels like this film was made to appeal to any market without being offensive.


Kate Beckinsle is good though she is so beautiful it is hard to take your eyes off of her. It is a quality that makes it hard for her in films as you suspend disbelief at her playing non-glamorous roles. Originally Reese Witherspoon was first attached to the role when it was being planned but dropped out and producer Joel Silver originally wanted Kate Beckinsale. So when Resse Dropped out he got who he wanted to.


I never read the graphic novel so I don’t know how faithful it stays to the source material. I hope it is better than what appears here. I had some hopes for the film as a film where a female is a protagonist in a thriller and the authority figure. Where the subject matter has nothing really to do with putting her in sexual situations as many thrillers do.


The film just seems like a wasted opportunity. No wonder the studio kept it on a shelf for two years then barely released it. As even after watching it. It feels easily forgettable.

GRADE C-

BELLY (1998)

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Written & Directed By: Hype Williams 
Story By: Nas, Hype Williams & Anthony Bodden 
Director Of Photography: Malik Hassan Sayeed 
Edited By: David Leonard 

Cast: Nas, DMX, T-Boz, Method Man, Power, Tyrin Turner, Taral Hicks, Frank Vincent, Kurt Loder


Tommy Brown and his friend Sincere are gangsters who have learned how to make a good living by dealing drugs and pulling armed robberies. Tommy and Sincere have been able to move out of the ghetto in Queens where they were raised and relocate to an upscale section of Manhattan; they would seem to have it made, but both realize that their lives are headed toward a dead end. Sincere begins getting in touch with his African roots and tries to convince his girlfriend Tionne that they should emigrate to the Motherland, while Tommy has a religious awakening and joins the Nation of Islam. 

The film seems to have a grand vision, but a small story and limited budget. The film feels like essentially a ninety-minute rap music video. A bad one. This might have been the film that started the saying “all style no substance”. Whereas there is no denying hype Williams has tremendous talent as a director. He has unbelievably rich saturated visuals inventive angles and shots. but as a writer, he leaves a lot to be desired. 

If that wasn’t bad enough it is hard to believe it took three people to come up with the barely-there story line. Were they just sitting around playing video games together and in between the levels they wrote down a idea. After three days this is what they came up with. After all, while watching this film I got confused by the plot, some characters, and their motivations that just either disappear or make no sense at all. Like a pop-art film or a 90’s version of an Andy Warhol film. It looks beautiful the visuals are rich and eye-popping, but everything else is bad. It’s like a supermodel great to look at, but not very deep or much to say. 

The film seems to glamorize all things notorious If this film is remembered at all is that it is a nostalgic look at a time in hip hop. One of the few that actually made it into theaters. It involves many popular rappers at the time starring in the film together. It can be seen as a 90’s blaxploitation hood movie as it more exploits stereotypes, violence, and the nihilism of the street-life. While at the end tries to go out on a redemptive positive note. This film is just depressing to experience no real positivity at all when there is some or at least some type of message. It is soon given short shrift and forgotten by the next scene. 

You can see the director’s ideas but while having crystal clear clarity with his visuals. He seems not to know entirely how to express his thoughts in the story. The most inventive thing in this movie was having frank Vincent. a man who usually plays mobsters or villains here is playing a government agent his appearance in this film is always incomprehensible. You never get a good look at him but you recognize the voice. So you know he is there. While director Hype Williams lives up to his first name with this film proves to be a visual stylist coming from the music video world he seems to need to learn how a story works for longer than five minutes and maintain themes, motivation, and story. He is a director I would have liked to see given another chance make a film all the wiser and see the results as I believe he could do it. There are rich colors off-kilter but defining looks and styles for each character. The ever-present fish-eyed lens camera shots a favorite of the director. 

The plot is two friends who are drug dealers come up with a major supplier but they trespass on another dealer’s property. DMX Then has to do an assassination for the supplier, for his protection. But the man DMX kills is a protected made man. So they come after all of them. Their supplier is killed first in a scene ripped off from most rappers’ favorite film: Scarface. DMX makes a deal with the government to stay out of jail and to protect him. But he must kill a powerful black minister. Meanwhile, Nas tries to survive the streets while planning to run away with his share of the money to the safe motherland that is modern-day Africa. Exactly!!! 

DMX plays his role believably so much that he got more acting work after this. He stays memorable in the role. He truly inhabits his character with a menacing viciousness. While Nas gives a horrible performance. He seems not to be able to really act. It seems that the same thing that works for Nas as a rapper. His image as a thug prophet works with his monotone delivery showing no emotion because nothing can affect him works against him as an actor. When everything is about emotion and reaction. 

The actresses in this film are integral to the story but are barely given any real characters to play or many scenes to be in. Along the way, there is one subject that is touched upon that I found interesting. DMX’s girlfriend is a gold-digger who he openly cheats on but she is happy as long as she has the finer things in life. Then the cops raid the place she lives while hiding the drugs at her place. So she gets locked up for possession and doesn’t rat on him taking the rap for her man. Who she knows doesn’t love her nor makes any attempt to get her out. Maybe if that was explored a little more it could have been interesting. Then a little less of the gun battles and flossing of expensive things. This film would have been better more intriguing than a wannabe gangster epic of minuscule proportions which if they would have done their homework they would have noticed do have gun battles and flashy things but are also well-plotted and very dialogue-driven things again this movie seriously lacks. 

At the very least. we could have seen Nas in Africa (Which is an interesting movie title) so we can see Mr. Williams illuminate it. I have to say the acting runs from horrible to passable no good or outstanding performances. 

The ladies can act, so can method man DMX is sort of playing a version of himself and Nas just looks like he couldn’t have been bothered to put up an effort. to show the logic of this film. In one scene a guy from the criminal crew is beaten by DMX and he swears his revenge on Nas. Even though he had nothing to do with him being beat. 

GRADE: D+

THE WHISTLERS (2019)

Written & Directed By: Corneliu Porumboiu
Cinematography: Tudor Mircea
Editor: Roxana Szel

Cast: Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Martin, Rodica Lazar, Augustif Villaronga, Sabin Tembrea, Istvan Teglas, Cristobel Pinto, Antonio Buil 

Not everything is as it seems for Cristi, a policeman who plays both sides of the law. Embarking with the beautiful Gilda on a high-stakes heist, both will have to navigate the twists and turns of corruption, treachery, and deception.


A calm and composed film noir that is a slow burn throughout. That involves quite a bit of players even though it starts out more intimate. It grows with each new detail.

It’s a neo-noir that is not as comedic as presented within the trailers. While it has dark humor it is more a thriller. 

The film plays out non-linear at first but is presented and put together with different timelines as we flash forward, back, and then sometimes current time. Told lien this for the audience to get more intrigued and keep the story moving forward in a way that adheres to what the audience is familiar with. 

The film comes alive in the third act with twists and turns that allow for some surprises, but still never quite speeds along or leaves details by the wayside.

The film does offer a femme fatale abs one hell of a seduction scene. Even though other than that scene. It never quite explains why the two characters bond enough to overly look out for one another, especially her considering her position. 

The film offers more of a character study of sorts. Even though with so many characters it offers quirk in the language being studied abs used for this caper. Though seems more there to explore the situation and relationships more than being integral to the plot overall.

Though at first the film might be light shearers but have a tough attitude. It soon shows itself to be violent and dangerous also. Where no one Is truly safe or can be completely trusted.

As everyone has their own agenda here including the so-called good guys. While the film offers style it also seems at times to be overly artistic for such a simple premise.

Though we never quite get any answers for why the lead is so tightly wound or got so involved in the first place. As for its many introductions, the film seems only interested in the lead mostly. Who only really changes more out of circumstances. Not organically or emotionally compelled to.

The film is a great jaw-dropping modern interpretation of femme fatale in the form of actress Catrinel Martin still some questions or connection and plans of characters.

She has a great and strong entrance. Where she is illustrious and iconic, but through the rest of the film, he becomes more of a background character losing the Great strength she was shown as having only to become revitalized by the end. 

Definitely an inspired film. Not the action Oriented kind. Yet it keeps you invested.

Grade: B

SIDE EFFECTS (2013)

Directed By: Steven Soderbergh 
Written By: Scott Z. Burns
Cinematography: Steven Soderbergh (As Peter Andrews) 
Editor: Steven Soderbergh (As Mary Ann Bernard)

Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw, Polly Draper, Ann Dowd, Laila Robins, Mamie Gummer, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Marin Ireland 

A young woman’s world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.


Following up his pandemic movie CONTAGION that was a bigger offering with a smaller tale might seem like a step-down but it’s a movie that packs a wallop even though you don’t expect it. Unfortunately by the end, you don’t feel anything. It’s certainly entertaining but it comes off more as a smart artistic popcorn movie. It does its job but at this point movie, fans might be expecting more or stronger From director Soderbergh from his journeyman auteur reputation. This might be what the film suffers from the most

It’s a movie where things happen but you never quite feel anything it is quite clinical to watch and experience. Even as the twists happen you should care somewhat 

It’s a claustrophobic tale of what happens in all Those high-rise apartments of the haves. As most of the characters come from money and are privileged. Though Channing Tatum heavily billed again he is in the movie very little. 

It feels like it should be bigger even though it focuses more on a singular story 

Each character is smart except for the early victim. So that is refreshing as the film comes more alive when Jude law’s character is more or less fighting for professional and personal survival and all the twists are coming to light, Just as the third act is his plan taking place 

It’s a tale you would expect to be told bigger and more extravagant but with Soderbergh’s style, it focuses more singularly on the plot dynamics allowing room for the character but more or less being to the point and less indulgent. While the film. Still has style and is more technical 

It’s a bigger film from him but still a smaller story though this film feels less experimental than some of his others. This one doesn’t call attention to itself as much and has a stronger script and story than usual.

It allows the mystery of Rooney Mara’s character vacant looks and silence to shape her character and situations. As again when a character uses it to her advantage what people believe about her by her silence and looks. What identity and beliefs they put onto her that might be totally opposite from who she is. They put a character onto her when she is an actual person. She ends up Being the ultimate muse in an unartistic story. One that is mroe made up of successful characters in the medical profession. An unexpected feels Fatale if sorts 

Showing how easy it is for even the most rational of us to fall into a belief of certain fantasies that take the form of supposed responsible thought. Though managed to do it without making it a tale of the weakness of falling into temptation and paying the price for it.

The film seems more like it will be a psychological drama. When actually it will be more of a character-based thriller. This works for this film as it is unexpected and you don’t see it coming. Just as the film involves sex it isn’t very erotic or sexy. 

This is one of the more commercial and straightforward films of Steven Soderbergh. As this one whole cerebral and technical doesn’t feel like an experiment it seems like a smaller project for him that is almost like a short story for him instead of a novel. Which is how full his films can sometimes be. Either with a story or the number of stars usually, cast. 

This is the most likable performance I have found so far of Jude Law’s career. Where he gets to be innocent yet shrewd and the only way out for him is through his Intelligence. Not his looks, wit, or tortured soul. What also helps is that here the performance is mroe natural and effortless. No baggage. As here he plays more of a person, not a character or type. No different look or wardrobe to hide behind. Here he and his performance are stripped down. 

You go into this movie looking for a twist or expecting a thriller and that is what you get but the film plays the more technical side than the emotional. Though it is shockingly mean-spirited and more psychologically ruthless than expected. 

It also shows the passing of time as in the past Catherine Zeta-Jones would be the seducer and audiences would have loved to see her in a same-sex relationship and love scenes. Here as she plays just another victim. It might remind some audience members of the passage of time. Times have certainly changed.

In the end, this is a film that seems simple but then grabs you and takes you through a maze. That is stronger than it appears to be. A throwback to films aimed at adults that wants you to think and figure them out. 

Grade: B- 

KISS OF DEATH (1995)

Directed By: Barbet Schroeder
Written By: Richard Price
Based on the Original Screenplay “KISS OF DEATH” By: Ben Hecht & Charles Lederer
Based on a story By Eleazar Lipsky
Cinematography: Luciano Tovolli
Editor: Lee Percy

Cast: David Caruso, Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames, Stanley Tucci, Helen Hunt, Michael Rapaport, Kathryn Erbe, Jay O. Sanders, Hope Davis, Anthony Heald, Philip Baker Hall, Paul Calderon, Anne Meara, John Costelloe 

A reformed convict goes undercover with the help of an angry detective to ensnare a psychotic mobster.


When I saw the trailer I knew I had to see this film as soon as possible. I had seen it on the show COMING ATTRACTIONS on the E! Channel when it used to be more devoted to film and film lovers. Not so much gossip. This trailer had me hypnotized so much I taped it and would watch it over and over again. Keep in mind this was before the internet. 

One of my favorite trailers at the time. The cast was seductive so I ended up watching it on opening weekend. 

I know this is a remake but i haven’t seen the original. Which unknown was noteworthy for Richard Widmark’s giggling hitman. There are no signs of that here. Even though Nicolas Cage steals the show as the villain here. Though that might be due to the script trying to make him come off as memorable as Richard Widmark.

This film is supposed to be a thriller though most of the time plays like a dark comedy. One that is central To New York’s character types. Even as it has More thriller elements and framework. 

Everybody seems to speak way too loudly throughout and every sentence or word seems to end and be with an exclamation point. 

This is a modern remake for the 1990’s with what would end up being an all-star cast in the middle of their careers and some just been naming their hot streaks. 

The film seems to borrow part of the cast of PULP FICTION. As the dialogue also tries to be loose and have criminals have odd yet funny conversations emblematic of that  film. It even has a few actors from that movie in it’s cast but it has an overall style of cool. A violent cool with bits of dark comedy thrown in. Where it again always feels like the characters are playing types more than real human beings for the most part.

This movie was supposed to help make a movie star out of David Caruso after being a lifelong character actor and being on a hit Television show. Which pulled him to fame and leaving that show after two seasons to be a movie star. Here is a role he was used to just not being at the center of attention.

Nicolas Cage here is off-kilter as always. Muscle bound and hilarious. As he plays an over the top mobster’s son who Caruso is trying to take down or more like the cops are forcing him to. He is murderous yet childlike at instances 

In the end the most despicable character and true villain of the film is Michael Rappaport who causes all this trouble and is taken down early and quickly.

While the film tries to feel realistic. You are always aware that it is a production. As it even feels thoroughly always like cinema. Never like any kind of reality or relatable. 

For all the violence and tough talk by the end it seems a little too cut and dry. Where it ends up feeling lightweight by the end. No matter how far it has taken us. 

GRADE: B- 

INLAND EMPIRE (2006)

Edited, Cinematography, Written & Directed By: David Lynch

Cast: Laura Dern, Justin Theroux, Grace Zabriskie, Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton, Diane Ladd, Julia Ormand, Mary Steenburgen, Masiumi Max, Amanda Foreman, Terry Crews, Jordan Ladd, Ian Abercrombie, Cameron Daddo, Jerry Stahl, Nastassja Kinski

A blonde actress is preparing for her biggest role yet, but when she finds herself falling for her co-star, she realizes that her life is beginning to mimic the fictional film that they’re shooting. Adding to her confusion is the revelation that the current film is a remake of a doomed Polish production, 47, which was never finished due to an unspeakable tragedy.


I’m sorry I didn’t know what was going on half the time watching this film. It seems a film that is made more to test your interpretation or at least seems more like an art installation as film. Though truthfully might be the pinnacle and thesis of David Lynch’s filmography. Throwing any linear content out the window practically.

This seems more a film born out of his imagination and a kind of statement for him. As after all Supposedly This movie started with a phone call Laura Dern received from David Lynch asking if she wanted to come and experiment with him. That started the journey as the movie was filmed over several years and both of this films stars admit they don’t understand or what is going on in the film.

This movie makes every David Lynch movie from BLUE VELVET to MULLHOLLAND DRIVE look mainstream. This film is dark at times yet continuously feels unfocused for the audience while David Lynch directs with a sure hand. he does all the work here on his own for the most part it seems behind the scenes. So this is more his total creation. This is like an abstract painting brought to life on film. I think even if you are a David Lynch an this will test your boundaries of love for him.

In this movie there are scenes and shots of such beauty that only last a limited amount of time soon the film becomes tedious because it’s over two hours long. Now yes Andy Warhol would have loved it and called it a masterpiece and so will a lot of pretentious art film fans. Maybe it is. Maybe It’s just an abstract artist wavelength.

Now Mr. Lynch is a talented filmmaker, even in it’s moody overtones. Each scene breathes with life and opportunities that could take to scene and movie into parallel choices but it seems to just soldier on. Just like there are scenes where the film gets very interesting and seems to move only to be cut short abruptly and disappear.

I did really admire  the camerawork and the end credits sequence as well as some scenes and Laura Dern’s performance as she is in the whole film and has to somewhat figure out what is going on as well as be surprised as she goes along throughout. Her performance I can understand. Because she gives it her all and she is challenged at each turn and gives all she can at each turn. Bringing some kind of understanding and emotion into all of this darkness.

The reasons you think but for the fluid camera movement and music selection. This is a should have been movie especially with the ending. I believe we look for meaning or at least a linear story in David Lynch films and when he doesn’t give it to us. We try to read too much into it and maybe give little things that are non sensical more meaning that it has. It could be just a glitch but these directors who don’t speak on their films really are hiding the secret because audiences praise them as geniuses and all it is is a mistake plain and simple or something that was forgotten looked on or couldn’t afford to fix. But the audience feels the director is being subtle or that audiences just don’t get it. Maybe we do more than you but you believing yourself to be superior and needing to have something to believe in or influenced by your artistic friends taste or maybe I’m an idiot who knows this isn’t a philosophy class. I just wanted to state my beliefs.

This is one of those films I believe film lovers and fans of lynch need to see. Though I can say definitely watch it after you have seen all of his other films and can’t say you will enjoy it. Though there is nothing like it and it’s a movie I will say I will most likely only watch once. From what I can understand is that Laura Dern is playing in a movie that is a remake of cursed early black and white film. From the line between reality and film and film within a film are blurred. Sorry I didn’t like it but I do like other Lynch movies just not this one.

GRADE: C-