“The Killing Joke” on IMDB
Action/Crime, 116 Minutes, 2016
Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s 1988 graphic novel, “The Killing Joke” was considered the quintessential Joker story of the modern era. It became the definitive origin story of the character and starkly highlighted the depths of his depravity. More importantly, it delved more deeply than ever before into the dark, codependent relationship between Batman and the Joker. It remains, nearly thirty years later, one of the most influential stories in all of comics.
“The Cobblestone Corridor” on IMDB
Crime/Mystery, 25 Minutes, 2015
[This review was completed at the request of the filmmaker. No other consideration was given.]
Written, Directed, Produced, Edited and Starring Erik C. Bloomquist [IMDB], this is an enjoyable experiment in genre storytelling. Set in a posh New England prep school (thus the “cobblestones”) it follows Archer, the hard-boiled, no-nonsense editor of the school newspaper in his single-minded pursuit of the truth.
“Now You See Me” on IMDB
Crime/Mystery, 115 Minutes, 2013
I like magic. Good magic, that is. I have an appreciation for the craft, science, dedication and sheer, brazen chutzpah that it takes to do magic well. Magicians spend nearly unbelievable amounts of time perfecting what most people would consider meaningless skills. Which is exactly why they get away with so much: people can’t believe anybody would spend so much time for apparently so little return.
“American Hustle” on IMDB
Crime/Drama, 138 Minutes, 2013
Con men Irving (Christian Bale [IMDB] playing the tubby, balding veteran) and Sydney (Amy Adams [IMDB] and her breasts as his brilliant protege) comfortably execute precise, just small-enough scores on people that probably deserve it. When they’re pinched by FBI agent Richie (Bradley Cooper [IMDB]), they’re forced to work with him to bring down some local hustlers.
“Freaky Deaky” on IMDB
Crime/Comedy, 90 Minutes, 2012
Set in 1974, this feels like someone’s attempt to create a syndicated show for my grandmother. Billy Burke [IMDB] plays Chris Mankowski, a no-nonsense, right-before-rules cop with an attitude. He’s so manly they had to put it right there in his name! Formerly on the bomb squad, he had some troubles and is now riding a desk in the sex crimes unit.
“In Bruges” on IMDB
Drama/Comedy, 107 Minutes, 2008
Ken (Brendan Gleeson [IMDB]) and his protegé Ray (Colin Farrell [IMDB]) are hit men. When Ray’s first job goes horribly pear-shaped, Harry (Ralph Fiennes [IMDB]), their viscious boss, sends them to Bruges, Belgium to get them out of the way for a while. The worldly Ken looks forward to some down time in a quiet town filled with classic art, medieval architecture and fine food. The immature Ray can’t stand the thought of it.
“The Perfect Host” on IMDB
Thriller, 93 Minutes, 2010
Taking a break from gorging on the summer blockbusters we missed, we gave this little indie darling a try. The decision was based solely on David Hyde Pierce’s [IMDB] participation – his very first starring role, no less. We had no preconceptions and little idea what to expect.
“All Superheroes Must Die” on IMDB
Thriller, 78 Minutes, 2011
We’re going to give this one a lot of leeway for the sheer audacity of attempting to produce a superhero flick with a budget in the dozens of dollars. Instead of, like everybody else, producing a shitty, derivative zombie movie these guys at least tried something different. They get credit up front for that no matter what.
“Taken 2” on IMDB
Thriller, 92 Minutes, 2012
The original “Taken” [IMDB] was something of an oddity among action movies. In a genre split between biceps and explosions or massive conspiracies and lone-wolf operatives it was a simpler, smaller more intimate movie. Yes, Liam Neeson’s [IMDB] Bryan Mills commanded resources and skills out of scope for most but the story was universal: somebody took his daughter and he was going to get her back. I enjoyed it immensely.
“Get the Gringo” on IMDB
Action, 96 Minutes, 2012:
[Hurricane Sandy is currently causing all kinds of hell for all kinds of people. Here in Scranton, PA we’ve still got power and Internet (at least for now). We’re going to watch movies until either Sandy puts a stop to it or we can actually leave the house.]