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Film Reviews > thriller

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    • crime
    • film noir
    • neo noir
    • thriller
    | Sept. 3, 2017, 4:17 p.m.
    Chinatown wasn’t the first neo-noir, but it remains the strongest. It and many other films embraced the noir by challenging its central tenets. Jake Gittes matches wits with a femme fatale, he corners the guilty man and announces the particulars of the murder, but where Humphrey Bogart and Dick Powell succeeded, he failed. Blood Simple belongs to this tradition. After delivering a sage treatise on the nature of justice in Texas, M. Emmet Walsh is discovered trailing a pair of illicit lovers within the first five minutes of screen time. I think back on Bogart in The
    • comedy
    • crime
    • thriller
    | Aug. 26, 2017, 12:04 p.m.
    The white picket fences and horse ranches beckoned Sterling Hayden in the Asphalt Jungle. Salvation from the cruel grime of city life. Those picket fences and horse farms make a brief appearance in Blue Ruin. Although they show up in the middle of the feature, and instead of offering a glimpse of the promised land it’s only a brief peak at sanity. Dwight (Macon Blair) has a fresh corpse in the trunk, the second Cleland boy he’s killed since returning to his hometown to avenge the murder of his parents. The first was Wade Cleland. News of
    • action
    • crime
    • thriller
    | Jan. 30, 2018, 4:15 p.m.
    Ah... to be trapped in a decades-long crime spiral. Violence increasing every day and the authorities are powerless to prevent it. Music teacher Andrew Norris returns to teaching after a brief absence, taking a job at an inner city school. He’s shocked to find metal detectors for the students and that his fellow faculty are carrying guns for protection. It’s soon clear that violence and lawlessness are endemic in the halls. Student gangs fight for real estate to deal drugs, while coddled by feckless school administrators and ignored by police who won’t act on any crime without a witness.
    • action
    • thriller
    | Jan. 14, 2018, 2:03 p.m.
    Perhaps the greatest television movie ever produced, which for the standards of the day meant the most cinematic. So much so that Duel demanded a theater release. For at least a decade as of this writing television has become the refuge of prestige projects, where serious filmmaking thrives and an exciting laboratory to experiment with narrative structure and form. In the days of Duel however, TV was at best a thankless stepping stone to film work. Dennis Weaver plays the lead and perhaps more difficult than fending off a homicidal truck driver he is tasked with carrying
    • horror
    • slasher
    • thriller
    | Oct. 31, 2016, 10:17 p.m.
    What exactly makes a classic horror film? Does it have to be scary? Halloween is cited as the movie that kicked off the Slasher sub-genre that dominated horror for more than a decade. I recently sat in for a revival screening in a packed house. Obviously Halloween did something right. It was a massive hit in its original run and continued to grow its audience over that span, placing it in refined company regardless of the genre. I’ve listened to interviews from the initial screenings where theatergoers not yet familiar with the rules of slasher pictures yelled at
    • drama
    • thriller
    | July 7, 2016, 1:42 a.m.
    Hitchcock famously heaped much of the failure of I Confess on star Montgomery Clift, the self serious method acting, the boozing that showed up in the glazed over eyes. They’d never make another picture together. However Clift is the best thing in I Confess as a young priest who finds the refugee he helped place in the community has committed a murder. Since he discovers this through a confessional he is bound by faith not to divulge either the details of the crime or that the confession happened at all. There’s only the minimum of explanation as to the
    • action
    • crime
    • thriller
    | May 5, 2018, 7:28 p.m.
    Every era had its superhumans. If we’re currently in the arc of the superheros, the 80’s had its impervious action heros, the mid twentieth century had its sharp shooting cowboys, and the dawning decades of the twentieth century had their master criminals and vigilantes. The Germans had Dr. Mabuse. The Americans had the Shadow. The French had their Fantomas, Lupin, and Judex. The particulars are often similar. The resourceful detective every bit the foil of the protagonist, the masked figure attacking the elite whether seeking justice or just their wealth. Judex is pure vigilante, operating in an
    • crime
    • low budget
    • thriller
    | Oct. 28, 2017, 9:56 p.m.
    While mute seamstress Thana (Zoe Lund) makes her way home, a burglar is breaking into her apartment. As if to reassure the audience, his fumbling through the belongings is intercut with shots of dead meat, neatly stacked in a supermarket that Thana peruses. On her way home, groceries in tow, Thana is pulled into an alley by a masked man (director Abel Ferrara, one upping Dario Argento). He slings Thana over a trash can and quickly rapes her, whispering creepy nothings in her ear. He promises they’ll see each other again as he runs off. <span
    • drama
    • horror
    • thriller
    | March 27, 2017, 12:12 a.m.
    Secret chambers were once solely the purview of gothic castles. In the mystery thrillers of pre-WWII it was the mansions of the monied elites that hid a few extra rooms. Western society lost its taste for stories involving the damned aristocracy and the evil upper class. Monsters these days tend to come from the people, but the love for the clandestine villain’s lair remains strong. Now our everyman-monsters maintain villainous lairs every bit as fatal as those of their well-off ancestors, even if built on a budget from Home Depot materials. Lurking inside the cookie cutter, McMansion exteriors, modern monsters
    • horror
    • thriller
    | Nov. 26, 2017, 10:17 p.m.
    Wait Until Dark may be a conventional thriller and suspense picture if not for Alan Arkin as Roat. What kind of person puts on costumes to trick a blind woman? It’s not like Roat was unfamiliar with Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn). He’s staked out her basement apartment for days and learned her routine and that of her photographer husband. So confident in this when interviewing his potential accomplices for the first time, he meets them in Hendrix’s apartment. Though appearing to arrive late, Roat’s already planted a body in the closet. At first he registers as ridiculous,
    • drama
    • thriller
    | Jan. 7, 2018, 3:41 p.m.
    Films produced in the heat of a fraught political moment have little use for nuance. The good guys are pure and noble, the villains almost caricatures of evil. Soliloquies to the morals of the ideal society are often delivered in verse. The function is unapologetic propaganda. While this heart on the sleeve approach can play as corniness to those outside of the conflict and the moment, such expressions are still interesting in an anthropological sense. Which gods and heroes will the storytellers hold up as examples of this particular ideal society. Western film too produced many such films, particularly in