1997 Movie Review: LA CONFIDENTIAL, 1997

 

LA CONFIDENTIAL MOVIE POSTER
LA CONFIDENTIAL, 1997
Movie Reviews

Directed by Curtis Hanson
Starring: Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell, Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger
Review by Brent Randall

SYNOPSIS:

The corruption existing within Los Angeles police force of the 1950s is exposed in this crime thriller.

WON 2 OSCARS – Best Supporting Actress (Basinger), Best Adapted Screenplay

REVIEW:

From the opening scene to the final credits, L.A. Confidential keeps you on the edge of your seat as it weaves through the murky waters of the Los Angeles police force. Set in the 1950s, the movie opens with discussing the wonders of Hollywood by showing a series of shots of the beach, the grand strand, and Hollywood, and how life in L.A. is better than anywhere on the planet, much less America, and the Los Angeles Police Department is the pride and joy of the City of Angels. After about five minutes of praising the city with a marvelous voice over from Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito), Hudgens shifts gears and begins shedding light on the mobster, Mickey Cohen (Paul Guilfoyle), and how Cohen is pushing heroine through the city and causing chaos in a clean and pristine town.

At first, it seems that the police force is dead set on snuffing out the crime with the arrest of Mickey Cohen in the opening sequence with their brilliant detectives, Bud White (Russell Crowe), Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), and Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell). However, it is merely an illusion, and the corruption within the famous police department is quickly exposed. As the viewer, you get the sense early, all is not right within when a brawl breaks out between the inmates and the policeman on Christmas Eve. Personally, I thought it was brilliant to stage the fight on Christmas Eve, a time known for peace and joy, and the fight is one of the most vicious, realistic fights I have seen in recent films. Shortly after the fight, the event that sends everything in motion is a horrific set of murders that occurred at the infamous “Night Owl” restaurant. A blood bath that took place over a failed robbery attempt in Captain Smith’s account. Captain Smith, who is always trying to get justice, in his own words, “swiftly and merciless”, pins the murders on three young black men who had previous records . Smith feels no one would raise too many questions regarding these suspects, and they could shut the case for good.

However, Bud White and Ed Exley, while not choosing to work together for most of the film, know something stinks about The Night Owl investigation, and desire to find some air freshener to eliminate the “smell.” They employ the help of Detective Jack Vincennes, which is brilliantly performed by Kevin Spacey, and Lynn Bracken, a high class hooker, played by Kim Basinger in her best performance ever, in my opinion. We quickly learn that Bud White believes in justice, cares for women, has a major temper, and is loyal to the department. Exley, on the other hand, is a kiss up, but also believes in justice. Throughout the movie, it is easy to see why these two do not get along, but one quickly learns they have much more in common than originally thought, and they both prove to be honest and men of integrity. Russell Crowe (playing Bud White) and Guy Pearce (playing Ed Exley) both give brilliant performances, and makes one realize the line between right and wrong is very, very, complicated and sometimes justice is found on both sides of this proverbial line.

Bud White is probably, in my opinion, Crowe’s best roll to date. Not to take away anything from the movie Gladiator, but in L.A. Confidential, his character is not always right, he is not always wrong, but his quest for justice and righteousness gives the viewer a real sense of hope. Bud White is a character, as a human being, I can relate to. He is real, honest, has major flaws, but genuinely seeks the good in all and more importantly, the good within himself.

In fact, Bud White and the other character is what makes this film great. The story line is solid, but as the film progresses, you find yourself loving some, hating others, and not sure how to take the rest. Some represent the good in the world, Bud White. Others represent the evil in the world, Captain Dudley Smith. Some represent the people who look out for themselves as in Jack Vincennes, and then there is Lynn Bracken. In my opinion, she represents the hope we all have as humans for a brighter future, and that hope along with her brilliant acting might be why she took home the best supporting actress Oscar.

From scene to scene, and character to character, this film keeps probing deeper and deeper into corruption and darkness in search of hope, justice, and peace. It grips your the viewer’s emotions and takes you on a roller coaster ride. The acting is brilliant, and the stars (Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger -just to name a few) are even brighter. It is a film that makes you want to search within yourself, question your own morality, and makes people realize that some of the worst enemies are the ones who appear to be friends, and vice versa. While it did not win best picture, (it was nominated and in my opinion, should have won!) it definitely qualifies as one of the best crime thrillers of all time.

 

LA CONFIDENTIAL, 1997

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Film Review: THE MUMMY (USA 2017)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

the mummyAn ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Director: Alex Kurtzman
Writers: David Koepp (screenplay), Christopher McQuarrie (screenplay)
Stars: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe

Review by Gilbert Seah

When THE MUMMY’s opening credits begin, the words Dark Universe appears instead of the studio name Universal on the company logo. THE MUMMY launches the studio’s Dark Universe, a shared cinematic universe of classic movie monsters.

Tom Cruise takes over the leading role from Brendan Fraser and Dwayne Johnson in this MUMMY re-boot that does not do any justice to the franchise. Cruise plays rebel soldier Nick Morton who steals ancient artifacts, while dressed like Indiana Jones. This runs him into trouble with an old Egyptian curse that the film spends a whole 15 minutes of opening time explaining.

It all starts way back when, when really bad Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Algerian actress, Sofia Boutella) murders her father and infant brother to usurp the throne. As if this is not bad enough, she consorts with some demon that can give her everlasting life. But she is caught and mummified as punishment with her body banished from Egypt. The silly plot has the audience believe that she is put in a tomb and buried underneath London, England where she is dug up when building new tunnels for London trains, thus unleasing some curse. That is THE MUMMY’s humour. If that is not enough silliness, the demon later possesses Nick Morton when Nick Morton attempts to save the day. Tom Cruise as a demon possessed character means Tom Cruise in hyper-active mode.

The tie in of ancient times to modern day activities is laughable. Morton is a soldier in Iraq where the enemy wants their cultural monuments destroyed. The other tie in is the modernization of London’s trains resulting is uncovering the tombs.
The climax of the film requires the director to show that the possessed Nick Morton resurrecting Jenny (Annabelle Wallis from THE TUDORS) instead of the evil princess. This segment is done in the most sloppy way ever.

At a production cost of $125 million, THE MUMMY is a complete mess. The story, pacing, acting (Cruise desperately trying to show he still has the chops), dialogue are all less than memorable. Director Kurtzman who has never made a blockbuster special effects movie deserves some credit for two well executed action segments. The plane crash action set-up, after Morton fires bullets in a plane causing it to crash due to cabin de-pressurization is well-executed with bodies and debris flying all around. The other scene, an underwater segment showing the undead skeletons swimming after Morton is impressive and stunning.

The final ending is totally incoherent. The script requires the Russell Crowe character to explain what is happening. The next scene has Nick Morton and partner riding their horses in the desert with a voiceover promising another sequel soon in the making. What is all this about with the horses, Morton’s possession and evil returning and some saying that it takes a monster to kill a monster?

At least four more monster movie reboots have already been planned for Universal’s Dark Universe including BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE INVISIBLE MAN, VAN HELSING and THE WOLF MAN. Judging from this horrid first entry, the fate of the films might follow the equally horrid DC’s extended universe films MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, SUICIDE SQUAD and the mediocre WONDER WOMAN. It looks like the mummy’s curse desperately needs to be broken.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjHgzkQM2Sg

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Happy Birthday: Russell Crowe

russellcrowe.jpgHappy Birthday actor Russell Crowe

Born: Russell Ira Crowe
April 7, 1964 in Wellington, New Zealand

Oscar Winner for Best Actor in 2000 (Gladiator)

Read reviews of the best of the actor:

LA CONFIDENTIALLA Confidential
1997
dir. Curtis Hanson
starring
Crowe
Guy Pearce
Kevin Spacey

THE INSIDERThe Insider
1999
dir. Michael Mann
starring
Crowe
Al Pacino

Gladiator
2000
dir. Ridley Scott
starring
Crowe
Joaquin Phoenix

MASTER AND COMMANDERMASTER AND COMMANDER: The Far Side of the World
2003
dir. Peter Weir
Starring
Crowe
Paul Bettany

A GOOD YEARA Good Year
2006
dir. Ridley Scott
Starring
Russell Crowe
Marion Cotillard

310 to YUMA3:10 to Yuma
2007
dir. James Mangold
Starring
Crowe
Christian Bale

American Gangster
2007
dir. Scott
Starring
Crowe
Denzel Washington

Body of LiesBody of Lies
2008
dir. Scott
Starring
Leonardo DiCaprio
Crowe

STATE OF PLAY Movie PosterState of Play
2009
dir. Kevin Macdonald
Starring
Crowe
Ben Affleck

ROBIN HOOD Movie PosterRobin Hood
dir. Ridley Scott
Stars
Russell Crowe
Cate Blanchett

THE NEXT THREE DAYSTHE NEXT THREE DAYS
dir. Paul Haggis
Stars:
Russell Crowe
Elizabeth Banks

MOVIE POSTERLES MISERABLES
dir. Tom Hooper

Stars:
Hugh Jackman
Russell Crowe

MOVIE POSTERTHE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS
2012
dir. RZA
Stars:
Russell Crowe
Cung Le

MOVIE POSTERBROKEN CITY
2013
dir. Allen Hughes
Stars:
Mark Wahlberg
Russell Crowe

MOVIE POSTERWINTER’S TALE
2014
dir. Akiva Goldsman
Stars:
Colin Farrell
Jessica Brown Findlay

MOVIE POSTERMAN OF STEEL
2013
dir. Zack Snyder
Stars:
Henry Cavill
Russell Crowe

MOVIE POSTERTHE QUICK AND THE DEAD
1995
dir. Sam Raimi
Stars:
Leonardo DiCaprio
Gene Hackman

MOVIE POSTERNOAH
2014
dir. Darren Aronofsky
Stars:
Jennifer Connelly
Emma Watson