Review: New World

New World is a neo noir from South Korea written and directed by Park Hoon Jeong. Park Hoon Jeong is a writer I have enjoyed before, if you have not seen I Saw The Devil, go do it right now! I will be re-watching that film and posting about it here soon.

This film is based around Jung-Jae Lee’s character as an undercover police officer in the Korean mob. The current mob boss is killed in a shady car accident and a power struggle in the mob begins. The top two candidates to lead the mob are Jeong-min Hwang and Seong-Woong Park. This starts a gang war between the two factions. Our hero’s boss is played by  Min-sik Choi who is the sector chief in charge of bringing down this mafia. We soon find Choi will do anything to gain his own power in this struggle and is maybe a little dirty. This story goes back and forth as we find new alliances and just as you think you know somebody, they will change alliances and who you are rooting for.

The film puts into question where your loyalties should lie. Friendship, family or should you just do your job? Does good and evil come in to the equation? What is good and what is evil in this dark world of crime and violence? This film is an epic gangster film from Korea in the vein of The Godfather or Goodfellas. No, it isn’t in the same class as those two classics, but if you like gangster films, especially those from Asia, you will love this film.

Review: Desperate

Desperate is a B-film from 1947. Anthony Mann Directs and helps with the original story. Of course Mann went on to A films soon after this and created some classics in the noir genre as well as some other Hollywood classics.  I recently reviewed Two O’Clock Courage from Mann which he made 2 years before Desperate and you can see his growth between those two films is petty huge. Though I liked Two O’Clock Courage, Desperate is darker, the story is better and the cinematography is way ahead. There are a couple of scenes in this film that are noir cinematography at its best. The first scene where Burr and his gang is torturing our hero is amazing. The last scene with the chase/gun fight on the stairwell is worth watching the whole film just to for this one.

Our story is a basic noir tale, but it is always worth seeing different takes on it all these years later. Our hero is played by Steve Brodie who has his own truck and is recently married to Audrey Long. He gets a call from a stranger for a last-minute trucking job. He had plans with his wife but can’t pass up the $50 this job will pay.

What he doesn’t know is this is a job where he will be hauling stolen goods for Raymond Burr and his gang of thieves. When he figures out he is on a robbery, he flashes his lights at a police officer. The officer is shot and soon dies by the hand of Burr’s little brother. Our hero pulls the truck away and Burr’s brother falls off the loading dock and is knocked out. Burr’s little brother is caught and charged with murder. Burr is soon on a rampage to free his little brother and frame our hero for the whole job, including the murder of the police officer. Our hero’s sole objective now is to get his wife to safety before Burr can find them. Will he succeed? Will he be able to save himself too? Will Burr and his gang get revenge?

This is a very good B-movie noir and well worth checking out. Fans of Mann will like this film and will want to seet his early work. As per usual Raymond Burr steals the show, this being only his 4th film and his first film noir. This maybe the reason Burr was cast for years to come as the ultimate heavy in film noir. His performance is worth watching this film for as well.

Edward Burns Rescues TNT’s Noir-Tinged ‘Public Morals’ From Cop Drama Cliché

bryancyr:

I really enjoyed the first episode, and it sounds like it is only going to get better. Who caught the pilot and what did you think?

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

Edward Burns knows his stuff. Public Morals, TNT’s gritty new cop drama, takes place in the ’60s (though there are elements of earlier decades as well) and has fun with the dialogue, the costumes, the expensive cars, and the similarities to the multiple familiar noir stories that came before it. It’s not wholly original, but Burns (actor, creator, and occasional director on the series) makes it personal, and largely succeeds.

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Article in Rolling Stone Magazine: ‘Ray Donovan’: How to Get L.A. Noir Right

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A couple of weeks ago I shared an article from Vulture.com titled The Modern Noir Has Atrophied. Though it had some good points one of the main ones was how Season 2 of True Detective has disappointed.

Today Rolling Stone has come out with an article by Rob Sheffield about how great Season 3 of Ray Donovan is and how it has done modern noir right. Here is a link to the full article:

http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/features/ray-donovan-how-to-get-l-a-noir-right-20150827

This is interesting because I have had a few discussions with noir fans talking about how bad season 2 of True Detective is and nobody is talking about Ray Donovan and how good it is. If you haven’t watched Ray Donovan I encourage you to do so. I agree with the above article, I almost stopped watching after Season 1 but fell in love with this show during Season 2 and Season 3 is amazing so far.

I have not seen Season 2 of True Detective yet and will hold judgement until I do, but I am not surprised that it has been a let down given Season 1 was so amazing! Here is a link to my review of Season 1:

http://everythingnoir.com/2015/04/23/re-watching-the-best-of-2014-true-detective-season-1/

Here is a link to the Vulture article I mentioned before:

http://everythingnoir.com/2015/08/11/article-the-modern-noir-has-atrophied/

Re-watching: Revolver

Revolver is a film by Guy Richie made in 2005. So on its 10 year anniversary I decided to take another look at it. We have an ensemble cast of neo noir and gangster regulars revolving around Jason Statham.  Luc Besson also helped Richie in the writing of the film.

This film starts out with Statham getting out of prison and looking for revenge on a casino owner played by Ray Liotta. He goes to the casino and wins a bunch of money. He then gets a business card from a stranger, played by Vincent Pastore, on his way out of the casino. He falls down the stairs for an unknown reason and is soon in the hospital. He finds he has a rare blood disease and is going to die soon.  Vincent Pastore and André Benjamin are business partners who have a proposition for Statham to get revenge before he dies. Along the way we meet Mark Strong playing a hit-man for the mob, and Terence Maynard as Liotta’s right hand man. The story pits Liotta against an Asian mob boss along the way and the story twists and turns through out the film. Nobody is who they seem and every reveal just leaves more questions as we go.

This film has a very neo noir filming style with some interesting camera work through out. It also dives into some psychological subjects I will not get into here, because it may be a bit of a spoiler. This film is entertaining, but not Richie’s best neo noir work. If you are a huge fan of his or Statham you will find this film entertaining. The story will leave you thinking about it and it maybe one of those films that is better on a second viewing.

Short Film Review: Lover’s Leap

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I was contacted by writer/director Jonathan Zuck to take a look at his new short film/music video. So I was lucky enough to get a preview of the 7 minute film a few weeks ago. The clip is dripping in classic noir with tons of shadow play, fedoras, a smokey bar and dark streets. Our lead character is a chain-smoking, heavy drinking, hardboiled detective and of course we have a fiery red-head of a femme fatale. We even have a twist with a downer of an ending told in a classic flashback form!

All this is set to the song Lover’s Leap by Exit 10,a band I have never heard of, but based on this song I will be looking for more of their music.

Check out the full video below:

Hardboiled Wonderland 50 Crime Flick Picks From the 50s

Author Jedidiah Ayres has his list of the 50 best crime films of the 1950’s. There are a lot of great films on this list and a few I haven’t seen yet. Check out the full list using the original movie poster art for each film here:

http://letterboxd.com/jedidiahayres/list/hardboiled-wonderland-50-crime-flick-picks/

And if you missed it, here is a link to his 40 best crime films of the 1940’s:

http://everythingnoir.com/2015/08/19/hardboiled-wonderland-40-crime-flick-picks-from-the-40s/