Do The Right Thing

This review was originally written for French Toast Sunday as part of my USA Road Trip series. It was also nominated for me to watch by Ryan McNeil of The Matinee, and is my submission for August for his Blind Spot series.

Brooklyn, 1989. On a particularly sweltering summer’s day, racial tensions simmer amongst the everyday lives of the inhabitants of a single street. Central to everything is Mookie (Spike Lee), a young, black, pizza deliveryman, working for the Italian-American Sal’s Pizzeria, run by Sal (Danny Aiello). As the day progresses and the temperature increases, everything threatens to boil over, and does so in a life-changing way for all involved.bugginout Continue reading

King of New York

Christopher Walken landed a rare starring role in Abel Ferrara’s 1990 thriller as NY crime lord Frank White, recently released from prison and patrolling the rain lashed, neon-lit underbelly of his city. With the aid of his crew, Frank sets out to fix the city that has fallen apart in his absence, whilst retaining his criminal status, something cops Wesley Snipes and David Caruso rather object to. Also featuring Lawrence Fishburne, casting a shadow over everyone else’s performance as Walken’s right hand man and overall manic chicken-eatin’ mother fucker Jimmy Jump, and small roles from Steve Buscemi and Lost’s Harold Perrineau, if anything this film focuses too much on the policemen, and would have benefitted greatly from more Walken (as indeed could every film). He is the titular king, the film is his story, yet he seems to be a lesser character in it, though he is the most interesting as he disposes of the competition that have been running his city into the ground, and walks coolly and calmly away from a kill. I don’t think the ending did him justice either.

Choose life 6/10

The Usual Suspects

 Is it OK to ruin the Usual Suspects yet? Doesn’t anyone who cares who the ending already? Its 16 years old! Is it not another Sixth Sense or Empire Strikes Back, where the big reveal has either been witnessed firsthand or spoiled by someone else? Miraculously, my film watching companion had not seen or heard the ending to Bryan Singer’s sophomore film, and he’d have throttled me had I revealed it (Marcos hates spoilers, and will punch you in the head) so no, it would seem there are some out there yet to discover the fate of the five criminals bought in for a line-up, nor do they know the identity of their tormentor, the mythical Keyser Soze, so I’ll try and tread carefully. The cons in question – Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro and a career-launching, Oscar winning Kevin Spacey – have been brought together on a bogus line-up, and use their time in incarceration to plan a robbery, bus is it all a part of a bigger plan?
Told in flashback by Spacey’s weaselly over talkative ‘Verbal’ Kint, the tale begins with the death of Byrne’s Keaton, a crooked cop gone straight and the closest the gang has to a leader, after what appears to be a drug deal gone wrong. Chazz Palminteri, the cop to whom Kint tells his story, has his own theories as to what went wrong, but his opinions, and those of the viewer, get in the way of seeing the truth, ably assisted by Christopher McQuarrie’s deservedly Oscar winning ever twisting screenplay.
The cast are exceptional, particularly the scene stealing del Toro and Pete Postlethwaite at stoic lawyer Kobayashi, but it is the fine balance between tightly plotted twists and turns and sporadic bursts of action and violence that plants this firmly on the choose film list, regardless of whether you know the ending.
Choose film 9/10