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The Crew * Adrian Vitoria (2008)

I expected another British crime action comedy, but “The Crew” does not have the popular videoclip style of similar films. “The Crew” portrays the organised crime scene in Liverpool. The group mostly shown does not do drugs, but they rob trucks. They have a problem with the upcoming drugs/junkies groups and the more serious crime of Servians and Irishmen. Ged (the leader of one of the groups) wants to make his final hit and retreat, but of course things do not go as planned. “The Crew” is not as funny as the films of Guy Ritchie for example and certainly not as hip, but it is a descent film showing the dangers of earning money the criminal way. It has some (too) violent outbursts, but for the larger part “The Crew” is just a film with a descent story.

Loft * Erik van Looy (2008)

Loft“Loft” is a Flemish film about five friends who buy a “loft” (luxery appartment) where they can cheat on their wives. One day a dead body lays in bed. It takes a bit before the film starts to get rolling. The acting is not too convincing, but this gets better. The middle part of the film has a good story and a nice atmosphere, but at the end there are two shifts in the plot that makes all that came before no longer credible. Too bad, because with a few successfull police series, the Belgians have shown that they can write interesting stories and create a series that appeals to a large audience. “Loft” could have come in that tradition, but besides the good middle part, this is not really a good film.

L’Instinct De Mort * Jean-François Richet (2008)

I ran into this film as one of two DVDs together being one film with the title “Public Enemy Number One”, but the originals both have their own title, this one (“Instinct Of Death”) and “L’Ennemi Public n°1”. What you get is the life of Jacques Mesrine, a violent, but charismatic criminal who uses the media to boost his ego. With nice picture-in-picture montage at times, a story develops in which Vincent Cassel gives the kind of part he is good at. Mesrine mostly robs banks without making much victims, but when it comes to police, he has little mercy. He is caught a couple of times, but escapes which adds to his fame. Travelling all over the world without changing his name, making him famous all over the globe. Prison regimes are obviously not the same everywhere. The films is mostly a drama, but also has some amusing humour and violent outbursts. Not a very special film, but a nice watch nonetheless.

L’Ennemi Public n°1 * Jean-François Richet (2008)

The second part of “Public Enemy Number One” simply continues where the first part left off. Jacques Mesrine continues to play with the media, gets caught a few times more and escapes again, he runs into a new woman and meets his new partner. Also Mesrine starts to develop (semi-)political ideas and begins to see himself as a revolutionary. Nothing much changes compared the the first part, but the picture-in-picture effect is no longer used. The film ends the way the first part started. Also the second part is enjoyable, but I wonder why the whole story is stretched over two films.

Pusher * Nicolas Winding Refn (1996)

PusherMuch older than I thought. There are even parts II (2004) and 3 (2005) and an American remake (2007) of this film. Well… it is not that good. We see the drug-scene of København (Copenhagen, Denmark) with a “pusher”, his clients, suppliers, etc. Of course things do not go as planned, so we get a crime film with some action and humour. The film is mostly funny for its weird characters and the story is not even that bad for a film in this genre.

RocknRolla * Guy Ritchie (2008)

RocknRollaApparently I have not seen half of the films of Guy Ritchie, but I do know that “RocknRolla” is of the same breed as “Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch”: a flashy crime comedy. “RocknRolla” is very typical for this kind of film. A maffioso-like rapid montaged intro, hip small crooks unknowingly dealing with the big guys, action and a lot of humour. There is nothing new about “RocknRolla”, even the story is almost the same as of “Lock Stock…”. Fortunately Ritchie has mixed the standard ingredients well and “RocknRolla” became an entertaining film.

Miller’s Crossing * Joel Coen (1990)

Miller's CrossingYesterday I was at the lookal arthouse DVD rental and had a peek at the Coen shelf. There are some titles that I saw before I started making film reviews, but there are also some titles that I have not seen yet. So… a comedy or a crime? “Miller’s Crossing” is the brothers Coen third film, a crime like the earlier “Blood Simple” (1984). A nice 50’ies setting with a story about competing maffia groups, making a real Coen-film with violent outbursts and dark humour. Great acting, great stages/surroundings and a story that turns and twists like a small creek through the forest. Should you have missed it until now too: watch it.

L4yer Cake * Matthew Vaughn (2004)

L4yer CakeThis film was in the box together with “Snatch” that I bough recently. “Layer Cake” is not exactly the same kind of film though. The story is more like “51th State“, but “Layer Cake” is less of a comedy. A businessman happens to have cocaine as his business and just when he things he handles things perfectly and starts to think about retirement, things no longer go as planned. Fast montage, popular music, the thick English layer makes this film quite typical for the genre. It is by no means a boring film though, but nothing special either.

No Country For Old Men * Ethan & Joel Coen (2007)

No Country For Old MenHere we have another highly acclaimed film of the brothers Coen. I like the film, but I personally do not think it is a masterpiece. It actually reminds me a bit too much of their own film “Fargo” (1996 not reviewed), which is a masterpiece. Well, maybe “No Country…” is too, but the novelty is gone.
A man accidentally runs into the results of a drug-related shootout in the desert and even finds the money. He thinks he is cunning enough to keep that money out of the hands of the criminals who undoubtely come to look for it. He did not really count on the arrival of the stonecold killer Chigurh. “No Country…” is a violent cat-and-mouse film with less humour than “Fargo” and in which the police wonder where society is heading. The acting is great, the surroundings fitting and the filming beautiful. Indeed “No Country…” is a very good film and even though the story is good too, I keep thinking back to “Fargo” way too often.

Twisted * Philip Kaufman * 2004

TwistedThis film was on TV yesterday. I saw Ashley Judd and Samuel L. Jackson, had a peek on text-tv (I don’t have a TV-guide) and saw “Kaufman” as director (which turns out to be another Kaufman than I first thought), so I decided to have a try. There are several films with the same title, but this one is about a young, female detective (Judd) who just got promoted to homicide. In her free time, she is an unrestrained woman, picking up strangers to have sex with. Her first case immediately looks like a serial killer and Jessica and her partner Mike (Andy Garcia) go to investigate the case.
“Twisted” is a somewhat standard serial killer thriller with a few shifts of suspect and a not too surprising end. The acting is good (but Judd looks a bit too sweet for her part) and so is the atmosphere, so for a tv-film, not a bad surprise.