Stephen Dorff

Judgment Night

Year:1993
Directed By:Stephen Hopkins
Written By: Lewis Colick and Jere Cunningham

RYAN’S REVIEW

A couple of years ago Amber and I took a trip to Chicago. We drove there and along the way our borrowed GPS device lead us into a really seedy neighborhood in the slums outside the city. Fortunately for us it was early, because I would not want to see the people who wandered out of those houses after noon. We had just bought our first brand new car as a couple and happened to be driving it when we found ourselves in this place. I remember how bizarre it felt and I remember thinking about this movie. It was after that trip and once we returned that I sought out the movie and added it to the collection.

This movie is one I remember watching in my teens and really enjoying. It’s an interesting and riveting story about people who find themselves in a different part of the world and in a danger they have never know before. Denis Leary gives the performance of a lifetime, possibly playing one of the coolest bad guys ever. He is ruthless, he is intimidating with his wit, and he does not take any shit from anybody. My favorite part of the film is when he offers the projects gangster money and the gangster tries to tell him if he wants his money he will take it. Leary responds “no you can’t take my money,” with a look and tone that cuts like a knife. The gangster does not challenge the statement, and I don’t know that anybody in the world would have. Of course Leary is enhanced as a gangster by having a really badass number two man played by Peter Greene. Greene has not done enough over the years. That guy has a look that was made to be on camera. His face is so villainous-looking and he has a voice that invokes intimidation. He should have been in more movies and those movies would have been better because of his presence. He is old now, and based on his short role in the pilot episode of Justified a few years ago I can attest his best years are behind him. He looks like shit now and that is unfortunate, but the guy had his moments. It’s a shame his best role came in The Mask, but he had a few parts that he did really well in. This one and The Usual Suspects were very good for him, and although it was a stupid movie, he was great in Under Siege 2 as well, but like I said the guy was born to play the bad guy.

As for the good guys/victims in this movie I think they were a great ensemble but some were better than others. Cuba Gooding Jr, Jeremy Piven, and Stephen Dorff were all three great but I felt this was one of the worst roles Emilio Estevez ever played. I find myself so often wondering what happened to Emilio and how he fails to find work while his psychotic brother stumbles into success at every turn. This movie may have given me an answer though. Emilio just isn’t a very good actor and this role is specifically not one he can pull off. Emilio isn’t a convincing tough guy. He doesn’t really play a tough guy in this movie but more so a settled down dad who used to be tough. He doesn’t pull it off well; he should have stuck to playing the lovable Disney hockey coach. I’ve always been a fan of Jeremy Piven but I like him better when he isn’t playing the kind of weasel character we see him play in this movie. He is still good despite that. Cuba has a great crazy look that he has exercised in many of his films and uses it frequently as this movie progresses. Stephen Dorff rounds up this group and plays his part well too.

I think this is a cool movie and would encourage anybody to check it out. If for no other reason you should see this movie to witness Denis Leary in one of his finest roles. I think he has been good in many movies but this one gives him the spotlight and he runs away with it. This movie doesn’t show up on TV very often but if you have the opportunity to see I think it is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I was actually really surprised how much I paid attention to this movie. I got sucked in and found myself anticipating the end. I usually find more than not that movies like this are cheesy. I shouldn’t think like that, I could be missing out on other good movies. This one is worth watching. It is surprisingly good.

judgmenetnight

The poster surprised me too. I usually don’t really like too many posters that try to fit too many people on it, as I may have mentioned before. Cough. Having said that, I think it works here. The bad guy is all dimmed out and is hiding behind all of the other objects in the poster. The typography is tight and simple. Overall I think it’s a good poster for this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Julia & Julia(2009)

Advertisements

Felon

Year: 2008
Directed By: Ric Roman Waugh
Written By: Ric Roman Waugh

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie was brought to me one day by a co-worker on a burned disc and I took it without having any idea what it was about. I watched it on my own with little expectations about something I had never heard of and was really surprised at how good the movie turned out to be. This movie has a very real feel to it and the main character is in a situation many of us can see ourselves in if certain circumstances took place. It’s a fascinating movie that offers a look into a world most normal people know nothing about. This movie looks a little low-budget at first but it draws you in and the story hits home on such a personal level. If nothing else, this is an exceptional prison movie because no raping is involved.

When I saw this movie for the first time we were dealing with a lot of break-ins at work and I got to speak to the police regularly during that time. I distinctly remember thinking that Stephen Dorff‘s character should have hit the criminal while he was in his house and not out on the lawn. We have weird laws in this country where people go to jail for defending their homes and criminals are protected. The innocent find themselves defenseless at the hands of criminals when it turns out there is little the police are allowed to do. It’s part of “the pussification of America” no doubt. This movie hits home hard because it is something we can all relate to. Who of us wouldn’t defend our homes and run the risk of accidentally killing the criminal we were victimized by? Then having to face the world of prison that most normal people know nothing about. Prison is a different world all together and most of us can’t even hope to know how to get along inside. There are many little pseudo-societies like this that many of us take for granted. Hobo camps being another example, it must be a different kind of world in that place that most of us can never understand and know nothing about. It’s a place for people that have been forgotten by most and many don’t give them any thought at all.

Part of this movie is loosely based off of actual events that went on in a California prison in the early 90s, but I haven’t done any research into what actually went on there. If any reader does know by all means leave a comment and let me know about it. This movie was written and directed by long time Hollywood stuntman Ric Roman Waugh. Obviously he learned a thing or two about film making during his time working on set, because he put together a great film. Stephen Dorff played his part well but for some reason I keep finding myself just feeling grateful the part went to someone other than Jason Statham. Val Kilmer did extensive research on his role and I think that shows in his performance. I have always like Kilmer, it’s because I grew up idolizing Madmartigan. I was a big 24 fan and for a time Marisol Nichols was part of the show. So when I first saw this film I thought it was cool to see her topless, although it was kind of an uncomfortable scene. That is just the shameless pervert inside talking though, the scene really hits home hard for women that find themselves in that position.

Overall I think this is a movie that is more than worth your time. I took a chance on it and was pleasantly surprised; I doubt I will be alone in that experience.  This is a movie that hits home for all of us and we can all relate to it in one way or another. What I find most interesting about it is that Amber was real reluctant to watch it but when we finally watched it together she got sucked in and seemed to really enjoy it.  This is a good movie and you should check it out if you have the opportunity.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I had never seen this movie and I was a little apprehensive about watching it for some reason. I honestly thought it was going to be a cliche movie about doing jail time. I was wrong and I really actually liked this movie a lot. The key to this movie being good is that we can all relate to it. What sends him to prison could actually happen to all of us. That’s what makes this movie so relatable. For me, when a person does something to be in jail I believe that they deserve to be there, but in this instance the man accidentally killed an intruder in the heat of the moment of trying to catch him. They then send him to prison for three years where he gets caught up in prison politics.

I recommend watching this movie if you have never seen it. It can hold your attention the entire time and give you a sense of what jail might be like for a non criminal type like the majority of us out here.

NEXT MOVIE: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Blade

Year: 1998
Directed By: Stephen Norrington
Written By: David S. Goyer

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie was made early during a popular trend in good action movies of the time.  Martial Arts, techno music, and stylish black clothing.  It’s a formula that I enjoy greatly and still do, it worked for The Matrix very well but even before then it was done here, with Blade. This movie was also made before vampires became so mainstream, before Twilight and True Blood. I think we are all a little sick of vampires these days and for good reason but they have long since had a place in our culture.  Movies like Interview With A Vampire, The Lost Boys, and this film’ just to name a few really good ones. There will never be any shortage of vampire films coming out of Hollywood.

Blade was also ahead of the game when it came to comic book films.  Blade is a character in the Marvel universe and this came out years before both Spiderman and X-Men. This movie was made in 1998, shortly after Batman & Robin had tanked the Batman franchise, it wasn’t really a good time for the genre.  This movie proved how cool comic book films could be, and while it wasn’t a financial success at first it slowly became a cult hit as time went on.

David S. Goyer wrote the script for this film so of course it is awesome, one of his many good films as far as I am concerned.  Wesley Snipes was also very enthusiastic about the part and you can see that by his portrayal of the lead character. Wesley Snipes is an utter badass in this movie, slicing and dicing with his ninja sword and drop kicking the shit out of vampires and cops alike.  Stephen Dorff is a vile and sinister foe bent on conquering the human race.  It’s one of his better performances, there was talk briefly of a Deacon Frost spin-off but it never materialized. Kris Kristofferson plays a gruff and tough side kick of sorts to Blade. The only problem I have with this movie is how forced the semi-love story is.  N’Bushe Wright is not bad at all in the movie but her relationship with Blade seems out-of-place and she has no chemistry with Snipes.

This movie is dark and cool, full of fighting, hot women, and violence. This is a rare R rated comic book film and that sets it apart from the others.  It’s more dangerous and more fun.  While I didn’t really dislike either of the sequels to this film I definitely didn’t like them.  Something wasn’t right about them, this film was better made, or maybe the other two were just too different from the one I loved.  This is a great movie and definitely worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Blade. I have seen this movie so many times because Ryan loves it so much. I can never remember that much about it except that Wesley Snipes is in it, he is half vampire and half human, and it was playing one night in high school when I visited Ryan for the first time. I don’t really like this movie, but it is more personal than anything. I know that people love it and it has become a cult classic for people. They don’t make three of them for no reason if nobody likes them. While I appreciate its value, this movie just wasn’t and isn’t my “cup of tea.”

NEXT MOVIE: Blade Runner (1982)