Features
Contact
AOL IM

2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film
Irreversible

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

Members' Marquees

Critical Contacts

Lobby Reading

The Video Store

Reel Resources

The Blog Bijou

-213
-Admit One
-Artistic Delusions
-Belligerent Bunny's Bad Movie Shrine
-Beware of Blog
-The Brain Drain
Biancolo Notes
-The Big Ticket
-Bitter Cinema
-Black & White World
-Bull Durham's Hot Corner
-Brewed Fresh Daily
-Camille's Film Journal
-Chiragdshah
-The Chutry Experiment
-Cineblog
-Cineblog (II)
-Cine Club
-Cinecultist
-Cinegraphic.Net: The Avante-Garde Film and Video Blog
-Cinema 24
-CinemaMinima
-Cinema News
-Il Cinema Secondo (Italian)
-Cineaste (Russian)
-Cinematix
-Cinema Toast
-Cinetrix
-Columbina
-Concentrated Nonsense
-Confessions of an Indie Filmmaker
-Cult Movies I Dare You to Watch
-Cutting to the Chase
Cybersam
-Cynthia Rockwell's Waiting Room
-The Daily Despair
-The Daily Digest
-Day for Night
-Delta Sierra Arts
-Dinky's Docket
-Distorting the Medium
-Donald Melanson On Movies
-Electric Movies
-Fade In: Blog
-Feeling Listless
-Filmfilter (German)
-Filmgurlland
-FilmingtonBlog
-Filmtagebuch (German)
-Film Talk
-Five Easy Pieces
-Fluxblog
-Frank Booth
-Fringe
-A Girl and A Gun
-Glazed Donuts
-Greg.org
-GreenCine Daily
-Harlequin Knights
-Harrylimetheme
-He Loved Him Some Movies
-The Hobo Reviews
-Hot Buttered Death
-Iggy's Movie Review Weblog
-Iguano Film Blog
-In Development
-Indigoblog
-Ionarts
-Ishbadiddle
-Japanese Films' Journal
-Joe Sixpack's Film Blog
-Joe's Weblog & Film Project News
-Junk for Code
-Kumari's Movie Blog
-Lights Out Films
-Like Anna Karina's Sweater (Filmbrain)
-Listen Missy
-Loebrich.org
-Magnolia Girl
-Marley's Ghost
-Media Yenta
-Michael I. Trent
-Moovees.com
-Moov Goog
-Motime Like the Present
-MovieBlog
-Movie Boy
-Movie Criticism For the Retarded
-A Movie Diary
-The Movie Generation
-Moviehead
-The Movie Marketing Blog
-Movie Retard
-The Movie Review
-MovieTawk
-Moving Pictures
-Nando's Blog
-Netflix Fan
-Odeon
-Onethumbsideways
-Or Kill Me
-Out of Ambit
-Out of Focus
-Paolo - Cinema's Radio Weblog (Italian)
-Pigs and Battleships
-Plot Kicks In
-Pop Culture Junkies
-Popthoughts
-The Projector
-Qwipster's Movie Reviews
-Rashomon
-Rawbrick.Net
-Reel Reviews (Podcast)
-Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
-Salocin.com
-SciFiDaily
-The Screening Room
-Screen Watcher
-Shikaku
-Short and Sweet
-The Silver Screen
-Solipsist
-Stinky Cinema
-Sunset Blvd
-Tagline: A Movie Weblog
Talking Pictures
Tea for One
-Tofuhut
-Tom Vick's Asian Cinema Blog
-Trailer Park
-Truly Bad Films
Waste of Tape
-Wayne's Movie Blog
Whippin Picadilly
Wittgenstein's Bunnies
-Yay! Movies!
McBain Recommends
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Kill Bill vol 2
Shroom Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Brothers
-Head On
-Moolade
Joker Recommends
-Top 20 List
-House of Flying Daggers
-The Aviator
-Bad Education
Yun-Fat Recommends
-Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
-Los Muertos
-Tropical Malady
Allyn Recommends
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Songs from the Second Floor
Phyrephox Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Design for Living (Lubitsch, 1933)
-War of the Worlds
-Howl's Moving Castle
Melisb Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Return
-Spirited Away
-Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring
Wardpet Recommends
-Finding Nemo
-Man on the Train
-28 Days Later
Lorne Recommends
-21 Grams
-Cold Mountain
-Lost in Translation
Merlot Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Man on the Train
-Safe Conduct
-The Statement
Whitney Recommends
-Femme Fatale
-Gangs of New York
-Grand Illusion
Sydhe Recommends
-In America
-Looney Tunes: Back In Action
-Whale Rider
Copywright Recommends
Top 20 List
-Flowers of Shanghai
-Road to Perdition
-Topsy-Turvy
Stennie Recommends
Top 20 List
-A Matter of Life and Death
-Ossessione
-Sideways
Rodney Recommends
Top 20 List
-Chicago
-The Pianist
-Talk to Her
Jeff Recommends
-Dial M for Murder
-The Game
-Star Wars Saga
Lady Wakasa Recommends
-Dracula: Page from a Virgin's Diary
-Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler
-The Last Laugh
Steve Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
Jenny Recommends
-Mean Girls
-Super Size Me
-The Warriors
Jason Recommends
Top 20 List
-Old Boy
-Million Dollar Baby
-Head On
Lons Recommends
-Before Sunset
-The Incredibles
-Sideways

Powered by Blogger Pro™



links open windows

(c)2002 Design by Blogscapes.com



The Blog:
Thursday, February 20, 2003
 

Dark Blue



Los Angeles doesn't hold a candle to New York when it comes to celebrations. Did you see the Millennium blow-out in Times Square compared to the pathetic non-chalance of L.A.'s little light show? Unfortunately, New York takes the cake in disasters too. The City of Angels has nothing to compare to 9/11, nothing even in the ballpark. But those who were here (so I've heard) were forever affected by the brutality and shock of seeing the city -- and South Central in particular -- burn to the ground after the 1992 verdict that acquitted the 4 cops accused of beating Rodney King.

That the riots were inspired by city-wide racism and corruption took a back seat, all of a sudden, to the tragedy that black-owned businesses were being looted, and citizens out to take advantage of lawless streets were bruising innocents when their rage should have been directed more efficiently towards social change. Ron Shelton's new film Dark Blue, his first job as a hired gun, takes a story (about the five days leading up to these riots) by L.A. Confidential's James Ellroy through re-writes by Training Day's David Ayer and filters it through the eyes of a director known for his staggering character meltdowns. Like Woody Harrelson's failed dunking attempts that lose him money and the love of his life, and like Kevin Costner's psychotic 12-shot 18th hole at the U.S. Open, Kurt Russell has a meltdown sequence at the climax of a third act which saves Dark Blue from being the disappointment it almost was.

On its way towards another Ellroy tirade against the demonic, monstrously evil L.A.P.D., the first half of the story constructs a cliched, comically cruel and corrupt cop (how's that for alliteration, huh?) in Brendan Gleeson (countered by an angelic but I've-made-mistakes-too black cop in Ving Rhames), a pointless love interest played by the overly serious, icy cold Michael Michele, and some cheesy dialogue that wouldn't be out of place in a soap opera. It's a bit trying, to say the least, getting through these initial plot points because we've seen this so many times before. But then the verdict gets read and all hell breaks loose.

That the Rodney King riots were staged over three blocks nowhere near Florence & Normandie and shot over only two days -- including a balls-out car chase and a dozen shocking acts of violence -- is hard to believe given the skill with which Shelton directs this chaos: the location looks real, the damage looks authentic, and through it all Kurt Russell is acting his ass off. The character of Eldon Perry that Russell creates is a thick jumble of contradictions: he's suave, he's a drunk, he's a racist, he's mean, he's funny, and he's smart. We don't want to ever spend 5 minutes in a room with him, but we desperately want him to climb out of the Hell he's created around him. And to see him literally charging through a scene of lawless destruction sparked by the very corruption he helped to foster is a powerful cinematic moment. Then we're taken to his big speech, the meltdown scene that's written quite well and acted superbly.

The themes of the film are worn on its striped, embroidered sleeve, and often the script gets preachy with its sanctimonious moralizing. Lolita Davidovich appears in the film primarily because Ron Shelton is the director, but she gets maybe two scenes and a half-assed subplot. Scott Speedman gets more screen time than anyone but Russell, but you can barely remember him after the lights fade up. However, a few tiny performers shine: as Gleeson's two dirty informants, rapper Kurupt and veteran trigger-man Dash Mihok (Romeo + Juliet, The Thin Red Line) are funny and scary; and in one brief scene, a law clerk named Dina (shit, I can't remember the actress' name and she isn't listed on IMDb or the film's official site) almost acts Russell off the screen. And in the end, we're reminded that America is full of cities which have been damaged by violence that has forced us to re-think our attitudes towards the government that protects us and the residents that live next to us. On the East Coast there's New York, a more vibrant and tumultuous city whose innocence has been eulogized brilliantly by Spike Lee in 25th Hour (which, by the way, is also scored by Dark Blue's Terence Blanchard, a trumpeter with a knack for mournful and soulful melodies that never distract from the images), and on the West Coast there's Los Angeles, a bright and random descendant of the wild west that might never be as purely besieged by the viral infestations of the police force in the way that James Ellroy would have us believe, but thanks to a few bold strokes by Shelton and Russell, we get a glimpse, however clumsy, of a real city at war with itself in Dark Blue.