Archives for posts with tag: james cromwell

Omar: 5 out of 5 stars

So there are some movies that everyone with even a mild interest in film simply HAVE to watch. This movie is one of them. I’ve known for the longest that I needed to watch Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential (1997) yet I continued to put it off while keeping it a closely guarded secret that I had neglected this classic. Last week I finally shed this secret shade of mine. It was my girlfriend’s turn to pick the film to watch and I’m extremely grateful that she picked this one. 

The first thing you’ll notice about this impeccable noir is the stellar cast. The story follows three L.A. detectives played by Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Spacey. Along side these three leading men, Kim Basinger plays the femme fatale (and won an oscar for her performance) and Danny DeVito plays a sleazy reporter. So yeah, stellar cast. As you’d expect with a cast like this, the acting was A1.

Usually this is where I would go into some mild detail on what the story was about but if you know anything about the noir genre you’d know that plot lines are intentionally convoluted and meant to confuse. To try and explain what goes on in this movie would be pointless as it would sound too confusing so just trust me on this one, the story is phenomenal!

To earn the coveted 5 out of 5 perfect rating from me a film must do everything or close to everything exceedingly well and this movie accomplishes that. What draws me in most when it comes to noir films is the art direction. I absolutely love the lighting, the darkness and shadows, the angels, etc. Let me show you some examples of what I’m talking about.

…So anyway, I’m a big fan of how this movie manipulates light to create some awesome atmosphere.

Of all the noir movies I’ve seen, this one is what I would describe as the quintessential noir movie (although I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t watched Chinatown yet). One thing that stood out to me in terms of plot that I enjoyed were the three personalities of the detective characters. I enjoyed seeing three very different types of cops at work and seeing how they all came together and interacted. You have Guy Pearce as the young hotshot who works by the book and doesn’t mind throwing crooked cops under the bus on the pursuit of justice. You then have Kevin Spacey, the sort of witty fame-seeking cop who likes the spotlight and wants to do things the easy way and coast. Finally you have Russell Crowe the savvy veteran who doesn’t hesitate to rough people up, plant evidence, sleep with prostitutes, and more. All of them fit their roles well and did a good job of bringing their characters to life. Oh yeah, the music was  great too!

I agree with Liz that Kim Basinger didn’t blow me away enough for me to understand why she won the best actress award but that has more to do with the fact that I didn’t think her character was all that spectacular. She certainly acted the part extremely well but her character didn’t do enough or have enough screen time for an oscar win.

There really isn’t that much to say beyond that! The movie was amazing and I can see why its so highly regarded, a classic by all means.

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Liz: 5 out of 5 stars

Written and directed by Curtis Hanson, L.A. Confidential (1997) is a neo-noir mystery film based on the book of the same name by James Ellroy (1990). The movie boasts a great cast including Kevin Spacey, my two Australian faves Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce (who were both apparently not well-known at the time, how weird), Kim Basinger (who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for this role), James Cromwell and Danny DeVito. After finally watching movie, I give it 5 out of 5 stars — absolutely loved it from start to finish!

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Quick summary: There are a lot of moving parts to this film so forgive me if I don’t do a good job of this (thank you Wikipedia for some wording help). This movie tells the story of several L.A.P.D. detectives in the 1950s and intersects the investigation of different crimes, mainly a shootout at a diner, police corruption, and the glitz and glam of that Old Hollywood life.

There wasn’t anything that I did not enjoy about this movie. First of all, I just kind of naturally gravitate towards wanting to watch mystery movies, especially those of the noir persuasion. Already hooked. I’m also currently reading the comic series The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker, which this movie heavily reminds me of, GO READ IT!

Second of all, fantastic acting from everyone involved. I have always really liked Guy Pearce since the moment I saw him as the evil dude in The Count of Monte Cristo, and of course as the main character in Memento. His character was also endearing in a way, in that he was the one striving to bring about justice in a LEGAL PROPER manner, despite being surrounded by corrupt officers. I appreciated the contrast between him and the rest of his colleagues. And FOR THE RECORD, if you’ve seen this film you’ll know what I’m referring to — he should keep the glasses, they’re awesome. Russell Crowe also gave a great performance as the violent, much more physical detective who would do anything to get the bad guys. His character is strongly against those who abuse women, and this passion gets almost disturbing for me at times. Last note: While I thought that Kim Basinger’s performance was good as well, I wasn’t quite sure what earned her the Academy Award for Supporting Actress. She didn’t do anything remarkable or impressive for me, and her character almost seemed minor. Oh well.

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Music and story/plot are probably the two most important factors to me in any film, and L.A. Confidential nailed both. Without giving away too much, the mystery that unfolds throughout the film seems complicated and confusing at first, but once everything is figured out, it’s pretty impressive. I particularly love the scene when Russell Crowe comes after Guy Pearce at the police department, ready to tear him apart (lesson: do not sleep with other people’s girls lololol), but they call a truce in order to pursue true justice against the villain. Sound effects were just very appropriate and great supplements to the over-all feel of the movie.

Best of all, the final showdown at the end is possibly one of the best shoot-outs I’ve ever seen. I don’t have very much else to say about that but goodness, it was great.

I just want to note down that I read that this movie was in competition against the mother of all great movies Titanic (lol I know some may disagree BUT WHATEVER) during that year’s movie awards season, so this poor movie didn’t really have much of a chance did it? Shame, I think it did deserve more awards, but what can ya do.

Look out for my upcoming reviews of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Watchmen.