Trespass -1992-

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Directed by Walter Hill. 101 mins.

 Worth my time? Yes. (Watched on DVD)

 Not to be confused with the 2011 Joel Schumacher film of the same title, which you should avoid like a plague wearing Ed Hardy.

 I guess you can’t keep Walter Hill down. After the lame Another 48 Hrs. comes this tight neo-noir that mixes John Carpenter (especially Assault on Precinct 13) with John Singleton. As soon as I saw in the credits that Ry Cooder was back in the mix, my spirits were lifted. Plus, the soundtrack features Sir Mix-a-lot and Gang Starr, so that’s a nice bonus.

 The unity of time and place throughout most of the film adds an extra degree of immediacy and claustrophobia to the already-high tension. The performances range from good to great, and I loved watching tried-and-true character actors descend into a bottomless pit of greed and panic. Bill Paxton is top-notch as usual (One False Move, A Simple Plan, and this would be a killer triple feature). It’s especially nice to see William Sadler in the spotlight since he’s usually relegated to scrappy Shawshank Redemption-style supporting roles.

 The Ices (Both T and Cube) are the perfect adversaries for Paxton and Sadler. One could argue that the way the film portrays its urban drug distribution syndicate – as composed of intelligent, business-savvy people and developing their characters through phone calls and video recordings – paved the way for gritty TV shows such as The Wire. You heard it here first, everyone!

 – It’s sort of a mindblinder that Robert Zemeckis wrote a screenplay this grim.

Next up in the Hillmography: Geronimo: An American Legend.

(Seen and originally written on 2013-02-09)

Streets of Fire -1984-

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Directed by Walter Hill. 93 mins.

 Worth my time? Yes. (Watched on DVD)

 Whoa, this movie totally sucker-punched me. I didn’t know anything about Streets of Fire going into it, but I certainly wans’t expecting a rockabilly Western with notes of Grease and The Phantom of the Paradise. While it may not be my favorite film thusfar in the Hillmography, it’s definitely the Most Totally Awesomest™.

 Leading man Michael Paré may actually be the movie’s weakest link. Hill clearly miscalculated the actor’s capacity for badassery (and wearing suspenders with a sleeveless shirt is hilarious, not intimidating). Luckily, he spends most of his time sharing the screen with one of a bucket o’ great co-start: Diane Lane, Amy Madigan, Rick Moranis, and a young (but still super-creeper) Willem Dafoe. Hell, even Lee Ving from FEAR shows up in a biker gang. What more do you want?

Oh, you want more? Well, in that case, you also get Bill Paxton, Robert Townsend and Elizabeth Daily (better known as Dottie from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure).

 Like The Warriors, Streets of Fire feels like a self-contained universe. The action takes place in a huge city that seems to be only four square blocks (not knocking it – I had a similar feeling when watching Eyes Wide Shut). And, of course, the musical numbers of this self-proclaimed “Rock & Roll Fable,” courtesy of Jim Steinman, are as catchy as you would hope and expect.  

 Next up in the Hillmography: Brewster’s Millions.

 (Seen and originally written on 2013-01- 29)

The Long Riders -1980-

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Directed by Walter Hill. 100 mins.

 Worth my time? Yes. (Watched on DVD)

 Also known as The Assassination of James Keach by the Coward Nicholas Guest. Walter Hill’s first Western isn’t a game-changer (The legend of Jesse James has been retold countless times prior and since), but the film sets itself apart by giving more screen time to the outlaws’ personal and family lives. Think The Wild Bunch meets Heat.

 After getting off to a slow start, the movies inner Hill kicks in with plenty of squibs and slow motion. Interestingly, the movie balances out its stylized violence with a more realistic portrayal of its aftermath. Most of the characters who are shot are later shown in the hospital, and those who die are shown in the morgue or funeral home, usually surrounded by grieving friends and family.

 The Long Riders is for genre fans (or Carradine/Keach/Quaid/Guest fans) only, but it’s a solid film. There’s really not much more to write on the matter. Next up in the Hillmography: Southern Comfort.

 – Shout-out to Ry Cooder for providing the score.

– I had no idea that Stacy Keach had a brother until I saw The Long Riders.

– Keith Carradine looks a lot like a young Klause Kinski in this movie.

– The David Carradine knife-fight was particularly epic.

– Four films into the Hillmography, and I have yet to encounter one positive, fleshed out woman. It’s enough to make Aaron Sorkin look like a feminist.

 (Seen and originally written on 2013-01- 26)