Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gay porn + Hitler = Murder (and Hilarity)

Loose Cannons (1990) 
Starring: Gene Hackman, Dan Ackroyd, Dom DeLuise, Nancy Travis, and Ronnie Cox
Director: Bob Clark
Rating: Six of Ten Stars 

A hardboiled vice-squad detective (Hackman) is teamed with a not-quite-recovered-from-a-mental-breakdown homicide detective (Ackroyd) to solve a series of bizarre murders linked to the Washington DC porn industry.

 As their investigation unfolds, a plot involving neo-Nazi hitmen, Israeli spies, the German government, and overzealous FBI agents starts unfolding. Solving the case becomes even more complicated as one of the chief witnesses and target for the assassins (DeLuise) is still hoping to cash in on the secret item everyone is after--a hardcore gay porn home-movie featuring Adolf Hitler himself!

How can anyone not like a movie that revolves around the hunt for a vintage homemade gay porn film starring Adolf Hitler? Well, I suppose if you're offended by the idea of Hitler filming himself while romping with fellow Nazis you might not like it... but then you're a terrible human being who deserves to feel offended.

 "Loose Cannons" is a fun ride in the "buddy" picture mold, with some nice twists on the typical "hardboiled cop" character portrayed by Hackman. A worthwhile flick, despite several instances of characters behaving in a stupid fashion to make the plot work.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

'Rope' is one of Hitchcock's best

Rope (1948)
Starring: John Dall, Farley Granger, and James Stewart
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

In order to prove their intellectual superiority to themselves, Brandon and Philip (Dall and Granger) strangle  a former classmate. They then hold a party for his family, his girlfriend, and other mutual acquaintances where dinner is served over the place where the body and murder weapon are hidden. As the evening progresses, they drop hints about the deed they've committed, dangling particularly heavy clues in front of their old teacher, the man whose lectures inspired their twisted ideas (Stewart).

"Rope" was Hitchcock's attempt to make a thriller with as few cuts as possible, so it takes place mostly in real time and in two rooms of a New York City apartment. It was an interesting cinematic experiment that is also an excellent psychological thriller. It's also one of those rare movies that is engrossing despite the fact that the film's "heroes" are all extremely unlikable--from the psychopath and his weak-willed follower who murder an innocent man in the film's opening moments, through the arrogant professor who ultimately proves to the killers that they aren't as brilliant as they think they are.

In the hands of lesser director, in a film with less-tight pacing and control, or performances delivered by lesser actors, "Rope" would have been a disaster.