LawrenceA

Recently Watched Mystery/Crime/Noir/Etc.

80 posts in this topic

The Big Man: Crossing the Line  (1990)  -  5/10

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Misfire crime drama with Liam Neeson as a Scottish ex-con and former mine worker who is desperate for work, as he must support his wife (Joanne Whalley) and two young children. He's offered a chance at some big money by shady big city operator Matt Mason (Ian Bannen), but it will require Neeson to partake in an underground bare-knuckles boxing match. Also featuring Billy Connolly, Peter Mullan, Pat Roach, Maurice Roeves, Ken Drury, Rab Affleck, and Hugh Grant.

This spends much of its runtime as a typical boxing drama, with Neeson's character dealing with family problems while undergoing the cliched fight training sequences. It gets more interesting when the actual fight occurs, and then afterward as the crime story elements come into play, but its not enough to save the film. This was a Miramax release, and apparently Harvey Weinstein pulled one of his notorious hatchet jobs, taking the original director's cut of just under two hours and chopping it down to 90 minutes, sacrificing some much needed character depth along the way.

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The Crucifer of Blood  (1991)  -  5/10

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Dull TV-movie take on Sherlock Holmes, with Charlton Heston miscast in the lead role, and Richard Johnson as Dr. Watson. They undertake a case involving a supposedly cursed chest of jewels brought to England from India. With Simon Callow as Lestrade, Edward Fox, Susannah Harker, John Castle, and Clive Wood. Originally shown on the TNT channel, and shot in the UK, this was scripted, produced, and directed by Charlton's son Fraser Heston. Both Heston and Johnson make for boring versions of their venerable characters, while the rest of the cast isn't given much to work with, either. 

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The Indian Runner  (1991)  -  7/10

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In late 60's Nebraska, a highway patrolman (David Morse) struggles to deal with his younger brother (Viggo Mortensen), an former soldier with a unpredictable violent streak. Also featuring Valeria Golino, Patricia Arquette, Charles Bronson, Sandy Dennis, Benicio Del Toro, and Dennis Hopper. A then-30-year-old Sean Penn wrote and directed this, and it has the hallmarks of a first film, with an occasionally weak focus and some self-indulgent bits. But overall I liked it. Mortensen, in one of his earliest major roles, has the most heavy lifting to do acting-wise and he's pretty good, although weak in spots. Bronson is surprisingly effective in a small role as the main characters' father. This was the final film of Sandy Dennis, briefly seen as their mother.

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Bitter Moon  (1992)  -  7/10

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Erotic thriller from director Roman Polanski. Staid British couple Nigel (Hugh Grant) and Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas) are on a romantic oceanic cruise. They meet wheelchair-bound American writer Oscar (Peter Coyote) and his young French wife Mimi (Emmanuelle Seigner), and Oscar regales the shocked Nigel with tales of Mimi's sexual adventurousness, leading to Nigel becoming obsessed with her. This was savaged by the critics when it came out, but I didn't think it was that bad. The acting was good, although Seigner (Polanski's wife) was weak in spots. 

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