Have you ever started watching a DVD and wonder: how the heck did this get in my queue? Halfway through this disaster I realized why: James Ellroy wrote it. Street Kings is no L.A Confidential (or Training Day.)
Jérémie Renier and Déborah François are two young messed-up parents in this gritty Dardenne Bros. Palm d'Or film: when's the last time you watched a movie without music? Yes, yes, yes.



Get the Gringo? I'd rather get the bastard(s) who felt it was neccessary to cut away from close-ups over and over in rapid succession. Hey, editor, director, whoever, give us a chance to connect with your characters! There's no reason to cut so fast in a two shot close-up! Jeez... Mel Gibson is totally believable, and this is a perfect vehicle for him. Kevin Hernandez holds his own in this violent clever funny action-packed cigarette commercial/film set south-of-the-border. Love the narration: see it!
Next destination on our time warp European Vacation are the gorgeous locations of this taut police procedural assassination thriller. Director Fred Zinnenmann adapts Frederick Forsyth's novel. It's so cool: loved it. 
Long, (six hours) beautiful, Italian, multi-decade saga about a family with two brothers on divergent paths, and the women in their lives; including a mental patient, (pictured) a member of the Red Brigades, a librarian/photographer, a judge, a school teacher/mother and a young daughter (who takes fencing lessons.) Loved it!

IN THE CUT (2003)


Remember Meg Ryan? Bet she thought she could resuscitate her career with Jane Campion's dreadfully flawed attempt at an erotic, thriller, which is neither. BTW in "the cut" means "vagina" and yes, one of the characters actually delivers the title in a line. Awful.
Werner Herzog is the granddaddy of documentary films, and this tight, intense study of two murderers, one on death row, the other serving a life sentence, and the families of their victims, along with police and executioner shines a light on the the ethics of capital punishment. Yes.



Writer James Ellroy has made a career of dirty cops, and Woody Harrelson delivers the most compelling characterization of corrupt law enforcement since Russell Crowe's Wendell "Bud" White of L.A. Confidential. From The Messenger (2009) team of Harrelson, Oren Moverman and Ben Foster. Bleak.



Story and characters: better than the sequel. Heavily narrated. Brazilian cops, para-military fascists, drug-dealers and college students in the favelas of Rio prepare for the arrival of the Pope. Lots of yelling & angst, hugely popular, ultra-violent film.