Dr. Michael Gillespie of FIU’s English department, who is currently teaching a film noir course, describes it as a genre “that gives examples of individuals who succeed in resisting dominant authority and provides viewers with an example of someone who sustains his or her integrity.” In other words they are movies about rebels. Selfish, sexy people working for their own gain, these are slick talking, criminally clever characters who never fail to impress.
In the spirit of Halloween, our film club, Film Initiative Underground, and the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, are teaming up to bring a free screening of David Fincher’s heart pumping crime-thriller, Zodiac (2007), to FIU’s MMC Campus. Based on the real-life murders of the Zodiac Killer, Zodiac is a brilliant and meticulously assembled story about obsession, and features great performances by a talented cast.
The tragedy of comedy films is that very few hold up over the years. In many cases, a comedy can fall into the abyss of awkward silences, and stilted, forced laughs. Thankfully, such a fate hasn’t come over Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz (2007). With Coral Gables Art Cinema screening the film later this month, now was a good time for me to experience the film. I can comfortably say that as the second entry in Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy, Hot Fuzz sits comfortably between Shaun of the Dead (2004) and The World’s End (2013) as one of the great comedy films produced in the last few years.
To apply an overused turn of phrase, good mystery stories are typically not about the destination, but rather the journey. Despite this, the ending should still be a satisfying reveal, or else the journey would’ve been for nothing. Unfortunately based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express could’ve been an okay film, had it not managed to fumble its way to a disappointing ending.
A crime-mystery thriller based on a bestselling novel about a detective hunting down Norway’s first serial killer sounds like an excellent film on paper. Adapting a novel that acts as an entry in a long-standing series of stories that’ve been described as “page-turning narratives featuring Norway’s own Sherlock Holmes” should be simple and straightforward. You’d think it’d be easy for a talented cast and crew featuring Martin Scorsese, Tomas Alfredson, and Michael Fassbender, among many others, to subvert the clichés of the crime-mystery genre and produce a competent and enjoyable film at the very least.
Few films ‘based on true events’ feel as ridiculously over the top as Doug Liman’s American Made (2017). Based on the life of pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), the film follows Barry as he becomes a CIA informant taking photographs of communist rebellion groups in Central America, starts smuggling cocaine for Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel, and subsequently smuggles Russian guns to the Nicaraguan Contras on behalf of the United States Government. Let’s not forget that most of Barry’s bizarre smuggling career took place during then-President Ronald Reagan’s infamous “War on Drugs”. It sounds too comical to be true, and yet the story told by the film is closer to fact than it is to fiction.