Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

US, Spain / 112 minutes / color / IM, Route One, Union Investment, Gran Via, Moot Point, SITE, Willies, Ingenious, STX Dir & Scr: Billy Ray Pr: Mark Johnson, Matt Jackson Story: La Pregunta de sus Ojos (2005; vt The Secret in Their Eyes) by Eduardo Sacheri and the screenplay for El Secreto de sus Ojos (2009; vt The Secret in Their Eyes) by Juan José Campanella and Eduardo Sacheri Cine: Danny Moder Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Michael Kelly, Joe Cole, Zoe Graham, Alfred Molina, Patrick Davis, Ross Partridge, Eileen Fogarty, Don Harvey.

One of my favorites of all the pieces I watched/rewatched specially for my Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir (2013) was the Argentine/Spanish movie El SECRETO DE SUS OJOS (2009; vt The Secret in Their Eyes), directed by Juan José Campanella and based on a novel by Eduardo Sacheri. Here’s the guts of the entry I wrote about it: Continue reading

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American Gangster (2007)

US / 176 minutes (unrated), 158 minutes (rated) / color / Imagine, Relativity, Scott Free, Film Rites, Universal Dir: Ridley Scott Pr: Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott Scr: Steven Zaillian Story: “The Return of Superfly” (2000 magazine article, New York) by Mark Jacobson Cine: Harris Savides Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cuba Gooding Jr., Josh Brolin, Ted Levine, Armand Assante, Clarence Williams III, John Ortiz, John Hawkes, RZA, Lymari Nadal, Yul Vazquez, Ruby Dee, Idris Elba, Carla Gugino, Joe Morton, Common, Richie Coster, Jon Polito, Kevin Corrigan, Roger Guenveur Smith, Malcolm Goodwin, Ric Young, Roger Bart, Tip Harris, Kadee Strickland, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Norman Reedus, Melissia Hill, Bari K. Willerford, Skyler Fortgang.

A gangster movie that claims to be based on a true story although, by all accounts, it’s largely an exercise in mythopoeia.

In Harlem in 1968, ruthless yet philosophically inclined, intelligent and often goodheartedly generous gangster Bumpy Johnson (Williams, bizarrely uncredited) dies of heart failure while he and his chauffeur and right-hand man Frank Lucas (Washington) are staring in dismay at the contents of a discount store. Assuming Frank is just a nobody, gangsters like Tango (Elba) move in on Bumpy’s old turf, little realizing they’re up against a criminal genius. It’s not long before Frank hits on the notion of dispensing with the middleman in the heroin racket, instead buying it directly from sources in Southeast Asia and bribing US service personnel to bring the dope into the US aboard military transports returning from the still-raging Vietnam War. His other major import is of his extended family from North Carolina to be his employees/partners, a job that his brothers willingly take on after they witness him coldbloodedly murdering the arrogant Tango on a crowded Harlem sidewalk.

American Gangster - In search of a drug supplier

Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) goes in search of a drug supplier.

At the same time, Newark cop Richie Roberts (Crowe) is earning himself the undiluted loathing of the rest of his PD through being honest. When he and partner Javier J. Rivera (Ortiz) come across nearly $1 million in unmarked bills and Continue reading