30 posts categorized "True Crime"

April 07, 2022

CITY OF ANGELS, CITY OF DEATH

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

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Screen Shot 2022-04-07 at 12.07.05 PMHow lucky we were.

If you were footloose and anywhere near LA in the late '70s and early '80s, there was a chance your life could have been cut short by any number of serial killers claiming victims at an alarming rate.

One such killer had a team of accomplices.

Over 100 victims.
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ABC News does a remarkable job of mapping out the killers' domain while keeping focus on the detectives doing the heavy lifting of police work without the aid of high-tech assistance.

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The real detectives tell the story from their point of view.

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This bingeable police procedural documentary series manages to be tasteful in the face of utter horror.

Still shocking.

Not Rated. Six 45 min. Episodes.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

February 12, 2022

LANSKY

ColeSmithey.comHarvey Keitel brings "the Mob's accountant" to impressive life in this engaging telling of Meyer Lansky's sordid career.

American and Israeli governments prove to be the dirtiest mob of the bunch.

Shocker.

The difference is that Israel got a lot of Lansky's cash — he was mistakenly generous to his home country.

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America took a different, less successful tact, to rob Lansky. 

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Locating Meyer's hidden cash stash of [ostensibly] 300 million dollars was beyond U.S. spooks' reach.

Ta da.

4 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

August 18, 2016

WAR DOGS

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Large_war_dogs_ver2“War Dogs” belongs to the same category of tone-deaf comedy as “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Venomously despicable white thieves are celebrated for their blind lack of ethics and integrity because these characters are oh-so [hilariously] gangsta, except they’re neither amusing nor badass. They’re people for whom no well-deserved ass beating is enough because they’re so smug it makes you want to throw up.

You can tell a lot from this film’s tagline, “Money, Corruption and the American Dream.” We already know that those are all the same thing.

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But I digress. If you don’t know the 2007 era tale of David Packouz’s and Efraim Diveroli’s adventures in making millions from the U.S. military by selling illegal guns and ammunition, you should read Guy Lawson’s March 16, 2011 piece for Rolling Stone.

This film is not an appropriate way to wrap your head around the depth of incompetence and greed at play in U.S. Military’s halls of power and the rogue’s gallery of shysters that feed on America’s endless wars.

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Miles Teller plays David Packouz, the posited good-guy of a duo rounded out by Jonah Hill’s lying-and-stealing Efraim Diveroli.

While Ellen Page has built her career on playing outsiders, Jonah Hill is carving out his thespian livelihood as an eternal frat boy with a taste for skank and cocaine. Lou Reed said there was a justice in this world.

Perhaps not.

War-dogs-movie

This film is inundated with Miles Teller doing such a carbon copy of Johan Hill’s speech patterns that the audience gets tripped up every time the disembodied voice-over narration comes on.

Directed and co-written by Todd Phillips (of “The Hangover” franchise fame) “War Dogs” is political satire lite. It’s a far cry from “Lord of War,” Andrew Niccol’s scathing 2005 satire about an arms dealer played by Nicolas Cage.

Packouz hates George Bush; Diveroli just pretends that he does too. Diveroli habitually mirrors his mark’s beliefs in order to swindle their money away, and oh what a filthy swindler he is. If anything, this is an anti-buddy movie. The narrative follows our dippy protagonist Packouz — he’s a masseur — as his former best friend from Yeshiva high school, returns to Miami to rope him into going into the arms business for a 70/30 split. Money flows but the biz is doomed from the beginning because neither of these guys understands the first thing about [illegal] arms dealing. Not that there is any other type of arms dealing than that of the illegitimate variety.

Bradley-cooper

Bradley Cooper turns in the laziest performance of his career as arms terrorist Henry Girard. Cooper appears in all of five scenes with a laughably phoned-in performance. Ana de Armas provides the eye-candy as Packouz’s Cuban wife Iz, but even her portrayal feels remarkably thin due to yet another by-committee script. Like Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” this film is tailor-made for Trump supporters. Regardless of how stupid, reckless, wrongheaded, and uninformed they might be, most of those people aren’t making the mistake of selling Chinese ammo to the Pentagon.

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The reason for these schmucks getting caught is the only funny piece of a movie that makes you feel dirty for having seen it. Do the right thing. Skip “War Dogs, and see Werner Herzog’s Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World” instead. At least there you can feel equal parts bad and good.

Rated R. 114 mins.

1 Star

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