Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.
To Live and Die in L.A.
A federal agent is dead. A killer is loose. And the City of Angels is about to explode.
In director William Friedkin's supercharged thriller, William L. Petersen plays a "hot dog" special agent of the Secret Service who's out to arrest and convict an arrogant counterfeiter (William Dafoe) who has eluded the law for years and who flaunts his success. Dafoe has been asking for a down payment on a sale of bogus bills, but the amount is larger than the secret can authorize Petersen, undercover, to pay to entrap Dafoe in a "sting" operation. Petersen is forced to set up a dangerous plan to steal the advance money from another crook (John Turturro) and use it to buy bogus bills and bust the counterfeiter.As the film winds to its dark and exciting resolution, the distinction between the pursuing law enforcers and the pursued criminals will continue to blur.
"Guess what? Uncle Sam don't give a shit about your expenses. You want bread, fuck a baker."
Removed from the partnering of the other stylish cop picture featuring William Petersen (Manhunter) and whatever feeling you have about Wang Chung (it's probably wrong), this sleaze jam is as deserving of the praise now being bestowed on the first film in tonight's Friedkin double bill: Sorcerer.
Friedkin's continual fascination of the internal struggle between good & evil roars through the grimy & steamy haze of Los Angeles. Petersen's Richard Chance is a thrill junkie, stretching each case, bust, and interpersonal relationship to a breaking point; his nemesis, Willem Dafoe's Rick Masters is an icy artist/counterfeiter who never makes a false move. The image of…
Decades Project: 2/8 of the 80's
"You're working for me now."
Los Angeles. They call it the city of angels, but when dedication turns into obsession the angels protecting the city from its demons begin to look like demons themselves. Richard Chance will do anything it takes to catch the criminal counterfeiter responsible for the death of his last partner—even if it means stealing the money he needs and becoming a criminal himself.
Impeccably minimalist photography (wide angle, long take) from Robby Muller, who would go on to work regularly with greats like Jim Jarmusch, Lars Von Trier, and Wim Wenders. Meticulously crafted montages (evocative cuts, artistic arrangements) which drive the action forward and highlight the contrast between cop and…
Wang Chung: a Chinese expression roughly translating to, "Impose your nihilistic world-view on a cliché-ridden 80s law enforcement procedural, punch-it up with shocking, arthouse cutting and artful use of sound."
Dafoe: Belgian-Congolese for "the foe"
William Petersen: who's he again?
Friedkin car chases > other car chases, because in a Friedkin film everyone's already careening wildly toward death; cars let them do it even faster.
Petersen's inability to play a stone-cold badass makes his psychosis even more alarming,
the more ridiculous parts of the soundtrack make this feel even more creepy (rather than laughable),
I was thinking i'd give this 3.5 or 4 stars because some of the editing (especially in the first half) bothered me,
but then the last 10-15 minutes happened and I feel pretty
To Live and Die in L.A. is a film that has ‘80s stamped on its face, yet those who don't like the good old crime-action films released at that particular time (which are quite recognizable) will still find something new and refreshing in William Friedkin's film. That's not to say that if you don't like the ‘80s vibe, kick-ass spirit, synth-rock soundtracks (this one actually composed by Wang Chung at their best), etc; you won't be bothered by the film (you will - after all, this one has ‘80s written all over itself), but it's still totally unpredictable and a pretty different crime movie from what you would normally expect.
With the help of a great cinematography, brilliant editing, cool…
Leave it to Friedkin to take the 80s loose cannon cop drama and pull a hard left in the final act.
robby muller is so good, every shot so perfectly composed, great "noir during the daytime" film. the titles are awesome. as much as the 80's were kinda cool, I'd opt out of the wang chung soundtrack. changing that would make this movie eternal.
It was okay. The main character was annoying, the story was uninteresting but it's well shot and Willem Dafoe plays a good villian. It also has a pretty sick car chase.
A frantic, nihilistic, and very 80s crime thriller about the counterfeit society of the era, and the blurred lines between law enforcement and criminals. To Live and Die in L.A. is a bog standard police procedural that gets put through a meat grinder with an art film, and it comes out the other end as a lumpy mixture of both. Well worn action film cliches contrast with inspired moments of cinema, and the harsh juxtaposition between the two ends up casting the whole film in a bizarre light. It is never slow or uninteresting, but it's always just a little bit off. There's some really great material in here, but a more exacting approach in the filmmaking to flatten out the film's uneven qualities could have definitely helped.
This movie is one giant bundle of frantic energy, fueled by an awesome 80ies soundtrack.
Special double feature part 2: Pankow is weak, and his character isn't well written, but I still love this movie. It hums along, the chunka-chunka-chunka of Wang Chung's score punctuating everything. Great stuff.
(Original review outdated, re-evaluation required at later date)
Another film from Friedkin where no one's past matters, only their present. Action cinema literalized.
Printing and engraving have never looked sexier.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
This is the strangest tutorial I've ever seen in my entire life. True, I'm now able to flawlessly print my own money (better in small notes), but what I actually want is to shoot shitty macho cops in the face.
I started with a top 10 list and decided what the hell lets see how far I can go. Top…