Complete list of the films Guillermo del Toro has recommended on twitter. Click the 'Read notes' button to see his…
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…
Considering that this film is basically just The French Connection with counterfeiting instead of drug smuggling, William Friedkin does a remarkable job of reshaping the crime story to fit with the times in which it's released. His interpretation of To Live and Die in L.A. wouldn’t exist without the raw, disillusioned sensibility of the previous decade and yet it’s a skippy thriller that comes to life with a heel-tapping groove of the 80s.
Friedkin’s chase sequences are practically operatic in their execution and the movie features a nail-biting car dash that passes through the iconic Sixth Street Viaduct. It’s a bold arrangement in an even bolder movie about impulsive violence and the blurring of boundaries within the secret service. This…
People talk about the neon '80s, or recent movies that attempt to evoke that aesthetic, but I feel like this is a gross oversimplification of what defines the look and feel of a film like To Live and Die in L.A. or ostensibly similar stuff like Manhunter, Scarface, Repo Man (which was also shot by Robby Müller, along with this one and Paris, Texas), or even RoboCop. It's also defined by stark whites and eye-catching compositions, and grit (in the setting and the film grain) that really gives the 'neon' colors a textured glow I have set to see replicated in any genre throwbacks to this particular era. Vibrant hues bleed into the sleaze and absurdity, literally coloring our perception…
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…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I've come to the realization that this movie is literally perfect for what it is. Even Peterson's hyper-theatrical performance felt totally justified this time as a pariah of unchecked masculinity (the trepidatious intro to his new partner now seems more like an act of defensive machoist posturing than any missed beats) and the homoeroticism in the final act between him and Dafoe was more prominent. It does exactly what it says on the tin (all the main characters die) under the guise of 80s artifice in an aesthetically rich consumerist cocaine neon neo-noir package. Freidkin's L'argent.
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?
Quella volta che William Friedkin disse "stavi cercando di fare una roba così, giusto?" e Michael Mann annuì.
Noir-vember 2016: Day 25
A glimmering portrait of the mirage that is Los Angeles. Taking all the glamour of the famous city and throwing it to the wayside in favor of presenting it closer to how it really is. At the same time, there is no shortage of appearances by notable landmarks, but instead of their presence being at the forefront, they're instead relegated to the background, achieving the sense of a lingering unattainable prospect in a grander scheme. That's essentially what's at the core of To Live And Die In L.A. though, is idealism and it's place in an unidealistic world. Chance is played as an archetypical action movie hero, a cocksure tough guy who is always going against…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
"You want bread, fuck a baker."
I should've been studying for the final I have tomorrow instead of watching this, but alas, here we are.
I was hot off the Manhunter presses and just had to have some more 80s William Petersen action, and fuck man, did this deliver. He plays a totally different role in this, and he hangs dong, so I'm fucking in!
To Live and Die in LA is one hell of a movie, I'll tell ya. An instant favorite, if I've ever seen one.
Quite a few similarities with Manhunter, besides William Petersen of course. If I didn't know any better I'd probably say Mann directed this as well, as the aesthetics of the two films…
The useless (and not very good) opening sequence drags the film down. Otherwise, it's a pretty terrific cop thriller that both uses and subverts the sort of buddy cop tropes that a lesser director might have just played straight. The score is terrific, the car chase is the clear high point of the movie, and I kind of loved the homoeroticism and near-androgyny of the Willem Dafoe character. Great stuff.
William Friedkin’s breathless 1985 cops (okay, customs agents) movie gets the Shout Select treatment, upgrading to Blu-ray in all its sleazy, sweaty, coked-up glory. William Petersen does the cocky loose-canon thing with grinning glee, Willem Dafoe is chillingly creepy (even by Willem Dafoe standards), and Friedkin marshals a peerless ensemble of terrific ‘80s character actors (John Turturro, Dean Stockwell, John Pankow, Darlanne Fluegel, among them). The mood is squirrelly and the plotting is tight, and Friedkin works up a car chase that gives even 'French' Connection a run for its money, with Petersen barreling down an L.A. freeway in the wrong direction. It’s a great set piece, and a first-rate action flick all around.
Sorcerer may be a better film but this is Friedkin's finest achievement, the perfect culmination of his past stylistic efforts.
This film just oozes that awesome '80s coolness.
I love this fucking film.
Okay so I watched this film over the summer at Cannes film festival in a tiny room at the Palais with William DaFoe himself in the audience, so I really can't give it anything below a 5 because what the fuck it was amazing. He's such a cool dude in person, same voice same big smile and the energy of DaFoe in the room was enough to escalate the viewing experience to an almost spiritual level.