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
It's taken me a while to get around to watching William Friedkin's L.A. set thriller. It started when I bought a DVD at a bargain basement store and got it home to find it was region 1. Eventually when I did find a copy it was scratched and kept sticking, so I reckoned I was cursed and destined to never to see it. However when another copy fell into my lap, it was fortunately third time lucky.
William Petersen may well have found real celebrity status as Gil Grissom on the universally popular CSI, but he did make some interesting films back in the eighties. Both this and Michael Mann's Manhunter gained cult status as being just that little bit…
this movie is like a dream, a nightmarish spiral which turns and turns and turns in one directions only: down.
the smallest things become the worst situations here and before I knew it I was back into this feverish world, where the rules of genres still exist totally, but are used as weapons to shoot you into the face.
I'd love to think about the interesting statements that are in here about art; the making, the effects and the sustainability of art; money; power; gender; (co-)existence; the influence of people on others and their afterlife in other people after their so-called death; genre; the portrait of L.A. and a city in general; some other stuff;
... but I never seem…
Put bluntly, 'To Live and Die in L.A.' is unequivocally a let down.
When the film finished, I realised that I didn't particularly like it, but I appreciated what it was all about.
It fails on the standards that you'd set for a 'good' movie these days. It's dull, lifeless, wooden, conventional (for the most part), lacking in style where it should be brimming with it.
Arguably, my largest (and most personal in preference) grievance with the film is how it should have so much style, but it ends up having none. It looks like it's the real thing. Like, even the opening credits sets up that the film will be 'Drive' made when that film wanted to be.
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…
Best neo-noir film from the 80's. Yes, I love it more than Blade Runner, Blood Simple, and Body Heat. For me, this ranks just behind The Exorcist in William Friedkin's filmography. Yes, I love it more than Sorcerer and The French Connection. The chase scene, midway through the film, is one of the best ever. Yes, it's even better than the opening scene of Rad. My love for To Live and Die in L.A. is absolutely unconditional and yes, if you disagree...
"Your taste is in your ass." - Rick Masters
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
“To Live and Die in L.A.” is a natural evolution of the themes of “The French Connection.” I like William Friedkin. With the exception of the muddled “The Guardian,” I’ve liked-to-loved everything of his I’ve seen. But “The French Connection” didn’t blow me over like it does so many others. I found it mostly to be a fairly effective crime thriller with a great lead performance. Even the often touted car chase didn’t excite me that much. I don’t know, maybe I need to rewatch it.
By 1985, the cop genre had become an established part of movie and TV screens. This film is a major deconstruction of many of the reoccurring clichés and tropes of the genre. We have…
Film #16 of the "Scavenger Hunt #4" Challenge!
Task #13: A film featuring an obsession!
This is the 80s. Being born in 90s myself I wouldn't really know, but this is the 80s. The clothes, the cars, the hair, the music. A classic 80s cop movie with the obsessed cop, an awesome car chase, a fantastic LA and that music, goddamn. Tits, buts, dicks, the chick from Frasier in lingerie and Dafoe naked for half the movie. All the elements are here, right down to the generic plot, but Friedkin sets it apart from the rest. My love for the 80s is growing.
Two United States Secret Service agents (William Petersen and John Pankow) set out to stop a counterfeiter (Willem Dafoe) who has killed a colleague of theirs. They will stop at nothing to achieve this.
Car chases, guns, bad guys doing bad things, good guys doing bad things, it's all here, it's a pity it just made a bog standard action film rather than an interesting thriller.
Quintessential 80's film. A seriously rocking soundtrack. Willam Dafoe is fantastic in the film as is Will Peterson. Everything is over the top in the best way. The visuals are pretty great. Freidkin does pretty interesting things with the camera. This also has one of the best chase scenes ever put on film. It rivals The French Connection. The counterfeiting montage is reason enough to watch this. William Freidkins direction is the best part of the film. This film should be seen more.
Were it not for Willem Dafoe’s villain, whose smile is so disconcertingly wide it nearly swallows his pursuers, or Wang Chung’s bangin’ soundtrack, which lends the urgent proceedings a pop ambience as though everyone is running around in a makeshift music video, this would arguably be a competent rehash of Miami Vice and Friedkin's earlier car chase staple, The French Connection. But these elements, most especially the tunes, serve to elevate it so capably that they even supersede the much-ballyhooed against-traffic car chase.
I started with a top 10 list and decided what the hell lets see how far I can go. Top…