Archives for posts with tag: Russell Crowe

“L.A. Confidential” (1997) is a modern film noir classic that unfortunately has fallen off the radar. So has its star, Guy Pearce, who plays an idealistic cop with a streak of self-promotion. The juicy role failed to ignite the Englishman’s career. Instead, an Aussie, Russell Crowe, became the box office gladiator, so to speak, after his co-starring role as a brutal cop with a streak of idealism. The plot is delightfully stylish and multidimensional without becoming ridiculous. So are the conflicted characters played by Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito and David Strathairn’s mustache. The Oscar-nominated score is great, too.

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The late 1970s were a time of moral ambiguousness in America. Symbolizing that era are the morally ambiguous protagonists of “The Nice Guys” (2016). Ryan Gosling (drunken detective but well-meaning single father) and Russell Crowe (sadistically violent goon with a heart of gold) team up to crack a murder case. Hijinks ensue. There’s lots of people accidentally getting shot (yet when people shoot at each other on purpose, they’re always missing). There’s also lots of era-inappropriate speech and items (crime-scene tape in 1977?), and other terrible production values (leisure suits that go from soaking wet to bone dry in minutes).

In “Broken City” (2013), everybody’s dirty. Everybody has a secret. (Except for Alona Tal. She’s just adorable.) What was I saying? Oh, yeah, “Broken City” is so dirty, it’s very hard to like. It’s like Bostonian Mark Wahlberg made this movie just to make you hate New York and everyone in it (except Alona Tal). Wahlberg and Russell Crowe have star power as a tainted cop and tainteder mayor, but the film noirish revenge/murder/double-cross plot is a mess. (Oh, and another thing. How is Kyle Chandler in every movie that Channing Tatum isn’t in all of a sudden? Dude’s prolific.)

I watched an old Blockbuster copy of “Gladiator” (2000) the other day. I know you can now watch it in Blu-Ray on a widescreen, HD TV, but the blood seemed to splatter plenty good enough for me in the VHS version on my 24-inch set. Despite wearing a skirt, Russell Crowe is at his manliest in this classic tale of betrayal, revenge, second chances and double-crosses. And blood. Lots of blood. It’s probably just as well, otherwise the violence would have gotten pretty cartoonish. I mean, you’ve got huge dudes in metal face masks swinging big, chain-with-the-spiked-ball-on-the-end thingys and all.