Archive for Nancy allen

THE CRUISING, William Friedkin 1980

Posted in Thriller with tags , , , , on June 1, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

cruising_dvd_al_pacino

Probably  The Cruising  is one of the least successful movies on which Al Pacino appears, not supported by critics, certainly due to the way darkest gay environments are depicted, although I find it really cool.

Since I watched it for the first time it took many years to find it available on DVD, and fortunately a making off and other several interesting documentaries were included, which help to understand the movie better, the symbolisms, the S/M scene in the Village in NYC 70’s…

The Cruising  is a thriller about a serial killer whose target s are S/M gays picked up in the Meatpacking district clubs of the NY West Village.

New York is being striken by both a heat wave and a series of murders which have a common feature:  victims belong to the gay community, and especially to the S/M leather world. Most of them seduced  at the same clubs, such as The Eagle’s Nest, The Ramrod and The Cock Pit and then violently stabbed to death.

Recalling all info from the  victims’ bodies , Police captain Edelson (Paul Sorvino) reaches  the conclusion that an undercover agent infiltrated in this environment is required, and  consider Officer  Steve Burns (Al Pacino) is physically best suitable for the mission: dark haired, middle size, well-built, he can be good bait for catching the serial killer.

Thus, Burns move to the Village and start adapting to gay life, getting acquainted with his neighbor, Ted Bailey, a young writer who is trying to finish a Broadway script while his dancer boyfriend Gregory (James Remar) is touring.

In the beginning he’s able to combine his 24/7 mission with his personal life, taking often breaks to visit his girlfriend Nancy (Nancy Allen) but  after few time their relationship is affected by  Burns’ confidential mission,  so does his personality, suggesting he’s  being drawn by the world  he’s living in.

The hunting of the killer put him in situations he’d never imagined.

The Cruising  is basically a portrait of the most hardcore side of the gay world in NY in that time, and also a psychological thriller in which Pacino changes his moral standards in order to catch the killer, a traumatized college student with mental disorders who obeys his dead father’s commands.

I think I have a crush on you

I think I have a crush on you

It’s also very critic towards the Police Department, showing corrupt and vicious officers and also the disinterest in resolving some cases. Special mention to mythic freak actor Joe Spinell (anybody remembers Maniac? Cool!) and Mike Starr (Frenchy in Goodfellas) as a sample of vicious cops forcing transvestites to blow them up.

S/M bars  scenes  are the most shocking, rock music mixed with sweat, leather, color bandanas for sex code, popper, piercings, fist fucking, chains…super promiscuous behavior  to AIDS discovery got me totally amused. It’s too much!

Party time!!

Party time!!

There are several issues not well developed and weird stuff difficult to understand. For instance, at least two different actors play the serial killer (in fact, the first one is later killed by the other) , the only reason I can find for that, is the possibility of multiple serial killers as to mean there will always be an active one. Also the way the killer is discovered is not very clear, and somehow by chance, however, the stalking carried out by Burns is pretty cool, also their last encounter.

Although is a dramatic movie, there’s place for some fun moments, when Pacino tries to buy a bandana or when dancing high in popper at the disco. They don’t contribute to the development  of the plot  but help to forget tension for a while.

High on Popper!

High on Popper!

Last scenes are very visual with not much dialogue, leaving the feeling that Pacino will never recover, suggesting there will always be a killer, and even sowing the doubt of Pacino being the one.

Waiting for some action

Waiting for some action

Very criticized by gay community and poorly received by the audience The Cruising was almost a commercial failure, and is almost unknown for Al Pacino’s fans. I wonder what’s his opinion on the movie, it’s possible he regrets it, playing a character moving between the straight path and a dark bizarre can be dangerous.

ROBOCOP, Paul Verhoeven 1987

Posted in Action!, Directors, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , on March 15, 2009 by Toi Brownstone

robocop-poster

 

Yesterday was a good day for me, not only because Spring seems to be real at last but because I enjoyed a mini buying spree  which  made me feel very very happy. And one of my best purchases was RoboCop. Yeah! Eventually it’s mine and couldn’t wait to see it after so long long time, so as soon as I arrived home we watched it and enjoyed one of the best sci-fi 80s movie, amazed by how I was allowed to watch so much violence in my childhood with no major consequences as nowadays parents and adult people intend to convince that can affect kids in a very wrong way.

 

But let’s focus on the movie first and then open for discussion.

 

Set in Detroit in a not so far away future, the city development is endangered by crime. OCP, Omni Consumer Products executive chief has designed a new Detroit city to be built over the old and damaged city ashes but in order to proceed with the plans crime must be erradicated or at least controlled as not to risk the huge investment, that’s why, Police Department is bought by the company, something not well received by cops, who threat to start a strike which would ruin the city even more if possible. Cops are dying on duty on a daily basis and not enough units are available for patrolling and keeping order, so basically situation is chaos.

 

Dick Jones (Ronny Cox), the old man’s right hand, presents a robot prototype called ED-209 as the solution to end with crime in the city, apparently all tests have proved to be succesful however when showing its abilities to OCP executives the machine fails to commands and kills one of them, something that ambitious Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) approaches to convince the old man that his RoboCop  project could be active in less time for less money and more effectiveness.

Ed-209

Ed-209

On the other hand, on a lower level, in a regular police station, Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller) starts on duty with officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) as his partner. When tracking down a very dangeruous group of criminals led by Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) in to an old mill, Murphy is violently killed with Lewis witnessing the execution unable to protect her partner and no backup available to assist them.

 

Murphy’s remaining parts of his body, basically his face and head, are used for RoboCop project, becoming half man, half robot, with memories apparently erased, for serving and protecting the community, as RoboCop, the cop that can work 24/7, the perfect invincible and most efficient Police arm to eradicate crime in Detroit.

Lewis calibrating RoboCop's gun

Lewis calibrating RoboCop's gun

Everything will work fine until RoboCop starts remembering…and seeks for vengeance.

 

I commented already about Total Recall, which in fact was filmed 3 years after RoboCop. You can guess Verhoeven’s signature in both movies easily with several features in common, both full of violence, futuristic and both box-office hits.

 

RoboCop resists passing of time better than Total Recall except for ED-209 motion scenes which remind of the all Star Wars AT-AT’s and AT-ST’s movements. Well, looking for some information, Phil Tippet, the animation creator, was also involved in Star Wars in stop motion animation. What a coincidence, huh?

 

Regarding the subject I was mentioning at the beginning, violence in this movie is constant, plenty of blood, dramatic execution of Murphy’s, rape attempts, people shot…I don’t remember when I watched RoboCop for the first time, but I’m sure I wasn’t more than 13. Honestly, I didn’t remember so much violence, memories are very selective I guess, but reviewing the the movie yesterday I got very shocked. I don’t remember it to be rated, and it was the typical movie all kids were in love with. We were continuously watching violent movies and nothing happened to us. Nowadays adults try to protect their kids from watching violence on TV due to the apparent consequences it may cause, however news, which are unrated, show blood and violence constantly in a more shocking way, seems that the more you see the more you’re concerned, but nobody criticizes this, only movies and videogames.

 

A different question dealt in RoboCop is the good and bad thing in different aspects. For instance, when creating the Robocop from Murphy first is tried to approach one of his arms, however Morton decides to get rid of it, for once the cop has been officially declared deceased, they can do and manipulate the body in the way they want. Is it correct? Verhoeven lets the audience decide. What about the moment when cops are to execute RoboCop? Lewis and others try to stop the shooting for he/it is just another cop, he’s accomplished the tasks he was designed to, however, because they have been commanded to eliminate him, no reasoning is admitted. Is this right or wrong? The savior suddenly becomes an outlaw.

 

RoboCop is not just an action movie, there’s more meaning or message beyond that, and I find that very interesting. Definitely a good movie to see.