Love crappy movies but are too ashamed to admit it? Are you a big Rob Schneider fan but you're tired of being burned? Not sure if you want to waste your money on the same old movie? That's why you have Joe.
Joe Loves Crappy Movies is by Joseph Dunn. Joe willingly goes to see the very worst that Hollywood has to offer. Whenever a crappy movie comes out Joe will be there to see it, make fun of it, and actually review it. Nothing is safe, and nothing is sacred. From the big budget action disasters to the low brow fart based comedies, to anything starring Martin Lawrence? Joe will tear it apart.
With each entry you'll get not only a comic poking fun at the movie, but also a detailed review. Joe's not educated in film or cinematography or acting, he's just a guy that draws comics and likes movies. So if you're looking for the everyman perspective and a little joke in comic form... you're in the right place.
We Own The night
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Alex Veadov, Robert Duvall
Directed by: James Gray
The Official Site of We Own The Night
Discuss We Own The Night on the boards!
Cue Blondie. I could think of no better way to set the stage of a late 80’s nightclub overrun with sex and drugs than with the subtle hook of “Rapture” blasting over the speakers. Music is such a great storyteller, instantly giving us an idea of where and when we are, just from a few simple bars. As our hero ( Joaquin Phoenix) struts into frame and the song kicks into full gear I thought to myself how well a perfectly timed classic tune can open a film.
Then like a magical, wet dream, wish-giving sex genie, the camera spins to reveal our vixen (Eva Mendes) lying on a couch being… naughty. And before you know it – there’s a boob. This is probably not the best way to start a review about We Own The Night, a crime thriller set in 1988 Brooklyn featuring two brothers struggling on opposite ends of the law, but it sure was a hell of a way to kick off the movie. And to be honest, as interesting as the crime aspect looked in previews, Mendes was the big draw.
I say that half joking and half serious. I’m not a huge fan of her work but while watching the trailer she was impossible to ignore. Two amazing talents, in Phoenix and Wahlberg , going toe-to-toe in a “good guy/bad guy” story reminiscent of The Departed? Sounds great. Robert Duvall playing their hard-nosed father that likes to play favorites? Fantastic. This is a movie that might be pretty good. Then Mendes shimmies across screen in slow motion with a cigarette dangling from her lips, and I’m running down to the box office to pre-order my ticket. Steven (the guy with me in the comic) had the same reaction to the trailer and we joked about it at length in the weeks before the movie’s release. Lesson learned Hollywood – a sexy walk will sell tickets. At least two anyway.
For what its worth Mendes looks amazing throughout and does a solid acting job in her first dramatic leading role. Especially against heavyweights like her three costars. It’s amazing the difference good dialogue can make when comparing her performance in Night and last spring’s Ghost Rider. It’s like comparing “night” and “awkwardly lame”.
But We Own The Night is not Mendes' movie. In fact if you analyze it, she's just really quality set dressing. At the most she's a liability that keeps the movies real star, Phoenix motivated. Phoenix plays Bobby, the “bad brother” that has distanced himself from his law enforcement family in favor of a thriving career as the manager of the hottest club in Brooklyn.
The family he keeps secret coincidently have targeted the club in hopes of nabbing the owners no good, drug-dealing nephew. This small fish is just the first catch in learning more and bringing down the elusive Russian mob that are trying to monopolize the drug distribution industry of New York.
Bobby is a good boy in a bad world, young and carefree enough to get his nose dirty but never his hands. He runs the club, everyone has a good time, that’s where his interests end. Until of course his family become targets of the mob and he needs to choose between the company he keeps and the estranged family that raised him. It gets complicated fast.
With so much time focused on Bobby’s internal struggle Night becomes a one-sided story. Despite the way it’s being promoted, Wahlberg’s character Joseph (the “good brother”), takes a back seat. That’s fine. Do what’s right for the story. But his limited time on screen only emphasized that he’s just playing the same character he’s played half a dozen times in his career. I found myself sitting in the theater, enjoying the performance, but being frustrated that we really haven’t seen an original character from Wahlberg since Boogie Nights (I guess technically I Heart Huckabees would qualify, but I’ve been trying to forget that movie for years.) Aside from that, he’s the same guy, going through the same motions. He’s good, but it’s time to show us how good.
While the movie has some quality performances, the story itself loses steam right around the time Bobby answers that decision he struggles so much with. After that, the movie has nowhere to go and it takes its time getting there. Still, I found my interest sparkijng up every now and then with some of the specifics of writer/director James Gray’s script. Things like how the mob transports drugs, Bobby’s shakedown of a local thug (“Oww, my eye!”), and an absolutely incredible drug bust that ends with Bobby flying through a window and landing on… well, I won’t ruin it, but let’s just say he lands on something that you wouldn’t normally want to land on, are all marvelously done.
These little moments are all fine and dandy, but the movie’s tension is anchored solely on a stunning car chase. We see the chase from the target’s perspective as cars pull up alongside firing into the vehicle. All cars involved swerve wildly, in and out of traffic, with blinding rain (seamlessly added after the fact with computer effects) pouring down on them. Had they been able to capture half the intensity of this scene consistently through out the film, you’d be looking at a completely different rating. But, to be fair, if the film ended with boobs like the way it began, you’d also be looking at a completely different rating.
Rating: 5 out of 10 - There are a lot of nice moments in We Own The Night but the whole isn’t strong enough to recommend. Before Coppola or Scorsese or DePalma a crime thriller like this could have taken audiences by storm. But you can’t compare Night to The Godfather, Goodfellas or Scarface. To become a crime movie worth adding on to the end of that list it has to be original and shocking. James Gray makes an entertaining attempt, but falls short.
It was a stretch to appreciate the story as a whole and it would be a similar stretch to assume I'll magically be fond of it on DVD. I'm all stretched out. I'll wait for Night’s basic cable debut, and just Youtube search the scenes too naughty for Bravo.
When I started the comic for We Own the Night, I thought I knew exactly where it was going - basically that I was too stupid to censor myself even remotely adequately. But the more time I spent working on it the more I began to play with different words, trying to figure out which one was funniest. I started with "perky", "supple" and various other lewd adjectives to describe boobs, but then hit on something that was completely different. Something that made the Joe character look both obsessed with boobs, but still clever.
Almost too clever. I like my character better when he's somewhat inept. Because of that, I prefer the more abrasive answer but thought this second one, with its double meaning, was funny enough to share. If you'd like to check it out head over to this thread on the Digital Pimp Boards. For fun I've also set up a poll where board members can vote on which punch line they prefer. Cast your vote and let me know why!
After 6 months of intense storytelling action, the cross over between fellow Pimp comics Retail Rage and Matriculated has come to an end. Even though I was only drawing the Matriculated side of things and tossing out the occasional idea story wise, I think Kevin and Phil managed to put together an incredible tale that will undoubtedly have lasting effects in both comics down the road.
If you' have any interest in this college themed love story, dig right in. The arc starts here in Retail Rage, continues here in Matriculated, and then alternates between the two strips from there on out. Navigation is a bit of a chore, but the story is worth it.
It was great fun to work on, but I admit that it's nice to get back to the basics of the strip. Things got pretty heavy for a while and I'm anxious to lighten the mood and have fun with Matriculated again.
That's it for now, but I'm busy prepping the Saw IV comic/review for Friday morning. People are split on this movie quite definitively. It seems to be the franchise that people either admire or despise whole-heartedly. I enjoy the Saw films for what they are, and I appreciate the larger story they're trying to tell. I’m genuinely curious how they'll put together this next chapter after killing Jigsaw in the third installment. Flashbacks, evil twin, playing possum. If it's any of those things I'll probably be disappointed, but I'm hoping and praying that the creators of Saw have one last trick up their sleeve. We'll see.
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