Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Standards Have Fallen

Gah! We've arrived at peak nowness with Angel Has Fallen, the third film in the 'Has Fallen' franchise starring Gerard Butler (whom I just can't bring myself to give up on) as secret service agent to Morgan Freeman's President ever under siege doing just fine in its theatrical run. I saw the first one and thought it was hilariously bad with a handful of effectively vicious moments tilting it out of the absolute waste of time category (and of course the scene of Melissa Leo 'pray-chanting' the pledge of allegiance before a presumed execution deserves to have a long life in the "high-camp" halls of fame). Two sequels though? The latest directed by... Ric Roman Waugh?


 On the latest episode of Do Some Damage podcast I recommend that if you must check out a Ric Roman Waugh movie you go with Shot Caller instead. I talk about movies on the podcast while TV is strictly the purview of Holly West, (who goes into Carnival Row with host Steve Weddle this time) so I really used Angel Has Fallen to connect to Ric to recommend Shot Caller rather than reveal my true motivation for inviting you to check it out - Holt McCallany's fine work on Mindhunter.

I think McCallany is the secret weapon of that show. He's the un-flashy bedrock, sturdy as hell, but flexible enough to launch some of the bigger performances to stratospheric heights. He shows up and does really good work. And he has been for years. Before Mindhunter David Fincher cast him in every(?) movie he made, though in small, background roles. He got a little bit of room to be seen in Michael Mann's Blackhat, but honestly when most of your screen time is with Viola Davis you're not going to be the memorable part.

If you're wondering what else Holt can do, lemme suggest you look at his most(?) showy role - that of The Beast, an incarcerated Aryan gang leader in Shot Caller. His entire wardrobe is a pair of white boxer shorts and some nasty tattoos, but he grew some equally nasty facial hair and shaved his head for maximum menace. Everybody in the movie is pretty nasty (Jon Bernthal is his usual high-bro-intensity and Jeffrey Donovan is pretty great with the little he's given to do), but this time around it's McCallany whose performance is the most eye-catching (gouging?).

If you've seen Roman Waugh's Felon (with Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer) you've already seen him pull out the list of things he knows about prison life (as well as some deliriously pulpy inventions), but Shot Caller's quite a bit better. And it's on Prime now.

Of course McCallany isn't the star of the movie, that's Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (he who wanks with his left hand on Game of Thrones) and if I had the episode to do over I would have got to Shot Caller through him. Dude's building up a very respectable body of crime films including this one, Headhunters, Nightwatch and Small Crimes. And his latest honor is starring in the new Brian De Palma thriller, Domino. That should've been my way in.

Domino. Finally got around to seeing it and so glad I did. Here's the thing if it's first and foremost a 'thriller' than it is a disappointment. We don't really care about the relationships, the suspense and tension never amount to much, the atmosphere is intermittently arresting, but the air is continually let out of it by less successful scenes.

But if it's first and foremost a De Palma film it's got some real pleasures to offer. Two standout De Palma-esque sequences of cinematic playfulness as well as the presence of familiar De Palma elements (a spiral staircase! a big window! a train station! dual-focus shots! Hitchcockian nods!) make it well worth the time of De Palma fans. Watching the old masters muck around with the new toys and tech is sometimes excruciating and at times exhilarating.

I can picture what Domino might have been with the budgets and crews that he worked with at the height of his commercial viability and it's a considerably more satisfying picture - mostly in the atmospheric department - the warm hues of film quality, a less place-holdery original score, plenty of extras. To me, the fact that we didn't get the best version of this movie possible is not as big a bummer as the fact that we got (and might get more of) this type of De Palma film again at all is an unqualified win-column check.

Also on the new episode I mention A Simple Favor starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as a mismatched pair of mothers whose children become friends at school. Kendrick is a widow and vlogger who focuses on the challenges of being a single mother. She's unassuming and demur and painfully lonely and when Lively's character shows the slightest interest in friendship she latches on so hard that she sticks it out when it becomes apparent that she's being taken advantage of.

Until Blake is made permanently un-Lively.

It's a surprisingly nasty slice of domestic suspense to come from director Paul Feig better known for his comedic pictures often pairing female leads (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters, The Heat and Spy) and the fun is wondering how dark a pitch we're in for. Were it David Fincher making Gone Girl I'd be braced for pretty noir shit, but Feig? Kendrick? Wheeeeeere's it going?

You may or may not enjoy finding out.

A Simple Favor is based on a novel by Darcey Bell, but screenwriter Jessica Sharzer wrote another similarly out of my typical preferred fare flick that I enjoyed; Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman's Nerve with Emma Roberts and Dave Franco (based on the novel by Jeanne Ryan). It's set up like a teen romantic adventure based around silly-seeming 21st century technological social networking, but it's a pretty effective, slippery escalation into scary-ass crime shit. I dunno, give it a shot.

But back to Feig, 'cause I had an idea the other day that I can not shake and it is this...
I want Paul Feig to make a gender-flipped remake of John Badham's Stakeout. Boom.

Are you with me? I mean, you love Stakeout as much as I do, right? It's one of those crime comedies from the 80s that made the decade the golden age of the genre as far as I'm concerned. I watched it again the other day and enjoyed it like I always do, but it's not the 80s anymore (and I'm not a teenager anymore) and yeah, some of it remains firmly in another time and social sensibility.

It's juuuuust a tad chauvinistic in its sensibilities (benignly so?) and man, I think there could be a lot of fun had by the right team to bring it full circle. I want this more than I should. 

Got around to watching it again because I fell down a Madeleine Stowe themed rabbit hole that included first watches of Ciro Duran's Tropical Snow and John Bailey's China Moon. China Moon wasn't great, but it's amazing what a couple decades' remove will do to the rewatchability of something mediocre. I mean, holy shit the cast hanging out in this otherwise tepid thriller: Ed Harris, Benicio Del Toro, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Charles Dance (shit! this is the crime movies populated by the cast of Game of Thrones blog post isn't it? I mean, that's two Lannisters mentioned and I forgot to say that Carice Van Houten was in Domino too). Anyway, it ain't great, but it ain't nothin. Very forgivable C movie for the pleasure of seeing these folks in their prime.

Anyway, I went down the Stowe hole after viewing Michael Mann's Last of the Mohicans in preparation for that brannew Blake Howard podcast The Last (12 Minutes) of the Mohicans which will feature the Mann again in the final episode of this mini-project. Fuck, I'm so excited to be part of this project. I love, love, love the movie and the company.

First couple episodes are up now and if you enjoyed One Heat Minute, it looks like a bunch of the same crew have come back for this one and will... probably(?) be coming in to lend a hand on the Howard produced, Travis Woods-hosted Increment Vice which will tackle Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice a minute at a time (I think).

And speaking of Woods, he's back on his bullshit with this great bit on Elaine May's Mikey & Nicky for the May-in-September themed issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room. Seriously though, why didn't they do Elaine May's issue in May? I mean, a gender-flipped Stakeout project for Paul Feig, and a May May issue, do I have to think of everything?

Y'know something I wouldn't have thought of? Remaking The Disappearance of Alice Creed in German. I mean, fuckin Gemma Arterton and Eddie Marsan were two-thirds of the cast of the original, how do you think you're going to improve it? Well Thomas Sieben's Kidnapping Stella is said project and I can definitively say it was not an improvement. In fact it stuck so closely to J. Blakeson's original script it was nearly a shot-for-shot restaging, save a couple of details that favored the original. Oh well, glad to know shitty remakes go to other countries to. Kidnapping Stella is available in the U.S. as a Netflix original, but I'd highly recommend tracking down The Disappearance of Alice Creed instead.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

I Started a Joke

About the last thing I'm excited for now is first-rate talent being tied up in never-ending projects that suck all the oxygen out of the industry because they make (and cost) so much money. When Joker was rumored to be a Martin Scorsese project I moaned - how many movies does he have left in him? Do I really want him to be spending his (our) precious (little) time on a Batman movie? But I'm curious about Todd Phillips' project with Joaquin Phoenix in the role. Mostly because I think Phoenix is one of the best actors of his generation and he's doing a crime movie which you may know I'm partial to. Also because I read Phillips' pitch to DC which went something like this - try going the other way with these comic book movies (mostly) - no green screens.

And then the trailers landed and who-ee the takes were hot!

And then the film debuted at a festival and the hub-ub was (at least briefly) deafening and I saw my interest levels rise a little more. I may love and I may hate Joker when I do eventually see it, but I've got to say it is refreshing for the polarizing effect of a comic book movie to have just about nothing to do with comic book fidelity and I'm tantalized a lot more by the prospect of having a big reaction (good or bad) to it than the shrug most comic book movies elicit from me.

I get that this might not be your preferred tone or flavor for the material and I have no problem with your disinterest or frustration if that's the case. The good news for everybody who's a fan of Batman is that it's such a fuckin' cultural juggernaut with so many differently flavored takes across so many mediums reaching back decades and showing no sign of slowing down that there is and will be plenty of material of the flavor that you do prefer available.

But I've seen some takes that bother me. Takes that put forth an argument I find disturbing. Namely that making an effort to humanize this character is not only not worth it, but potentially dangerous and artistically irresponsible.

I totally get that explaining too much about a monster or villain can ruin or seriously dilute their ability to be an effective presence in a story. Your 'thriller' may thrill less. What should be a romp becomes a depressing slog. I mean holy shit, what I wouldn't give to have the Darth Vader of my youth back and I think Hannibal Rising was probably a bad idea. But as a writer, I am very here for the challenge of humanizing horrible characters because when we write off real people who do horrible things as 'monsters' or 'unhuman' we do a disservice to ourselves.

They are human and what they do is monstrous.

How can we reconcile that? How can we have anything in common with a monster? If we don't have anything in common with monsters then we don't have to be concerned about our own souls.

Every time I hear a story of an amazing human achievement or heroism or compassion it thrills me because I have something in common (humanity) with the hero. Likewise, every true story of an awful crime that I hear hits me hard because I know that I have something in common with the perpetrator.

When I hear those awful stories they bother me and I am tempted to shrug their behavior off as something un-human. That would be comforting. But inhumanity in action or attitude is exceedingly common in people. It's extremely common in me.

I'm always looking for an excuse to dehumanize victims of crime/poverty/injustice/disease/natural disaster because it's overwhelming to have to consider all the suffering that happens in the world, but when I discount the suffering of real human beings just to achieve some minor comfort, some status, or some little goal then I have engaged in intellectual inhumanity and the difference between thinking of people as less than human and treating them that way means crossing an awfully thin line.

The other side of that line is where monsters live and operate.

I love a thriller and I don't need to know how every monster got to be that way, but when I write I'm always looking for the answer (even if it's not on the page) because I don't want to become one. I may or may not do a good job of it, but it's always part of the work for me.

I've got no problem if you see a trailer for a movie and can tell right off that it's not to your liking, and I've got no problem if you see an actual movie and think that it sucked, but the idea of telling an artist that they shouldn't try to humanize a character - not because it's going to be a bad choice for a particular project, but because any character who would do that kind of thing shouldn't be humanized - it's a pretty wrong-headed take.

If it's something that people do then it is human. "Humanizing" the criminal doesn't lessen the horror of the crime because it's relatable. The relatability of the terrible act is where the horror truly lies.

Thankfully Joker isn't the only polarizing picture this year. Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time Hollywood also provoked some pretty juicy stuff across the spectrum (which I've generally found to be more entertaining than the movie itself), but one particular take really, really, really, like utterly baffled and fucking infuriated me: "I'm sick and tired of Tarantino trying to redeem awful characters."

To which I immediately reply - motherfucker, then who should he try to redeem?

Redemption is the shit.

The good and necessary shit.

Otherwise we're all fucked. All. Everybody. Me first, but you too.

When I was a kid I thought I was a pretty good guy (and I was comparatively), but the older I got the more I realized that my actions and thoughts and instincts run more or less completely perpendicular to my ideals. I fail constantly to be who I think I should be, nevermind thinking correctly who I should be. I need to be redeemed annually, weekly and daily, probably hourly. I make too many mistakes. If there's no improving, no hope for course correction or overpowering grace in the world then a swift and merciful death is the best hope for everybody.

So please show me the redemption of awful characters. The more awful the character, the greater the challenge to redeem. And just like humanizing terrifying characters ought to make them more terrifying, redeeming truly awful characters ought to be a comfort and encouragement to people who know how bad they are. Like me.

Which isn't to say it's always (or often, or regularly) artistically successful. Fuuuuuuuuck no. If the complaint is that a trope or plot point in a character's humanizing or redemption is kinda worn out or poorly utilized, that's absolutely legit. I do hate it when it's done badly, cheaply, falsely. And please forgive me personally for the times that I fail to humanize or redeem characters in a satisfying way - you have my blessing not to read my stuff. There are people who do it better than I can and you are encouraged to go read them.

Joker may do it badly (jury's out - I haven't seen it yet). Tarantino may do it badly (keep having the conversations, everybody). But I reject the idea that it shouldn't be attempted.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Stay Vigilant

Sooo I caught Mindhunter season 2 and happy to report that it's still one of the best crime dramas produced today, just blisteringly hot when it's on which it is a good 90% of the time. Like 90-93% of the time. I have a couple of quibbles with storylines involving Tench and Carr's personal lives, but they aren't near big enough not to recommend you checking in to the proceedings of this procedural if you haven't yet.

And just like the first season, season two is electrified by some very strong supporting turns from guest cast members stepping into roles of well-documented real killers. Cameron Britton is back for a brief appearance as Ed Kemper, Oliver Cooper demystifies David Berkowitz and Damon Herriman plays Charles Manson for the second time this summer (after a cameo in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time Hollywood), but it's Christopher Livingston's Wayne Williams who really steals the season.

Of course the deck is stacked in their favor with continued excellence behind the scenes. I tend to think David Fincher is mistakenly considered an auteur instead of as a near peerless craftsman, but I have to admit that when he's dealing with serial murderers there may be something to your auteur arguments (Mindhunter and Zodiac specifically, but even in pulpy fare like Se7en - and shit, maybe I'll even give The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo another try - seem to bring out something special).

Fincher shares directorial duties this season with a couple of heavy hitters in Carl Franklin (One False Move, Devil in a Blue Dress) and Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Killing Them Softly) and series stars Jonathan Groff, Anna Torv and especially Holt McCallany do super solid work.

On the latest episode of Do Some Damage I get into A Vigilante the feature debut of writer/director Sarah Daggar-Nickson starring Olivia Wilde as a battered woman whose mission is to help other victims of domestic violence escape. Cool idea that sounds like a comic book premise (like The A-Team meets You Were Never Really Here), but gets a fair dramatic shake with a very engaged performance from Wilde at its core. Definitely looking for what's next from Daggar-Nickson. Check out the trailer.

The other pick this week is John Hyams' All Square; a feel-good-ish sports movie about a bookie (so it's crime) played by Michael Kelly who starts taking action on little league games. Sounds like low-hanging fruit for comedic pay-off and it's not afraid to take a hard swing at lazy pitches, but it's got more heart and is nastier too than I'm guessing you'd guess (because I guessed) it would by based on that premise. Think Bad Santa, Slapshot, The Bad News Bears and... The Color of Money(?). Shit, give it a shot. I think you'll like it. Check out the trailer.

You see that Edward Norton's 20 year project, an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's novel Motherless Brooklyn, is finally a reality? The book is set in the 80s, but the film looks like the 50s or 60s which means it's gonna look cool, but also means we're not going to get the neo in the noir trappings - unless this is all in his head or something which... ain't the book, but I wouldn't put it past the film makers to do something like that since it's about an amateur detective who sees the world a little differently. Regardless, I'm excited to see what this thing is like.

And if you're willing to go way out on a limb on my recommendations then go give Robert Scott Wildes' Poor Boy a shot.  The trailer is a beaut, but it doesn't really sell the vibe of the film which I'd previously called the juggalo Salton Sea, and another adventurous viewer said it was like Gummo for dirtbags. Whatever you think of those descriptors you'll probably still not know what to expect from the film which is at least as confounding as it is delightfully odd.

If it gets you hot for juggalo noir then you'll have to keep your eyes open for Whoop! Whoop! the debut novel of Icy Thug Nutz arriving later this year. I am here for this.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

One Hot Take Deserves Another

In 2003 Gary Ellis' first and only feature film, the grifter/drifter carnival noir Tough Luck did an inverse magic trick by disappearing and then never re-materialzing. At least not until nobody was watching any longer. It starred Norman Reedus, Armand Assante and Dagmara Dominczyk as the three points of a lust/trust geometrical disaster and they made a sharp team in my lonely opinion.

Over at Daily Grindhouse I wrote about the film and I hope you'll give it a chance.

And if my after fourteen years knee-jerk take stokes your thirst for one with more heat allow me to direct you toward One Heat Minute podcast creator/host Blake Howard's new venture; a new film podcast called The Take (check out this teaser of Blake telling Vincent Hannah all about it).

The first episode is up and features Blake with guests Lindsey Romain from The Nerdist and Sarah Ward of Trespass Magazine discussing Once Upon a Time Hollywood and all things Quentin Tarantino. The film has been the subject of more think pieces and scorching hot takes than any in recent memory and I'd like to thank everybody for participating in the rush to gush and hush that's been so damned entertaining to observe these last few weeks.

I saw it! I liked it fine, but I suspect it will grow in my estimation with revisits the same way works by many of my favorite film makers do. The guests on The Take rank their top 5 QT movies and since no one's asking I'll give you mine for the moment:

5) Pulp Fiction - I worked in a movie theater when this one came out. Saw it four times in the first week and a more intense corporate experience of held-breath suspense followed by explosive laughter than during the overdose sequence. Even the fourth time that week I was on edge during that sequence.

4) Inglourious Basterds - Not at all what I'd anticipated for years with rumors of a Tarantino WWII movie, and honestly, upon first viewing, a bit of a let down, but it's grown steadily in my estimation thanks in large part to the many films within the film structure, and the hilariously messy collision of all the parts coming together in the climax.

3) Kill Bill vol. 1 - Not going to cheat and put both volumes together Volume 1 really towers over the second part for me for the House of Blue Leaves chapter alone.

2) Jackie Brown - As a crime fan first I always lament what could have been with more of his career dedicated to the genre, but hawt damn, we'll always have this perfection to savor.

1) Reservoir Dogs - Came out when I was still in high school and the impact was pretty instantaneous. Enough so that I was eager for it to be released on VHS while still in the dark about the subject matter. What I saw alternately beguiled, horrified and thrilled me enough that I bought my own copy and watched it over and over just trying to figure out why it pushed my buttons so hard. Totally sympathize with people who hate it and I believe he's grown as a filmmaker (and probably as a human being) since making this one, but there's not doubt it's the one that made the biggest impact on me and helped me define what I was looking for.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Hawke Remake of a Hawks Remake

On the latest episode of the Do Some Damage podcast you can hear me talking a bit about Joe Lynch's Point Blank starring Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo and Marcia Gay Harden. You may hear it described as "a Netflix original," but it's a remake of Fred Cavayé's French language film of the same name (no, it's not a remake of John Boorman's 1967 classic).

Lynch is a film maker of juvenile strengths - his movies are gonna be crude, irreverent, ultra-violent, gross and over the top wherever possible - and that works for him (and me) more often than not (I really enjoyed Everly and Knights of Badassdom is a lot of fun too). It's one of the reasons the English-language remake is worth having. Outside of plot this remake's not much like the original. This is a Joe Lynch flick and his stamp is all over it.

It may or may not be your thing though.

If it's not your for you I would highly recommend checking out the original. It fucking mooooves. I dug Lynch's flick, but it's awful talky compared to this one.

Point Blank isn't the first Cavayé film to get an English language remake. 2008's Anything For Her was remade by Paul Haggis as The Next Three Days starring Russell Crowe and (Lynch's) Point Blank screenwriter Adam Simon isn't finished writing English language adaptations; next up from him is Joe Carnahan's remake of Gareth Evans' The Raid. Point Blank may highlight Simon or Lynch or Carnahan (who also produced Point Blank) juvenile strengths, but it also has some fun with movie references throughout.

Notably, William Friedkin's Sorcerer, Brian De Palma's Scarface and John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 all get shout outs and the commonality between them is...? All three are remakes of good pictures that are generally considered to be worthy of standing alongside or even superior to the originals.

Sorcerer is based on French novelist Georges Arnaud's book Wages of Fear which was originally adapted for the screen in 1953 by Henri-Georges Clouzot (as well as in 1958 by Howard W. Koch as Violent Road) and might appear again soon directed by Ben Wheatley. Friedkin's version is singled out though and for good reason. It's an all-timer for me. Hugely influential on my own work and sensibilities - especially on Fierce Bitches.

Scarface is an unofficial cocaine wars update of Howard Hawks' prohibition-era gangster movie based on the Armitage Trail novel inspired by Al Capone. In the podcast I mistakenly refer to the 1983 version as Oliver Stone's Scarface (he's the screenwriter).

And Hawks' western Rio Bravo starring John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson was updated to a 20th century urban wasteland in 1976's Assault on Precinct 13. The Carpenter version was then remade in 2005 by French director Jean-François Richet (Mesrine, Blood Father) starring Lawrence Fishburne and Ethan Hawke making this nod a Hawke remake of a Hawks remake.

Since Hawks gets two nods Friedkin gets a second reference with To Live & Die in L.A. getting a shout as well (a movie I've heard some argue eclipses its own source material; Gerald Petievich's novel of the same name).

All that's from a single casual viewing, so I'm probably missing a bunch of other nerdy nods. Anyway, it's fun on a few levels.

Here's a few links:

Joe Lynch going fucking nuts over Michael Mann on Blake Howard's One Heat Minute podcast - (hey this episode is preceded by my first episode).

Blake Howard on Joe Lynch's Point Blank.

Tim Pelan on Sorcerer at Cinephelia & Beyond.

Travis Woods on Sorcerer at Bright Wall Dark Room.

Brian Brems on To Live & Die in L.A. at Bright Wall Dark Room.

Priscilla Page on the car chase in To Live & Die in L.A. at Hagerty.

Me on To Live & Die in L.A. and other adaptations of Gerald Petievich books.

Me on Sorcerer and other gringo noirs.

My quick thoughts on Fred Cavayé's Point Blank.

My quick thoughts on Brian De Palma's Scarface.

My quick thoughts on John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13.

My quick thoughts on Joe Lynch's Everly.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

River of Grass

Huge apologies to anybody expecting me to be witty and engaging on the latest episode of the Do Some Damage podcast. You see, while I was my sorta my typically half-assed prepared to talk about a couple of films, I found myself engaged in what I assumed was a private conversation with Steve Weddle about Charles Willeford. Steve's reading Willeford's most excellent first book of memoirs, I Was Looking For a Street (as should fucking you - it's so good!) and we talked about ol' Chuck and his work and habits for a good ten minutes.

Ten minutes that I was enjoying perfectly well when it was between pals, but dear reader, I apologize for subjecting you to my quarter-assed Willefordian musings. For the record the Robert Mitchum movie I am referring to is John Farrow's 1950 offering Where Danger Lives. If you don't care to listen to the whole ten minutes I will spare you some grief... Wild Wives is the book you'd want to compare to Where Danger Lives...
...and I assert that Willeford probably modeled Freddy in Miami Blues on (or at least his actions were inspired by) Robert Stack in Airplane!

Now check out Alec Baldwin as Freddy in George Armitage's 1990 adaptation of Willeford's Miami Blues
I can only kinda sort blame Steve for including the ramble because weirdly it ties into the two movies I had already picked out to discuss as they are both oddball Florida crime stories...

The first is Kelly Reichardt's feature debut River of Grass about a couple of especially low-rent lovers on the run (Lisa Donaldson and Larry Fessenden) who manage neither to love nor run after they are bound by murder.

The second is Victor Nunez's Coastlines. For every crime films of the seventies nut out there who moans that they don't make 'em like that anymore, might I insist you check this one out. It's a crime melodrama starring Timothy Olyphant, Josh Brolin, Sarah Wynter, William Forsythe, Josh Lucas and Scott Wilson and if that cast ain't enough to rouse your curiosity why the hell are you even reading this?

I've written more than once about Coastlines on this here blog and was super excited to find it (and River of Grass) available on Hulu. Hurry though, it looks like Coastlines is leaving soon! River of Grass is also available now on Prime. If you dig Coastlines check out Nunez's Ulee's Gold - another slow-burn thriller with a good central performance by Peter Fonda and shit, Reichardt is pretty much aces every time out, but crime-wise check out Night Moves and you could sorta tie Wendy & Lucy into that knot and her Meek's Cutoff is like a feature length western episode of the Twilight Zone.

If you're interested in more Willeford talk check out this collaborative Picture Books piece betwixt me and Johnny Shaw on the films based on Willford material (Monte Hellman's Cockfighter, George Armitage's Miami Blues and Robson Devor's The Woman Chaser). If you like what you read there be sure to check out Johnny's latest book The Upper Hand (and all his other shit, seriously).

And if you'd like to see me and Shaw finally become a single character might I suggest Mike McCreary's Genuinely Dangerous, a book I've had for three years, but only just read and found Jedidiah Shaw to be a character worth his own series. Mike's books are literary rocket fuel - not good for much but blasting off if that's what you feel like doing.

If you're looking for more Florida crime stuff's Matt Coleman at Book Riot has some solid recommendations including Miami Blues, Vicky Hendrick's Miami Purity, Ace Atkins' White Shadow, Elmore Leonard's Rum PunchSteph Post's Walk in the Fire and many more in honor of Alex Segura's fifth(?) Pete Fernandez title Miami Midnight.

And shit, if you wanna stick to the brilliance of Armitage's Miami Blues check out Travis Woods' usual bullshit at Bright Wall Dark Room on the matter.

And if the mention of Reichardt's Night Moves put you in mind of Arthur Penn's awesome Floridian film of the same name with Gene Hackman - check the fuck out Matthew Asprey Gear's new book on the film Moseby Confidential: Arthur Penn's Night Moves and the Rise of Neo Noir. Crackin.