(kr) wrote: "Fire and brimstone, human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together - mass hysteria!"Ghostbusters has to be the funnest funniest blockbuster. Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray on top form. absolutely iconic 80's sci fi comedy and a joy to watch nearly 15 years on."We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!"
(es) wrote: As far as crime movies go, finding the perfect balance between comedy, suspense, and consequence is a massively difficult task - I can think of few other genres that mostly choose to play it straight, as injecting comic life into a martini of violence can lead to caper territory (too light), or can shove you into concluding that the director has a sick mind for joking around during times of brutality. Only a rare number of filmmakers can find humor in thuggish buffoonery without seeming like a half-depraved artist. One such filmmaker is George Armitage, the writer/director of 1990's minor but cinematically interesting "Miami Blues," which is a black comedy or a quirky crime thriller depending on where you're sitting. Finding a cogent middle-ground between barbarity and breeziness, it conjures up a world where criminals are dupes, their girls unsuspecting, the cops chasing them smiling harlequins unafraid of drinking a beer with a suspect. It's an unprecedented, often charismatic (and often unstable) movie with a heart that thumps like a bass at a jazz show. Its stamina is bewildering. In a role that suits his snaky attractiveness well, Alec Baldwin portrays Frederick Frenger Jr., a savage killer just released from prison. Only minutes after landing in Miami, FL does he, still in the airpot, go back to the old drawing board, stealing an inattentive woman's briefcase and even killing an overzealous Hare Krishna just by twisting his finger back. He isn't the sort to learn from past mistakes; he is a born madman, and doesn't want to shape himself into something he isn't. In other words, he's a dangerous sociopath with a thirst to destruct. To regroup, he checks into a ritzy hotel and is introduced to Susie Waggoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a young prostitute sent up to his room by a compliant staff member. Susie is impressionable and easily swayed, and Junior, being a manipulative, sly dog, is a strong presence in comparison to her weak will. Before long, they are romantically involved, soon getting hitched and buying a quaint little house in a sunny, Floridian suburb. But a domestic life doesn't change the fact that Junior is an S.O.B. from hell, and the murder of the Hare Krishna is not something that the law has not been made aware of. Assigned to investigate is Sgt. Hoke Moseley (a lovable Fred Ward), whose relaxed method of solving a case somehow gets him acquainted with Junior and Susie rather quickly. But, being optimistic and foolish, Moseley loses control, his badge unfortunately stolen by the man he's investigating. So begins a crime spree whose spontaneity suggests no problems to Junior, a determined Moseley hot on his tail, the air-headed Susie unaware that her husband is actually a terrible guy. "Miami Blues" is an illusionist's act of a movie, balancing three thoroughly contrasting characters on a two-inch platform and using their distinct personalities as a way to make the story feel consilient and believable. Fortunately, Armitage is a screenwriter who possesses the inherent skill of telling us plenty about his characters by including little, almost invisible quirks about them that, more or less, inform us of their life story. Junior probably grew up as a scoundrel confined to prison, letting sinful thoughts brew incessantly in his head; Susie was a bimbo cheerleader who felt college was the right place to go, turning to prostitution over any other job to support herself simply because her small mind is drawn by money, not respect; Moseley was most likely a friendly jock, a fraternity leader, who stood out to his peers as being a genuinely nice guy. Put these people altogether and you've got a compelling movie, as we're watching individuals, not stereotypes. I can think of no major issues in "Miami Blues" besides its ending, which is bittersweet and not much fitting for a film that takes pride in combining crime and human comedy like a cinematic Olympic gold medalist. Nevertheless, this is a crafty, smart thriller that knows its tone as well as the people involved know the backs of their hands. It's a tightrope walk that doesn't end in a plunge to the death - too bad about its unlucky peers who could never figure out how to be drolly suspenseful without taking things too far.