Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Jackie Stewart

One False Move (1992)

Small towns always need a little excitement.

Ray (Billy Bob Thornton), an immoral thief who always seems to question everyone and everything around him; Fantasia (Cynda Williams), Ray’s girlfriend who doesn’t always seem to take the violent way out, but more than often, doesn’t know what else to do; and Pluto (Michael Beach), an smart, yet, cold and calculated killer who isn’t afraid anyone, are all criminals who have been on the run for quite some time. Together, they’ve taken out friends of Fantasia’s, either to get money, drugs, or a whatever other valuables they can find, not only leaving a huge and disturbingly long trail of blood behind them, but making them public enemy number one, essentially. Eventually, the LAPD gets more and more involved, the more and more bodies start turning up, leaving them to trigger and target Fantasia herself. On the case are two detectives, Dud Cole (Jim Metzler) and John McFeely (Earl Billings), who both travel out into the middle of nowhere in Star City, Arkansas, because it’s where they believe Fantasia will bring her fellow criminals to. While there, they meet the eccentric and sometimes silly police chief Dale “Hurricane” Dixon (Bill Paxton), who has always dreamed of one day becoming a big city cop and seems to finally be getting the chance to do so. However, the case itself may be way too out of his league.

See what I mean?

One False Move starts off with perhaps the most disturbing first 15 minutes of as movie I have seen in quite some time. It’s a family, watching the home videos that they just filmed moments ago on their video-cameras, get a knock at the door, go to see who is at the knock, and slowly, but surely, each member of the family is either stabbed to death or killed, all while these tapes are playing the background. In fact, one person’s lifeless body lies right in front of the TV, while tapes of said person talking about how happy they are continue play. It’s harsh, brutal, unrelenting, and just downright mean, but it’s also the rare case of an indie-thriller really taking itself one step further to get down underneath our skin.

That said, it’s also the darkest and perhaps most ugly One False Move gets, which thankfully, doesn’t keep it away from being a solid flick in its own right. It’s just not nearly as upsetting.

Anyway, director Carl Franklin does a nice job here with the script from Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson, by letting and allowing for everything to play out. Rather than trying too hard to focus on certain details of the story, the case, the murders, or even the characters, he sort of sits idly by and let them tell us themselves. And because of that, we get a lot of interesting material that we don’t often see in thrillers of this nature; we get an slew of interesting, three-dimensional characters, we get a plot that could literally go anywhere, at any time, we have a story that has, at the very least, more of a meaning than just “bad people deserved to be locked-up”, and oh yeah, bloody, surprising violence that matters more because, well, all of these things work and they matter.

It’s important to note what works here, because One False Move could have been a very easy movie to figure out, in terms of where it’s going, or what it’s going to be about. Had it been so easy, the movie would have just been another, typical action-thriller with plot twists and turns that don’t actually matter; instead, it’s a movie with some heart, emotion, crime, violence, and oh yeah, tension. It comes together mostly all perfectly well by the end, showing that in order for a crime-thriller such as this to work, all you really need is extra attention paid to the things that matter most.

“Stop thinking about the pony-tail, baby. It’s what’s in.”

Like, once again, characters, all of whom are played exceptionally well by all involved.

As the three criminals, Thornton, Beach and Williams all do good jobs in helping us get inside the mind of these sometimes cruel and unforgiving characters. While they’re never sympathetic or nice, they still at least show some colors you wouldn’t often get in a movie like this. Like, for instance, rather than seeming like a simple peon who is tired of the whole world stepping on him, is actually more of just a sissy who has a gun and some homicidal tendencies, which mostly has to do with the fact that he’s egged on by those around him. Beach is also impressive as Pluto, who is more detestable and downright evil, but shows signs of reasoning for it all. Meanwhile, Williams is effective as Fantasia, showing that there’s some sadness there, which makes her the most sympathetic out of the three, even if we’re never sure we can trust her.

However, the real standout of the movie has to be Bill Paxton, who on pure sheer charm and excitement, basically steals every scene he’s in. Sure, it helps that Paxton’s working with the most well-drawn character of the bunch, but Paxton shows some true heart, soul, and energy here and brings it to a movie that’s so drab and depressing at times, it’s a wonder if it knows what humor it is. Thankfully, it does and Paxton is the one to bring it, showing a real spirited soul within Dale Dixon and makes you not only see him as a good cop, but a good human being in general, who wants to make the world a better place, and intends to do so, all with a smile on his face and a beer in his hand.

Man, Bill. We miss you already.

Consensus: Dark, intense, and unpredictable, One False Move proves to be an effective thriller, but also gives us great performances and characters to help even things out, too.

8.5 / 10

Small-town cops get no respect.

Photos Courtesy of: AV Club, The Fanboy’s Perspective, Paperblog


Senna (2011)

No deaths in Formula One racing since ’94?  What’s there to watch then?

Though the name “Ayrton Senna” may not be frequently referenced alongside the names of such like “Michael Jordan”, “Babe Ruth”, “Ty Cobb”, etc., some still consider him one of the greatest sports legends of all-time, and amazing at what sport he did. That sport being racing, aka, the love of his life and the only thing he wanted to do with it. For Senna, life in the big-leagues of racing started out relatively promising with him winning more than a few major races, but as soon as he started defeating these more known/prestigious names, Senna ran into the politics of the Formula One racing world that were very, very present in those days. But Senna does not back down from a fight, and instead, enhances the battle even more by winning more races, demanding more stipulations be made to the racetrack to better ensue more safety among drivers, and give love and charity to his beloved country, Brazil. Senna had so much beauty and wonder to give this world, however, it was all cut short by one fateful turn. And I don’t mean a figurative one, I mean a real, actual turn around a racetrack.

Shouldn’t be a no-brainer to anybody, but sometimes the best documentaries, are ones of the most extraordinary subjects. And in this movie’s case, it’s the man himself that they document, who, I for one, have never heard of, let alone, had no interest in even exploring anymore than just this documentary. And even then, I wasn’t too stoked to watch it, but I thought that since I’d already seen Rush, and my ears had yet been blown-out by the revved-up engines and screeches of the tires, why not give it a shot? I mean, I do have Netflix, so I might as well give it a shot, right?

Speed Racer looked cooler. That's all I have to say.

Speed Racer looked cooler. That’s all I have to say.

Right indeed! Just goes to show you what type of stuff is out there in terms of documentaries, and also in terms of what type of stuff Netflix has in the deepest, darkest places of their library. Seriously, I had no idea a movie like 2-Headed Shark Attack even existed! But lord, does it ever. Thanks, Netflix! You truly are a movie geeks one and only best friend.

But anyway, like I was saying with Senna, this really is a great documentary, and for one of the main reasons being that it never really follows a pattern, yet, totally is able to make understand everywhere it’s at, where it’s going to go next, and in some ways, even take you by surprise at other turns as well, but in a good way. There’s no narration, no faces of anybody being interviewed in the present-time, and even stranger, not many of the key people who were so frequent in Senna’s life. May seem weird considering that this is his documentary, about his life, and the people he surrounded himself around, however, that didn’t matter because the movie does all of the talking for them in a way that surprised the hell out of me.

It didn’t surprise me because it was an effective-way of story telling, but because it showed so much footage that made me wonder where they found it all, and most importantly, how the hell they cobbled it all together? But nonetheless, it still works because it gets you right involved with this story, what’s going to happen next to Senna in terms of his life and his races, and just when the plug is going to be pulled on his illustrious racing-career. If there was a little something I knew before seeing this movie was about how Senna dies, and it made me scared watching this whole movie. I didn’t know when it was going to happen, or how, I just knew it was going to go down eventually, and they do show it in a very tasteful way, as you’d expect from a documentary made about his life and career.

Even in his downtime, he loved to cheat death.

Even in his downtime, he loved to cheat death.

And if there’s anything that makes this documentary more and more intriguing as it goes on by is Senna himself. Not only was Ayrton Senna a genius behind-the-wheel, but he was also a very humble one that never let the fame or fortune go to his head. He constantly gave money to people who needed it, cared for his beloved country of Brazil, and was almost never blatantly disrespectful to people who didn’t already deserve it. Case in point, his rivalry with fellow racer Alain Prost, in which they both showed snippets of brilliance together, but soon began to dislike the other and in a way, even go so far as to cheat just so that they would pull it out on top. Now, of course the movie never makes it as abundantly clear whose side it’s obviously on in terms of this rivalry, but it’s well-handled just the like rest of the movie because it shows you just how much people wanted to beat Senna, and would stop at nothing to do so. It also shows us just how political the organization of Formula One racing was, and sometimes, still is to this day.

However, there’s not many bad spirits to be had here in this documentary, and despite all of the sometimes grim material, they never allow for it to go out on a deep, dark, or sad note. Instead, the movie ends on the type of note that shows exactly what Senna raced for: Pride. He wanted to show his pride for his love, his country, and just who he was as a person, so much so that his life had to be taken away for doing so. That in and of itself is very, very sad, yet, the movie shows us that time will go on and Senna’s influence will be felt all throughout the racing world. And maybe even the world itself, eh? Okay, maybe that’s stepping a bit too high, but you get my drift.

Consensus: Though most of you out there may not be racing fans in the slightest bit, Senna is still well worth the watch because it’s a documentary that shows its subject for the person that he was, what he loved to do, and how he would not stop trying to achieve his goal and his dream, even if it meant that his life would be on the line while doing so.

8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!

Eat your hearts out, ladies.

Eat your hearts out, ladies.

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