With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II (2004)

Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Screenplay By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Cinematography By: Morten Søborg

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen

Runtime: 100 minutes

See I told you Mads Mikkelsen was exceptional as Tonny. So exceptional in fact that they gave him his own movie. Of course I’m not going to complain any time Refn is/was allowed to make a movie, but Pusher II has a much calmer tone than any of Refn’s other films I’ve seen. It’s not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, it’s actually still a great film, just not what I was expecting from Refn or from the sequel to what was an intensity juggernaut in Pusher I.

Another thing that through me was how much grittier Pusher I looks and feels than it’s sequel. Even though Pusher II is still handheld throughout it felt much cleaner than Pusher I. Maybe this is from Refn evolving as a filmmaker and nine years removed from the original he just wasn’t able to or interested in replicating that Pusher grit. The Pusher world is still grimy by itself but this does feel like a more produced version of the original and not fully it’s visual sibling.

However, Pusher II is still emotionally gripping and has a lot to say about the character Tonny and the world he comes from. And again Mads Mikkelsen is excellent as Tonny.

You should watch this movie.

God Bless America

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Irma Vep (1996)

Directed By: Olivier Assayas

Screenplay By: Olivier Assayas

Cinematography By: Eric Gautier

Starring: Maggie Cheung & Nathalie Richard

Runtime: 99 minutes

This is an interesting French film that deals with the state of world cinema generally and French cinema specifically. It’s about a French production of a remake of an old silent film, and for the remake the director casts a Chinese actress as the star.

Irma Vep is engaging throughout but the last few minutes is where this movie busts a whole through your brain. Of course it wouldn’t have any power if it weren’t for everything that comes before it, but dang the ending is mesmerizing and shows what movies are truly capable of.

Maggie Cheung is super seducing wearing a skin tight latex suit for a good portion of the film. And it doesn’t hurt how everyone in the movie talks about how beautiful she is. The influential power of other people.

This is worth a watch for anyone interested in a movie about filmmaking and movies.

God Bless America

The Neon Demon (2016)

Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Screenplay By: Nicolas Winding Refn and Mary Laws & Polly Stenham

Cinematography By: Natasha Braier

Starring: Elle Fanning

Jesus titty-fucking Christ! This movie is fucking bonkers. How are people not talking about this film. Refn once again makes the case for being the most ambitious and provocative director around. This movie is fucking great!

There is an undeniable and unavoidable tension from the first shot to the last. This movie never gives you a break, and when you think it has is when you’ll be the most in trouble. Wow! Just wow.

I wish all movies could be conceived with this amount of creativity and delicacy. From the story, to the costumes, the music, the shots, everything is working on such a high level it is really a stunning thing to behold.

Something that I really enjoyed about this movie besides all of it, was the resolution. Usually movies have a climax and end within a few minutes after that. This movie allows you to stew and simmer. And boy oh boy! Wow wow wow.

If you’re into dark and twisted and beautiful things go see this movie.

God Bless America