12 Time-Twisted Crime Films

It’s time to spring forward, as the saying goes. What daylight savings actually saves is beyond me. Just another way of making me wake up earlier than sunrise. Twisting time has worked a whole lot better in crime cinema.

Takin’ ‘er Easy for All Us Sinners: The World According to Jeffrey Lebowski

The Big Lebowski enjoys what is probably the largest cult following of all the cult-attracting films of Joel and Ethan Coen, and has pretty much since its release over a decade ago.  And “cult” has become more apropos a term since the advent of Dudeism, the official unofficial philosophy of Jeffrey “the Dude” Lebowski (dudeism.com).… Continue reading Takin’ ‘er Easy for All Us Sinners: The World According to Jeffrey Lebowski

Chew… Stripp’d

Food is the archetypal First World problem. While some parts of the world starve and other parts are turned inside out by our demand for low-cost and low-fuss supplies of exotic and increasingly refined foodstuffs, the West is growing increasingly alienated and distant from the things that it eats.

Top 10 Science Fiction Movies of the Decade 2000-2009

All the end-of-year/decade lists going up right now inspired me to hit one up of my own. And all the hype about James Cameron’s Avatar, which is being trumpeted as some sort of monumental science fiction success, gave me just the topic:  the actual best science fiction movies of the aughts.

Songs of Hate, Part Two: The Visual Instead Of The Verbal

We left off last column with a run-down on the first of actress/singer Meiko Kaji’s Female Prisoner Scorpion series and a hint that things were about to get pretty weird. Well, the phantasmagoria goes full bore in the second film in the series, Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (Joshuu Sasori – Dai 41 Zakkyobo). Filmed, like its predecessor, in 1972,… Continue reading Songs of Hate, Part Two: The Visual Instead Of The Verbal

Forget It, Eddie, It’s Toontown – The Crime Fiction Roots Of Roger Rabbit

My friend’s dad took us to see Willow one sunny summer’s day in 1988.  It was a good movie and all, but honestly I was extremely distracted throughout the whole thing.  All I could think about was one of the coming attractions I’d seen for a film called Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  I’d seen Bedknobs… Continue reading Forget It, Eddie, It’s Toontown – The Crime Fiction Roots Of Roger Rabbit

The Millennium Falcon or Serenity? | Point/Counterpoint

If there’s one thing nerds like to do, it’s debate.  And if there’s one thing nerds like to debate about, it’s useless trivia from TV shows and movies.  Thus, we humbly submit for your reading pleasure: The Nerd Point/Counterpoint. This week’s topic:  Which is the better cargo ship?  The Millennium Falcon or Serenity? The Millennium… Continue reading The Millennium Falcon or Serenity? | Point/Counterpoint

5 Terrifying Crime Films That Actually Happened

There are plenty of crime films that straddle some scary territory: Serial killer suspense stories, “realistic” horror and a couple gangster-style stories with eerie elements. But even though Hollywood gets accused of slathering on the ultraviolence with a spatula, that’s often just what we want to believe to protect our nerves.

Songs of Hate: Meiko Kaji and Female Prisoner Scorpion (Part One)

She sold over a million albums, her films inspired much of Kill Bill, and when she didn’t want to do what she was asked of by executives, she said uh-uh and split for greener pastures. Her name is Meiko Kaji. Possessed with a confidence and an intensity that saw her type-cast as one of Japan’s toughest bad girls,… Continue reading Songs of Hate: Meiko Kaji and Female Prisoner Scorpion (Part One)

It’s Not The Quantity, It’s The Quality: Sion Sono’s COLD FISH

Back in my days teaching English in Japan, I raised the topic of murders and why they were so frequently extreme in Japan. One student actually said in reply, “It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality.” Kind of grimly funny, and a nice attempt at busting out some natural speech, but the thing is, I… Continue reading It’s Not The Quantity, It’s The Quality: Sion Sono’s COLD FISH

Top 10 Restaurants In Crime Film

Crime films often make me hungry. Often the restaurant scenes are among the best remembered in crime flicks. The coffee shops and Italian kitchens and juke joints where criminal characters go to grab a bite or do dirt serve to define them.

Memories of Wing Commander

There aren’t many things from my youth that I truly miss, but one of the members of that elite group is the space combat flight simulator game. Once quite common, they are all but unknown today, and that’s a shame. For me, personally, my regret at the genre’s passing is about much more than the… Continue reading Memories of Wing Commander

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In and Out of The Big House: DOING TIME and 9 SOULS

By his own admission, noted Mangaka (pro comics creator) Kazuichi Hanawa had long been interested in themes of confinement. An early, unfinished experiment was a manga concerning a masked man locked up in a basement. It’s oddly appropriate then that Hanawa, a noted collector of replica firearms would, years later, be incarcerated in Hokkaido and serve roughly… Continue reading In and Out of The Big House: DOING TIME and 9 SOULS

Whitechapel Squad: The Detective Comics of Warren Ellis

I’ve long believed Warren Ellis is a crime-fiction writer at heart.  The first series of Wolfskin was a clear example of sword-and-sorcery comics, but had that distinct Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars feel, a dyed-in-the-wool crook playing both sides.  Comics like Aetheric Mechanics and Captain Swing are solid steampunk works, yet revolve around cops-and-robbers shenanigans.  One of the driving tenets of our work here at… Continue reading Whitechapel Squad: The Detective Comics of Warren Ellis

Arrivederci, Eltingville

Comic book nerds are easy targets.  Fish in a barrel and on crutches, to boot.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but going to down to comics conventions and making fun of grown men dressed in tights or in Klingon make-up is not unlike heckling the Special Olympics.  Maybe it’s less guilt-inducing,… Continue reading Arrivederci, Eltingville

Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky Review

Empire in Black and Gold is the debut of British author Adrian Tchaikovsky and the first installment in a trilogy titled Shadows of the Apt. In his debut Tchaikovsky gives us a heroic narrative where a small group of travellers offer resistance against overwhelming odds – a narrative pattern typical of epic fantasy. Empire in… Continue reading Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky Review

Charlie Adlard Interview – Portrait of the Artist as a Walking Dead Man

Back in the nineties, I had the pleasure of working with Charlie Adlard on Topp’s The X-Files comic.  Ages later, the man who draws The Walking Dead was kind enough to spend some time catching up on Skype.  And it all went something like this… Stefan:  I leave you alone a while, and you’re surrounded… Continue reading Charlie Adlard Interview – Portrait of the Artist as a Walking Dead Man

Phonogram… Stripp’d

One could argue that the enduring popularity of genre motifs is a direct result of the death of God. Prior to the Enlightenment, the people of the ancient and medieval worlds knew their place.  They knew that there were gods and demons, monsters and spirits. They knew that the good things in life could be… Continue reading Phonogram… Stripp’d

 Back to Amberle & Brooks’ The Elfstones – MTV’s Shannara Chronicles Trailer 

I will admit that I’m pretty easy to please but this thing looks better than I could have imagined. I’d consider myself very well entrenched in the world(s) of Terry Brooks, including and perhaps mostly his Shannara output, even though I’m not a mega fan in that way being a The Lord of the Rings… Continue reading  Back to Amberle & Brooks’ The Elfstones – MTV’s Shannara Chronicles Trailer 

Judging Jorah Mormont as Daenerys Targaryen’s Champion

A lot things happened in last week’s episode that people want to talk about a lot more — and oddly I think that particular one was one of the better shot, edited, and acted scenes in a episode that was otherwise kind of a disaster — but I wanted to go into some other directions, namely that of a… Continue reading Judging Jorah Mormont as Daenerys Targaryen’s Champion

The Evolution of the Serial Killer

America has always been crazy about serial killers. They’re our homegrown werewolves. They click with the fast-food car culture that roars in the country’s busy, busy heart. They fit neatly with our cult-of-celebrity-style national mythology. These beasts that seem like men, mowing through victims like McDonald’s cheeseburgers, speeding for the televised takedown by John Q.… Continue reading The Evolution of the Serial Killer

Real = Angst – The Grim ‘N’ Gritty Trend Of The Non-Powered Superhero

Arrow, the WB action television series, starring Stephen Amell’s abs, based on the DC comic book series, Green Arrow, recently debuted and has now been picked up for a full season. Honestly, I haven’t seen the show yet, and had little intention to do so after what I felt looked like a lacklustre trailer. However,… Continue reading Real = Angst – The Grim ‘N’ Gritty Trend Of The Non-Powered Superhero

Cult Film Cult Crimes – Rob Zombie and THE LORDS OF SALEM

Somewhere on the fringe of mainstream film, there’s a frenzied community of artists who illustrate an elemental aspect of crime. They don’t bother with the ticky-tack trivia of the procedural. They don’t focus on the grand fables of revenge and wrongs righted.

Boozed Up And Beaten Down: Noir, Realism, And Alcohol

Booze and crime goes hand in hand like booze and being hugely attractive and winning in life. I am drinking while writing this, because something something simpatico and shit. After speaking with my editor about the topic of this week’s column, I was told “Liam, you’re a pathetic drunk, either clean up your act, or… Continue reading Boozed Up And Beaten Down: Noir, Realism, And Alcohol

The Innocence Of Morons – Sam Bacile & Cranked-Out Propaganda

If you find yourself with fifteen minutes to kill this evening, you can go to YouTube and pull up the video that is currently causing murder and mayhem and destruction in the Middle East this evening.  No, it isn’t Gangnam Style.  It’s that strange new cinematic sensation, Innocence of Muslims.

The Pigs That Are Their Food – THE KING OF PIGS And BLEAK NIGHT

The Korean Film Festival in Australia (or KOFFIA, the acronym they’ve mercifully given me so that I don’t have to type out “The Korean Film Festival in Australia” too many times. I am not paid by the word, which is clearly why I’m so concise with any tangents and diversions within my pieces, and only… Continue reading The Pigs That Are Their Food – THE KING OF PIGS And BLEAK NIGHT

Up Jumped The New World Order – The New Rules of Satanism In Pop Music

Before we get too far into this, I want everybody to remember that there was a time when the members of Mötley Crüe were presumed to be dangerous servants of the Devil. I should also say that I’m relatively new to the notion of Illuminati Satanism, and that anything you read herein has been out… Continue reading Up Jumped The New World Order – The New Rules of Satanism In Pop Music

The City Of I Will – Why BOSS Is Kelsey Grammer’s Greatest Work

It’s strange when you consider that Boss is Kelsey Grammer’s first major dramatic role.  He has always been known for playing upright, no-nonsense roles, but for laughs.  Boss season 2, which premiered this past Friday on Starz, is definitely no laughing matter, and regardless of how lauded Grammer has been for his comedy work, the… Continue reading The City Of I Will – Why BOSS Is Kelsey Grammer’s Greatest Work

Thawing Mr. Freeze – The Life And Death And Life Of Schwarzenegger’s Career

The implications of resurrecting Arnold Schwarzenegger. For the record, I voted for Gallagher. In the Second Great American Mindfuck of the early 21st Century, also known as the 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall Election, I was one of 5,466 watermelon-hating voters who chose to throw away their vote on comedian Gallagher rather than the action star… Continue reading Thawing Mr. Freeze – The Life And Death And Life Of Schwarzenegger’s Career

“Ya Wouldn’t Bloody Like Me When I’m Angry, Mate” – Eric Bana’s Weird Career Progression

Australian of many hats (and presumably berets, gloves, scarves and other assorted fineries) Eric Bana, is close to signing on to star in Lone Survivor. The Peter Berg-directed flick based on the events of SEAL Team 10’s “Operation Red Wing,”  where the Navy SEALs were ambushed while on a covert assassination mission in Afghanistan in 2005.… Continue reading “Ya Wouldn’t Bloody Like Me When I’m Angry, Mate” – Eric Bana’s Weird Career Progression

Books Punch Your Face – The Crime Midsummer Reading List

Eight noir novels to help fill your endless summer with a sense of overwhelming dread and paranoia. Okay, so I’m the professor who wakes up three weeks before the end of the semester and hits everybody over the head with a pile of mandatory reading assignments that everybody has to crowbar in between midnight finals… Continue reading Books Punch Your Face – The Crime Midsummer Reading List

What Are The Odds These Crime Film Remakes Will Happen?

Well, it’s a day ending in “y,” which means it’s time for Criminal Complex’s resident “typical internet fucktard” to vigorously blow his horn every which way over your face about film remakes. Film announcements are a lot like possums – cute to look at, but likely to disappear up your arse before anything more comes… Continue reading What Are The Odds These Crime Film Remakes Will Happen?

12 Messed-Up Memorial Day HATFIELDS & MCCOYS Premiere Facts

No other folk do blood feuds like Mason-Dixon Line Americans. Wedged between the Smoky Mountains and the Mississippi is enough pure meanness to power New York City from now until the Mayan Doomsday. They may pronounce themselves zealots for the religion of “turn the other cheek,” but hillbillies make Sicilian mobsters look laid back.

Apocalypse Whores: Seijun Suzuki’s GATE OF FLESH

Welcome to post-World War II Tokyo. The Occupied City. It’s a crime-fest. Aside from yakuza-run markets, gang wars, gambling, and seemingly everybody on the grift, prostitution  is so utterly widespread, there’s even a governmental department named The RAA (Recreation and Amusement Association) specifically established to relieve the occupying troops of pent-up libidinal urges that could… Continue reading Apocalypse Whores: Seijun Suzuki’s GATE OF FLESH

What Are The Odds That INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Will Turn Out To Be A Crime Movie?

Though largely regarded as humorists, directors Joel and Ethan Coen have produced some of the finest crime movies ever committed to film.  Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, and their adaptation of No Country for Old Men are straight-ahead crime movies enriched with the Coens’ visual style and lip-smacking dialogue.  Even Fargo, though the thick Minnesota dialect… Continue reading What Are The Odds That INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Will Turn Out To Be A Crime Movie?

Odds That Oliver Stone’s SAVAGES Will Be Any Good?

Director Oliver Stone is bringing Don Winslow’s SAVAGES to the big screen.  But will it be any good? “Bet.” Don Winslow’s 2010 novel Savages is one of those books you chide yourself for not reading sooner, even if you were able to get your hands on an ARC in ’09.  The drug-dealing anti-hero(es) and the… Continue reading Odds That Oliver Stone’s SAVAGES Will Be Any Good?

5 Raunchiest Crimes on AMERICAN HORROR STORY

They call it American Horror Story. FX Network named it wrong. It’s not particularly American—California is only technically in America. Above all, it’s not really a “horror story” either. Horror generally requires characters you care about. But one thing’s sure about American Horror Story: It is loaded to the gills with nastiness, most of it criminal.

In The Mick Of Time: 7 Best Irish-American Crime Flicks

There’s always something that’s just a little dirtier about Irish crime movies.  Irish movie mobsters don’t wear silk suits and don’t tip off an impending whacking with a kiss on the cheek. In fact, in most cases, it would appear that they don’t even shower.  That would require foresight and diligent planning, which are qualities… Continue reading In The Mick Of Time: 7 Best Irish-American Crime Flicks

Setting the mood: Mass Effect 3 Take Earth Back trailer

Bioware recently put out a new trailer for Mass Effect 3, entitled “Take Earth Back.” I quite liked it, and it’s a nice example of how a trailer like this can be effective that’s worth taking a closer look at.

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My Valentine’s Date With BUTCH FATALE

A few months back, I ploughed through Jungle Street by Don Elliott. Elliott (the pseudonym of SF master Robert Silverberg) wrote numerous smutty novels (such as Escape To Sindom, Sex Gang and Party Girl), the kind which once flooded the market with their lurid pulp covers of half-naked buxotics either frolicking with strapping young men or running from them.

The 10 Perviest Crime Films

Crime films give every genre a run for its money when it comes to getting hardcore. Murder, torture, kidnapping—they have it all and in many cases, they show it all. Even the lion’s share of the horror genre doesn’t hold a candle to scenes like Mr. Blonde getting down with a duct-taped cop and a… Continue reading The 10 Perviest Crime Films

Silent House – Elizabeth Olsen Screams With Talent

Silent House holds a lot of dark splendor for such a lean feature. This trim 88-minute thriller is rendered in a single shot. That artistic effort alone makes it worth the price of admission. It braids in a lot of other captivating elements: Subtle unfolding of the plot. An eerie, understated atmosphere. Mounting tension that wrenches… Continue reading Silent House – Elizabeth Olsen Screams With Talent

Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer that actually interests me

I’m not typically a fan of online multiplayer modes in games. I’m not suited for it; I’m generally not very competitive, not very social, and I just find a well-designed single player scenario much more enjoyable than the frantic chaos of the typical online deathmatch. I’m also, at least where he genres that dominate that… Continue reading Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer that actually interests me

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LILYHAMMER Drops On Netflix

I’ve been keeping an eye open for Lilyhammer since word of its over in Norway.  The complete first season of Steven Van Zandt’s sleeps-with-the-fishes-out-of-water comedy series was released onto Netflix this evening, in its eight-episode entirety.  Always here to service our faithful followers, I dove into the first episode and brought back my observations.

RAMPART Shows Brilliance, But Tells Too Much

Date Rape Dave Brown is a sweetheart. Don’t just take it from me. Rampart makes a strong case. Halfway through this Oren Moverman art-house film and you’ll be primed to buy Officer Dave Brown, Woody Harrelson, a World’s Best Dad mug. It’ll be something to admire while serving his life sentence in solitary.

5 Reasons BLADE RUNNER Should Be Left The Hell Alone

Ridley Scott is reportedly “moving forward aggresively in development” of a new Blade Runner project, and there should be announcement as to the specifics of the project in the opening months of the New Year, including who the screenwriter will be.

Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2

Final Fantasy XIII -2 from Square Enix is coming out at the end of this month, continuing the story of Lightning and the other characters from Final Fantasy XIII and the world they inhabit. And I’m genuinely saddened to realize that I don’t really care. It’s a strange feeling.

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