DID YOU READ

“Blitz,” reviewed

“Blitz,” reviewed (photo)

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It’s not a cinematic adaptation of the classic arcade football game, sadly, but Jason Statham‘s new movie “Blitz” provides about as much cartoonishly manly entertainment as a couple hours with Midway’s long running NFL franchise. The tagline of the film reads “Killer-cop versus cop-killer,” and it’s very possible that is an unabridged copy of the screenplay as well. This is not a movie about dialogue, but about good and bad man alternately glaring at and chasing after each other, and then sitting down for drinks before they get up and run around all over again.

Statham stars as Sgt. Brant, a loose cannon of a cop with a reputation for excessive violence and brutality on the job. He drinks too much, he curses too much, and when he catches some goons jacking a car, he beats them all to within an inch of their lives with a field hockey stick (I’m just going to assume Statham is currently out of the country, otherwise the London riots would never have gotten off the ground). Brant’s tedious routine is doubly shattered by two major developments on the force: his boss, the Chief Inspector, retires after his wife’s death and is replaced by a new man from another district (Paddy Considine) and a mysterious hooded figure (Aidan Gillen, a.k.a. Mayor Carcetti from “The Wire”) is bumping off cops one and a time. Statham and the new man in charge have to figure out who’s killing policemen and why before they wind up on “The Blitz”‘s (his preferred nickname) target list.

Directed by Elliott Lester and written by “Moon” screenwriter Nathan Parker from a novel by Ken Bruen, “Blitz” does, in fact, provide a few clever twists on the psycho cop killer genre. Maybe most interesting and least explored is the fact that Considine’s character is openly gay, and Statham’s character doesn’t have the greatest reputation for, let’s say, sensitivity to those with views on sexuality different from his own. A buddy cop movie with one straight partner and one gay partner is a great idea, and in the one scene Statham and Considine get to flesh out their relationship, they’ve got great chemistry. Sadly, the movie is just 97 minutes long, and way too busy with Gillen’s character to really let that dynamic blossom to its full potential.

Gillen is good, though, as your garden variety sociopath. He’s certainly having a lot of fun dressing in hideous track suits and neon green sunglasses and running through the streets of London topless. He’s pretty obviously guilty from the first moment the police interrogate him, but the film repeatedly insists that there’s no evidence to convict him, which enables The Blitz to continue his crimes, and forces Statham and Considine to try to figure out a way to catch their mad killer in the act. It’s an enjoyable trope of loose cannon cop movies in the style of “Dirty Harry,” but in this case it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m no expert on the English judicial system, and the legal requirements to charge someone with a crime. But I have to imagine that if someone was murdered while in possession of a manilla envelope stuffed with £50,000, and then a suspect turned up with the exact same manilla envelope with the exact same amount of money, that’s probably enough evidence for an indictment. Evidently not; the gloating Blitz walks out of the police station waving his pile of money for all the media cameras to see.

Dopey stuff like that, and a pointless subplot involving a friend of Statham’s on the force who’s a recovering drug addict, keep “Blitz” from entering the pantheon of greatest Jason Statham vehicles (a distinction I would bestow on the first and third “Transporter,” “The Bank Job,” the two “Crank” films, and “Killer Elite,” even though that last one isn’t even out yet). Still, all three leads give strong performances and Parker’s screenplay has enough twists and turns (including a good surprise ending) to make “Blitz” a solid thriller. It’s going straight-to-DVD in the States today, but I’ve seen much, much worse movies in theaters than this one. And recently too.

“Blitz is available now on DVD & Blu-ray. If you see it, we want to know what you think. Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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