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“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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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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