The Place Beyond the Pines 2012 50 or 75
Lost Highway 1997 25 or 50
Joe 2013 25 or 50
Ca$h 2010. Good seriocomic neo-noir, but not top 75
Cold Comes the Night 2013. What's the issue with this? Just a b-movie?
Transpecos 2016. A favorite of mine.
Stone 2010. (Agree, remove.)
Spring Breakers 2012. What's the issue with this?
InSight 2011. (Agree, remove due to supernatural element).
Only 2 need some discussion: Cold Comes the Night and Spring Breakers. FYI, here are my reviews of these two.
Cold Comes the Night (2013)
Money mule Bryan Cranston meets his match in Alice Eve, 19 March 2014
"Cold Comes the Night" is a very good noir. It was tense all the way through, developed its characters and their relationships smoothly and believably, and used its small town locations nicely. This is a b-movie, running about 80 minutes, excluding credits, but that is not a negative at all. This movie avoids clichés and comes across fresh. The plot did remind me a bit of "Collateral" in having a criminal (Cranston) commandeering Eve and her car for part of the plot, but this story is really very, very different from that one.
Eve plays a young widowed mother with a young daughter. They get along very well, but Eve has money pressures. She is trying to make it with a small motel by letting prostitutes use it, under the cooperating eyes of a local cop named Billy (Logan Marshall-Green) that she has relations with too although he is married or has a live-in woman who is quite jealous and has reason to be. Eve is under pressure from the social workers to leave this place or lose her daughter.
Cranston is a Russian or Eastern European money mule and gunman who is going blind and being driven in upstate New York by a young driver. He’s transporting money to Canada. They stop at the motel to get some sleep. The young driver gets involved with a prostitute, leading to violence. Cranston then decides to utilize Eve for his purposes.
Cranston does a remarkable job projecting threat at times and sympathy at others, and so do Eve and Billy. These are not 100% good or evil people, and that makes the story all the more interesting and unpredictable. Billy, for example, is making money off of seizing assets of suspects and reselling them; and he gets a cut from the motel operations. In fact, only after awhile, as the characters developed, did I realize this was a real noir. In the beginning, one might have thought it to be on its way to be a conventional thriller, but it didn’t turn out to be that at all.
I really liked this film and found it to be a pleasant surprise in not being just another thriller and in sustaining the logic of its plot without gimmicks or plot holes.
Spring Breakers (2012)
Scary and revealing spring break, 6 March 2017
"Spring Breakers" (2012) is a neo-noir, listed in the Wikipedia list, and that references a review by writer Eric Kohn who writes "Atmospherically, ‘Spring Breakers’ is an elegant evocation of noir storytelling, littered with misdeeds with girls and guns at every turn." The story is amazing, not at all what one would associate with good times in Florida during spring break. The dark sides of this gathering and the mentality of some or many of the youngsters who frequent it are brought to light and fleshed out in surprising fashion.
The movie has a few minor faults. It does fall into a bit of repetition and hesitation to develop character and plot, but only mildly so. The script is, in fact, excellent in a very penetrating examination of American youth culture. There are amazing scenes throughout and a degree of foreboding that took skill to achieve. One wonders how the director and writer (Harmony Korine) ever got some crowd scenes shot, they were that terrific. But there are some interiors that are equally filled with revealing detail.
The movie focuses on 4 college girls, one of whom, Faith (Selena Gomez), joins with 3 who belie their appearance by being delinquents. Eventually, there is tremendous suspense about Faith’s vulnerability when the gang of 4 falls in with a rock singing, gun-toting, smooth-talking, drug-dealing guy named Alien (James Franco).
Korine has boldly made a statement here about the tendencies of American youth by focusing on an extreme threesome who are attracted to transgressions, and it may well apply internationally to youth in Europe. The appearances of these three, who are attracted to power, money, violence, domination and new sexual experiences, belie their behavior. They imitate the violence and language they have seen in so many movies, and getting away with it, they experience exhilaration.