When Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) realizes that a notorious drug dealer called ”Iceman”, whom he has been chasing for years, has put a price on Reggie Hammond’s (Eddie Murphy) head, he’s reunited with his old ”frenemy”. This belated sequel was hated by most critics and even though it reunites the director with the stars of the first film you can tell that no one’s heart really seems to be in it. The movie has the same kind of balance between laughs and action and is hardly dull… but there’s not much charm and the biker killers are more fun than the main villain, the mysterious ”Iceman”.
1990-U.S. 95 min. Color. Directed by Walter Hill. Cast: Eddie Murphy (Reggie Hammond), Nick Nolte (Jack Cates), Brion James (Ben Kehoe), Kevin Tighe, Ed O’Ross, David Anthony Marshall.
THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN. NICK NOLTE IS A COP. EDDIE MURPHY IS A CONVICT. THEY COULDN’T HAVE LIKED EACH OTHER LESS. THEY COULDN’T HAVE NEEDED EACH OTHER MORE. AND THE LAST PLACE THEY EVER EXPECTED TO BE IS ON THE SAME SIDE. EVEN FOR 48 HRS.
When we think back to the 1980s and all the action-comedies of that decade, our thoughts probably go to Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Lethal Weapon (1987) above all. But first we had 48HRS.. The names behind the movie are interesting, because they would all have hugely successful action careers. Producers Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver would make Predator and Die Hard together, Roger Spottiswoode went from editor to writer to director, eventually making Shoot to Kill (1988) and the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and Steven E. de Souza would go on to either write or co-write Commando, Die Hard and The Running Man. And, obviously, director Walter Hill already had a pretty good career going. He reportedly had a few clashes with the studio while making this movie, but it ended up a big hit.
San Francisco police inspector Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) tag along with two colleagues to a hotel where they are going to check up on a man who’s supposed to be staying there. The three cops underestimate the scene – Cates survives, but his two co-workers are shot dead. The men they walk in on are very dangerous criminals on the run; two of them helped Albert Ganz (James Remar), a convict, escape from a road gang in California, killing a couple of guards in the process. After learning who shot his colleagues, Cates is informed that Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy), one of Ganz’s former partners, is currently serving a three-year sentence for armed robbery. Reggie, who only has a few months left in prison, tells Cates that if he really wants his help to track down Ganz he has to take Reggie with him on a 48-hour leave.
Sensational screen debut
This was Eddie Murphy’s sensational screen debut after a rock-star career as a comedian, doing standup and then Saturday Night Live. Richard Pryor had proven that a black actor could be commercially viable, and Murphy came to show that there was no limit. And he isn’t even as funny here as he would be in his next movies, Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop. The film’s most famous (and outrageous) scene is when Reggie and Cates go to a redneck bar where all the patrons are white men in cowboy boots and the Confederate flag hangs proudly on the wall. Reggie brazenly pretends to be a cop and takes complete charge, mocking a racist, potentially explosive scene. Very funny – but also bold and hilariously foul-mouthed. Nothing else in the film quite matches that, but Hill creates a shabby, dirty look that fits its two leads well, men who are far from perfect. Nolte and Murphy are terrific as the alcoholic, offensive cop and the sassy, untrustworthy convict who are forced to collaborate. Naturally, they’ll come to like each other, but before that their relationship really is brutally antagonistic – one of the film’s uninhibited moments is a street brawl between Cates and Reggie that gets really ugly. That’s how much they hate each other, but that’s also one of the incidents that likely helps them form a bond.
The weakest ingredient is the story, which is essentially one big chase after the three criminals; none of the action set-pieces stands out as particularly intense either. But everything is competently made and the movie has a refreshing sense of impolite audacity. Hill paces it very well, lots of laughs, lots of shootouts, and James Horner’s music score is another fine asset.
48HRS. 1982-U.S. 97 min. Color. Produced by Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver. Directed by Walter Hill. Screenplay: Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross, Steven E. de Souza. Music: James Horner. Cast: Nick Nolte (Jack Cates), Eddie Murphy (Reggie Hammond), Annette O’Toole (Elaine Marshall), James Remar, Frank McRae, David Patrick Kelly… Jonathan Banks.
Trivia: Reportedly first conceived as a vehicle for Clint Eastwood and Richard Pryor; Gregory Hines was another choice for Reggie. Followed by Another 48HRS. (1990).
Quote: “You know what I am? I’m your worst fuckin’ nightmare, man. I’m a nigger with a badge which means I got permission to kick your fuckin’ ass whenever I feel like it!” (Murphy to a redneck)
Last word: “We had one tough break in that Eddie couldn’t shake out of his TV show early. We’d already been shooting for two weeks before he joined us, so he came in absolutely cold. It was his first film, and he was a seasoned performer, but not a trained film actor, and we really could have used a good week of rehearsal. It’s one of the few times I’ve been sorry I didn’t rehearse. One old-time director told me once, ‘Don’t ever fuckin’ rehearse. All that happens is the actors don’t like the script.’ And there is some merit in that.” (Hill, The Hollywood Interview)
“White Knife” (Adam Sandler), who’s been raised by indians, goes on a quest to save his kidnapped father (Nick Nolte), and runs into one peculiar man after another who turn out to be his brothers… The first movie in a four-picture deal that Sandler made with Netflix was released straight to the streaming service. This Western comedy, with a title reminiscent of The Magnificent Seven (1960), has loads of non-PC jokes, none of which, sadly, are funny. Still, Taylor Lautner is worth a look as Sandler’s slow-witted brother.
2015-U.S. 119 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Frank Coraci. Cast: Adam Sandler (Tommy “White Knife” Stockburn), Rob Schneider (Ramon), Taylor Lautner (Lil’ Pete), Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Luke Wilson… Steve Buscemi, Will Forte, Harvey Keitel, Nick Nolte, David Spade, Danny Trejo, Steve Zahn, Jon Lovitz, Norm Macdonald, John Turturro, Vanilla Ice.
I read something about Jeb Bush’s first TV ad today and my first thought was “that must be a mistake, there are several Bush ads out there”. I’m such a victim of this media culture now where we think that ads online, be it on YouTube or elsewhere, are all-important. They’re not – old-fashioned TV still matters, especially since older people are the ones who vote. The former Florida governor has spent $500,000 on his first spots in New Hampshire, which is where the nation’s first primary is held. Bush’s first TV ad is called “I’ve Delivered” – and it’s simple. It’s basically just an introduction of the candidate without any substance, but it does point out that we don’t need “D.C. politicians or self-promoters”. The first group is an acknowledgment of the fact that GOP primary voters don’t like establishment candidates… even though Bush is certainly one of them. The second group largely consists of one man, Donald Trump. It’s not a bad ad; I like the basic attitude of it, slyly recognizing the candidate’s challenges but not paying too much attention to all of that since most voters still don’t really care about the election. An introduction/careful reminder is all that’s needed right now.
Bush is likely in it for the long haul and Trump isn’t. In the past weeks, the businessman has shown no interest in real issues at all, or any knowledge of what’s going on outside of New York City or the United States. He’ll lose interest in this game sooner or later. Here’s one example of why the campaign is looking desperate:
Robert Redford did not do something as crazy as endorse Trump. Just watch the clip below, a teaser for an interview with Redford and Nick Nolte who star in the upcoming film A Walk in the Woods. Redford makes it clear that Trump has his foot in his mouth – he’s just happy to see some actual competition going on within the Republican Party, and wishes the same were true for the Democrats. It doesn’t mean that Redford supports Trump – far from it. Which the Trump campaign knows, obviously. But they’re counting on the stupidity of their voters to deliver. They’re hoping for their supporters not to read and understand. It’s pathetic.
The other fascinating part of the GOP primary process right now is the case of Kim Davis, the Christian fundamentalist who had the unfortunate task of serving as a clerk in Kentucky issuing marriage licenses. Her job was to follow the law, which she refused to do when same-sex couples showed up at her desk. That refusal landed her in jail, a natural consequence if you’re breaking federal laws. No big deal were it not for former Arkansas Governor and current presidential candidate Mike Huckabee who’s made this simple case into a big deal. Yesterday, Fox News talking heads concluded that Davis’s attorney was “stunningly obtuse” when he argued that the Supreme Court has no constitutional authority (in this case regarding same-sex marriage), which it obviously does.
Here’s Huckabee trying to defend his position on ABC’s This Week, making a ludicrous comparison with Lincoln and the horrible 1857 Scott v. Sandford decision. It’s laughable, not only because Huckabee doesn’t seem to understand the law of the land, but because he’s out of touch with the people who are supposed to elect him president.
The next GOP primary debate is next week, September 16, and will be aired on CNN. I’m sure that Huckabee will fall even farther behind… but how will Bush and Trump do? And which other candidate will break through? Carly Fiorina? Marco Rubio?
When Mike Conlon (Joel Kinnaman) accidentally witnesses a mob hit, he’s forced to rely on his estranged father (Liam Neeson), a former killer who used to work for the man (Ed Harris) who’s now chasing them. The third collaboration between Neeson and the director is another exciting thriller, this time set in New York City over 16 hours. Everything is familiar, including the final showdown where the appearance of a certain character is meant to come across as a surprise; we’ve certainly also seen Neeson before as a washed-up drunk who redeems himself. Still, very intense, with a terrific cast and effective use of the city.
2015-U.S. 114 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Cast: Liam Neeson (Jimmy Conlon), Ed Harris (Shawn Maguire), Joel Kinnaman (Mike Conlon), Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez… Vincent D’Onofrio, Common. Cameo: Nick Nolte.
The story of how Noah (Russell Crowe) came to build the ark that saved two of all species from the wrath of God gets its Hollywood blockbuster treatment. Effects-laden, majestic and sometimes completely absurd, director Darren Aronofsky’s film is nevertheless packed with visual treats and a provocative philosophy; this is a very untraditional way to tell a Bible story. Never boring, with “the Watchers”, stone golems, as an ingredient that elevates an exciting battle later on in the film. Crowe is solid, but the story loses momentum near the end when the fight is on to destroy Ray Winstone’s villain.
2014-U.S. 138 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Screenplay: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel. Cast: Russell Crowe (Noah), Jennifer Connelly (Naameh), Ray Winstone (Tubal-cain), Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman. Voices of Nick Nolte, Frank Langella.
Trivia: Michael Fassbender and Christian Bale were allegedly considered as Noah.
After the arrest of a former Weather Underground activist (Susan Sarandon) who’d been a fugitive for the last 30 years, reporter Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) turns his attention to a seemingly honest Albany lawyer (Robert Redford). The 1970s terror organization is portrayed in rather simple fashion as consisting of essentially decent people who made undeniable mistakes in their attempts to fight the power. A soft approach, seen in other Hollywood films, and this one has nothing new to say. However, the rich cast of old pros delivers and the basic story is reasonably engaging to follow.
2013-U.S.-Canada. 121 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Robert Redford. Novel: Neil Gordon. Cast: Robert Redford (Jim Grant/Nick Sloan), Shia LaBeouf (Ben Shepard), Julie Christie (Mimi Lurie), Terrence Howard, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte… Brendan Gleeson, Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Stanley Tucci.
In 1940s Los Angeles, Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) is secretly tasked with gathering a small group of men he can trust in an attempt to rid the city of the powerful mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn).Zombieland (2009) director Ruben Fleischer takes on a different genre, with less successful results. The movie is fast, cartoonishly amusing and very bloody, but also predictable at every turn without any characters that we can seriously believe in (which it wants us to do). The cast fail to lift this Untouchables wannabe out of its mediocrity.
2013-U.S. 113 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Ruben Fleischer. Book: Paul Lieberman (“Tales from the Gangster Squad”). Cast: Josh Brolin (John O’Mara), Ryan Gosling (Jerry Wooters), Sean Penn (Mickey Cohen), Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie… Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Peña, Mireille Enos, Robert Patrick.
Trivia: Jamie Foxx, Bryan Cranston and Amy Adams were allegedly considered for roles.
Estranged brothers Brendan and Tommy Conlon (Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy) compete in a mixed martial arts tournament, one of them trained by their dad (Nick Nolte), a recovering alcoholic. Miracle (2004) director Gavin O’Connor has a knack for making formulaic sports movies work surprisingly well; bringing a lot of energy and raw emotion to his simple stories, he also has an eye for picking the right cast. This testosterone fest is no exception, although it is a little reminiscent of his last movie, Pride and Glory (2008). He makes the MMA bouts almost physically painful for us to watch. Very emotional stuff, anchored by superior performances by the three leads.
2011-U.S. 140 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Gavin O’Connor, Greg O’Connor. Directed by Gavin O’Connor. Screenplay: Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman. Cast: Joel Edgerton (Brendan Conlon), Tom Hardy (Tommy Conlon), Nick Nolte (Paddy Conlon), Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Denzel Whitaker… Kevin Dunn.
Last word:“I work-shopped all the scenes. We didn’t just write it, and then go shoot it. We work-shopped everything, so we were constantly questioning, deepening, and getting to the emotional truth of every scene. If anything ever felt flimsy, we’d put a microscope on it. Getting these two brothers in the cage at the end is a tall order, with making it believable and convincing. From the beginning, the DNA had to be grounded in honesty and truth, so by the end, you’re immersed and believe it.” (O’Connor, Film School Rejects)
DON’T TALK TO THE ANIMALS… UNLESS THEY TALK TO YOU FIRST!
When the animals at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo find out that the best man on the staff, Griffin Keyes (Kevin James), is thinking about quitting, they decide to help him change his mind. Another film that benefits from James’s all-around likability and physical comedy; several movie stars also lend their voices to the zoo animals, including co-producer Adam Sandler who does a monkey. Considering the talent involved, it’s a shame that no one stands out. They’re not exactly helped by the laughless script and its predictable romance.
2011-U.S. 102 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed byFrank Coraci. Cast: Kevin James (Griffin Keyes), Rosario Dawson (Kate), Leslie Bibb (Stephanie), Ken Jeong, Donnie Wahlberg, Joe Rogan. Voices of Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Judd Apatow, Jon Favreau, Maya Rudolph, Don Rickles.
Billionaire’s son Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) is about to be forced into a loveless marriage with Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner) as part of a deal to secure the future of the family business… but he falls in love with a kooky New York City tour guide (Greta Gerwig). In this remake of the classic 1981 comedy, Arthur is just as boozy, lazy and fun-loving as he was in Dudley Moore’s guise (and Brand even sounds like the late actor). The movie takes good advantage of its locations, but is not very funny and lacks the charm of the original. Still better than Arthur 2 (1988), though.
2011-U.S. 110 min. Color. Directed by Jason Winer. Cast: Russell Brand (Arthur Bach), Helen Mirren (Lillian Hobson), Greta Gerwig (Naomi Quinn), Jennifer Garner, Geraldine James, Luis Guzmán… Nick Nolte.
Trivia: Kevin Smith was allegedly considered for directing duties.
A true labor of love for Deadwood creator David Milch, this ambitious and star-studded look at the power players, horse trainers, gamblers and hangers-on at a race track in L.A. was abruptly canceled after the deaths of three horses. Considering the fact that Milch took his sweet time building the stories and character portrayals, the first season is not really worth the effort since it’s also the only one. Fans of horse racing may have gotten more out of the behind-the-scenes drama, but the show came alive primarily when focusing on Dustin Hoffmann’s mobster who, fresh out of prison, orchestrated a plot to exact revenge on those who framed him, together with his trusted right-hand man (Dennis Farina). Very good acting, but a bit of a drag at times.
2012:U.S. Made for TV. 9 episodes. Color. Created by David Milch. Cast: Dustin Hoffmann (Chester “Ace” Bernstein), Dennis Farina (Gus Demitriou), John Ortiz (Turo Escalante), Richard Kind, Kevin Dunn, Nick Nolte, Michael Gambon, Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, Jason Gedrick, Kerry Condon, Gary Stevens, Tom Payne, Jill Hennessy, Joan Allen.
This is undeniably an original way to tell the story of the Chicago Eight and their lawyers. Director Brett Morgen’s partially animated documentary portrays the chaos surrounding the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago where police and protesters clashed violently in Grant Park, but it also dramatizes the subsequent trial against some of the movement’s leaders, based on court records. The filmmakers have an eye for the absurd, especially in the trial where the age difference between the judge and the defendants becomes painfully obvious. Entertaining, and the voices are well cast, but the severe impact of these events are not lost either as the filmmakers point out several instances where both the police and the judge helped fuel hostilities.
2008-U.S. Part Animated. 110 min. Color. Produced by Graydon Carter, Lewis Kofsky, Brett Morgen. Written and directed by Brett Morgen. Voices of Hank Azaria (Abbie Hoffman/Allen Ginsberg), Dylan Baker (David Dellinger/David Stahl), Mark Ruffalo (Jerry Rubin), Roy Scheider, Nick Nolte, Liev Schreiber… Jeffrey Wright.
Last word: “I didn’t want to make a valentine to the important events of the 1960s. I didn’t want to make a movie about a bunch of people talking about how great they were back then, and how meek and apolitical Americans are today. I decided, let’s do it in a language kids understand, and let’s do it without talking heads and a narrator and all the other trappings of non-fiction works.” (Morgen, EmanuelLevy.com)