A Movie A Day #265: Hoodlum (1997, directed by Bill Duke)

1930s.  New York City.  For years, Stephanie St. Clair (Cicely Tyson) has been the benevolent queen of the Harlem underworld, running a successful numbers game and protecting her community from outsiders.  However, psychotic crime boss Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth) is determined to move into Harlem and take over the rackets for himself.  With the weary support of Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia), Schultz thinks that he is unstoppable but he did not count on the intervention of Bumpy Johnson (Laurence Fishburne).  Just paroled from Sing Sing, Bumpy is determined to do whatever has to be done to keep Schultz out of Harlem.

When I reviewed The Cotton Club yesterday, I knew that I would have to do Hoodlum today.  Hoodlum and The Cotton Club are based on the same historic events and both of them feature Laurence Fishburne in the role of Bumpy Johnson.  Of the two, Hoodlum is the more straightforward film, without any of the operatic flourishes that Coppola brought to The Cotton Club.  Fisburne is surprisingly dull as Bumpy Johnson but Tim Roth goes all in as Dutch Schultz and Andy Garcia is memorably oily as the Machiavellian Luciano.  Hoodlum is about forty minutes too long but the gangster action scenes are staged well.  Bumpy Johnson lived a fascinating life and it is unfortunate that no film has yet to really do him justice, though Clarence Williams III came close with his brief cameo in American Gangster.  (Interestingly enough, Williams is also in Hoodlum, playing one of Shultz’s lieutenants.)

One final note: Hoodlum features William Atherton in the role of District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey.  Atherton plays Dewey as being a corrupt and sleazy politician on Luciano’s payroll.  In real life, Dewey was known for being so honest that Dutch Schultz actually put a contract out on his life after he discovered that Dewey could not be bribed.  I am not sure why Hoodlum decided to slander the subject of one of America’s most famous headlines but it seems unnecessary.

Horror Film Review: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (dir by Dominique Othenin-Girard)

Oh … dammit.

Hi everyone!  We are currently in the process of our annual horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens so I thought it would be a good idea if me and some of my fellow writers reviewed all of the Halloween films!  Arleigh already reviewed the original Halloween back in 2010 and I took a look at the first sequel in 2012.  So, it just made perfect sense to me that we go ahead and take a look at the rest of the films in the series!

Yesterday, Case reviewed Halloween 4 and, later, he’ll be taking a look at Resurrection and H20.  Jedadiah Leland is taking look at Halloween 6 tomorrow.  So, that leaves me with … *sigh* Halloween 5.


Before we dive into the crapfest that was Halloween 5, let’s take a look at the trailer!  It’ll be fun!

The trailer’s actually fairly effective.  I have to wonder how many people, way back in 1989, were fooled into seeing this film as a result of this trailer?  I imagine probably more than who are willing to admit it.  Paying money to see Halloween 5 doesn’t seem like something anyone would want to brag about.

Halloween 5 is the one that has the dumb cops.  Now, I know that every Halloween film seems to feature at least a few dumb cops but the ones in Halloween 5 are really dumb.  And they get their own theme music!  That’s right — whenever these two dumb cops show up on screen, comedic circus music plays.  Needless to say, it’s woefully out of place in a horror movie.  I read that this was apparently meant to be an homage to the dumb cops from the original Last House On the Left.  This despite the fact that … EVERYONE HATED THE DUMB COPS IN LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT!!!  Even Wes Craven later said that the dumb cops were a mistake!  If you’re going to rip off (or pay homage) to another movie, don’t pay homage to the part that sucked!

Anyway, you may remember that Halloween 4 ended with Jamie (Danielle Harris) attacking her mother and holding a knife.  Uh-oh, looks like Jamie’s going to be a murderer!  Well, no — that would have been too interesting.  Halloween 5 finds Jamie being committed to a mental hospital for a year while Michael Myers (Don Shanks) is in a coma.  Michael eventually comes out of his coma and starts stalking Jamie all over again.

Once again, Dr. Loomis (a depressingly frail Donald Pleasence) is one of the few people who realizes that Michael is still alive and once again, nobody is willing to listen to him.  Here’s the thing: Dr. Loomis may be kinda crazy and yes, all the scars are kinda disturbing but he’s been right every single freaking time in the past.  I understand that the people of Haddonfield are kind of in denial about Michael but this is just getting ridiculous.

Rachel Carrathurs (Ellie Cornell) returns for this movie but she gets killed early on.  Apparently, she was killed so that the audience would know that anyone could be killed and that nobody was safe but Rachel was such a strong character and Ellie Cornell did such a good job playing her in the previous film that you really feel her absence in Halloween 5.  Her death leaves a void that the film fails to adequately fill.  Add to that, if you insist on killing a kickass character like Rachel, at least give her a memorable death scene.  Don’t just have her blithely wandering around the house half-naked until she suddenly gets stabbed, as if she was just some generic slasher victim and not the lead of the previous movie.

With Rachel dead, it now falls to her amazingly annoying best friend, Tina (Wendy Kaplan), to serve as Jamie’s protector.  Tina is hyperactive and talkative and quirky and blah blah blah.  Basically, she’s like that person who is really annoying but since you’ve known her since the third grade, you feel obligated to hang out with her.

It all leads to another big Halloween party and few rather bloodless deaths.  It’s all pretty boring, to be honest.  There is one good scene where Michael chases Jamie in a car (the headlights cutting through the darkness create a wonderfully eerie effect) but, otherwise, it’s depressingly generic.

In the end, Michael is captured and put in a jail cell.  Fortunately, a mysterious man in black shows up and breaks him out.  Gee, I wonder what that’s about?

Halloween 5 is undoubtedly the worst of the Halloween films.