• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives

  • Awards & Nominations

Non-Review Review: Copshop

Copshop is a loving and pulpy throwback to old-fashioned seventies b-movies, that simply doesn’t know when to quit.

Copshop operates very firmly within the comfort zone of everybody involved. Director Joe Carnahan has made a name for himself as a director of these sorts of high-concept thrillers. Stars Gerard Butler and Frank Grillo both seem perfectly at home glowering at each other across a police station cell block, separated from one another by two sets of bars. Watching Copshop, the film plays as a slight tweak on the basic concept that has made Assault on Precinct 13 an enduring cult hit: an isolated and under-staffed police station finds itself unde rsiege and stuck with a dangerous criminal.

The Butler did it.

There’s a compelling simplicity to Copshop, with the movie building outwards from a solid premise, and understanding the appeal of these sorts of movies. Carnahan imbues the film with an appealing nastiness and cynicism that feels appropriate for this kind of genre throwback. Most of the runtime of Copshop finds its protagonist, Officer Valerie Young, forced to choose between the lesser of two evils as the situation steadily escalates around her. For most of the film’s runtime, Carnahan commits to this meanness in a manner that is often lacking from these sorts of throwbacks and tributes.

Unfortunately, Copshop somewhat falls apart in its final ten minutes, as the film seems unable to settle on a single satisfying ending and so instead cycles through at least three different climaxes hoping that one of them might stick. The movie’s bombastic and over-stuffed third act is a frustrating conclusion to a film that worked to that point largely because of its minimalism and its restraint.

On the chain.

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Narc

Joe Carnahan’s Narc is a visceral and powerful film. It’s less concerned with plot and character than it is with mood, crafting a suffocating visceral aesthetic that seems to almost smother the viewer. Set in snow-bound Detroit, it creates a world that feels closed in upon itself, the white sheets of snow clearing into dirty mounds to allow passage within the city, but suggesting that there’s nothing but white space beyond the world we explore. While Narc tells a story we’ve seen many times before, practically revelling in the familiar plot points of a police movie about the drug trade, Carnahan’s direction gives the movie a bit of an edge – and a powerhouse performance from Ray Liotta makes it much more engaging than it might otherwise be.

That’s a whole Liotta gun…

Continue reading

Watch! Joe Carnahan’s Daredevil Sizzle Reel Trailer…


I am a pretty big fan of Daredevil as a character, if only because he works extremely well a deconstruction of superheroes – expecially of the Batman archetype. That’s part of the reason I’m surprised that Fox never really did anything with him while Nolan was doing Batman. The character is a mess of hero – to the point where he’d make Nolan and Bale’s Bruce Wayne appear well-adjusted. His secret identity has gone public, he’s had a nervous breakdown from the pressure he puts himself under, he’s obsessive, self-righteous and refuses to acknowledge that he may occasionally need help. In short, he’s pretty much exactly the kind of person who shouldn’t be a superhero.

There was talk a little while back of director Joe Carnahan helming a Daredevil film. Fox has held on to the rights since the disappointing Ben Affleck incarnation, but never did anything with them, save for the dire Elektra spin-off. It emerged recently that director Joe Carnahan had pitched for the film. It never happened, and Fox is letting the rights revert to Marvel, but he has released a proof of concept (cobbling together clips, comic panels, and voiceovers from various sources) to give us an idea of what it might have looked like. While Carnahan has yet to truly impress me, I’ll admit that his take looks absolutely fascinating. Much like X-Men: First Class, it looks like a period piece. While Matthew Vaughn brought out the best in the mutants by evoking the social change of the sixties, I think there’s something very clever about a Daredevil film set in the seventies.

That said, I can’t imagine what looks like a gloriously grindhouse exploitation superhero movie making too much money. Which is a shame, because I’d love to see Marvel get back in touch with Carnahan when they appropriate the rights. Sadly, if they do decide to use Daredevil, I don’t see Carnahan’s vision meshing with the shared movie continuity, which is a massive shame. (It’s also something I don’t like about mainstream comics, and I’m sad to see those sorts of concern ported over to the more accessible medium of film. It’s hard to imagine the company producing a seventies exploitation film in the shared universe with Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor, especially given it woul rule the character out of cameos and guest appearances in modern films.))

Still, he’s released two proof of concept trailers. They’re very crude in terms of execution, and seem to mostly establish tone and theme, but I like them. I really do. They seem much more in keeping with the character than the original film. I do hope that Marvel at least talks to Carnahan. This wouldn’t be the safest option for the character, but it would be fun and unique.