The Cohen Case Files: The Expert (1995)

Story by Larry Cohen (uncredited) I was not sure if I should include the Jeff Speakman vehicle The Expert as part of the Cohen Case Files. Cohen is not even credited on the finished film. Instead, the credits list a screenplay by veteran crime and mystery novelist Max Allan Collins. A “story by” credit is […]

VOD Spotlight: The Zero Theorem (2014)

You could be forgiven for not realizing The Zero Theorem existed. After all, to be blunt, for a Terry Gilliam film, it has surprisingly flown well under the radar. From most accounts, it appears to have been one of the smoothest productions of Gilliam’s career. Sadly—and perhaps a bit perversely—that has translated into one of […]

The Cohen Case Files: See China and Die (1981)

Written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen Like a lot of Larry Cohen’s films, it’s tempting to simply look at See China and Die as a time capsule of the era it was produced. While the themes of his best films are timeless, many of Cohen’s productions are also rooted in the mundane everyday routines […]

The Cohen Case Files: Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (1993)

Co-produced and written by Larry Cohen This review will contain spoilers for the first two films in the Maniac Cop series. What a letdown. The first Maniac Cop was hardly a great film, but it boasted an intriguing premise and a solid performance by genre favorite Tom Atkins. The series hit its high-water mark with […]

The Cohen Case Files: Phone Booth (2002)

Written by Larry Cohen Joel Schumacher just couldn’t get out of the way. Given a fairly interesting story and mostly tight screenplay, Phone Booth could have been a tense, sweaty little thriller. Instead, with Schumacher at the helm, the film feels at times like an homage to the more ADD-afflicted films of Tony Scott and […]

The Cohen Case Files: Original Gangstas (1996)

Directed by Larry Cohen Some ideas are better in the abstract than in actual execution. The Expendables films, for example, sound like they should be cheesy fun, but filtered through the egos of roughly a dozen aging—outright elderly, in some cases—action stars, the idea goes from fun to boring faster than Jet Li’s exit from […]

The Movie Defender: Snake Eyes (1998)

If Brian De Palma were as good at rewriting as he is at visual style, “Snake Eyes” might have been a heck of a movie. He isn’t, and it isn’t. It’s the worst kind of bad film: the kind that gets you all worked up and then lets you down, instead of just being lousy […]

The Cohen Case Files: Uncle Sam (1996)

Written by Larry Cohen It’s a pretty familiar refrain from me, but I wish Larry Cohen had directed Uncle Sam instead of simply writing it. There is a very subversive film to be made from his script that undercuts the faux-patriotism of blindly following your country’s government, no matter how morally questionable its actions. Cohen’s […]

Blue Ruin (2013)

Back in the days when I pursued film criticism as a semi-fulltime activity, I always tried to hold myself to professional standards. Anything that I felt might color my view of a film, I left outside the theater. I felt it was the proper way to handle my duty of analyzing and recommending or not […]

The Cohen Case Files: I, the Jury (1982)

Written and Produced (Uncredited) by Larry Cohen Through print interviews, commentary tracks, and in person question and answer sessions, I feel like I may have heard more about I, the Jury than any other film in which Larry Cohen has had a creative hand. The problem is that most everything Cohen has to say about […]