“The biggest edge I live on is directing. That’s the most scary, dangerous thing you can do in your life.” ~ Tony Scott

When Ridley’s little brother took a spectacular leap from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro — it’s a 185 foot drop to the water and a film location he knew well — there’s no doubt in my mind that Tony Scott knew it would be a topic of international conversation. And just like his best movies, Scott, an avid thrill seeker, went out with a visceral, adrenaline rush. His death is a mystery to those who knew him, including his legions of fans. And with all the private ways one can commit suicide, Scott chose a very public stage for his final fade out. Somewhere, perhaps there’s meaning in this sad event, but it may remain forever illusive.

Scott once said: “The scariest thing in my life … is the fear of failing, the loss of face and a sense of guilt that everybody puts their faith in you and not coming through.” It’s troubling when someone who has what the rest of us spend our lives working to achieve, steps away from life.

Scott will be missed as perhaps the best of all action directors: He understood the power of pure cinema to thrill the senses. . Experience again Scott’s best works, and you can understand his legacy better: There’s a life force, even a kind of immortality perhaps, in capturing moments that thrill.
Anthony David Scott. 1944 – 2012. RIP.


In tribute, I suggest a fresh look at Scott’s first feature film, the super stylistic, erotic, lesbian vampire story THE HUNGER (1983) with David Bowie, Catherine Deneauve and Susan Serandon. The now sadly ironic original tag line: “Nothing human loves forever.” Scott intuitively tapped into a mythos decades before it became trendy.

And if you missed his last film, the vastly under-appreciated UNSTOPPABLE with Denzel Washington, by all means check it out. That’s the one about two guys trying to stop a runaway train. Yes, Tony Scott used a real train running at high speeds.

Local producers Jim Cayce and Kim Waltrip finally strike gold with this fun, low budget, B-movie that hits the three Rs: Randy, Rowdy and Rude. Screenwriter and co-director Dax Shepherd and his real life girlfriend Kristen Bell share top billing. Dax, a get-away driver in a bank robbery now in a witness protection program (under the name Charlie Bronson) decides to drive his new girlfriend to her dream job at a university. Unfortunately, it’s the same town where the robbery took place. And worse, the vintage souped-up (700 hp) ‘67 Lincoln is the easily identifiable car used in the bank job. Lots of twists and comically complicating revelations along the way – especially between Dax’s Charlie and Kristen’s Annie. Even Facebook causes personal problems. A Rasta haired Bradley Cooper and a bumbling Tom Arnold step out of their comfort zones. Other familiar-faced cameos add to the energy. But make no mistake, it’s the terrific, sweet chemistry between Bell and Shepherd that saves the day and makes this offbeat, sometimes weird, movie worth a look. It’s meaningless fun in the retro Roger Corman mold. Even down to the cool poster.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Wilee, a NYC bike messenger who rides a one speed, fixed gear (“fixie”), brakeless bike across Manhattan in a terrific life or death chase movie that picks up speed when Wilee’s last delivery of the day is anything but ordinary. It may be mindless entertainment, but this one’s also intelligent. Great cinematography catches the breathless action and harrowing stunts. Michael Shannon is unforgettable as Bobby Monday, the dirty cop who pursues Levitt’s Wilee. Wonder if anyone remembers QUICKSILVER, the 1986 bike messenger movie starring Kevin “Six Degrees” Bacon? Big recommend.

With all the headlines regarding the turmoil in Lebanon from the swelling population of Sunni immigrants fleeing Assyrian president Assad’s assault on his people, there’s new friction between the resident Lebanese Christians and the influx of angry Sunnis. This relevant movie, now available for home viewing, takes place in a remote Lebanese village where a mosque and a church stand side-by -side and where the friction can be deadly until a group of Christian and Muslim women find ways to share grief and hope and keep their blowhard husbands from starting a religious war. In a way, it kind of reminded me of Lysistrata, the anti-war comedy written by that fifth century B.C. Greek funnyman Aristophanes.

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