Tag Archives: Willem Dafoe

Projection Booth episode #495 :To Live and Die in L.A.

I am thrilled to be co-hosting another episode of Mike White’s film podcast, The Projection Booth, this one on William Friedkin’s 1985 neo noir, To Live and Die in L.A. The film pits Treasury agent William Petersen as Richard Chance against Willem Dafoe as artist and forger Rick Masters, and is based on the novel of the same name by former US federal agent turned crime writer, Gerald Petievich. Along with my fellow co-host, Jedidiah Ayres, we were joined by the film’s editor, M. Scott Smith, and one of the its stars, Willem Dafoe.

We dive deep into this film, discussing the breathtaking work of To Love and Die in L.A.’s cinematography Robbie Muller and how the Friedkin demands complete suspension of disbelief from his audience in some many respects of the story and gets it.

We we also talk about the Wang Chung soundtrack, Los Angeles on the screen, how the film embodies the deregulated economic and political policies of the Reagan era, and how it relates to Friedkin’s broader ouvre and other America crime cinema, particularly the other film based on a Petievich book, Boiling Point (1993) and the Michael Cimino effort also released in 1985, Year of the Dragon.

The entire episode is online for your listening pleasure here.Read more

The Lighthouse

I loved Robert Eggers’s 2015 film, The Witch, so had high hopes for his second big screen effort, The Lighthouse. While The Lighthouse is not without problems, it is a satisfyingly creepy brew of nautical themed horror and troublesome masculinity. You can read my take on the movie for Australian Book Review Arts Update in full here.Read more

Off Limits in Saigon

I’m very happy to welcome back to Pulp Curry my partner in crime, Angela Savage, reviewing the 1988 film, Off Limits (which also appeared under the title Saigon). I first saw Off Limits years ago and always liked the originality of the premise – two US military police on the beat in war-time Saigon. Watching it again recently, I’m curious to know, what if any unacknowledged debt the movie owes to the Martin Limon books featuring Sueno and Bascom, two US military police stationed in South Korea in the seventies. Oh yes, and I definitely agree with Angela that Fred Ward is an underrated actor.

Off Limits, set in Saigon in 1968, is a riveting crime thriller that conveys the madness of the US war in Vietnam while treating it as background to the main story.

The plot centres on Criminal Investigation Division (CID) cops Sergeant Buck McGriff (Willem Dafoe, all thin hips and big lips) and Sergeant Albaby Perkins (Gregory Hines, chewing gum like it’s the only way he can keep the bile down) and their investigation into what turns out to be the serial killings of Vietnamese prostitutes.

With a short-list of suspects made up of US military top brass, they have to navigate a case as off limits as the part of Saigon where the murders take place.… Read more