Category Archives: Reviews

REVIEW: “GRIND JOINT”

The title of this book intrigued me, since I know that a grind joint is a small casino aimed at a very local market. No high rollers arriving in private jets, no Asian billionaires playing baccarat at $100,000 a hand, no world-famous entertainers in the luxurious showroom. Just tables, slot machines, whiskey, and second-rate food. […]

REVIEW: “GUNS, GIRLS, AND GANGSTERS”

Not long ago, TCM devoted a big chunk of time to Mamie Van Doren, showing about a half-dozen of her movies. This is probably the first time in history that such a tribute was undertaken by a television network. In any case, I DVRed all of them and they were something to see. I remember […]

REVIEW: “THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES”

I read somewhere that Ryan O’Neal only had 354 words of dialogue in Walter Hill’s underrated The Driver (1978). I would bet Ryan Gosling has even fewer words in The Place Beyond The Pines. Of course, O’Neal was in his movie from start to finish, whereas Gosling is only in the first one-third of his. And that […]

REVIEW: STOKER

You take a story told from a teenage girl’s point of view, a story about an uncle who comes to stay with the family for a while. His name is Uncle Charlie. You know there’s something not quite right with him, but you can’t put your finger on it. You let the story slowly simmer […]

REVIEW: “COMPLEX 90”

COMPLEX 90 by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (2013) Reviewed by Mike Dennis When Laura Knapp blew her brains out in the finale of Mickey Spillane’s The Girl Hunters (1962), everyone figured that was the end of the Commie ring that was threatening our treasured American way of life. Little did they know that uber-villain Comrade […]

REVIEW: “KILLER JOE”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting for Matthew McConaughey to slip into the skin of a noir character. He’s done all these silly rom-coms and whatnot, but I always knew he would be a perfect fit for noir. He has an undeniable sense of danger bubbling under his hunky exterior, and it […]

REVIEW: “TARGET LANCER”

TARGET LANCER (2012) by Max Allan Collins Review by Mike Dennis November, 1963. Private eye Nate Heller has been enlisted by the Secret Service to help prevent the assassination of John Kennedy. Snipers with high-powered rifles are slated to shoot the president as he passes by in an open convertible, a patsy has been arranged to […]

REVIEW: “LADY, GO DIE!”

LADY, GO DIE! (2012) by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane Review by Mike Dennis   “Take everything you find and give it to Max, he’ll know what to do.” Those were Mickey Spillane’s instructions to his wife one week before his death in 2006. He was referring to a number of partial manuscripts and […]

REVIEW: “A DEATH IN MEXICO”

“Solved any good cases lately?” So asks a local whore of Hector Di­az, police inspector in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. And while that seemingly throwaway question dangles between Di­az and the whore in a San Miguel bar one night, it actually forms the basis of A Death In Mexico (New Pulp Press), the debut […]

FILM NOIR, MY TOP 11, PRE-1970 (2012 edition)

Back in 2011, I drew up a list of my favorite films noir from before 1970 and another list from 1970 to the present. At this time, I find it necessary to re-post the pre-1970 list, since I’ve made some changes, including expanding it to 11 films. In no particular order, the new list goes […]