Tag Archives: Get Carter

Stephen Kay’s Get Carter

As far as the remaking of cult classics, Stephen Kay’s Get Carter is a piss poor effort, so much so that not even a positively stacked cast could do much of anything about it. The original saw fearsome bulldog Michael Caine getting shotgun fuelled revenge and has since become iconic, while this one switches up rainy Britain for rainy Seattle and a sedated Sylvester Stallone in a shiny suit takes over as Carter, a mob enforcer who hails from Vegas but has travelled north both to escape scandal and look into a shady family matter. There he finds all sorts of characters played by a troupe of big names, character actors and even Caine himself in an extended cameo as a bar owner, but it all feels lazy, listless and flung about like a ball of yarn full of loose plot threads and scenes that fizzle. It’s obvious that there were major editing problems here as the pacing is in conniptions and an entire subplot involving a love interest back in Vegas (Gretchen Mol) has been slashed to ribbons. So sloppy was the final product that my college acting teacher, who landed the role of Carter’s gangster boss back in Vegas, although mentioned brazenly in the opening credits, can only be seen briefly from the neck down and heard on the phone, except for whatever reason they decided to dub his voice over with an uncredited Tom Sizemore, which is just so bizarre. Anywho, Stallone sleepwalks his way through a local conspiracy involving his dead brother, the widow (Rachel Leigh Cook), a mysterious femme fatale (Rhona Mitra), a weaselly computer tycoon (Alan Cumming) a sleazy pimp/porn baron (Mickey Rourke) and more. It’s just all so terminally boring though, and none of the clues or twists spring to life or feel organic at all. Rourke provides some of the only life the film has to offer as the villain, a guttural scumbag who has two painful looking nightclub boxing beatdowns with Stallone which are fun. John C. McGinley raises the pulse somewhat as a lively Vegas thug dispatched by Sizemore’s voice to bring Stallone back to face the music. Others show up including Miranda Richardson, Mark Boone Jr., John Cassini, Johnny Strong, Frank Stallone, Tyler Labine and more. None of it amounts to much though and by the time the anticlimactic plot resolutions arrive and Carter jumps a red eye back to Vegas before the credits roll, you wonder what the point of it all was and want your hour and forty minutes back. A thorough bummer.

-Nate Hill

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Mike Hodges’ GET CARTER

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In the back rooms of London, gangsters smoke cigarettes, drink scotch, and view pornographic images on a slideshow. While the stoic John Carter watches his secret fiance getting felt up by his boss, he gets a phone call telling him that his brother has been killed. The next day he gets on a train traveling to his hometown to kill anyone and everything that stands in his way to find out what happened. GET CARTER is a no bullshit hard genre gangster film that is propelled by its perverse and transgressive narrative and its self-titled leading man, Michael Caine.

The film flawlessly executes the pulpy elements that make genre pictures such a joy to watch. The mysteriously perverse big bad, the femme fatal, a bloody climax, and a hero’s fall from grace during the finale. Michael Caine is cinematic perfection as John Carter. He brutishly navigates the back alleys, barrooms, and streets of Newcastle without speaking very much at all, doing all of his talking brandishing a shotgun or better yet, his commanding gaze.

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A lot can be said for Caine as an actor. He’s a lot of fun to watch, whether he’s playing an English intellectual version of Woody Allen, or a caricature of himself, Alfred Pennyworth; in GET CARTER his screen presence is as terrifying as it is commanding. You can’t take your eyes off of him. He’s brutishly mysterious, yet he’s as capable as he is cunning – always being one step ahead of impending danger that is one step behind him.

The film captures what makes English gangster films so great: the gray aesthetics of a de-glorified England. It’s rainy and smokey, with side stares from bar patrons and supremely unfriendly looking men in heavy overcoats brandishing shotguns that drive around in tiny sporty looking cars.

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Another remarkable aspect of the picture is how it handles its very dark and pornographic subject matter. It doesn’t try to hide anything or deceive the audience. From the opening scene, the viewer is fully immersed into the underground world of crime and pornography.  The nudity is as unapologetic as the fierce perversion of the men the film revolves around, including Carter himself.

GET CARTER is that film that was the preface to universally adored films of the genre like THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, THE HIT, THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY, MONA LISA, and SEXY BEAST. There are not any limitations to how far the plot will trek into the moral ambiguity of the “hero”, nor will it soften the blow as the narrative slowly pulls itself to a pitch black finish.

PTS Presents PRODUCER’S NOTES WITH BILL GERBER

BILL GERBER POWERCAST

bill gerber (2)Podcasting Them Softly is proud to present a chat with feature film producer BILL GERBER. Bill has some huge credits under his belt — Clint Eastwood’s GRAN TORINO and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT are major feathers in his cap — and over the past 30 years he’s etched himself into the Hollywood landscape with a diverse background that includes work in the worlds of both film and music. Attracted to exciting material and excellent filmmakers, he spent time at the studio level working as an executive on both Oliver Stone’s JFK, Michael Mann’s HEAT, Clint Eastwood’s UNFORGIVEN and Curtis Hanson’s LA CONFIDENTIAL, before branching out as an independent producer with a first-look deal at Warner’s. Passionate, insightful, and beyond knowledgeable, we had a great time chatting with Bill, and we hope you enjoy!