Movie Reviews

bellview--i love movies

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

Movie Awards
2004 Roundup
2005 Roundup
2006 Roundup
2007 Roundup
2008 Roundup
2009 Roundup


"We Own the Night"

Directed by James Gray.
Written by James Gray.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  10/11/07


My buddy Gordon and I went over to the local multiplex for a free showing of "We Own the Night" this evening; while not a bad film, I'm happy that I saw this puppy for free.

Gordon did mention before the film that we have probably seen "We Own the Night" before as some other iteration of bad-person-with-shady-connections-helps-the-cops-bring-down-the-bad-guys movies, but give "We Own the Night" this much: its execution is strong.  Joaquin Phoenix plays the shady connections guy, Bobby, the owner of a Brooklyn nightclub that plays late '70s hits in...1988 (go figure).  His brother, Joseph (Mark Wahlberg), heads up a NYC task force that is dealing with narcotics and just happens to be profiling a Russian guy named Vadim (Alex Veadov), who may have drug connections in the city.  Some shit goes down, some people get shot, and eventually, Bobby lends a hand to his cop brother and his cop father (Robert Duvall), all while trying to keep a grip on his nightclub and his hot "Puerto Rican" girlfriend, Amada (Eva Mendes).

Nothing about "We Own the Night" is that special.  It's a very capable crime drama that has some laughs and has three quality male leads who do their jobs just fine, even if Wahlberg and Duvall have played their respective characters so many times they probably didn't even bother reading the script before agreeing to do this film.  The crack house scene is like a white version of the same scene from "New Jack City", the action scenes barely raise a pulse, and Mendes can only wear so many push-up bras in one film.  But, despite this attempt at mediocrity, "We Own the Night" is very watchable, and with our packed house tonight, it was reasonably entertaining for most of its run time.  Sure, I don't have to ever see it again, but at least the film got me in there and kept me somewhat riveted for two hours.  You really can't ask for much more than that, right?

Rating:  Matinee


Comments?  Drop me a line at


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09