Trouble Is My Business Movie Reviews

 

 

 

Andy Wolverton’s Review in the April/May 2018 Edition of The Dark Pages Newsletter 

https://www.andywolverton.com/blog/trouble-is-my-business-2018-tom-konkle

  http://www.allthatnoir.com


In Review: Trouble is My Business (2018) by Andy Wolverton

“…the more time that separates you from any historical era, the harder it is to recreate it. It’s certainly true of film noir. If you have enough money, you can replicate the suits, the dresses, the cars, the hairstyles, and all the rest. That’s the easy part. The real challenge is in deciding whether you’re going to do a homage or a parody, a tribute or a send- up. That decision will determine the writing, acting, direction, pacing, and practically every aspect of the project. Trouble is My Business is that rare film that manages to give audiences a visual noir feast as the backdrop of an excellent story, all the while incorporating comedic elements that never waver into the territory of parody.

Even from the very beginning, we sense we’re in good hands. A lonesome trumpet yearns over a piano and strings as the credits appear in a font that could be a first cousin to the one used in Double Indemnity. Outside a city building, a man wearing a trench coat and a fedora waits. A sedan approaches, its headlights burning into the night before the car stops. The man gets in and with the upper portion of his face illuminated, says to the driver, “Take me to the cemetery. She’s still alive.”

” In a flashback (what film noir is complete without one?) we learn that the man in the trench coat is Roland Drake (Tom Konkle, also the film’s director), a P.I. facing an eviction notice and feeling the after-effects of a failed missing persons case. Into his office walks Catherine Montemar, a dark-haired beauty in a black dress handing Drake another missing persons case: Catherine’s father has just disappeared and she fears her sister may be next. As easily as Catherine walks into Drake’s office, she also slides into his bed, but the next morning Drake wakes up alone with blood-soaked sheets. As Drake tries to process this, there’s a knock on his door. A loud knock.”

” As with most good film noir stories, this is just the beginning. Trouble is My Business is filled with familiar noir touches that will surprise audiences not by their inclusion, but rather by the care taken in breathing life into them. It’s easy to make a scene more “noirish” by adding slanted shadows from window blinds, slowly spinning ceiling fans and two-piece rotary telephones, but not so easy to have the essence of noir seep through. Case in point: when Jennifer Montemar (Brittney Powell) hires Drake to find out what happened to her sister Catherine, Drake isn’t quite sure she’s on the level. Drake’s skepticism is conveyed visually as he circumnavigates both his desk and the seated Jennifer, all the while walking in the shadows of the ceiling fan. The camera follows both players in this cat-and-mouse game as Drake gains confidence and Jennifer loses hers. Or does she It’s a moment that’s better than it has to be. Seasoned noir audiences notice and appreciate such things. “

” Fans will also appreciate a tip of the hat to several classic noir films. Kasper Gutman’s story of the black bird in The Maltese Falcon (1941) comes to mind during Jennifer’s tale of a stolen family diamond. A nice Vertigo (1958) moment occurs when Drake stands outside the Montemar mansion looking in. A movie marquee in the background of one scene announces the showing of Build My Gallows High, the novel on which Out of the Past (1947) was based. Such touches are most welcome, like an unexpected visit from an old friend. “

“(Tom) Konkle’s performance as Drake is everything a noir fan could ask for: an average Joe with an everyman face, a wise- cracking manner, and that precarious balance of intensity and indifference that eludes so many actors attempting P.I. roles. “

” (Brittney) Powell is stunning as Jennifer: tough and desperate, vulnerable and vehement, coy and aggressive. Although Vernon Wells as Detective Barry Tate goes a bit over the top, the supporting performances are generally excellent. (Jana Banker does more acting with her eyes in a few brief moments as a hotel receptionist than most actors can do given an hour.

As director, Konkle stays true to the roots of film noir, yet isn’t afraid to have fun. Trouble is My Business has a strong noir look and structure that will appeal to veteran film noir fans while the action and comedic elements could win over less-seasoned audiences. Such a balancing act is hard to pull off, but Konkle and company have done a masterful job. Trouble is My Business is a marvelous independent film that deserves a wide audience…”

Trouble Is My Business indie film review

https://www.ukfilmreview.co.uk/single-post/2017/10/24/Trouble-Is-My-Business-indie-film

October 25, 2017

UK Film Review

★★★★

Directed by Tom Konkle

Starring Tom Konkle, Vernon Wells, Brittney Powell, Steve Tom, Benton Jennings, Mark Teich, Jordana Capra,

Indie Film Review by Chris Olson

Classic crime noir adventure in this indie film from director Tom Konkle, Trouble Is My Business taps into a reservoir of genre conventions to deliver a good ol’ mystery and kidnapping story using amazing cinematography, costumes and filmmaking aesthetics to embolden the myriad of vibrant characters.

Disgraced private investigator Roland Drake (Tom Konkle) may have taken on more than he can handle when the daughter of a prominent family comes to him for help in finding her father, who has been missing for a week. To make matters worse, she then goes missing! With a punctured reputation being splattered all over the tabloids and a rocky relationship (to say the least) with the authorities, Drake must navigate his way through copious amounts of mystery and violence to find answers.

In the vain of films like Laura and Double Indemnity, Trouble Is My Business ticks a lot of cinematic boxes when it comes to delivering a period crime drama. The darkened urban streets and grimly lit office are all there alongside the tumblers of whisky and snappy dialogue. Even the font used on the opening credits smacks of ’40s noir. Tonally there is a huge amount for audiences to be immersed in with this movie and great effort has been put into the sublime mise en scéne. Certain sequences may feel a little over the top but it’s a genre movie that can certainly indulge in a bit of melodrama without jolting the audience out of the experience.

Konkle is a particularly strong lead, containing all the wit, charm and ruggedness you could want for a private dick, and engaging in some fantastically theatrical banter with almost all of the characters. He gets ruffed up along the way by an absolutely sterling performance from Vernon Wells as Detective Tate, whose long arm of the law stretches far and wide. Along with Konkle in most scenes is the excellent Brittney Powell who commands so many of the frames she is in as Jennifer.

With a running time of nearly two hours, Trouble Is My Business stretches itself too thin in terms of plot, especially during the final third. It’s a storyline that keeps to the path well trodden and didn’t need as much convolution as it has. That being said when cinema is as visually arresting as this you don’t mind sticking around a little longer. The use of an eclectic array of Hollywood backdrops (I assume using green screen) is just magnificent, one rooftop scene where Tate beats seven bells out of Drake is sublimely put together, as are the numerous car scenes and shoot outs.

The phrase “they don’t make them like this anymore” could not be more apt for Konkle’s film, co-written with Powell. It’s a genre movie that completely dedicates itself to the form and reaps the benefits for its boldness. Fans of the masters of cinema will be in their absolute element, ricocheting against the costumes, sets, characters and more as the story unwinds into a classic caper with all the trimmings. Now…where did I leave MY whiskey tumbler.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/trouble_is_my_business_2017 Add your own audience review to the Rotten Tomatoes listing for Trouble is My Business

 

Trouble Is My Business
https://www.reelromp.com/trouble-is-my-business.html 
 
It can be hard to earn a decent living being a private detective. Learning to use a computer – and that lovely thing called the internet, in the world of today, is a huge make it or break it point within the field. But what about the good old days? What about say… the mid nineteen forties? The term “doing the leg work” comes from those pre-internet days, and was a very literal expression. Especially for a private dick. It all came down to leg work, lots of hours and a good reputation – and a good reputation is something that Roland Drake (Tom Konkle) no longer has. In ruins, Drake is forced to accept a job he doesn’t want in order to maintain his four squares and a roof. He knows it’s trouble right from the start however, he is also well aware that trouble is his business. The job? Locating the missing, and wealthy father of Katherine Montemar (Brittney Powell). Very quickly things escalate when Katherine herself vanishes and her sister Jennifer, Also played by Powell, shows up looking for answers. Now, Roland Drake is not only searching for two people, but also finding connections between this case and the one that “sunk” him. “Trouble Is My Business” is a showy, comic style detective story spanning the entire range of noir type films. From the crooked police force of the old days, to the straight up dead pan – and cliche – performances you would expect from this type of movie. I write this all in the best possible way because put quite simply, this was a fun title to watch. One of those unusual micro budget movies that is actually done well. By no means am I writing that a good micro production is hard to find, but this piece from Tom Konkle is a cut above. What was accomplished for such a petty sum of cash, when speaking film budgets, is quite remarkable. This film does “not” play off as a cheap trick and does, in fact, manage to capture and maintain it’s artsy look and feel until the bitter end. “Trouble” is a live version of those old detective comics many of the current generation never experienced. Allowing those who give it a chance, a portal into the tongue and cheek world of the classic, mystery laced private dick story. For those not quite sure of the style, and those one liners so many of us love, this title brings to mind the older movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” with it’s presentation. Minus the cartoon comedy and animation of course. That’s not to say that there is no comedy. Just not slap-stick. The comedy itself comes from the exaggerated performances from the wonderful cast. And a wonderful cast it is…

“Trouble” features some recognizable talent alongside Konkle and his cohorts. I’m not going to bother to name drop, but I did notice one thing. Nobody really outdoes anyone else. Maybe it’s the style and tone of the title. Maybe it’s just “plain old” talent. Whatever the case, and I happen to think it’s a little of both, everyone compliments one and other scene after scene. This film plays itself the way it’s meant to play thanks to everyone in front of the camera, and by no means do the folks behind the camera slack in any way either. This is a polished film. No question. The set design? The props and near perfect underscore? All stellar – but the reality is that these things would mean nothing, if not for the talent in front of the camera. Clearly this film is the entire package. I can only imagine what could have been done with a “real” budget backing it.

The final verdict is an easy one. Tom Konkle and Brittney Powell set out to tell us a good story. They’ve succeeded. They set out to bring a style only celebrated by the hard core, to the masses. Again, anyone who watches will probably agree… they’ve succeeded. “Trouble Is My Business” is a witty, predictable – in a good way – romp that celebrates all those serialized shows and movies your grandparents probably loved to watch. Brought forth in a way that can be appreciated by both newcomers to the genre, and old lovers alike. This is the style that gave us those awesome one line, dead pan remarks so many of us quote unknowingly. And this is a great film to remind – or introduce – the genre in general. From a micro film point of view, “Trouble” exceeded my every expectation. From the point of view of the average watcher? This will simply be a fun ride and an “excellent” excuse to further support independent film.

Alt Film Guide Review of Trouble Is My Business

‘Trouble Is My Business’: Humorous Film Noir Pays Homage to ‘Touch of Evil’ & Other Classics By

Trouble Is My Business with Brittney Powell: Femme fatale in humorous homage to old film noirsTrouble Is My Business with Brittney Powell. Co-written by actor/voice actor Tom Konkle, who also directed, and Xena: Warrior Princess actress Brittney Powell, Trouble Is My Business is a humorous homage to film noirs of the 1940s and 1950s, among them John Huston‘s The Maltese Falcon and Orson WellesTouch of Evil. Konkle stars in the sort of role that back in the ’40s and ’50s belonged to the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Dick Powell, and Alan Ladd. As the femme fatale, Brittney Powell is supposed to evoke memories of Jane Greer, Lizabeth Scott, Lauren Bacall, and Claire Trevor.

‘Trouble Is My Business’: Humorous film noir homage evokes memories of ‘The Maltese Falcon’ & ‘Touch of Evil’

A crunchy, witty, and often just plain funny mash-up of classic noir tropes, from hard-boiled private dicks to the easy-on-the-eyes femme fatales – in addition to dialogue worthy of Dashiell Hammett and, occasionally, Mel BrooksTrouble Is My Business means business, but it doesn’t mind having a good chuckle as it walks the dark and winding path of double-crosses, corruption, and death.

Directed by Tom Konkle, who also co-wrote and co-stars with Brittney Powell as the dick and the dame, Trouble Is My Business – no direct connection to Raymond Chandler’s 1939 Philip Marlowe short story – features Konkle as private eye Roland Drake, the quintessential representation of the 1940s noir detective – no pretty boy – with a visage having more in common with Robert Mitchum, who played Marlowe in the 1975 neo-noir Farewell My, Lovely, than Humphrey Bogart, who was Sam Spade in the movie about the black bird.

Neither of those guys were pretty boys either, which is why we bought them – and that’s why we buy Konkle as a forlorn detective taking the rap for the death of a girl he was supposed to save.

Femme fatale Brittney Powell

Brittney Powell is also a veteran actor whose credits include Brunhilda in Xena: Warrior Princess, among several auspicious roles in all manner of film and television. She’s very good as Jennifer Montemar, a part written by Powell herself so she could play the kind of woman she always wanted.

Jennifer has a good deal more humor than, say, Mary Astor’s desperate femme fatale in The Maltese Falcon. Yet Powell (eventually) gives the character even more of an edge than Jane Greer’s blond, man-eating girl-shark in Out of the Past.

Film noir references

Those movies and a number of others that only true aficionados of the genre will notice are referenced in Trouble Is My Business. For fans, catching little homages to Double Indemnity and Murder, My Sweet is lovely, but the film Trouble Is My Business circles most often is the great Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil.

Shades of Welles’ evil Police Captain Hank Quinlan show up in the character played by veteran actor Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior): Detective Barry Tate, a sadistic sociopath of a cop that Drake must eventually face – alongside his other demons.

Twists and turns + artifice

The twists and turns of the plot in Trouble Is My Business are every bit as serpentine as those in most noir. I still don’t know what’s going on in The Maltese Falcon, and I’m not sure I know exactly what’s going on in this movie either – but as is the case with most noir, who cares? It’s the ride and the characters and the very tone itself – not the stories – that make noir … noir.

To that end, the filmmakers here use another film noir trope: artifice. The film noirs of old were generally inexpensive productions; some were actually cheap. They usually faked everything from locations and lighting to the existence of walls and ceilings where there were none.

The use of darkness was not necessarily a stroke of filmmaking genius in the production of noir, it was at times a necessity because there was usually very little production design and often lots of stuff to hide. The leading man never changed clothes because the leading lady‘s wardrobe was more important.

Trouble Is My Business uses the artifice of props and costume and special effects to create 1940s Los Angeles exteriors and lush interiors all of which is slightly unreal, if not a little surreal. Orson Welles, himself a master of the unreal in a number of ways, would be most impressed.
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Trouble Is My Business (2017)

Dir.: Tom Konkle.

Scr.: Tom Konkle & Brittney Powell.

Cast: Tom Konkle. Brittney Powell. Vernon Wells. David Beeler. Steve Tom. Ben Pace. Mark Teich. Doug Spearman. Jordana Capra. Benton Jennings. William Jackson. E. Sean Griffin.

http://www.indyred.com/trouble-is-my-business-review.html

IndyRed Film Review

Trouble Is My Business
( 2018 )

This is one of those rare indie, lower budget films that I really and truly loved. Not just as a good independent film, but as a great film in general. Half expecting some dreary black and white picture, pitched as a noir title “because” it’s black and white, I knew this wasn’t going to be the case within the first minute or so. What I ended up getting with “Trouble Is My Business” was a stylized, well thought out production, that captured the feel it was going for perfectly. This doesn’t just look like it was based on the stylized concepts of the genre, it plays like the real thing. From the excellent use of cliche shadows, from blinds and fans – and whatever else could possibly make a great looking shadow, straight through to comedic yet believable dialog… believable for a film of this nature that is. Sayings like “being a flat tire” and dead-pan one liners, fill the sound space and brought a grin to my face. Generally speaking, Tom Konkle and Brittney Powell have penned an excellent script and Konkle himself, has done some excellent work directing it. It’s all here for lovers of this type of movie and more to the point, it’s all here even if you’re not a genre fan.
 
Set within Konkle and Powell’s version of a decade long gone, the props, costuming, and general back drops all scream to be noticed – yet are not the main, onscreen attraction here. The main attraction as it were, is the inevitable story we all know and love… done well and acted brilliantly. Sure. We may not know all the details of the story – and I’m certainly not going to share them, but the staples are in place and guaranteed. The down on his luck private dick. The mysterious dame… and in this case, her sister as well. The rivalry of a competing detective and of course, a slew of villainous characters that are either quirky enough to be sinister, or just down right bad. We all know the players and general greedy concepts, and I feel it’s that familiar setting that makes this film work. As for the players on the stage ladies and germs? How did they do? Bluntly… the cast are no slouches. Hell, you may even recognize a few yourself… meaning that we do have some experience on-set. That’s not really the point however, not the one I want to make. All the characters within “Trouble Is My Business” feel right at home onscreen, meaning that the actors must have felt at home as well. Lines were corny sounding when they needed to be. Witty when it worked for the scene, and everything you expect from a film of this nature.
Since this is a stylistic genre, I have no other way to describe the acting except to say it’s exactly what you think it’s going to be. Like the other production elements within the film, everything just seems to fit together nicely, creating a film that plays smooth as silk. Even the incredibly lengthy run-time of almost two hours – crazy for an indie low budget film – seems not all that long while you are watching. It’s just one of those rare indie productions where everything managed to fall in place. I write that rather loosely, since the reality of things “falling into place” no doubt required a “lot” of hard work. To me, the viewer however, that magical feeling of everything just fitting together nicely, is a movie watchers blissful ignorance. I know, it’s a lot of hard work that creates that feeling. A lot of hard work my eyes… and ears… are thankful for.
 
I don’t know what’s being put into the water lately, but I’ve had the pleasure of watching a “lot” of independent, lower budget productions, that have been simply splendid. What a great year it has been – and maybe a little scary of a year for the traditional studio model of movie making. “Trouble Is My Business” ranks quite high on my best of the best scale. Did I mention the names on this scale are pleasantly longer than the last few years, yet not quite considered numerous? Quickly changing is the stigma independent, micro films have always been associated with. Crappy. Horrible acting and production. Campy, corny and laughable. Konkle and Powell’s title helps raise that bar a little higher, and reduce the stigma in the process. This was a film I am glad I got to see. If this write-up helps gets even one more set of eyes viewing, it was all worth it. Bottom line? This is a fun, visually interesting movie. Congrats to the cast and crew for a job well… well done.
 

http://screencritix.com/trouble-is-my-business-2017-review/

Trouble is My Business (2017) review

October 19, 2017 By Carl Burgess
 
Set in the 1940’s, Private Investigator Roland Drake finds himself on a dangerous missing persons case after being hired by a beautiful dame. We review the independent feature film Trouble is My Business. trouble is my business still Trouble is My Business (2017) review When you think about the term “independent feature film”, images of arty love stories, football hooligans and cliched horror will likely pop into your mind. You may think about poor acting alongside amateurish cinematography and worse sound design (which in some cases is fair, but definitely not all). What you probably won’t think about is a stylish film noir set in a backdrop of 1940’s Los Angeles, with great dialogue performed by some very capable actors; yet this is exactly what Trouble is My Business is. Directed by Tom Konkle based on a screenplay by Konkle and fellow actor/scribe Brittney Powell, Trouble is My Business is a clever and well-crafted movie with nods to the Golden era of Hollywood – think Chinatown meets the video game L.A. Noir with a bit of comic book style thrown in for good measure and you’ll be on the right track.
 
After a prior missing persons case ended in disaster, private investigator Roland Drake (played by director Konkle) finds himself down on his luck. Work has dried up, he has recently received some unwanted attention from the press and his office is about to be foreclosed. Then he finds a beautiful Femme Fatale at his desk. Katherine Montemar requires Drake to help her find her missing father. Although he is reluctant at first, Konkle accepts the job and they soon find themselves in bed together. Things then take a turn for the worse, when Drake wakes up in blood-soaked sheets with Katherine missing. Confused, Drake is soon paid a visit by Katherine’s older sister Jennifer (Brittney Powell) who now wants Drake to find both Katherine and their father. Soon, Drake finds himself in a web of lies, treachery and deceit alongside some shady characters including his former partner Lew MacDonald (David Beeler), the hard-nosed and rather dodgy police detective Barry Tate (Vernon Wells) and the wicked Montemar matriarch Evelyn (Jordana Capra). It was great to see Vernon Wells in this production. Many readers out there will fondly remember his performances as the chain mail-wearing villain Bennett in the action classic Commando and when he wore the red Mohawk as Wez in Mad Max 2: Road Warrior. Other die-hard film fans will recognise Brittney Powell from (a personal guilty pleasure of mine) Airborne alongside Jack Black and Seth Green in early roles. As a matter of fact, all the cast give good performances, with some over-the-top line delivery that help generate laughs and intrigue to great effect, especially Konkle who seemed to have a whale of a time in front of, and behind, the camera.
 
The production design is rather excellent. Konkle and his team transport us to the 40’s with the help of some small and neat details mixed with great set dressing and lighting. Talking about the sets, the team used a mixture of real locations alongside green screen. Whilst some scenes are obviously crafted using cgi, some are done so well that only fellow filmmakers will be able to tell. The score, by composers Thomas Chase and Hayden Clement works very well with the imagery, even if it seems to be playing constantly in the background. It’s obvious to tell that a hell of a lot of hard work and effort was put into creating Trouble is My Business, it is a labour of love for all those involved and it should certainly be applauded. With a small budget, many filmmakers would have easily opted to create something on a smaller scale, yet this production team went all out. They set out to make a love letter to all things noir and they certainly succeeded. Trouble is My Business is a lot of fun and worth checking out. 4.5 / 5 stars

https://moviecrypt.com/2017/10/16/review-trouble-is-my-business-the-final-word-in-film-noir/

Review: ‘Trouble Is My Business’ (the final word in film noir)

“Passion. Murder. Betrayal. Just another day on the job.”

Full disclosure: the reviewer rolled the dice and gambled a contribution to help fund this independent production.

Private investigator Roland Drake (Tom Konkle) faces eviction from his office and his career after being disgraced during a missing persons case ending in tragedy. Ruined in the public eye and shunned by the law, everything seems over until redemption walks in: a curvy dark-haired beauty named Katherine Montemar… desperate to hire anyone who can locate her disappeared family members. Both vulnerable and in need of companionship, their undeniable attraction is cut short when Drake wakes next to a pool of blood and his new client vanished from his bed. After misdirecting his equally skilled but unscrupulous ex-partner Lew MacDonald (David Beeler) from discovering the potential crime scene on a suspicious chance visit, Drake is soon confronted by Katherine’s blonde sister Jennifer (Brittney Powell), armed with a fistful of photos and a .38 special. In 1940s Los Angeles where corrupt cops rule the city underworld and moral lines are anything but black and white, trouble is Roland Drake’s business… and business is good.

Hardboiled detectives, femme fatales, and a mandatory MacGuffin are all part of the tradition we call film noir. “Guns, dames, and hats” are the order of the day in these brooding period pieces, a bygone era of Hollywood like westerns and musicals. There have been the occasional callbacks with films like L.A. Confidential, Sin City, and even the original Blade Runner repurposing it as a vision of the future — a detail mostly missing from the recent sequel. All of these undertakings require extensive budgets, finding or recreating the trappings and props of the time period, and to develop the visuals required to invoke the all-important atmosphere that defines the film style. Rarely are the words “independent” and “noir” uttered in reference to a feature-length film intended to celebrate and champion a new entry into this staple of the movie industry, but with the right combination of players, passion, and just long enough of a shoestring to fish spare change out of the sewer, can a compelling dark thriller become the end result?

As evidenced by Trouble Is My Business, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Less a passion project than a labor of love, writer-director-actor Thomas Konkle gathered the necessary ingredients and managed to draw forth a film by sheer force of will. With years involved in the writing, planning, independent and personal financing, and using every movie-making trick imaginable, Trouble is to film noir what Once Upon a Time in the West was to the western: the final word. With classic elements, a fresh cast, and painstaking detail, Konkle has created a world both familiar and new. Twists, betrayal, and mystery are finely intertwined with the wit, violence, and eventuality of the genre.

Locations are important to a production like this, but what couldn’t be found and rented had to be created — often digitally. While Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow buckled under the weight of “look what we can do,” Konkle puts his players in the foreground and allowed the story to dictate the effects, not the other way around. With talents like Jordana Capra as matriarch Evelyn Montemar and Vernon Wells as Detective Barry Tate, the production is nearly seemless and perhaps too-real in its detail, from meticulous editing to a sweeping soundtrack. It’s clear what the filmmakers wanted this to become, and the time put into the post production shows what can be done with today’s off-the-shelf filmmaking tools and the ingenuity of modern creators.

Over the last five years, this reviewer has seen several independent productions shaped from concept to completion. From an old-time rocket ship carrying space rangers into the great beyond to a backwoods werewolf reneging on his deal with the devil, there’s no shortage of imagination out there while Hollywood continues to reboot television and movie franchises they never understood to begin with. Trouble sets itself apart in both ambition and execution, and the risk yielded a great reward: a film deserving to be seen and appreciated.

Four skull recommendation out of four

Random Media . The Orchard digital film distribution DVD Sparkle Media Movie Zyng Trouble Is My Business 2 Disc DVD

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Trouble Is My Business – it gives noir a good name

Trouble Is My Business, the feature directorial debut of Tom Konkle, is not so much a neo-noir thriller as an homage to noirs of years past. It’s a stylish love poem, really, lifting many of the timeless elements that made noirs so powerful in the 1930s through the 1950s, including the hard-boiled detective, the femme fatale, and the MacGuffin (in this case, a diamond).

Konkle (who cowrote the script with his costar, Brittney Powell) stars as Roland Drake, a shamed shamus who now runs a one-man detective agency after his partner Lew (David Beeler) moved on to bigger and better things. Drake gets a phone call from a mysterious woman who – of course – desperately needs his help in locating her missing father, a man who had somehow procured a famous, expensive diamond from overseas. The diamond, incidentally, is also missing. But before Drake can get to some serious detecting, his mystery woman is dead. In his bed. A bad start to a bad day!

And soon he has company – the dead woman’s sister, Jennifer Montemar (Powell). Jennifer assumes Drake had a hand in her sister’s death, but she too wants to find her father. And the diamond, of course. But Drake finds himself up against almost everyone, including his ex partner, a sadistic detective (played by perennial heavy Vernon Wells), a corrupt police force, a haughtily rich family, and some Russian mobsters.

Now, it may seem like there are a lot of people in this murky stew. But I found the direction – particularly the pacing – to be a huge asset, offsetting the many variables to some extent. It’s also helpful that the story isn’t told in a completely linear way; in fact, it spices things up a bit. If the plot simply a series of contrived events, the nonlinearity might prove to be confusing. But the script is tight, to the point where short snippets of dialog or a darting glimpse of a scene can prove to take on added meaning as the movie progresses – or, indeed, no meaning at all.

Konkle is very well cast as the weary, yet noble, gumshoe who may be in over his head. Of all of the characters in the movie, Drake is certainly the most developed, the most relatable, and the best portrayed. I’m not sure how many actual noirs Konkle the director saw before making this film, but Konkle the actor seemed to channel Sam Spade and Mike Hammer effortlessly. I found it pretty easy to believe that Drake could be dumb enough to fall for a dame but smart enough to stay one step ahead of, well, everyone else. The rest of the cast ranged from sufficient to very solid to slightly hammy. That’s not a slight against the cast, either. This is not a movie in which every performance needs to be Oscar worthy. The biggest roles – Drake and Jennifer – were spectularly aced, and that’s important.

Sometimes the movie’s tone shifted abruptly – from a serious detective tale to a slapstick comedy. The occasional joke makes sense, but here the one liners sometimes took me out of the scene (and, in fact, made me remember that this is a modern film, even though it is set in the late 1940s). Comic timing is never easy when you’re working on a dramatic film, I assume. It’s just that sometimes an actor’s line delivery would feel almost like they had just stepped out of character for a moment. That’s the tone shift I noticed.

But for the most part, this was a wonderful film, and it should be seen by fans of the genre. It might have come off even better had it been filmed in black and white (which I believe is a much more expensive process nowadays), but some of the scenes are lit to give one the impression of monochrome, with stark contrasts and sharp angles.

Everything you need to know about the Valley Film Festival

http://moviesfilmsandmovies.blogspot.com/2018/03/indie-showcase-trouble-is-my-business.html

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Indie Showcase: Trouble Is My Business (2018)

Some of the best films ever created over the course of the 20th century were purebred noir thrillers. From The Big Sleep to L.A. Confidential, there is no doubt that a classic noir movie can never get outdated in any shape or form. Trouble Is My Business is a new indie film that works in the cinematographic frame of this incredible genre. Here is why the film has to say about itself.
Detective Roland Drake falls for two beautiful Montemar sisters. One woman is dead and the other wants to kill him. “Trouble” is a new feature film that is a love letter to noir. Trouble Is My Business is a dark, doomed romance filled with mystery, murder and betrayal. Starring Brittney Powell and Vernon Wells. Written by Tom Konkle and Brittney Powell. Directed by Thomas Konkle. 

Clearly, the plot is as noir as it gets, featuring all of the well-known elements made famous by all those fedora-wearing detectives of film history. The story of the film is not just tense, but also action packed to the brim with fistfights, knife fights, and gunfights. All of this is noir to its core. In fact, the very name of the movie feels like a big homage to many noir titles, both from the silver screen and vintage detective novels.
Yet, in spite of it having a very noir approach, the film also comes with an interesting cinematography style. It features radiant colors and a very smart use of CGI, which do wonders for placing the film in an engaging world of its own. Clearly, all this points to the fact that no noir fans, even those who only slightly appreciate the genre, should miss out on watching Trouble Is My Business.
Right now, a special two-disc collector’s edition of Trouble Is My Business is available for pre-order on Amazon which contains both color and black-and-white versions of the film. Get it right now or visit the film’s official website for more info.

https://zisiemporium.blogspot.com/2018/03/trouble-is-my-business-private-eyes.html

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Zisi Emporium

Trouble is My Business, Private Eyes, Dames, and Murder

Such a sweet gal….Christina (Cloris Leachman). Her fate, a tortuous one, couldn’t have been her fault. Filled with hopes and poetry, this lady ends up hanging naked in a warehouse with henchmen gawking at her corpse. What those henchmen did to her…well, use your imagination. Her death gives Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker), a flawed man at best…a seedy private eye at worst, a chance. Mike knows he’s a heel, but with Christina’s death…a chance for redemption. Believing Christina entrusted him with her eternal virtue, Mike is charged. Doing right by this sweet girl, who is now on the other side of eternity, trumps everything else including the nuclear annihilation of Los Angeles. Yep, 1955’s “Kiss Me Deadly” may be the perfect Film Noir movie. Modern day film makers are incapable of making a film that could hold a candle (…or a small nuclear spark) to it. But wait! Let’s not speak too soon, hence Tom Konkle’s “Trouble is My Business,” to be released in a few days.

Katherine, “…a face that would launch a thousand ships, and a body that would bring them back,” walks into private eye Roland Drake’s (Konkle) office. She has a job for him. Loud and violent pre-marital sex follow, and in the morning Drake wakes up in a pool of Katherine’s blood. Katherine may be a dame, but her sister is a dame and a half, hence Jennifer (Brittney Powell) walks in. Jennifer hires Drake to find her missing dad…and Katherine, of course. No sex yet, that will come, but gun fighting and throat slashing will also be present at this loud and violent first meeting. Drake is a disgraced private eye, probably responsible for a sweet girl’s death…so why would Jennifer and Katherine want to hire him?

Yep, loud and violent…a theme is developing.  Drake also searches for redemption. He almost saved Christina….excuse me…Nadia (Ksenia Delaveri).  He is blamed for her demise, a sweet girl she was. The Russian mob, a huge diamond, and police corruption all stand in Drake’s way as he searches for the missing peeps, and tries to protect the sultry Jennifer.  Uh oh, Detective Tate (Vernon Wells) is on the case for the LAPD. He would love to see Drake in pieces. With Jennifer in his life, Drake gains purpose again. As Jennifer reveals herself to be quite dangerous, Drake is only drawn further into the spell she casts.  As the plot progresses it is apparent that Drake’s redemption holds the key for fighting an evil that has enveloped 1947 Los Angeles.

The comparison to “Kiss Me Deadly” might not be a fair one, but it is the film that I kept thinking of while watching “Trouble is My Business.” Tom Konkle and Brittney Powell had a nuclear spark going that could power a city for a week or make it a crater in an instant. Vernon Wells conveyed dread and evil so well that every time he was on the screen we saw the blood and carnage before it actually happened. Will Drake find Jennifer’s dad and sister? What horrors occurred that resulted in Nadia’s death that propel Drake to the role of a white knight on a crusade? Can Jennifer, the sultry blonde vixen, be trusted? The dark corners of Los Angeles and femme fatales are plot devices that seemed to have died with the film noir era of the 1950s. Thanks to Tom Konkle (star and director), “Trouble is My Business” has given Film Noir a much welcomed rebirth.
For more on “Trouble is My Business,” click on the following links:
Facebook
Official Film Site
Trouble on IMDB
Trouble on iTunes

5D-Blog Review – Stuart Anderson Click the graphic to read.

Trouble is my Business

http://www.punchdrunkcritics.com/2018/04/nova-film-festival-review-trouble-is-my.html

      The NOVA Film Festival has been on a roll these past few days. The international film/music festival, hosted annually by the Angelika Film Center, has had quite the selection of projects being screened. None, however, piqued my interest quite as much as Trouble Is My Business, a new neo-noir thriller from writer/director Tom Konkle, who I had the pleasure of speaking with briefly before the screening began.

Konkle is one of those guys. Those character actors who pop up in TV and movies and make you go “oh, it’s that guy.” And he’s proud of his that guy status. You’ve seen him before on the FX series Baskets, on Cosmos, and on a John Cleese comedy special. You’ve heard his voice on cartoons and seen him in Coke commercials, but you’ve never had the opportunity to see him as the type of complicated character he plays in Trouble, and that’s part of the point. Konkle and his partners on the film are all that guy performers. They decided to pool their resources into making this film, an opportunity for all of them to push things further than they typically get to. Wisely, they chose noir as the style for their outlet, and we wound up with this gloriously campy movie. It’s a piece where every role is a big character, and every piece of scenery requires proper chewing.

Shot in beautiful, shadowy black and white, the film itself has Konkle doing his best Bill Murray impression as washed-up detective Roland Drake. Drake is a man who finds himself wrapped up in a classic noir-style mystery for him get to the bottom of. There’s guys in the shadows with mustaches and fedoras, femme fetales pulling knives, Russian spies, and smuggled diamonds. It has everything you’d want in a moody throwback to fast-talking 40’s scuzz, and this group pulls it off. Everyone in this film is having the time of their life, swinging for the fences with their wild, cartoonishly noir stock characters, and I loved every second of it.

That being said, nothing is perfect. While it did look very stylized and professional, at times you could tell the true indie quality of the film based on the occasionally fuzzy audio or clearly ADR-dubbed line. My biggest problem, however, is a very nerdy one. Every so often the film would slip into a handheld camera visual style. To me, that clashed hard with the pitch perfect noir tone and setting created in every other area of the film. Film noirs are notoriously static, and while there’s definitely room to stylistically move the cameras, a true noir would never become quite as visually kinetic as Trouble is My Business occasionally becomes. And that’s about it. Past that, this movie was a slam dunk.

This isn’t a comedy, but it’s so hyper stylized, so campy, and so fun that I just couldn’t help but chuckle throughout the whole thing. It’s just so silly, and so proud of how silly it is. Honestly my face hurt from smiling as much as I was during this movie. It’s such a fun ride.

I really enjoyed Trouble is My Business, and look forward to seeing what those guys come up with next.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Embrace the Film

 

https://debbimacktoo.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/my-review-of-trouble-is-my-business-2018/

Reprint Review Debbi Mack

My Review of ‘Trouble Is My Business’ (2018)

One of the nice things about Trouble Is My Business is that it makes no bones about exactly what it is. Clearly, the film is a love letter to the movies of yesteryear—specifically, those in the film noir style.

Having said that, it is an homage that occasionally veers toward parody—with apparent intention. With a kind of Coen brothers-style gleam-in-the-eye nod toward the movie’s precursors.

Hello, sister! 🙂

To sum up briefly, the story is told in flashback (natch!) by private eye Roland Drake (played in suitable down-and-out fashion by director and co-screenwriter Tom Konkle), your typical wisecracking detective who is 30 days from being evicted from his office. He is no doubt pondering the wicked ways of landlords and fate when trouble sashays into said office in the form of a dark-haired beauty, Katherine Montemar. She wants to hire Drake to find her father (I think—honestly, it doesn’t matter). After an exchange of snappy patter—including the line “I won’t play the fool for anyone” (really!)—the two waste no time getting to the business of swapping spit and other bodily fluids.

Next thing we know, Drake wakes up in bed alone with bloodstains on his sheets. We learn that Katherine has disappeared when Drake’s ex-partner Lew MacDonald (played smarmily by David Beeler) comes poking around. Then, guess who shows up at Drake’s office with a gun in her hand and an attitude? None other than Katherine’s blonde sister, Jennifer (played gorgeously by co-screenwriter Brittney Powell). And she wants to find Katherine.

Hmm … Hitchcockian! 🙂

Or maybe what she’s really after is the Orlov (or is it Orloff?) diamond? Or could she be after the little black book that Nadia kept? (Nadia is … never mind. Spoilers!)

The sly references to classic films noir are numerous. The diamond is described to Drake with the same reverence given to the Black Bird in The Maltese Falcon. Or is the Black Book this movie’s version of the Black Bird? Does it matter? They’re all MacGuffins, right?

The characters—which include the dysfunctional Montemar clan (along with a butler who defies stereotype or, frankly, description) and an ungodly mass of corrupt law enforcement officials—could easily have become caricatures, were it not for the deftly written dialogue and exemplary acting.

Vernon Wells

The dingus, er, diamond! 🙂

There was more than one line I enjoyed, but here are a couple that made me smile:

Drake: “Dumb’s the one thing that doesn’t look good on you.”

Waitress: “Change?”
Drake: “I wish.”

Nothing could be finer …

Add to this the careful attention to details of the period, including costumes, set decoration, and music—the last of which blends perfectly with the shadows and angles of the movie’s noir cinematography.

And, of course, the story is told in flashback, with flashbacks and dream sequences within the flashback. So, true to the form, the plot is Mulholland-Drive-twisty.

Finally, this is the kind of movie that only an indie production could pull off these days. (The big studios are too busy cranking out superhero blockbusters or endless iterations of the Star Wars franchise.) And the production values are excellent.

If you enjoy film noir or neo-noir (as I think this movie can be categorized), I recommend you check this one out. For me, it was the stuff that dreams are made of. 🙂

http://www.unseenfilms.net/2018/05/trouble-is-my-business-2018.html

TROUBLE IS MY BUSINESS is a nice little throw back/homage/spoof of the classic hardboiled film noirs.

Director Thomas Konkle stars as detective Roland Drake. Scandal involving a missing person case gone wrong has put him on the fast track to hell. When a dame to die for enters promising him redemption he takes the case but things soon go wrong as his client disappears, leaving a pool of blood behind and his evil ex-partner starts sniffing around for a pay day.

Intentionally hitting every noir cliché you can think of TROUBLE is a very self-aware film. The result is a plot you’re going to be way ahead of, however you won’t mind since the point of the exercise is to just enjoy the ride. This is a film for people who know and love the noir conventions and don’t mind them being joked about since, in this case, it only adds to the fun.

Once I accepted the tone of the film I had a good time. This is a film that manages to be both a good mystery and a comedy. This is just a film that is a good time.

Trouble Is My Business 2018 Movie Blu-ray Review Showsotros

https://showsotros.com/blu-ray-reviews/trouble-is-my-business
© 2008-2018 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.

Jennifer Montemar (Brittney Powell) and Roland Drake (Thomas Konkle)

What a lot of people don’t realize is how much energy, creative effort, time and money are required to produce a movie/film. Being a video creator myself, it’s a ton of work….but the final results are incredibly rewarding. Producing movies is a natural passion; It’s an art; It’s a visual form of storytelling, be it true or fictional. Ever wonder why these made-for-web projects are getting all the viewership and praise? Peek through the over-hyped movies marketed every 6 yoctoseconds, and you’ll find that there are a chunk full of independent, low-budget and under-recognized movies that the film industry *wishes* they made. Ladies and gentlemen of all ages, I present to you this: Trouble Is My Business.

The story is about a detective named Roland Drake, played by Thomas Konkle, whose sexy client Katherine Montemar asks for help in snatching a diamond—the Orlov Diamond—that belonged to her family. Along with detering the corrupt, mob-laden black market, Drake contacts those who may have connections as to where this may lead to while keeping innocent and anonymous. During his journey are a bunch of people intercepting his path trying to get him killed, like corrupt police officer Detective Tate, played by Vernon Wells. The movie overall gives off that classic film noir—the early days when the story and the dark life of gangsterism were the goings-on (still goes on today).

There’s a bunch of things that go on in this movie that mentioning some parts are enough to ruin the entire thing. While, yes, movie/TV/video game reviews generally contain spoilers, it is a rare instance that a movie this good challenges us not to spill the beans too much. A mention of one or two things can ruin the next plot, but however, if you’ve watched enough gangster films, murder mysteries and/or the James Bond series, you’ll find that this isn’t just another movie in contrast to those titles. It’s a story with sudden twists and hairpin turns, it’ll drop your jaw. I was in awe at the transition from scene to scene.Roland Drake played by Thomas Konkle

“Well, I can’t say no to a lady.”
— Roland Drake

This is likely one of the classic lines in this movie—a modest detective reluctantly accepting the meeting with a beautiful woman needing his help. This happened twice to Mr. Drake with two women who happen to be sisters. I won’t say anymore beyond that.

“I don’t like a man with a sense of humor. I find it almost as unattractive as a woman with one.”
— Evelyn Montemar

This made me smirk, but should inform you the kind of people—family—who are incredibly serious protecting prized possessions in the underworld. Gangsters do not have a sense of humor, since their operations involve not saying anything to where CIA or FBI could spot suspicious activity going on.

However, in my world above, women love men with a sense of humor and vice versa. Laughter is the best medicine, and is part of the universal language around the world.

“Just because you read accusations in the newspaper doesn’t make them true.”
— Jennifer Montemar

I feel this should tie to the skepticism people ought to adopt in the real world. Ever wonder why some news reports are served as “distractions?” Think about that.

Jennifer (Brittney Powell) and her mother Evelyn Montemar (Jordana Capra).
Roland Drake (Thomas Konkle) and Jennifer Montemar (Brittney Powell) in bed.
Bert The Cabble (Paul Hungerford) and police officer Ostrowski (Steve Olson).
Lew MacDonald (David Beeler).

As for the movie, you can tell the budget put into making this. It uses a lot of green screen but remember that this isn’t focusd on special effects compared to, say, space movies or scenes featuring explosions and flying (hello, Transformers, Star Wars and Superman fans). This movie is heavily focused on the story giving homage to the old, black & white movies when technology was so limited, movie producers worried more about the story and the acting. It’s not like that today—promoting A-list actors to give low-rated movies some financial leverage. Give me a break….

The story overall is like a roller coaster ride: Once you’re in it, buckle up because there’ll be some surprising twists and turns. Just don’t fall off the ride.

Blu-ray Disc Features review:
There’s only two options on the Blu-ray menu: Play Movie and Play Trailer. There’s no option for Scene Selections which may bother some Blu-ray fans. Whether you want that option or not, it gives the viewer a requirement to completely watch the film from start to finish, and there should be nothing wrong with that.

Trouble Is My Business Blu-ray menu - Black and White and Color

You may wonder why there are two discs: One for color and one for B&W. Why not put the same on one disc? I figured that they wanted to preserve the video quality putting them in separate discs. Putting two of them in one disc sacrifices the quality of the film which, as you know, will turn off a lot of movie/Blu-ray fans (let’s not forget that a Blu-ray holds 25GB of data and a DVD only holds 4GB). The Black & White version of the movie gives that authentic mid-1900s feel, catering to those who dig the classic film library. As for the audio, there is no option on the Blu-ray as it is strictly 5.1 Surround. Majority of movie fans, depending on your audio system, prefer 5.1 audio anyway, but if you have a simple stereo system, it works just as well.

A movie specializing in detecting lives of crime finding truth in-between the lines while extracting secrets from a bunch of sketchy people and a family is what makes this a unique story-telling experience. I really want to talk about the film but, again, it’ll spoil too much. It was so good we screened the film twice (perhaps again, after this review).

I want you, the viewer/fan, to enjoy the roller coaster ride this film brings especially when you arrive at the ending. The best way to describe it—I can’t believe I’m doing this—I’ll quote the bridge and chorus from the hit song “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift:

And he’s long gone
When he’s next to me
And I realize the blame is on me

‘Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I’d never been
So you put me down

— Lyrics from “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift

Enjoy that scene as it will raise eyebrows.

While this movie just released on Blu-ray as recent as this month of June (2018), some of you may have obtained this packaging:

Scanavo Blu-ray case packaging

I’ve personally never seen this packaging. From all the Blu-rays we own in our SHOWSOTROS! video library collection, this is a huge first. I thought it was an imitation but after doing research, this Blu-ray case is by a company Scanavo. I feel these cases are uncommon, but unveiling it on this review, expect studios and networks to invest and do business with them showing up more frequently at your local video and electronics stores. (Yeah, I was scared for a second fearing I got a pirated copy. You’d have to be a serious low life to still produce pirated copies in this modern age.)

It’s been a long while, for me at least, to finally watch and enjoy something that grips you from start to finish. Now that we’ve brought this amazing piece into the spotlight, we’ll likely see more of this story-telling style. Because of how much the story stacks up, it’s good enough to turn into a TV series (you heard it from us first, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon and many of you TV writers/producers reading this). Actually, you know, turn this movie into a TV series because we’ll definitely tune in.

This Blu-ray release is still hot, fresh and new. Grab your copy as we strongly recommend this movie!

ARTICLE In Video Librarian Recommends Trouble Is My Business

Video Librarian Magazine Movie film review

Trouble Is My Business

Actor Tom Konkle turns director for this tribute to the private detective mysteries and film noir classics of the 1940s. Konkle plays Roland Drake he disgraced PI on the verge of being evicted did from his crummy office when he is hired by a society beauty (Brittney Powell) to find her missing father.

The twisty plot involves missing Jules Russian mobsters, a corrupt cop (Vernon Wells), a successful former partner, (David Beeler) a cross-dressing butler, a mansion filled with shady characters and a sister who takes a shine to Drake.

The title is borrowed from a Raymond Chandler story but the tail is an original script by Konkle and co-star Powell and the dialogue is filled with hard-boiled repartee.

The movie serves up a film noir pastiche seeped in the slang, fashion, style, and cityscape of the 1940s Los Angeles all delivered with an exaggerated impression of old Hollywood sensibility. It’s overlong at almost 2 hours but fans of classic Hollywood pictures should enjoy this affectionate throwback that walks the line between tribute and parody.

Presented in both color and black-and-white versions this is Recommended. (S. Axmaker)

 

http://thedigitalbits.com/item/trouble-is-my-business-brd

TheDigitalBits

Trouble is My Business

(Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: David Steigman
  • Review Date: Aug 29, 2018
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc

Review

[Editor’s Note: this is a BD-R release.]

For those who are fans of classic film noirs that came from the 1940s and the 1950s, including The Big Sleep, The Big Combo, and Murder My Sweet, the 2018 film Trouble is My Business pays homage to those classics from yesteryear.

Taking place in Los Angeles in the 1940s, Trouble is My Business is a neo-noir crime drama centering on detective Ronald Drake (Tom Konkle). Recovering from a terrible experience in a prior missing persons case and down on his luck with his career seemingly over, he finds himself both professionally and romantically involved with two sisters from the wealthy Montemar family. After a romantic evening with Katherine Montemar, he wakes up the next morning to bloodstained bed sheets, leaving him confused as to what happened. Katherine’s older sister, Jennifer (Brittney Powell), arrives on the scene asking him to search for both her missing father and sister. The search ultimately leads Drake down a dark and winding path as he finds himself caught in a nightmarish situation involving several shady characters, including a corrupt police detective (Vernon Wells) and Evelyn Montemar (Jordana Capra), the wicked mother of Katherine and Jennifer.

Trouble is My Business was also produced by, co-written, and directed by Tom Konkle. Despite being shot on a low budget, it does a remarkable job at capturing a gritty noir atmosphere. It has all the ingredients necessary to make it work well, including femme fatales, dark characters, and disreputable policemen. Konkle appears to have done his homework in capturing the tone and look of a film noir, right down to the outfits that characters wear. The action, while minimal, is still compelling with great dialogue and excellent one-liners. zthe film’s well-realized aesthetic and atmosphere overshadows that to some degree.

Trouble is My Business arrives in a 2-disc set; one disc featuring the film in color, and the other in black and white. The colorized version is fairly sharp and saturated with good textures. There are some troubled spots, including occasional macroblocking and flickering, but it doesn’t distract from the viewing experience. Despite clear, detailed images, there are some close-ups of the characters’ faces that have an orange/yellow/tan hue to them. The picture quality for the black and white counterpart is just average. Grayscale is satisfying overall, but the rest of the presentation isn’t overly rich in detail. There’s also a solid audio track in English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Sound effects, such as dialogue and gunshots, come through perfectly fine without having to adjust the volume. It’s not a robust presentation, but mellow enough to avoid distortion and poor volume. There are also no issues with hiss or drop-outs. Unfortunately, the only extra included is the film’s trailer.

Going for style more than anything else, writer/director Tom Konkle has produced an entertaining throwback. For those needing a getaway from movies that contain overwhelming special effects and explosions, Trouble is My Business is a perfect remedy. While it might not be overly potent in high definition, it’s still a pleasure to watch and a good remembrance of what films once were.

– David Steigman

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5D Blog

When it comes to movie heroes there are two archetypal characters that I feel would perfectly fit my own natural charismatic and heroic persona. The first would be a Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead type person……… brave, fearless yet vulnerable, but someone who instills devotion, loyalty and a feeling that with him they’d be safe from whatever the Zombie apocalypse could throw at them….. well, except for the small fact that the majority of people around him usually er, die……so maybe we’ll move on past that example.

The second hero-type that captures the very essence of me would be a character from nearly every film noir that has ever been made – no, I’m not talking about the gal who arrived in LA with dreams of silver-screen stardom but instead found herself becoming fallen hooker with a heart of gold (though I suppose if the money to play the role was good enough I may reconsider……..). I’m of course talking about the hard-boiled, world-weary cop who is heroic, irresistible to women, brave, loyal and yes, with a heart of gold. Yep, definitely me.

If I was to be serious for a moment, I would have to readily admit that the Film Noir genre is perhaps one of my favourite areas of cinema and literature – though actually defining the genre and what is a ‘typical’ representation in film seems to open all variations of cans of worm online, so I’ll just use my own examples; The Big Sleep , The Maltese Falcon , Touch of Evil , The Third Man, Chinatown, Blood Simple, L.A Confidential & many more….. all simply wonderful examples of filming complete with cool hats, smart suites, guns, dames and corrupt coppers galore!

So of course you could imagine my delight when a short time ago I received a super-secret online screener for a modern-day homage to the classic film noir stable. In truth Trouble is my business had found its way onto the 5D radar some time ago when I was lucky enough to talk with iconic actor Vernon Wells, he of Commando, Weird Science, Mad Max: Road Warrior et al fame, who had told me that he was playing a juicy corrupt cop in a classic noir film. It’s safe to say that Vernon was rather excited about what had been filmed as he extolled in distinctly glowing terms about this wonderful noir film that he was very proud to have worked in. If you wish to see what Mr Wells had to say on the 5D YouTube channel then you can check out the man’s words of wisdom RIGHT HERE.

So let’s have a little peek at a synopsis type thing to see why Vernon Wells was so excited about Trouble is my Business.

Trouble is my Business is obviously something of a love letter to film noir from writers Thomas Konkle & Brittney Powell in the way they have crafted a very fine interpretation of the genre. For a start the movie looks wonderful, and at times distinctly incredible, in the use of backdrops and overall colour texture providing an array of scenes that are quite simply visually lovely. And while I’m no expert on 1940’s LA fashion (I missed that class at college) the feel and authenticity of the period costumes seem suitably precise…..and I’m not just talking about the dresses that Brittney Powell wears (has it become suddenly warm in here?…….).

One aspect that occasionally lets down some independent film-making is the quality of acting, however here we have few problems in that respect; Konkle portrays a suitably correct mixture of charm, humour and world-weariness in the lead role and of course my mate Vernon Wells is his usual excellent self as the dastardly Detective Tate (yes, he IS my mate – we’ve spoken twice now in my life and that makes him now one of my BFF’s…..whether he likes it or not). It also goes without saying that no self-respecting film noir could be without a drop dead (sic) gorgeous femme-fetale, so let’s just say that Brittney Powell not only rocks the period costume, but she more than holds her own in terms of assured acting alongside the rest of the cast throughout the film. The dialogue too is spot on and only very rarely drifts from affectionate homage to parody as the wordplay between the characters sparkles throughout with a one mix of humour and biting exchanges

a hugely enjoyable movie experience.

It’s safe to say that Trouble is my Business is in no way re-writing the folklore of film noir, there isn’t too much new on show here in terms of themes and narrative. However I very much doubt that re-inventing the genre was ever the intention of writers Thomas Konkle & Brittney Powell, as I said earlier this is most definitely a loving homage to a genre of film that has captivated audiences for most of the 20th (and hopefully 21st) century. If the intention was to produce an enjoyable slice of authentic and exciting film noir, well lets just say that they have succeeded.

Highly recommended.



Review: ‘Trouble Is My Business’ (the final word in film noir)

“Passion. Murder. Betrayal. Just another day on the job.”

Full disclosure: the reviewer rolled the dice and gambled a contribution to help fund this independent production.

Private investigator Roland Drake (Tom Konkle) faces eviction from his office and his career after being disgraced during a missing persons case ending in tragedy. Ruined in the public eye and shunned by the law, everything seems over until redemption walks in: a curvy dark-haired beauty named Katherine Montemar… desperate to hire anyone who can locate her disappeared family members. Both vulnerable and in need of companionship, their undeniable attraction is cut short when Drake wakes next to a pool of blood and his new client vanished from his bed. After misdirecting his equally skilled but unscrupulous ex-partner Lew MacDonald (David Beeler) from discovering the potential crime scene on a suspicious chance visit, Drake is soon confronted by Katherine’s blonde sister Jennifer (Brittney Powell), armed with a fistful of photos and a .38 special. In 1940s Los Angeles where corrupt cops rule the city underworld and moral lines are anything but black and white, trouble is Roland Drake’s business… and business is good.

Hardboiled detectives, femme fatales, and a mandatory MacGuffin are all part of the tradition we call film noir. “Guns, dames, and hats” are the order of the day in these brooding period pieces, a bygone era of Hollywood like westerns and musicals. There have been the occasional callbacks with films like L.A. Confidential,Sin City, and even the original Blade Runner repurposing it as a vision of the future — a detail mostly missing from the recent sequel. All of these undertakings require extensive budgets, finding or recreating the trappings and props of the time period, and to develop the visuals required to invoke the all-important atmosphere that defines the film style. Rarely are the words “independent” and “noir” uttered in reference to a feature-length film intended to celebrate and champion a new entry into this staple of the movie industry, but with the right combination of players, passion, and just long enough of a shoestring to fish spare change out of the sewer, can a compelling dark thriller become the end result?

As evidenced by Trouble Is My Business, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Less a passion project than a labor of love, writer-director-actor Thomas Konkle gathered the necessary ingredients and managed to draw forth a film by sheer force of will. With years involved in the writing, planning, independent and personal financing, and using every movie-making trick imaginable, Trouble is to film noir what Once Upon a Time in the West was to the western: the final word. With classic elements, a fresh cast, and painstaking detail, Konkle has created a world both familiar and new. Twists, betrayal, and mystery are finely intertwined with the wit, violence, and eventuality of the genre.

Locations are important to a production like this, but what couldn’t be found and rented had to be created — often digitally. While Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow buckled under the weight of “look what we can do,” Konkle puts his players in the foreground and allowed the story to dictate the effects, not the other way around. With talents like Jordana Capra as matriarch Evelyn Montemar and Vernon Wells as Detective Barry Tate, the production is nearly seemless and perhaps too-real in its detail, from meticulous editing to a sweeping soundtrack. It’s clear what the filmmakers wanted this to become, and the time put into the post production shows what can be done with today’s off-the-shelf filmmaking tools and the ingenuity of modern creators.

Over the last five years, this reviewer has seen several independent productions shaped from concept to completion. From an old-time rocket ship carrying space rangers into the great beyond to a backwoods werewolf reneging on his deal with the devil, there’s no shortage of imagination out there while Hollywood continues to reboot television and movie franchises they never understood to begin with. Trouble sets itself apart in both ambition and execution, and the risk yielded a great reward: a film deserving to be seen and appreciated.

Four skull recommendation out of four

YouTube Film Review:

Trouble Is My Business. “Classic, shadowy, everyone-sounding-like-Marlon-Brando noir. None of this boring “neo noir” stuff. That always baffled me about “neo noir”. “Noir” by its very definition means “black”, as if to imply something metaphorically dark if not literally dark. So how does “neo noir” get away with primary colored films taking place in mostly well-lit places with main characters that can get by just being curmudgeons as opposed to drunken/angry cops and detectives? Regardless, this looks like a breath of fresh air in a genre that seems to have been largely forgotten about by everyone except Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez.”

Trouble Is My Business – it gives noir a good name

Trouble Is My Business, the feature directorial debut of Tom Konkle, is not so much a neo-noir thriller as an homage to noirs of years past. It’s a stylish love poem, really, lifting many of the timeless elements that made noirs so powerful in the 1930s through the 1950s, including the hard-boiled detective, the femme fatale, and the MacGuffin (in this case, a diamond).

Konkle (who cowrote the script with his costar, Brittany Powell) stars as Roland Drake, a shamed shamus who now runs a one-man detective agency after his partner Lew (David Beeler) moved on to bigger and better things. Drake gets a phone call from a mysterious woman who – of course – desperately needs his help in locating her missing father, a man who had somehow procured a famous, expensive diamond from overseas. The diamond, incidentally, is also missing. But before Drake can get to some serious detecting, his mystery woman is dead. In his bed. A bad start to a bad day!

And soon he has company – the dead woman’s sister, Jennifer Montemar (Powell). Jennifer assumes Drake had a hand in her sister’s death, but she too wants to find her father. And the diamond, of course. But Drake finds himself up against almost everyone, including his ex partner, a sadistic detective (played by perennial heavy Vernon Wells), a corrupt police force, a haughtily rich family, and some Russian mobsters.

Now, it may seem like there are a lot of people in this murky stew. But I found the direction – particularly the pacing – to be a huge asset, offsetting the many variables to some extent. It’s also helpful that the story isn’t told in a completely linear way; in fact, it spices things up a bit. If the plot simply a series of contrived events, the nonlinearity might prove to be confusing. But the script is tight, to the point where short snippets of dialog or a darting glimpse of a scene can prove to take on added meaning as the movie progresses – or, indeed, no meaning at all.

Konkle is very well cast as the weary, yet noble, gumshoe who may be in over his head. Of all of the characters in the movie, Drake is certainly the most developed, the most relatable, and the best portrayed. I’m not sure how many actual noirs Konkle the director saw before making this film, but Konkle the actor seemed to channel Sam Spade and Mike Hammer effortlessly. I found it pretty easy to believe that Drake could be dumb enough to fall for a dame but smart enough to stay one step ahead of, well, everyone else. The rest of the cast ranged from sufficient to very solid to slightly hammy. That’s not a slight against the cast, either. This is not a movie in which every performance needs to be Oscar worthy. The biggest roles – Drake and Jennifer – were spectacularly aced, and that’s important.

Sometimes the movie’s tone shifted abruptly – from a serious detective tale to a slapstick comedy. The occasional joke makes sense, but here the one liners sometimes took me out of the scene (and, in fact, made me remember that this is a modern film, even though it is set in the late 1940s). Comic timing is never easy when you’re working on a dramatic film, I assume. It’s just that sometimes an actor’s line delivery would feel almost like they had just stepped out of character for a moment. That’s the tone shift I noticed.

But for the most part, this was a wonderful film, and it should be seen by fans of the genre. It might have come off even better had it been filmed in black and white (which I believe is a much more expensive process nowadays), but some of the scenes are lit to give one the impression of monochrome, with stark contrasts and sharp angles.

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Trouble is My Business seems to be a bit like a film out of time, as both on a narrative and a directorial level, it’s clearly (and intentionally) reminiscent of 1940s film noir, with many direct and indirect hommages woven into the plot. What’s quite remarkable about this film though is that it feels not a bit outdated but very fresh in approach, which of course is proof of the filmmaker’s talent but also testament of the genre’s longevity and timelessness. Now taken by its own terms, the film’s narrative might be a tad convoluted (which again harkens back to classic film noir, first and foremost the über-classic The Big Sleep), but it’s told in a swift fashion and carried by snappy dialogue and well-composed imagery. And (like pretty much all good noirs) the whole thing’s populated by a busload of eccentric characters living in the grey area between good and evil. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if you’re into those films of old or not (I am very much though), it’s just a very cool crime movie!

 

https://www.22indiestreet.com/trouble-is-my-business.html

Feature film review
Trouble Is My Business

Four Stars

Written by: Tom Konkle & Brittney Powell  |   Directed by: Tom Konkle|  Genre: Thriller/Noir  |   Length: 116 minutes
You think you know micro budget film? Think again reader. Trouble Is My Business will have you questioning the rules of indie film – we all thought we knew.

Disgraced PI Roland Drake (Tom Konkle) is all but washed up. Thanks to the horrendous outcome of a previous case, that was widely reported on, not only is Drake a well known failure – but he also can’t pay his bills. The gloomy office he operates from is essentially up for grabs. Maybe it’ll make a good coffee joint? Whatever the outcome, he’s seemingly all washed up. That is, until a beautiful dame requires his services finding her pops – and she can pay. Maybe things are looking up?

Sensing something is not quite right, Drake finally accepts the case and as is mandatory in this kind of film, ends up in the sack with his client. The perfect start for a noir flick right? Indeed it is, but that’s not all. It’s when Roland wakes up to find his bed empty – save a lot of blood – things really start to heat up. Katherine the dame is gone and by the looks of things, it’s her blood he’s been sleeping in.

Still not enough for ya? I should have mentioned it’s at this time her sister shows up – looking for her. It seems for Roland, Trouble really ‘is’ his business – and Tom Konkle and Brittney Powell have a hum-dinger of an art piece to show off. You think you know micro budget film? Think again reader. Trouble Is My Business will have you questioning the rules of indie film – we all thought we knew.

Trouble Pic.

The planning, costuming and overall design of this flick are really something. We’re transported back to a version of the 1940’s that has been painfully created using sets, standard locations and green screen effects. The scoring, although overbearing sometimes, crafts the mood of the film alongside some excellent cast portrayals. Some may see ‘slight’ traces of indie trappings, but most will probably think this was a very cool – modestly budgeted film. You may even recognize some of the onscreen faces!
The tone is darned near perfect. Complete with dialog and one liners you simply know are coming. Trouble Is My Business sets itself up to be an artsy period film and doesn’t disappoint. I almost guarantee halfway through the movie you’ll be reaching for your favorite whiskey. If you’re not a fan of whiskey – it won’t matter. You’ll want one anyway because even if the story being told was complete garbage, most will still be entrenched in the film simply because of the look and feel. If that’s not enough for you, than the cast will ensure you stick around. It all fits together so well.
But is the story itself garbage? No. It pleases me to say it is not. Trouble also happens to be a well written production. You really can’t go wrong here.
If you’re not a fan of the hard boiled period piece, you probably won’t like this. But who isn’t? Any movie buff worth their salt loves this sort of thing, and Trouble Is My Business delivers what it has promised. Watch the trailer below and just see if your eyebrows don’t raise a little.
Recommended? Yes.

Trouble is My Business(2018, not rated) is a tribute to the private detective mysteries of the 1940s directed with a knowing, slightly tongue in cheek sensibility that walks a fine line between pastiche and parody.

Los Angeles, CA, 1947: Drake (Tom Konkle) once was an in-demand private eye – but he has fallen from grace when one of the “missing persons” he was to track down, Nadia (Ksenia Delaveri), has turned up dead, and very probably thanks to his involvement. It was actually surprising more than anything else that he stayed out of prison for that one. But now he’s visited by Katherine Montemar (Brittney Powell), who wants him to track down her father Wilson (Benton Jennings) – and the two actually land in bed together … but the next day she’s gone, and all she has left is blood stains in Drake’s bed, which makes him fear the worst. And in that light, it’s of no advantage that Katherine’s sister Jennifer (Brittney Powell again) shows up on his doorstep, and even if she doesn’t say as much, she seems to know about him and Katherine, and on basis of this blackmails him into helping her finding out what happened to her father and sister – and it soon becomes apparent that she’s really after the only thing in her father’s possession of real value, a priceless diamond he got his hands on by not exactly legal means. That he’s after the diamond is not at all to the liking of super-corrupt police detective Tate (Vernon Wells) though who has long mentally claimed the stone for himself, and who would even kill Drake if it wasn’t for a little black book Drake got from Nadia that has dirt about every policeman in town, first and foremost Tate. This black book though tickles the fancy of Drake’s former partner Lew (David Beeler), who’s rather interested in getting into blackmail as a business. So eventually, Drake has no choice but to trust Jennifer as she’s least likely to double-cross him … and eventually the two actually become a couple – but that seems to only accelerate their ride on the downward spiral …

Trouble is My Business seems to be a bit like a film out of time, as both on a narrative and a directorial level, it’s clearly (and intentionally) reminiscent of 1940s film noir, with many direct and indirect hommages woven into the plot. What’s quite remarkable about this film though is that it feels not a bit outdated but very fresh in approach, which of course is proof of the filmmaker’s talent but also testament of the genre’s longevity and timelessness. Now taken by its own terms, the film’s narrative might be a tad convoluted (which again harkens back to classic film noir, first and foremost the über-classic The Big Sleep), but it’s told in a swift fashion and carried by snappy dialogue and well-composed imagery. And (like pretty much all good noirs) the whole thing’s populated by a busload of eccentric characters living in the grey area between good and evil. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if you’re into those films of old or not (I am very much though), it’s just a very cool crime movie!

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Los Angeles, CA, 1947: Drake (Tom Konkle) once was an in-demand private eye – but he has fallen from grace when one of the “missing persons” he was to track down, Nadia (Ksenia Delaveri), has turned up dead, and very probably thanks to his involvement. It was actually surprising more than anything else that he stayed out of prison for that one. But now he’s visited by Katherine Montemar (Brittney Powell), who wants him to track down her father Wilson (Benton Jennings) – and the two actually land in bed together … but the next day she’s gone, and all she has left is blood stains in Drake’s bed, which makes him fear the worst. And in that light, it’s of no advantage that Katherine’s sister Jennifer (Brittney Powell again) shows up on his doorstep, and even if she doesn’t say as much, she seems to know about him and Katherine, and on basis of this blackmails him into helping her finding out what happened to her father and sister – and it soon becomes apparent that she’s really after the only thing in her father’s possession of real value, a priceless diamond he got his hands on by not exactly legal means. That he’s after the diamond is not at all to the liking of super-corrupt police detective Tate (Vernon Wells) though who has long mentally claimed the stone for himself, and who would even kill Drake if it wasn’t for a little black book Drake got from Nadia that has dirt about every policeman in town, first and foremost Tate. This black book though tickles the fancy of Drake’s former partner Lew (David Beeler), who’s rather interested in getting into blackmail as a business. So eventually, Drake has no choice but to trust Jennifer as she’s least likely to double-cross him … and eventually the two actually become a couple – but that seems to only accelerate their ride on the downward spiral …

 

Trouble is My Business seems to be a bit like a film out of time, as both on a narrative and a directorial level, it’s clearly (and intentionally) reminiscent of 1940s film noir, with many direct and indirect hommages woven into the plot. What’s quite remarkable about this film though is that it feels not a bit outdated but very fresh in approach, which of course is proof of the filmmaker’s talent but also testament of the genre’s longevity and timelessness. Now taken by its own terms, the film’s narrative might be a tad convoluted (which again harkens back to classic film noir, first and foremost the über-classic The Big Sleep), but it’s told in a swift fashion and carried by snappy dialogue and well-composed imagery. And (like pretty much all good noirs) the whole thing’s populated by a busload of eccentric characters living in the grey area between good and evil. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if you’re into those films of old or not (I am very much though), it’s just a very cool crime movie!

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Synopsis:

TROUBLE IS MY BUSINESS follows Roland Drake, a 1940s Private Investigator trying to untangle a mystery that’s only landing him in deeper trouble, in an adventure that ticks all the classic boxes — seductive femme fatales, corrupt cops, a weary PI, and troublesome thugs and dames.

What We Thought:

As a movie reviewer a lot of filmmakers reach out to me get their movie talked about. It can be scary because not all movies are created equal. I watched the trailer for Trouble Is My Business and thought it could be fun. A campy noir-ish detective story sounded right up my alley.

And I’m happy to report that it is! Trouble Is My Business pretty much hits the nail on the head when it comes to films like this. There are certain things you want or need in a noir style film and you get most of them here. Thomas Konkle’s Roland Drake is what you want in a noir detective. He’s kind of buffoon-ish. He has a great old-timey vocabulary. He’s great with the dames. He may act and look the fool, but gets the job done when it needs getting done.

Drake is hired to figure out a family mystery involving a diamond, missing people, dames, the Russians, crooked cops and more. Drake looks very much the part of a 1940’s Los Angeles private eye with suits and a hat. That’s one of the positives of the film, the wardrobe. If you are going to do 40’s noir, you need the right wardrobe with dresses, suits, hats, trench coats and more.

Set design and the overall look of the film is also a positive. They use fake backdrops for some of it which usually doesn’t work for me, but it’s not too bad here. Because the acting and set design fit the time properly, the backdrops didn’t bother me as much. Drake’s office, the family home and other locations all look era appropriate which help distract from the fake backdrops. I’m not sure what kind of a budget the film had, but they definitely spent wisely on design.

Trouble Is My Business comes as a special two-disc collector’s edition containing both color and black-and-white versions of the film. If you’re only going to watch one version, you have to go black & white. The black & white gives it even more of a noir feel because like the design of the film, it fits the era properly. If you like noir homages with dames being dames and private dicks solving crimes with a cool voiceover then the film is definitely

RECOMMENDED!

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The story is a classic noir setup. Gumshoe down on his luck meets a pretty brunette at his office, sleeps with her, wakes up to blood in his bed but no body, and gets visited by the brunette’s blonde sister wielding a gun, wondering what happened to her sister. It gets messier from here, as is the norm with noir.

In noir, the story was never simple, even if the sets were. The gumshoe Roland Drake is a Marlowe-esque character and you feel for him and his predicament. He’s had a string of unfortunate things happen and while he has certainly retained his sarcasm, his failure to write his own happy ending makes him melancholy. He obviously still longs for that happy ending, which is why he falls hard for the blonde, despite having misgivings about the case and the blonde’s weird family. There are some laughs and there is some violence and there’s certainly drama, but in my mind this is ultimately a story of romance, albeit not a typical one.

To me this is mostly a story of the gumshoe’s struggle between his romanticism and the cynicism brought on by his experience. In the end, one must prevail.

Trouble Is My Business Quotes

The struggle of romanticism vs cynicism is timeless and that’s the part that always gets to me, and as a result I keep thinking back to this story and my empathy buttons keep getting pushed. There are some really loathsome characters in this story, and while they can’t be excused, some of the villainous actions could be seen as reactionary, or at the very least inescapable.

The parable of the frog and the scorpion comes to mind. The acting was solid throughout. Some familiar faces as well, if not big names. Steve Tom got a lot of laughs from me he’s one of those guys I keep seeing everywhere. I haven’t actually seen Vernon Wells in anything since The Road Warrior, despite his lengthy resume, but it was fun to see him gleefully chew up all the scenery, both real and virtual. Which brings me to the production values.

I knew going in that this was going to be a low budget indie so I knew I wasn’t expecting The Avengers level production values. But what these guys pulled off on a shoestring budget and a tiny crew is pretty amazing. From what I’ve seen practically every scene in this film features a virtual set or set extensions of some kind. Which is understandable given the setting, but mind blowing given the small budget. I can’t imagine it being easy to pull off a period piece where a large city like Los Angeles is the primary backdrop, without having tens of millions of dollars just for the production design and visual effects.

It is entertaining and the story stuck with me. What more can I ask for? Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!

AndersonVision Trouble Is My Business movie review

Trouble Is My Business is a loving Film Noir fan letter. But, it also isn’t. The movie walks the same kind of line that the Coen Brothers towed in The Man Who Wasn’t There. You can take the style and aesthetic of a beloved subgenre and tell a modern story. But, not too modern. Trust me this will make sense.

Personal favorite Vernon Wells plays Detective Tate. He’s a vicious man stylized as a 1940s heavy. It’s the kind of role that Jon Polito would play if he was more grizzled and about a foot taller. He leans hard on our lead Detective, as the guy just wants to figure out the connection between a vacant father, a mysterious diamond and the sisters that keep dotting in and out of his life.

Trouble is My Business

Thomas Konkle is our director, co-writer and leading man. Coupled with Brittney Powell playing the lead lady Jennifer, it produces something that feels like a deep indie auteur action. Many will be quick to pull out their Film School textbooks and wax on about the use of artifice. However, so much of modern cinema is based on the use of common visual cues to build a sense of familiarity.

Most long-time readers know that when I really enjoy something, I spend a lot of time with it. After my fifth viewing of Trouble Is My Business, I was ready to finalize my views. We live in an era where invoking anything before 1993 is asking for recognition trouble from a wider audience. Time has a way of stomping on the mainstream and reshaping it into an entertainment tableau that is much more palatable to the masses.

Thankfully, we have artists like Konkle and Powell working together to produce a film that is entertaining and yet continues to build upon one of the great American film arts. The Detective is the American heroic archetype that took over after the Cowboy faded away. Konkle inherits a bit from both the Gary Cooper and Sam Spade tradition as a man who fights for what he knows is right, not matter how many people stand in his way.

The summer is always a packed period competing for your entertainment attention. Make the time today to check out Trouble Is My Business.

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Plot: Roland Drake (Tom Konkle) is a private detective that has fallen into a downward spiral, thanks to a tarnished reputation that has all but made him in a pariah in his chosen field. The lack of work has led to him being evicted from his office, which means things are only going to get worse for Drake. But just before he is kicked out, a beautiful woman saunters into his office with a potential case, an heiress who stands to inherit a fortune, but her father has disappeared. Drake takes an interest in both the case and the woman herself, but when she too vanishes, he’s drawn deeper into this mysterious case, when her sister Jennifer (Brittney Powell) shows up. As Drake delves into the clues and follows a trail of danger and betrayal, can he solve the mystery, restore his name, and turn his life around?

Entertainment Value: This self aware love letter to film noir is a fun watch, a movie that is able to balance out budget limitations with a passion for the genre, showing an enthusiasm that is always evident on screen. The narrative is right in the film noir conventions and while the story is predictable at times, the winks to the audience and clear love for the genre more than compensate. You can tell a lot of care went into making sure every scene was infused with that old school film noir DNA, then given some updated twists at times. This is mostly seen in the movie’s sense of humor, which is sometimes over the top, but often pulled off with good skill, to make subtle, but effective comedic bursts. I didn’t even mind the more blunt instances of humor really, as even those were done with an appreciation for the genre, while not veering off the formula too much. I do think the pace is a little slow at times and the visual effects aren’t great, but those are minor issues overall here. I think given the indie nature of the shoot, the green screen work is fine, if obvious, but even major studio movies seem to be skimping in that area, so its hard to knock Trouble Is My Business. I was impressed by the attention to detail and craftsmanship of this one, while also being entertained the entire time, so this movie earns a solid recommendation.

I think the cast is one of the main reasons the movie works so well, as most of the performers are energetic and seem to connect with the concept, which leads to some fun, knowing efforts. I think this could have been a tough balance, to stay within that film noir structure, but get in some winks and nudges to the audience, so seeing it done right by most of the cast is impressive. Tom Konkle has the lead role and he is able to more or less the set the tone here, bolstered by his presence as director and co-writer as well, which means he knew the vision he wanted to create. He is fun to watch and makes a more than capable lead, especially when he shares the screen with Brittney Powell, who was also a co-writer on Trouble Is My Business. The two have good chemistry and run with the film noir vibes, which makes those sequences quite entertaining and some of the movie’s best. Powell is able to evoke some classic femme fatale energy, which is just the material needed from her. Vernon Wells is also here and supplies some star power, as well as a rock solid performance. The cast also includes Jordana Capra, David Beeler, Ben Pace, and Steve Tom.


Trouble is My Business
An Interview with Indie Director Tom Konkle
By Paulette Reynolds
June 19, 2019

Director : Tom Konkle
Screenplay: Tom Konkle and Brittney Powell
Cinematography : Jesse Arnold and P.J. Gaynard

Starring Tom Konkle/Roland Drake, Brittney Powell/Jennifer Montemar, David Beeler/Lew MacDonald, Vernon Wells/Det. Barry Tate, Jordana Capra/Evelyn Montemar, Steve Tom/Gavron Grozney, Mark Teich/Rivers, Ksenia Delaveri/Nadia, E. Sean Griffin/Jake, Paul Hungerford/Bert, Benton Jennings/Wilson Montemar


Director Tom Konkle brings back the 1940s classic film noir style with his Trouble is My Business, an homage to the hard-boiled detective genre.  Konkle’s PI Roland Drake resides in a world of double-crossing pals, pistol-packing femme fatales, and shady underworld crooks – and that’s just on a good day.  There’s plenty of action as Drake hunts for a missing heiress and her father, a diamond and an elusive black book amid a rising body count.
The cinematography by Jesse Arnold and P.J. Gaynard does a fine job reproducing the black and white tonal scale similar to the vintage Warner Bros. crime dramas.  Konkle’s tongue-in-cheek dialogue is sassy, needing only a faster pace to deliver more of an emotional punch.  But the dinner scene at the Montemar mansion, should go down as a Deja Vu Moment, recalling the 1985 sleeper Clue and snatches of Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein – thanks to the Lady GaGa doppelgänger – Jordana Capra’s fantastic performance as Evelyn Montemar. ​
There’s a couple of rough patches in terms of fast forward jumping to explain the backstory of Drake’s downfall and a long film length, which compromises the ending; but Trouble is My Business is a fabulous way to honor the period and entertain film noir fans.

Tom Konkle sat down with CineMata to share some of his thoughts about Trouble is My Business and his creative process.

CM:  The most obvious question is – what inspired you to create Trouble is My Business?

TK:  “Other than a real love for the aesthetic and attitude of film noir, there are two things that inspired me to create Trouble Is My Business:  The first was the lack of crime forensics in the 1940s made it harder to do DNA and evidence analysis.  This  allowed the crime (that I was interested in wrapping into the story) make the “information” more valuable than other aspects.  Another inspiration was that film noir was born out of the lean budget restrictions on sets, lighting, set scale, colorful characters and stylized dialogue that helped create the genre.”

CM:  What films, writers and directors helped to shape your film?

TK:  “Out of the Past is definitely the grandfather of Trouble Is My Business in that the framing device is telling the story flashing forward in a car ride to a “final destination” as well as Jacques Tourneur’s lighting, use of humor and character work.  If you look closely on the movie marquee, after Roland and Jennifer leave ‘GG’, “Hang My Gallows High” is playing – this is the work that Out Of The Past was based on.

Also Orson Welles – of course – as his indie style and spirit, that like me, he acted in films he directed and often poured money from his acting gigs into his own films too – just like I did in Trouble Is My Business.”

CM:  Can you share a bit about your background, and how it impacted your entrance into the film industry?

TK:  “I moved to Los Angeles with a degree in communications and literature as well as drama.  I studied acting, and live performances became my school.  My love of cinema continued while I worked as a professional actor and began writing and directing on other companies productions, including being a staff writer at Warner Brothers.

I like striking a balance between the love of acting and understanding what it feels like to be an actor on a set looking for good direction.  I’d like to think my love and understanding of the production details (directing, shooting visual effects, editing and post production) affects the audience.”

CM:  Do you have any favorite Neo-noir films?

TK:  “So many favorite neo-noirs like Chinatown, Blade Runner
​(I watched it over and over for years), The Matrix, LA Confidential and even The Dark Knight are the favorites.”

CM:  The creative artist is forever working on their next ‘big project’.  What will your next production be about?

TK:  “My next project is called Island in the Stars.  It will likely be shot in Australia next year and Vernon Wells is one of the stars of the film.”

If the poster for Island in the Stars is any clue, Tom Konkle will continue to entertain us for a long, long time.

 

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