Month: July 2012

Total Recall

Year: 1990
Directed By: Paul Verhoven
Written By: The original story was inspired by a short story by Phillip K. Dick and then there were several others.

RYAN’S REVIEW

We are on vacation right now and doing something out of the norm with the blog. As a onetime thing we are breaking the order of going through our collection as it sits on the shelf and reviewing a movie that normally wouldn’t come for a long time.  Since the remake of Total Recall is hitting theaters soon we felt this was a perfect time to make an exception. I’ll admit that the remake of this film does look really good, but this will really be a hard film to top.

I think this movie was ahead of its time in many ways.  It’s got a clever and twisted plot that has an interesting ability to suck the viewer in. That is the only reason I am interested in a remake.  This is the kind of movie that could be so much better had the actual technology of the future been incorporated into it.  I think the trailer for the new movie inspires a lot of hope, but as far as this one goes I think it is really interesting to see what they thought the future was going to offer.

I think this is easily one of the best movies Schwarzenegger made during his career.  In truth he made many great movies that I love dearly, but I do honestly think this one ranks right up there next to Terminator or PredatorThis movie is a nonstop thrill ride with plenty of twists and explosions, not to mention a lot of sex appeal (there is a chick with three boobs for crying out loud). That cast is great and the director was on a personal role at the time.  Paul Verhoven made Robocop prior to this film and one of my all time favorites after, Basic InstinctThose two and this film are all I will vouch for, but they are all three awesome.  I like these movies from Verhoven but his career went askew after Basic Instinct and since he has made many bust and even disasters (Starship Troopers).   I read once that Sharon Stone refused to show more of her body during a sex scene in this movie, and that Verhoven “got her back” in his next film.  I’ll admit a little nudity from Stone could have only made her part better but it was quite a role she played.  I have always been a big fan of Stone and I think she is great in this movie.  She is sinister and sexy.  The way she can change directions in an instant to try and manipulate Quaid is quite impressive.

I really like Ronny Cox and Michael Ironside as the bad guys.  Ronny Cox plays a much better bad guy than good guy in my opinion and this is a role he was perfect for.  When he chews out Rictor in his office for the first time he gave the performance of his career.  He is awesome in several movies though, I have always liked him. Bryan Cranston plays Cohaagen in the remake and I think he will be great in the role. Cranston has shown quite capable of playing a powerful villain as we have seen in Breaking Bad. Michael Ironside is an actor that was never used enough in my opinion.  He has such a nasty and serious look to him. I think he is great in the role of Rictor.

There is an incredible story to how this movie was actually made if I am not mistaken.  It was inspired by a short story by Phillip K Dick called “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.” Phillip K Dick of course is the writer that inspired movies such as Blade Runner and Minority Report. The movie was initially set with a different director and Patrick Swayze was attached to star.  Schwarzenegger had really wanted to play Robocop but was too large to fit the suit. He still wanted to work with Verhoven though and kept an eye out for something they could do together.  When he heard of this movie he thought it would be perfect for the two of them.  Now, if I remember correctly Schwarzenegger pretty much muscled this movie out the hands that it belonged in.  I remember specifically thinking there must be a fascinating story to the clout and power Schwarzenegger wielded during this time in the movie business.  What it must be like to actually be muscled by that guy, who would one day go on to become Governor of California.  Unfortunately this isn’t a topic of interest I ever followed up on but I suggest anybody interested look into it yourself.  There is a weird story behind the rights to this movie and how they were acquired.

This is an exciting movie that can suck the viewer in and the thrills keep coming for almost two hours.  This movie is somewhat outdated now but that doesn’t take away from its value. I think it is an incredible and cool action/sci-fi film, one of the best of an era.  I wasn’t thrilled to see Colin Farrell cast in the lead for the remake but I will give it a shot.  I don’t think this movie should have been remade because this one was awesome, but I do understand why they did it.  This movie is worth your time and you should definitely check it out before seeing the knock off version that will be hitting theaters soon.

AMBER REVIEW

I had never seen this movie before. As Ryan said above, we are on vacation. When we started watching this movie, I started drinking Skinnygirl Margaritas. (They are no joke, and apparently, I told Ryan as much “a million times”). In any case, I got immediately sucked in. I love the perception that the eighties had on what the future would hold. I think the writers of those movies just went wild with their imaginations instead of researching like most movies do today (i.e. I, Robot and Minority Report). We made it through half of this movie before I fell asleep and don’t remember the rest. We finally finished it yesterday. I was thoroughly impressed with this movie. I really liked it and I can’t wait for the new one. I hope that we have a chance to go to the theater and watch it.

 I kiiiiiinnnndddda like this design. I am struggling a little bit with it. It isn’t clean and is kind of cliché, but I guess it works for this movie. Arnold is all in focus on the front because he has such a recognizable face. The font is nice and extraterrestrial like which also works for the genre. Ehh, it’s alright I guess. I look forward to seeing the new one.

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Grandma’s Boy

Year: 2006
Directed By: Nicholaus Goossen
Written By: Barry Wernick, Allen Covert, & Nick Swardson

RYAN’S REVIEW

There was a time when I did find this movie really funny but I have outgrown it to an extent. When I watch it now I see sloppy storytelling and bad acting, but it does have its moments here and there. Truth be told this movie has always been more to Amber’s taste than mine.  It’s not my favorite of our collection by any stretch but it does have its moments.

This movie was made by Happy Madison Productions, the company owned by Adam Sandler, obviously.  I have always thought that Happy Madison (and I think this film backs up my opinion) was made up of idiot potheads that have been given too much money.  This movie is funny but it is more stupid than anything else at times.  I think that is what you get with both Adam Sandler and his production company.  I think this film shows that Allen Covert is not really cut out for a leading role.  I like Covert, but clearly no film should center on him. I think Nick Swardson is really funny in this one.  Doris Roberts is great as “Grandma.” This film was made during a window when she was trying to maximize the opportunities provided by the success of Everybody Loves RaymondYou can see a very young Jonah Hill playing a supporting role in this movie.  Oh how his career has blossomed, it’s always funny to look back at where he started. Jonah Hill is a fantastic actor and I look forward to everything he does in the future. I think Peter Dante is awful in everything he is in, and that he should kiss the feet of Adam Sandler every time he sees him. In this film he plays the weed guy, go figure, who is so cleverly named, “Dante.” I suspect they gave the character that name so as not to confuse Peter Dante and save time while shooting. Kevin Nealon is in this one though and I have always liked him, some people are just naturally funny, even when they are overdoing it.

I think that if you are young, and really stoned, you should check this movie out cause it’s right up your alley.  Otherwise don’t waste your time with this one.  I have admitted that there are plenty of funny things going on here, but by and large this is overwhelmingly just dumb.  Again, that’s Adam Sandler in a nutshell folks.

AMBER’S REVIEW

In some ways, I agree with Ryan. In college, this was one of my all time favorite movies. Again, I am a mother now, so I can’t talk about what I may and may not have done in college that may have added to the hilarity of this film. There are still some really funny moments in this movie. Instead of going on about I am going to go out in true Amber fashion and give you some of my favorite quotes.

“My Grandma drank all my pot.”

“Adios turd nuggets!”

“Wow J.P, that is a great outfit. How much do clothes cost in The Matrix?”

“Your shit’s weak! Wizzeak!”

” Whoa, chill bro… You know you can’t raise your voice like that when the lion’s here.”

NEXT MOVIE: Grass (1999)

Gran Torino

Year: 2008
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Written By: Nick Schenk and Dave Johannson

RYAN’S REVIEW

I had never been a Clint Eastwood fan until 2008 when I saw this movie.  For my whole life I had thought that Eastwood’s image as a tough guy was a load of crap.  I didn’t see it despite what anybody said, and nobody had been able to convince me otherwise.  It was this movie that changed my mind and made me accept that I was wrong.  At the age of 78 years old Clint Eastwood played a part that scared the shit out of me.  As Walt Kowalski Eastwood showed me what everybody else had always already seen in him.  He played one bad ass old man in this one, and I have had to show him the respect he is due since seeing it. Not only does he himself specifically give a great performance but he crafted an incredible movie all together.  Eastwood has become quite a good filmmaker as his career progressed and this movie is a great example of that.

I love this movie; it’s a beautiful story that gives me hope for the potential of the human spirit.  Sometimes we can get lost in our own feelings of hate and disappointment.  Walt is a character who is disappointed in the world.  He has lived too long and outlasted the only people he really cared about.  He is bitter and he is a bigot. He has lived a life that has taught him to feel the way he does about the world and at his age he is set in his ways.  He takes a chance when circumstances call for action and it changes the rest of his life.  He opens up a little bit and learns to appreciate the culture he has never understood before. We only see Walt in the last stage of life but we see him grow so much as a person it is inspiring.  Walt was already growing as a person when he found out that his days were numbered.  He chose to use the time he had left to make a difference where he could.  It is an admirable thing to do and made for a great story that we can all learn from.

Something else I really appreciate about this film is that it is real.  The events portrayed aren’t sugar coated but seen as they would happen in the real world.  Walt takes a lot of chances and some things work out for him but life does not come without consequences.  He doesn’t realize the weight of his actions at times and other people feel the wrath of those who crossed paths with Walt. Some might have hoped for a grand shoot out at the end with Walt prevailing heroic but that would just be the work of Hollywood shenanigans.  Walt’s clock was ticking and he knew it.  He was an old man who stood no chance against a number of young gangsters, whether they had any balls or not.  Any idiot can point a gun and shoot as we see.  Walt did the only thing he could do.  He sacrificed himself to prevent Thao from doing anything rash, to protect his neighbors from these hoodlums.  He set his affairs in order and he allowed himself to be killed in order to get those guys locked up for murder.  Walt was a hero if I have ever seen one, in more ways than one.

In the end this film is about honor, about learning to be a better person and doing something that will make a difference.  I think there is so much all of us can learn from this movie.  If nothing else we should learn that we are never too old to realize we were wrong about something.  We should learn that it is never too late to make a difference and we can always make a different decision.  Sometimes making one choice differently than we normally would can change everything about who we are.  It’s why we should always try to live life with an open mind.  Keeping your mind closed can keep so many things from you; it can only hurt as you journey through life.  Take a lesson from Walt Kowalski, understand that the world can still surprise you and try to appreciate the things in life you don’t understand.

The young priest played by Christopher Carley brings just as much to the movie as Eastwood.  He is a man of the clothe who has thick skin, as those men should.  He perseveres when another man in his position could have simply forsaken the promise he made to Walt’s wife. He stands tall no matter what Walt says to him and eventually he earns Walt’s respect.  It is an incredible and touching relationship that makes the movie so much better.  In the very small role he played I think John Carrol Lynch was excellent. He has played many roles but the main one that comes to mind was his role in Fargo where he was simply there, but still maintained an interesting presence. One of my favorite parts from him in this film is at Walt’s funeral in the end.  When the young priest recounts what Walt first said to him it is crude and honest.  When he says it you can see Lynch sitting behind Walt’s children in the audience and he is laughing. That was the Walt he knew and loved, it was the same Walt we as the audience knew and we can share in his delight.

The Asians portrayed in this movie are Hmong people from various parts of South East Asia. The actors that played the parts were great specifically Bee Vang and Ahney Her.  Their culture is one that Walt lived a long time right next to but knew nothing about.  Once he made the slightest attempt to understand it he saw that it was much more than he thought it was.  As director Eastwood encouraged the Hmong actors to adlib lines in their native language and I think that added a lot to the script.  Hmong people do not hail from one specific country but from a specific region that spans over a few countries including China, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. Many of us as Americans are just like Walt; we look at foreign people as if they do not belong.  Yet who does? We are a nation made up of immigrants and it would benefit us all to keep that in mind before judging others.  We judge before we know anything about what we are judging as we see in this movie.  Walt is under the impression that Hmong is an actual place until Sue explains a little about her people to him.

The end of this movie is shrouded in tragedy but ends on a good note. Walt has the last laugh and he dies happy having given everything he had left to those that deserved it the most.  We see his family role their eyes and exude disappointment at the reading of the will but they do not matter.  That kid who really loved Walt is the one smiling and we are all smiling with him.  This is a great movie that always reminds me I still have things to learn about life and that there is always hope others might eventually do the same.  I encourage everyone to see this movie and I think it is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I get sucked into this movie every time that we watch it. I think it is one of the most powerful movies of its kind. I love Clint Eastwood in this film. He is a total hardass that is actually a really good guy on the inside. Throughout the film we get to see him learn about another culture. He gains respect for theirs and loses respect for his own.

This was a teaser poster for the movie. I really, really like it. Clint Eastwood is classic. His silhouette is very recognizable. You know who it is and he looks stern and mysterious. I am ninety-five percent sure that the font “Gran Torino” is written in is Gotham. (It’s one of my all time favorite fonts. Clean, simple, and beautiful.) Overall I think the design for this movie was very well done.

NEXT MOVIE: Grandma’s Boy (2006)

The Goonies

Year: 1985
Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Steven Spielberg (story) and Chris Columbus (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

What’s funny is that Amber and I didn’t plan on watching this movie tonight.  We both had bad days at work though and this movie seemed like just the thing to salvage the day. This is a feel good movie if there ever was one and it is beloved by our generation as well as others.  It’s funny and exciting with a story that can hold the interest of anyone. It’s one of those movies where a lot of talented people came together to make something great, and it will probably live on forever.

Spielberg is a kid at heart and has an incredible ability to relate to children and get the most out of them as actors.   He has been renowned for his work with children for his entire career and movies like this give him the reputation he enjoys today.  He served as Producer for this movie after writing the story for it.  He gave the directing job and screenwriting job to Richard Donner and Chris Columbus respectively. The cast was made up of mostly children but they all brought great personalities to the story.  Sean Astin was great taking on the most responsibility he had ever had acting.  He has gone on to have a fantastic career as an adult actor appearing in many memorable films including the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This was the film debut for Josh Brolin and he was great as the older brother.  I have always thought it was weird how his career remained practically dormant for the next twenty years and then he suddenly blew up and is in seemingly everything now. This movie also sports one of the many memorable roles Corey Feldman turned in as a young child actor.  I liked many of the movies he was in throughout the 80s.

I also love all three of the Fratellis and the actors that played the parts.  Joe Pantoliano is typically great in everything he does but he specifically thrives in this kind of role.  He has a villainous quality to him but can also be really light-hearted and humorous when he needs to be.  In my mind though, no matter how many memorable characters he plays, he will always be “Guido the killer pimp.” Robert Davi has a real nasty look to him that makes him great for roles playing bad guys or cops.  Anne Ramsey as Mama Fratelli was great.  She looks the part playing a wicked and intimidating woman.  She really put on a memorable performance in this movie and instilled in me a fear of older rough looking women.

This movie takes me back because it was one I fell in love with at a really young age of 5 or 6.  It’s a movie that makes us all wish we were young again.  It fills us with unrealistic desires for what our childhoods could have been and warms our hearts by inspiring our own memories from that age.  This is a great movie that is timeless and can be enjoyed by all generations.  If you have not seen it I would suggest you check it out, it is worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

The Goonies is one of the best movies and one of those movies that almost everyone I know has seen and can quote. I can’t say a bad thing about it.

The movie poster is to the left. It isn’t one of my favorites, yet it sticks to the style of the times. I think it is very much like Steven Spieldberg to do an illustration like cover and it reminds me a lot of Indiana Jones in some ways. Check out that sweet gradient in the typography.

NEXT MOVIE: Gran Torino (2008) 

The Dark Knight Rises

Year: 2012
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David S. Goyer

Like many people I have been a huge fan of this franchise over the years.  I have spent over three years waiting patiently for this movie and had every certainty that it would be awesome.  The news that broke with the release of this film was tragic.  It was hard to sit down in the theater today without thinking about what had happened to the innocent people in Aurora.  To make matters even worse there is hardly anything this film will ever be able to do to distance itself from that tragedy.  It will be forever remembered as the movie that people were watching when that mad man decided to do something so awful.  It’s unfortunate that a second Batman movie has come with such darkness looming over it.  No matter how great this franchise has been I fear it will always be shrouded with sadness and disaster.  We did our best not to think about the news when sitting down to watch the movie, but it wasn’t easy.

In all the time I spent following this movie through production I never had any doubt that it would be awesome.  I have absolute faith in Christopher Nolan after seeing his first two installments.  I also thought the cast is too great to disappoint. Bale makes a great Batman and guys like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman can only make a movie better.  I also liked all the new characters made up of several actors from Inception and Anne Hathaway. I watched all the trailers as they were released and they served to build my anticipation even more.  It looked just as good as the others and seemed to offer more adrenaline and excitement as well.  However I have to admit that after sitting through the TWO HOURS AND FORTY TWO MINUTES I left feeling more disappointed than anything else.

I think this movie was far too long, and there was not enough action, or Batman for that matter.  Thinking back over it on the way home I don’t even know that I would even say this movie was about Batman at all.  I hate that he was so Howard Hughes like in the beginning. I think it is ridiculous that he goes from needing a cane to walk around to suddenly suiting back up as Batman.  I won’t go too far in this discussion because I don’t want to share spoilers.  I am not out to discourage others from seeing the movie I am just in straight up SHOCK right now. I am in shock at the fact that I find myself so disappointed, I really believed it would be otherwise.  There is just not enough of Batman in this one, he has no new gadgets to work with aside from “The Bat” and we do not see enough of the rebuilt Batcave.  Batman is almost like a side character in this one jumping into a larger story about Gotham as a city.

I thought Tom Hardy was great as Bane but I do not think Bane was really great.  I think he could have been great but we don’t really get to know him well enough.  What are his actual motives anyway? I understand the why in the end but it doesn’t seem good enough to me.  I think Anne Hathaway was terrific as Catwoman too but like Bane I think she could have been better. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both saw smaller roles and I don’t think either shined as they have before.  Caine more so than Freeman. I love Michael Caine, but he is usually the comic relief in this franchise and here I only saw him as a bleating drama queen.  These great characters were pushed to the background to an extent in favor of the newbies Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. I think this was a mistake but I do think Gordon-Levitt was great.  He continues to rise as an actor and he stole the screen for most of this movie.

If the franchise does not intend to make a fourth installment then much of the story in this movie seems unnecessary.  I have read time and time again that this is the last film of this franchise. Both Nolan and Bale have both said they were done no matter how much money is on the table and I believe it coming from them. So why did they waste so much time in this story the way they do?  I know without doubt we will see more Batman movies in the future but I don’t see much reason to have hope for them at the moment.  The studio will look to make more money and the film will suffer for that reason alone. They will “reboot” it again and we will see a whole new cast the next time around.  That is what will most likely happen but at the end of the day anything is possible.

I think if you are a Batman fan you should go see this movie, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it more than I did.  I am shocked and at a loss of words over how disappointed I am. The word flabbergasted comes to mind.  The more I think about it the more disappointed I am.  I think the movie lacked the intensity of the first two films, and the clever writing that tied everything together so smoothly.  I think that we would have seen a much more incredible film had Heath Ledger never died because I think the story obviously would have continued with the Joker.  We will never know though, and this will be what we always have.  If you are reading this and disagree with me please reply with an argument.  I might need to be talked into seeing this one again, and that too is so disappointing.

I would like to mention as well, The Avengers was a better movie and I think it is now without doubt the best movie this summer had to offer.  Click on the title to read our review of that movie, and if you haven’t seen it there might still be time to catch it in the theaters.

UPDATE #1

This movie was easier to stomach a second time around when my expectations weren’t so high.  I still stand by everything I said above but I can see now that it is not as awful as I implied the first time.  I think my biggest problem is that I just didn’t like the story in general and expected more.  Bruce Wayne is just so weak in this movie.  I think a movie that directly followed its predecessor involving a Batman in his prime fighting some new villain as well as cops would have been much more exciting.

I have read that there is a possibility of Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking on the role of Batman and continuing the franchise.  I really like this idea although Gordon-Levitt really doesn’t have the stature to don the cape and cowl. I think it would be a much better plan than him simply being a Batman-less Robin despite his size.  I do not know what Warner Brothers is doing as far as their Justice League movie goes but I think they have to find a way to connect everything in order to compete with what Marvel did with The Avengers.  Using Gordon-Levitt as Batman would be a good way to get that done.

Goodfellas

Year: 1990
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Written By: Nicholas Pileggi

RYAN’S REVIEW

After The Godfather, this is far and away the next greatest mafia movie that has ever been made.  Nothing can and will ever touch The Godfather but this film is the standard I set all other modern mob movies against. I was only six years old when this movie came out so I don’t remember the reaction it got when it was released.  I wish I could have been around for it. It came out the same year as The Godfather Part III and must have completely blown it away. The Godfather III was actually nominated for more Academy Awards that year but so was Dick Tracy and neither are even half as good as this film. This is one of Scorsese’s best films and it has always been one of my favorite mafia movies.

The opening scene in this movie does a great job setting the tone for the film.  Everything is all cool but brace yourself because at any moment you might be subject to sudden and savage violence.  The movie begins with three legendary actors riding in a car, they look to have been doing some partying.  Then suddenly there is a noise and it turns out they have a body in the trunk, and the guy is still alive.  Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro brutally finish him off and that is what sends Ray Liotta into a voice over about how he always wanted to be a mobster. I think this is the kind of film that really satisfies the latent desires we all have to look into the world of the bad guys. We see this kind of ferocity all of a sudden and somehow it makes sense that he says that line right at that moment.

This movie is based on a true story but like all movies based on a true story it has to be taken with a grain of salt.  I have researched before how close this movie was to the truth but that was years ago.  If I remember correctly it isn’t completely accurate but isn’t that far off either.  What I found most compelling about that research was that Henry Hill, the character Ray Liotta plays, was still alive and not in hiding.  Not only was he not in hiding but he was a regular guest on The Howard Stern radio show.  Something about that crushed my ideas about the  mob because not only had they done nothing to the traitor that sent so many to jail but he was bold enough to live out in the open with no repercussions.  Henry Hill actually did die recently, of natural causes and I think that proves we all have unrealistic ideas about the power of the mafia.  They are not super powerful or the threat that we like to think they are.  If Henry Hill, who betrayed and then cashed in on his experiences in the mafia, can die of natural causes then what makes the mob any better than any other petty criminal? The truth is they aren’t, in reality they are just uneducated and often idiot men who gain their power through brutality and taking advantage of weaker people.

Joe Pesci won the Academy Award for his role in this movie beating out the likes of Al Pacino (nominated for Dick Tracy) and Andy Garcia (nominated for The Godfather III).  I don’t think that he was actually aware he was going to win because he wasn’t prepared.  Unless it has been broken now, he holds the record for the shortest acceptance speech for a winner of his award.  All he said was “Thank you, it’s an honor” if I remember correctly.  I think that was awesome though, I have always really liked Joe Pesci and the fact that he just took the award and walked off makes me like him even more.  Pesci is a little guy but in all his mob movies he tends to be the most violent and dangerous one.  He is savage in this movie, and possibly even more brutal in CasinoYet he can still be so funny in a movie like Home Alone or My Cousin VinnyPesci played many memorable and awesome characters during his career but I have always wanted more of him.  He is almost 70 years old now and doesn’t seem to be as interested in staying in the limelight as guys like Anthony Hopkins or Michael Caine.  It’s unfortunate but we will always have his greatest movies like this one to enjoy.

I have never really been a big fan of Ray Liotta but he owns it in this movie.  As Henry Hill he gave his greatest performance.  He was the centerpiece of this movies standing next to much more notable actors like De Niro and Pesci but he holds up well and delivers. I love when he attacks the neighbor that came onto to his girlfriend.  The ferocious way he beat the guys face in leaves quite an impression.  I also love that in the very next scene Liotta and Bracco are getting married. Robert De Niro is great in this movie, outside of his role as Vito Corleone I think this is his best mobster part.  De Niro has always been great though and it is really hard to pick and choose when discussing what was his best.  In this movie De Niro is cool, ruthless, and unpredictable.  He was great in this movie and he continues to be great as an actor even today.  I also like Paul Sorvino in this film but little else he has done over his career has impressed me.

As with for the rest of the cast I think they were all great. I have also found it interesting how The Sopranos seemed to take so many of the supporting cast from this movie for their series. That starts with Lorraine Bracco who had the largest role of all of them in this film.  She is great in this film and was incredible as Dr. Melfi.  Showing a beauty that was ageless so many years later.  Other Sopranos cast members from this movie include Paulie Walnuts, Big Pussy, Christopher Moltisanti, Larry Boy Barese, Phil Leotardo, and Carmela’s mother.  Those are just the ones I noticed this time around and I’m sure there might be more.  I think it says something about the influence this movie had on the genre that so many people from the film were used in the series though.  Like many people, I was a huge fan of the HBO series and wish it had never ended.

This is an incredible movie and I can’t say enough about how much I love it.  It made me fall in love with the mafia more than any other film before it.  As a teen I was so entranced by the lifestyle they lived and at that juvenile age wanted to grow up and do the same thing.  Those were foolish thoughts that fortunately I grew out of, but I imagine many people that see this movie feel the same way regardless of age. The really great movies leave a lasting impression on the people that watch them and I think this movie had that effect.  It is a great movie that I recommend to anyone I meet who hasn’t seen it, which it rare.  This one is worth your time but you don’t need me to tell you that, everyone else will tell you the same.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I remember the first time that Ryan made me watch this movie. I loved it then and I love it now. I think this movie is different from the regular cliche mobster movies. This one is told from the actual point of view of an actual ex mobster. When you know that already going in it makes the movie a lot more interesting. I am sure that Ryan wrote all about the movie’s intricate details so I will go ahead and skip to the design.

Goodfellas Movie

This is an image of the DVD cover. I have to admit that I am not crazy about this. I do like the three main actors on the front and how the stark values and shadows allow them to fade into the black background. I feel like this should have taken up the entire front. Instead, there is the bottom of the cover where someone is lying dead under the bridge. I think they were trying to hard to show too much. I know what they were trying to do, but it doesn’t work for me. I do love the typography. I think it works for the movie.

NEXT MOVIE: The Goonies (1985) 

Movies Not to Watch

Godsend

Year: 2004
Directed By: Nick Hamm
Written By: Mark Bomback

I started this movie without any knowledge of the plot; I didn’t even read the summary on the back of the DVD case. I was quickly put off when I saw that it was about a child that was killed. I am a parent of two and that is a story line that makes us all uncomfortable. However I stuck with it and soon found myself interested in the “Pet Cemetery-like” story. That soon passed as the story more and more reminded me of a number of others I had encountered before. Then as the movie progressed it seemed to have no real direction one way or another. It got weirder and weirder, and not in a good way. When I finished the film I looked it up on IMDB.com and saw that it had a rating of only 4.7. That seems appropriate but it may have been a bit too generous.

I read that Robert De Niro‘s role was originally only supposed to be a cameo. When De Niro showed some interest the director expanded his role and shot a few more scenes with him. De Niro later said he regretted the decision because his name was heavily associated with the film in an effort to advertise it. It seems even he recognized how bad the movie was, but sometimes an actor just needs to get paid. This movie wasn’t bad for any lack of effort on De Niro’s part, but he never should have taken the role. Greg Kinnear also does a good job acting but he too should have thought better of taking the role. I don’t think a lot of lead roles pass across his agent’s desk so he has to take what he gets and I understand that. Kinnear is a good actor though, and I have liked many of his roles. I will say that Cameron Bright was a good choice for his part. I think I said as much in our review of The Butterfly Effect, but that kid creeps the hell out of me. Even when he is being sweet little pre-death Adam he creeps the hell out of me. That kid has an evilness in his eyes if I have ever seen any that did. I don’t think Rebecca Romijn was anything special but she didn’t have to be. She is one of those actresses who don’t have to be exceptional to get parts. She has always gotten by on her looks; life seems easy for women like her.

This movie may have had a good cast, but the greatest cast in the world couldn’t have salvaged it. I think the story was an awfully crafted combination of other ideas. Occasionally I’ll accept that out of a film, but not in this case. A co-worker that I consider a friend let me borrow this movie and I respect her opinion but I have to disagree with her choice as far as this one goes. This movie is not worth your time and I suggest you don’t waste any with it.