Archive for Mafia


Posted in Classic, Crime, Drama with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/01/2018 by joycereview

The Godfather II (1974)

Let the hating begin! Keep in mind that I still think that The Godfather II is a fine movie, and though 7 is well under the high marks of 9 and 10 (as many would mark it), I feel that most of this is based on popularity and the crowd/fan effect. The Godfather (1972) has one of the highest rated scores of any film on IMDB at 9.2. Rightly so, as Francis Ford Coppolla and writer Mario Puzo are geniuses. What happens at the end of that movie, as young Michael takes the reigns, leaves you clawing for more. How will Michael move forward? Will he be able to fill his father’s shoes? (Even) What’s the background of the Corleone family? You get this, in a film that runs for 3 hours and 22 minutes – let’s say 3 and 1/2 with a potty break.


Let me tell you first what I loved. The beginning, at least the first 15 minutes was as fascinating as any film I’ve seen. We see a young Vito Andolini as he loses his entire family at the hands of Sicily’s Don Francesco. Not only are we shocked right off the bat, but we instantly remember his words to Johnny Fantana, “A man that doesn’t spend time with his family isn’t a real man” and understand why he said it.

Part II gave us the return of the original cast (minus a few, obviously) thus allowing for a feeling of continuity and continued excitement. It also gave us brilliant performance by Robert De Niro, playing the future Don in his late 20’s-early 30’s. The element that most impressed me was that not only was over 90% of De Niro’s dialogue in Sicilian, but he spoke it well (per an Italian source).

Lastly, the symbolism was wasted on me. From the very beginning we have the image of the chair, the image of young Vito detained at Ellis Island, and the image in our minds of the mature don from the first film.


What detracts from the well-intentioned and overly ambitious script is based largely on structure. Though the film is able to replicate the mood of the first, the flashbacks to 1958 disrupts the narrative and because of the weight of both, leaves you wondering … why this isn’t just two separate films? There are also scenes that seem rather pointless, like the Michael’s actions in Cuba (with quite a bit of footage on the rise of Castro) and Vito’s aid to an elderly widow so she’s not evicted.

Although it is a fine film, it is not without its holes. It certainly doesn’t have the weight, quotable lines, and tight storyline as The Godfather gave us. Besides the murderous intro, the “kiss of death” and the revenge of Vito Andolini… there really isn’t enough in the 200 minutes of film to keep your revitted. But that’s just me!

What did you think and was there anything you think I missed?

Perhaps you think I’m wrong?

Tell me why!




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THE DROP :: DRAMA :: 049

Posted in Crime, Drama, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/01/2018 by joycereview

The Drop (2014)

It’s been a while since I’ve watched a crime drama, and since the wife was out of town and I had a night to watch it, I gave it a go. I was fairly surprised that this movie didn’t get a great deal of buzz, but I think many of you will be presently surprised. Known primarily as James Gandolfini’s last movie, The Drop is a slow-paced drama with a great deal of substance, especially Tom Hardy that comes across as a young Marlon Brando. Though Tom’s character Bob Saginowski is a “not too bright” bartender, there is a lot that he DOES know… and his “coolness” in the film is just as “gangster” as the Chechen bosses that now run Cousin Marv’s Bar.

The pacing was a little slow for my taste, but it definitely didn’t lose my interest – don’t get me wrong! This was a terrific job by director Michaël R Roskam and the entire cast. Because of the puppy as an strong piece of the story, I think I can easily compel the wife to give it a watch.

Keep in mind that since this wasn’t a blockbuster and it’s 4 years old now, so you can probably buy it for as little as $3… which is close to what I found it for.




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GANGSTER No.1 :: DRAMA :: 010

Posted in Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/04/2009 by joycereview

8bearGangster No. 1 (2000) What if Alex DeLarge, from A Clockwork Orange, was able to parlay his “ultra-violent”-tendencies into an East Ender crime lord?  You’d have one hell of a brutal, sadistic.., and likely, sensational mob flick.  And that is just what you get with Gangster No. 1!

As a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (back when I first saw it in the early 90’s) a grin crept to my face when I saw Young Gangster (Paul Bettany) look across, intense and sinister, from under a lowered brow.  He even had the mannerisms of an “Alex” as he would disregard his victims sobs for sympathy with a smile that either meant “you amuse me” or “you have no idea you’re about to die.”

Gangster No. 1, directed by Paul McGuigan, is the story of a young gangster hired to work for The Butcher of Mayfair, Freddie Mays (David Thewlis).  It was 1968.  The young gangster is mesmerized by Freddie’s sense of style, reputation and panache but falls out of love when Freddie’s sensitivities get the best of him and falls for nightclub singer Karen (Saffron Burrows).  Now in his crazed mind, as the only gangster with a pair of yarbles, he sets out to become king.  Malcolm McDowell (Gangster 55) plays the role of the aged Young Gangster, high on his throne, in the present time, 1999.

One of my favorite scenes of the film, was the “coming-to-power” of Young Gangster after his mentor Freddie Mays gets “put away.”  In A Clockwork Orange, when Alex senses dissension in his group, he puts his droogs into their place, proper-like, with swift and brutal lashings of the ultra-violent.  Quite similar does the young gangster confronts the only member of the party with seniority, correctively squelching his tongue-wagging, and sits, decisively, assuming his throne; the exact spot that Mr. Freddie Mays used to occupy.

The best scene, and one that may go down as one of my favorite interrogation scenes of all-time, comes about half-way in the film when Paul Bettany’s character pays Eddie Miller (played by Eddie Marsan) a visit.  Eddie winces and shutters as if he knows in his gutty-works that he’s about to be snuffed out.  Every gross fascial fluid seeps from his blubbering face as he attempts to explain that his “meeting” with rival boss, Lennie Taylor (Jamie Foreman) “wasn’t what you think.”

For those who like: Reservoir Dogs, Snatch, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels…I viddy this one’s for you.  As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer… you can rely on me!  And although the ending could deliver more, the rest leaves you shagged, fagged and fashed… in a good way!

What where your thoughts on this film?