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items tagged with GoodFellas

Johnny B. Bad: "Black Mass" and "Grandma"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-09-20 01:40:19

Johnny Depp in Black MassBLACK MASS

There’s a scene in the gangster thriller Black Mass that should sound bells of recognition for all fans of the genre. In it, legendary crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) and some friends are enjoying a dinner prepared by one of Bulger’s associates: FBI agent John Morris (David Harbour). Bulger compliments Morris on their steaks and asks what seasoning was used, to which the agent replies that it’s a secret family recipe whose ingredients, upon further pressing, he genially reveals. That’s when Bulger seems to snap.

His smile curls into a frown, his eyes go deader than usual, and he calmly inquires of Morris that if the agent is willing to share this “family secret” so quickly, what other secrets – perhaps secrets about Bulger – might he have shared? During the unbearably thick silence that follows, Morris and his tablemates appear nearly frozen with panic. Bulger, meanwhile, stares and stares, and we in the audience prepare for an inevitable, horrific burst of violence. And then ... Bulger laughs. A lot. Exclaiming “You should see your face!”, he insists he was just busting Morris’ balls. Very slowly, the others begin to smile, and then they, too, laugh. And as this sensationally tense sequence ends on a note of cautious cheer, it’s impossible to ignore the suggestion of what we just witnessed: GoodFellas with Johnny Depp in the Joe Pesci role. All that was missing was the psychotic query “I’m funny how?!"


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Con Fab: "Amerian Hustle" and "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-12-22 21:49:01

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Jenifer Lawrence in American HustleAMERICAN HUSTLE

You wanna have a good time this winter? Grab some friends, see American Hustle, hit the coffee shop or bar of your choosing, and enjoy a spirited debate over which performer in director David O. Russell’s con-man (and -woman) comedy gives the best, funniest performance. Better yet, enjoy a spirited debate over which performer has the best, funniest hair. Either way, there are no wrong answers.


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Mob Mentality: "The Family" and "Insidious: Chapter 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-15 14:04:19

Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer in The FamilyTHE FAMILY

Robert De Niro fans will likely want to catch director Luc Besson’s The Family, as it showcases one of the actor’s finest, most alert leading performances in years. Michelle Pfeiffer fans (and I’m a huge one) will definitely want to catch this new gangster comedy, as it gives the eternally radiant performer the closest she’s had to a fully fleshed-out character in over a decade, and Pfeiffer – returning to her mob-wife roots of the Scarface and Married to the Mob era – plays the role spectacularly well.

Yet there’s one demographic for whom The Family should be absolutely must-see viewing: anti-Francophiles. Though it has its problems, several of them major ones, I’m betting that most of its viewers will enjoy the film. But if you’re the sort who’s prone to make hostile remarks about the French with little or no provocation, or have ever referenced “freedom fries” completely without irony, this is, without question, the movie for you, which makes this latest effort by Parisian filmmaker Besson not just cheeky but downright subversive.


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McCarthyism ... the Good Kind: "Win Win," "Fast Five," and "Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-05-02 13:33:21

Paul Giamatti and Alex Shaffer in Win WinWIN WIN

When I say that writer/director Tom McCarthy’s Win Win could easily serve as the inspiration for a long-running TV series, I don’t mean it in any way insultingly, partly because our current small-screen options are, in general, vastly superior to our big-screen ones. Mostly, though, it’s because this serious-minded comedy is so teeming with nuanced, empathetic characters and complicated yet wholly plausible situations and circumstances that you want to luxuriate in Win Win’s universe for far longer than the movie’s too-brief 100 minutes – like, for an hour a week over several seasons.


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Cawps and Rawbbuhs: “The Town”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-09-19 20:46:00

Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner in The TownTHE TOWN

Director/co-writer/star Ben Affleck’s crime drama The Town is an enjoyable, frustrating, fascinating contradiction: a movie with a storyline that’s nearly impossible to buy, yet one performed and directed with such assurance and strength that it’s nearly impossible not to buy. You can roll your eyes at the film’s many clichés and contrivances, but you can’t say they’re presented with anything less than full commitment; for a two-hour-plus movie that doesn’t provide even one truly novel character, situation, insight, or plot twist, The Town is remarkably fresh.


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