The twisting, amusing heist movie was written and directed by Guy Ritchie, a 29-year-old Brit who never went to film school and learned his craft by creating music videos and TV commercials. Unfortunately, as we see it, this feature-length debut also serves as the high point of Ritchie’s career—unless you count his eight-year marriage to Madonna.
100 Greatest Gangster Films
January 31st, 2013
January 24th, 2013
In a cast as deep as the 1998 Yankees, two performances stand out. Character actor Jon Polito is riveting as Johnny Caspar, the perspiring old-school gangster who also serves as Miller’s Crossing’s street-level philosopher. And John Turturro steals scenes as Bernie, the double-crossing bookie at the center of all the trouble.
January 17th, 2013
Martin Scorsese used this movie as the framework for The Departed. And while Infernal Affairs has received high praise and dozens of awards, the feeling here is that Scorsese took an interesting plot and made it into a classic film.
January 10th, 2013
Underworld, U.S.A.’s original opening—in which prostitutes joke of starting a union and holding a “stand-up strike”—was deleted. Shots of hardcore drug use were edited out, as was a pioneering nude scene. The number of killings was sliced from 18 to five. More than 20 pages of script were blue-penciled.
January 3rd, 2013
This is an old-fashioned boy-meets-girl love story, filtered (perhaps scrambled is a better word) through the artistic lens of Quentin Tarantino, who wrote the screenplay for director Tony Scott.
December 27th, 2012
As a prison movie, it would rank in our all-time Top 10. As a gangster movie, not as high, but we do heartily recommend it. The film is directed by Jacques Audiard, whom critics delight in calling “The French Scorsese.”
December 20th, 2012
A child murderer is terrorizing the city. The police hunt is intense, but fruitless. So the cops redouble their efforts—rousting bars, hassling citizens walking the night streets, turning a bright spotlight on the creatures of the back alleys. The killer still remains at large, but there’s an unexpected side effect: with every flophouse and crime den being raided on a nightly basis, the underworld pimps, thieves and pushers cannot operate.
December 13th, 2012
Some movies hold up well over time. This one doesn’t. We wanted to like Angels with Dirty Faces as much as we did the first time we saw it. But it just wasn’t happening. Maybe some movies play better in our memories than they do on DVD. It is still worth watching, however, mostly due to the acting.
December 6th, 2012
But no movie in the genre portrays food as lovingly as Dinner Rush, a story about a New York City restaurateur/bookmaker trying to protect his properties against rival gangsters. In truth, the film focuses more on the cuisine than the crimes. But don’t underestimate it; Dinner Rush is a solid mob movie.
November 29th, 2012
After launching his career with star turns in Alfie, The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin, Michael Caine wanted to play a bad guy. In writer/director Mike Hodges’ Get Carter, he got to play one of the baddest.
November 22nd, 2012
Bannion is a tough-talking homicide detective investigating the suicide of another cop. He questions the dead man’s widow, who makes up a phony story of how her husband shot himself because he had been suffering from an undiagnosed illness. Her tale sounds fishy.
November 15th, 2012
This is The Odd Couple on the run from the mob. And it works primarily—if not entirely—because of the pairing of Robert De Niro, as bounty hunter Jack Walsh, and Charles Grodin, as the nerdy accountant Jonathan “the Duke” Mardukas.
November 8th, 2012
Jacques Mesrine was one of the most notorious criminals in France during the 1960s and 1970s. Part John Dillinger, part John Gotti, the egotistical bank robber, kidnapper and escape artist became a hero in the French tabloids and in the working class slums of cities like Paris and Marseilles despite his penchant for violence and cruelty.
November 1st, 2012
Before High Sierra, Hollywood’s gangsters were not just black-and-white on celluloid; they were equally definitive in their morality—or, rather, immorality. There was nothing sympathetic about Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface and no doubt where James Cagney’s Tom Powers stood in The Public Enemy. This movie, a star vehicle for Humphrey Bogart, helped change all that.
October 25th, 2012
This is the second of Guy Ritchie’s madcap mob capers. And Brad Pitt’s performance as Mickey O’Neil, the Irish gypsy, is the biggest reason for watching it.
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