Goodfellas (1990)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese (Screenplay) Nicholas Pileggi (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorrain Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow

 

Plot: The story of Henry Hill and his life through the teen years into the years of mafia, covering his relationship with wife Karen Hill and his Mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVitto in the Italian-American crime syndicate.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic but Not for Me

 

Story: Goodfellas starts as Henry Hill tells us all about why he wants to be a gangster from a young age, we learn how he got a chance in his early teenage ages, where he made more money that his father and after spending his time in jail he is all grown up. Henry (Liotta) works with Tommy DeVito (Pesci) under the James Conway (De Niro) who all answer to Paul Cicero (Sorvino).

Henry rising up the ranks has built himself a reputation and once he starts dating Karen (Bracco) who becomes his wife. When Tommy murders a high-ranking member of the Mafia James and Henry help him cover it up as they continue to build their reputation. This is the rise and fall of Henry Hill as the truth about his identity comes outs.

 

Thoughts on Goodfellas

 

Characters/PerformanceHenry Hill is telling us the story, he is quiet man who wants to be a gangster, we follow his story as he rose the ranks in the Mafia, we see how far he goes and what he needs to do to clean up the mess he finds him in. James or Jimmy is the top ranked of the three, he makes the deals and makes sure everyone stays in line. Tommy is the hot head that shots first always leaving the others in danger.

Performance wise, De Niro is great in what is a supporting role in a genre he is brilliant in. Liotta is the star of the show and is fantastic through the whole film. Joe Pesci gives one of the most iconic gangster performances of all time here.

StoryThe story of one man’s life inside the Mafia is always interesting but the reality is it can only be seen a number of times before we know how it will all unfold. Yes, this is one of the most popular of all time but I do feel it is just fine for a non-gangster film fan.

CrimeThe crime world we enter into is everything we would have come to expect and it is easily the strong point of the film.

SettingsThe settings all fit the time the film is set in showing the environment the characters are in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic and I can see all the good points about the film but it just isn’t a film I will want to watch again.

 

Overall: This is a classic of the genre.

Rating

 

 

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The Greatest Showman (2017)

Director: Michael Gracey

Writer: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon (Screenplay)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely

 

Plot: Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.


Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Magical Musical

 

Story: The Greatest Showman starts as we see how P.T. Barnum (Jackman) stars as a street kid dreaming of being a star on the stage, he works his whole life to improve the life for his wife Charity (Williams) who has come from riches. When he loses his job, he decides to risk everything by starting his own circus for everyone who has been rejected in life.

When the money pours in, he hires Phillip Carlyle (Efron) a man who has connections and needs a way to continue his fame, as P.T. is desperate to get rave reviews from the snobby side of time. This will push him to limits that will risk him losing everything he has worked for.

 

Thoughts on The Greatest Showman

 

Characters – P.T. Barnum is a man with a dream, to escape his poor life after he falls in love with Charity at a young age, he drives to impresses and give her a life she came from, this includes making a decision to make his own show with the rejected people in society. We see his rise and potential fall from the top because of his obsession. Charity is the love of the life of P.T. she came from a rich family, but never cared for the money side only wanted happy. She supports P.T. on all his decisions and dreams. Phillip Carlyle is a play writer that gets talked into helping P.T. with the promise of becoming part of something nobody has seen before. He takes time to accept his place, but a smile from Anne changes him for the better. Anne Wheeler is one of the acts in the show a trapeze, along with her brother she wows the audiences, she opens the eyes for Phillip to see the potential of the show. Jenny Lind in an opera singer famous throughout Europe, she agrees to come to America to be part of P.T. next idea which puts the biggest risk on his dreams.

PerformancesHugh Jackman in an all singing, all dancing role, this guy is fantastic and is the Showman the film describes. Michelle is brilliant in the supporting role, her character does slip from the screen as the story unfolds at times though. Zac Efron has been trying something different in recent years, it has work at times, but returning to his singing and dancing roots shows us the talent he has. Zendaya has had a great year, this shows that she could step into a musical film whenever she wants to. Rebecca Ferguson is good, but we do tend to not see enough from her character. The whole cast in the show a fantastic with Keala Settle being a potential scene stealer through this film.

StoryThe story follows the life of P.T. Barnum, who he started as a poor street kid that worked for his money, married the woman of his dreams and opened the show that offered the rejected members of society the spotlight their talents offer. This does turn into watching one man’s obsession which getting recognition from people who have always looked down on him and his father. This being based on the real person, once again shows that people were trying to break ground for people who were considered different in the world because of their colour, size or general look.

Biopic/MusicalThe musical side is filled with fantastic performances from the team, it has memorable songs that have brilliant meaning. The negative is something I found in the film was how the biopic side of everything unfolds, we don’t get any timeline to the events of the film which I feel disappoints greatly, but this is how it is told, not who he was.

SettingsThe settings for the most part look fantastic, but we have a couple of awful looking CGI backgrounds, which can take away from the scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Rewrite the Stars performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain CGI for large landscape is poor.

Final ThoughtsIf you love a good musical with fantastic songs, strong performance and a success story, this will be for you, I was sat there in the cinema enjoying every moment of the performances.

 

Overall: Spectacular Musical that delights.

Rating

 

 

God’s Pocket (2014)

Director: John Slattery

Writer: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Novel)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Caleb Landry Jones, Jack O’Connell, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something’s amiss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: God’s Pocket starts as we meet the different characters from this small town of God’s Pocket. We have Mickey (Hoffman) a meat salesman who works with Arthur (Turturro) stealing product before selling it as his own, his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) and her son Leon (Jones) along with reporter Richard Shellburn (Jenkins) who has been reporting on the town for 20 years.

When Leon is killed in a work accident the town surround the family with their sympathy. When Jeanie questions what happened it brings Richard to look deeper into the story as well as Mickey using his mob connection to try and learn the truth, but in this small town can secrets be kept?

 

Thoughts on God’s Pocket

 

Characters/PerformanceMickey is a man that finds a way to make ends meet either side of the law, when his step-son is killed he works on finding out the truth but must deal with his own problems with money. Jeanie is the grieving mother that demands the truth about her son’s death, she is also becoming distant from her husband Mickey. Richard is a journalist know all around the town, he has reported on the events of the town for years now and gets called into learn the truth of the events around the death. Arthur is Mickey’s connection to the underworld where the two work on robberies.

Performance wise, Hoffman is great in what was his final complete film, Hendricks is also good throughout the film with Jenkins giving us his best reporter like role. Turturro was also good throughout the film.

StoryThe story shows the three day events leading up to a funeral, we see everyday people dealing with a sudden death as they search for the truth, make their own mistakes and try to cover up their mistakes. This is a slow-moving film that tries to give us a real life series of events that follow the people involved but isn’t a casual watch.

CrimeThe crime side of the story comes from Mickey’s side along with the crime surround the accident. We have the crime world but otherwise this is more focused on the dramatic stories that characters live through.

SettingsWe like the small town setting which helps us see just how well the people of the town know each other.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama even if it is slightly slow in place, it is filled with good acting and a story that almost feels like it could come off as a comedy slightly better.

 

Overall: Good drama, good acting but nothing memorable.

Rating

 

 

Gangster Land (2017)

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr

Writer: Ian Patrick Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Faris, Milo Gibson, Jason Patric, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Peter Facinelli, Mark Rolston, Michael Pare, Sean Kanan

 

Plot: The story of America’s most famous mobsters and their rise to power, GANGSTER LAND examines Al Capone’s ascension through the eyes of his second in command, “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn. Once an amateur boxer, McGurn is lured into the Italian mafia after the murder of his step-father. Upon joining, he rises swiftly through the ranks along with friend and eventual Boss, Capone. As the Italian mob becomes the most lucrative criminal organization in the country, tensions build with “Bugs” Moran and the Irish mob which ignites a brutal gang war culminating with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.


Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Gangster Lesson

 

Story: Gangster Land starts in prohibition era America, Chicago, where amateur box Jack McGurn (Faris) is trying to find a way to make extra money, Al Capone (Gibson) see potential in making him part of the Italian Mafia in the on-going war with the Irish.

When the peace is well and truly shattered the bosses are targeted leaving Al Capone to rise to power in the Mafia where he recruits Jack McGurn to be his second in power, the problem is the bloodshed is increasing on a seemingly daily basis and George ‘Bugs’ Moran (Facinelli) isn’t losing his Irish Mafia without a fight.

 

Thoughts on Gangster Land

 

Characters – Jack McGurn is an amateur boxer that after his father is gunned down by the Irish mob joins the Italian Mafia as Al Capone’s righthand man gaining the reputation and nickname of ‘Machine Gun’ as it becomes his weapon of choice while gunning down the Irish. Al Capone is a name we have all heard before, an icon in the Mafia history, here we follow how he got placed in the position of head of the Chicago branch waging war against the Irish. Detective Reed is one of the few honest cops shown in the film, he knows the problems but not how to solve them. Lulu is the dancer Jack falls for, she becomes the beacon of light for Jack even after she isn’t interested just because of the suit Jack was wearing. George ‘Bugs’ Moran rises to power in the Irish Mob, he has a short temper which leads to him going after Jack and Al.

PerformancesSean Faris takes the leading role in this film and he is great as he keeps our attention with every decision his character makes. Milo Gibson gets to step into the iconic gangster role where he must compete with many actors to have played the role, he is good in this role never looking out of place. The rest of the cast give good performances through the film.

StoryThe story follows how the events of the St Valentine’s Day Massacre came about with the rise of Machine Fun Jack McGurn and Al Capone in the Mafia. We have nearly all heard of the story of Al Capone or at least heard the name, so watching how he had early days in the mafia with his righthand man McGurn rise to power is interesting and the story doesn’t fall into the mindless over the top gangster traits. As I do struggle through gangster films as time, I did find myself enjoying how this one unfolded, the storytelling process makes each scene feel like you want to see more.

CrimeThe crime side of the film comes from the world we are entering, showing us just how the gangs were acting towards each other.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago in the 1920s, I feel the whole film does feel authentic for the time we are watching unfold.


Scene of the Movie –
Machine Gun’s Plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked more facts about what happened.

Final ThoughtsThis is a gangster film that shows you can make the calm ones that show historical events, it has the beginning of Al Capone and his righthand man as well as showing how the St Valentine’s Day Massacre unfolded, this is something both interesting and compelling to see.

 

Overall: Stylish gangster movie.

Rating

 

 

Geo-Disaster (2017)

Director: Thunder Levin

Writer: Thunder Levin (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew Pohlkamp, Natalie Pelletier, Erich Riegelmann, Maggie Rose Hudson, Isabella Bazler

 

Plot: A family in Los Angeles finds themselves separated during a convergence of history’s greatest disasters: a super volcano, a mega earthquake and a massive twister. While the world endures this near apocalyptic event, our heroes must persevere on their own skills and wit to reunite and survive.


Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cheap and Enjoyable

 

Story: Geo-Disaster starts as a dark matter ball heads toward Earth, with no answer the scientists prepare for the worse. We follow the Mason family, father Matt (Pohlkamp) his children Rick (Riegelmann), Kaley (Hudson), Cassie (Bazler) and his w wife Johanna (Pelletier) who are separated for a weekend, the guys in a camping trip while the girls must learn to bond using Johanna’s survival skills to make it out of the disaster that have hit. With the disasters hitting the Earth the family must find a way to survive and reunite in a quest for safety.

 

Thoughts on Geo-Disaster

 

Characters – Matt is the father of the family, he is spending the weekend with his son in nature as he continues to build his son and new wife’s relationship. Once the disasters start he must find a way to get his son back to his family before looking for safety. Johanna is the new step-mum to the kids, she is left with the daughters for the weekend and must use her survival skills to get them out of the city once the disasters start. The kids all play the generic stereotypes, the boy hates the new step mum, the eldest daughter hates the idea her mother is being replaced while the youngest has given her a chance.

PerformancesWhen looking at the performance you must remember this is an Asylum movie, so you know where things are going to be as for level, this isn’t going to be getting any rave reviews for the performances, it is fine but not the best.

StoryThe story is designed to be a low budget version of Geostorm, which is fine sometimes it is nice to see the low budget versions. The story however has a different reason for the disasters to start which shows us how the film goes out of its way to be different. Following the two divides of the family does take away from what we want in this film which is destruction but does give us the chance to see the desperate attempts to survive before the disasters hit.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is a lot of just shaking, be is the earthquake hitting as we want the consequences hitting while other parts of the film are just long shots, we don’t get a full amount of action we would like to see here.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in three locations, the streets of LA, the mountain range around it and the random satellite watching events in Puerta Rico, we see the destruction we will face only in these locations no worldwide locations.

Special EffectsThe effects a low budget CGI, but at least the movie is admitting it is low budget over the terrible ones the blockbuster use.


Scene of the Movie –
Tidal wave

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cars casual driving around in the background.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a low budget disaster movie this one would work for you, it has an easy plot to follow, building to a big disaster moment over lots of little moments and is fun to watch, which disaster movies should be.

 

Overall: Easy to watch low budget disaster movie.

Rating