Tag Archive: al pacino


Got to see this on the big screen last night. If this is presumably the last time we see these four (Marty, Pacino, DeNiro and Pesci) go into this genre that they didn’t invent but essentially defined, they’ve left us on a very pleasing note.

I have a vague memories as a kid of hearing the name Jimmy Hoffa with the immediate followup being he’s buried under Shea Stadium or something to that effect, so I knew it was a mob story. ‘The Irishman’ is the tale of the man who claims to have killed him (DeNiro), the mob bosses who protected him (Pesci) and the close relationship he built with Hoffa (Pacino) before he whacked him.

First, the effects. The first time they use it, the Uncanny Valley thing is there, but at least for me, there were only a couple of other times over the three and a half hours where I really noticed it. Most of the time it really looked like wigs and makeup (which might not be great for the makeup departments across town, but that’s another story).

Is Marty retiring? Cause I really felt like he brought back every bit player from his classic gangster flicks to fill out the bit parts here. Not even getting into Ray Ramano, Harvey Keitel, and seemingly 80 percent of the working New York actors who would fit into this world. This isn’t ‘Goodfellas’ or ‘Casino’ but in some ways it feels like the definitive Scorsese picture.

Which brings us back to the main guys. It’s a three and a half hour movie yes, but that translates into really living in the relationships between Pesci, Pacino, and DeNiro’s characters. Pacino’s Oscar is for ‘Scent of a Woman’, Scorsese finally won for ‘the Departed’, yeah… next year history might market correct and give them wins for a superior film. Not even counting Bob. Nominations feel like locks right now.

Definitely worth making time for when it starts streaming in a couple weeks.

 

heat-7

Maybe my most memorable L.A. birthday was at Kate Mandellini’s. Probably would have been the regular spot if it still existed.

Anyway, pretty much everyone I know was pissed we didn’t get to be in attendance at the ‘Heat’ screening they had at the Academy.  DeNiro, Pacino, Michael Mann, with a Q&A moderated by Christopher Nolan.

Good Lord…

The Academy was nice enough to post a few clips for us.  Here’s one about the most iconic scene.  I thought what they said about rehearsing was really interesting too.

Enjoy!

 

alandbobby

My theme for my ‘sermon’ this week was pettiness.  The results will become visible in due time, but things are going my way right now.  Power corrupts all of us (let’s get that out of the way), but when it comes to slights, it’s just interesting to see where we all fall along the scale of ‘I will not be the one to break the peace we’ve made here today’, and ‘I don’t feel I have to wipe everybody out, just my enemies.’

So, on that note…

Enjoy!

 

A-Most-Violent-Year-3

You know, we’ve been in ‘anti-hero’ mode for so long, it was really nice to see an old-fashioned New York pic like ‘A Most Violent Year’ show up.

The National Board of Review’s Best Film of 2014 (somehow shut out of the Oscars) stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as a young couple carving out their version of the American Dream in 1980s Gotham.  The cinematography (get em Bradford Young!) is stellar, at times this film is reminds you of Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, or any of those great early Pacino flicks.

The essential story here is the classic immigrant story: a young man has built a nice, small business for himself, and is ready to take it to the next level.  Of course, true power is never just given, and the status quo is ‘the status quo’ for a reason, so…things get messy.  But don’t let the title give you the wrong idea.  There’s some bloodshed but not as much as you might expect.  Violence defined as ‘extreme turbulence’?  Now we’re on the right track.

This was my favorite genre of film growing up, so I liked this one. More than the Academy anyway.

 

“There’s no such thing as a small part, just small actors.” – Sidney Lumet

Being out of town delayed this post by a few days, but when you’ve contributed to American cinema what Sidney Lumet did, an appreciation is better late than never.  Non film geeks be warned, I’m going in on this one.  While his name does not have the crossover appeal of Spielberg or Scorsese, you can’t talk about Hollywood filmmaking without talking about this man.  A brief rundown for the uninitiated…

  • 12 Angry Men – Has to be in the debate for one of the best directorial debuts ever.  I believe I was in high school (possibly middle school even) when I was first shown this film, about a jury deliberating over the guilt or innocence of a kid on trial.  The majority of the film takes place in a jury room, and as television has given us even more access to the workings of our justice system, 12 Angry Men (in my opinion anyway) is probably even better now than it was when it was first made.  And this was his first film.  Damn.
  • Serpico – Much like ‘On the Waterfront’, the rare film where you completely sympathize with the ‘snitch’ (and yes I understand the snitches in these films were played by Brando and Pacino respectively).  Based on the true story of a NYPD officer who ratted out his coworkers’ corruption (and dealt with the repercussions of that), it’s a fantastic piece of 70s cinema.
  • Dog Day Afternoon – By leaps and bounds my favorite non-Corleone role by Pacino, and also number one of my list of ‘I Could See Hollywood Trying to Remake This, and I’ll Have Me a Good Cussing Fit That Day’ Movies.  Also based on real events, a down on his luck guy and his buddy decide to hold up a bank, and literally from the moment they say ‘This is a Stick Up!”, their day and their plan gets worse and worse and worse.  One of the first DVDs I ever bought.
  • Network – Even if you’ve never seen this film, odds are you’re familiar with the phrase, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”  Well if you didn’t know, it came from this film.  Some people say this film in its own way predicted the genre we all call ‘reality TV’.  I don’t know about all that, but when you get Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway in their peaks, and a Hall of Fame catchphrase and performance by Peter Finch, you’ve got one hell of a movie.
  • The Wiz – I’ve caught slack from some of you for not holding this film to the same standard as the films above.  As compensation for this slight, I offer the next time we go to karaoke, I’ll perform this (complete with highwaters, glitter vest and matching bow tie…)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML-qN_6ZeCU&feature=related

That said, IREFUSE to call the Wiz a cinematic classic.  BUT.  BUT…not only was this the film debut of my Idol, but it was during the making of this film that he met the cat playing piano in the clip above (a musical genius by the name of Quincy Jones).  They decided to make a couple albums together.  I think you know the rest…

I’ll start to wrap it up, even though I haven’t even mentioned ‘The Verdict” (a great film and for many people’s favorite performance of Paul Newman).  And while there’s no way to document this, he’s widely credited as being the one who suggested that in the Pacino remake of Scarface, they make Tony Montana and company Cuban immigrants.  (Wow.) That, my friends, is a first ballot Hall of Fame Hollywood career.

So rest in peace, Sidney Lumet.  You won’t bump Liz from the final spot in next year’s In Memoriam segment of the Oscars, but I’ll be damned if you’re not second.