9 items from 2010
Most of the essential, indispensable cliches in films about crime – the police are as bad as the gangsters, just try to find an La cop who's not on the take – were established many, many years ago, and films that ignore them rarely succeed at the box office. It's perfectly all right to add new cliches – feet seen descending from a car in a dark alley, protracted barfing when a mutilated corpse is found, wiseacre female assassins – but the old cliches must be honoured.
For starters, gangster films almost always showcase tough guys off the hardscrabble streets of blighted metropolises who turn to a life of crime because a) it is the only way to get ahead; b) they were wronged by the authorities at a young age; c) they realise that Credit Suisse and Bank of America almost never hire people from their ethnic background, so they might as well become leg-breakers. »
- Joe Queenan
For over 40 years Japanese director Masahiro Shinoda both played within the confines of genre and sought to break from those same restrictions in exploring universal themes, such as faith and mortality. Shinoda’s 1964′s Pale Flower and 1971′s Silence, two of the Shinoda prints selected to play during the New York Film Festival, reflect this diversity on a rather epic scale. On one hand there’s Pale Flower, a black-and-white, well-paced, simply-told crime saga concerning a career criminal and the woman who wins his cold, cold heart. On the other is a sweeping tale of Catholicism and martyrdom, featuring landscapes and vibrant color – for at least some of the time.
Flower, while more successful as a narrative and more impressive on a technical level, lacks the personal passion present in Silence, which seems to be a reflection of Shinoda’s own conflicting beliefs. That said, both films feature principled protagonists who break their own rules. »
- Dan Mecca
Plenty of films have explored the life and exploits of Al Capone as the height of his crime wave, but now Variety reports Warner Bros will journey into the past for a story looking at the origins of the notorious gangster. The studio has picked up the screenplay Cicero from Walon Green, writer of the 1969 western The Wild Bunch. The film chronicles Capone's rise from the slums of Brooklyn to the head of the criminal underworld in Chicago during Prohibition, when his gang operated casinos and speakeasies throughout the city. However, don't be expecting another mob movie in the same vein as Public Enemies from 2009. Read on! Apparently the script is a throwback to old school mafia films of the 1930's such as Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, and the film Home Alone so infamously highlighted, Angels with Dirty Faces. As the script implies, much of the »
- Ethan Anderton
Warner Bros. is now developing an Al Capone biopic from veteran film and television writer Walon Green (TV’s Law & Order, The Wild Bunch). Entitled Cicero, Green’s script documents Capone’s rise from Brooklyn slum native to the head of Chicago’s criminal underground during Prohibition. The name Cicero refers to the city of Cicero, Il where Capone and his gang enjoyed their headquarters and famously overtook the city government in 1924.
Per Variety, the script is being described as a “throwback to the shoot-’em-up gangster films that Warner released during the 1930s.” Included in this criterion are classics such as: Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, and Angels with Dirty Faces. Considering Little Caesar and Angels with Dirty Faces were nominated for a combined four Oscars, one would think that Cicero would do well to be associated with those Warner classics. As of now, no director is attached to the project. »
- Jason Barr
It seems like these days we associate origin stories with superhero movies, I guess even real life hardcore villainous gangsters have their own origin stories that need to be told. Warner bros has picked up a screenplay by Walon Green (Law & Order) that tells us the origin story of legendary gangster Al Capone called Cicero.
The story follows "Capone's rise from the slums of Brooklyn to the head of the criminal underworld in Chicago during Prohibition, when his gang operated casinos and speakeasies throughout the city. In order to operate outside Chicago city limits, the gangster set up headquarters in suburban Cicero, Ill., where he famously took over the city government in 1924."
The script is described as a throwback to the classic shoot-'em-up gangster films that Warner released during the 1930s including Edward G. Robinson's Little Caesar and James Cagney's The Public Enemy and Angels With Dirty Faces. »
The story details Capone's rise from the slums of Brooklyn to the head of the criminal underworld in Chicago during Prohibition. In order to operate outside Chicago city limits, Capone set up headquarters in the suburban city of Cicero and took over its government in 1924.
- Garth Franklin
Ann Sheridan, "The Oomph Girl" (top); Ann Sheridan, Ronald Reagan in Sam Wood‘s Kings Row Ann Sheridan, the determined, humorous, sensual 1940s Warner Bros. star, is one of my favorite movie toughies. Sheridan was also a first-rate comedienne (I Was a Male War Bride) and in the right role was a capable dramatic actress (Angels with Dirty Faces — except for the hysterical scene). As a plus, she was great to look at and listen to. [See this 2007 Ann Sheridan piece; followed by an interview with author Ray Hagen, then working on a biography of the actress.] Those unfamiliar with Ann Sheridan’s work will be able to check her out on Wednesday, as Turner Classic Movies will be presenting thirteen of her films as part of its "Summer Under the Stars" series. [Ann Sheridan Schedule.] Unfortunately, there are no rarities. No Woman and the Hunter, Just Across the Street, or Fighting [...] »
- Andre Soares
Hollywood might be run by Scientologists these days, but the Catholics once called the shots, John Patterson reminds us
Jessica Hausner's new movie Lourdes, which revolves around what may or may not be a "take up thy bed and walk" kind of miracle, is the kind of movie about religious faith that you don't see coming out of Hollywood any more in these days of The Passion Of The Christ, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.
Hollywood hasn't developed an anti-Catholic bias; it's just that the church was once so prominent in Hollywood it almost had to come to grief sooner or later, with or without the aid of its retrograde teachings on birth control and ongoing sexual abuse scandals.
The old canard goes that the Jews run Hollywood. And certainly the industry was founded by immigrant Jews, barred from the more salubrious professions by anti-semitic Wasps. But for three decades, »
- John Patterson
This weekend I had the opportunity to sit down with Ryoo Seung-Wan, who was being honored with a retrospective of his work at the Korean Film Festival in L.A. One of the most impressive directors working in Korean cinema today, his films blend electrifying action sequences with riveting plot-lines, and expend far more energy on characterization than the average genre pic. His feature debut was in 2000 with the excellent "Die Bad," which was formed from four shorts about two high school friends who grow up on opposite sides of the fence - one to be a gang boss, the other a detective.
I really enjoyed re-watching "Die Bad," in which you give a great performance as a cocky teenager taking his first steps into a life of crime. Does acting give you as much pleasure as directing, and do you intend to continue acting in your own films?
9 items from 2010
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