Entries tagged with “Ray Liotta”.


Where does director  Derek Cianfrance hide? It may be my fault for not remembering having seen any his movies before or even knowing his name. It is certainly the fault of the distributors of ‘The Place Beyond the Pines‘ which was made in 2013 for not making out of this film a blockbuster or at least a festivals circuit success. Produced in 2012 it has Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes in the cast, all of them acting superbly, it’s a beautifully written story about crime and corruption, guilt and fatherhood,  which is at the same time human and universal as well as rooted to the detail in the realities of a small town in the state of New York where much of the filming was done on location. So did this film only enjoy a limited launching, and why did he make only a small profit over the rather modest sum of money it cost? These questions may be asked in an investigation of the mysteries of the American movies distribution system.

 

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1817273/

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1817273/

 

It is not easy to tell what this film is about without committing the ‘spoiler sin’, but I will try to avoid the trap. It starts as the story of a life and of a love lost in mistakes, with little chances to end well. It continues as the story of a cop trying to do the right things and fighting the corrupt system he works in. It ends as a story of paternal responsibility and how the next generation is due to follow the steps of fathers and whether breaking the circle of fate and social conditioning is possible. So there are three stories here, three stories with different focus and pace, partly sharing the same characters and with a continuity determined by the leading ideas. As I try to tell all these, I realize how many important details remain out, how well they are interleaved and what value they add, how well the whole narrative structure stands. It’s a strong and moving story (or better said collection of stories) told in an original manner.

 

(video source StudiocanalUK)

 

I need to add a few special mentions about acting. For Ryan Gosling this may be the first big ‘bad guy’ role of his career but he cannot really be a ‘bad guy’ to the end, as he adds complexity and deepness to his character. Same can be said about the character  played by Bradley Cooper but working on the opposite direction, as we see the hero cop never at peace with the decisions he needs to take even when it seems to be ‘the right thing’ (fighting crime and police corruption). Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta provide more substance to their supporting roles which could have easily fallen in standard melodrama. We come to know the place where the action happens and the way it changes in time, and in part of the secret ’The Place Beyond the Pines‘ looks to good and authentic is the careful description and familiarity of the authors for the details.

How can this wonderful film be taken out of the shade of forget it undeservedly lies? The best would be if the very talented film director who is Derek Cianfrance will make some more successful movies. I hope that this will happen, and then ‘The Place Beyond the Pines‘ will have its second chance.

 

 

 

There are films based on graphic novels (comics books) heroes and action stories and the genre is flourishing making happy studios and fans of all ages. And there are the ‘Sin City’ films which are graphic novels on screens.  ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘ directed by (who also created the books that inspired them) and is only the second in this genre. I liked it. I will try to explain the reasons and the difference.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481

 

The first thing to notice with ‘Sin City 2′ (as for the first one almost one decade earlier) is that it does not pretend to be anything else that it is. It is a comics story which is directly designed for the big screen rather than for the paper support of the graphic novels. The story (there are actually three almost independent story threads) is simple and relies mostly on action. No psychological or character development is to be expected from its heroes, they are from the first time they appear on screen until the moment they die or the end of the movie (what comes first) ‘The Drunken Righteous’, ‘The Dangerous Vamp’, ‘The Corrupt Senator’,'The Nice Face Gambler’, etc. The actors either wear masks () or they are their own masks (, , , , , ). Most of them create their own characters as graphical novel heroes. The only one who holds some mystery and hides – at least for some time – her real intentions is the character played by . All seem to enjoy themselves greatly to be in the film.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

All this concept is supported by a superb cinematographic solution which places the actors on sets that seem to be drawn in comics style and uses mostly black-and-white with touches of selected colors as in the mid 20th century comics books combined with the cinema masterpieces of ‘film noir’ from the same period. The execution is perfect, and the action scenes not only support the stories but also create moments of aesthetic wonder and fit perfectly in the atmosphere. The concept and the execution make of ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘ a rare combination of good entertainment and stylish cinema.

 

I am not a great fan of ‘true crime’ stories, books, or films. And then, there are exceptions. The Iceman directed by is one of them, and I will try to shortly explain why it succeeds in my opinion to do better than many of other similar films (the genre is very popular in American cinema).

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1491044

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1491044

 

Richard Kuklinski was a real person. He was a paid hitman in the service of the mob, who by the time he was caught in 1986 had allegedly more than 100 people murdered on his record. The amazing thing was that he succeeded to keep his real ‘profession’ and source of income hidden from his ‘normative’ family for more than 20 years, living a comfortable life in the suburbs. His beautiful wife and two daughters never guessed the real person that he was. Split personality? Possibly – an extreme case anyway.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

The film works well on many plans. First of all this is due to , an actor with many supporting roles in his record, who gets here the opportunity to bring to screen a character who seems to care only about his family with no apparent feelings about other people, not even respect for their lives. Yet, his first mistake and hesitation that triggers his downfall is the hesitation to kill the teenager young girl who witnessed one of his crime, maybe because she reminded him about his daughters. The rest of the supporting cast is excellent as well, with as his unsuspecting wife and as the mob chief who hires him to part ways later. There is little explanation about the background and motives of his deranged and criminal behavior. The references to his brother and one flashback of his childhood may be considered insufficient, but actually I believe that it’s better so. Too much explanation would have spoiled the chilling effect of being exposed as viewers to his dark personality and deeds. As it stays, it’s a study in crime with enough details to make it hard too forget, and enough non-clarity to leave it open to interpretation from viewers.