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Editor's rating: 
Friday, 03 October 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren &  | 
American Gangster American Gangster” is a near-epic tale of real-life Harlem criminal big shot Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), who essentially re-invented drug trafficking in the 1970s before he was finally sent to prison. (He’s out now.) His opponent was a smart, single-minded cop, Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe), whose honesty made him a pariah among other cops, but also gave him the driving power to take down Lucas. The movie opens with a shock: handsome, charming, likeable Denzel Washington douses a bound man in gasoline, then sets him afire. It’s a vivid demonstration that Washington is very, very far from the good guy he usually plays. After the credits, we see that Frank, from North Carolina, worked as the trusted driver for Harlem gang boss Bumpy Anderson (Clarence Williams III, powerful though unbilled), who dies in Frank’s arms. He pretty much slides into Bumpy’s ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 October 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren &  | 
Godfather, The - The Coppola Restoration (Trilogy Boxset) The above ratings are an average of all three films.  Please see individual ratings within the review. Film: "The Godfather" [5/5 stars] "The Godfather – Part II" [5/5 stars] "The Godfather – Part III" [4/5 stars] Making "The Godfather" was very difficult for Francis Ford Coppola; the studio had little confidence in him on any level, and were pressing ahead primarily because between the time they bought the rights to Mario Puzo's novel and when production began, it became a major best seller. Paramount's original intent was to set it in the present day, and in Kansas City. It was Coppola, better regarded as a writer than as a director, who insisted on a period, New York setting, just as in the book. He had to fight for everything. Now it seems incredible, considering the performance, that he had to battle to get Marlon Brando for ...
Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 28 September 2008 |  Written by Noah Fleming  | 
Risky Business In the 1980s, the teen film phenomena spread throughout the nation.  John Hughes, with his "Sixteen Candles" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club" and the list goes on and on, paraded a genre of film that was empty of real meaning, but suckered in kids with vulgar situations. In 1983, it was "Risky Business" that started it all.  However, at this beginning stage, the teen film was actually about something, other than vulgar humor.  There is a level of humanness to the film that exceeds those of its successors.  On surface it may seem like a teen sex film, but underneath the film delves into the stresses of the future, mistakes and responsibility. Director/writer, Paul Brickman took a chance on a relatively unknown cast.  Tom Cruise stars in perhaps what you could call his first major starring role as ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 22 August 2008 |  Written by Noah Fleming  | 
Smart People It is not often that a new genre of film arises.  However, the last decade or so has brought forth a new subgenre in dramas.  This new subgenre is commonly referred to as a dramedy.  Dramedies are exactly what it sounds like – not quite a drama but as not quite a comedy, rather a blend of the two.  "Lost in Translation," "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Juno" have been some of the more popular in this subgenre. "Smart People" is the latest dramedy, and it arises from Miramax Films.  If you have never seen a dramedy before, the films are filled with contrived situations, eccentric characters and a somewhat odd presentation of straightforward dialogue.  "Smart People" is no exception to this standard.  Making his directorial debut is Noam Murro.  If this film is an evidence of his future in the industry, ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 August 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Youth Without Youth After directing “The Rainmaker” (1997), strictly work for hire, Francis Ford Coppola walked away from movie directing for ten years.  There are many explanations floating around for just why he left, but they tend to add up to one: he was fed up working for studios, following the orders of people less experienced (and much less talented) than he is.  He and his family have owned a vineyard for years; he involved himself in the running of it, with the production of good wine.     Coppola is one of the best living movie directors—and writers.  He won the Oscar for co-writing “Patton” while in the middle of directing “The Godfather.”  Not all of his movies are outstanding; some, like “The Rainmaker,” are work for hire.  But even in his lesser movies, such as “Jack,” he shows immense skill, imagination and directorial ...
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