Violet & Daisy (2011)
Violet & Daisy is another one of those movies that was made and then thrown on the shelf to collect dust for two years before finally being released in theatres. When it finally made its debut, it was only in limited release. The film was completed in 2011 and not unveiled until midway through 2013.
Movies like this are always intriguing to me because I bet that everybody involved in making the film was just beyond angry that it took two years to be released in theatres. You work so hard to complete something special, and then nothing happens for two years. Not to mention, movies are made to hopefully turn a profit. Wouldn’t you want to try to make your money back right away?
I have a feeling that this movie may have had trouble making it into theatres because the subject matter is very risky. It’s a film about a teenage girl duo hit man squad. With all of the violence going on in our world, it’s probably pretty hard to release a movie about teenage girls who kill people. Of course, the idea was fascinating and I just had to see what it was all about.
The movie was written and directed by Geoffrey Fletcher and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes James Gandolfini, Danny Trejo, John Ventimiglia, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Stu ‘Large’ Riley, and Tatiana Maslany.
Violet & Daisy didn’t deserve to be shelved for two years. It’s the kind of movie that could have generated a welcomed sequel or two. But, because it took so long to be released, the teenage girls in the film have already aged too much. Actually, Bledel was already an adult during filming. She pulled off playing a teenager even though she was actually 30 years old when the movie was made. Ronan was closer to half of Bledel’s age. I was shocked when I found that out.
The film was exceptionally fresh and original. It was edgy, cold-blooded and unpredictable. There was a lot of great action and dialogue. There was even a bit of dark comedy thrown into the mix.
Ronan, Bledel, and Gandolfini gave exceptional performances.
The movie is about murder, so don’t be surprised at all of the violence, disturbing images, and language.
Because the movie was delayed for so long, it turned out to be one of Gandolfini’s final film releases, may he rest in peace.
I praise Geoffrey Fletcher for getting this risky movie made.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Cop Land (1997)
Cop Land is the first movie that I remember hearing about where an actor or actress severely changed their weight for a part in a film. Sylvester Stallone gained 40 lbs. for his role in the movie. I remember thinking how crazy he was for doing that. 40 lbs. is a lot of weight to gain, and it is a lot more to have to lose again. Now, 16 years later, I realize that it was just Stallone’s awesome dedication to doing what he loves that allowed him to do what was necessary for his role in Cop Land.
The film is about an army of corrupt New York City cops with ties to the mob who buy themselves a chunk of New Jersey. They are virtually untouchable until the sheriff of their little “Cop Land” (Sylvester Stallone) becomes wise to their ways.
The movie was written and directed by James Mangold and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Janeane Garofalo, Noah Emmerich, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent, John Spencer, Arthur J. Nascarella, Edie Falco, John Ventimiglia, Robert John Burke, Michael Gaston, Bruce Altman, Tony Sirico, Frank Pellegrino, Vincent Laresca, Victor Williams, Paul Calderon, and Malik Yoba.
They brought in all of the big guns to make this film. The cast list is so staggering that I am sure that I left someone out. You couldn’t ask for a better cast in a movie.
Because of the type of movie Cop Land is, and especially because of the cast, you can expect a lot of violence and language, but mostly, powerful performances.
Cop dramas don’t get a whole lot better than this one. Cop Land is one of those movies that gets better every time that I watch it.
It is interesting because a number of actors in the film were cast against type. Guys who usually play bad guys are now playing cops. But, it works out because some of them are corrupt. So, I guess they are just bad guys with a badge.
It is no surprise that the movie has a bit of a Goodfellas (1990) and The Sopranos feel to it, because a number of the cast members were in those shows. A couple of them were also in the film Beautiful Girls (1996).
With so many great actors in the movie, none of them really stood out over another because they were all acting on the same level.
Overall, Cop Land is a unique, underrated cop drama that packs a big bang. Like a fine wine, it gets better with age.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
The Iceman (2012)
The Iceman is the chilling true story of one of the most famous contract killers named Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon). He was known as “The Iceman.” Kuklinski was believed to have killed at least over 100 people. He had ties to the mob and he had his family convinced that he was a businessman.
The movie is directed by Ariel Vromen.
This is another limited release movie with a huge cast that also includes Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, Robert Davi, David Schwimmer, John Ventimiglia, Danny A. Abeckaser, James Franco, and Stephen Dorff.
Why does a movie like this have such limited release? The only answer that I can think of is that a film about a real-life serial killer is not a topic that would be popular to the general public. We all know that is not true with all of the hardcore violence in movies and television these days. So, the question still remains and I don’t have a real answer for it.
I knew absolutely nothing at all about “The Iceman” before watching The Iceman with the exception that he was a real hit-man at one point in time, and I had seen the trailer for the movie. What I learned about the guy from the movie was creepy and insane. It kind of makes me want to read the book that the movie was based off of written by Anthony Bruno called “The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer.”
Michael Shannon has been a wonderful character actor ever since his first film appearance in Groundhog Day (1993). In more recent years he has successfully made the transition to making movies as an awesome main character. This trend started when he made Take Shelter (2011). In The Iceman Shannon is electrifying. His performance is nothing short of deserving Oscar gold. He was extremely convincing as a stone-cold murdering lunatic with a love for his family.
Chris Evans was unrecognizable at first, but very entertaining.
Winona Ryder made a big comeback in Black Swan (2010). In The Iceman, I think that she successfully clinched her comeback into the spotlight. She brought talent to the movie not seen out of her since the 90s. Dare I say another person from this film deserves an Oscar? She should at least be nominated.
I would say that 2012 is the year that Ray Liotta died as an actor and then was resurrected. He looked and acted like death in the unwatchable Killing Them Softly (2012). He was resurrected in The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) and he became his old bad-tempered self again in The Iceman.
The rest of the cast was there to put all of the pieces of this true serial killer story together.
As expected, the movie was brutally violent and loaded with f-bombs. What I did not expect was the strong presence that each of the main characters had on screen. They each did an outstanding job in becoming the real people that they were playing and telling their terrible story on film. Their performances made the movie powerful and worth watching.
I think that it is worth tracking down a theatre that is actually playing this movie and checking it out for yourself, that is, if you are a fan of true crime films.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Violet & Daisy (2011) (Click on the title for my full review.)
Another one of those movies that has been kept on the shelf for one reason or another. The film was made in 2011 and is rumored to release on 6/7/13. I say rumored because I think that the original intention was to release the film in 2011, but it continues to be pushed back. So, who knows, maybe it will be pushed back from being released again.
Movies like this are always intriguing to me because I bet everybody involved in making the movie is just beyond angry that it has not been released yet. I know that I would be.
I have a feeling that this film has not been released yet partially due to the fact that it is a risky movie to make. The movie is about a teenage girl duo hit man squad. With all of the violence going on in our world, it’s probably pretty hard to release a movie about teenage girls who kill people. With that said, the film looks tastefully made and has a good cast which includes Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini, Danny Trejo, Cody Horn, and John Ventimiglia.
It is written and directed by Geoffrey Fletcher.
The film has sparked my interest enough to want to see it, that is if it ever gets taken off of the shelf.