Rest in peace James Gandolfini!
He made the film Violet & Daisy (2011) in 2011, but the film has yet to be released. It may have had limited release on 5/3/13, but it has yet to be available in my area.
James Gandolfini with be missed. He always brought a ton of energy to his characters and really knew how to make his presence known. That presence will live on in all of his films and television shows for many years to come.
Click on the links below to my James Gandolfini movie reviews.
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.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) (click on the title for my full review)
The film looks like a cross between Drive (2011)(good) and Killing Them Softly (2012)(bad). In Drive Ryan Gosling is a stunt driver turned driver for hire. In The Place Beyond the Pines it appears like he is a stunt motorcycle driver turned bank robber. It seems that Eva Mendes plays a very similar character in The Place Beyond the Pines that Carey Mulligan plays in Drive.
Overall the movie looks pretty dark in a similar way to that of Killing Them Softly. Also, Ray Liotta and Ben Mendelsohn are in both of those movies. Both actors played very scuzzy characters in Killing Them Softly and I think they have continued that trend in The Place Beyond the Pines.
The wildcard in The Place Beyond the Pines is going to be Bradley Cooper. In recent years Cooper has proved that not only is he a supremely capable and extraordinary actor, but he has also chosen his movies very wisely. Gosling is great and Liotta has that ability as well, but we have seen them in this type of movie before. Cooper, I think, will be the deciding factor as to whether or not this movie is any good.
On paper, a movie with this cast should be a slam dunk. It does look good enough to see in the theatre, but I’m going to be a little skeptical.
The movie directed by Derek Cianfrance and it is set to release on 3/29/13.
Killing Them Softly (2012)
It was one of the worst movies that I have seen all year and the worst Brad Pitt movie that I have ever seen. It should have been called killing the audience quickly. It was literally that horrible. I almost asked for a refund on my ticket. Thinking about it now, I should have gotten a refund on my ticket. You would have to pay me to watch that movie again.
With as excellent of a cast as this movie had, you would think they could do no wrong. Even if the storyline is bad, the actors will make it better right? Wrong! It was almost as if they tried to make it bad.
Scenes with Brad Pitt were bearable to mediocre. Scenes without Brad Pitt made me almost physically sick.
The movie was successful in portraying drug addicts, alcoholics, and overall skuzzy people in a very realistic way. When you weren’t watching people cussing up a storm, drinking themselves to death, getting stoned out of their minds, getting shot in slow motion, or beaten to a bloody pulp, then all they were doing was blabbering back and forth to one another. The majority of the dialogue of the movie was diarrhea of the mouth except for when Brad Pitt or Ray Liotta was talking.
It was almost as if Brad Pitt was in a different movie than everybody else and they edited him in to their train wreck of a film to try to make it better. Instead of actually making it better, it just gave you a couple moments break from being terrible whenever Pitt was in a scene.
Do yourself a favor and stay far away from this movie. Save your time and money by not seeing it. I wish I had.
I rate this movie a 2 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or, run? Run.