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.
Identity Thief (2013)
I cannot begin to comprehend how frustrating it would be if somebody stole my identity, my money, ruined my credit, and straight up destroyed my good name. I cannot fathom how angry and upset I would be. Besides wanting to physically hurt that person, I would probably want to do anything and everything in my power to get my identity back and my life back to normal.
Identity Thief is about an upstanding citizen and hardworking father named Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) who gets his identity stolen by a woman (Melissa McCarthy). She systematically destroys his life while running around town having fun on his dime. In order to try to fix the harm that she has caused, Sandy decides to travel across the country to track her down and bring her to justice; a task that proves much more difficult than he anticipated.
I thought that this film was going to be funnier. Don’t get me wrong, it had its moments of hilarity, but it just wasn’t as funny as it looked. However, it is still above average and funnier than a lot of comedies out there these days.
A number of events in the movie were a little too convenient and predictable. Given that it is in fact a movie, some of that is to be expected. However, when convenient things happen too often in movies, it tends to take away from the suspension of disbelief. When things are less believable, they are also less enjoyable. Identity Thief seemed to try a little bit too hard at times and as a result, the film was not as humorous as it otherwise could have been.
Bateman and McCarthy played their characters perfectly. He was a decent, easy going, stand up guy. She pulled off being not nearly as innocent as she looked. The two contrasted very well and the end result was a good amount of uncontrollable laughter.
Peet seemed to simply show up for the money. Her role was not major, but it seemed like she just read her lines without much effort at all.
At times the humor fell short, but I fault the writers for this. A couple of raunchy scenes were way over-the-top and seemed unnecessary. It felt like they were part of the movie simply for the shock value. Instead of those scenes being shocking or funny, they just came off as being cheap and stupid.
Overall Identity Thief is worth seeing and good for a number of laughs.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.