Tag Archives: Al Pacino

Donnie Brasco Review

Mobsters and undercover sting operations are no stranger to the movies, nor to the filmography of Al Pacino. But Donnie Brasco immediately feels a little different to its contemporaries. Mike Newell of Four Weddings and a Funeral directing fame seems almost short-tempered with the genre at hand. He marks Johnny Depp and Pacino, the two leads throughout this crime-oriented feature, with a satisfying wave of the hand that gives the pair a free rein to explore eponymous lead Brasco (Depp) and Benjamin Ruggiero (Pacino). The old hand of the latter man guiding what was at the time a new generation of potential mobster leads. It is not the faith presented by Pacino but the confidence of Depp to take on this new genre that strikes most entertainingly of all with Donnie Brasco.

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Jack and Jill Review

Lower rungs of comedy are discovered day by day. Jack and Jill, thanks to the benefits of hindsight and the staggering late-game dramatic entries of Adam Sandler, have made Jack and Jill look like an ill-timed cult classic tailor-made to mock not just the product, but the many more placed within it. Coca Cola, Pepto-Bismol and Dunkin’ Donuts are littered throughout and the implication is not just obvious, but woven into the plot with horribly shoddy results. It is not enough for Jack and Jill to have those behind it, not at all. Sandler must push forward adapting little to the post-glory days of his early works and instead revels in this brutal and fascinating piece.

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The Godfather II Review

Origin stories have drowned out the originality of the big-budget feature. Nowadays, everything, whether it is a supporting riff from an old legend or a leading role of an established franchise, needs an origin story. Before it was hip and resourceful to do so, though, The Godfather II took a portion of the Mario Puzo book, The Godfather, and siphoned it off into a sequel. While it may open with a mother’s love for her young boy and the lengths she will go to in defending him, the real core of The Godfather II is that the gut instinct of those threatened by the young boy is correct. It is a common occurrence in The Godfather. Instinct is the unmovable object, and it is that which The Godfather II bases itself on.

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House of Gucci Review

Insulting and painful the Gucci family may find House of Gucci, the Ridley Scott-directed feature is bound to take the awards season by storm. It is the necessity of impression. Adam Driver and Lady Gaga front an ensemble assault on the warring factions of the Gucci household with derivative performances, sloppy Italian accents and just enough hold on the prime facts to make for an engaging, horribly stretched rendition of Maurizio Gucci’s rise and death. Driver embodies the murdered Gucci owner, but it is Ridley Scott who fails to adapt the horror show as anything more than a generic drama with lighter tones spread throughout. A balancing act of miserable proportions.

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Carlito’s Way Review

Temptation is terrible. Leading a better life is an impossibility when so many around you are coaxing you back to the life you led before. Carlito’s Way showcases that beautifully. Just holding on for a moment or two longer, and Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) would hold a life worth leading. His reputation precedes him, and that is the issue he now deals with. Looking to live on the straight and narrow, Brigante cannot. He is roped back into the fold, time and time again. An odd job here or there, paying his dues or protecting those he respects. It is all fair and fine until the bullets start firing, and considering this is a piece from Brian De Palma, it is not long until they do so.  

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The Godfather Review

Bolstered by the fine writing he had offered in the Oscar-winning Patton, Francis Ford Coppola, now seemingly on top of his game, sauntered into Paramount Studios in need of work. His production studio owed hundreds of thousands to Warner Bros., and his previous film, The Rain People, had bombed. But he had an Academy Award in the bag and showed no signs of stopping. His initial hesitance to take on Mario Puzo’s The Godfather as his next project stemmed from the “cheap” nature Coppola had assigned to the book. Still, that mounting financial pressure changed his mind, and that is indeed for the better, for The Godfather is a stroke of pure, raw passion.  

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Dog Day Afternoon Review

In his later years, Al Pacino would go on to topple performances like this in Jack and Jill or Righteous Kill, but there was a time when the leading man was on top of the world. There was no actor quite like Pacino for a good twenty years, and his films were consistently great. The Godfather trilogy (or at least the first two, anyway), and then later came the likes of ScarfaceGlengarry Glen Ross, and Heat. Some of my favourite movies there, and even the ones I don’t particularly care for offer up more than their fair share of exciting moments, partly due to the credible talent of Pacino. Dog Day Afternoon is a film that wholly relies on Pacino’s charms and energetic leading performance, with this Sidney Lumet directed 70s piece all the better for it.

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Scarface Review

Overblown, overlong, overrated. Those three words could certainly be applied to Scarface, perhaps the best-known film to be directed by Brian De Palma. A lengthy titan that preceded the Scorsese gangster triumphs of the 90s, Scarface showcases the rise and fall of drug kingpin Tony Montana (Al Pacino). It’s bloody, it’s violent, and, above all, it’s a well-crafted piece of film that just about puts together that earns its long stay on the screen. The pop culture it has since spawned, the references made to its source material in various other films, is undeniable. But I was dubious at best on whether or not the source material would actually stand up on its own merits.

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