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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Robert De Niro

New Year’s Eve (2011)

Just another excuse for people to go, “oooh look who it is!”.

‘New Year’s Eve’ celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts, in the intertwining stories of couples and singles, told amidst the pulse and promise of New York City on the most dazzling night of the year.

Oh once again, another holiday, another holiday, and yes, another time for Garry Marshall to make Robert Altman turn around in his grave. This is basically the same exact thing as Marshall’s same ensemble-filled film, ‘Valentine’s Day’, and even though this one is only just a tad better, that really is not saying much at all.

What these types of films always have problems with is that all of these types of films have so many stars passing in-and-out of the flick as if it was I95 but they are sometimes not really given much to do, instead of just to be there and look pretty. This is the case with this flick and I felt like Marshall really rushed things here to the point of where he wasn’t really concerned with the stories as much as he was more concerned with just getting as much stars up on the screen before they had to go leave and shoot a better film. When I say this, I’m not talking about Sarah Jessica Parker. She loves this kind of stuff and I think she may be the only one who does too.

Another problem with all of these films is the fact that almost everything everybody says here either seem like cliches, something taken out of another flick, or just plain schmaltz. The film always goes for being sweet, cute, and loving but it more or less just comes off as being the same old crap that I’ve seen time and time again, except this time with Jon Bon Jovi spouting out corny love songs. But then again, the guy owned The Philadelphia Soul, so it’s not as bad if say someone like Nick Jonas was doing it. Yeah, that kids lame.

I knew I was going to get this kind of stuff before I went into this flick but I honestly think that these films try way too hard to give more meaning about a holiday that is basically all about getting plastered with your buddies, yelling random shit at people you’ve never met in your life, freezing your ass off, counting down till a big-ass glow ball hits the bottom in 10 seconds, ending up making out with a person that chick that looks like your sister, and waking up the next morning in somebody else’s bath tub with a splitting headache. I’m not at all speaking from experience but let me just tell you that when it comes to this holiday, not many people are reflecting on the past year and what they are thankful for and what they aren’t thankful for. So stop trying to give it more meaning than it already needs Garry!

However, as much as I wanted to diss on this film for what it obviously fails in, there were moments here where I was enjoying myself probably because New Year’s is such a fun holiday and that’s something that I don’t think Marshall took away from. There are moments where this film actually seems funny and had me chuckling here and there, mainly because of the cast and probably just because this film sort of put me in a good mood. It’s also one of the rare cases where the “bloopers” during the end credits had me laughing a lot more throughout them, instead if the whole film itself.

The whole cast here is star-studded everywhere you look and made this film a little bit better. Instead of naming the whole cast like I normally do with these ensemble-like films, I’ll just run down the people who were probably the most enjoyable. Zac Efron was probably the one dude I had the most fun watching up on screen; Hilary Swank is actually quite convincing as a Times Square vice president; and Sofia Vergara is not only stunningly gorgeous but fun as hell to watch here as the sex-pot chef. There are others that were somewhat fun but too many times were there just these big-named stars just sitting around doing nothing. I’m talking to you, Ludacris. And no, I will still not call you by your “real name”.

I mean to be brutally honest, Valentine’s Day is not a very joyous and fun holiday probably because it’s too centered on having a love on this one special day. However, New Year’s Day where you can just do whatever the hell you want basically and have a blast the whole time no matter how old, young, or if you’re single or not. This film may have it’s obviously problems with plot, writing, and overall construction, but keeping to the fun and reckless spirit that is New Year’s, is what made my enjoyment level of this flick higher than I ever expected it to be in the first place.

Consensus: There is plenty of schmaltz, corniness, and moments that will more or less make you want to punch the writers in the face, but when it comes to keeping the actual fun and unpredictable atmosphere/spirit of it’s holiday, New Year’s Eve is a fun flick for anybody that wants to see stars coming-and-going non-stop for a whole 118 minutes.

5/10=Rental!!

If you have just read this review and cannot believe I just did what I did, please do not have any lost hope for me. I will once again get back to reviewing shit and calling it exactly what it is. I promise people.

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Great Expectations (1998)

Poor Charlie Dickens must be rolling around in his grave.

In this Americanized version of Charles Dickens’s classic novel, set in 1990s New York instead of 1860s England, humble, young Finn (Ethan Hawke) develops a lifelong crush on Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow), the wealthy niece of the eccentric Ms. Dinsmoor (Anne Bancroft). The pair part, but then a mysterious benefactor makes it possible for Finn to attend art school in the city, where he runs into his now-engaged love.

I confess that I have never read Dickens’ classic novel, which is the basic idea where this modern-day adaptation came from, but that does not mean that this film should get some slack for me. It still kind of sucks.

After watching Children of Men, I realize that director Alfonso Cuarón, really can do something amazing when it comes to the way a film looks and feels. Once again, Cuarón does that one-shot steadi-cam trademark that he had in Children of Men and its just great to look at because I felt like I was there the whole time, but that’s not all that looks great.

The production values just look beautiful with the constant beautiful colors that inhabit this world these characters live in, the way the sunset is captured so well, and even the paintings from Italian painter Francesco Clemente are outstanding. The colors also set a tone for almost each and every scene, as well as the music here which seems to combine two music genres together. It’s certainly a very pretty film to look at the only problem is that the film could have actually spent a lot more time on it’s screenplay.

The screenplay from Mitch Glazer starts off very promising, but then starts to turn into this utterly cheesy and predictable romantic drama that we have seen time and time again, the only difference here is that these people are pretty and artistic, so there’s somehow more of a artsy feel to this whole love angle. The film wants to dive into moments of actual beauty when it shows how you can become famous while still ticking to your guns, but instead just shows this dude practically drooling over this hot blonde. And don’t let me forget to mention all the terrible and non-stop cliches.

Another huge problem with this film is that I never quite felt attracted to these characters and I never really found anything that amazing about them, as much as the film wanted me to. Finn has practically been following Estella for 20 years but there is never anything really shown about her character that makes her anything to chase after for that long other than a nice body, some good boobies, and just another pretty face. It’s annoying too because this dude keeps on getting knocked over left-and-right without her ever saying good-bye to him once, which would have definitely been my calling card to say screw her.

Ethan Hawke is OK as Finn, although he has been a lot better in other films. My one problem with this character is that he never really takes any action for himself, which kind of creates a big wall of separation between him and the audience. We all want to connect with this guy and root for him, but if you keep on getting pushed around by this chick and seemingly don’t do anything else other than just draw a bunch of fancy looking paintings, there’s not much there to endear with in the first place.

Gwyneth Paltrow nails Estella down very well and actually attributes to my fondness of her character, even though there was nothing really special about her. The chemistry her and Hawke have isn’t bad but it’s hard to actually judge whether it was good or not, when their screen-time together was so limited. If I had gotten more scenes with them just talking, flirting, hell just boning, I would have understood the loooooooooooove between them both, but I just got a bunch of smiley faces.

Robert De Niro is good as Arthur, even though he’s basically Robert De Niro with a goofy look; Anne Bancroft was fun to watch as this totally up-and-down and crazy nut as Ms. Dinsmoor, which was the best performance of the whole cast really; Chris Cooper is good to watch as Uncle Joe; and Hank Azaria adds nothing to this film as Walter Plane.

Consensus: The beauty is within the production design and direction, but the problems lie within the screenplay that offers nothing other than countless romantic drama cliches, a love story that had no real believable love to it, and characters that aren’t too interesting to begin with.

2.5/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!

Killer Elite (2011)

I never thought that an action vehicle with Jason Statham would be ever be based on a true story.

Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), a former British special ops tough guy forced to come out of retirement when his mentor (Robert De Niro) is kidnapped by a ruthless criminal. Enraged, Danny has to dodge three top assassins.

So with a pretty interesting premise, three cool dudes, and what seems to be lots and lots of guns, this film seemed destined for total awesomeness. However, it’s all just dull.

The first major problem this film runs into is the script is very dull and doesn’t really bring anything new to this cool premise. I expected there to be a lot of twists, turns, and people ending up being who we didn’t expect them to be, but instead this just went for the usual silliness that we have come accustomed to for our action thrillers.

Another big problem with this film was that a lot of the action they put into this here film, is it is all filmed with that annoying hand-held shaky-camera crap that doesn’t look good at all in any film, and looks especially bad here. The reason it looks so bad here is because there are so many close-ups with every action sequence and it’s so dark to the point of where I have no idea what’s going on. The best example was when Statham and Owen first have their big duke-fest but you can’t tell who’s doing what to who, because they’re both wearing black and I kept trying to wonder who was throwing who, or who was stabbing the other in the chest.

However, I will say that the film does use it’s action to it’s ability and features a lot of cool, violent, and overall fun action to support it’s somewhat bad writing. There’s a car chase here that looks really cool because it’s filmed in what seems to be a 1970’s gritty Paris, and a lot of it all really seems cool to look at and if you need something to hold you over while watching, the action is right there for you. I’m talking to the dudes when I write this.

Jason Statham plays Danny Bryce, and basically does what he does best: kick ass, and say witty punch-lines after wards. However in this movie, they try REALLY hard to make you feel sympathy for Danny by tacking on a love interest for him, and trying to make us see him as “a killer with a heart”. I mean Statham is good at what he does but the way this film made him to be some sort of sweet-heart who killed random-ass people, I just didn’t really believe his character as a whole other than the fact that he could beat just about everybody up.

Clive Owen is pretty vicious here with his 70’s porno mustache and the name of Spike as his character. Owen seems like he came prepared to kick some ass with this role and does a great job with every scene he gets but I couldn’t help but think that he could do so much better with this role in another movie, that wasn’t as dumb as this one. I also have to say that Robert De Niro here as Hunter, Danny’s killing mentor, didn’t really do much for me here and it was such a shame because he gets about 15 minutes up on-screen and doesn’t do much other than that goofy, scrunched up face. This character could have really been played by anybody and at one point, I actually kind of forgot about his character which is a real sign to tell De Niro that he needs a new agent if he’s going to get crap roles like this.

Consensus: The action is fun and the boys deliver it pretty well, the problem with Killer Elite is that the writing is too dumb, the editing job is way too choppy for you to even know what’s going on, and in the end, it seems like this was just another dull and almost forgettable action flick that Statham seems to bring out about 3 times a year.

5/10=Rental!!

Meet the Parents (2000)

Makes my first awkward meeting with my ladies parents seem like a walk in the park.

Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is ready to marry his girlfriend, Pam (Teri Polo), but before he pops the question, he must win over her formidable father, humorless former CIA agent Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), at the wedding of Pam’s sister. As Greg bends over backward to make a good impression, his visit to the Byrnes home turns into a hilarious series of disasters, and everything that can go wrong does, all under Jack’s critical, hawklike gaze.

The “Meet the…” film series has been going on for about the whole decade with three movies, and probably more coming up. So it’s just really cool to see where it all started off at.

This honestly is a very funny film that uses a lot of these awkward, outrageous, but always hilarious situations where you can’t believe this is actually happening. There are a lot of bad gags, toilet humor, and sometimes painful awkward comedy that will have almost all who watch laughing, and it really works out.

My only gripe with this film is that a lot of the jokes do seem a little too obvious. Something will pop up, and have a bit of significance to the plot, and will pop up later as a joke. I could see all the jokes coming up right before they did them but how they execute them is what had me really laughing in the end.

I think the real extra kick this film get’s is from the cast. Robert De Niro is perfect as Jack Byrnes who is so hard-nosed, and menacing about everything with this poor guy Greg, that you can’t help but laugh at everything he’s doing, or saying for that matter. By just sitting there, De Niro brings out huge laughs and I must say, I’m glad he’s not my girl’s daddy. Ben Stiller is the perfect guy to play Greg. He’s cute enough to be attractive and intelligent enough to be real but has a wonderful airhead quality where you can actually see the smoke rising from his ears when he tries to think. His timing is spot on and his physical stuff is full of energy, which brought me back to his days in There’s Something About Mary. Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, and the always reliable Owen Wilson provide laughs as well here, and add a lot of heart to the whole film.

Consensus: The jokes may be obvious and predictable, but De Niro and Stiller give Meet the Parents the extra kick of comedy that it deserves with hilarious gags, and believable situations that will have anybody laughing.

7/10=Rental!!

Stone (2010)

Derek Vineyard in cornrows = awesome!

Edward Norton plays a convicted arsonist who hopes to get out of prison early by putting to work the seductive talents of his beautiful wife, Lucetta (Milla Jovovich). Robert DeNiro plays the parole officer who is the target of the couple’s cat-and-mouse scheming.

This is the second film from director John Curran, and the good thing he does here is create all this drama with a more subtle approach that you wouldn’t see in other films of this nature. It isn’t your big Hollywood picture, and the story moves very slow, but with enough detail to hold your interest as you know something, just something is not going to right.

However, while we’re waiting for that bad thing to happen the story starts to take a very odd route, and get very spiritual. It’s a very unusual film because it often shits very uneasily towards sleaze and philosophy, and it doesn’t work out well in the end. There is a lot of talk about God, second chances, and being forgiven and for the most part I thought all of this was just dumb for a story like this, because they could have taken a more simpler approach and it would have been fine the way it was.

I liked the screenplay and thought many parts where they tried to get their point across, they did and it worked well, but then there were these long stretches of just something disturbing happening, and it made no sense as to why it was put in here. By the end especially, this film starts to dive into some ludicrous situations but I won’t lie, I still found myself actually involved with this crazy story.

Robert De Niro has been getting some fragile, grand-pop figures as of late, but I was glad to finally just see him have that opportunity to lay into people here as Jack Mabry. I’m not going to say he gives an amazing performance here, but he still has the presence and the strength to hold together his character as he gets more and more emotionally involved with this story. Edward Norton plays Gerald “Stone” Creeson, and proves that he is one of the best actors out there working in the biz today. The whole gimmick behind this film is that he has cornrows in this film which he actually done to his hair, and apparently when he took them out, he looked like Gene Wilder. Little fun fact there, you can either take it or leave it, assholes. I’m glad in this film that he does over-act in such a role, instead he keeps it small, intense, and overall just believable. Stone’s wife, Lucetta, is played incredibly well by Milla Jovovich, who finally gets a chance to get away from his zombie-killing times, and actually flaunt her acting skills again. She takes what could have been a standard psycho bitch, femme fatale role and makes it something deeper because she’s needy, she’s volatile, and makes you believe that she really can be this crazy and daring.

Consensus: Stone is a slow film, that borders between philosophy and sleaziness, but the trio of leads will keep you on suspense for this whole film and you should definitely check it out, because it’s a lot better than the trailers have it look.

5/10=Rental!!

Limitless (2011)

If this pill is actually out there, I need to get better dealers.

With his writing career tanking and his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) casting him off, ex-druggie Eddie Morra’s (Bradley Cooper) fortunes finally turn around when he’s given a mysterious drug that provides astonishing mental powers — but its deadly side effects threaten his sanity. Adding to Eddie’s misery are shadowy businessman Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), who wants to exploit his new genius, and the other users willing to kill for his stash.

What if there really was a drug out there that could make you use all 100% of your brain? Well, I have a feeling that I would use it to more advantage than this guy did.

Director Neil Burger does something here that should actually be rewarded, because he takes this material and brings it to life with his constant flair to the screen. He does a smart, creative job visually portraying the effects of NZT by using angles, lenses, colors, and all sorts of other effects to show how Eddie thinks and sees the world, thus putting us in the mind of him.

The only let-down is that the script doesn’t do anything spectacular and brings this film down a whole bunch of notches. I liked the social commentary here about our desire to take short cuts for self-improvement, and our obsession of instant success. There is also little tidbits here and there of humor that works, but then the film changes about half-way through and starts to become a yawn. The film seems to play a back-and-forth battle between talking about the side-effects of the drugs on Eddie, and who knows about the drugs, and wants them. These two story lines just seem conflicted and take away from the overall effect of the film and actually bring it to more predictable territory which was really a bummer. Also, there were some action scenes here that worked, but they seemed random and just put in there to keep the film entertaining.

Bradley Cooper has been going all around the film industry for awhile now looking for that perfect leading man role, and I think he may just have found it here as Eddie Morra. We never seen Cooper play a slobby loser, but he totally pulls it off making for a great contrast to him on NZT which showcases Cooper’s talents as a smooth-talking and charming handsome devil. By the end of the film, I don’t know what they were trying to do with Eddie here, because it’s like they were wondering if he’s a villain or not, but still Cooper proves that he can be a leading man, possibly a great one. Abbie Cornish has a couple of scenes here and there, and she does a good job, I just wish she was a little more rounded than the screenplay had her out to be. Robert De Niro has done some pretty crap movies lately, but Limitless uses his mobster persona well with him controlling every scene he’s in. It’s not a perfect performance by any means, but it just shows that signature stage presence that De Niro has and uses oh so well.

Consensus: Director Neil Burger uses a lot of different and crazy visuals to effectively create a state of mind when on drugs, and Bradley Cooper is good in this lead role, but the script lets-down Limitless with its many missed opportunities, and confusing outcomes.

6/10=Rental!!

Analyze This (1999)

Robert being funny and Billy being serious. Now there’s a turn out for the books.

When Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) needs help dealing with his role in the “family,” unlucky shrink Dr. Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) is given just days to resolve Vitti’s emotional crisis and turn him into a happy, well-adjusted gangster.

I love good old mobster movies, especially mobster comedies. But the sad thing is that there hasn’t been many actual good ones, but this one is different. Cause it is actually good.

The screenplay of this film is it’s real strong point. There is a lot of spoofing of mobster films, as well as mobs in general, and it all works so well, because it really does have you laughing. There are several one-liners here that I’m still somehow quoting, and that’s the great thing about this film. How I can still quote it with a smile on my face, is always good.

My only problem with this film is that it isn’t breaking much ground here. Yeah, it’s trying to spoof the mafia itself, but it never actually gets anywhere different than just a spoof. I was expecting a little bit more heart with this screenplay, but what I got I still didn’t have a problem with.

Robert De Niro plays the wiseguy we all know and love him as, and here he is nothing short of hilarious. He plays this wiseguy so well, that a lot of his scenes just seem so genuine. De Niro has always been acting like this, but it never has gotten old, and he still does a knock out job with this material, as he always should. Billy Crystal is also very good basically playing Woody Allen, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s serious, but at the same time goofy, and adds a lot of realism to this role that brings a lot to the film. These two have perfect chemistry and when their on-screen together, you can tell that their actually buddies off the screen, because they get along so well. Let’s not forget to mention Lisa Kudrow as Crystal’s wife, and Chazz Palminteri, as well as Joe Viterelli as some of the other mafia wiseguys.

Consensus: It’s nothing incredibly new, but the laughs are rich, and the great performances from the comedic cast, makes this all a very enjoyable treat.

7.5/10=Rental!!

Righteous Kill (2008)

Two of my favorite actors, together on-screen, for a full film, too bad this was the film it had to be.

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino drive this taut thriller as New York City detectives tasked with investigating a rash of vigilante killings that are linked to an old case, suggesting they might have put an innocent man behind bars.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, are two of my favorite actors working today, and it’s such a shame that they have never been able to share the screen together for a full movie. But it’s an even bigger shame they had to film in this shit.

The biggest problem with this movie is that its screenplay is just the same old shit really. You have seen this cop film before, it’s all by-the-numbers, and pretty generic, the new, cool thing about it though is that these two legends are in the starring roles, which in itself, is just a gimmick. This whole film basically is just an excuse for the big twist ending at the end, and although it’s OK to say the least, it just feels forced, and put out there to spice up the story.

It sucks too cause this film looked like it was going to be a fun, exciting, little crime mystery thriller, when in reality it’s dull for the whole film through. We are constantly stuck at random plot “happenings”, that don’t really seem to move the story forward, more just to rely on De Niro and Pacino for their acting skills. With this film it just does get taken over by big Hollywood productions taking two big stars like this, advertising it as something amazing, and just making this a total bore-fest of a film, with nothing new, or cool, to show for it.

Now on the other hand, the film may just be a gimmick to get these two together, but I will not lie, they both do very good jobs, probably cause their just basically playing themselves. Both have obvious great on-screen chemistry, and the scenes with them work mainly because they just have that screen presence that nobody can deny, and that’s probably the strength of this film. Donnie Wahlberg, and John Leguizamo also show up, and do good jobs here as well, but their roles are more made for the fact that they are a bar down from De Niro, and Pacino. Carla Gugigno is strong, but her character is very odd, and the “relationship” between her, and De Niro is kind of weird. Oh and let’s not forget to mention, 50 Cent is here too, and he does whatever he does.

Consensus: De Niro and Pacino do all they can with this material, but the can only do so much until they fall victim to a run-of-the-mill, dull, and disappointing thriller.

4/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!

The Deer Hunter (1978)

I always thought Russian roulette was a card game???

In this Oscar-winning epic from director Michael Cimino, a group of working-class friends decides to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam War and finds it to be hellish chaos — not the noble venture they imagined. Before they left, Steven (John Savage) married his pregnant girlfriend — and Michael (Robert De Niro) and Nick (Christopher Walken) were in love with the same woman (Meryl Streep). But all three are different men upon their return.

Now let me just point this out that I thought I was going to like this film, cause it won Best Picture, and has got two of my favorite actors, but never did I think I would love it as much as I do.

The most praise goes to director Michael Cimino, who later became one of the worst in the world of cinema, he directs so well here. The film starts out as these guys are all together hanging out, having a good time, then it snaps right to the war zone, where people are being killed left and right. In many films, this kind of stuff has been done, and gone totally wrong, but here, it doesn’t seem wrong at all, it helps the film so much more than you would think. The early moments are perfect, as they show how real guys interact in a small-knit community, in a very realistic way, and then when it turns to the war zone it shows the true horrors of war, and how it can affect everyone involved.

I love how the screenplay was perfectly written to show everything just as it is. This is an anti-war film, that shows the real effects it can have on people after the war. These guys were all nice, happy, and optimistic, but when they get back, their all nuts, depressed, or just down-right delusional to the real world. It’s not so much true as it is heart-breaking to see how the aftermath of war really is. It gets very very violent, but it just realistically shows how the war zone was, and how these soldiers feel when they were out there. We are thrown into hell, and left without a map, therefore we are supposed to fend for ourselves, much like these soldiers had to do.

I was most attached to this film because its characters were pitch-perfect, almost everything about them makes you want to see them live on. Robert De Niro, in one of his most underrated performances, is perfect here as the tough as nails guy before the war, and almost even worse when he comes out. He plays it so perfectly, and you still sympathize with him. Christopher Walken, as always is perfect, and got an Oscar for this, which was totally deserved. There are so many scenes where he’s great, but there’s one scene where he’s asked what his name is, and he is so overcome with emotion, that he can’t even get the words out. A perfect scene, with a perfect actor there to deliver it. John Savage is good, and although I wish I saw more of him, I was still glad with what I saw. Poor John Cazale was on his last limb in this movie, but he’s great, and has a couple of great scenes, and it sucks that he died so early in his career, cause he could have done so much better. Meryl Streep doesn’t have that many lines, but you can always tell what her character is thinking, and by the end she gets better. All characters in one way or another, are effected by the war, and how their lives change was shown so greatly. I liked how from the get-go Cimino introduces us to these characters, and before he gets right to the action, we get to know, and love all these characters before their lives change, which I loved, cause even then, I was more effected. Everything comes together in a last act, and final image that will just have you shaking by just how truly effecting this film really is.

People will complain how its over 3 hours, but in all honesty, I wish it went longer. My only complaint was that they made the film too one-sided-point-of-view, and only showing how De Niro’s character saw everything. I wish we saw all three, but none the less, it was still great.

Consensus: The Deer Hunter deserved all the Oscars it got because of its heart-breaking, but true realities of life, and life after war, with great performances from the cast, stellar direction from Cimino, and ultimately one of the best stories about the war on Vietnam of all-time.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!!!

Awakenings (1990)

Imagine almost every patient from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest couldn’t talk, and you got this movie.

Based on the true story, medical researcher Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams) attempts to treat a group of patients who’ve laid comatose in a Bronx hospital for 30 years. Sayer prescribes an experimental drug, and it works. Robert De Niro co-stars as a patient unconscious since adolescence who must come to terms with life as an adult.

The story is your typical inspiring story, that somehow works, even though you don’t know how.

I had a problem with this film and it was that it was way too slow, especially in the beginning. The whole beginning is basically about Williams becoming this doctor in this psych-ward, but it never held my interest for as long as the 30 minutes had it. It starts slow and never really picks up the pace, except a couple of times.

Although I will say one thing about this movie, and that is that it is quite moving. Its a great and timeless story of this catatonic person who is finally being awakened after 20 years so of course its going to pull some heart strings. By the end of the film, there are some powerful scenes that make you think twice about these people, and the potential they have rather than just what they look like.

It just never got too touching and moving for me. Call me cold-hearted, call me what you will, but I just didn’t think the story of these handicapped people effected me as much as it could have, mostly cause it focuses on how crazy they actually are.

The one thing that brought me into this film was the two great performances from Williams and De Niro. Robin Williams is all laid back and at times I couldn’t but it, but then by the end of the film he started to win me over with his powerful performance. The one who surely knocks it out of the park is De Niro, who gives all these slight tics as this handicapped person, and it doesn’t feel put-on or a gimmick, it actually looks and feels real. I was more moved by the relationship these two had with each other cause every time they were on-screen together, their friendship felt genuine, and it worked the most.

Consensus: Awakenings has a similar story that is like plenty of other dramas of this nature, and does get a bit slow, but features two great performances that convey great deal of emotions that work in the films favor.

8/10=Matinee!!!!

Casino (1995)

One of Scorsese’s best, and most underrated.

Martin Scorsese draws on Nicholas Pileggi’s book about Las Vegas in the 1970s and ’80s as inspiration for his tale contrasting the city’s glamorous exterior with its sordid interior fueled by excess — and the mob. Against this backdrop, the story chronicles the rise and fall of a casino owner with mob connections (Robert De Niro), his friend and Mafia underboss (Joe Pesci) and an ex-prostitute with expensive taste and a driving will (Sharon Stone).

Upon a first viewing, you would think of it as a companion piece to Goodfellas, mostly cause its about the mob, and De Niro and Pesci are mobsters in both.

The thing with Scorsese and this film is that he is one of those directors that has a vision, and just goes for it whether or not people like it. The film is fast, featuring the over-the-top narration that could almost be viewed as a docudrama. It moves on so quick and fast that its so hard not to lose track of the time, because what you think has been 20 minutes into the movie, is just the first 10. The film is written in such a way, that most of it is given to characters, and getting inside the business of the mob, so you know exactly how everything is handled in this business. You feel like you’re sitting across the table from an ex-casino manager as he tells stories and random facts about how things in Vegas really were.

The problem with this film, and it was kind of a problem for me just a bit, was that the film didn’t break too much grounds. It does a little bit what Goodfellas did 5 years earlier. You have the excessive violence, realistic screenplay, look inside the mob, and even narration from its main character, that all Goodfellas has. I don’t think with this film that Scorsese brought out any new points to make about the mob cause he did already make them earlier, and that is what causes this film to get barely any recognition.

The acting in here is what makes this film, the best. De Niro plays the character we all love him as, he goes through so many emotions as this guy that we can see how realistic his character really is. Pesci is also great playing the hard-boiled little guy that we all love and know him for. The scenes with them two are just great, cause you can see the chemistry these two have, and how good they are is just one sight to see the most. Sharon Stone also give the knockout performance in this movie bringing a lot of heart, but by the end more havoc, and she goes through this whole transformation as a character, and it seems believable rather than just made for story purposes.

Consensus: Casino doesn’t break any new grounds mostly due to Goodfellas, but is still a fast-paced information mobster flick, with a terrific direction from Scorsese, and memorable performances by the trio of leads.

9.5/10=Fulll Pricee!!!

The Untouchables (1987)

Not a great gangster flick, but a good one none the less.

G-man Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) will stop at nothing to take down legendary gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) — even if it means bending some rules and breaking some bones! Sean Connery steals the show with his performance of a tough-as-nails Chicago street cop who shows Ness the ropes.

There is a lot of effort put into this film to put a spin on the gangster film genre with a big budget, ambitious and authentic look of the 1930s, and a script by the great David Mamet. Too bad its not what you would expect.

The major flaw of this film is that it thinks it’s more creative than it is. De Palma’s stated goal was to create a twist on the gangster film genre, which no prior to him had actually ended the Al Capone story in the true fashion. But he thinks that gives him license to play up all of the conventions of the genre as if the ending then will shock and make-up for the deficiencies of the genre. However, the ending is not surprising and the bulk of the plot feels forced, scenes in the church, criminals with no aim, the corrupt police officers, an abstraction of right and wrong in the face of heavy injustices.

De Palma is a good director but for me this isn’t his type of work. i’ll give him one thing he does a good job here at directing especially one great slow-mo action shot, but cannot keep up with his story, and takes too much style over it. The film at times, came off as way too corny, and in my opinion could have been played out a whole lot better.

I will say that the look and feel of this film is what makes it reasonable. It look exactly like the 30s with all of the little details about the city of Chicago during this time. Also, the writing at times isn’t great, but the story keeps on going so it made me pretty entertained as it was going on.

Mostly it was the performances that did it for me. Costner in one his first big roles, plays Ness as a young guy who at first is cocky, then changes into still being nervous about his career and what he wants to do. I was disappointed by De Niro, cause I felt he really wasn’t in the film that much to create a hateful villain. I was upset that he also didn’t get to use his charm at all, and played a very routine Capone. The one who steals the show for me is Connery who come sinto the movie, and is everything you want in a great teacher: funny, smart, and all around tough. There are lines in this film that are funny mostly due to Connery’s great deliverance.

Consensus: The Untouchables is well-acted, nicely written, and overall highly entertaining, but is a disappointing film with De Palma’s failed direction, and use of being too corny.

8/10=Matinee!!!

Heat (1995)

A long ass movie that didn’t need to be an long ass movie.

De Niro plays Neil McCauley, a professional burglar who is a calm and methodical introvert, while Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, veteran LAPD homicide detective whose explosive temper and devotion to his job causes him to neglect those closest to him.

For a long time now I have been just craving the time and effort to watch this film, now that I have seen it, I can finally stop wondering if it is great or not.

I have to give director Michael Mann credit here because he takes the old story about two people stuck in their lives, and puts in a different seat, and fresher approach. The film had some great and exciting action scenes in it with plenty of the crazy shootouts that we all know and love Mann for.

I enjoyed how well the script moved along with such a long movie. This film goes into great detail about how a score is taken down and how law enforcement track their prey. The action is there and plenty of times but the film gives their characters and story enough time to talk and be a three-dimensional character. The screenplay is written so witty, truly, and also very compelling.

The complaint I had with this film was that it was 171 minutes, when it should have been about 150 minutes or less. There are a lot of powerful scenes that keep your interest as the film goes on, but there are sometimes where nothing at all except for talking happens. I did enjoy a lot of the talking but the rest was very lack luster and didn’t quite enjoy me as much. The film had a couple of scenes where it just lagged on completely cause there really was nothing else going on. In my opinion, Mann should have at least cutted out 45 minutes of this film and left the better scenes in there.

Now the main reason for this film to be seen is cause its De Niro and Pacino’s first-time on-screen together, even though its only for about 10 minutes. I liked how all the scenes they were given were not just to play off of each other but more of to play themselves and give their own look at the character. The one scene where they finally meet is just a great scene that almost every film buff should watch if they want to see greatness.

Consensus: Though a lot of it should have been cut out, Heat still packs those 171 minutes with a well-written script, exciting action, and most of all 2 great performances from De Niro and Pacino.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!

Taxi Driver (1976)

De Niro can get so god-damn creepy sometimes.

Martin Scorsese crafts a gripping vision of urban decay and insanity in which mentally unstable Vietnam vet Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) drives a cab through the sleaziest streets of gentrified New York City and befriends a child hooker (Jodie Foster).

This is honestly a film that everybody kept telling me I should see but never got a chance to. Now that I have finally had the chance to actually see this, they will finally shut up.

There is this constant paranoia that the character Bickle goes through, and there are plenty of moments where you can see it. The music adds a lot to the mood and feeling of how Bickle is, and gives you this feeling that just nothing is right with this person, and the world he lives in. Throughout the first part of the movie, it plays the same piece of music over and over again (to reflect the repetitiveness of Travis’s life, maybe?), but the music gets more unsettling as movie progresses.

I liked how the gritty look actually got me involved with the setting. The film is set in the early 70s in New York, filled with drugs, crime, prostitutes, and most of all maniacs such as Bickle. It has brilliant shots of Bickle driving around in his taxi cab with some even more beautiful shots of a gritty, but realistic New York at the time.

The one problem I had with the film was that the film has about two plots. The one about him trying to assassinate the president candidate, and the one about him trying to save Foster from a life of damnation. I think that the one with Foster was a lot more stronger than the assassination one, and although it comes later in the film, the Foster story should have been the only plot other than the other one.

Robert De Niro’s portrayal of this Travis Bickle is damn-near spotless; when the character looks like crap after many sleepless nights, Rob looks like he actually feels the same way. He looks like, in real life, he’s going through the same things that Travis is going through in the movie. Also, Jodie Foster is also very good, and shows that an early age she could still knock it out of the park.

The ending is not confusing but as much as it is debatable. I didn’t understand what the ending was supposed to mean if anything, but I guess it’s just one of those endings that are just up to debate.

Consensus: Taxi Driver is a very dark film backed by an incredibly disturbing performance from De Niro, and a fearless direction from Scorsese, but focuses too much on one plot when the strongest plot comes by the end.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

Cop Land (1997)

I highly doubt any of these guys would be cops at all.

When a local patrolman is implicated in a controversial shooting in a small New Jersey town, put-upon sheriff Freddy Heflin teams up with Lt. Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) to investigate a connection between the mob and the NYPD officers who live in the town. Sylvester Stallone delivers a dramatic performance in this arresting crime thriller as Freddy. Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta also star.

Cop Land is a cop drama that is filled with a lot of those cliches that always rid every single cop film like this. The us vs them mentality, dirty cops, and most of all down-on-his luck cop. I mean I have seen this story plenty and plenty of times, and I just wish a bit more was added on to this film to make its story seem more and more fresh.

But the real reason for seeing this film is its rich plot. The story has plenty of twists and turns that actually keep you interested. The film doesn’t try to act like Goodfellas or The Godfather with its mob tie-ins, it more of acts like itself with some really nice set-up suspenseful scenes.

I liked how the film didn’t just try to show one story and just leave it at that. No, it had all these three exciting stories all having to do something with crime and justice, and putting them all together at the end. It actually felt like three NYPD Blues episodes put into one long film but it didn’t feel like a TV show and actually had a lot of depth added to it.

Sylvester Stallone totally gets rid of his macho action star look that he has done for so long in this rare but effective dramatic role. He gives this down-and-out cop we have seen time and time again, but adds an extra dimension to this character as we understand who he used to be and who he is now. The only problem I had with this huge ensemble cast is that not all of them were quite used as well as Stallone. I mean each does get a considerable amount of screen-time, but they aren’t as focused on as Stallone and I would have liked to see more of these characters lives instead of just one part of them.

The problem with this film by the end actually kind of killed the momentum it had going for it. I think the ending as predictable as it was, should have been made in a different far more realistic way. I mean its very very sappy, and doesn’t quite feel right in the film.

Consensus: Cop Land has its obvious cliches and bad ending, but features a fun and interesting story, backed by an effective dramatic performance from Stallone, but not enough time was given to the others in my opinion.

7.5/10=Rental!!

The King of Comedy (1982)

Celebrities: sometimes we love them, sometimes we hate them, but mostly we’re obsessed with them.

Director Martin Scorsese hits a satirical bulls-eye in this black comedy that explores the absurd lengths to which nebbish Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) will go to land a spot on the TV talk show of his idol, Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). Pupkin believes that one appearance on Langford’s show will be his ticket to stardom, so he kidnaps his idol and sets into motion a chain of events you have to see to believe!

The film has a comedy look in the title and in the poster but if anything it’s a lot more of a serious look into the world of being a fan.

The film shows Pupkin as a very strange, obsessive guy who will never take no for an answer. The one thing I liked in this film was that it gives you this strange claustrophobic feeling within this guy’s head. You see how he lives and goes off on talking about celebrities, and it actually makes you think about some of the biggest fans in the world, are sometimes the creepiest.

The way the film is structured is to show us to what stardom can do to you. Our desire to become so famous is so strong, and so intense that it makes us delusional, and think of things that are in the real world and what are not.

De Niro does gives probably one of his most bizarre performances of his career, and shows that he can be so uncomfortable, and strange that it can actually start to have an effect on us. Jerry Lewis gives a good performance here as the celebrity that has so much anger to hide that when it comes out, he goes really really insane.

The ending is what kind of ruined it for me in a way. I think that the ending could have been a bit more clear to its approach to its subject material and actually had me a bit confused. Was this reality or fiction?

Consensus: An unexplained ending, but The King Of Comedy has two equally-matched performances, very dark look into the world of obsession, and a hidden gem from Scorsese.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

Jackie Brown (1997)

God damn do I love Tarantino!!!!!!

Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is an aging flight attendant who smuggles cash on the side. But when she’s busted and pressured to help with an investigation, she plans to play the opposing forces against each other and walk away with the dough. Others include Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert Forster, and Robert De Niro.

This film was made 3 years after Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Both of them have almost the same qualities: colorful characters, gritty life styles, twists and turns, and highly inventive dialogue.

I think this is one of the movie’s that show Tarantino at his best. Savoring the words and little details of behavior that make his characters so colorful and memorable. The film has all these different characters in one way or another all meet up and each scene is so memorable, cause you have these characters that you already know from their dialouge and both different personalities meet in all these different situations, and how it all happens is just perfect.

When I first heard about this film with Pam Grier as the lead cast, and the theme song “Across 110th Street”, I was expecting this to be Tarantino’s riff on blaxploitation films. However, I didn’t get that at all. Grier plays this run-down airline attendant who is tired and may lose the last job she’s ever going to get, and mostly worried about the subject of getting old. She is so laid back and smart, that you really do root for this woman, and just wish that she comes out on top.

The rest of the cast is really good too. Samuel L. Jackson does one of his better jobs as a lead bad guy who is so vicious and cruel, that at times you start to actually like him. But out of the whole cast, Robert Forster does one of the best jobs in a supporting role as a bail bondsman. The other main story is the love interest between Jackie Brown and Forster, and for those little scenes they have on screen together the chemistry is very rich and feels real. I’m still wondering how this didn’t revive their careers.

I mean for me this is not one of my favorites as a problem I had with his other film, Inglorious Basterds. That one as this, has so much damn talking, and none of it really leads to anything climactic. The suspense for the film was great and kept me on the edge of my seat of what was going to happen next, but the unnecessary scenes and talking sort of became too much of an annoyance for myself.

To say this is better than Pulp Fiction would be insane, but maybe a bit better Reservoir Dogs, and definitely Grindhouse. For people who love Tarantino check this one out because it will have everything you love from him, and maybe more, just minus some of the crazy violence.

Consensus: Jackie Brown has the charm and wit in the screenplay, with great acting, and a suspenseful story, but just needed to cut down on that talking in order to keep me more entertained.

9/10=Full Priceee!!!!

Mean Streets (1973)

Scorsese doing what Scorsese does best.

Charlie (Harvey Keitel) deals with the pressures of working his way up the ranks of a local mob, while coping with his family’s disapproval of his epileptic girlfriend (Amy Robinson). Meanwhile, his small-time gambler friend, Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro), threatens to ruin Charlie’s reputation with debts to a loan shark.

So this is the third film by Scorsese, and once again he is takling the subject of mobsters in New York. This is probably his first as you can see when watching it.

The film is highly original and features a lot of Scorsese’s trademarks that would show in plenty of his later films. First of all the screenplay is so well-written and real. The way it is written as if this was real-life, the characters are serious when they want to be, even funnier when they want to be, and a lot of just all seems real and believable.

The soundtrack is great it is filled with some amazing and eclectic music ranging from orchestra, to jazz, and then to like old pop. The songs layer out all of the scenes and add a lot more style and excitement into that one particular scene.

I also liked the setting and how it basically felt like a character itself. If you want a film to see what Little Italy looked like in 1973, here it is. It is filmed with such a gritty look, that makes this film seem so real and a lot more nasty and cruel than what it tries to give us.

The only problem I had with this film was the way it was filmed. I thought that Scorsese tried to go back and forth in between scenes way too many times, to where I was kind of confused. They never really give us a chance to soak the story in, and I felt rushed to learn everything about this film and its characters right away or I was going to be lost.

The ending also felt a little too rushed and didn’t really serve any true meaning or message. It felt rushed and a little too quick for and ending.

Harvey Keitel shows off some great leading man strength in one of his earlier films here. But the best in the film is De Niro who gives this look at a guy who’s so cocky, and so dastardly, that you wanted to cheer him on, despite he was such a dick.

Consensus: Mean Streets is highly original with great acting, a wild soundtrack, and a beautiful setting, but feels a bit too rushed and not all that there with its message.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!!!!

Raging Bull (1980)

Proof that you don’t fuck with Robert De Niro!

Raging Bull stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer whose sadomasochistic rage, sexual jealousy, and animalistic appetite exceeded the boundaries of the prizefight ring, and destroyed his relationship with his wife and family. Also featured in the film are Joe Pesci as Joey, La Motta’s well intentioned brother and manager who tries to help Jake battle his inner demons, and Cathy Moriarty as his abused teen-aged wife.

So when it comes to boxing films, none can ever top my favorite, and probably everybody else’s, Rocky. That film is one of the timeless classics that the whole family can watch and recite for years and years to come. However, when watching this boxing classic take the family away.

Raging Bull is the best sports film of all-time, close to one of the greatest but you know me I can’t go that far yet. I mean there are so many reasons why it’s just great but I just don’t know how to put it all out.

This is a film that is way different from many other sports films. We never get a look at La Motta’s childhood, we just see him when he becomes a star, and then to where it starts to die out. This is great cause we get a sense that this guy was always like this and really was never happy.

The whole film is beautifully filmed in black-and-white, and to be truly honest it couldn’t have worked any other way. The fighting scenes are what is mostly perfect about the look, cause they are shot in such unrelenting and graphic detail that I really did fully get an idea of exactly what boxing is all about. This whole film looks so realistic that I actually felt like I was in the 40’s with La Motta at the time all this was going down.

One of the main reasons why this film is so great is because of De Niro. Obviously, La Motta is a real person, but De Niro takes this real person and turns into what I may say one of the best characters ever captured on film. His performance is so wonderful that at the end I totally forgot that this was De Niro, and felt like I was just watching La Motta himself. His temper is short and there are plenty of scenes where he just loses it, and you, the viewer, are even scared just watching this man. But one of the better reasons why he is so great, is cause the character himself is so unsympathetic. Now this is what I love to see in movies that is played real well here. Here we have a guy who just doesn’t give a shit about what he does: he cheats on his wife plenty of times, beats the crap out of anyone he wants to, basically just doesn’t care what other people have to say about him cause he knows they will get destroyed by him, and at the end of the day he will say “FUCK YOU!”. This is the kind of character that I want to see in any film, De Niro plays this character with such anger and aggression, that I’m not just scared of this man, but I also have to just say he is one of the greatest tragic hero’s in any film still to this day. Also, the supporting cast with Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty who do their very best jobs just to at least handle this crazy S.O.B.

But surely this film wouldn’t even be amazing without one of the greatest, Martin Scorsese. You can just tell with every single scene he is just swinging for the bleachers and is trying so hard to make this film as effective as still is today. He shows us the little spaces in between the high points, but mostly its a film about a life and the end of it, and what is left to say. I was just right away destroyed by the film even as it started, with those beautiful and glorious opening credits, don’t tell me that doesn’t just deserve a 10/10 itself. Honestly, I will never watch another Scorsese film without thinking of this and to be truly honest, nothing that he does in the future will ever, and I mean ever come close to this beautiful piece of work.

Consensus: Without a doubt one of Scorsese’s best films of all-time, that shows a life that is filled with violence and anger, that is often too hard to watch. De Niro plays his greatest role ever as La Motta the unsympathetic hero, and puts so much depth into this performance, that I really felt like I knew who this man truly was.

10/10=Full Priceee!!!!

Marvin’s Room (1996)

Leonardo DiCaprio can honestly be one annoying little shit!!!

The tables are turned when straight-laced Bessie (Diane Keaton) — who devotes her life to caring for her chronically ill father (Hume Cronyn) — must ask her estranged, bohemian sibling (Meryl Streep) for help after Bessie suffers a health catastrophe.

Never in my life have I seen a more touching and delicate little film about the biggest thing in life, dieing. Throughout the film I couldn’t help but be reminded of the 1993 film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, also with Leo. Both have the same themes of love, but that one was so much better than this.

Marvin’s Room has some little nice touches of humor and drama. The scenes of humor all come from Robert De Niro and Dan Hedaya as the brother combination in the doctor’s office. I thought some of these scenes we’re funny, but after awhile they just started to get too repetitive and way too lame. I think they were trying a little way too hard on making this a light-hearted drama with comedy that would stick, but in all honesty it didn’t really quite work.

The main problem I had with this film was how annoying Leo was in this film. Honestly, I love Leo and all the films he does but in this one he really is one of the most annoying characters I have ever seen in a film. He whines and complains so many times throughout the whole film, and I really have no clue why nobody did anything and slap his ass up. If that was my kid he would be so blue, people would think he was a cut-scene from the Smurfs. He acts very bi-polar during the whole film, but it tries to act like that we don’t even suspect and just tries to cover it up with a little message of a lost father.

I liked the story between the two sisters (Keaton and Streep), I thought that this was the main strong point of the film and really did add a lot more emotional depth to the story. I realized how much these two missed out on, and you can tell by the way they speak with one another that they really do miss what they both could have had as sisters.

Keaton does the best job out of this whole cast and really shines. She adds a lot more depth, and makes this one-dimensional character very bold and likable, and mostly a person that we all cheer for and love. Meryl Streep does well also, but I don’t think she quite gave it her all in this film, and really did shine away with what could have been a really good chemistry on screen.

C0nsensus: Marvin’s Room tries to be funnier than it actually is, but is a touching if at times stiff, look at the fate and reality of death.

6.5/10=Rentall!!!!