Archive for the C Category

CITY OF GOD (2002) Fernando Meirelles

Posted in C on April 10, 2010 by moviemoses

People that have read my reviews knows I am not a huge fan of gangster movies.  I mean I like them, and I certainly recognize the significance of movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas, but I don’t enjoy them as say, other people do.  So take this from someone who is not a huge fan of the genre: City of God is one of the best.

Many reviews have linked City of God to Goodfellas and I suppose the comparisons are apt although I hate drawing those comparisons because they also draw extremely high expectations.  City of God is the name given to the housing project (slums) outside of Rio De Janeiro.  The story is based on a true story in which we follow Rocket who grows up in the City of God during the 60’s and 70’s.  Rocket is witness to the growing up of a local gangster and ruthless killer Lil Dice/Lil Ze.

Based on a true story doesn’t tell me how much is true and it is prone to, shall we say, exaggeration in the past.  But if there was a movie I believed more as being true than others it would be this one.  The story is so rich with such details of the environment and of fully fleshed out characters and complete motivations that it appears that most of the basic story is genuine.  There is not a moment which seems contrived or that a character does anything which does not seem in their nature.

The reason I like it so much is a reason I said before; it is a complete picture of a time and place.  The violence is brutal and it is shocking to see children being killers and drug dealers.  These kids are downright scary as they assume their roles as gangsters.  Even more depressing is the idea that nothing really changes by the end.  One set of gangsters leave, another takes its place.  The very area is so sh*tty, that to many crime is the best option to these people.  They are willing to accept a short but famous life than one of struggle and pain.  The one glimmer of hope is the success of Rocket.

I am never all that great at a glowing review, but this really is one of the great crime movies.  It may have seemed like a flavor of the month and Oscar Bait to many initially.  I just watched it and I think it is a movie that will stand the test of time.  Rent this movie, you will not be disappointed.

Advertisements

THE COLOR OF MONEY (1986) Martin Scorsese

Posted in C on April 10, 2010 by moviemoses

Let’s get this out of the way: The Hustler is a masterpiece. I’m sure people that have not seen the Hustler can see The Color of Money and enjoy it as nice sports movie starring Newman and Cruise.  Newman even won his first Oscar for this role (although I believe this was more a mia culpa by the Academy for not giving him the award sooner).  All that being said, I have seen the Hustler and this movie is weak weak follow up.

We join up with Fast Eddie who is selling liquor and runs into a brash pool player that reminds Eddie of himself when he was younger.  He takes Eddie on a road trip to teach him the finer points of hustling on the way to a big 9 ball tournament in Atlantic City.

First the look of the movie.  The Hustler was right in that pool has to be in black and white in musty smoke filled pool halls.  The bright greens and the vibrant colors Scorsese injects into the movie just don’t look right.  But it all just looks dated and lousy.  There is also a hell of a lot more pool playing in this movie (and that is not a good thing). Scorsese tries everything to make 9 ball interesting with compressed time, montages, extreme close ups, quick camera movements, and more montages but pool is just not that interesting to film. By the tenth game, you never want to see another 9 ball ever again.

Second, the story.  Really, didn’t we say all that needed to say with the first movie.  Eddie went through a change of character and learned his lesson by the end of it.  I don’t understand how Eddie reverts back to his old self and becomes a bastard again.  Tom Cruise’s character is a tool.  He is written to be brash and charming like a young Fast Eddie, but Cruise ramps it up and becomes such an unlikable prick he almost made the movie unwatchable.  We are supposed to feel sorry for Eddie manipulating him, but Tom is leaping around brandishing a pool cue like a samurai sword and it made me want to bitch slap him for months.  That’s another thing: no one (even Scorsese) knows what a true hustler is like.  Everyone is an over the top annoying bastard and not believable as real people with real motivations.

The real reason to watch the movie is Paul Newman.  He carries this entire movie as Fast Eddie.  We see him change from a sleezy hustler to a man who learns how to truly love and appreciate the sport.  He almost makes the movie watchable all by himself.  What disappoints me the most is this is coming from f*cking Martin Scorsese.  I can’t believe a director of his caliber could make such a shallow and flashy cash in.

I had more enjoyment watching the Direct to Video Poolhall Junkies.  At least that had Chazz Palmenteri being a badass and Christopher Walken giving a five minute monologue on lions.

This was an alright movie, but as I said before this is a huge disappointment after watching the Hustler.