American Gangster

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Denzel Washington (Best Actor Training Day) and Russell Crowe (Best Actor Gladiator) make a great pairing for a movie. It is a shame they didn’t have more scenes together. When they finally are together in the interrogation scene, it really is good, the subtle things like pushing the coffee cup back and forth across the table. Just wish there were more of it.

The story is about Frank Lucas and his rise to power as a gangster. Russell Crowe plays Richie Roberts, the honest detective in pursuit of him. Not to give to much away, but I would have have liked to have seen an additional 30 or 45 minutes to the movie and focus on everything that happened once Frank Lucas was caught. That would have added a lot to Denzel’s character and solved the problem of screen time together. As far as the actors and actresses go, Ruby Dee got a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Not really sure why, she was good in her role, but had very little screen time, and her confrontation scene with Denzel was good, but very short.

It sounds like I am being picky here, so don’t get me wrong, this is a very well done and enjoyable film. Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) does a great job giving the film that 70’s feel, especially with the dulled back, washed out color palate and costumes and garnered an Oscar nomination for Art Direction. Since I do have the special edition of this movie, I am looking forward to watching the director’s cut sometime and see what all was added. This is a film that is worth taking in for sure.

Memento

Memento

Memento is a movie that I never get tired of. At the time it came out, and still to this day it is something fresh and directed in a style that isn’t often done very well. Although Following also by Christopher Nolan was very effective in it’s “time cuts” it seemed to just lay the groundwork for Memento. A highly deserved film editing nomination for Dody Dorn, who had to be a near rocket scientist to put this together with the film being told backwards, then forwards, and back again.

Why was the film edited this way, well, I am  guessing most have seen this by now or heard of it. A man with short term memory loss, who has the inability to make new memories.The film literally goes backwards in 5 to 10 minute segments, and the plot is revealed as the main character Leonard, remembers things, or discovers them as he has tattooed key things about his wife’s murder all over his body. Just masterful in direction by Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) and Guy Pearce is incredible and probably at least deserved a best actor nomination for his efforts. If you have not seen this one, I highly recommend that you see it, but also a word of warning, be prepared to pay attention and take everything in. You will be glad you did.

Network

Network

Network. I am trying to think of a better over all acted movie, and it is
really hard to do. Every performance in this film is really outstanding.
Both William Holden (Best Actor for Stalag 17) and Peter Finch were both
nominated for Best Actor, of course Peter Finch taking the statue. Both were
just enthralling to watch. Faye Dunaway, won Best Actress for her role. She
is amazing and holds her own against the Hollywood heavyweights Holden and
Duvall. Which brings me to Robert Duvall, who probably should have got a
nomination for supporting actor. Even the small role of Ned Beatty earned
himself a nomination in that category. In fact my favorite line of the movie
isn’t the famous “I’m as mad as hell..” but the Beatty line ” The world is a
business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime.”
 Wow, enough about performances. With all the other awards this movie won,
kind of a shame it didn’t go on to win Bets Picture, but lost to Rocky. This
film is a great look at what TV stations will do for ratings. The
exploitation of a screaming madman sends rating through the roof. And comes
full circle as the TV network atcs out what a newsman was originally fired
for to begin with.
 Sydney Lumet is just masterful at pulling performances out of people. He
has been doing great movies for years, from 12 Angry Men in 1957 to Before
the Devil Knows Your Dead
in 2007, and plenty of greatness in between. Even
if you think you may not like this film, everyone should see it once and try
to understand it as it is one of the great movies of all time.