22 Oct 2011

Angels and Gangsters

So after a day of chainsawing and trying to kill dogs it's time to write. 
American Gangsters (2007)
American Gangster stars  Denzil Washington and Russell Crowe. It also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (that's pronounced "Chew-it-tell Edge-oh-for") who I recently watched in the visceral TV thriller  The Shadow Line.  I think Mr. Chiwetel an excellent actor and he is a draw card for me in choosing whether to watch a film. 

  The movie is based on a true story about Frank Lucas (Washington) who controls a gang in Harlem, and Richie Roberts (Crowe) an ambitious, yet honest New york cop in 1960s New York.  

Frank has a cousin who owns a bar in Bangkok. Through him Frank arranges with the Vietnamese gangs to buy  Heroin directly from the opium growers, then import the drugs to his organisation. This cuts out the various middle men and the Mafia. Frank then imports the Heroin into the states using army transports. 

Richie is a vice cop struggling  against police corruption, and trying to convince his superiors that a black man is capable of this level of organised crime. 

It is an interesting story, more so for being based on truth. The real Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts assisted with the films production. It makes for an interesting period piece about the transformation of the drug trade in America and the decline of the Mafias dominance in organised crime. The performances are what you expect from Crowe and Washington, solid and believable, if a little old hat.

me at 142 minutes.
American Gangsters is a very long movie however. The pacing of the narrative does it no favours after the second hour, especially considering that there is another 37 minutes to go. 

Maybe it could have ended with the arrest of Frank Lucas, but the story continues with Lucas helping the police with investigations into police corruption. 

Long movies are not necessarily bad, but you need good pacing and structure to hold the audiences attention. American Gangster has this to a point, but loses it completely after the arrest of Lucas and the movie starts to drag terribly.

The length detracts from the movie a lot, and we were all shifting in our seats after a while. 

I give it six sleepy monkeys.

11 Oct 2011


Apologies if this post is a we bit rough. I have some sort of bug which is disorientating. But I am also bored so thee you are.

When I was a lad TVNZ put on a spectacle of modern technology.

Up until then 3D had been the stuff of folklore. Something that only happened in America, like drive in movies and those burger places where the waitresses served you in your car on roller skates. But here we were about to experience it in the comfort of our own homes.

It was a old 3D movie that they were going to show prime time. I think you had to buy special 3D glasses from BP, I could be wrong on the BP, but I remember you had to buy them.

Any way my rather clever brother said he would make us some. So he did. And mum made proper popcorn in a pan and we sat down to watch "GORILLA AT LARGE". 

Sadly I dot recall my brothers glasses working.  But I suspect that was because it didn't work.  Ever since then my experiences with 3D have been mixed. The only movie I think it has been really successful was the movie most love to hate, Avatar. For me at least it was a good 3D experience, and i suspect for many other movie goers as 3D is now the latest Hollywood fad.

3D is not new, you can trace the concept back to the silent era. There was an early attempt in 1915, and was deemed a failure.  Almost 100 years later technology is making that idea an commercial success.

The re-release of the Disney success The Lion King  in 3D gave the over 30 million in the opening weekend. hey are primes to re release four movie films, including Finding Nemo in 3D.  So expect more to come, especially if you are a parent.

3D looks like it's here to stay, at least for the meanwhile. I wonder what other experiments that failed in the past will re-emerge? I understand there is a scratch and sniff film coming out.

But amongst my readers, who out there likes 3D? do you think it is a fad, or a technological marvel?

I am interested to know.

until then BYE