Andy's Recent Reviews
A man tries to get from New York to Chicago in time to spend thanksgiving with his family. Along the way there is disaster at every turn and he spends most of the time with an annoying (but kind-hearted) doofus also heading for Chicago. Steve Martin is excellent as the straight man with a short fuse, and equally good is John Candy as the lovable loser who means well but gets on Martin's nerves. These characters have greater depth than what we're first expected, and the chemistry between these leads is what drives the movie. It's a great adventure with many laughs, and I was genuinely touched with the heart this movie showed.
'Dennis the Menace' on crack.
Andy's Favorite Movies
Before 1990, Martin Scorsese had already released not one, but two absolute masterpieces in the form of 'Taxi Driver' (1976) and 'Raging Bull' (1980) respectively. Very few directors have created even one film that can match the greatness of either of these films such is how remarkable Scorsese's achievement is. However Mr. Scorsese wasn't done. In 1990 he returned to the world of gangsters he had previously visited in 'Mean Streets' and released yet another superb, brilliant, astounding, amazing and down right awesome masterpiece called 'GoodFellas'. While 'Mean Streets' touched upon the way gangsters work, 'GoodFellas' gives the closest, in-depth, in-your-face, look in the world of the mafia in America than any other movie ever. The film opens with goodfellas, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), Tommy DeVito (Jow Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) opening the boot of their car to find the bloody body of a "made-man" they tried to "wack" is still alive, so they finish the job with a few stabs of the knife and a few shots of the pistol. Henry closes the boot door and his voice-over narrates "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster". This opening is a perfect way to set up the movie. It throws the viewer straight into the world of gangsters with intensity and violence. This is the tone of the entire film and Scorsese never hold's up. The performances are realistic and believable. Everyone is so good. Liotta in the lead role of Henry is fascinating as he takes us along a ride, showing us his life of royalty, getting whatever he wants by way of violence. This is how gangsters live, there is no sugar-coating. Robert De Niro as Jimmy gives a cool, yet cold and intimidating performance. Once the police are on his tail, his paranoia is quite scary. Only De Niro could pull it off so perfectly. But the film's best performance comes from Joe Pesci as the unpredictable, violent psychopathic Tommy. He can change mood at the weirdest times. Laughing and joking around with friends, Henry calls him a funny guy...big mistake. 'Taxi Driver' and 'Raging Bull' showed us what Scorsese was capable of; telling dark, fascinating character-studies with great technique. But 'GoodFellas' surpasses even those masterpieces. It's a film that is usually labelled one of the greatest gangster films of all time. But it's more than a gangster film. It's a film where technique takes a simple story and erupts into an amazing movie-going experience, and a work of art. Scorsese uses all his powers; whip-pans, crash zooms, slow motion, jump cuts, time-lapse, freeze frames, narration and an awesome soundtrack. If there ever was such a thing as the single greatest movie ever, my choice is 'GoodFellas'.
"Perfection" is a word that is often used in movie reviews to describe a really good film, but rarely often does the movie amount to the description. In the case of 'The Godfather, Part II', the movie really, truly is an example of perfection. I can't stress that enough, it's perfect, perfect, PERFECT! As a cinema lover, a film nerd if you will, like anyone who thoroughly appreciates movies, personally I can't believe how good this movie is. It's a masterpiece! 'The Godfather, Part II' is often recognised as "The best sequel ever made". Well, no shit. But to simply label it as such is doing it a great disservice. It not only far exceeds its predecessor, 'The Godfather' (a film which is rightly considered one of the best films ever), but stands alone as a tremendous achievement in filmmaking. Director, Francis Ford Coppola intertwines two stories that run parallel with each other. One story is of the rise of a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), whilst the other is about his son Michael's (Al Pacino) attainment of power and how he rules his empire with an iron fist. Coppola ingeniously switches between stories throughout the film so they compare the father and son, their similarities and huge differences. You may remember that Part I was about a man's inner struggle and change, how he attains power. In Part II he is a ruthless leader who rules with an iron fist. The movie's cast is first class, but its De Niro and Pacino who stand out. The two have since become widely regarded as two of the best screen actors of all time. It was fitting that at that point of their respective careers that they were to star together in a masterpiece of this magnitude. The don't share any screen time though, that didn't happen until 1995's 'Heat'. Admittedly they are my favourite actors ever, but it's this movie, along with several others, that made me take notice. De Niro deservingly bagged an Oscar for his effort playing the younger version of Vito, a character Marlon Brando also won an Oscar for in the first film. He not only imitates Brando's mannerisms, but brings his own energy and ability to the role. Pacino's portrayal as the tortured Michael, well... it was like it just reached out of the screen and grabbed me by the throat and stared into my very being. In my honest opinion, Pacino not only gives the best performance of his illustrious career, but it's the best acting performance in any movie, ever. He gives a performance of brutally tied-down restraint. The upstanding war hero of the first film has become a devil. A man at war with himself. Everything he does is for the protection of his family, but in doing so, he loses sight of it. It's utterly disgraceful that the Academy didn't give him a well-earned Oscar for his portrayal of Michael. Disgusting, even. Anyway combine the brilliance of Coppola's direction, the amazing cast, Pacino and De Niro's performances, Mario Puzo's story, and Nino Rota's haunting score, and a brilliant ending, and you have perfection. It's one of my favourite movies of all time, surpassed only by Martin Scorsese's 'GoodFellas', but only by a little, and it's one of the greatest movies ever made. It deserves a hell of a lot more than its placing at #32 on AFI's list of America's best movies.