Tuesday, 6 January 2009

New year, new format. Hello film guide!

Hello all, apologies for not posting on this in a while. Christmas and other business took a priority over the wonders of internet blogging. First of all happy new year to all! And secondly over the course of my Christmas break I decided to deliver a more focused approach to the blog for 2009 and attempt to give you all definitive reviews and opinions of films you may or may not already know on pretty much a daily basis.

So in that respect I thought I would start off with the one, the only, the blantly obvious, the 3 film masterpiece (well two outta three at least), Mr Coppolla's esteemed Godfather Trilogy.

The Godfather



In a nutshell....
Cast, story and the overall making of the film was perfect. Some people will say its a "Critic's movie" and doesn't appeal to the general movie goer. Frankly that's bollocks. From witnessing the twilight period of Brando's Vito Corleone to the rise of Pacino's Michael is frankly fascinating viewing, topped with brilliant turns from James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and John Cazale. It has everything, drama, action, violence, suspense and even a bit of genuine love thrown in for the craic. Taking into account the movie was released in 1972 it hasn't aged one bit and captures a period of cinema that I as a movie goer am cursing I never got to witness first hand, back when it was all about the quality of the cinematography as oppose to the modern day "who-ha" of special effects and post editing. Its quite terrifying to think that Coppolla wasn't even Paramount's first choice for the director's seat, that said (and I'll probably get lynched for this) Sergio Leone would have done a top job had he not opted to do Once Upon A Time In America (another must-see) instead, and probably would of spared the world of Sofia Coppolla's god awful performance in Part III, that all said he probably would not have been able to assemble the cast we have today.

Stand out scene: All of it, but personal favourites of mine are James Caan's Sonny Corleone getting the shit blown outta him at the tollbooth, the climax coinciding with the christening and the scene in the restaurant (don't wanna give it away for people who haven't seen it but its simply great).

Stand out performance: Could say all the cast members but for me it was Robert Duvall's Tom Hagan, brilliant character.

Stand out quote: Hmm...this will get easier with lesser films...could go with all the clich├ęs such as "Make him an offer you can't refuse" but one that I always liked was Brando's Corleone saying "Do you spend time with your family? Good. Because a man that doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."

See this if you liked: Pretty much any Mafia film ever made.

So is it actually worth the bother? Even if you don't like it you might as well watch it to at least shut up the tits like me who never stop talking about it. But if you want the better movie I suggest you watch.....

The Godfather Part II


In a nutshell...
Released two years after the first instalment, it was possibly the first movie to be (in my opinion) better than the original. Set in two parallel time periods, the first charting Vito Corleone's rise to the godfather he had established by the beginning of the first movie and the second charting the events that follow 6 years on from the previous movie which ended with Pacino's Michael now the head of the Corleone family. One of the reasons I think this movie works better than the first movie is the almost Shakespearian journey (which is really mapped out over the whole trilogy) of Pacino's character from the calm and collected supreme mob boss to the completely delusional, paranoid man we see by the end of the movie who within moments loses all that was dear to him. For the second installment pretty much all of the original cast (that didn't die) returns with some notable additions such as the now legendary Robert De Niro replacing Marlon Brando is the flashback sequences for the younger years of Vito Corleone and Lee Starzburg as the .... antagonist (wasn't everyone a bad guy in this movie!?) of the piece Hyman Roth. Also worth mentioning is John Cazale's Fredo Corleno in this movie, which for all who has not seen it yet is worth seeing along with Diane Keaton's character who grows in stature and presence compared to the first film.

Stand out scene: This is my favourite of the trilogy and actually possibly my favourite film of all time, so I'd recommend all of it, more so than the first movie, but my favourite would have to be De Niro's Vito murdering Don Fanucci during a neighbourhood 'festa'.

Stand out performance: Like the original, everyone has their part and plays it to perfection but I'd go with Al Pacino.

Stand out quote: The obvious one would be this "There are many things my father taught me here in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." but purely for the class and brilliance of the scene I'd go with "I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!" (if you ain't seen it, do and you'll know what I'm talking about...).

See this if you liked: ....what do you mean you haven't seen it!?

So is it actually worth the bother? Yes. Yes it is. If you see only one Godfather movie in your lifetime make it this one. Of course if you want to understand this one, I'd suggest watch both after each other, and if you're really hardcore and just want more more more then watch this too....

The Godfather Part III


In a nutshell...
Well it was a good run while it lasted. That said I will be honest when I say, I enjoyed it as a stand alone movie as it was the first of the Godfather movies I saw back when I was about 12, when my dad was watching it on TV one night, granted it isn't without its criticisms such as mentioned earlier Sofia Coppola's god awful performance as Michael's daughter Mary Corleone along with about 80% of the original cast from the previous movie (again who didn't die...) failing to return, oh and George Hamilton. Set roughly 20 years after the last film, Michael Corleone now 59 has became quite philosophical and wise reaching (like his father in the first movie) the autumn period of his Mafia life, with the intention of getting out of the nasty business that has effectively destroyed his life and reduced him to no more than a cold heartless monster, as well as taking on a young protege to his empire in the form of Vincent Mancini. New (stand out) additions to the cast this time round besides Sofia and George is the brilliant Andy Garcia and Joe Mantegna (yeah that guy from Joan of Arcadia...). Unlike the previous films we start to witness a slightly gentler side to Michael personality, that sense of regret and guilt that has plagued him over the years where all the ones around him have simply been killed, died or been driven away through his own personal conflicts. Overall it's an extremely enjoyable movie, but it is always going to be the black smudge next to the brilliance of the previous two. Probably its main problem is it was made too late in comparison to the first two, which were made within quick succession of each other, oh that and the fact the quality of acting in the majority of the cast compared to the first two was simply colossal.

Stand out scene: The meeting in the casino of all the Mafia heads resulting in a swift nasty ending.

Stand out performance: Pacino and Keaton are this movie's saving grace but Garcia's Vincent Mancini is definitely worth a mention.

Stand out quote: The memorable one is probably "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in. " but my personal favourite was "I swear on the lives of my children, give me one last chance to redeem myself and I will sin no more. "

Is it actually worth the bother? If you seen the first two then yeah, the ending will give you complete closure, besides you don't buy a box set and not watch all the films, right?

That's it for today people, we've got the painfully obvious one out of the way first, so go out and watch these 3 movies right now!!!! Next time I will be reviewing...whatever DVD I pick up out of my collection first....

A.M

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