REVIEW: KILL THE IRISHMAN

CAST

Ray Stevenson (Punisher Warzone)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Tony Dartrow (The Sopranos)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes man)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Laura Ramsey (The Covenant)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
Mike Starr (Radio Days)

In 1960, Danny Greene and his childhood friends Billy McComber and Art Sneperger are longshoremen at the Cleveland docks. Meanwhile, the members are exploited by corrupt union boss, Jerry Merke and the leadership of the ILA union urges Greene to run against him. Meanwhile, Sneperger can’t pay a gambling debt to Cleveland Mafia Capo John Nardi. In return for Sneperger’s debt being forgiven, Greene supplies Nardi’s crew with goods stolen from the docks. Merke finds out, demands a cut of Greene’s profits, and then sends an enforcer to kill him. Instead, Greene beats up the enforcer, then beats up Merke, throws the union leader out of his office, and is later elected union president. He improves the working conditions at the docks while continuing his dealings with Nardi.Greene’s corruption is exposed by the Plain Dealer newspaper and Cleveland Police Detective Joe Manditski, who grew up with Greene in Collinwood, arrests him. Bankrupt and facing prison, Greene plea bargains to lesser charges in return for becoming an FBI informant and being banned for life from organized labor. Greene is released and moves his unhappy wife and daughters back to Collinwood. Nardi gets him work as an enforcer for Hungarian Jewish loan shark Shondor Birns, and later helps pitch a deal to Mafia Capo Jack Licavoli: Greene will force the city’s garbage haulers to join the union Licavoli controls. Greene, McComber, Sneperger, and ex-Hells Angel Keith Ritson terrorize many into joining, but Greene’s friend Mike Frato refuses. Licavoli orders Greene to kill Frato, but Greene balks because Frato has ten children. Nardi tells him privately, though, that, “You wanted to play in the big leagues. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t wanna do.”As Greene prepare’s to kill Frato with a car bomb, he learns from the FBI that Sneperger has returned to gambling, and has become an informant for Manditsky. That night, Greene assigns Sneperger to set the bomb under Frato’s car and presses the detonator as he does it. An enraged Frato later shoots at Greene in a park. Greene returns fire, kills Frato, and is arrested for murder, but released after Frato’s driver tells Manditski that Greene acted in self-defense. Having had enough, Greene’s long suffering wife leaves him and takes the children. Greene sees his elderly Irish neighbor, Grace O’Keefe, being evicted. He intervenes, pays her rent, and she gratefully gives him her father’s gold Celtic cross to wear for protection. Greene begins to use his money and connections to help other Irish-Americans in need, and earns the nickname “The Robin Hood of Collinwood”.Greene wants to open his own restaurant, and asks Shondor Birns to help him. Birns arranges a $70,000 loan from the Gambinos, but Birns’ courier buys cocaine with the money and gets arrested. Birns and Greene argue over which of them should pay back the money; when Greene refuses to pay, Birns hires a hitman to kill him. Greene narrowly escapes, and later kills Birns with a car bomb. After Mafia boss John Scalish dies, both Nardi and Licavoli are considered for succession. Licavoli is chosen due to his closer ties to the Five Families and decides to charge Greene 30% “street tax” for doing business in Cleveland. Greene refuses to pay, crudely mocks Licavoli’s Italian heritage, and vows, “The Irishman’s in business for himself now.” An outraged Licavoli has Greene’s house blown up, but he survives. He then attempts to demote Nardi and take away his crew, only to have the latter join forces with Greene. Vowing to take over Cleveland together, Greene and Nardi start by organizing the murders of Licavoli’s associates, many of whom are blown up. Thirty-six car bombings occur during the summer of 1976, drawing national attention and humiliating Licavoli. After failing multiple times to kill Greene, Licavoli is forced to humbly ask Genovese boss Anthony Salerno to help him kill Nardi and Greene.Having learned of this from the FBI, Greene claims that he wants to leave Cleveland and buy a ranch in Texas, but needs to raise $2 million. Wishing to size up their enemies, Greene and Nardi travel to New York and invite Salerno to invest in the ranch. After they leave, Salerno orders his associates to hire professional hitman Ray Ferritto to kill them both. Nardi is killed in a car explosion, McComber dies in a bombing at the Cleveland docks, and Ritson is shot near his house. Detective Manditski lets Greene know that a master killer is after him. He offers Greene protection, but is told, “My enemies will be taken care of.” After a dentist’s appointment on October 6, 1977, Greene notices Ferritto driving by slowly, and accepts that he is about to die, giving his gold cross to an admiring boy. Ferritto detonates a bomb on the car next to Greene’s, killing Greene instantly. An epilogue, by Manditski, reveals that the investigation of Danny Greene’s murder led to the collapse of the Mafia, not only in Cleveland, but all over the United States.I’m not a big fan of biopics or mobster films like this.  With that said the film is more fascinating and entertaining than most others of it’s type. The actors are all good and well cast, especially Stevenson. He’s always been a cool action bad ass in films before but here he’s really given a chance to show off his acting abilities and range. His performance combined with Hensleigh’s better than average directing make the film one definitely worth checking out. Probably especially if you’re a fan of the genre.

 

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REVIEW: McBAIN

CAST

Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Steve James (American Ninja)
María Conchita Alonso (Predator 2)
Victor Argo (Bad Lieutenant)
Thomas G. Waites (The Warriors)
Jay Patterson (Ted 2)
Luis Guzmán (Runaway Jury)

Santos attempts to lead a people’s revolt in Colombia to overthrow the oppressive El Presidente. When his revolt fails and he is killed, his sister Christina goes to New York to find McBain, a lieutenant Santos rescued during the Vietnam War. McBain agrees to avenge Santos’ death, calls up his old war buddies, raises the necessary funds by killing a few drug dealers and threatening the mafia, then leads an attack to topple the corrupt government. When I first heard about the title, I thought of ‘The Simpsons’, just like so many others, but when I saw the cast, I was completely stunned, that so many great character-actors would actually be in this!  the cast is great, and the action-scenes are very well done, and you’re never bored while watching this movie! Highly recommended to all action-lovers!

 

 

REVIEW: MAN ON FIRE

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black)
Marc Anthony (Hackers)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Giancarlo Giannini (Hannibal)
Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall)
Jesús Ochoa (Only God Knows)
Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)

In 2003, burnt-out ex-CIA (SAD/SOG) Paramilitary operations officer and former U.S. Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance officer John Creasy (Denzel Washington) visits his old comrade Paul Rayburn (Christopher Walken), who runs a security firm in Mexico. Because of the extremely high rate of kidnappings in Mexico City for ransoms, wealthy businessman Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony) hires Creasy through Rayburn to guard his nine-year-old daughter “Pita” (Dakota Fanning). However, Samuel is having money problems and intends to keep Creasy on only long enough to satisfy the requirements to renew his kidnap and ransom insurance on Pita. Creasy suffers from alcoholism, depression and severe guilt as a result of his former black ops work. Drinking heavily, Creasy attempts suicide with his pistol, but the cartridge fails to fire when he pulls the trigger. He calls Rayburn, who says that “a bullet always tells the truth.” At first, Creasy distances himself from Pita, but soon he becomes a surrogate father to the girl, allowing him to stop drinking and find a purpose in his life.One day, while Creasy is escorting Pita from her piano lesson, a group of gunmen try to kidnap her. Creasy kills four of the kidnappers, including two corrupt policemen, in a shoot out, but he is shot multiple times and collapses from his wounds, and the abductors escape with Pita, who Creasy had commanded to flee, but returned to the collapsed Creasy. Creasy is hospitalized, but is moved to a veterinary hospital by Miguel Manzano (Giancarlo Giannini), a senior agent of the Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI), who suspects Creasy will be killed by rogue police. Meanwhile, the Ramoses agree to deliver a dead drop ransom of US$10 million per the instructions of “La Voz” (“The Voice”) (Roberto Sosa), the mastermind behind the kidnapping ring. Samuel’s attorney, Jordan Kalfus (Mickey Rourke), and police detective Victor Fuentes (Jesús Ochoa) arrange for the ransom money to be collected from Samuel’s kidnapping insurance policy, then delivered to the kidnappers. The drop, however, is ambushed by members of “La Hermandad”, a powerful crime syndicate composed of corrupt police officers, who steal the money and kill The Voice’s nephew in the process. The Voice notifies the Ramoses that Pita will be killed in retribution.Creasy leaves the hospital before fully recovering, swearing to Pita’s mother Lisa (Radha Mitchell) that he will kill everyone involved in her daughter’s abduction. Rayburn helps Creasy purchase black market firearms, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and explosives. Mariana Guerrero (Rachel Ticotin), a journalist investigating kidnappings, and Manzano also offer their support. Creasy tracks down low-level operatives involved in various stages of the kidnapping, torturing each for information about other operatives, then killing them in brutal ways, eventually learning from Fuentes, who is revealed to be the “president” of “La Hermandad”, that the bags they stole at the ransom drop contained only $2.5 million of actual currency while the rest was blank paper.Creasy finds Kalfus murdered and then finds evidence of his questionable financial dealings with Samuel. He confronts Samuel and Lisa for the truth behind the kidnapping. Samuel confesses to Creasy and Lisa that he agreed to Kalfus’ plan to stage Pita’s kidnapping, so he could pay off business debts by fraudulently collecting the insurance money. He planned to keep $5 million for himself and split the rest between Kalfus and the kidnappers. He was told that Pita would watch cartoons for a couple days and be returned after the ransom was paid, but Fuentes, who had been promised a cut of the money by Kalfus, became greedy and betrayed him and Samuel to try and take the entire ransom for himself. Samuel held Kalfus responsible for the botched drop and confesses to killing him after learning that Kalfus knew about Fuentes’ corruption. Creasy then leaves Samuel with a pistol and the misfired round, which works for Samuel when he commits suicide.Using the information provided by Creasy, The Voice’s identity is revealed by Manzano to be Daniel Sánchez, who Mariana exposes on the front page of her newspaper. Creasy sneaks into the home of Sánchez’s ex-wife and children, and is shot by his brother Aurelio (Gero Camilo), whom Creasy then captures. Creasy calls Daniel Sánchez and threatens to kill all of his family unless he gives himself up, but Sánchez reveals that Pita is still alive, and offers her in exchange for Aurelio and Creasy. Creasy and Pita share a tearful goodbye before he surrenders himself to Sánchez’ men, as Pita is released into her mother’s arms. Creasy dies peacefully from his gunshot injuries. Daniel Sánchez is later killed by Manzano during an AFI arrest raid.Style trumps substance in Man on Fire, a slick, brooding reunion of Crimson Tide star Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott. Prolific screenwriter Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, L.A. Confidential) sets a solid emotional foundation for Washington’s tormented character, and Scott’s stylistic excess compensates for a distended plot that’s both repellently violent and viscerally absorbing. Man on Fire is roughly on par with Scott’s similar 1990 film Revenge, efficiently satisfying Washington’s incendiary bloodlust under a heavy blanket of humid, doom-laden atmosphere

REVIEW: ENVY

CAST

Ben Stiller (zoolander)
Jack Black (King Kong)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Amy Poehler (Free Birds)
Christopher Walken (Prophecy)

Tim Dingman (Ben Stiller) and Nick Vanderpark (Jack Black) are best friends, neighbors and co-workers at 3M. Nick is constantly coming up with crazy ideas to get rich quick, and when he invents Vapoorize, a spray that instantly removes dog faeces, he actually succeeds. As Nick’s wealth continues to grow, so does Tim’s envy, as he had initially scoffed at the idea and squandered an opportunity to invest and become mega-rich himself. Nick is blissfully unaware of Tim’s jealousy, and his generosity only serves to make Tim more envious of him. Meanwhile, Nick’s wife Natalie (Amy Poehler) decides to run for state senate but is continually plagued by questions about her husband’s product.After Tim’s wife Debbie (Rachel Weisz) and children temporarily leave and he is fired from 3M, Tim’s jealousy reaches new levels. In a bar, he meets J-Man (Christopher Walken), a bizarre drifter, who lends a sympathetic ear and offers advice. After a drunken night out, Tim accidentally kills Nick’s beloved horse, Corkey, and buries the horse in his abandoned swimming pool. Nick offers a $50,000 reward for the return of his horse. J-Man and Tim concoct a plan whereby J-Man would discover the horse and claim the reward, splitting the proceeds. However a series of unfortunate events, including Tim’s family getting holed up in J-Man’s mountain cabin, leads to the horse’s carcass being lost in a rain storm.maxresdefaultNick reveals to Tim that he is going to Rome for the debut of Vapoorize there, and gives Tim the opportunity to join him in a 50:50 partnership, which he accepts. J-Man finds out that Tim is now rich, and, feeling betrayed, tries to blackmail him. After confessing to his wife, now enjoying her rich lifestyle, Tim agrees to pay J-Man; however J-Man ups his demands and asks to be Tim’s partner. Tim accidentally shoots him in the back with an arrow and J-Man, believing that Tim has tried to kill him, backs down in fear.stranger2Tim eventually confesses all to Nick who forgives him for his jealousy and agrees to continue with the partnership; however at a press conference for Natalie’s electoral campaign (where she promises to withdraw her candidacy if it is proven Vapoorize is harmful to the environment in any way), Corkey’s body is seen floating down the nearby river, and the animal’s post-mortem discovers that the horse was not killed by the arrow as previously thought but actually poisoned by a by-product of Vapoorize, used by Tim to treat his garden after Corkey came to eat the apples off of his tree. The veterinarian informs the pair that she is obliged to inform the Environmental Protection Agency, and Vapoorize is immediately pulled from the market. Nick and Tim almost lose all their wealth and glory, until Tim comes up with an invention of his own: Pocket Flan, inspired by Nick and his family’s love for the dessert. J-Man is shown in the audience of Tim and Nick’s infomercial for Pocket Flan, apparently reconciled.MV5BMjE3NzYwMjE2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjgxMjU3__V1_I must admit, i didnt think this was one of Ben Stiller better films. Jack Black was definately the funniest character in the movie. One of the scenes that sticks to mind is when Jack & Ben are driving home from work and Jack starts talking about how his hand didnt seem to be a part of him the whole day. His hand kept sitting next to him, following him around everywhere like a mutant sidekick…this had me in stitches..but maybe thats just me. View it and see what you think. Its funny and lighthearted.

REVIEW: KANGAROO JACK

CAST

Jerry O’ Connell (Sliders)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Estella Warren (Driven)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Dyan Cannon (Allie & Me)
Adam Garcia (Coyote Ugly)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
Marton Csoaks (XXX)
Bill Hunter (The Pacific)

In 1982 New York, a boy named Charlie Carbone (Robert Reid) is about to become the stepson of a mobster named Salvatore Maggio (Christopher Walken). On that same day, he meets his new best friend Louis Booker (Shawn Smith), who saves him from drowning after the mobster’s apprentice, Frankie Lombardo (Brian Casey), who was recently released from juvenile hall, tried to drown Charlie. Twenty years later, in 2002, Charlie (Jerry O’Connell) is a boy next door who has his own beauty salon, and Louis (Anthony Anderson) is still his best friend, but Sal’s henchmen take a majority of the profit leaving Charlie very little for improvements. After they botch the job of hiding some stolen goods, resulting in some of Sal’s men getting arrested, Sal gives Charlie and Louis one more chance. Under instructions from Frankie (Michael Shannon), they have to deliver a package to Australia to a man named Mr. Smith. Frankie also tells them that should they run into trouble, they should call Mr. Smith at the phone number he gives them. Unknown to Charlie and Louis, Sal tells his Capo that he is “cancelling their return trip.”Once on the plane Louis opens the package, to find $50,000 in cash. Upon landing they rent a car. On their way to Mr. Smith, they accidentally run over a kangaroo. Thinking it’s dead, Louis puts his “lucky jacket” on the kangaroo and with Charlie’s sunglasses for a joke, as they think the kangaroo looks like Jackie Legs, one of Sal’s henchmen. The kangaroo then regains consciousness and hops away with one problem; the $50,000 was in the jacket. Charlie and Louis get into the rented LandCruiser and try to grab the money from the jacket on the kangaroo, but the ensuing chase ends with the duo running into a field of termite mounds and crashing into a pile of rocks. At a nearby pub, Louis manages to call Mr. Smith (Marton Csokas) and tell him about their situation. Mr. Smith tells Louis that they had better have his money when he meets them. He plans to find them himself.Back in New York City, Salvatore gets a call from Mr. Smith saying that Charlie and Louis haven’t arrived yet. Salvatore sends Frankie and some men to Australia to investigate. Meanwhile, one of the attempts to reclaim the money strands Charlie and Louis in the desert. They meet and get help from a woman named Jessie (Estella Warren). They then track the kangaroo at a nearby valleyMr. Smith and his henchmen arrive soon after and capture the trio. Charlie and Louis outsmart them, only to find Frankie has tracked them and is prepared to kill them. After getting the money back from the kangaroo, they learn from Frankie that Sal really sent them to Australia to pay for their own execution. Out of nowhere, police arrive and arrest Frankie, Mr. Smith and their henchmen and Charlie reclaims Louis’s lucky jacket from the kangaroo. One year later, in 2003, Charlie and Jessie are married and sell their new shampoo, having used the payoff money to start up a line of hair care products. Frankie and his men have been imprisoned for life, which Sal has failed at avoiding. Louis is Charlie’s advertising partner. As for the kangaroo (called “Kangaroo Jack”), he is still happily hopping around the outback.This has been slammed in the States but if you want a family comedy then this is it. A must for anyone who likes zany situation comedies!!!

REVIEW: WEDDING CRASHERS

CAST

Owen Wilson (Zoolander)
Vince Vaughn (Swingers)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes)
Isla FIsher (Grimsby)
Jane Seymour (Smallville)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Patch Adams)
Keir O’Donnell (Paul Blart: Mall Cop)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Ron Canada (Ted 2)
Jennifer Alden (Surrogates)
Dwight Yoakam (Panic Room)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
Rebecca De Mornay (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
David Conrad (Agents of SHIELD)
Geoff Stults (The Finder)

John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) are divorce mediators in Washington D.C. who “crash” wedding parties to meet and bed women. At the end of a season of successful crashes, Jeremy takes John to a wedding for the daughter of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, William Cleary (Christopher Walken). Once inside, the pair set their sights on Cleary’s other daughters, Gloria (Isla Fisher) and Claire (Rachel McAdams). Jeremy ends up having sex with Gloria on a nearby beach during the reception. Gloria is possessive and quickly becomes obsessed with Jeremy, and Jeremy urges John to escape the reception with him.Meanwhile, John attempts to court Claire, the maid of honor, but is interrupted by her hotheaded boyfriend, Sack Lodge (Bradley Cooper), who is unfaithful and disrespectful behind her back. When Gloria invites Jeremy and John to an extended weekend party at their family compound, John overrules Jeremy to accept and get closer to Claire. John and Jeremy become acquainted with the Clearys at their home: the Secretary’s wife (Jane Seymour) sexually harasses John; Gloria’s brother Todd (Keir O’Donnell) tries to seduce Jeremy during the night; Gloria continues to lavish unwanted sexual attention on Jeremy; and Sack repeatedly injures Jeremy during a game of touch football. At dinner, John spikes Sack’s wine with eye-drops to make him sick and get more time to connect with Claire.John and Claire continue to bond the next day on a sailing trip. The suspicious Sack takes the men on a hunting trip, where Jeremy is shot in the buttocks. While he recovers, John and Claire go on a bike ride to a secluded beach. Claire finally admits she isn’t sure how she feels about Sack and ends up kissing John passionately. Meanwhile, Gloria tends to Jeremy’s wounds and reveals to him that she is not as innocent or inexperienced as she initially let on. Jeremy realizes that he himself has been played and that he may be in love with Gloria.Ready to confess everything to Claire to convince her not to marry Sack, John is interrupted by Jeremy being chased out of the house: Sack has investigated and revealed John and Jeremy’s identities to the family. Betrayed, Claire turns away from John and the Secretary tells them to leave. Over the following months, John attempts to reach Claire but she refuses to see him. He attempts to crash Claire and Sack’s engagement party but is caught and beaten by Sack. Confronting Jeremy about abandoning him, he learns that Jeremy has secretly continued his relationship with Gloria. Betrayed, John spirals into depression, crashing weddings alone and becoming nihilistic and suicidal. Meanwhile, as Claire and Sack plan their wedding, Claire’s doubts grow. Jeremy proposes to Gloria and tries to ask John to be his best man, but a depressed John refuses.936full-wedding-crashers-screenshot1John visits Jeremy’s former wedding crashing mentor, Chazz Reinhold (an uncredited Will Ferrell), who convinces him to crash a funeral. While there, he reconsiders his belief in love and marriage and rushes to Jeremy’s wedding. John joins the wedding mid-ceremony to Jeremy’s delight, but Claire is upset by his appearance, prompting John to profess his love to her and his regret for his past behavior in front of the congregation. Sack interrupts, but Claire finally tells him that she can’t marry him. Sack tries to attack John, but Jeremy intervenes to knock him out, and John and Claire kiss. After the wedding, the two couples drive away from the ceremony together, discussing crashing another wedding together, apparently skipping Jeremy’s own wedding reception.wedding_crashers

I admit Wedding Crashers is far from perfect, at time situations seem too contrived, the nudity is laughably gratuitous, and Claire’s evil fiancée Sack (Bradley Cooper) is an almost too heavy-handed device to make Wilson look good. But if you can look past all that, and simply accept it for what it is, you’re left with a very funny film.

REVIEW: KISS TOLEDO GOODBYE

CAST

Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)
Robert Forster (Dragon Wars)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
Jamie Anderson (Catch Me If You Can)
Nancy Allen (Robocop)
Robert Pine (Red Eye)
Bill Smitrovich (Ted)

junior_this_is_the_endTo prevent a gang war, a young Ohio investment advisor (Michael Rapaport) must impersonate a Mafia Godfather for a few weeks following the assassination of his crime-boss biological father (Robert Forster) whom he had not even known existed. He tries to keep this new life secret from his real family, especially from his very jealous fiancee (Christine Taylor), with the help of his new Cosa Nostra “family,” especially his father’s chief lieutenant (Christopher Walken).

junior-1994

There was not one surprise in the plot past the first scene. But the performances of Robert Forster and Christopher Walken diverted my attention enough so that it was a pleasant experience. Forster did a wonderful job considering the completely unbelievable character he was saddled with, although his accent needed improvement. Of all the gangsters I’ve seen Walken portray, this one was the most delightful. His boyish charm as a cold-blooded gangster made for hilarity every time he was given the spotlight. If the entire movie had been watching Chris, it would earn five stars. But whenever the focus is shifted to another character the film sank. Michael Rappaport and Christine Taylor were adequate, but only a thespian as gifted as Walken can get through so preposterous a script with dignity intact