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GODFATHER 01 Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Abe Vigoda, Al Lettieri, Lenny Montana, Al Martino, Alex Rocco,The Godfather: first of three movies based on Mario Puzo’s tale of the Sicilian Mafia in New York, circa 1945-1955. There’s no denying that certain aspects of the film are great: it’s littered with original, shocking, powerful, and iconic scenes; there’s page after page of beautifully written dialogue (monologues and large conversations); the cast is truly monumental, and almost everyone is outstanding in their character’s portrayal. My biggest problem with The Godfather is that the sound mix is atrocious and – worse still – some character’s accents are so thick and/or non-enunciated that I watched the entire film with subtitles, in order to make any sense of some characters. Another flaw in the movie is that it could have been edited down, a lot; there’s entire sections of the film that have minimal impact on the story, but drag on and refuse to end (wedding, Sicily…). The direction’s OK – although editing is fairly rough – and the score really adds a punch to the movie. Perhaps this suffers from the ‘Chinatown Effect’ in that a mixture of lifelong hype, and the movie’s impact being far greater when it was released, that modern audiences are left a little cold and short-changed after seeing it. The Godfather feels like a great film diluted down into a good film, but ‘best film of all time’… sit your guinea-wop ass down in front of the tube, put on Godfellas, and tell me this is better – if ya do, ya’ll be sleeping with the fishes, see?

Score: 6/10

GODFATHER 02 Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Abe Vigoda, Al Lettieri, Lenny Montana, Al Martino, Alex Rocco,

New York, I Love You: a collection of short stories all about New York and New Yoykers – loosely labelled under the umbrella ‘romance’. The vignette setup just doesn’t do it for me, far too many characters, and differing themes / tones / styles / storylines – all mashed together, tediously linked through the location. The second problem is the quality control, or lack of – a few of the shorts were really good; prom night, pickpockets, old couple – but the rest were all varyingly pretentious and dull stories featuring varyingly pretentious and dull artisan characters – some of whom are beyond absurd – Ethan Hawke, I’m talking to you. Despite being all about NY, and the ‘love of the city’ there’s not that much iconic scenery; it’s mostly grimy side streets, greasy spoons, apartments, bars, yellow cabs, ect,  which doesn’t really capture the vibes of the big apple – although someone could probably argue that this captures ‘THE REAL NEW YORK, BRO’. Given the massive list of A-list actors (and them some) New York, I Love You is massively disappointing – parts are good, but overall it’s collectively dull. Give City Island a bash instead!

Score: 5/10

Henry’s Crime: Henry takes the blame for a robbery he knew nothing about, does three years in prison, and upon release hatches a plan to actually rob the bank: he’s done the time, why not commit the crime? My biggest issue with this is that, as a protagonist, Henry is one of the most uninteresting characters to lead a film – the personification of tedium and aimless. Vera Farmiga – playing an unpolished actress – does a really good job, where as Reeves has had a whole career being 2nd rate and seeing him ‘poorly read’ from a play-script actually blew up my irony-o-meter. James Caan steals the show as the loveable ‘confidence man’ – easily with the best character, best lines and all-round best performance. For an indie-rom-com-robbery-caper there were only 2-3 laughs, and it just felt like a really, really basic ‘bank job’ that wanted to be well grounded [like The Lookout] but was heavily laced with absurdity. Also, of all the plays to use in this type of film a high-brow Chekhov tragedy just didn’t fit the bill – and all the readings/scenes from that script really brought the tone down. There are a some elements that are good ideas; such as the prisoner that doesn’t want to leave prison, unlikely friendships, a bank robber being forced to take up acting, and changing the ending of an established play – however, the final scenes are a cinematic train wreck that you have to watch through your fingers. It’s all somewhat unfortunate because concept is great, and with this cast it definitely looks worth a punt, but having seen the film I realise why the distributors buried it in a busy month.

Score: 2.5/10