Old 01-10-2013, 01:39 AM
Gangster Squad

This is getting lukewarm reviews at best(Chris Bumbray only gave it 5/10) but I'll still probably see it since the cast is so good.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:05 AM
I will see it at some point as well, but I'm simply not as jazzed for this one as I was originally.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:06 AM
Review: Gangster Squad

After the unfortunate events in Aurora, Colorado last summer; Warner Bros. decided it was a good idea to edit the Gangster Squad to take out the theater shooting scene that was prominent in the trailer. A release date of September was pushed to January and major reshoots were done to the film.

Gangster Squad is a true story based on a seven-part Los Angeles Times article written by Paul Lieberman that details how, during 1940′s corruption and chaos, the Los Angeles Police Department created a special unit called the Gangster Squad to prevent the East Coast mafia from infecting the city.

Sean Penn plays gangster Mickey Cohen, a ruthless mobster from New York looking to terrorize and take over Los Angeles. A group of six men who would never be recognized for their efforts left their badges at home and attempted to bring justice to Hollywood.

Gangster Squad is a good film with a cast that is hard to ignore. We get the old school feel but only because of the costumes and guns that are used. The film is enjoyable but it won’t change you’re life and when it comes down to it, Ruben Fleischer’s film felt like a **** Tracy story, that played out like a typical comic book would.

Now that it’s out, reviews have been lukewarm, but I believe there is a bigger issue at hand here. Audiences see a massive cast boasting the likes of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and then read the movie title with the word gangster in it and set expectations. Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad is not Goodfellas, Godfather or The Untouchables; it’s a great ensemble, telling a true story of Los Angeles cops vs. one thug’s reigning empire in 1949. Once you put the word Gangster in someone’s mind, due to Hollywood history it seems like common logic to assume a mafia epic. And if that’s what you’re expecting going into this film you’re going to be disappointed. I don’t know if that’s the reasoning behind some of the poor reviews but I think it may have some kind of impact.

Brolin plays Sgt. John O’Mara, a straight-laced cop who is all about justice and is chosen by the police chief (Nick Nolte) to take down Mickey Cohen. O’Mara handpicks his team of miscreants; cops who aren’t cookie cutter badge protectors. Enter Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, Michael Pena and Giovanni Ribisi as the crack team that get rid of their LAPD shields and go guns blazing, cracking down on back room casinos, wire services and other shady business that all trickle back to Cohen.

The side story involves Emma Stone who plays Grace Faraday, Cohen’s main squeeze, so obviously Gosling’s Sgt. Jerry Wooters steals her and wants her for himself. As the two have previously shown in Crazy, Stupid, Love they have great chemistry and add a dynamic that felt relevant within the story. Yet there’s not real period in the film where Cohen finds out and that fuels his revenge as you may think would happen.

As we progress the band of misfits beat L.A.’s underworld to a pulp, Tommy guns are fired, and Cadillac’s are seen in hot pursuit. The stars of the film are Penn, Brolin and Gosling, while Ribisi, Mackie, Pena, Patrick and a few others go either unseen or under utilized throughout the 110 minute run time. This is another point of weakness, as you never develop a relationship with any of the characters, thus leading to not caring about what really happens.

In terms of the main characters Penn really does steal the show as Mickey (Mouse as Gosling tells Stone in bed) Cohen. He is ruthless, angry, vile and always perturbed and it seems to come really easy to him.

I’ve been following the production of this film since April 10th, 2011 – that was the first story I posted on the cast and it’s been one on my radar ever since. Now Gangster Squad has come and gone and while it didn’t exactly live up to the hype, it was enjoyable and to see a cast this stellar all together is certainly a treat.

The biggest knock I’d have on Squad is it not living up to it’s potential. It’s a bold story that felt truncated, most of the time the film is coasting along without anything being memorable, defining or standing out.

Rating: C+
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:33 AM
Unlike other hat/gangster squad vs the mob/police corruption flicks like L.A Confidential,Mullholland Falls and
The Untouchables,Gangster Squad never takes itself to seriously.When the film goes for wit the aforementioned
works in its favor,but when the humor overtakes the dramatic moments the lack of seriousness hurts the film.

There is a tremendous amount of talent in the film (Josh Brolin,Ryan Gosling Sean Penn Emma Stone Nick Nolte
Anthony Mackie Giovanni Ribisi Michael PeŮa Robert Patrick and Mireille Enos but unfortunately they have a lukewarm script to work with.

The heavy make up used on Penn portraying gangster Mickey Cohen is a distraction.It reminded me
of one of Dick Tracy's enemies like Prune Face or Little Face.Not sure why they deciDed to do this since the real
Cohen basically looked like an everyday joe.Stone is basically a semi damsel in distress in the film.
Why such a talented actress would take such a minimal role is beyond me ,even Stone has joked about how small the role
is in recent press junkets for the film.

The first half of GS is fun,the second half is predictable,badly edited and anything that could have been suspenseful
is diluted by the films ho-hum approach.

Scale of 1-10 a 6 wait for cable or the DVD
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:39 PM
I thought that Gangster Squad was pretty decent...I mean sure it's not the most original movie in the world but it was entertaining as hell..The cast was great,it looked slick,and it never really dragged at all..If you're looking for the next Untouchables stay home but if you're looking for a good time at the movies you can't beat it 7.5/8-10
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:47 AM
Yeah, I found this to be a fun watch with a great cast - 7/10.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:54 PM
Originally Posted by P1NSTR1PEZ View Post
Once you put the word Gangster in someoneís mind, due to Hollywood history it seems like common logic to assume a mafia epic. And if thatís what youíre expecting going into this film youíre going to be disappointed. I donít know if thatís the reasoning behind some of the poor reviews but I think it may have some kind of impact
Maybe it had impact on people who never saw the trailers or read the synopsis of the movie. I don't think after the highly stylized trailer people expected a mafia movie. It made it clear it was about a bunch of cops who left their badges at home so they could punish the bad guys. Or did we get different trailers on this end of the ocean?
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:19 PM
The reviews aren't very encouraging (seriously, how hard can it be to fuck up a film with that cast and synopsis?), but I'll give it a look regardless. It sounds like it starts off quite well, but then finishes off with your basic formula.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:23 PM
Yeah this is a weird case where I don't care about the reviews at all.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:51 PM
I'm reading a book on the subject and it truly is fascinating. This movie should have been a slam dunk, but from the reviews I've read they seem to have dropped the ball.

Oh well. Looks like it's up to Frank Darabont and TV to salvage this.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:08 PM
I'll wait to get into this more when I actually see it, but Affleck was initially attached to this and I think he would have been a better fit for this material. I read about a third of the script and it never really felt like the overly stylized movie like the trailers suggest it is. I interpreted it as being very assured and direct.

I have no beef with Fleischer. Zombieland was smart and very entertaining, and while 30 Minutes or Less wasn't very good, it had its moments. I just don't think he had the cred yet for a project like this. I'm glad Affleck chose Argo in the end though.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:24 PM
Originally Posted by Bourne101 View Post
The reviews aren't very encouraging (seriously, how hard can it be to fuck up a film with that cast and synopsis?), but I'll give it a look regardless. It sounds like it starts off quite well, but then finishes off with your basic formula.
That's what people said about another Sean Penn movie, All The King's Men. This shouldn't be nearly as bad as that piece of shit, but I'm not encouraged either.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:23 PM
I was looking forward to seeing this, but the reviews on the movie are leaving me a bit skeptical now.

I'm thinking Redbox now (if that).
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:00 PM
I just came back from this. In 2012, it was at the top of my most anticipated films list, and I was very sad they had to push it back for reshoots.

The early negative reviews shocked me and led me to lower expectations. I went into it without my high expectations of 2012...

That being said, I enjoyed the film, but it was nothing life changing. I think the cast was stellar and probably had too much firepower in terms of presence. The acting was straightforward. No one was bad, and i really enjoyed Cohen in the role.

I felt like it was a Dick Tracy-like story wrapped in a comic book. Nothing too memorable but an enjoyable film to watch.

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Old 01-13-2013, 03:53 PM
Gangster Squad is a ridiculous movie, a fact that is emphasized not only by the title but by the identity of the director. I do not mean to impugn Ruben Fleischer (I love Zombieland quite a bit), but rather to suggest that thus far in his career he has not struck me as a man interested in crafting serious film. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; entertainment and fun in cinema is absolutely vital. And entertainment is certainly the name of the game here. Gangster Squad fetishizes style to an almost extreme degree. Comparisons to Brian De Palma are apt, not only because this film bears a resemblance to The Untouchables but also because the film’s rampant use of slow motion seems inspired by the director’s work. When Gangster Squad fails, it’s a bit of a juvenile and tonal mess. When it does work, it is a decent piece of pulp, with bullets flying and blood flowing.

Rarely has a movie been more aware of the fact that it is a movie. The opening of the film informs us that this is “inspired by a true story” (and it is), but Fleischer has no intention of painting an intelligent or thoughtful portrait of these LAPD cops. Instead, the film plays out like a comic book version of what this story would be. (Yes, Dick Tracy undoubtedly comes to mind.) Characters pose, spew excessive one-liners, and are very clearly interested in looking cool. The costume design by Mary Zophres is terrific and these actors look dashing in classic hats and suits. The production design by Maher Ahmad is appealing, but it certainly favors a cartoonish approach as opposed to realism. Visually there’s no doubt that the film has much to admire, and the aforementioned slow motion and the choreography of the many shoot outs is well done. Dion Beebe has shot a colorful and fluid film, but there are undoubtedly times where it is too clear that the movie was shot on video. The Arri Alexa is a great camera, but under low light the grain of video becomes clear and when matched with the time period of the film it becomes somehow uncinematic.

Josh Brolin and especially Ryan Gosling both make for dashing and charming 1940s cops. As John O’Mara and Jerry Wooters, respectively, each actor delivers a movie star performance that emphasizes good looks and charisma over depth. This works perfectly for the film, and Flesicher and his team have a field day emphasizing how good Gosling looks in the 40s garb. Once again Gosling gets to prove what great chemistry he has with Emma Stone, who is lovely and demure. The rest of the squad is given significantly less to do, and talented and diverse actors such as Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena, and Robert Patrick are archetypes as opposed to characters. As the gangster that this squad so tirelessly chases, Mickey Cohen, Sean Penn chews the scenery as only he can. Penn is explosive, angry, and ridiculous, and he more than anyone is clear what type of film this is.

There are moments when Gangster Squad attempts to outdo its breadth. We explore O’Mara’s home life, and although Mireille Enos is good as his wife, these moments exist in tonal juxtaposition to the film’s action tendencies and it brings the film to a complete halt. While I understand the desire to explore the morality of these cop’s actions or the sacrifices they have to make, moments such as these or with Giovanni Ribisi’s Conway Keeler lack meaning and effect. These moments are not overbearing, though, and for the most part the film gets to do with it wants to with a fair amount of conviction. There is a certain juvenile undercurrent running through this film; it enjoys the violence and style perhaps a bit too much, and I did leave wishing I had explored this true story with more insight. Putting all of that aside, there is much to enjoy here if taken as what it is and wants to be: superficial pleasure.

Last edited by SpikeDurden; 01-25-2013 at 09:54 AM..
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