Killing Them Softly: With His Song… Uh, Gun

by Ethan Alter November 30, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Killing Them Softly</i>: With His Song… Uh, Gun

Five years ago, New Zealand-born director Andrew Dominik sought to explode the myth of the noble outlaw in his admirable, but dramatically uneven Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Now he's back to expose the seedy truth behind another figure of American legend: the noble gangster. Based on the novel Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins, Dominik's new film Killing Them Softly relocates the 1974 Boston-set crime story to New Orleans circa September 2008, right after the historic financial meltdown that left the United States reeling. The effects of that crisis are heard -- via a steady stream of news reports that blare from TV screens and talk radio stations -- and felt throughout the movie, which presents depicts organized crime as a soulless racket, populated by profit-minded lowlifes who are only separated from the similarly unscrupulous Wall Street fat cats by their dressed-down wardrobe. Forget the old canard about "honor amongst thieves" -- for many of the men who populate Killing Them Softly, honor is a thing that can easily be sold for the right price.

Five Great James Gandolfini Movie Roles

by Ethan Alter June 20, 2013 9:55 am
Five Great James Gandolfini Movie Roles

For obvious reasons, James Gandolfini's legacy will be forever tied to Tony Soprano. It's the role he played the longest and which left the deepest impact, both on viewers and within the industry at large. But the late actor, who died (too soon) of an apparent heart attack on Wednesday, had a gallery of memorable movie characters as well, particularly after The Sopranos transformed him from a struggling supporting player (he had small, but memorable turns in films like True Romance and Crimson Tide in the run-up to the 1999 debut of The Sopranos) into a sought-after character actor who appeared in a rich variety of films, from the sublime (Spike Jonze's lovely adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are) to the absurd (John Turturro's intriguing, but problematic musical Romance & Cigarettes). And even when the films themselves stank (Surviving Christmas anyone?) Gandolfini's mere presence made them less painful than they otherwise might have been. Here are five Gandolfini movie characters we'd place alongside his towering turn as a New Jersey don.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

by Ethan Alter March 26, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Forescore and one month ago, Lincoln lost the Best Picture Oscar to Argo.

The Top Ten Movies of 2012

by Ethan Alter December 27, 2012 9:56 am
The Top Ten Movies of 2012

The Moviefile puts a bow on 2012 with our official Top Ten list, plus a bunch of honorable mentions.

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