Showing posts with label Al Pacino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Al Pacino. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Stand Up Guys

Stand Up Guys is a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Stuck somewhere between a geriatric sub Apatow production and 70s crime drama, it’s lost perilously at sea with a precious cargo of acting royalty desperately trying to steer around an iceberg. Despite pulling in the same direction, they go down with the ship. The S.S. Good Riddance. Directed by Fisher Stevens and penned by Noah Haidle, the film has at its centre an interesting premise but tonally it’s all off beam. Twenty-eight years after a job that went badly wrong, Valentine or “Val” to his friends (Al Pacino) is released from prison and into the welcoming arms of his former partner in crime Doc (Christopher Walken). Having served half a lifetime after a stray bullet accidentally ended the life of their bosses only son, Val is keen to make up for lost time, lost steak and lost sex. He’s acutely aware however that his time is limited and is expecting a hit on behalf of his still grieving boss. The bullet he’s expecting is due to be expelled by the gun hidden in his old friend Doc’s pocket, something Val also suspects.

With Alan Arkin joining an already illustrious cast and a premise that sets up so much, the film still somehow disappoints. The comedy is absolutely dire and produced just one laugh (admittedly a large one) in the entire 95 minute runtime. Time that could have been spent creating dramatic tension or allowing the great actors to spit thick, gloopy dialogue is instead devoted to nob gags and wave after wave of “Oh aren’t we old” jokes. I don’t know who is supposed to be enjoying it. If you’re young and have no love for the actors then it doesn’t work. If you’re young and have a great affinity for the actors then it’s simply sad and embarrassing and if you’re older then you just aren’t going to be interested in the Viagra stealing, Russian prostitute visiting humour. This is a movie aimed at fifteen year old fans of forty year old movies. A lot of movies have been produced recently which try to put a twist on the frat boy comedy by introducing an older cast but it’s just uncomfortable. Seeing Michael Corleone, Sonny Wortzik, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, Frank Serpico, Tony Montana, bloody Al ‘8 Oscar nominations and 1 win’ Pacino pretending to go to hospital because he can’t get rid of an erection? No. Just stop it. Enough.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Dog Day Afternoon

I watched Dog Day Afternoon for the first time about eight years ago when I discovered the films of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino concurrently through the likes of The Godfather. Since that first watch I’ve seen the movie about once every eighteen months or so and it has become one of my favourite films. For me Dog Day Afternoon has everything I could possibly want. It shows New York at its grimy and dirty height, it’s brilliantly funny and tense and features one of Pacino’s greatest roles. If they could digitally add Scarlett Johansson as one of the bank tellers, I’d watch the film daily.

The movie is based on a true story. Sonny Wortzik (Pacino) and Sal Naturile (John Cazale) walk into a Brooklyn bank on a summer’s day with the idea of robbing it. It isn’t long before things start to go wrong and the robbery turns into a farce. Soon the cops have the bank surrounded and Sonny and Sal are left inside with eight hostages and nowhere to go. The hours roll on and the scene attracts the media and onlookers alike, all of whom want a glimpse of the action. Sonny becomes an anti-hero to the gathering crowd after evoking the memory of the Attica prison riots. As the night draws in Sonny decides his best way out is to arrange for a jet to take him and Sal out of the country, a request which the police begin to arrange.