Category Archives: Gangster

Spring Breakers (2013) – Spring Break Forever?


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2013 was a great year for cinema, according to all available evidence and the cooing of many commentators.  I’ve watched a large chunk of its diverse output, including seven of the nine Best Picture nominations for the Oscars, as well as various other notable additions, but none struck me as much as Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers.  I don’t know what the hell it was trying to say, but it seemed at once like a corrupted fairytale told by Terence Malick in a parallel universe; Scarface by way of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City; Reservoir Dogs in bikinis; End of Days shot in over-saturated neon by Sofia Coppola; and somehow like Apocalypse Now filmed on Florida shores.

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Mr Holly on…Love,Honour and Obey (1999)


If Love, Honour and Obey was a shop on the high street, it would be a charity shop: retro CDs, cheap tracksuits and mugs are all on offer here on a shoestring budget .

This BBC-backed, British gangster flick sees Ray Winstone’s (Scum) North London criminal faction pitted against their Southern counterparts, headed by Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers). Coincidentally, this is the third Pertwee film we have reviewed, and we’d just like to emphasise the fact that we are in no way attracted to this man. Coming up next week – Equilibrium

Humourous from the offset, this tale of a turf war includes a varied British cast which portrays this cockney rivalry well. With much of the film’s hilarity coming from the crude dialogue between them, this film also incorporates karaoke as an unlikely, yet effective plot device. Although some of the musical scenes do tend to run on a little, the cast obviously had fun in the making of them. Other side plots accompany this gangland mock-up, including a wedding, erectile dysfunction, and a grudge match between Rhys Ifans (Hannibal Rising) and the courier-come-gangster Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting).

The film has a decent entertaining feel to it and after making Final Cut (1998) together the previous year, the repeat combination of Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley), Sadie Frost (Dracula) and Winstone make this a superior film to its predecessor. All the themes projected in this movie keep you interested from the start, from the plots to the dated cars,phones and clothes. Considering you would get more cash raiding a public payphone for the budget, Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis have done well here.

The main drawback with this flick would have to be the limited target audience, with regards to international viewers. Whilst the dialogue is entertaining for the cockney-hardened British viewer, it would make as much sense to other nationalities as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity would make to a Peruvian llama farmer. This would inevitably hinder the overseas profit margin; a common oversight within the British film industry. The film has a slightly predictable end result and it veers to become quite dark and serious in the last twenty minutes (the toilet brush-anal cavity combo springs to mind here).

With these faults aside, Love, Honour and Obey is a decent addition to the British film market. It is one of the best gangster tales that we have on offer and although not very well-known, it is generally a good, fun watch and should be checked out. With a bigger budget we can’t help but feel that this would have been able to compete with the likes of Guy Ritchie.

Performance of the film – Despite a talented cast, Ray Winstone is undisputedly the daddy in this one.

Quote of the film – Ray Winstone “You’re fat, and I’ll throw you in the river…”

Fact of the film – Many aspects of this film are true to life. Ray Winstone is a massive fan of karaoke; This is the second Anciano/Burdis collaboration in the space of a two-year period to use the cast’s actual first names; and ex-S.A.S henchman “Bill” was actually a former member of the special forces, having been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal in the line of duty.

Soundtrack/score – Most tracks from the film are actually performed by the cast, making it a refreshing karaoke mix including Tony Christie’s Avenues and Alleyways.

Summary:

An enjoyable gangster romp, well worth 94 minutes of your time. Watch it you mug. 83/100.

(Last watched 7 days ago. Reviewed by Mr. Holly and Fuzzy).

Guest Review: Mr Holly on Carlito’s Way (1993)


 

If Carlito’s Way was an automobile, it would be an Oldsmobile 442. A hardcore, edge-of-your-seat ride which no-one knows about; always in the shadow of its mainstream counterpart (the Mustang and Heat (1995) respectively). Despite being a nose-picking, bum-numbing 138 mins the picture delivers an intelligent, well-delivered portrayal of the Big Apple’s 1970’s underworld.

With more twists than a gimp’s nipple, the film tells the story of Carlito ‘Charlie’ Brigante’s ploy to become clean after a five-year stint behind bars. In debt to the lawyer who saw his sentence reduced, the main  theme focusses on Carlito’s loyalty to his on-edge, on-drugs brief. Staying on a straight but VERY narrow path, Carlito attempts to escape his past life, despite staying true to his old-skool morals.

With more drink consumed than Oliver Reed on a chat show and more drugs than a night out at a hippy festival, this well acted bundle of joy is more in-your-face than an eye-watering egg fart in a packed lift.

While watching this gem I briefly tried to figure out where Carlito  resides, before settling for a hard drink over ice instead. By the end, this film left me with mixed emotions, reaching for the rest of the bottle,  satisfied.

Performance of the film – Al Pacino completely overshadows Penn with a brilliant display of tension-building facial expressions.

Quote of the film – Viggo Mortensen “Go ahead and kill me, you c********r.”

Fact of the film – This is the second epic Brian De Palma shootout in an inner-city train station.

Score/Soundtrack – Contemporary soundtrack perfect for the context of this film. The score emerges strongest during action scenes, peaking late on during the final chase.

Summary:

Carlito’s Way is a hidden classic; watch it.  87/100

(Last watched 2 hours ago. Review by Mr Holly and Fuzzy.)

 

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