I was wholly unfamiliar with the character of Dick Tracy when Warren Beatty’s film graced our screens in 1990, but I went to see it anyway and remember being somewhat perplexed by the Batman-style set designs, ludicrous make-up effects and baffling crime drama narrative. Watching it again 23 years later, Dick Tracy is still a bizarre passion project, but clearly one that was shared by half of Hollywood’s A-List. While the plot still doesn’t quite come together, Beatty is always interesting to watch, and the parade of clownish villains keeps us entertained we recognise the likes of Al Pacino, William Forsythe, James Caan and Dustin Hoffman under buckets of latex and make-up. Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography looks gorgeous, highlighting the beautiful sets created by Harold Michelson and Richard Sylbert, but there’s still something a little odd and wooden and clunky about the whole thing. And it’s probably all Madonna’s fault.
Having recently seen The Godfather on the big screen I was thankful for the chance to see the extraordinary second part of this story in the cinema as well. It’s often said The Godfather Part II is an example of a film where the sequel was better than the original but, the story is a little more complex than that, since The Godfather Part II is really a sequel and a prequel, rounding out the telling of Mario Puzo’s original novel.
Where The Godfather traced the transfer of power from Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) to his son Michael (Al Pacino), The Godfather Part II continues to tell the story of Michael’s leadership of the family and also takes us back to Vito’s childhood in Sicily and shows us how he entered a life of crime on the streets of New York, with a young and svelte Robert De Niro giving a career defining performance.
Every bit as epic, grand, confident and operatic as the first film, The Godfather Part II is an amazing cinematic experience. Everything about this film is masterfully crafted and the lead performances are as good as any you will ever see in this kind of film. Brilliant, amazing and thoroughly deserving of a repeat theatrical viewing.
A true classic and widely regarded as one of the best films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is a true masterpiece. Seeing the film on the big screen, in a 4k digital restoration, I was reminded of The Godfather’s operatic scope. From the immersive opening act, which occurs in and around a family wedding, through the extraordinary romantic leap to the Sicilian countryside during the third act, this is a bold and visionary experience.
Of course, the stunning performances from Marlon Brando and Al Pacino nearly steal the show. But, it was good to be reminded of how good James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire were in their supporting roles, to take in Gordon Willis iconic cinematography and of course, to hear Nino Rota’s brilliant score in the cinema once more.
For a film that mostly consists of Al Pacino and Christopher Walken hanging out, reminiscing about the good old days and itching to get back in the action and go cap some fools, Fisher Stevens’ Stand Up Guys is incredibly dull and wasteful of its resources. Alan Arkin, sold as the third lead, doesn’t turn up for 40 minutes and then doesn’t stick around long enough to contribute anything noteworthy. A few female bit-parts are scattered around in a weak attempt to keep things balanced, but the whole affair feels half-baked and unsure of its own ambitions, while the central hook of impending menace makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.