Posts Tagged ‘public enemies

06
Jul
09

Movie Review: Public Enemies

public_enemies

 

The timeless institution of bank robbing.

Starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Billy Crudup, and Marion Cotillard. Directed by Michael Mann

The story begins in 1933. America is in steeped in the Depression and folks are looking for “heroes” who come in the form of Chicagoland gangsters such as Al Capone, George “Babyface” Nelson and this movie’s lead, John Dillinger (Depp). We watch Dillinger and an associate walk into the Indiana State Penitentiary and bust out a few members of his gang. From there it’s on the road to more bank robberies.

Cut to Melvin Purvis (Bale), a lawman in his own right. He hunts down “Pretty Boy” Floyd and delivers a gut shot via shotgun. Purvis is so good at tracking down offenders that his boss, J. Edgar Hoover (Crudup), puts Purvis in charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau he’s trying to get Congress to recognize and help fund. Purvis accepts the job and makes Dillinger Public Enemy Number One.

Which is just fine with Dillinger who is having too much fun going from robbery to robbery. Along the way he meets, and falls in love with, Billie Frechette (Cotillard), a hat and coat-check girl at a local motel. Dillinger persists to have Billie with him and after many attempts to get away, finally concedes. Dillinger vows to protect her.

But the outside world is closing in on Dillinger. His gang is shot or captured one-by-one. Other criminal associates are going high-tech. Congress is about to pass a bill that will change the prosecution of crimes across state lines. Purvis has tapped Billie’s phone and kept her under close surveillance. Dillinger’s days as a free-wheelin’ “Robin Hood’ bank robber are numbered.

Let me mention what I liked about the movie: Mann went as far as he could to make the film feel authentic. From the radios to the phone taps, clothing to cars, Michael Mann and his crew diligently recreated mid-1930’s Chicago. The film was shot hand-held, which “amplifies” the feeling of being there. The color scheme has a sort of “O Brother, Where Art Thou” muted-down browns, blacks, and whites.

My problem with the movie is the pacing. The first hour+ is bamm-bamm-bamm-bamm-bamm-bamm. Don’t get me wrong, Mann knows how to construct an action sequence (“Heat, “Collateral”) but here it just seems too much; we as an audience don’t have time to connect to who Dillinger is aside from being a bank robber. Then again, maybe that’s all the info Mann had; I don’t know. I began liking Purvis and felt his frustration in trying to capture Dillinger using the “clean cut” officers given to him by Hoover (which were ineffective if not killed) but Dillinger came off as a cowboy that couldn’t be stopped. Maybe he was. And there was that subplot about not following Dietrich’s points, which may have kept Dillinger alive, which seemed underplayed.

In any case the second half of the movie slows down for what people know is going to happen: the assassination of Dillinger. We all seem to know more about that than the man himself. This is where we, the audience, enjoy the movie because 1) characterization and 2) empathy buildup for Dillinger’s end. “Peter Pan” has to grow up only to find that it’s too late. He tries to find a way to save the love of his life. We all know it ends at the Biograph Theater. This is the best part of the film, in my opinion.

There are scenes here and there that are notable. My favorite is when Dillinger walked into the Chicago Police Headquarters and walked around the Dillinger Division. Nice.

I’ll also throw in my two cents on the soundtrack. Great stuff. “Ten Million Slaves” by Otis Taylor was a great song to use. Check it out.

Watch for Giovanni Ribisi as Alvin Karpis and Leelee Sobieski as Polly Hamilton.

It’s a good movie that could’ve been great.

My grade: B

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01
Jul
09

July Movie Releases

“Ice Age 3” – Scrat and company are back! They discover a hidden jungle world filled with dinosaurs, but that’s all I’m telling. Opens July 1, 2009

“Public Enemies” – Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger in this biopic on the gangster. Directed by Michael Mann, also starring Christian Bale. Opens July 1, 2009

“2012” – It’s not the year 2525, but it’s just as disastrous… Roland Emmerich is behind this apocalyptic movie staring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, and Oliver Platt. Opens July 10, 2009

“Bruno” – Sacha Baron Cohen is back this time as faux gay Australian fashion reporter Bruno. Opens July 10, 2009

“I Love You, Beth Cooper” – The high school valedictorian pronounces his love for “Beth Cooper” (Hayden Panettiere) who takes it upon herself to show him the night of his life. Opens July 10, 2009

“500 Days of Summer” – Zooey Deschanel doesn’t believe in love, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt falls for her anyway. Opens July 17, 2009

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” – No summary; I’ve not bothered watching any of these movies. Opens July 17, 2009

“G-Force” – A group of guinea pigs are recruited for covert government ops. Features the voices of Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Nic Cage, and Penelope Cruz. Opens July 24, 2009

“The Ugly Truth” – Gerard Butler is a chauvinistic TV host and Katherine Heigl is his new producer. He tries to help her romantically with a “new guy,” but his work has unexpected results. Opens July 24, 2009

“Aliens in the Attic” – A group of teens has to protect their vacation home from aliens who have invaded their upstairs. Stars Ashley Tisdale and Tim Meadows. Opens July 31, 2009

“Funny People” – Judd Apatow movie with Adam Sandler as a comedian who has a terminal illness and who takes Seth Rogen under his wing. Opens July 31, 2009

27
Mar
09

Movie News and Views March 27, 2009 Trailer Edition

astro_boy

 

“Gigantic” – Paul Dano is single, and a mattress salesman trying to adopt a baby from China. He falls for Zooey Deschanel and in the down time tries to keep from getting killed by a homeless guy. Comedy. Opens April 3, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Merry Gentleman” – A woman moves to Chicago to start life over and meets a guy. Both are trying to escape their past lives and need to become more than they are. Stars Kelly MacDonald and Michael Keaton, who also directs. Opens May 1, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Limits of Control” – Isaach De Bankole is a mysterious loner on a job, probing the depths of his soul. Also stars Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Opens May 22, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Drag Me To Hell” – Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead,” “Spider-Man” trilogy) horror movie about a loan officer cursed by a mysterious woman who’s loan extension she denies. Stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long. Opens May 29, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Away We Go” – Parents-to-be John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph hit the road to find a place to set their roots. Opens June 5, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Hangover” – A guy and his three friends go to Vegas for a Bachelor-party blow-out. The three friends awake and have to retrace their steps to track down the groom. Opens June 5, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Public Enemies” – Michael Mann (“Heat,” “Collateral”) directed John Dillinger biopic. Stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard. Opens July 1, 2009

 

 

 

 

“500 Days of Summer” – Zooey Deschanel doesn’t believe in love, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt falls for her anyway. Opens July 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Taking Woodstock” – Ang Lee directed true story of Elliot Tiber, a man who was pivotal in making the 1969 Woodstock Festival happen. Also stars Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber. Opens August 14, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Pandorum” – Sci-fi movie with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster about two men who crash-land on a planet and have no memory of who they were, how they got there, or why. Opens September 4, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – CG animated movie based on the children’s book about a scientist trying to cure world hunger when food starts falling from the sky. Featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Cann, Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T. Opens September 18, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Where the Wild Things Are” – Movie based on the popular children’s book (I loved it at least). Directed by Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”). Opens October 16, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Sorority Row” – Five sorority sisters murder a fellow sister in a prank gone wrong. After graduation, a killer goes after each one. Opens October 22, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Astro Boy” – A young robot with incredible powers takes a journey to discover what it means to be human. CG animated with the voices of Nic Cage and Freddie Highmore. Opens October 23, 2009

 

 

 

 

“In the Loop” – Comical look at what might go on behind the scenes between London and Washington, D.C. during a buildup to a not-so-fictional war. Stars Steve Coogan and James Gandolfini. Coming Soon!