Tag Archives: james gandolfini
The title Zero Dark Thirty is military jargon for 30 minutes after midnight which is about the time the raid on the Osama Bin Laden compound was initiated by the Navy Seals/DEVGRU – but it took well over two hours to get to this incendiary point in the movie as Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal first had to subject us to the oft seen cliche character of the smart, hard nosed, obsessive CIA agent who is determined to move heaven and earth, come hell or high water, to complete their mission and task of obtaining justice. While the depiction of the interrogation torture scenes are stirring all the controversy surrounding this movie, frankly I’m more tortured by the way Jessica Chastain’s performances continue to get so many accolades when this time around all she does is intensely stare at fucking computer screens – her one breakout moment being when she confronts her boss (Joseph Bradley) in the corridors of Langley which is terribly trite and predictable given that her reasoning is “a lot of my friends have died trying to do this, and I believe I was left here to finish it” or even better, later on, “I’m the motherfucker that found him”.
Now I don’t want to get into a pissing match with other bloggers out there like I did with Argo, so I’m not going to get into the accuracy and the degree of dramatic license of the Chastain character and how they portray her to single handedly find the most wanted man on the planet, but I will say that the dichotomy between the pursuit of Bin Laden and the seemingly accurate reenactment of the killing of Bin Laden is somewhat puzzling to me. It felt as though the climax had absolutely nothing to do with Chastain’s character at that point, especially when they occasionally cut to her nail biting reaction during the raid.
That’s probably why I enjoyed the night vision Navy Seals sequence and regret that it wasn’t more about their mission and preparation, I mean Chris Pratt did do all that work to get in good shape for it. But why cast Mark Duplass and James Gandolfini in such thankless minor roles? At least they have speaking parts unlike Ricky Sekhon who gets to play dead as Bin Laden! Still, Bigelow must be commended for her direction (and Alexandre Desplat score) though I feel it covers somewhat of the same terrain as her previous film, The Hurtlocker, and hope that she moves on to greener pastures. But James Gandolfini may get there before her.
Martin Scorsese and Sopranos screenwriter and producer Terence Winter both return once again to their crime genre beginnings and to further bank off the New Jersey TV trend, exposing it’s Guido and Guiette roots in HBO’s highly anticipated Boardwalk Empire. Only even with an Emmy Award writer this script isn’t half as exciting or entertaining as Jersey Shores’ GTL, fist pumping, and Situation commentaries.
Cued from the start with the dullest opening theme in HBO history of lapping waves, Atlantic City looks like a sound stage, even more so then Gangs of New York and dirty Cameron. Cast with a bunch of clean, stiff suited townies following their leader/treasurer Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), who’s keeping everyone’s mouth wet and taking cuts from every casino and taffy shoppe. His scrawny, corpselike appearance is hardly as intimidating as James Gandolfini despite the matching snaggle tooth, but even so, he’s got a a peanut gallery all laughing on cue and speaking in turn. It’s only his chauffeur Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), a Leo DiCaprio wannabe, who feels he’s entitled to something more leading him to team up with Al Capone (Stephen Graham) and ambush the next booze delivery. Agent Michael Shannon stalks Buscemi, playing his mumbling crazy self while struggling Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald) shows Buscemi in a more humane light as she distracts him from his dead wife. Anyway, I wouldn’t trust any of these cats just as I wouldn’t trust a plank on this soot-free polished set. This spic and span cast is sleazier than Jersey Shore’s coked out Ronnie. By now we all know, no matter how close to “action” T-shirt time is there’s no way these boardwalk drunks, sequins and feathers, and sharp suits wearing shimmy shakers could look so flat and bland when it’s supposed to be the Jazz Age. The rise and fall of the gangster during prohibition has been a subject of numerous movies such as The Untouchables and the classic Once Upon A Time In America but this new HBO addition don’t seem to reveal very much besides showing that Scorsese is bone dry of ideas.