Quick Thoughts: 12/30
I’ve put up a lot of reviews in the past week or so, and here are some more quick thoughts on a few movies I have recently watched at home:
With Warren Beatty, Anette Benning, Ben Kingsley and Harvey Keitel
I have been on a big Warren Beatty kick lately, and this is another great film of his. The movie is about Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, the 1940’s gangster who started Las Vegas. The movie basically turns into a gangster version of Citizen Kane, as Siegel is extremely vain, obsessive and insecure. Beatty is good as usual, but one thing I can’t get over is how annoying Annette Benning (an actress I usually like) was in this. I understand that her character is not supposed to be likeable, but she never showed me anything other than selfishness and volatility. It could have been the writer’s fault, but I just didn’t see why Bugsy was so infatuated with her. Either way, it was still an enjoyable movie.
With Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts and Daryl Hannah
I bought this movie for $2 at a Blockbuster closeout sale, and surprisingly the disc was in perfect condition. The movie itself was good, too. I expected Mickey Rourke to be good in it (as he was), but I was really surprised with how good Eric Roberts was in it. I am not too familiar with his work and have only seen him in small parts in movies like Spun and The Dark Knight. He held his own against a great actor like Rourke, and showed a lot of range. The plot involves a con gone wrong as Rourke is trying to open his own restaurant and support his pregnant girlfriend (Daryl Hannah).
With Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer and Philip Baker Hall
This is a movie I first saw a couple years ago and just wanted to re-watch it to refresh my memory. It is one of my favorite movies from Michael Mann (along with Collateral) and my favorite performance from Russell Crowe. He lost the Oscar this year to Kevin Spacey (for American Beauty) but would win it the following year for Gladiator. While he is commanding and powerful in that film, he is at his best when he plays an every-man that is put in an extraordinary situation like his character is in The Insider. After he is fired from a major tobacco company, he is approached by a “60 Minutes” producer (Pacino) to do an interview. He goes against his confidentiality agreement with his former employer, and risks everything to reveal the truth. It also features, in my opinion, Al Pacino’s last great performance and a nice supporting turn from Plummer as legendary TV journalist Mike Wallace. Although there is little to no “action” in the film, Mann has a way of making even the smallest details seem monumental. His films always feel like action-thrillers to me, regardless of the subject matter.