Posts Tagged ‘James Gandolfini’

Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini

Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini

“THE DROP”  My rating: C+  (Opens Sept. 12 at the Glenwood Arts, Eastglen 16 and Cinetopia theaters)   

106 minutes | MPAA rating: R

One of these days Tom Hardy is going to star in a film equal to his talents and then, hoo boy, watch out.

Until then we’re going to have to be satisfied with the Brit actor being the best thing in flawed efforts like “Lawless,” “Locke” and “Warrior” or as a first-rate supporting player in films like “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “Inception.”

In “The Drop”  the native Londoner plays Bob Saginowsky, a mumbling Brooklyn bartender who is so quiet, gentle and inoffensive that he reminds of the inarticulate Brooklyn butcher at the center of 1955’s “Marty” (for which Ernest Borgnine won the Oscar).

The solitary Bob has a soft spot for aged neighborhood lushes who can’t pay their tabs, much to the chagrin of his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), who runs the tavern. He goes to mass several times a week (but never takes communion…what’s up with that?)  He lives alone in the house where he grew up…it’s like a time capsule of the 1960s.

And early in the film he adopts an abused pit bull puppy he discovers whimpering in a trash barrel on a frigid New York night.

For such a low-keyed guy, Bob is in a pretty hairy business. Cousin Marv’s Bar (a few years back Marv was forced to sell it to Chechen gangsters), is one of several “drop bars” where the local bookies deposit their daily take according to a top-secret schedule.

If you know when Marv’s is that day’s drop bar, you might be able to get away with a big haul.

The overly complicated screenplay by Dennis (Mystic River) Lehane — based on one of his short stories — balances Bob’s “domestic” life (including a tentative romance with the dog-loving waitress Nadia, played by Noomi Rapace) against the ever-more-dangerous machinations at the bar.


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not fade kiss“NOT FADE AWAY” My rating: B (Opens Jan. 4 at the Tivoli)

112 minutes | MPAA rating: R

To date, David Chase’s major contribution to American arts has been as creator/producer of the cable hit “The Sopranos,” which along with its excellent drama and characterizations was forever pushing the envelope on TV violence, language and nudity.

For his first outing as a solo writer/director Chase puts away the blood bags and turns to his own adolescence. “Not Fade Away” is less a novel than a series of not-quite-nostalgic snapshots taken between 1963 and 1968.

It begins with two teenagers in suburban New Jersey staring at a shiny electric guitar in a store window. Their every third word is some variation on the f-bomb — I’m pretty sure Chase is foolin’ with us, delivering in one scene enough smutty talk to fill an entire movie. Then, our expectations of Chase-ian profanity fully met, he proceeds to deliver a very personal, sweet and slightly sad reverie on the role of rock ‘n’ roll in a young man’s life.

Our protagonist is Doug (John Magaro), who in 1963 is a skinny, unathletic dweeb hanging with similarly un-studly pals. The lives of these losers are transformed by the one-two-three punch of the Kennedy assassination, the first appearance of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan just weeks later, and the subsequent ascension of the Rolling Stones, who forced American teens to reckon with their own ignored blues heritage.

(The film’s title, of course, is that of a Buddy Holly song famously covered by the Stones.)

Doug is immediately smitten. The girls may not give him a second glance, but he knows he has rock star potential. He bones up on the drums and teams with his guitar-playing buddies Eugene (Jack Huston) and Wells (Will Brill) to form a band.  They’re pretty bad — at least until they start to get good.


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