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Tag Archives: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Scarface

In the early 1980’s thousands of people leave Cuba bound for the United States to find a better life. One such immigrant is Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino) who’s had a few scrapes with the law and is desperate to become a success. He starts at a refugee camp in Florida, earning a living washing dishes at a food van, but he and his friend Manny Ribera (by Steven Bauer) pretty soon move on. In exchange for a Green Card they agree to do a contract killing. Tony and Manny get involved in a drugs operation and meet big time dealer Frank Lopez (by Robert Loggia). Tony’s got a knack for this type of thing and a few successes come  his way, so he partners with Frank and they start to do business with contacts in Columbia. Everything goes well, customers are happy and money rolls in. Frank marries the beautiful Elvira (by Michelle Pfeiffer) and he tries to look after his Mama (by Miriam Colon) and his sister Gina (by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), but his mother doesn’t approve and she rejects him. Tony’s relationships suffer but his business booms. A big drug dealer in South America, Alejandro Sosa (by Paul Shenar), starts to work with the Montana organisation until things go bad and get dangerous. Violence escalates across Miami and Tony’s business comes under scrutiny by the Tax Department and the Feds. Tony starts to panic when he realises life’s about more than just money and he can’t buy his way out of everything …

This movie is a good adventure story with some heavy action scenes. The improving lifestyle of the up and coming drug dealer is opulent and filled with excesses. Tony’s relationship with Elvira (played by a very young Michelle Pfeiffer) is interesting but not really critical to the story. The violence in the movie would have been graphic in its day and indeed the story would have been ground-breaking then too. Al Pacino is gritty and real as Tony Montana – he is good in these “down to earth” roles. I hate to say it, but Michelle Pfeiffer is little more than a decoration here, however as Gina, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio gives things a bit more life and emotion. The male characters are all pretty strong – well done to Steve Bauer, who has had quite a successful career since this one. It’s quite a long movie – nearly 3 hours, and  it probably doesn’t need to be, but overall it’s a decent adventure. It was nominated for a few Golden Globes, but went without any recognition through the awards season of 1984, perhaps as it’s a remake of a 1932 movie. This one is written by Oliver Stone.

Made in 1983. Directed by Brian De Palma.

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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Movies

 

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Consenting Adults

Richard Parker (played by Kevin Kline) is a composer working in advertising. He works with his artistic wife, Priscilla (by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and they have a happy life with their teenage daughter Lori (by Kimberly McCullough). One day, a curious new neighbour, Eddie Otis (by Kevin Spacey), an insurance salesman, appears at the house next door. He quickly introduces himself to Richard and Priscilla and then by way of some neighbourly drinks sessions, dinner dates and entertaining outings, he and his wife Kay (by Rebecca Miller) become a major part of the Parkers’ social lives. Priscilla is particularly fascinated by Eddie and Kevin is enchanted by Kay – a marvellous torch singer who has modestly hidden her talents up until now. Eddie is constantly and mischieviously involving Richard in boyish banter and he persuades Richard that an evening of wife-swapping would be a great idea – just as a one off, just for the excitement. Richard, reluctant at first, is persuaded by Kay’s appeal and agrees. This is when things start to get intriguing and out of control at the same time – there’s something a little disturbing about Eddie, and Richard is about to find out just what that is …

This movie is a bit better than average. The plot is sufficiently involved to keep a viewer engaged and on the whole the performances are good. The story twists and turns very well and there are some surprises in the telling, which make it more than simply a rom-com gone wrong. In terms of each of the cast, the movie really belongs to Kevin Spacey – he totally owns every scene he features in. Nobody can do “boyish charm and irritating arrogance tinged with an edge of disturbing terror” quite like Spacey. Kevin Kline is also a very strong performer – any time he is required to act with intensity to portray happiness, dismay, confusion, fear or terror, he does this very well. However, he just doesn’t do “tough guy” very well at all. As a result, the scenes where he is required to do that are very weak indeed. There is one patch towards the end of the movie where the drama loses its intensity quite abruptly – and it never really recovers from this until the final scenes, where Kevin Spacey saves it once again. The women are fine, but that’s probably about all – the eightie’s fashions and styling may bring a hint of nostalgia to mind, or just a giggle!!. Forest Whitaker appears in a support role as private investigator, David Duttonville. Overall though, this move is good and entertaining.

Made in 1992. Directed by Alan J.Pakula

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Movies

 

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The Perfect Storm

It’s 1991, Captain Billy Tyne (played by George Clooney) is the skipper of the Andrea Gail, working out of the tough port of Gloucester, Massachusetts where commercial deep sea fishing is a highly competitive industry. Billy and his crew have worked these waters for several years, but his operation has had a few rough months recently and Billy really needs to bring in a good catch soon. Although it’s getting very late in the year (October – and the weather can get pretty ugly), he hears that the fish are running and decides the potential harvest offers enough incentive to go out and bring it in. His five loyal crew would much rather stay on shore with their loved ones than venture back into the cold unfriendly Atlantic, but they each decide to join him on this potentially lucrative mission. On board with Billy are young Bobby Shatford (by Mark Wahlberg) who is keen and is in the first exciting flush of new love; Dale ‘Murph’ Murphy (by John C. Reilly) recently divorced and a devoted father; David ‘Sully’ Sullivan (by William Fichtner) a good crewman but hated by Murph; Mike ‘Bugsy’ Moran (by John Hawkes) who is reluctant to leave shore because he’s finally found a woman who likes him; and Alfred Pierre (by Allen Payne) the quietest of them all. As they depart from port, storm warnings start to come through, but they press on to their anticipated catch. Meanwhile, three weather systems collide off the coast of Nova Scotia that create a furious storm with hundred foot waves and fierce winds. It is the “storm of the century” and it strikes with virtually no warning. Out to sea, Billy and his crew have mechanical problems on board and they must change course quickly, which means they are stuck out there with this “perfect storm” between them and safety. They must face the treacherous stormy high-seas and try to make it home, at the same time they pray for rescue …
 
This movie is great – it is a true story. The tough life of working a fishing trawler, the difficulty of intermittent on-shore relationships and the emotional investment in dealing with such dangerous work in the unpredictable sea and forces nature is depicted superbly. Those “left on shore” are played very well by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Diane Lane, Bob Gunton, and Karen Allen – we really feel the anxiety and uncertainty in these people’s lives. I had little knowledge of this true-life event, so the story doesn’t go where I thought it would, but that made it better. It’s a very good movie – I wouldn’t venture onto the high seas again for a while after I saw it. The men in the Andrea Gail are courageous beyond belief.
 
This great drama is based on the best-selling book by Sebastian Junger,

Made in 2000. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Movies

 

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