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Ridley Scott's American Gangster

Old 11-03-07, 08:38 PM
  #101  
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Saw it. Loved it.

The "Amazing Grace" montage was terrific.
Its good to see Idris "Stringer Bell" Elba in a big movie
I wish Ridley had used the 2.35:1 frame instead of the 1.85:1. Some scenes were a little too cramped.
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Old 11-03-07, 09:20 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Brack
And John Hawkes starred in both AG and Miami Vice.
Don't forget John Ortiz!




Went to see this with my dad who wanted to see it after 15 seconds of the trailer.

I thought it was a well done movie that was paced a bit better than the other crime procedural of this year. (Although I think Zodiac will better stand the test of time).

I'm glad I went to see it and the movie had an interesting story (sorry, but bringing in Thai H through Fayettenam is not "cookie cutter" to me), great acting (finally, a good Cuba Gooding role, plus I'm a big Chiwetel fan), etc. Definitely Scott's best movie since BHD.

Also, a lot of roles from hip-hop artists (Common, RZA, TI).
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Old 11-03-07, 09:54 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by MartinBlank
I thought it was a good flick. Nothing too exception but good overall. Way better than the likes of a Scarface but no Godfather II or Goodfellas.
Originally Posted by hapgilmore
Scarface is a much better film, imo. I liked AG but didn't feel it was THAT great.
Originally Posted by Neeb
I agree. Howard Hawks made a great film back in 1932. There's not much that can top it.
I was referring to De Palma's Scarface. After seeing all the children "struttin'" into the theater with their caps on sideways, I knew that they were in for a major disappointment.
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Old 11-04-07, 01:19 AM
  #104  
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American Gangster is competently filmed (I would expect nothing less from Ridley Scott) as a nice period piece taking place in the late 1960's up to the mid-1970's, but the screenplay is a miss because it fails to craft interesting characters from its source material (gangster Frank Lucas and Det. Richie Roberts), and keeps us at arm's distance from gaining much perspective into either men. There are broad strokes, but I think it needed a little more personal backstory explaining personal motivations and heightened sense of justice and morality/immorality than what is provided on the screen.

It's sort of uninteresting to watch Denzel Washington with a no-nonsense scowl on his face for 140 minutes of the 160 minutes running time. There's no sense of charm balanced with brutality, it's black and white, with nary a shade of grey in Frank's characterization. The same is sort of true about Richie's own ethics on display which turn him into a pariah in his own precinct. Many scenes in the final act just sort of peter out, lacking punch and vitality as the film draw to a close.

I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
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Old 11-04-07, 09:41 AM
  #105  
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Saw it last night. Thought it was pretty solid.

One thing I hated, though:

Spoiler:
The bit at the end where they put their differences aside and work together to bust the crooked cops. That shit was so corny. Seemed like a half-assed attempt to redeem Denzel's character. I understand that that's how things happened, but I felt like they could have summed that up in the post-script. It made an already long movie feel even longer and drained it of its impact.
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Old 11-04-07, 10:26 AM
  #106  
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I enjoyed this a lot. I didn't feel like it was lacking anything in terms of character; I don't think we always need to know explicitly why about a character's motivations, just that the characters are doing their respective jobs because they believe in them. We do get some character backstory at certain moments, but it doesn't stick out like in some other movies, where the character stops to tell the audience exactly what he needs to in order for the plot to start again.

This movie could have easily been just about Frank Lucas (like Blow), or just about Richie Roberts (like The French Connection), but I liked the fact that we got to see both sides of the coin (like The Wire). The apartment shootout near the end was great, very suspenseful lead up and very intense close quarters action.
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Old 11-04-07, 11:06 AM
  #107  
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Man, Denzel Washingtons character kicked some major "A" the first fifteen minutes of the movie, then just went completely boring. I wonder if there will be a Director's Cut of this on DVD, since thats what Ridley Scott has been doing lately to redeem his mediocre movies.
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Old 11-04-07, 11:12 AM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by Robert
Saw it. Loved it.

The "Amazing Grace" montage was terrific.
Its good to see Idris "Stringer Bell" Elba in a big movie
I wish Ridley had used the 2.35:1 frame instead of the 1.85:1. Some scenes were a little too cramped.
Double check your theater's projection. I went last night and we had digital projection, but someone in charge was cropping the picture on the sides. The film filled a 1.66:1 screen. Not only that, but all the trailers were cropped, too. I noticed immediately when the trailer for I Am Legend looked like it was (ballpark guess) more like 2:1 than 2.4:1. When American Gangster started I was trying to figure out whether it was being squeezed, cropped, or if I was just crazy. The Universal globe logo looked like a perfect circle... but... anyway eventually I just escaped into the film but I remember lots of shots that I thought looked very tight.

Anyway, when the film was over I took a cellphone pic of the screen (which had been entirely filled with image.) Went home, opened the image in an editor and saw that the screen in my photo was 1,041 x 628. Do the math, that's 1.658. Huh. Pretty close to 1.66:1, allowing for my own error. I tried to remember particular shots that looked tight to me, and I came up with this as a pretty good example:

This is how this shot looked in the theater to me- I noticed very tight framing on the guy on the right:



And this is how the same shot looks (before I cropped it to 1.66) in the Quicktime trailer. May seem subtle, but it makes a big difference in the end:


Last edited by Five Cent Deposit; 11-04-07 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 11-04-07, 01:00 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by Robert
Its good to see Idris "Stringer Bell" Elba in a big movie
It's always a treat to see Elba in a movie. Even when watching garbage like The Reaping, I was glad to see him in the supporting role. Still, it's going to be hard for me to shake the character of Stringer Bell off him.
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Old 11-04-07, 02:05 PM
  #110  
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After a second viewing, to me it's pretty much a perfect film.
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Old 11-04-07, 04:42 PM
  #111  
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Elaboate. I think it's a fine film, but nowhere near perfect.
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Old 11-04-07, 05:04 PM
  #112  
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I'm sure ex-Atlanta Falcons QB Micheal Vick while watching this movie must not have enjoyed seeing Denzel's world come crumbling down. It must have hit home and then to come out of prison old with nothing. I'm sure he didn't leave the movie having enjoyed watching this movie.
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Old 11-04-07, 05:47 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by Robert
Saw it. Loved it.

The "Amazing Grace" montage was terrific.
Its good to see Idris "Stringer Bell" Elba in a big movie
I wish Ridley had used the 2.35:1 frame instead of the 1.85:1. Some scenes were a little too cramped.
I agree. I like my ridley scott movies wide....He used the scope to great effect.
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Old 11-05-07, 07:36 AM
  #114  
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Prior to seeing it, this was my pick as the most likely film to win the Oscar next year. After seeing it, I don't feel it's Best Picture material, but I did really enjoy the performances.

I have two complaints about the movie. The first 30 minutes are too slow, and the final 30 minutes (apx.) are too rushed. Everything in between is fantastic, but the movie takes TOO long to "get rolling" and once our two leads finally meet face to face, it felt like there could have been a whole other movie there (but we're rushed through the events).
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Old 11-10-07, 08:40 AM
  #115  
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I'll be short and sweet......Loved every second of it
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Old 11-11-07, 12:04 AM
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I saw it tonight, and I'll also be really short with my thoughts. It was an extremely well paced, tight picture and even at 157 minutes long it seemed to just fly by. The dialogue was clever and hard hitting, a few of the moments in the film just flat out shocked me, totally taking me off guard, and one specific scene, or rather series of scenes, was one of the most tense and suspenseful moments on film that I've seen in the past decade.

I give this one two major thumbs up.
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Old 11-11-07, 12:30 AM
  #117  
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I think it'll get quite a few Oscar nods.
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Old 11-12-07, 02:29 PM
  #118  
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I'll give it an A-. I thought it was a really good movie.
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Old 11-12-07, 02:31 PM
  #119  
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as much as I can't stand Denzel - I still want to see this... I try to see everything Russell stars in.
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Old 11-12-07, 02:59 PM
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How can anyone not like Denzel Washington???
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Old 11-12-07, 03:03 PM
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My theory is because Denzel has become the new "star-vehicle" movie star in recent years (John Q, Out of Time, Man on Fire, Inside Man, Deja Vu).
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Old 11-12-07, 03:07 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by PacMan2006
How can anyone not like Denzel Washington???
yes I'm in the extreme minority
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Old 11-12-07, 03:57 PM
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Denzel rocks!

Rich
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My DVD collection: http://www.anyinput.com/go/dvdmanc1
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Old 11-13-07, 09:46 AM
  #124  
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So...what ever happened to

Spoiler:
Cuba Gooding Jr's character?


I was hoping we'd have some sort of showdown or closure...

= J
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Old 11-13-07, 09:56 AM
  #125  
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Tarantino: In real life, his character eventually went to jail. I think Jimmy Carter made him Public Enemy #1 after that Mr. Untouchable NYT mag headline.

They were really never enemies.

Here's an conversation between Barnes and Lucas:
http://nymag.com/guides/money/2007/39948/
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