Archives for posts with tag: James Gandolfini

I’m always fascinated how storytellers generate suspense despite the ultimate spoiler alert – a story based on actual events. You do realize Osama bin Laden is dead, right? Anyway, “United 93” might have done the best job I have ever seen with this challenge, but “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012) comes close. And it’s just a straight up, chronological retelling of the years upon years it took CIA operatives to hunt down bin Laden. You really feel the pressure of the interrogations, the surveillance, the danger. Tiny flaw: SEAL Team 6 comes off a little cowboyish (but maybe they’re really like that).

I remember the book “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” because it sat on the back of the commode in my parents’ bathroom for something like five years. I don’t remember the 1974 movie (I was eight years old). The 2009 version, “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” (One Two Three? That’s too many words – things are faster paced these days.), is a sometimes-too-stylish, quirky thriller about a subway hostage/ransom event with an interesting criminal twist. Not bad, but when someone asks, “Can you name 10 Denzel Washington movies?” I doubt this one will come to your mind.

“The Drop” (2014) is the story of a man and his dog. And Chechen mobsters. And Brooklyn. And Tony Soprano (except he’s not Tony Soprano). And murders. And money. And a communion that will never be shared. Tom Hardy offers one of the most authentically unplaceable New York accents I’ve ever heard. It’s a beautiful thing. The story is a classic mob double-cross with a twist that reminded me of “The Usual Suspects.” I was, literally, on the edge of my seat for the last 30 minutes. When the final scene faded to black, I smiled. That’s a good movie.