Thursday Movie Picks: Gangsters

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is all about gangsters. I'm not crazy about Gangster films, but some are pretty good. Here's one I absolutely love, and two that are decent.

1) Eastern Promises

If you know me, it should be no surprise I picked this. It's one of my all time favorite movies. I love this story of a nurse caught up with Russian gangsters in London. It's the gold standard for me. 

2) Black Mass

This was a nice reminder that Johnny Depp can do more than Jack Sparrow. I had almost forgotten. The entire cast in this film about Whitey Bulger (minus Dakota Johnson and whatever the fuck accent she was doing) were wonderful.

3) Legend

This film was never talked about as much as it should've been. Tom Hardy was excellent as twin gangsters Ron and Reggie Kray. 

Comments

  1. Seen all three of these films. Eastern Promises and Black Mass are good films (former being the better). Legend is pretty decent as well

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    1. I agree. Legend had some issues but Hardy was so good that I didn't spend too much time focusing on them.

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  2. I've seen the first and the third both of which were good films though I'd agree that Promises is the better of the two. Legend had a good supporting cast but Hardy is almost wholly the reason to see it.

    I haven't seen Black Mass specifically because of Depp. I never was an ardent fan though up until Pirates he made interesting choices and was a decent performer but he's become such a lazy paycheck actor I purposefully avoid his stuff now.

    Since this is such a wide open category I needed a hook to narrow it down. So, I themed it out with one of the ultimate gangster stars-James Cagney.

    The Public Enemy (1931)-Tom Powers (Cagney-in the role that made him a major star) is a small-time hood, vicious and consciousless who climbs to success on the back of Prohibition and his willingness to do whatever necessary-rob, maim, kill-to gain advantage. The film chronicles that rise, and fall, as well as his entanglement with two women Gwen (Jean Harlow, this was one of her earliest appearances, don’t judge her on it-she’s awful-look to her MGM comedies where she’s great) and Kitty (Mae Clarke) who famously receives a grapefruit in her kisser when she mouths off to Cagney. This William Wellman directed picture is one of the formative films in creating the gangster drama.

    The Roaring Twenties (1939)-Eddie Bartlett (Cagney), George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) and Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn) strike up a friendship in a foxhole during WWI. Once back in the States they go their separate ways but eventually circumstances bring them back together in the bootlegging business where they find enormous success until jealousies, rivalries and the stock market crash brings it all tumbling down. One of the last great gangster films of the 30’s with a fantastic cast including Priscilla Lane and a scene stealing Gladys George as the lovelorn songbird Panama Smith who delivers the film’s iconic last line.

    Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)-Amoral gangster Ralph Cotter (Cagney) breaks out of prison along with fellow prisoner Carleton (Neville Brand). When Carlton is injured Cotter murders him to speed his escape and jumps right back into crime blackmailing Carleton’s sister Holiday (Barbara Payton) into a relationship to conceal her part in aiding their jailbreak. Discovering graft Cotter pressures a couple of crooked cops (Barton MacLane and Ward Bond) and an equally corrupt lawyer (Luther Adler) into a scheme to bilk heiress Margaret Dobson (Helena Carter) out of a fortune. Things do not go as planned. This was the highpoint of leading lady Barbara Payton’s career. A beautiful if somewhat hard looking blonde at this time she was considered a rising star but after a scandal plagued and notorious career she fell as far as it’s possible to go ending up a drug addicted skid row hooker (once being mistaken for a pile of garbage after being left next to a dumpster following a beating) before her death from organ failure at 39.

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    1. I would definitely recommend Black Mass, Depp is very good in it, like he used to be before he started phoning it in. I haven't seen any of your picks this week.

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  3. I really need to see Eastern Promises. Legend was watchable only because of Hardy.

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    1. SEE EASTERN PROMISES! It's seriously one of my Top 5 all time.

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    2. also see it for the visuals :D

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  4. With the exception of Black Mass which I haven't seen as I'm still iffy about Johnny Depp these days. I have seen the other 2 films which are great picks. I went for a theme-within-a-theme for my picks.

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    1. Black mass is good if you ever get the chance to see it.

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  5. I've only seen Black Mass,which was really good. Best Depp performance in years. The others fall into rhat really large "I've been meaning to watch" category.

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  6. I really need to watch Eastern Promises and Legend... maybe I'll watch the first one today...

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  7. Eastern Promises is excellent and I got to see a lot more of Viggo (dreaming right now). This film is intelligent and nothing is gratuitous even the moment when he puts his cigarette out..make me cringe. Black Mass is another excellent movie although not quite as good as the first one but I was so 8mpressed with Johnny Depp’s performance and thought he should have been nominated for an Oscar. whitey Bulger was just murdered this week, in prison and they tried to cut his tongue out so gangsters are still alive and well. I haven’t seen the 3rd film but I,like Tom Hardy who usually plays quite interesting characters and can look handsome one minute and really icky the next

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    1. Aww I love that you love Eastern Promises as well! Legend is a good watch too.

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  8. I haven't seen EP in a long time (like, I own it on HD-DVD, uh huh...that was a thing), but I remember loving the shit out of it. Haven't seen the other two, but assuming I actually watch another movie one day - I'm in for both.

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    1. If it makes you feel better by copy of EP is burned lol

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  9. I haven't seen any of your picks. My initial impression of Black Mass was - once again another role in which Depp wears a lot of makeup.

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