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59. Heat (#124)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and this week with special guests Phil Bagnall and Joe Griffin, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every second Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode between them.

This time, Michael Mann’s Heat.

Michael Mann’s Los Angeles crime epic finds lives intersecting and overlapping in the City of Angels. At the heart of the story, career criminal Neil McCauley and driven detective Vincent Hanna find themselves on a collision course that leave countless lives shattered in their wake.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 124th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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49. Scarface (#106)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every second Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode between them.

This time, Brian dePalma’s Scarface.

Antonio Montana is an exiled criminal from Cuban who arrives in Miami. Montana plans to live the American Dream, no matter who or what stands in his way.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 106th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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The Sopranos: Guy Walks Into A Psychiatrist’s Office…

Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office gets the second season of The Sopranos off to a strong start. We’re immediately informed that time has elapsed and that everything has sorted itself out. We get a montage to assure us that it’s business as usual, and the early part of the episode features Tony tying off the last possible lose end in the feud between himself and Junior. However, there’s also a sense that things are changing, both in the lives of our characters and also in the way the show is structured.

The first season of the show is a damn fine piece of television, but it’s also somewhat misleading. It’s a beautifully structured thirteen-episode mob epic which manages to satisfactorily tie up all its loose ends by the time the credits role on I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano. It’s understandable that so many people were frustrated by the show’s non-resolution after the first season wrapped up so elegantly.

With the success of that first season, there’s a sense of earned confidence to Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office, as if Chase feels like he has a bit more freedom to work with in telling his great American novel.

Something's not quite right here...

Something’s not quite right here…

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Despicable Me 2 Trailer

Universal Pictures Ireland just sent on this trailer for Despicable Me 2, the sequel to the very soldi animated film starring Steve Carrell. This time, Carrell is joined by Al Pacino, which I am actually quite excited about. There’s no denying Pacino’s contributions to modern cinema, but at this point in his career Pacino is at his best when he’s gloriously chewing down on the scenery. Given his voice can be downright bombastic (“HOOO-ah!”) at times, casting him as an over-the-top supervillain in an animated film seems pretty ideal.

The trailer doesn’t offer any hints to Pacino’s role. Instead, like the Ice Age trailers, it focuses more on the engaging supporting characters – “the minions.” I like the minions, if only because they lend themselves well to broad physical comedy, in a way this isn’t really all that challenging but is quite effective. The trailer doesn’t really offer anything new in that regard, but it’s still charming enough. Silly golf clothes are always funny, and Tubular Bells always brings a smile to my face. Check out the trailer below.

Going Straight: Comedic Actors in Dramatic Roles…

New pictures from I, Alex Cross were introduced over the weekend. If you aren’t familiar with it, don’t worry – it’s an upcoming adaptation of an Alex Cross novel, the same series that gave us Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. While Along Came Spider wasn’t anything special, Kiss the Girls was a fairly decent nineties serial killer film, if not quite on the level of it obvious influences in The Silence of the Lambs and se7en. There were two surprises in these shots. The first was how incredibly freaky Matthew Fox looked – he looks pretty damn scary, so respect to Fox for pulling off that transformation. The second surprise was just how convincing Tyler Perry looked in the lead role. Perry is the latest in a long line of comedic actors looking to expand their range, and I can’t help but wonder why so many comedic performers tend to branch out so far.

Not a man you want to Cross…

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Sopranos: Meadowlands (Review)

It’s interesting how slowly The Sopranos approached the violence of what Tony does. Of course, the pilot episode (The Sopranos) featured Tony brutally beating a debtor in an attempt to earn his money back and the subsequent episode (46 Long) featured Tony beating up an employee at the Bada-Bing for failing to work the telephone properly, but the show generally eased us into seeing Tony as a truly “bad” guy.

It was never ambiguous about his mob connections or the crimes and violence that he committed or that he authorised others to commit, but the first few episodes generally keep that violence somewhat insulated from Tony. Paulie and Pussy brutalise the car thieves to reclaim a teacher’s lost car, while Tony’s threatened castration of a Jewish man refusing to play ball is kept off-screen. While Tony would commit his first on-screen murder in the next episode (College), Meadowlands feels like the first episode to truly present Tony as a borderline sociopath, and to demonstrate just how aggressive and possessive he can be.

Paying respects...

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Berry Your Head in Shame: Watching The White Dwarf Stars In Slow Motion…

Speedman is a dying star. A white dwarf headed for a black hole. That’s physics. It’s inevitable.

– Les Grossman, Tropic Thunder

Fame is like anything else. It’s like money or luck. It comes and it goes. Still, as the poster for Halle Berry’s latest film, Dark Tide, arrive, it’s hard not to feel a little bit sorry for those performers who have watched their fame and popularity slip out from underneath them.

Halle Berry won an Oscar for Monster’s Ball. She played one of the few James Bond characters to be considered for a spin-off, appearing in Die Another Day. She got a considerable pay increase for showing her breasts in Swordfish. She headlined one of the very few female-centric superhero films, the dire Catwoman. Not all of those were good films. In fact, being harsh, I’d argue that one of them was a good film, and the rest were significantly flawed, if not outright terrible. Still, it’s quite sad to see the former Oscar-winner relegated to appearing in the latest film from the director of Blue Crush and Into the Blue.

She did make some Berry questionable choices...

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