The Chicago Syndicate: Movies
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label Movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movies. Show all posts

Monday, April 10, 2023

Mafia Mamma Movie - From Suburban Mom to Mafia Don #MafiaMamma

Mafia Mamma

While seeing to her long estranged (and now deceased) grandfather’s affairs in Italy, Toni Collette, a mild mannered suburban mom, unexpectedly inherits his mafia empire and finds herself stuck in the middle of a deadly mob war.

Guided by the firm’s trusted consigliere (Monica Bellucci), she hilariously defies everyone’s expectations, including her own, as the new head of the family business.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

The Annotated Godfather (50th Anniversary Edition): The Complete Screenplay, Commentary on Every Scene, Interviews, and Little-Known Facts

The Annotated Godfather (50th Anniversary Edition): The Complete Screenplay, Commentary on Every Scene, Interviews, and Little-Known Facts. Hardcover – Special Edition.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Godfather, this authorized, annotated and illustrated edition of the complete, unedited screenplay includes all the little-known facts, behind-the-scenes intrigue, and first-person reflections from cast and crew members on the making of this landmark film.

From its ingenious cinematic innovations and memorable, oft-quoted script to its iconic cast, including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, The Godfather is considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made. And yet, the history of its making is so colorful, so chaotic, that one cannot help but marvel at the seemingly insurmountable odds it overcame to become a true cinematic masterpiece, and a film that continues to captivate its audience decades after its release.

In this annotated and illustrated edition of the complete original screenplay, nearly every scene is examined and dissected, including:
  • Fascinating commentary on technical details about the filming and shooting locations
  • Tales from the set, including arguments, accidents, and anecdotes
  • Profiles of the actors and stories of how they were cast
  • Deleted scenes that never made the final cut, and the goofs and gaffes that did
  • And much more

Interviews with former Paramount executives, cast and crew members, and and all-new foreword by Francis Ford Coppola, round out the commentary and shed new light on everything you thought you knew about this most influential film. With more than 200 photographs, this a truly unique, collectable keepsake for every Godfather fan.

Monday, July 06, 2020

The Untouchables Movie Trailer with Music by Ennio Morricone

The Untouchables Movie Trailer with Music by Ennio Morricone.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio Reach Deal on "Killers of the Flower Moon" with Paramount and Apple - The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

After months of ironing out budget concerns over Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” adaptation, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Paramount has enlisted Apple to get the film over the hump.

Sources tell Variety that Paramount will still distribute the murder mystery drama, with Apple coming on to finance the pic and also serve as the film’s creative studio. Deals still have not closed, but sources add that they’re very likely to in the coming days.

Imperative Entertainment, whose partners Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas acquired the book in 2016, will produce the film. Imperative first bought the book and would later bring on Scorsese and DiCaprio to reteam on the project before bringing it to Paramount.

Based on David Grann’s non-fiction book, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is set in 1920s Oklahoma, where the newly created Bureau of Investigation began investigating a string of murders of wealthy Osage Indians who had been granted revenue rights to oil discovered under their lands. The book carries the subtitle “The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I.”

For months, the studio and producers had been back and forth on the film’s budget, which those close to the project said ranged between $180 million and $200 million, leading to rumblings about whether the movie would stay at Paramount, move to another studio or go to a streamer like Netflix, which just produced Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”

While there was a time when a move to a streamer was in play, sources close to the director say that, while he was willing for “The Irishman” to appear on a streaming platform, he always envisioned that “Killers of the Flower Moon” would be a theatrical release, with his reps pushing that it stay that way.

Though deals are expected to close for all parties, a production start date is still up in the air, especially when it comes to DiCaprio’s schedule. While the studio and producers were figuring out what would happen with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” sources say the Oscar winner was looking at a number of projects to do before it, including Adam McKay’s next film for Netflix. That movie also stars Jennifer Lawrence, and could possibly go into production before “Killers of the Flower Moon” if DiCaprio were to sign on.

This marks another major move into the film world for Apple after it acquired the rights to the Tom Hanks pic “Greyhound” from Sony for $70 million. It previously co-produced “On the Rocks” with A24, which stars Bill Murray with Sofia Coppola directing.

It marks the sixth collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese, who last teamed on 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Thanks to Justin Kroll.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Martin Scorsese's Massive Mafia Epic “The Irishman” Has Been Named Best Picture by the National Board of Review

Martin Scorsese's sprawling crime epic “The Irishman” has been named best picture by the National Board of Review.

The awards, announced Tuesday by the National Board of Review, handed Netflix its second major honor in Hollywood's quickening awards season. On Monday evening, Noah Baumbach's “Marriage Story” won best feature at the IFP Gotham Awards, which honor independent film. Both movies are widely expected to eventually reap numerous nominations at the Oscars, with either potentially landing Netflix its first best-picture win.

“The Irishman” also took best adapted screenplay, for Steven Zaillian's script, and an icon award for Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

The picks by the National Board of Review, a long-running organization comprised of academics and film professionals, have in recent years seldom lined up with eventual Academy Awards winners. But its best-feature choice last year, “Green Book," went on to triumph at the Oscars.

The awards will be handed out in a ceremony in New York on January 8, hosted by Willie Geist.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Will Smith to Star as Harlem-based Mobster Nicky "Mr. Untouchable" Barnes on @Netflix in "The Council"

Peter Landesman wrote the script for the film about Nicky Barnes, the Harlem-based mobster who was dubbed "Mr. UntouchableWill Smith to Star as Nicky Barnes AKA Mr. Untouchable."

Will Smith, just weeks away from opening his sci-fi action movie Gemini Man, is heading back to Netflix. The actor has signed on to star in and produce The Council, a crime biopic written by Peter Landesman. The two previously worked together when Smith starred in Concussion, the 2015 drama Landesman wrote and directed.

Smith will produce with James Lassiter, his partner at Overbrook Entertainment, now under the umbrella of Smith’s Westbrook Inc. Also producing are Matt Jackson via Jackson Pictures and Jason Essex for Anonymous Nobodies.

The Council aims to tell the story of an organized crime syndicate run by seven black mobsters who operated in Harlem in the 1970s. The men dreamed of a self-sufficient and self-policing African-American city-state, funded by revolutionizing the drug game.

Netflix is describing the story as centering on the Shakespearean court intrigue between the council’s king, Nicky Barnes, dubbed “Mr. Untouchable” by The New York Times, and all the different members of the council. (Mr. Untouchable - The Rise, Fall, and Resurection of Heroin's Teflon Don Nicky Barnes).

Smith will play Barnes, the man who partnered with the Italian Mafia to start his own syndicate, specializing in the heroin trade. He was arrested in 1978 and, after a series of incidents, turned on the council by becoming a federal informant. He was in the witness protection program and, though he died in 2012, his death was only reported this year.

Executive producing the project are Landesman, Jackson Pictures’ Joanne Lee and David Lee for Anonymous Nobodies.

No director is yet on board.

Smith, who previously starred in the $1 billion-grossing Aladdin remake, toplined one of Netflix's early feature hits, the 2017 sci-fi fantasy Bright, directed by David Ayers. He and Overbrook are repped by CAA and Sloan Offer.

CAA and Jackoway Tyerman negotiated on behalf of Landesman. Jackson is repped by CAA and Manatt Phelps.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Top 10 Mob-Related Movies

1. The Godfather (Widescreen Edition) / The Godfather, Part II (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)
Francis Ford Coppola, 1972; 1974
Coppola's masterpieces are not only the greatest film and sequel of the genre, but perhaps two of the best films ever made. Boasting casts featuring huge stars (Brando, Pacino, De Niro) they focus on the Corleone family, a mafia dynasty in New York from the 1920s to the late '50s. Slickly made, beautifully shot and featuring some of the finest screen performances on record.

2. Goodfellas (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Martin Scorsese, 1990
"As far back as I can remember I've always wanted to be a gangster." Focusing on the dirty end of the mafia, this film charts the rise and fall of Henry Hill, a man of Sicilian-Irish descent who works his way up the tree of organized crime in New York during the '60s and '70s. Powerful and violent, this is one of Scorsese's finest moments. Joe Pesci earnt an Oscar playing an unpredictable and terrifying gangster: just don't call him funny.

3. Mou gaan dou (Infernal Affairs)
Wai Keung Lau & Siu Fai Mak, 2002
The basis for this year's Best Picture Oscar "The Departed," this is a tense and exciting thriller which hints at the strength and depth of Asian gangster movies. Steeped in nervy and fast-paced tracking shots around the underworld of Hong Kong, and embellished with two extraordinary performances from the two lead actors, Scorsese didn't need to change much to make it an Oscar-worthy picture.

4. White Heat
Raoul Walsh, 1949
"Made it Ma! Top of the world!" A true classic of the genre, starring one of the best known and loved gangster actors, James Cagney. A dangerously deranged criminal, who is obsessed with his mother and gives little thought to killing anyone who crosses him, breaks out of prison to avenge his mother's death and secure control of his gang -- but he unwittingly takes a rat into the organization. The blueprint for modern crime thrillers.

5. Once Upon a Time in America (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Sergio Leone, 1984
An epic feast of sumptuous sets, beautiful tracking shots and outstanding performances, especially from Robert DeNiro and James Woods. A gang of children progress from small scale crimes to become embroiled in the mafia during prohibition in the U.S. with shocking and violent results. The framework that holds the story together is a dream-like wander through New York of 1968, where DeNiro relives his past. A beautiful and sedate shell to an elaborate and fascinating gangster movie.

6. Scarface (Platinum Edition)
Brian De Palma, 1983
The archetypal and truly iconic sleazy '80s gangster movie, this is the American dream gone bad. Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, arrives in Florida as a refugee from Communist Cuba, and sets out to make his fortune as a cocaine dealer, but becomes consumed with possessive greed. The movie has two of the most striking and memorable scenes in film history: one a torture scene with a chainsaw, piling on the tension with the screaming soundtrack; the other, of course, "Say hello to my leettle friend!"

7. Angels With Dirty Faces
Michael Curtiz, 1938
Another influential Cagney movie, and perhaps the first classic of the genre. The friendship of two boys from Hell's Kitchen is rekindled as one gets out of prison to find the other is a priest. Uncovering corruption throughout the city, this is a story of sacrifice and honor that proves gangsters are people too.

8. Get Carter
Mike Hodges, 1971
Michael Caine's finest hour, as he gets tough with the '70s gangsters of northern England. Relentlessly brutal, Caine works his way through the seedy underworld, and at every unpleasant turn gives a dry quip, seduces a femme fatale or wreaks bloody violence on the murderers of his brother. An unstoppable revenge movie.

9. Sexy Beast
Jonathan Glazer, 2000
One of the most extraordinary gangster films of recent times. Oscar-nominated Ben Kingsley gives one of his most remarkable turns, as a character that's the polar opposite of his most famous role, Ghandi. A misanthropic, bitter and aggressive gangster, with a penchant for colorful language, he makes this a truly unforgettable movie.

10. Cidade de Deus (City of God)
Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund, 2002
This Brazilian film shockingly paints a gangster world populated by children as brutal and heartless as any character in "Goodfellas." At once a beautiful and traumatic carnival, the movie flits between the gritty realism of life in the favelas of Rio and the dream-like existence of a child attempting to escape a world of crime.

Courtesy of The Screening Room in 2007.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Martin Scorsese's Latest Mob Movie #TheIrishman Set for World Premiere at @TheNYFF

Film at Lincoln Center announces Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman as Opening Night of the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13), making its World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Friday, September 27, 2019. The Irishman will be released in select theaters and on Netflix later this year.

The Irishman is a richly textured epic of American crime, a dense, complex story told with astonishing fluidity. Based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa, it is a film about friendship and loyalty between men who commit unspeakable acts and turn on a dime against each other, and the possibility of redemption in a world where it seems as distant as the moon. The roster of talent behind and in front of the camera is astonishing, and at the core of The Irishman are four great artists collectively hitting a new peak: Joe Pesci as Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino, Al Pacino as Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa, and Robert De Niro as their right-hand man, Frank Sheeran, each working in the closest harmony imaginable with the film’s incomparable creator, Martin Scorsese.

“The Irishman is so many things: rich, funny, troubling, entertaining and, like all great movies, absolutely singular,” said New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones. “It’s the work of masters, made with a command of the art of cinema that I’ve seen very rarely in my lifetime, and it plays out at a level of subtlety and human intimacy that truly stunned me. All I can say is that the minute it was over my immediate reaction was that I wanted to watch it all over again.”

“It’s an incredible honor that The Irishman has been selected as the Opening Night of the New York Film Festival. I greatly admire the bold and visionary selections that the festival presents to audiences year after year,” said Martin Scorsese. “The festival is critical to bringing awareness to cinema from around the world. I am grateful to have the opportunity to premiere my new picture in New York alongside my wonderful cast and crew.”

Campari is the exclusive spirits partner for the 57th New York Film Festival and the presenting partner of Opening Night, extending its long-standing commitment to the world of film and art.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FLC Director of Programming, and Florence Almozini, FLC Associate Director of Programming.

Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening Night. Support for Opening Night of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its non-profit mission to support the art and craft of cinema.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The 5 Best Mafia Movies That You May Have Missed

Mafia and gangster movies have always been a big part of Hollywood’s culture and have been around for as much as the industry itself. Most movie lovers have seen classic mafia masterpieces such as GoodFellas, The Godfather or Scarface. But, there are many other movie gems you most likely didn’t get a chance to see. Here are the best mafia movies you’ve probably missed out on.

The Musketeers of Pig Alley.

Today, you can gamble from the comfort of your own home and browse the best legal NJ online casinos to look up and compare casinos and find the one that suits you the most. But, in the past, gambling wasn’t as widely accepted in the US as it is nowadays. Set in pre-depression New York, The Musketeers of Pig Alley is one of the first mafia movies ever made. It is loosely based on the events surrounding the fate of gambler Herman Rosenthal and is inspired by themes such as gambling, street hoods and gangsters.

Director D.W. Griffith actually used local gangsters, known gamblers and gang members as film extras to make his movie feel more authentic. Filmed and released in 1912, this American gangster classic is just 17 minutes long, but is one of the most influential movies of the early US cinematography. In 2016, The Musketeers of Pig Alley was added in the US National Film Registry due to its cultural and historical significance.

Get Carter.Get Carter

Even after nearly five decades after it came out, Get Carter is still one of the best crime thriller movies ever created. What makes this movie so unique and immersive is that at times, you will feel like it’s a real-life scene, even though the world has changed so much since 1971, when this movie was made. The sets, the background and the extras in the betting shops and pubs all perfectly depict the everyday struggle of the impoverished lower class.

Taking the centre spot of Get Carter is Michael Caine, who brilliantly managed to carry out every brutal and chilly scene his iconic character goes through during the movie. Get Carter is considered one of the great British masterpieces and has garnered a massive cult following and helped propel Michael Caine into superstardom.

The Long Good Friday.

The Long Good Friday is another British cult classic set in roughly the same period as Get Carter. Although fictionalized, the main storyline of the movie is a direct metaphor to the events and concerns that occurred in Great Britain during the late 1970s, weaving together topics that concern political and police corruption, the free-market economy in the UK and all of the social problems that Britain was facing at the time.

You could argue that this movie is anything but unknown, as it’s voted at number 21 on the list of BFI top 100 British films and provided Bob Hoskins with his breakout role, but this movie is criminally underrated and not that familiar among casual movie fans, especially outside of the UK.


Gambling has always been a big and very important business for the mafia, and it’s a well-known fact that some of the biggest mafia families in the US were involved in some type of gambling or betting. No movie illustrates this connection better than the 1995 three-hour epic Casino. Set in Las Vegas, the main storyline of the movie is inherently fascinating on its own. With the main cast consisting of Sharon Stone, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, Casino is a dazzling display of the rise and collapse of a gambling empire.

This Scorsese movie was also one of our top picks for best casino movies you can watch if you’re looking for some great casino mafia movies and is definitely one of Hollywood’s best mafia movies, worth rewatching several times.

Eastern Promises.

After collaborating with Viggo Mortensen on A History of Violence in 2005, David Cronenberg signed up the experienced actor for another gripping gangster film two years later, called Eastern Promises. To many critics surprise, this was one of Mortensen’s best performances, as he perfectly pulled off his role as Nikolai Luzhin, a tatted-out driver of the Russian mafia boss, who also serves as the family ‘cleaner’.

The movie is known for its plot twist, which puts a whole other perspective on the London underground. Despite winning several awards and garnering an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination for Mortensen, the movie has passed relatively unnoticed among the general public, grossing just slightly over $56 million on a $50 million budget.

Thanks to RJ Frometa.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Prequel to #TheSopranos - The Many Saints of Newark - Hires Thor Director Alan Taylor

Alan Taylor of Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys will be taking the helm of a feature film set prior to hit early 2000s TV crime drama series The Sopranos. Broadcast between 1999 and 2007, HBO’s The Sopranos won 21 Emmy Awards and five Golden Globes over the course of its impactful nine-year run.

James Gandolfini, who played conflicted crime family patriarch Tony Soprano, passed away in 2013, but The Sopranos creator David Chase and co-writer Lawrence Konner have found a way to continue the series’ legacy, through a prequel film directed by Thor: The Dark World’s Alan Taylor.

According to The Wrap, The Many Saints of Newark will be set in the 1960s in New Jersey, north-eastern US, during a time of extreme tension between Newark city’s Italian and African-American communities. Other than that, New Line Cinema is keeping tight-lipped about plot details, leaving fans to wonder which characters from the series will be found within the movie treatment.

Taylor’s own background was in TV, working his way through a slew of episodic dramas — Homicide: Life on the Street, The West Wing, Sex and the City, Mad Men, Game of Thrones and more.

In fact, he has previous experience with The Sopranos, having directed nine of its episodes, including one of its final episodes, the Emmy-winning season six Kennedy and Heidi.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Is the Gotti Movie the Worst Mob Movie of All Time or are Critics Trolls Hiding Behind a Keyboard?

As of late Tuesday evening, “Gotti” had achieved something truly remarkable.

The movieGotti Movie, a biopic tracing the life of crime lord John Gotti that stars John Travolta and Kelly Preston, joined the ranks of “Look Who’s Talking Now!,” “Highlander II: The Quickening” and “Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol” by earning a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

That means not one single critic recommended the movie.

Watch the Gotti Movie Trailer.

As reviews continue to roll in, that number might be subject to change. But the harshness of these reviews won’t:

  • “I’d rather wake up next to a severed horse head than ever watch ‘Gotti’ again,” Johnny Oleksinski wrote in the New York Post, calling it “the worst mob movie of all time.”
  • “He may have been a murderer, but even Gotti deserved better than this,” Brian Tallerico wrote for

Rather than dispute the reviews, the marketing team behind “Gotti” has leaned into them with a new ad — and blasted film critics with insults along the way.

The movie tweeted the ad from its official account, with the caption “Audiences loved Gotti but critics don’t want you to see it … The question is why??? Trust the people and see it for yourself!”

The ad itself mixes scenes from the movie along with a voice-over that says, “We’ve never been under this kind of scrutiny” and “You fight until you can’t fight no more. Never back off. Ever.”

Then a crowd chants: “Gotti! Gotti! Gotti!”

Subtle, no?

Meanwhile, “AUDIENCES LOVED GOTTI,” flashes across the screen in giant block letters, followed by, “CRITICS PUT OUT THE HIT. WHO WOULD YOU TRUST MORE? YOU OR A TROLL BEHIND A KEYBOARD.”

First things first: Evidence highly suggests that audiences do not “love” or even like “Gotti.” To begin with, it made a mere $1.9 million in its first weekend. Compare that to “Tag,” which opened the same weekend and garnered $14.9 million or the “Incredibles 2,” which earned $182.7 million.

Secondly, it has a dismal 5.1/10 rating on IMDb, about the same as the aforementioned “Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol.”

The only evidence to suggest the movie is any good is the Rotten Tomatoes user-generated audience score, which sits at 71 percent as of Tuesday evening. That’s shockingly high, considering the other ratings. Also high is the number of users who reviewed it: 6,974. That’s only about 700 fewer people than reviewed “Incredibles 2,” even though the Pixar cartoon earned almost 20,000 percent more at the box office.

This led Mashable to wonder if the movie is getting fake reviews, sort of the inverse of when hundreds of thousands of Internet trolls from Reddit and 4 Chan gave negative ratings to the female reboot of “Ghostbusters.” (Rotten Tomatoes told Mashable that the reviews are by “real users,” as opposed to bots.)

For what it’s worth, Gotti’s son John Gotti, Jr., who is portrayed in the film by Spencer Lofranco, seemed to enjoy it. He told the New York Post that he would give it a seven out of 10, even thought Travolta “doesn’t have my father’s natural swagger.” He also wishes it was longer, making him (probably) the only person to feel this way.

So, let’s assume the movie isn’t very good. Whether there was anything to suggest this might be the outcome depends on how rose-tinted your glasses are.

The movie was directed by Kevin Connolly, who you likely know not as a film director but as E, the most mature character in HBO’s “Entourage,” a celebration of bro-culture centered on four womanizing man-children in Hollywood.

Connolly hasn’t done much directing before. He helmed two episodes of his show, including one titled “Porn Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” He’s also directed a few indie films. The most prominent two are 2007’s “Gardener of Eden” and 2016’s “Dear Eleanor.” Neither received enough professional reviews to earn a Rotten Tomatoes score, but they both earned about a six out of 10 from users on IMDb.

Regardless of the film’s quality, it had an estimated $10 million budget, meaning it’s a box office disaster, which isn’t good for MoviePass — as strange as that might sound. The service’s finance arm, MoviePass Ventures, recently took an equity stake in the movie. It has only been financially involved with one other film: “American Animals.” That movie has an 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

So perhaps there’s a bunch of trolls wanting to take down the film. Or maybe it just isn’t very good.

Thanks to Travis M. Andrews.

Official Trailer for Gotti Movie which Earned 0% @RottenTomatoes Score from Critics

Official Trailer for Gotti Movie which Earned 0% @RottenTomatoes Score from Critics

Monday, June 18, 2018

Gotti Movie with John Travolta Gets Whacked by Critics and Public; Worst Movie of the Year?

After an extremely bumpy road into theaters, the John Travolta crime biopic “Gotti” has gotten kneecapped at the box office, earning just $1.67 million from 503 screens.

While almost all of Travolta’s films in the last 30 years have been either in extremely limited release or with screen counts of 2,500 or more, this counts as the worst opening for the actor since the 1991 film “Shout,” which opened to $1.61 million on 968 screens and was considered one of the star’s biggest pre-“Pulp Fiction” flops. But “Gotti” hasn’t been able to find similar success this weekend, posting a per-screen average of just $3,320. Analysts told TheWrap prior to this weekend that “Gotti” needed to make around $3 million — or a $6,000 PSA — to be considered a successful launch.

The Vertical Entertainment and MoviePass Ventures release, starring Travolta as the late Mafia boss John Gotti, had trouble long before is snagged a rare zero percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

With 28 executive producers credited, “Gotti” bounced in and out of the hands of three directors before “Entourage” actor Kevin Connolly seized the project. When Lionsgate wanted to give the film a day-and-date theatrical/digital release, production studio Emmett Furla Oasis Films bought the film back, with Vertical and MoviePass picking up the rights.

MoviePass, the bargain movie ticket subscription service, has a stake in this film as it is trying to prove that it can successfully draw its subscribers to smaller films by marketing to them through their service’s app. MoviePass got off to a good start on this venture with this month’s release of The Orchard’s “American Animals,” which has grossed $760,000 with a maximum screen count of 72.

By comparison, “American Animals” had a third weekend per screen average of $2,871, while the critically acclaimed documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” posted a PSA of $10,253 in its second weekend, earning just under $1 million from 96 screens.

The film over-indexed in New York and Los Angeles, where the distributor focused most of its modest marketing budget and where MoviePass has a large number of subscribers.

Aside from its launch at the Cannes Film Festival, critics had few opportunities to see the film. 23 reviews have been logged on Rotten Tomatoes, all of them negative. While the film’s audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes sits at 79 percent, that big critical goose egg is still on the site’s front page, serving as a potential repellent for moviegoers. And the reviews themselves are pretty ugly too.

“Starring in this mobster biopic that deserves to get whacked is an offer Travolta should have refused,” Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers said in a particularly acidic review. “Insane testimonials from Gotti supporters at the end are as close as this s—show will ever get to good reviews.”
Reviewing the pic for The New York Times, critic Glenn Kenny writes, “That the long-gestating crime drama Gotti is a dismal mess comes as no surprise. What does shock is just how multifaceted a dismal mess it is.”
Jordan Mintzer’s assessment for The Hollywood Reporter cautions, “The film is pretty terrible: poorly written, devoid of tension, ridiculous in spots and just plain dull in others.”

Monday, April 23, 2018

Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate

Bada-bing. For some people, The Godfather is no mere movie but a manual – a guide to living the gangster's life. They lap up all that stuff about going to the mattresses and sleeping with the fishes. The famous scene in which a mafia refusenik wakes up next to a horse's head may be macabre make-believe, but in some quarters it's treated like a tutorial.

So who are these apparent innocents taking their cues from Hollywood? None other than the mafia themselves, writes Diego Gambetta in his new book, Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate. The Oxford sociologist offers example upon example of gangsters apeing Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece – or what he calls "lowlife imitating art".

There's the Don who took over a Sicilian aristocrat's villa for his daughter's wedding – with 500 guests revelling to the film's soundtrack; the building contractors of Palermo who receive severed horse's heads if they get in the mob's way; and John Gotti's former lieutenant, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, who confessed that plagiarism ranked among his (lesser) crimes: "I would always tell people, just like in The Godfather, 'If you have an enemy, that enemy becomes my enemy.'"

Yet Mario Puzo, The Godfather's inventor, admitted that he "never met a real honest-to-God gangster", while many of the film's most quotable lines (remember "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli"?) were improvised. So what accounts for its influence not just among the mafia but with Hong Kong triads, Japanese yakuza and Russian mobsters?

Well, strip away the mystique and organised crime is a business – one with big handicaps. It may be called "the Firm", but managing a poorly educated, violent workforce is a challenge, advertising job vacancies only attracts the law, and appraisals for underperforming staff can err on the brusque side. The Godfather and other gangster movies plug those holes, says Gambetta. They give criminals an easy-to-follow protocol and a glamour that serves as both corporate feelgood and marketing tool. Uncomfortable though it may be to acknowledge, the underworld is not above taking its cues from the upperworld.

Thanks to Aditya Chakrabortty

Friday, April 20, 2018

Scarface Reunion with Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, @TheStevenBauer and Brian De Palma at #Tribeca2018

Scarface Reunion

Old "Scarface (Limited Edition)" friends said hello again at a 35th anniversary screening Thursday that reunited stars Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer and Steven Bauer and filmmaker Brian De Palma for an evening full of reflection on how the ferocious and garish gangster epic — like Tony Montana's rise from dishwasher to drug lord — has grown in stature.

The reunion, held at New York's Beacon Theatre, was one of the main events of the just kicked-off Tribeca Film Festival. The festival has made such anniversaries a regular feature in recent years, many of them celebrating classics of Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro. But the "Scarface" event was for a movie De Niro reportedly turned down, and which now lives on as one of Pacino's maximum performances.

De Palma, the celebrated 77-year-old filmmaker of "Carlito's Way" and "The Untouchables," suggested the arc of Montana in "Scarface" was reminiscent of President Donald Trump's.

"I've always been interested about making movies about people who start rather humbly and then acquire a great deal of power and then ultimately isolate themselves and live in their own world. Could that be anything we're experiencing now?" said De Palma with a laugh.

The reunion wasn't without its hitches. When the post-screening panel moderator Jesse Kornbluth — as seemingly an opening to discuss Pfeiffer's character's gaunt, cocaine-snorting habits — asked the actress how much she weighed when making the film, boos echoed around the theater. But the affection the crowd had for "Scarface" was palpable throughout the evening, with applause bursting out frequently during the nearly three-hour film for favorite scenes and cherished lines.

De Palma's 1983 film, penned by Oliver Stone, was a remake of the Howard Hawks-directed 1932 gangster film of the same name. (De Palma even dedicated the film to Hawks and screenwriter Ben Hecht.) The project began with Pacino being enthralled by the original.

"I was completely taken with Paul Muni's performance," said Pacino. "After I saw that, I thought: I want to be Paul Muni. I want to act like that."

The idea to update the immigrant story to Cuban refugees in Miami came from filmmaker Sidney Lumet, who was briefly attached to direct. The Mariel boatlift in 1980 brought some 125,000 refugees to Florida from Fidel Castro's Cuba. (An updated, Los Angeles-set remake to "Scarface" has been rumored, with "Training Day" filmmaker Antoine Fuqua recently attached to direct a script by David Ayer, Jonathan Herman and Joel and Ethan Coen.)

De Palma's film was a box office hit, the 16th highest grossing film of the year. But it received mixed reviews. Though some, including Roger Ebert, raved about it, critics like David Ansen of Newsweek called it "grand, shallow, decadent entertainment." Yet for many, its reputation has grown over the years, especially on dorm-room walls and in hip-hop, where "Scarface" became a revered influence.

"It's caught on in such a way, and we have experienced it," said Pacino. "This wasn't the way it started. When 'Scarface' first came out, it was extremely controversial."

The hyper-violent film initially received an "X'' rating from the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board. De Palma said he went through three edits on the film without receiving an "R'' rating before he and producer Martin Bregman decided to withdraw any changes.

"Marty said, 'We'll go to war with these people,'" said De Palma, still relishing the battle. "And that's what we did."

Some also took issue with how the film depicted Cuban immigrants as vicious drug-dealers at a time when many were trying to get a foothold in the United States.

"A lot of the old-school Cubans were concerned with me almost to the point that they weren't really sure that my participation in a Hollywood movie was worth me downgrading or degrading or tainting the image of their accomplishments in the new society," said the Cuban-born Bauer. "What I tried to convey to them was: Relax, man. It's a movie."

Pfieffer, too, said she's been asked over the years about playing a female character with so little agency in "Scarface."

"I felt that by allowing people to observe who this character is and the sacrifices that she's made said more (than) getting up on any soap box and preaching to people," said Pfeiffer.

The actress added that her experience acting alongside Pacino was life-changing.

"One of the things that hit me the strongest was watching him fiercely protect character, really at all costs and without any sort of apology," said Pfeiffer. "I have always tried to emulate that. I try to be polite about it. I think that's what really makes great acting."

Pacino also shared one of his most vivid memories. While filming the final shootout, he burned his hand badly enough to shut shooting down for two weeks. "I grabbed the barrel of the gun I just fired. My hand stuck to it. It just stuck to it," said Pacino. Pacino promptly left the set to be bandaged at a hospital.

"This nurse comes up to me later and she says, 'You're Al Pacino.' I said 'Yeah.' And she said, 'I thought you were some scumbag,'" Pacino recalled chuckling. "There's something there."

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Prequel Movie to #TheSopranos is coming from David Chase called "The Many Saints of Newark"

David Chase is finally ready to return to the New Jersey turf of his iconic creation The SopranosSopranos Prequel Movie - The Many Saints of Newark. New Line has purchased the screenplay The Many Saints of Newark, the working title for a feature prequel of The Sopranos that is set in the era of the Newark riots in the 60s. That was a time when the African-Americans and the Italians of Newark were at each other’s throats, and amongst the gangsters of each group, those conflicts became especially lethal.

The script was written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, the prolific screen and television writer whose credits include The Sopranos.

Chase finally returning to expand The Sopranos lore will be welcome news to the legions who still feel that his HBO series is the greatest of all time. The groundbreaking show ran for six seasons from 1999 – 2007. It put HBO on the map, established the market for DVD sales of popular series, and won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and Peabody Awards for its first two seasons. It launched the stars of a slew of actors and revived others, most notably the late James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Steven Van Zandt, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa and on and on.

Some of the beloved characters from the series will appear in the film. I couldn’t get any more information about the plot, but the time period indicates there will be room for Tony Soprano’s father, Giovanni “Johnny Boy,” the former captain of the Soprano crew (played in flashbacks by Joseph Siravo), and a younger version of his wife Livia (played indelibly in the show’s first season by Nancy Marchand), and Tony’s uncle Junior, played by Chianese.

Chase will serve as producer as well as co-writer, and he will be involved in selecting a director.

This is a real coup for Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich.

“David is a masterful storyteller and we, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film,” Emmerich said.

Chase’s last feature was the 2010 critically acclaimed Paramount film Not Fade Away. Chase Films’s Nicole Lambert will be executive producer.

Chase’s deal was made by his UTA agents Peter Benedek and Andrew Cannava, and attorney Michael Gendler of Gendler and Kelly. Konner is also repped by UTA.

Thanks to Mike Fleming Jr.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Biopic #Gotti, Starring John Travolta and Directed by @MrKevinConnolly, Gearing Up for Huge,Wide Release & Awards in 2018

Producers of John Travolta’s “Gotti” have bought back the movie from Lionsgate, which had planned to release the mob biopic on Dec. 15 through its Lionsgate Premiere specialty division.

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films is expected to begin meeting with other distributors about “Gotti.” The company, which produced the film with Highland Film Group and Fiore Films, exercised a provision in its deal allowing it to buy back the movie from Lionsgate in the hope of getting “Gotti” a wide theatrical release. The Lionsgate Premiere release would have been day-and-date for theatrical, VOD and streaming.

“Gotti” is directed by “Entourage” star Kevin Connolly from a script by Lem Dobbs and Leo Rossi. “Gotti” also stars Travolta’s wife Kelly Prestor, their daughter Ella Bleu Travolta, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Stacy Keach, Chris Mulkey, Lydia Hull and Spencer Lofranco.

Travolta portrays John Gotti, the flaboyant head of the Gambino crime family who spent the last decade of his life in prison before dying of throat cancer in 2002. Preston is starring as his wife Victoria Gotti. Keach is portraying Aniello Dellacroce, the underboss of the Gambino crime family who mentored Gotti. Taylor Vince plays Angelo Ruggiero, a friend of Gotti and caporegime in the Gambino crime family.

Lofranco is portraying John Gotti, Jr., Gotti’s son and eventual caporegime and acting boss of the Gambino crime family before leaving the mobster life behind.

One of the film's executive producers, Keya Morgan, told TMZ the "Gotti" project was originally supposed to be distributed by Lionsgate Premiere ... a branch of the company that handles smaller, niche releases. Morgan says his team believes the movie could do gangbusters in wide release and he even believes Travolta could end up with some hardware on his mantle.

The original distro contract featured a buyback clause, so Morgan and others wired $10 million to prove to LGP they meant business and the company forked over the release rights. Morgan says LGP will profit big-time when the movie comes out.

Travolta's flick was scheduled to hit the screens next week, but Morgan says the new plan is to take it to Cannes or Venice first and then release it in at least 1,000 theaters. The release date is uncertain.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

10 Years Later, Frank Vincent's @ChicagoOvercoat, is Still Finding New Audiences, Watch it Free!

On September 29, 2007, a group of young filmmakers just out of Columbia College began principal photography on their first feature film. They penned an ambitious script written from the perspective
of men in their sixties looking back at their lives with regret. In order to get the green light, the team needed to attach a star, so they sent the script to acclaimed actor Frank Vincent. Frank loved the character and signed on to the project despite the age of the crew, and the rest was history.

Chicago Overcoat, stars Frank as Lou Marazano, an aging mob hit man who tries to do right by his family and get back a piece of the glory days. Kathrine Narducci (The Sopranos) co-stars as Frank’s on-again, offagain girlfriend, along with veteran actors Danny Goldring (Boss) as a tenacious homicide detective and Mike Starr (Dumb and Dumber) as a no-nonsense street boss. The cast also features Emmy Award winner Armand Assante (American Gangster) and Golden Globe winner Stacy Keach (American History X).

After premiering at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2009, Chicago Overcoat got picked up by Showtime in 2010. The movie was then released on Redbox, Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster Express, iTunes, and Hulu, to name a few. Most recently, Chicago Overcoat became available to stream for free to all Amazon Prime members, where it is now finding yet another audience.

Chicago Overcoat Free on Amazon Prime.

The tenth anniversary of principal photography is a bittersweet occasion for the cast and crew, as it follows the news of Frank’s passing on September 13 due to complications from heart surgery. The team was gearing up to commemorate the occasion when they learned about Frank. “The world lost a legend, and I lost a personal hero,” said writer/producer John W. Bosher. “Frank is truly missed.”

Frank’s distinguished career has included memorable performances in such iconic films as Raging Bull (1980), Wise Guys (1986), Do the Right Thing (1989), Goodfellas (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Casino (1995), and Cop Land (1997), in addition to his co-starring role as Phil Leotardo on HBO’s The Sopranos (2004-2007), for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding
Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series” in 2008.

Frank’s rare starring role in Chicago Overcoat gave him an opportunity to truly shine, and his performance earned the praise of many critics, including Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times, Reece Pendleton of Chicago Reader, and Rob Christopher of The Chicagoist. In Variety’s review, critic Alissa Simon noted that Chicago Overcoat “boasts the most charismatic mafia murderer since Tony Soprano...” Frank also received a “Best Actor” nomination at Italy’s Milano International Film Festival Awards in 2010.

But to the Chicago Overcoat team, Frank was much more than a movie star. “We became quite close with Frank and his wife over the years,” said associate producer/casting director Chris Charles. “And we had plans to work together on other projects.” Looking back at Chicago Overcoat, the group also recognizes that Frank was one of the major reasons for the film’s success, which ultimately helped launch their careers. “Frank really took a chance with us,” Chris added. “And we’ll never forget it.”


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