The Chicago Syndicate: Movies
The Mission Impossible Backpack

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Chevy Chase and Mobsters Involved in Funny Money

It's Henry Perkins' birthday--just another ordinary day for an ordinary wax fruit factory foremanFunny Money. That is, until he mistakenly ends up holding a briefcase containing five million dollars on his subway ride home.

Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Henry tries to convince his wife Carol to keep the loot and flee with him to paradise while Romanian mobsters, the cops, a dead body and dozens of nude statues join the medley.

Funny Money

Scarface Deluxe Gift Set

Scarface Deluxe Gift Set - Scarface (1983) & Scarface (1932)

Brian De Palma's blood-and-sun-drenched saga of a Cuban deportee’s rise to the top of Miami's cocaine business has become something of a popular classic since its releaseScarface Deluxe Gift Set; it's been referenced in rap songs and subsequent gangster movies and quoted the world over. Despite this lovefest with the dialogue, the film’s brutal violence and lack of positive characters still make it controversial and disliked by certain critics.

Al Pacino stars as Tony Montana, whose intelligence, guts, and ambition help him skyrocket from dishwasher to the top of a criminal empire but whose eventual paranoia and incestuous desire for his kid sister (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) prove his undoing. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Tony’s neglected coke-addicted trophy wife, and Steven Bauer is his concerned friend. F. Murray Abraham, Robert Loggia, and Paul Shenar are some of Tony’s sleazy business partners and potential killers. Oliver Stone wrote the expletive-packed screenplay, based on Howard Hawks’s 1932 version--which was ostensibly about Al Capone and starred Paul Muni and George Raft. The synth-heavy Giorgio Moroder score expertly evokes the drug-fueled decadence of 1980s Miami, and De Palma provides several of his elaborate set pieces, including a horrific showstopper in a motel room with a chain saw.

Brooklyn Rules

Outside Providence director Michael Corrente helms this tale of three lifelong friends struggling with relationships, responsibility, and loyalty on the mean streets of 1980s era Brooklyn, NY.

When the violent influence of the mafia becomes factor in their friendship, lives will be threatened as the fond memories of the past begin to give way to potentially grim future.

Brooklyn Rules is the story of three boyhood friends who come of age in Brooklyn during John Gotti's rise. When becomes enamoured with the mafia lifestyle, it frays the friendships and puts the pals in grave danger. Alec Baldwin plays a mobster, Freddie Prinze Jr, Scott Caan, and Jerry Ferrara are the three friends. Brooklyn Rules is from the writers of The Sopranos

Special Edition of On the Waterfront - Classic Story of Mob Informers

On the Waterfront (Special Edition)

This classic story of Mob informers was based on a number of true stories and filmed on location in and around the docks of New York and New JerseySpecial Edition of On the Waterfront. Mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) rules the waterfront with an iron fist. The police know that he's been responsible for a number of murders, but witnesses play deaf and dumb ("plead D & D"). Washed-up boxer Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) has had an errand-boy job because of the influence of his brother Charley, a crooked union lawyer (Rod Steiger). Witnessing one of Friendly's rub-outs, Terry is willing to keep his mouth shut until he meets the dead dockworker's sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint). "Waterfront priest" Father Barry (Karl Malden) tells Terry that Edie's brother was killed because he was going to testify against boss Friendly before the crime commission. Because he could have intervened, but didn't, Terry feels somewhat responsible for the death. When Father Barry receives a beating from Friendly's goons, Terry is persuaded to cooperate with the commission.

Featuring Brando's famous "I coulda been a contendah" speech, On the Waterfront has often been seen as an allegory of "naming names" against suspected Communists during the anti-Communist investigations of the 1950s. Director Elia Kazan famously informed on suspected Communists before a government committee -- unlike many of his colleagues, some of whom went to prison for refusing to "name names" and many more of whom were blacklisted from working in the film industry for many years to come -- and Budd Schulberg's screenplay has often been read as an elaborate defense of the informer's position. On the Waterfront won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Brando, and Best Supporting Actress for Saint.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th Birthday with a New 5-Film Collection on Blu-ray!

Celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th Birthday with a new 5-Film Collection, Frank Sinatra Collection (BD) [Blu-ray].

Featuring five classic movies on Blu-ray, this collection includes newly re-mastered releases of Anchors Aweigh, On the Town and Robin and the 7 Hoods on Blu-ray and Digital HD along with favorites Ocean’s 11 and Guys and Dolls.

ANCHORS AWEIGH: Frank Sinatra stars along with Kathryn Grayson and Gene Kelly in this wartime tale of two sailors on leave in Hollywood. Gene Kelly's history-making choreography and beloved musical numbers make this a milestone of movie fantasy. Sinatra's "I Fall in Love Too Easily", the exuberant Kelly/Sinatra "We Hate to Leave" and other musical highlights helped Anchors Aweigh weigh in with a 1945 Academy Award® for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, plus four more Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture and Actor (Kelly).

ON THE TOWN: New York, New York, it's a wonderful town – especially when sailors Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin have a 24-hour shore leave to see the sights…and when those sights include Ann Miller, Betty Garrett and Vera-Ellen. Based on the Broadway hit and set to an Academy Award®-winning* score, On the Town changed the landscape of movie musicals by blending brilliant location and studio production numbers to up-and-at-'em perfection. The Bronx is up and the Battery's down, but no one can be down after going On the Town.

GUYS AND DOLLS: Hollywood legends Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine (from the original Broadway cast) are dazzling in this Frank Loesser (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) masterpiece. Featuring hits like "Luck Be a Lady" and "A Woman in Love", this smash film version of one of Broadway's most popular musicals is guaranteed rip-roaring "four-star entertainment" (New York Daily News).

OCEAN'S 11: New Year's Eve in Las Vegas. When the lights go out on the Vegas strip, it's the perfect time to steal a kiss or a $25 chip. But for Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) and 10 partners in crime, it's the ideal moment to steal millions. Also starring Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, and packed with location-lensed glamour, suspense, comedy and a stunning twist ending, Ocean's 11 is a sure bet.

ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS: Robin and the 7 Hoods gives the Robin Hood legend a Depression-era, mobtown Chicago spin. North Side boss Robbo (Frank Sinatra) sets himself up as a latter-day Robin Hood with philanthropic fronts enabling him to scam the rich, take his cut and then give to the poor. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby, Peter Falk and Barbara Rush join in the giddy, gangsterish fun. And the jazzy Sammy Cahn/James Van Heusen score (including Sinatra's classic "My Kind of Town") is the perfect match for this all-star cast.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Black Souls" Italian Mafia Film Sizzles

It opens on a gray shot, with a cement shore forming the horizon between dark skies and cold water. Two men, shot from behind, stand far apart, looking like bookends in the frame. A boat approaches, and the men get in, beginning a journey across the channel and into the world of real-life southern Italian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta.

From the opening shot, Francesco Munzi’s “Black Souls” (“Anime Nere”) is the type of film that, through intimate details and transportative landscapes, makes you feel as if you’ve been somewhere. The Italian-language mafia drama, based on Gioacchino Criaco’s novel by the same name, tells the tragic story of the Carbone brothers. Luigi (Marco Leonardi) is a muscled-up drug dealer with a penchant for goat stealing and folk songs. His brother, Rocco (Peppino Mazzotta) is a smartly dressed businessman with a northern wife and a lavish home. Meanwhile, Fabrizio Ferracane convincingly emotes steel-eyed trepidation as the eldest, Luciano, a shepherd in the mountain town of Africo who is desperate to keep his hands clean and steer his foolish son, Leo (newcomer Giuseppe Fumo) away from a life of crime.

Despite his father’s stern efforts, Leo is drawn to the allure of the family business. He shoots up a bar after the owner — with whom the Carbones have a deep-seated blood feud — insults his family’s honor. Leo then flees to Milan in the hopes of becoming his uncles’ young protege, but he succeeds only in bringing the whole family back to the Calabrian mountain to settle the rivalry once and for all.

And so what begins as a transnational crime thriller develops into a family drama driven by grief. Violence darkens rather than enlivens the film, adding weight to the grudge under which the Carbone brothers seem destined to buckle. While the story tends to wander away from its focus from time to time, the familiar, lived-in quality of the set remains a constant throughout. The walls and drawers of the family home, with their old photos and yellowing obituaries, are the ghosts of generations of other black souls whose presences silently propel the film’s action.

There’s a calmness throughout “Black Souls” that separates it from glamorously violent mafia films like “The Godfather” and puts it more in line with Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah” (2008), a neorealist triumph set in a Neapolitan wasteland. While Garrone masterfully details the connection of small-time Camorra gangsters to an international crime network, Munzi does not make nearly as strong a statement on the modern global mafia, choosing instead to focus on Italy.

“I made this film in a town that legal professionals and journalists stigmatize as one of the most mafia‐ridden places in Italy, one of the nerve centres of the Calabrian ‘ndrangheta: Africo,” Munzi wrote in his director’s statement. “Africo has a very tough history of criminality, but it can help us understand many things about our country. From Africo, we have a better view of Italy.”

Munzi’s view of Italy offers a critique on the traditionalism that keeps the ‘Ndrangheta in place. While the director’s previous work in “Saimir” (2004) and “The Rest of the Night” (2008) dealt with issues of immigration, “Black Souls” explores the experience of rooted Italians clinging to old customs while grasping at opportunities to grow. He presents an Italy where omerta,  a code of silence about criminal activity, is still the law of the land, where women keep quiet unless they’re in their own sphere and where generations of men perpetuate a system of vengeance and violence. It’s an Italy with a stark urban-rural divide and seemingly few options for young people like Leo to escape their ancestrally dictated peasant lifestyles.

It’s no sexy shoot ‘em up film, but Munzi’s mafia drama is an elegant contribution to the genre. Though it takes its sweet time to develop, “Black Souls” rewards its viewers in the end with a  spectacular payoff that sizzles long after the credits run.

Thanks to Grace Lovio.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Mob Film 'Idol's Eye' Shuts Down Production,

Deadline reports that the film’s production company and financier Benaroya Pictures has decided to cut off financing for the movie due to the producers’ failure to meet  financing deadlines; the film was expected to begin filming in Chicago and Toronto in October. The film would have starred Robert DeNiro, Robert Pattinson, and Rachel Weisz.

Benaroya Pictures released a statement regarding the production’s shut down:

“The company cannot continue to put its investment at risk and has been forced to stop cash flowing the production. This is something all of us wanted to avoid, but due to the producers missing a number of financing criteria deadlines that were mutually established by all parties, we were left with no other options. Benaroya Pictures plans to retain the rights of the film and move forward with production on the picture after we generate a revised script and assemble a new filmmaking team.”

Idol’s Eye is a multilayered crime thriller surrounding the mob world, following the true story of a crew of robbers who were murdered after robbing the home of Chicago mob boss Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo in 1978. Assayas has recently been on the festival circuit celebrating his most recent film, Clouds of Sils Maria, starring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Real World Of Mafia Boss, Michael Franzese And His True Life Redemption Shown Through Scenes Of The Crucifixion, Deemed Too Violent By MPAA In Upcoming Film "God The Father"

The upcoming release God the Father, slated for release on October 31, the day Michael Franzese, once dubbed the Prince of the Mafia, became a "made man," vividly depicts both Franzese's life as a Mob kingpin and as a man transformed by faith.  The film does not shy away from illustrating the real world and life that Franzese swore allegiance to.  But it is a scene of Christ's Crucifixion shown as part of his prison epiphany and the Mob stock footage scenes combined, that tipped the scales at the MPAA who gave the film an R rating.

The irony is not lost on Franzese: "I spent over 20 years on the street, every day in violation of both God's laws and the laws of man. And the powers that be have a problem not only with Mob reality being seen, but also with Biblical history? You see worse images and stories on the 6 o'clock news! The entertainment business can't afford to be out of touch with real world problems our youth are experiencing, from gangs to drugs and violence. Anyone over 13 needs the opportunity to see this film."

Franzese made over a billion dollars for his crime "family," earning more than anyone since Al Capone.  It was enough to place him at #18 (3 behind John Gotti) on Fortune Magazine's "Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses."  He was a Hollywood producer, a restaurateur, a night club owner:  He was living the life of a man's man as he saw it.  A revelation that his own father went along with planning a hit on him, the love for his own family, and a realization that his life was heading like every other Mob guy before him straight to St. Johns Cemetery in Queens, New York, that made Franzese decide to leave "The Life."  In an act thought impossible, he publicly walked away from the Colombo family and organized crime.

"Its real world stuff (the Mob scene footage) that is around us all the time," says Franzese.  "It's not the gratuitous violence most movies include for the audience reaction, but real life, real crime and real people.  All ages need to see this, but especially our young people who are confronted every day with opportunities to go down the wrong path… This film was created from my reality, for all to see a life outside of the Mob, a way out… but you have to see the reality of it to understand the impact of the redemption that can occur, as what happened in my own life."

Franzese adds: "In making God The Father, we went to great lengths to show the dark aspect of my real life story in a subtle and intelligent way.  The story of Jesus's suffering and Crucifixion is very well known and in the past, audiences have been willing to endure the intensity of those scenes.   What is important to me is to share the parallel themes that I discovered in the story of the Crucifixion and my own experiences in 'The Life': themes such as perseverance, forgiveness, redemption and faith.   I hope that this film will allow everyone to see beyond the short-term and see that there are choices to lead a positive fulfilling life for themselves and those around them."

God The Father takes audiences on the untold personal journey into the life and spiritual transformation of Michael Franzese, a young and charismatic Capo in the Colombo crime family during the 1980's-90's, who's notorious father Sonny Franzese was also a renowned Underboss. It's a true story about mafia, money, love, loyalty and God.

GOD THE FATHER opens on Friday, October 31 across the country in select theatres.  It is rated "R" for violent images by the MPAA and has a running time of 101 minutes.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

George Jung, drug dealer whose story was in featured the movie Blow, appears tonight on Crime Beat Radio

George Jung, legendary drug dealer whose story was in featured the movie Blow, starring Johnny Depp.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Unrepentant Mob Boss with Big Connections and an Ear for Music Backs The Four Seasons #JerseyBoys

Back in the day, musicals were the end-all, be-all of cinematic success. Nowadays, they seem more like nostalgic sentiments of what once was. Jersey Boys is not a musical in the traditional sense, but it is a combination of that old-school emotion and a strangely modern sense of real life, with a profound respect for the music it celebrates — and gangsters, infidelity, a hell of a soundtrack and a lot of other things that are involved in quality entertainment.

Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young)Jersey Boys Music From The Motion Picture And Broadway Musical is a young man with a gift. The gift of song. He possesses a voice that is unlike anything anyone has ever heard. While making ends meet working in a barber shop, he gets in good with Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken), an unrepentant mob boss with big connections and an ear for music. With Gyp backing them, Frankie is recruited by his best friend, Tommy (Vincent Piazza), to sing in a band he has formed. Their rise to stardom is slow, but eventually they make it to the big time. Unfortunately, ties to bookies, flings with floozies and dealings with stone-cold gangsters spin the group on a reckless trip
down a rocky road.

Based on the acclaimed Broadway smash hit, Jersey Boys is a very well-done adaptation from stage to screen. Fans of Chicago will surely agree. With four Tony awards under its belt (including the 2006 best musical and best actor John Lloyd Young), the source material practically demanded the proverbial star treatment. And it got it. Director Clint Eastwood delivers hits as reliably as the Four Seasons, and this one does not disappoint. The film is a combination of That Thing You Do and Goodfellas, with a better soundtrack. Christopher Walken is especially good in an unusually subdued performance. The tendency for the main characters (except for Frankie Valli) to break the fourth wall and address the audience is strange at first, but it becomes not so much endearing as wanted, as the characters act as guides through a crazy ride.

The Four Seasons were rock stars before that term, even existed, and this film shows it, in the spotlights that adorn every shot of them on stage and in the shadowy actions that happen off stage. Watching Jersey Boys gives you a true sense of what it must have been like to come from nothing, get everything, and feel the desperate heartache as it falls from your grasp. Much like the music that Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons performed, Jersey Boys seems like bubble gum, but is really a jawbreaker. The music is timeless, the directing is wonderful and the performances are brilliant. Don’t be surprised when this gem resurfaces in theaters again right before Oscar time.

Thanks to Ian Murphy.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Robert De Niro to Join Robert Pattinson on Movie About Murdered Burglary Crew That Stole from Tony Accardo #IdolsEye

Back in 2011 actor Robert De Niro and director Olivier Assayas sat side by side on the Cannes jury. Now they’re making a movie together. Assayas has just hired De Niro to join Robert Pattinson in the film Idol’s Eye. The movie is scheduled to shoot in October in Chicago and Toronto.

The press release announcing the film doesn’t have many details, but there is speculation (via The Film Stage) that this is a retitled launch of the Assayas project Hubris. That was described in 2013 as “an action-packed crime thriller set against the backdrop of organized crime in Chicago in the 1970s.” Which would be something I’d watch the director of Carlos do in a heartbeat.

Indeed, this new film is described as a sophisticated heist action/thriller. And with that Chicago location planned, these probably are one and the same. Or at least one jumps off from the other.

Here’s a rundown. Hubris was a script by Bobby Moresco that Todd Field was going to direct back in 2011. It was based on a 2007 Playboy article called Boosting the Big Tuna, written by reporter Hillel Levin. The story was based on the murders of a crew of guys who robbed the house of Chicago mafia boss Tony Accardo’s (AKA “Big Tuna”) in 1978. After the break-in, several guys suspected of the crime were murdered with, well, let’s say extreme prejudice. Some were tortured. There’s a lot more to the story than that; it’s a hell of a gangland saga, with violence and a big multi-layered investigation. (It’s also the same material that Michael Mann was toying with shooting as Big Tuna a few years ago.)

So where does the name Idol’s Eye come from? The Idol’s Eye is a big diamond — a big famous diamond, in fact. In the ’70s it was owned by a Chicago jeweler. It was never stolen, and was not part of the Big Tuna robbery. But there’s a connection. The owner of the diamond was Harry Levinson, a mob-connected guy. And in 1977 a thief named John Mendell targeted Levinson for his diamond, and planned a huge heist of the rock that was only partially successful. John Mendell is one of the guys who broke into Big Tuna’s place a year later.

So what story is Assayas telling? We’d assume that De Niro is going to play Accardo, and Pattinson will be Mendell. But the title suggests this could be more about the attempt to steal the Idol’s Eye than the Accardo robbery. Both are big, great stories, with potential for some excellent cinematic flavor.

Regaardless, I’ll watch it. Assayas had a good year at Cannes this year, too. While his current film, The Clouds of Sils Maria — a film about film — didn’t win the Palme d’Or, it earned a lot of appreciation while playing on the Croisette. We’re looking forward to seeing that, and having Idol’s Eye on the horizon is a bonus.

Variety adds that Rachel Weisz is now also in talks to join the cast, and confirms that this is a relaunch of the old Hubris project.

Thanks to Russ Fischer.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Trouble in Paradise Mob Movie is Now in Production

“Trouble In Paradise,” a period crime thriller set in the tropical hotbed of 1950's Havana, brings the story of Meyer Lansky, the brains behind the mob, to life. High stakes gambling and political intrigue are the backdrop for the rise and fall of the most notorious mafia empire in U.S. history.

Fast paced and taut, it follows in the tradition of The Godfather Trilogy, Casino, and Goodfellas.

“Trouble In Paradise” with five major stars attached is scheduled to go into production in Puerto Rico in 2014.

The saga plunges deeply into the high octane brew of criminals and political intrigue, ON SALE: Caribbean Escapes! Get $15** OFF Flights & Hotels with Promo Code CARIBBEAN. BOOK NOWbringing alive the lust for gambling and the quest for power. Meyer Lansky, Cuba’s gambling czar, pursues his dream, remaking Havana into the world’s premier tourist destination. Meyer plans “The Grand Havana” from a most unlikely spot…the Saratoga County jail. Serving a ninety day sentence for a minor gambling violation, he makes the best of a bad situation. At a high cost to Meyer, his jail cell is a customized suite with telephone and all the amenities. Taking over the reins in Havana, Meyer begins developing the world’s most lavish gambling mecca. But he faces a worthy adversary in Santo Trafficante, former gambling czar ousted for running crooked casinos that kept the high-rollers away. Meyer looks at Santo with disdain, a common criminal in a thousand dollar suit and himself as a renaissance man, without peer in the world of organized crime. Meanwhile, rogue FBI Agent Sean O'Brien, harbors a personal vendetta against Meyer, pursuing him with a vengeance from New York to Havana. He vows to nail Meyer Lansky at any cost. Meyer needs the financial support of men who understand the casino business... He summons an elite group of Mafia Dons from the hubs of organized crime: New York, Cleveland, Chicago and Las Vegas. But the Vegas mob bosses feel Meyer’s Havana dream will cut into their gambling revenues…So there’s trouble in paradise. When the threats and bullets start flying, Meyer calls on an ex-CIA operative known for his creativity. Trained in undercover assaults, his elusiveness makes him the ultimate weapon against Santo. Meyer survives two attempted hits and sends his family to Miami for safety. Then begins a deadly game of cat and mouse. As the tension mounts, Meyer falls for a beautiful Cuban National. His passion for her grows as his enemies draw closer. President Batista remains Meyer's only link to political protection, but his regime is on the verge of collapse. If Havana falls, Meyer’s dream crumbles with it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday, November 08, 2013

Michael Fassbender to Star in The Story of the #CutlerCrimeFamily in the upcoming movie #TrespassAgainstUs

The film is titled Trespass Against Us, and is the feature debut of director Adam Smith. The narrative will tell the story of three generations of the Cutler crime family. The protagonist, Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender), seeks an escape from the criminal life his family has known for so long. Elements of action, crime and humor will be infused for what could prove to be an original take on the modern crime drama.

Alastair Siddons will pen the script, while British musical group The Chemical Brothers will compose and perform an original score for the film. Siddons, Gail Egan and Andrea Calderwood will produce for the successful London-based company Potboiler Productions.

Even with a recent string of successes, Fassbender is showing no signs of slowing down. While he has two films currently in theaters (The Counselor, 12 Years a Slave), he is also in the process of filming Slow West. After production wraps up Fassbender will be working on more of his highly anticipated projects including X-Men: Days of Future Past, the film adaptation of the popular videogame Assasin’s Creed (he will star as well as produce) and an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Courtroom Drama Spotlights The Right To Stand Your Ground - A Cry For Justice

No mother should have to endure the ordeal that Jackie Carpenter and her family were put through as a result of her son's arrest after he accidentally shot a man stealing from his worksite. And never in her wildest dreams could this Georgia mom have known that she would become an author as a result of this terrifying experience, that her two books would be made into an award-winning movie, or that her son's case would be considered "textbook” in the annals of legal cases and be taught to future first year law students!

Taking first place recently in the Alaska International Film Festival, Stand Your Ground: A Cry For Justice by Triple Horse Studios is the award-winning movie that tells the gripping story of Jackie Carpenter's quest to save her family. Jackie's idyllic life was frozen in time the day she heard her son was arrested for felony murder when all he did was defend his worksite from constant theft. Unfortunately, as he held the men at bay while waiting for the police to arrive, his gun accidentally fired and one of the men died. This is a movie that everyone needs to see because it shows how something that happens in a split second can change a life forever. While it has all the terror and tragedy of a blockbuster movie hit, this one is real life!

Stand Your Ground, showing in select theaters beginning January 17, 2014, tells the explosive story of the ten-month trial and how Jackie Carpenter's faith was tested to the max. The trailer for the movie won Award of Excellence in the Best Short Competition and Award of Merit in The Accolade Competition, and has been nominated as Best Picture in the ICVM Crown Awards and entered in the Gideon Film Festival! Please watch: to see the exciting trailer.

Feeling physically, mentally and emotionally ill through the first six months of this ordeal resulted in Jackie questioning her faith. All this loving mom knew was that she needed God on her side throughout the trial and she prayed relentlessly, asking for strength and renewed faith. Once she stopped doubting, courage replaced fear and she knew that God heard her plea.

Jackie's first book, The Bridge: Between Cell Block A and a Miracle is Psalm 91 (Xulon Publishing) tells the traumatic events after her son's arrest and how she used the prayer of protection, Psalm 91, to help face the turmoil of emotions raging through her and help her find the strength to hold her family together. Her second book, Georgia Justice, is a story of building faith. Jackie was able to overcome the grips of doubt and depression and her book acts as a guide for anyone wanting to renew and strengthen faith and hope on the road to ultimate victory.

Jackie Carpenter has been a featured guest on television, radio, and in newspaper articles. For information on Jackie and her books, or the extraordinary movie that will have audiences white-knuckled and hanging on to the edge of their seats, please visit:

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Mob Kingpin Mickey Cohen Played by Sean Penn in Gangster Squad

Public enemy number one, Mickey Cohen, is brought to life on the big screen by two-time Oscar-winner Sean Penn in Warner Bros.’ epic, action-thriller, “Gangster Squad.”

“I thought it would be a fun old-school gangster picture with a cast I have great admiration for,” Penn says on what drew him to the film. “And upon meeting director Ruben Fleischer, I was sold.”

Set in Los Angeles, 1949, “Gangster Squad” revolves around ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and—if he has his way—every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians he has under his thumb. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.

Mickey Cohen may be an underworld figure, but his very public image and commanding presence make him a man not to be crossed…in business or pleasure. He goes beyond merciless; any breach is a betrayal for which one pays the ultimate price. But he also has the undeniable charisma that comes with great power.

According to producer Dan Lin, “Cohen, in real life, was over the top. He was a gangster, but a Hollywood gangster. He was funny, he loved talking to reporters and, in public, he really wanted to entertain people, as if he were one of the movie stars he was always trying to woo. Of course, in private, he was doing dark, evil things.”

Fleischer cites, “When I imagined bringing the movie to the screen, the one character that everything seemed to hinge on was Cohen, the villain, this larger-than-life personality. I immediately thought of Sean Penn, so having him in the role was huge. Mickey is such a dynamic, memorable, menacing character and Sean has the gravitas, the intensity and the humor to pull it off.”

Though only remotely familiar with the real man, Penn says that for his interpretation of the character, “I tried to ignore the literal. The real Mickey Cohen so resembled Al Capone, who I thought De Niro had done so indelibly in ‘The Untouchables,’ that I felt, for a wide audience who largely would not have been aware of Mickey Cohen, mimicking Cohen in looks or behavior would have been unnecessarily burdened with baggage. I thought it was interesting to approach it and let it grow from just a few pieces of Cohen’s background. He was a prize fighter, but the style of fighting was more primitive than today, and Cohen was more primitive in many ways.”

“Sean really brought to life this guy who, in reality and in our somewhat fictionalized account of him, has a huge ego and is very colorful,” producer Kevin McCormick relates. “Cohen had his own publicists, spreads in Life Magazine, owned his own haberdashery and never wore the same suit twice, and had a collection of beautiful, statuesque ladies on his arm all the time. Sean’s interpretation of the man is fascinating. In the heyday of gangster movies, those guys were always such seductive characters, and I think Sean has that same ability to mesmerize us.”

“There’s something very appealing about the way Sean plays Mickey Cohen,” co-star Josh Brolin echoes. “Watching him during a scene, I couldn’t help but like him, even though my character despises him and everything he stands for. Sean really brought out the charm in him, even when he was doing something deadly.”

“Gangster Squad” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Frank Calabrese Jr "Operation Family Secrets" Movie in Development with Nicholas Pileggi, Author of "Goodfellas" and "Casino" as Executive Producer and Gary Ross of "The Hunger Games" as Director

One of Chicago's most notorious mobsters has a new home. Fox Chicago has learned convicted gangster Frank Calabrese, Sr. has been moved to a federal prison in North Carolina.

Calabrese, Sr. was recently transferred to Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina. He is serving life behind bars after his conviction in the historic Family Secrets mob trial of committing more than a dozen murders for the Chicago Outfit. For the last several years Calabrese was held under the highest level of security at a federal prison in Springfield, MO. Despite having virtually no contact with the outside world, Calabrese allegedly convinced a prison chaplain to pass messages to associates in Illinois, in an attempt to recover mob loot worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Frank Calabrese, Jr., who secretly recorded his father for the feds and testified against him during the trial, says it's clear why the Federal Bureau of Prisons moved his dad.

"My father's a hot item, meaning that nobody wants to deal with him, and a lot of time in the Bureau of Prisons, instead of dealing with problem prisoners, they'd rather ship them to another prison," Calabrese, Jr. said.

Calabrese, Jr. wrote a best-selling book about his decision to abandon the mob lifestyle and go against his father. He says that compelling story is now being turned into a movie with some Hollywood heavy hitters.

Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote the mob classics "Goodfellas" and "Casino" has signed on to executive produce the Calabrese story. Gary Ross of "The Hunger Games" has agreed to direct the movie. They've also landed Stephen Schiff as screenwriter, who wrote the recent "Wall Street" sequel. The William Morris Endeavor agency is involved, which is headed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's brother Ari. Calabrese says rather than sell the rights to a studio, he wanted to put together an independent team to make the movie so he could retain some control.

"What I was concerned with is not just somebody that wants to make the next shoot 'em up gangster movie. This is about family. This is about the dark side of crime," he said.

Calabrese says nobody has been cast yet, but he's heard several a-list actors are interested in the role of his father, whom he calls a Shakespearian figure.

"The multiple personalities--in the book I explain there was a good side to my dad. There was a great side to my dad. There were multiple sides to my dad. He could walk in a room and win everybody over, and the next minute he could walk in a room and everybody would run for their life."

Thanks to Dane Placko.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Gangster Squad" Movie Release Delayed to Move Final Gunfight Outside of Movie Theater

It's official, "Gangster Squad" will not grace theaters nationwide this September. Warner Bros. Pictures has announced that the much-talked-about mob thriller will be pushed back to January 11, 2013.

As reported previously, the studio aims to reshoot a climatic scene in the movie that features a gunfight in the Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The theater shoot-out scene recently sparked controversy in the wake of the recent Aurora massacre that claimed the lives of 12 people during "The Dark Knight Rises" midnight screening.

The new release schedule will give time to the filmmaker to find an alternate gunfight scene that doesn't take place in a movie theater. With the new date, the Sean Penn-starring movie is set to face off Jeremy Renner's delayed pic "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters".

"Gangster Squad" centers on Penn's Mickey Cohen, a ruthless Brooklyn-born mob. He runs the show in the town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and every wire bet placed west of Chicago.

Cohen runs the dirty businesses with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It's enough to intimidate the bravest, street-hardened cop, except a secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen's world apart.

The Ruben Fleischer-directed film was originally slated for a September 7 U.S. release this year.


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