Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Sinatra’

A Bronx Tale – Directed by & starring Robert De Niro

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Bronx Tale (1993)  Directed by and starring Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, who also wrote the screenplay based on his play of the same name, Lillo Brancato, Jr., Francis Capra and others.  A Bronx Tale is a bildungsroman of a film, following the life of a young Italian-American, Calogero Anello, from the age of about 8 to 16 years old, who looks up to both his father, Lorenzo (De Niro), a bus driver, and Sonny (Palmenteri), the local Mafia strong man, the two often in counterpoint, but not as entirely as one may imagine.  Though the setting is the Bronx rather than downtown New York City’s Little Italy, there are, quite understandably, echoes of Martin Scorsese‘s Italian-American mobsters, met in his iconic classic Mean Streets, and in his film Goodfellas, and so much the better.  Funny, touching and sad, filled with colorful characters and fine dialogue, A Bronx Tale is set in the 1960s, notably from 1960 to 1968, starting with a-capella do-wop and ending with, among others, the Beatles classic Come Together and passing through Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, John Coltrane, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s rendition of All Along the Watchtower, a wonderful musical context, indicative of the social changes at work in the epoch.  De Niro is excellent, subtle, solid, sensitive and modest both behind (A Bronx Tale is his first film as director) and in front of the camera, Palminteri’s writing and acting are inspired as well, as is the strong yet sensitive performance of Lillo Brancato Jr., and, as the young Calogero, Francis Capra; in fact the entire cast offers commendable performances.  A Bronx Tale is a gangster film, yes, in a way, but much more a film about the choices and values at work in a young man’s life.  Definitely a must-see film. (PR)

(Note: A sad, and ironic note, Lillo Brancato Jr. is currently in prison, convicted of armed robbery, narrowly escaping murder charges.  He is up for parole in 2014. The Editors.)

See our posts on the films The Good Shepherd, directed by, and with, Robert De Niro, Mean Streets, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, and Guilty by Suspicion, starring Robert De Niro.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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High Society

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 11 September 2011

High Society, theatrical release poster

High Society (1956)(DVD) Directed by Charles Walters and starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby with Louis ArmstrongHigh Society, the film musical, is a reprise of the truly marvelous The Philadelphia Story (which starred Kathryn Hepburn, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy and James Stewart and for which Stewart won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1940) and is Grace Kelly’s final film, released three months after she became Princess Grace of Monaco.  Receiving mixed critical reviews, though achieving box-office success, it’s true that the sauntering Bing Crosby pales in comparison to the inimitable Cary Grant’s portrayal of C.K. Dexter Haven, and Frank Sinatra, seeming to strain to sing some of the wonderful Cole Porter tunes in the film, is no comparison at all to James Stewart’s award-winning portrayal of McCauley Connor, the Spy Magazine reporter.  The lovely Grace Kelly, though uneven, is not a terrible Tracy Samantha Lord, though it is certainly impossible not to think of Kathryn Hepburn’s superb performance (of course, the film role and the play, a resounding Broadway success, starring Hepburn, which served as the basis for both High Society and The Philadelphia Story, were both written expressly for Hepburn), and to miss the chemistry between Hepburn, Grant and Stewart.  Nevertheless, High Society is certainly worth watching, even if it is only for the great Louis Armstrong and his band, who perform a couple of snappy numbers. (PR)

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