CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Lifestyle

January 11, 2013

'Gangster Squad': Boys, toys and colorful violence

PASADENA, Calif. — Slick, sick, self-consciously stylish and defiantly shallow, "Gangster Squad" is one of those movies you can't talk about without invoking other (often better) movies. A lot of movies.

"L.A. Confidential." "The Untouchables." "Chinatown." "Bugsy." "Dick Tracy." "The Magnificent Seven." "Rampart" (with an asterisk). Those are just a few of the films liberally quoted in Ruben Fleischer's attractive but tediously derivative post-war crime drama. Even Michael Mann's cheesy-looking "Public Enemies" gets its due in the digitally-filmed "Gangster Squad," which is so poorly lit during its climactic sequences that it resembles bad daytime television.

The action opens in 1949, when a pathological crime boss named Mickey Cohen — played by a prosthetic-schnozzed Sean Penn serving an over-salted slab of pure ham — is running Los Angeles' brothels, drug trade and police department with sadistic fury. (We meet Cohen just as he's halving an opponent for dinner — and no, that's not a typo, the dinner is for a couple of coyotes.)

One of the few cops Cohen hasn't bought is John O'Mara (Josh Brolin), a straight shooter and World War II hero with a pregnant wife at home and a yen for fighting the good fight. When O'Mara is enlisted by police chief William Parker (Nick Nolte) to go off the books to wipe Cohen out, the square-jawed vet enlists a ragtag team of misfits (played by Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena, Giovanni Ribisi and Robert Patrick) that could have stepped out of any war picture "Gangster Squad" continually references.

The most interesting of the vigilantes is Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who, early in the film, becomes entangled with Cohen's main squeeze, a creamy, Jessica Rabbit-esque bombshell named Grace. Lucky for viewers that Grace is played by the sensational Emma Stone, giving them a chance once again to luxuriate in the chemistry she and Gosling can generate in just one smoldering glance. Lucky, too, that Fleischer has cast "The Killing's" Mireille Enos as O'Mara's spirited wife Connie, who, as channeled through Enos' naturalism and warmth, cuts right through her husband's macho posturing.

Text Only
Lifestyle
  • WSCC jazz band at Big Band Dance Jazz Band tuning up for annual Big Band Ballroom Dance

    The Wallace State Jazz Band will make Friday a really good day to kick up your heels, as it hosts its annual Big Band Ballroom Dance at 7 p.m. Friday, April 18.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • BRIA Pet of the week: Bria needs a forever home

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • HP historic schools 1 Holly Pond’s historic schools

    Anyone who has ever traveled through the countryside in and around Holly Pond knows why a settlement was built there.

    April 13, 2014 5 Photos

  • SOUTHERN STYLE: City kid walking

    I may sound like a farm kid, and in truth, I did spend a lot of time on my grandparents’ Landersville farm, but I wasn’t a farm kid — I was a city kid.

    April 13, 2014

  • HUCKABEE Pet of the week: Huckabee needs a forever home

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 11, 2014

  • VIDEO: CBS taps Colbert as Letterman’s Late Show successor

    Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman reports that CBS has announced Stephen Colbert as its choice to replace the retiring David Letterman as host of “The Late Show” on Bloomberg Television’s “Lunch Money.”

     

    April 10, 2014

  • 2 pics.jpg Accomplished vocalists to perform at Wallace State April 22

    Two amazing vocalists will perform on Tuesday, April 22 at Wallace State Community College as part of the college’s annual Arts in April celebration.
    Mezzo-soprano Maggie Gill and Tenor Shane Bloemetjie will each sing a selection of operatic and/or musical theater tunes as they perform, accompanied on piano by Mike Sparks, chair of the WSCC’s humanities department and a music instructor at the college. They will be performing arias by Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, and songs by George Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim and others.
     

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • Food page EASTER DINING: Decorating for the Easter table

    Easter is just around the corner and just happens to be one of my favorite holidays.

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • WSCC Vest to perform.jpg Award-winning pianist to perform April 15 at Wallace State

    Lovers of classical piano can hear one of the best pianists in the state on Tuesday, April 15, as Katherine Vest is set to perform at Wallace State Community College.
    Vest is a junior piano performance major at Samford University and studies with Ron Shinn. She recently earned first place in the Alabama Federated Music Clubs Auditions and she previously won first prize in the Alabama Music Teacher’s Association and Birmingham Music Club auditions. At Samford, she is a recipient of the Miller-Shepherd scholarship for outstanding piano students.
     

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo