Goodfellas


Viewed – 30 May 2015  Blu-ray

25th Anniversary Edition

I remember when I first saw this widely acclaimed mob drama, that somehow despite my love of the genre, I had taken several years to get around to watching it (I did a similar thing with The Shining…).  Suffice to say I was blown away.  Director Martin Scorsese who I best knew from Taxi Driver and After Hours (remember that?) had delivered his masterpiece in a genre he seemed to know like the back of his hand.  Yes before this hit we had movies like The Godfather and Scarface to name but two, but something about this small-time mob enforcers tale, especially the rags-to-riches-journey Henry Hill goes on from a wet-behind-his-ears kid to a connected wise guy, was a revelation.  In may ways the movie has similarities to John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood which borrows a similar structure, but told on a more epic scale, ‘Fellas delivers the ultimate gangster drama that also happens to be based on a true story.

Goodfellas

Ray Liotta play’s Henry, a street kid from a Jewish background who winds up working for the local mobsters at the cab stand, and gradually learns all the underworld dealings of being a gangster.  Before long he’s rubbing shoulders with Joe Pesci’s volatile Tommy and Robert DeNiro’s charismatic Jimmy.  Aided by Liotta’s excellent narration (the deep tone of his voice adding to much of the movie’s iconic status) along with Scorsese pulling out every directing trick in the book – a stellar soundtrack, superlative editing, slow motion, zooms, speed ups and clever-ass tracking shots – this had it all.  Each performance electrifies and compliments one another; Lorraine (The Sopranos) Bracco’s Karen is the perfect female morality figure, Pesci brings humour and crazy psychosis to a character that earned him an Oscar …. and DeNiro’s class makes Jimmy likeable but also complex and scary.  Add to this great turns from Paul Sorvino (“now I gotta turn my back on you”) and especially Roy Liotta who brings a nervous out-of-his-depth quality to a character who throughout knows exactly what he’s a part of, but still looks and acts uncomfortable when things get nasty.  Oh and do things get nasty … from the beating and murder of Billy Batts to the various stabbings, skewers in the back of the head, a gun being repeatedly bashed against someone’s face etc. etc.  But for some reason it all just fits and never feels quite as gratuitous as Casino.  This is why compared to that other Scorsese mob drama, this zips along, has a more gripping ‘journey’ and just has stand out scene after stand out scene (“funny how, how am I funny, like I’m a clown?”).

One of the best movies ever made, and certainly the finest gangster movie ever made.

goodfellas 25This re-release for the movie’s 25th anniversary comes with a glossy and detailed full colour booklet as well as a letter from the director himself.  Add to this a whole extra disk of special features that houses a brand new documentary featuring cast and crew (sadly no Pesci!) and several archive docs covering the production and the movie’s legacy.  On the movie itself, we get a cast & crew commentary and a second crook and cop commentary (featuring Henry Hill and the FBI agent that caught him!) which were found on the 20th anniversary edition.  What’s most important though is the picture and sound.  Presented in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio the music, dialogue and everything else is crisp even if the surrounds aren’t especially showcased.  The image-quality (from a 4k master apparently) whilst a little grainy and rather soft in places (especially street scenes) retains good detail, especially in close-ups and faces.  Overall not too bad a job for a genuine classic.

Verdict:

(the movie)  5 /5

(the Blu-ray)  4 /5

Top Ten Television Crushes


Inspired once again from a post over at The Sporadic Chronicles Of  A Beginner Blogger, thought I’d post what female characters / actresses I’ve crushed on in television… Not quite as easy as my movies list (click!) I’ll admit, but interesting to compile none the less … in no particular order.  Warning… slight spoilers may appear.

Rachel Green in Friends

rachel

A fan favourite but the ‘every guy’s ideal girlfriend’ appeal of Jennifer Aniston’s ‘Rachel’ in the hit sitcom is the basis of why Aniston continues to be one of the most likeable actresses around today.  Her on/off love story with on-screen boyfriend ‘Ross’ was also one of the highlights of the show.

Daphne Millbrook in Heroes

daphne millbrook

Arrogant but spunky, an expert thief who has the ability to run like The Flash but hides the fact she was actually a paraplegic before her ‘powers’ kicked in … so a vulnerable side too.  Played wonderfully by Brea Grant.

Maggie in The Walking Dead

maggie

Tough, very attractive and her often troubled love affair with on-screen husband ‘Glenn’ really makes this show increasingly watchable.  Helps that Lauren Cohen’s a fine actress too, and can handle a machete like a ruthless killer.

Joan Holloway in Mad Men

joan

When I first saw this red haired bombshell, I thought … wow, who is this actress?  Yes her character may be a bitch, but as seasons continued, we did get to see a gentler side, and damn, that face, those lips…I could go on.  Christina Hendricks is what they were talking about when they coined the phrase ‘…and God Created Woman’.

Kate Austin in Lost

kate

Evangeline Lilly’s vulnerable, feisty and sexy performance as the duel love interest of both ‘Jack’ and ‘Sawyer’ really held this complex, often infuriating but non the less enjoyable show together.  Great to also see Lilly now appearing in The Hobbit movies…makes for a wonderfully alluring elf.

Jane in Breaking Bad

Lewis Jacobs/ Still Photographer, 2008

Jessie’s ill-fated girlfriend, the manipulative and sexy Jane as played by the beautiful Kristen Ritter may only have a small appearance in the acclaimed show, but her legacy lingers on throughout.  Also those dangerously seductive lips and eyes…ahem.

Sam in E.R.

sam

Played by Linda Cardellini, this tough talking, single mother may have the ex husband from hell and a troubled son, yet her beauty and vulnerability make her one of this long-running shows best characters.

Buffy in Buffy The Vampire Slayer

buffy

Ok the fan boy in me was tempted to go for Willow, but really this is crushes and Sarah Michelle Geller’s tough, quirky and sexy Buffy summers is the reason this show was such a massive success.

Taylor Townsend in The O.C.

taylor

Played by the gorgeous Autumn Reeser, this character appeared air-headed bimbo but was actually very funny and adorable … helped she was stunning too!  Must be all that Californian sun.

Dr Jennifer Melfi in The Sopranos

Melfi

From the acclaimed mob drama, how could I forget the smouldering sexiness of Dr Melfi, as played by the lovely Lorraine Bracco?  Made for a big part of the TV show, and the on/off sexual chemistry between her and the late James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano was almost unbearable … even if it never went ‘there’ between them…

Have you any favourite TV characters that got you all hot under the collar?  Feel free to post a link if you have a list of your own.