Bugsy Malone (1976)

“We could have been anything that we wanted to be!”

What happens when you take the classic prohibition gangster story, write a few tunes and cast only children? You have a LOT of fun. Bugsy Malone, starring a bunch of kids (including Jodie Foster) is a fantastic addition to the genre and gives an entirely new perspective on the tried and tested themes of a gangster movie. Using all the cliches in the book we are taken on a rollercoaster ride through the battle for territory, love and the “sarsaparilla racket”, all through the eyes of some of the best child actors you’ll find. Not only is it the film fun, it’s very clever. The gangs use “splurge guns” and cream pies to get rid of their enemies, ride around in bicycle powered 1920s themed cars and although it may a little too suggestive, the song “My Name Is Talulah” is charmingly witty.

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Bugsy Malone (dir. Alan Parker,  DOP Peter Biziou, Michael Seresin)

It’s easy to go on about the great things this film has to offer, but in reality it does fall a little short. The story gets a little lost at times, there are some unnecessary scenes and the lack of a real storyline for the police is disappointing. About half way through you realise that this musical and story is probably better suited for the stage than the screen which I think is actually a compliment, not a criticism. Regardless, you’ll be singing the songs for days to come and wondering if anyone actually died or if they were simply playing cops and robbers.

The Podfather Score: 7.25/10

-A.A

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The Godfather Part III (1990)

The Corleone family comes full circle in the final instalment of The Godfather trilogy. Al Pacino and Diane Keaton reprise their roles as Michael and Kay as the characters and the audience try and find closure on the family’s past events. Michael tries his hardest to finally legitimise the business but has no luck as other members of the organised underworld in New York and Italy stand in his way. Andy Garcia brings a fresh performance as the no good cousin Vincent and helps to progress the story and keep the film interesting.

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The Godfather: Part III (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, DOP Gordon Willis)

Even though it ticks all the boxes that makes any of the Godfather movies instantly classic, Part III unfortunately just misses the mark of greatness that Part I and II achieved so effortlessly. That being said, if you’re a fan of the series, the world and the characters this is still a must see and provides an appropriate ending for the amazing saga that is The Godfather.

The Podfather Score: 6.75

-A.A

Scorsese

Martin Scorsese, what can we say? A great director and a great guy who has given us some amazing insights into a variety of different worlds and a range of fantastic characters. Whether you’re a fan or not, you cannot deny the impact he’s had on film making and surely you’ll thank him for defining the careers of actors like Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Leonardo DiCaprio (to name a few). So far we’ve watched four of his films on The Podfather and cannot get enough! We’ve praised the soundtracks, loved (and questioned) his editing, cringed at the violence, laughed at the dialogue and marvelled at the undeniably intriguing feel of his work.

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Photography by Brigitte Lacombe

The exhibition has something for everybody. From scripts to props, costumes to correspondence and family furniture to scribbled notes, this amazing display at ACMI offers a huge insight into Scorsese’s life and perhaps an even greater insight into filmmaking itself. Running until the 18th of September, if you don’t go you’re a total ___(insert Joe Pesci styled insult here).

-A.A

Hard Boiled (1992)

If there’s a better marriage of the action and gangster genres then I’m a monkeys uncle! John Woo’s epic send off to Hong Kong cinema is a pleasure to watch as it effortlessly takes the skeleton of a gangster film and fleshes it out with endless, over the top action sequences. However nothing is wasted, nothing is done for the sake of it and nothing feels over done. Even at the most outrageous of times!

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Hard Boiled (dir. John Woo, DOP Wang Wing-heng)

Hard Boiled takes us deep into triad gangs from the point of view of the police. With officers undercover and out in the open working to take down down the vicious organisation. Though it’s seen from the outside in, the movie does well to feel as much a gangster film as a cop flick and redefines what it means to be a cool gangster and a cool policeman.

Filled with excellently shot scenes and some great dialogue, if this is your first venture into Hong Kong cinema you won’t be disappointed.

The Podfather Score: 7.875/10

-A.A

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Welcome to London basin of gravy! And everything that comes with it. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is Guy Ritchie’s first feature length film that is essentially the British Reservoir Dogs. Instead of methodical wise-guys in suits, we’re presented with chaotic geezers, and instead of a bank robbery we’re flown through deal after deal and disaster after disaster. With a bunch of cockney slang to help us along!

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Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (dir. Guy Ritchie, DOP Tim Maurice-Jones)

Along with a creative style, great dialogue and interesting characters (though lacking some depth), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is  a refreshing take on the gangster genre and an excellent insight into a different world of crime. Though it loses it’s flow here and there, the movie’s pace and ease to follow should be praised. It’s impossible to describe the plot to a china plate, but a pleasure to sit through.

The Podfather Score: 7.5/10

– A.A

Scarface (1983)

Not about the original 1932 film and not about the rapper you probably didn’t know about, this is about the 1983 film remake worshipped by both civilised people and every ghetto af celebrity you’ve seen on MTV Cribs, including myself. Directed by Brian De Palma and Written by Oliver Stone, the film takes viewers on a journey of humble yet troubled beginnings to exuberant volatile riches, harnessing the average person’s desires of money and power, albeit through questionable means.

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Scarface (dir. Brian De Palma, DOP John A. Alonzo)

Amongst the more well received gangster films, this movie is set during the cocaine fuelled 1980’s where Cuban immigrant Antonio Montana, portrayed by Al Pacino, migrates to Miami with lifelong friends, in particular Manny Ribera (Steven Bauer), escaping their former struggles with communism to pursue better things. In the process, the group find themselves operating in the lucrative cocaine industry of the times, led by Montana and Ribera. With that comes a progressive rise to power at the many costs of others, ultimately including themselves. However, it is the means at which they reach the ‘top’ that are synonymous of the film genre and the main reason to take part in the experience. Leaving a distinct impact on popular culture, the film leaves us with endless memorabilia, and more quotes than Mean Girls. With ambitions of power and greed still ever-present, and a strong love for the anti-hero, the legacy of this movie will remain for years to come.

The Podfather Score: 7.625/10

– G.V

(George Vasiliadis)

Casino (1995)

Martin Scorsese takes us to the golden age of Las Vegas when the mob ruled it all. Before the corporations and regulations, when everybody got a piece and eventually got whacked. Whether its based on truth or distracted by glorification, Casino tells the tale of two high ranking and hard hitting mobsters taking Sin City for themselves. Perhaps one of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci’s finest outings, the two leads effortlessly portray the lives of best friends turned worst enemies in a lengthy and violent affair. This movie even features one of Scorsese’s infamous Pesci rib breakings!

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Casino (dir. Martin Scorsese, DOP Robert Richardson)

The first half details the inner workings of the Tangiers Casino, how the mafia took its cut and how our anti-heroes ran the operation. The story is interesting, cool, classy and intriguing as the characters navigate the obstacles that the real world presents. The second half is sadly a little too much of a soap opera with the strange love triangle between the main characters Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone) and Sam Rothstien (Robert De Niro). This movie comes close to being in the same league as GoodFellas but ultimately runs about an hour too long. Still, it serves as an unforgettable entry in the genre!

The Podfather Score: 7.375/10

– A.A