American Gangster Dies; Lions for Lambs Wows

denzel washingtonAmerican Gangster was way too long and pretty routine for my taste. It’s a true story about drug smuggling during the Vietnam War using military transports to bring the heroine to the U.S.

Denzel Washington was convincing as a gangster, but there just wasn’t enough drama to keep me on the edge of my seat. It was a formula movie: gangster outwits other gangsters but has to deal with people around him as they try to screw things up. The only difference in this gangster movies vs. others is that the female leads didn’t have a problem with what the gangster did for a living. His wife and mother were fine with it.

I’m not sure even a good editor could have helped make this two star (out of four) movie become much better.

redford streep cruiseLions for Lambs was a real surprise. It stars Streep, Redford, Cruise, and a relative unknown, Andrew Garfield. Four characters carry the movie. Streep is a network TV reporter who is getting briefed by Cruise, playing a U.S. Senator, about a new military approach to the war on terror. Redford is a college professor talking to Garfield, a student, about living up to his potential.

This movie proves that excellent writing and four excellent actors can capture and hold my interest for a couple hours. There absolutely was no dead space in this movie - not even a few minutes. There was no contrived story line, no contrived dialogue, no contrived action scenes. It was unbelievable how writers can weave a story between teams of characters without them ever interacting.

The ending was a grabber. The kind of ending that leaves you sitting in your seat while the credits start to roll, hoping for more, but realizing there was no where else for the story line to proceed.

I equate this movie as an equal to Crash as a thought provoking cinema. Fours stars (out of four)

See this movie.

Mark Van Patten writes a blog called Going Like Sixty and has been married to the same woman since 1968.

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