Movie Reviews

Goodfellas (1990) – Film & Wine Club

goodfellas-movie-review-poster-1990Director: Martin Scorsese

Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama

Runtime: 146 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low

Plot: The real-life story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his life in the mob, from when he was a child running errands to his downfall, covering his relationships with his wife Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco) and his mob partners Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci).

My Thoughts: Film & Wine Club had to take a short break but we’re back, and this time we watched my Dad’s third choice, Goodfellas (1990) – cue a groan from my Mum about the length of the movie even though two of her choices were over two hours too! Seriously, I’m the only one who followed the ‘less than two hours’ rule. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of gangster movies, and I don’t really know why. A few years ago I watched The Godfather (1972) for the first time and whilst I could appreciate it, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it. I liked Goodfellas a whole lot better, though. It definitely feels like the more modern gangster movies I’ve seen were trying to recreate what this movie does.

At the heart of it, Goodfellas is all about the characters, and that’s what Ii enjoy the most about it. It was clear that Henry saw all of the good sides of the mob, the family aspect and all the perks it brought. He wasn’t fond of violence and tried to do the right thing, but clearly he was influenced too heavily by all the people around him. My lamest complaint about these kinds of movies is that they’re too long and they feel even longer, but I didn’t notice the time at all here, I was just fascinated.

Whilst Ii don’t think I’ve been converted to the genre (yet), I definitely feel like I’ve painted all gangster movies with the same brush, and I’ll be more open to watching more of them in the future. Tomorrow brings the final night in the first round of our little club, it’s Mum’s last pick and it’s Thelma & Louise (1991). I won’t point out to Mum that it’s over two hours long…she’ll find out herself! Then it’ll be time to pick another 3 movies each to put into the hat!


Best Bit: This only made me laugh but in the scene at the restaurant where we first meet Tommy I spotted something. It’s when Henry and the others are laughing at Tommy’s story and I was just like ‘Hey! That’s a meme!’ I’ll hand in my critic hat at the door when I see myself out. It’s bad enough that I hadn’t seen the movie at all until now, isn’t it? Also, I know now that’s a real famous scene based on something that actually happened to Joe Pesci (thanks for the random trivia, oh husband of mine).

Worst Bit: Oh man, I was along for a fun ride up until Tommy started treating that guy serving drinks like absolute s**t and ended up killing him…that was cold, and I guess I woke up and realised that was going to be just the half of it!

Fun Trivia: Robert De Niro wanted to use real money for the scene where Jimmy hands out money, because he didn’t like the way fake money felt in his hands. The prop master gave De Niro $5,000 of his own money. At the end of each take, no one was allowed to leave the set until all the money was returned and counted.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 cloves of garlic that should always be sliced with a razor blade.


Movie Reviews

Marriage Story (2019)

marriage-story-movie-review-2019-netflixDirector: Noah Baumbach

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

Runtime: 136 Minutes

Main Cast: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, Julie Hagerty, Merritt Wever, Azhy Robertson, Wallace Shawn, Martha Kelly

Plot: Charlie and Nicole had a seemingly happy marriage, working together for Charlie’s theatre company. But things changed, their feelings changed, and now they’re navigating a difficult divorce and battling over custody of their son.

My Thoughts: It’s Saturday night, the kiddo is fast asleep, the bestie is coming over, takeout has been ordered, what shall we watch? A devastatingly upsetting movie about divorce. Hurrah! Wasn’t that a great idea? I need to watch this again, alone, because I held back my tears when really this movie demands you sob aloud. Lots. We’re reaching the peak of Adam Driver season and if he doesn’t take home an Oscar for this one I will RIOT. How an actor can express that much emotion is beyond me, some scenes were honestly difficult to watch because of it. It felt like I was intruding on something private.

It’s raw emotion throughout. We don’t get to see how Charlie and Nicole got together, see how in love they once were, only hear about it whilst they talk to therapists and lawyers. But you can tell. You can tell the feelings are still there. And whilst it’s powerful throughout, there are 2 key scenes for me that actually made me stop breathing. If ever I need a good cry to let things out, this is where I’ll turn.

But then, Marriage Story is so funny at the same time, in those little moments. I know if ever the worst happened with my own marriage my mum would be just like Nicole’s. She already takes his side in any argument ever. Could you imagine a scene where a husband is handed divorce papers that he isn’t expecting to be hilarious? Because it is in this movie! Not forgetting the knife scene of course, we’ll come to that in a short moment. Honestly, I’m still a little lost for words about it all. I think that’s how you’re meant to feel!


Best Bit: *SPOILER-Y WARNING* When Charlie started playing with the flick knife early in the movie I knew the shot was too long to be a one-off moment. The scene where he was being monitored and assessed with his son and ended up accidentally slicing his arm open without realising was probably the funniest and most shocking thing I’ve seen all year! And the kitchen roll! Oh boy, I need to see it again…is there a gif yet of Adam Driver being terrible at getting kitchen roll?!

Worst Bit: I mean the worst bits to watch in Marriage Story are actually the best bits performance wise so it’s unfair to mention how the sight of Adam Driver, broken and on his knees completely destroyed me. So DAMN. The way the legal system works in divorce cases is just so unfair, isn’t it?!

Fun Trivia: Adam Driver’s performance of Sondheim’s Being Alive from the musical Company, was recorded live and done in 1 take.
(Hollywood please let Adam Driver star in happier movies. And sing more.)

My Rating: 4 and a half pies used to conceal divorce papers, which apparently makes the whole thing worse.