Tag Archives: gangster

Live by Night

14 Jan

Affleck Should Have Stuck To Directing For His Latest Boston-Based Film ‘Live By Night’

Ben Affleck, as Joe Coughlin, and Sienna Miller, as Emma Gould, in "Live By Night." (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

Ben Affleck, the good-looking, locally-reared actor, who from time to time has projected a wooden on-screen presence, has turned out to be a reliably decent director. His debut, “Gone Baby Gone” back in 2007, transformed Dennis Lehane’s Boston-seated crime novel into a cinematic pulp noir. That edgy effort had cinephiles anxious for more and Affleck rewarded their patience with another gritty crime drama, “The Town,” in 2010 and then “Argo” in 2012. His latest effort, “Live By Night,” brings another Lehane crime story to the screen.

It begins during the Prohibition Era in Boston, where the Irish and Italians are locked in a blood feud over the bootleg trade, and later transitions to Ybor City, the developing section of Tampa, Florida, where Italian and Latino crime coalitions govern the town and control the flow of molasses — critical for rum.

Brendan Gleeson as Officer Thomas Coughlin in "Live By Night." (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)
Brendan Gleeson as Officer Thomas Coughlin in “Live By Night.” (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures) Continue reading

The Iceman

20 May

‘The Iceman’: Potentially titillating, but tale of suburban killer for hire leaves you cold

By Tom Meek 
May 19, 2013

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Back in the ’60s there lurked a semi-notorious hit man by the name of Richard Kuklinski who was known as “the Iceman” for his detached demeanor. Allegedly he killed more than 100 people while in the employment of the mob over three decades. Pretty pat stuff for a homicidal sociopath who enjoys gruesome grunt work, but what makes Kuklinski intriguing is that he did it while married and living a suburban existence, replete with two teenage daughters. Whitey didn’t have those numbers or a family.

Comparisons to “The Sopranos” or “Goodfellas” are more than fair, especially since “The Iceman” does feature ’prano  John Ventimiglia and ’fella Ray Liotta, but this is Michael Shannon’s show. As Kuklinski he’s aloof, repressed and always about to explode. The hook is he’s awkward socially, most notably when he first meets Deborah (Winona Ryder), the woman he will marry, but after a pool hall game where an opponent briefly derides her as a “virginal cock tease,” Kuklinski slips into the heckler’s back seat and cooly slits his throat.  Never mind that he has no problem blowing away a friendly bum as a screen test for a mob heavy (Liotta) who had formerly employed Kuklinski as a porn distributor.   Continue reading