Counselor, The (2013)

vt The Counsellor
US, UK, Spain / 117 minutes / color / Fox 2000, Scott Free, Nick Wechsler, Chockstone, TCF Dir: Ridley Scott Pr: Ridley Scott, Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz Scr: Cormac McCarthy Cine: Dariusz Wolski Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Sam Spruell, Toby Kebbell, Rubén Blades, Edgar Ramírez, Natalie Dormer, Goran Visnjic, Richard Cabral, John Leguizamo, Fernando Cayo, Dean Norris.

Counselor - 4 Malkina goes through charade of making confession

Malkina (Cameron Diaz) goes through the charade of making confession.

A lawyer (Fassbender) who has represented various figures in the drugs trade—and who’s referred to throughout only as Counselor—is tempted into taking part in the trade himself, investing in a cocaine shipment being brought from Mexico in a sewage truck. His friend Reiner (Bardem) facilitates the deal, as does another friend, Westray (Pitt), although the latter does his best to warn him off, using an account of a vicious snuff movie to illustrate (a) that, just as if you watch a snuff movie you’re guilty of complicity in the murder, so, if you invest in drugs trafficking, your involvement is far more than merely financial, and (b) that, whenever you think there’s something so sadistic and depraved that even the Mexican drug cartels wouldn’t do it, you’re wrong.

Counselor is much in love with Laura (Cruz); he goes to Amsterdam to purchase from a jeweler there (Ganz) a diamond of extraordinary loveliness for their engagement ring. Reiner has an imposing girlfriend of Mexican extraction, Malkina (Diaz), a one-time stripper who has come north to use her brains and looks to make good—in which effort she has been remarkably successful, more successful than anyone knows. Her hobbies including watching her twin cheetahs chase down and kill wildlife. Reiner is, rightly, afraid of her at the same time as he is completely infatuated with her.

Counselor - 1 The proposal to LauraCounselor (Michael Fassbender) proposes to Laura (Penélope Cruz).

Visiting an imprisoned client, Ruth (Perez), Counselor learns that her son (Cabral), nicknamed Green Hornet, has been arrested for Continue reading

American Gangster (2007)

US / 176 minutes (unrated), 158 minutes (rated) / color / Imagine, Relativity, Scott Free, Film Rites, Universal Dir: Ridley Scott Pr: Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott Scr: Steven Zaillian Story: “The Return of Superfly” (2000 magazine article, New York) by Mark Jacobson Cine: Harris Savides Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cuba Gooding Jr., Josh Brolin, Ted Levine, Armand Assante, Clarence Williams III, John Ortiz, John Hawkes, RZA, Lymari Nadal, Yul Vazquez, Ruby Dee, Idris Elba, Carla Gugino, Joe Morton, Common, Richie Coster, Jon Polito, Kevin Corrigan, Roger Guenveur Smith, Malcolm Goodwin, Ric Young, Roger Bart, Tip Harris, Kadee Strickland, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Norman Reedus, Melissia Hill, Bari K. Willerford, Skyler Fortgang.

A gangster movie that claims to be based on a true story although, by all accounts, it’s largely an exercise in mythopoeia.

In Harlem in 1968, ruthless yet philosophically inclined, intelligent and often goodheartedly generous gangster Bumpy Johnson (Williams, bizarrely uncredited) dies of heart failure while he and his chauffeur and right-hand man Frank Lucas (Washington) are staring in dismay at the contents of a discount store. Assuming Frank is just a nobody, gangsters like Tango (Elba) move in on Bumpy’s old turf, little realizing they’re up against a criminal genius. It’s not long before Frank hits on the notion of dispensing with the middleman in the heroin racket, instead buying it directly from sources in Southeast Asia and bribing US service personnel to bring the dope into the US aboard military transports returning from the still-raging Vietnam War. His other major import is of his extended family from North Carolina to be his employees/partners, a job that his brothers willingly take on after they witness him coldbloodedly murdering the arrogant Tango on a crowded Harlem sidewalk.

American Gangster - In search of a drug supplier

Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) goes in search of a drug supplier.

At the same time, Newark cop Richie Roberts (Crowe) is earning himself the undiluted loathing of the rest of his PD through being honest. When he and partner Javier J. Rivera (Ortiz) come across nearly $1 million in unmarked bills and Continue reading