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James Gandolfini’s Film Career Remembered

48987-james-gandolfini-637x0-1Wednesday June 19, 2013 the entertainment and acting world lost a true giant when James Gandolfini succumbed to a massive heart attack and fell asleep in death. Gandolfini will forever be remembered as Tony Soprano on one of the greatest television shows of all time and his character may be one of the best as well. Tony was superbly written and thought out. The depth that went into the character could only be written so deep, Gandolfini brought it to a different level all together.

While being remembered as Tony Soprano is a phenomenal legacy to have, it is also a little bit sad that some people will never know what a terrific actor Gandolfini was. Tony Soprano is a key example of how great he really was but only looking at his other work shows how good he really was as Tony. I’ve decided to take a look at some of my favorite Gandolfini roles and some of his most diverse.

5. The Mexican (Winston Baldry)th-4

Winston is a hitman, true, and that is close to the Soprano character but Winston has a twist, he’s gay. He not only is gay, he has a conscience and doubts his way of life. He brought a humanity to the character that was desperately needed. It was the character that stood out and made the movie better than it was.

welcome_to_the_rileys01 4. Welcome To The Riley’s (Doug Riley)

Doug Riley is stuck in a 30 year marriage with a wife who has never gotten over the loss of their 15 year old daughter and while Doug has become numb to his life as well he begins to show signs of breaking out. On a business trip to New Orleans he unexpectedly get’s hooked up with a 16 year old prostitute and begins to help change her life. This character is so complex on the inside while being bland on the outside and near emotionless. He does a beautiful job letting his inner self come through a little bit at a time.

3. Zero Dark Thirty (C.I.A. Director)james-gandolfini-zero-dark-thirty

There isn’t much more opposite of the head of a mafia crime family than the head of the C.I.A. Therefore when he played the Director in the award winning film about the 10 year hunt for Osama Bin Laden his brief time on film had to make an impact. The few words he spoke resinated and gave credibility to different characters and where they stood and what empowered them. Usually when a bigger name actor is cast in a smaller role it is because the expertise is needed despite the size of the role. His expertise was just what that character and film needed and got.

allthekingsmen3 2. All The Kings Men (Tiny Duffy)

When I said that being C.I.A. Director was as opposite as you could get I meant it but playing a crooked southern politician in 1950’s Louisiana is just about as opposite as well. Tiny Duffy is a crooked man working with major politicians to help swing an election but when it doesn’t go their way he is forced to join the man trying to bring them down and he has all but become his lap dog. With a pretty decent southern accent he had the ability to play the character with the confidence of Tony Soprano until it was needed for him to be brought down to the low level and he filled those shoes just as well.

1. Cinema Verite (Craig Gilbert)cinema-verite-poster

Gandolfini returned to HBO for this film which did well at the Golden Globes and various festivals. Craig Gilbert was a true life person who was a television producer who is credited with creating what is now known as reality TV. He had the idea to follow a seemingly normal family and when the cameras come the normal goes away. He struggles with the morality of what he is doing and trying to keep his feelings for the wife and mother of the family, in check.

Gandolfini will be greatly missed and it is safe to assume now that a Sopranos movie is not going to happen. So as we reflect on his career and the things he did, remember these words from The Sopranos theme song: “ She said, you’re one in a million. You got to learn to shine.” Shine he did.

Man Of Steel, Is It As Strong As It Should Be?

superman_man_of_steel_2013_wallpaper___portada_facebook-1920x1080It is my humble opinion that no movie has more to live up to this year than Man Of Steel. There are three reasons for this thought and the first one is the fact that Superman is the ultimate comic book superhero. He is the most famous and people that know nothing about Superman know who he is and what he can do. The second reason is that Christopher Nolan is the producer and his name is all over this movie despite not writing or directing it. What Nolan was able to do with the Batman franchise set the bar so high, it’s conceivable that no comic book or superhero will ever live up to that. Finally is that the TV show and original 1978 Richard Donner movie are iconic. George Reeves in the 1950’s was the first Superhero to show up on television and Christopher Reeve was a star making moment. With fellow cast member such as Academy Award winners Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman, along with a script written by Oscar winner Mario Puzo of The Godfather fame, not to mention John Williams classic score.

That being said and noted, Man Of Steel is a fantastic movie that not only adds depth to the origin and beginning of Superman it adds, all be it small amounts of, reality to the story. Now when I say reality take that for what it’s worth. This is the story of an alien baby raised as human with powers no human could ever posses. The movie is designed to do one thing and that is set up a series of sequels and possibly a Christopher Nolan blessed adaptation of The Justice League.

Man Of Steel begins on the planet Krypton with Jor-El before the high counsel explaining what must be done to save his planet that is doomed for destruction. When general Zod attempts to overtake the counsel he is sentenced to a life of being outcast in a black hole, yet knows that Jor-El holds the key to his races survival and vows revenge and to extend his races existence. Kal-El (Superman’s given name) is cast down to earth to help the planet and because he has the ability to blend in on the surface. After he has discovered himself and his purpose and powers Superman is still unsure what he should ultimately do. When general Zod comes upon earth asking for Kal-El to surrender himself and battle ensues in Smallville, Kansas and later carries over to Metropolis. Unsure if he means well or if he means harm, the government is deployed to stop Zod. Superman does all he can to save earthMan-of-Steel-EW-2-Zod from Zod’s destructive plans.

Superman is an icon and there is no one that can deny that, so undertaking a challenge like this was extremely risky but director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan do pull it off.

Keep in mind that the story of Superman is full of logical holes and therefore any film ever made will be as well. With that in mind all should be taken in by the story and effects and ability of Superman because that is what makes him so beloved anyway. If anyone chooses to pick apart the story or even compare it to it’s wonderful start in films you will be disappointed. Entertainment is goal number one with Man Of Steel and it pulls out all the stops. If you love the Clark Kent aspect and the anonymity he posses you may have to wait a while but you will see. It doesn’t have John Williams classic theme or for the most part any of the cheesy lines (although there are a few) but it none the less is truly a Superman movie that erases the terrible memory of Superman Returns and brings the ultimate hero back to the screen in a good way.

With performances by Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Amy Adams and the always underrated Michael Shannon, good enough to not make you fumble and distract from the story line, you will be engrossed no matter what you feel after you will be engaged. Russell Crowe as Jor-El had large shoes to fill following Marlon Brando but he makes the character his own. More details are given origins and and things you thought you knew are given clarity.

Superhero and comic book fans will flock to the theaters to see Man Of Steel, the down side is it will be compared and dissected beyond belief instead of taken for what it is, and that is a great story of a hero and man many wish truly existed. Sit back and enjoy all aspects of Man Of Steel because it’s worth the buck it cost for your seat.

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