James Russo

James Russo

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Black Mass Trailer


Whitey Bulger has had the FBI under his thumb for too long, and now people are starting to notice. How can a criminal mastermind responsible for every major offence in the city pass by seemingly unnoticed for an entire lifetime? It's true he landed in Alcatrez at a young age, but the older the more dangerous he becomes; a kingpin of the South Boston criminal underworld who escaped justice by informing authorities of all movements of the rival gang, the Italian Mafia, as suggested by his most useful contact and friend John Connolly. But the Irish Winter Hill Gang is growing ever more powerful, and Bulger's feelings of invincibility lead to more and more murders and destruction. It's time he was stopped, but finding him is not going to be easy.

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Black Mass - Teaser Trailer


Irish-American criminal mastermind Whitey Bulger was arguably one of the most dangerous men in America before his arrest in 2011 at the age of 81. He'd already spent time in Alcatrez as a much younger man, having spent a lot of time on the streets of South Boston. However, by the 70s he proved to be the FBI's best tool in controlling organised crime within the country, and he was eventually persuaded by his friend John Connolly to be their informant in all workings of the rival Italian Mafia. However, it's not safe business being both a highly respected gangster and a police informant, and while much of his activity is being largely ignored as he rises to become top of the Irish Winter Hill Gang, it seems he is gaining too many killings and dodgy dealings under his belt to go unnoticed.

Continue: Black Mass - Teaser Trailer

Black Mass - First Look Trailer


Sometimes, the greatest hiding place is in plain sight. For twelve years from the mid-1990s, he was the FBI's second most wanted fugitive, behind Osama Bin Laden. Throughout the 1970s, he was an FBI informant, revealing information to bring down an Italian American crime family, and he was the brother of a US senator. But really, his informant years were to stop another family from invading his own turf. Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) was one of the most brutal and violent criminals in Boston, being the secret puppet master behind one of the most dangerous crime families in history.

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Django Unchained Alternative Trailer


German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz is on the hunt for a brutal gang of murderers, the Brittle brothers. His search leads him to the only person who has information on the group, Django, who is a slave living in the deep south of the States. Schultz crosses his path as he finds Django shackled to a group of other slaves who are all being taken to auction. Posing as a dentist, Schultz requests to buy him from his owners. On the owners' refusal, Schultz ruthlessly shoots them to death and takes the slave. The bounty hunter promises to free Django and take him to rescue his wife, Broomhilda, who has been enslaved by a Mississippi plantation owner on the dead or alive capture of the Brittle brothers. On their success, Schultz frees Django as promised but the pair decides to stick together as bounty hunters full time. Their search for Broomhilda leads him to the 'Candyland' plantation owner Calvin Candie who has trainer Ace Woody train slaves to fight each other for sport. The bounty hunters arouse suspicion from loyal house slave Stephen as they arrive to explore the property under a false guise and soon become under threat by a dangerous organisation who are determined not to let them escape with Broomhilda.

This western drama is directed by the award-winning director, writer and Quentin Tarantino ('Pulp Fiction', 'Kill Bill', 'Reservoir Dogs') and includes a star-studded cast. 'Django Unchained' is a thought provoking story set in the deep south of America two years before the Civil War. It was inspired by 60s western 'Django' along with its sequels and includes a cameo appearance from 'Django' star Franco Nero.</p><p>It is set for release on December 25th 2013 in the US and January 18th 2013 in the UK.

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

Continue: Django Unchained Alternative Trailer

Django Unchained Trailer


German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz is on the hunt for a brutal gang of murderers, the Brittle brothers. His search leads him to the only person who has information on the group, Django, who is a slave living in the deep south of the States. Schultz crosses his path as he finds Django shackled to a group of other slaves who are all being taken to auction. Posing as a dentist, Schultz requests to buy him from his owners. On the owners' refusal, Schultz ruthlessly shoots them to death and takes the slave. The bounty hunter promises to free Django and take him to rescue his wife, Broomhilda, who has been enslaved by a Mississippi plantation owner on the dead or alive capture of the Brittle brothers. On their success, Schultz frees Django as promised but the pair decides to stick together as bounty hunters full time. Their search for Broomhilda leads him to the 'Candyland' plantation owner Calvin Candie who has trainer Ace Woody train slaves to fight each other for sport. The bounty hunters arouse suspicion from loyal house slave Stephen as they arrive to explore the property under a false guise and soon become under threat by a dangerous organisation who are determined not to let them escape with Broomhilda.

Continue: Django Unchained Trailer

Miss Bala Trailer


Laura Gurrero is a pretty girl who aspires to be a beauty queen. Some days she even stands in front of the mirror and practises her speech. One day, she decides to make this dream a reality, so she applies for the Miss Baja California alongside her best friend Susu.

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Public Enemies Trailer


Watch the trailer for Public Enemies.

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On the Doll Review


Good
I have no idea what "on the doll" means, but I guess it has something to do with prostitution and pornography. Thomas Mignone's harrowing film is an expose of sorts into the sex trade underworld, offering interlocking tales that involve a call girl (Brittany Snow) who's looking to rob her richest client, two teens (Candice Accola and Chole Domont) who're lured into Internet porn by their seedy teacher, and a porn ad editor (Josh Janowicz) who is trying to pay off a mobster to get an old friend out from behind the glass at a peep show booth. But it isn't just sex that ties them all together, there is loads of violence surrounding their lives every day.

Most of On the Doll's stories are writ small, but each is intense (save for one, which concerns another fetish-oriented call girl who's trying to get out of the business... and failing). Mignone does a remarkable job at taking what starts as a mild flirtation or tiptoeing into perversity and showing how baby steps can soon lead to full-on, downhill slides. The movie is surprisingly at its best in the story of the two teens, who first flirt with their perverted teacher (played memorably by Ocean's 11 series character actor Eddie Jemison), then end up taking a ride with him to the local web porn production studio, where they're crudely sized up for their value to the viewing audience. It's a shocking transition: Just minutes earlier these girls were worrying about their grades.

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My Own Private Idaho Review


Extraordinary
Mike Waters (River Phoenix) is a narcoleptic street hustler who lives in the bus terminal, streets, and abandoned buildings of Portland, Oregon, and who dreams of one day finding his mother. Fellow hustler Scott Favor (Keanu Reeves) takes care of Mike - he hauls the other man to safety when a sudden sleeping spell comes upon him, usually triggered by stress or memories of home - and although he too lives in the streets and makes a living accommodating the sexual whims of paying customers, he's the scion of a wealthy and powerful Portland family with every reason to believe that that wealth and power will one day be his own. Mike's in love with Scott; he says as much one night when Scott is explaining that love is something customers pay you to provide. "I love you and you don't pay me," Mike counters. In this lowlife milieu, such a bare declaration amounts to an act of grace. But Scott lets it pass and the moment slides by.

Phoenix, in interviews, was clearly thrilled when writer/director Gus Van Sant credited him with having written this scene in Van Sant's wonderful 1991 movie My Own Private Idaho. He should have been. Emotionally, it's a doozy, and it serves as the point at which these two fractured lives separate into their own trajectories. Mike's takes him back again and again to the same dogged search for love and the same stretch of empty highway. Scott's takes him to Italy, where he falls in love with the beautiful Carmella (Chiara Caselli) and, ultimately, to an encounter in Portland with his street mentor Bob (William Richert). Here the movie takes an unexpected Shakespearean turn as Van Sant lifts fragments from Henry IV, casting Scott as Prince Hal to Bob's Falstaff, even as Mike's story continues on in the real world. We know from Shakespeare that Scott will turn his back on his old friends and assume the throne in the end. If Mike is heartbroken it's because life in the real world is hard; that's why we have private ones.

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Beverly Hills Cop Review


Excellent
Boy, looking back at Berverly Hills Cop, almost 20 years after its original release, it's easy to see why people fell in love with the movie, earning a then unheard-of of $316 million worldwide (the highest grossing R-rated movie ever) and propelling Eddie Murphy from a funny ensemble player in films like Trading Places and 48 HRS. to a megastar.

Beverly Hills Cop is actually a bit of a nutty idea -- combine a standard cop actioner with a fish out of water tale. Who would've thought that would be any good? But it works, and how, with Murphy turning in perhaps his funniest performance ever -- mocking the supporting cast at every turn (favorite targets: gay men, uptight men, and gay/uptight men) and tossing off one-liners like he's got a wad of them stuffed in his pocket. His Axel Foley, one of the most widely impersonated characters in film (remember the popularity of the "Mumford Phys. Ed." sweatshirt?), heads from rough-and-tumble Detroit to prim-and-proper Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of his best friend, uncovering a much bigger plot, of course.

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Pendulum Review


Unbearable
Pendulum got me thinking: Has there ever been a worse-cast choice to play a cop than former supermodel Rachel Hunter? I thought and I thought -- Pamela Anderson on V.I.P. came to mind, but she's a bodyguard, not a cop.

In the end, I had to admit it: Rachel Hunter is the worst movie cop of all time. And what's the point of hiring a supermodel if you're going to give her an enormous facial abrasion to wear through the entire film? It's distracting, it's ugly... and oddly, it's the most interesting thing to consider in this film.

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Fast Times At Ridgemont High Review


Excellent
What, you ask, is this movie of movies? This one which you've heard about? It's an eighties thing, with not much appeal for the modern troupe because its slower paced, less funny, than what you might see today. But, like a lot of eighties movies, it holds its own merit. This adaptation of the book by Cameron Crowe (don't know who he is? I'll give you a hint. He wrote and directed the famous line "Did you know the human brain weighs eight pounds?" That's right, the maker of Jerry Maguire and Singles) is a coming-of-age drama about a young girl making the choice all of us make, sex or a relationship.Sure, we tell ourselves that both can exist, and they can, but there is the line that she draws: if she wants to sleep around or if she wants to have something to hold onto. And the movie, in a nutshell, is about that. It follows her and her friends during their last year in High School in the small town of Ridgemont. Where each one of them ends up with their troubles, ranging from no girlfriend to an abortion to adultery. It sounds serious, right?That's not quite on target.The movie has its serious moments, but it has its funny moments too: from two girls practicing blow jobs on a carat at a lunch table to a guy cruising for chicks dressed in a pirate cap. The movie is sublimely funny. And interesting. It's very sad, in my mind, that those things are so rarely seen in the 90s.

Deep Core Review


Unbearable
Sometimes, a film can be so awful that words fail a movie critic. Deep Core is one of these, a terrible, terrible, terrible Voyage to the Center of the Earth homage that has Craig Sheffer and a crew of sci-fi TV show castoffs digging into the earth's crust in a giant, laser-shooting digging machine in order to shift a couple of tectonic plates through the strategic use of nuclear weapons.

Of course there's a duplicitous corporate plot to interfere with them, and boy oh boy if the atrocious digital effects don't get piled on in bulk. The supporting cast includes Star Trek: The Next Generation's Wil Wheaton, whose character exits in the most hilarious finale I've seen on film, along with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Terry Farrell, as a brainy inventor and requisite love interest. Perhaps most amusing is Harry Van Gorkum (no known Star Trek ties) as the corporate lackey, with a ridiculous beard that makes him look like Taylor Negron dressing up as Ron Silver. Apparently there's a commentary track on the DVD release, but after watching the movie itself I was too depressed to look for it. This one's all Core, no fruit.

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Donnie Brasco Review


Good
Well, someone had to wrest the monopoly on gangster movies from the hands of Scorsese and Coppola. So why not Mike Newell, of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame, to direct it? And why not put Johnny Depp in a starring role? And Anne Heche -- you know, Ellen's girlfriend -- as his wife!? It sounds bizarre, but put this group together with Monster of Acting Pacino and Quiz Show scribe Paul Attanasio and you've got a pleasant surprise on your hands, not to mention one of the longest-running films at the box office this year. Long stuck in development because of GoodFellas, Donnie Brasco is in many ways a similar film, and in most of them better. The true story of FBI agent Joe Pistone, who in the late 70s infiltrated his way into the New York mafia to become a "made man" under the name of Donnie Brasco, Depp is surprisingly believable as an earnest father caught up in the mob mentality. Pacino shines as always, though it's not his usual character; here he's a tragic King Lear who just can't catch a break. But as for the iffy pan-and-scan job on the videotape, take a cue from the wiseguys: Fuggedaboudit.

Open Range Review


Grim
During a summer in which TV remakes, romantic comedies, sequels, and comic book movies overcrowd at the multiplexes, Open Range is the only Western scheduled for release. While I give kudos to Dances with Wolves auteur Kevin Costner -- who directs, produces, and acts in the film -- for broadening the range of this season's genres, I only wish that I could welcome the film's drastic change of pace. Frankly, I'd rather watch another stupid superhero flick.

It's 1882, and best friends Charley (Costner) and Boss (Robert Duvall) are cowboys who have lived on the open range for ten years, driving cattle in a world where nature makes the only laws. Roaming the West with them are rambunctious young cowboys Button (Diego Luna), Mose (Abraham Benrubi), and Charley's faithful dog. When a rainstorm strands their wagon, Charley and Boss send Mose to the nearest frontier town to gather additional supplies. When he doesn't return, they decide to take a visit to the town -- with their revolvers at hand -- to search for him.

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James Russo

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