The De Niro Way

August 7th, 2013 by Asaf & May

Robert_De_Niro_by_Dead_Beat_Nick

Imagine a man going up the stairs. He’s climbing up, stops for a break now and then, and keeps going till he gets to the top. Then he falls down. that’s a summary of Robert De Niros’ career so far. The man who brought us so many memorable characters and so many memorable quotes kind of lost direction in recent years. Saturday was his 70th birthday (congratulations!) and for that occasion we selected 7 of his critically-acclaimed films, 3 lame ones (to remind you to be careful of De Niros’ recent choices) and one “Bonus” title. Before we begin, selecting only 7 titles from De Niro’s unbelievable filmography is not an easy task. His filmography is mostly made up of suspenseful and rough titles, filled with crimes and typical for boys’ night. Unfortunately in the last 15 years his work is characterized with humorous titles suitable for date nights. You can find more titles and characteristics of his work in our Robert De Niro Page.

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Now for the magnificent seven:

# 7 The Deer Hunter (1978)

We’ll start the countdown with this ensemble cast classic. With 5 Academy awards in it’s pocket (including for best picture) the film dealt with the way the Vietnam war effected the American people. Those behind enemy lines and those who stayed behind. Although Slow paced, it’s worth viewing if only for the final scene that will haunt you for life.

# 6 Cape Fear (1991)

I am like God and God like me. I am as Large as God, He is as small as I.He cannot above me, nor I beneath him be”. You Haven’t sensed suspense in cinema as long as you haven’t seen the fighting scene in “Cape Fear”. In this remake De Niro plays an ex con who’s out to get back at his lawyer whom, he believes, didn’t defend him as he should have. Along with intimidating southern accent and pure rage De Niro portrays a terrifying psychopath. And speaking of rage…

# 5 Raging Bull (1980)

The ultimate rise and fall story. In this modern classic De Niro portrays Jake La Motta, the boxer who climbed to the top but couldn’t handle the success and lost it all on the way down. In their fourth collaboration (out of 8 in total) Martin Scorsese and De Niro delivered a boxing film that hits his viewers on every level.

# 4 Taxi Driver (1976)

Another collaboration between the two icons delivered another masterpiece and one of the most quoted scenes ever. Till these days it’s uncertain who talked to Travis Bickle as he stood alone in his apartment but thank god he did. “Taxi Driver” gave another example of the Vietnam war effects on the American public. In this case, on one lonely wolf, mentally unstable, who couldn’t bear seeing the social decay around him and decided to do something about it.Taxi driver gave De Niro another Academy award nomination and gave all the viewers a minor taxiphobia.

# 3 Midnight Run (1988)

Sure, it’s not De Niros’ best performance, the film isn’t essential as the other films on this list but it’s his most enjoyable one for sure. As a bounty hunter, De Niro chases A clever accountant (Charles Grodin) who’s on the run from the law and the mafia all together. Packed with Chases and races, twists and turns and fair amounts of witty humor, Midnight Run is a cat and mouse game you wouldn’t want to miss.

# 2 Goodfellas (1990)

Mafia never seemed so much fun as in Goodfellas. Heck, prison never seemed so much fun as in this award winner Crime Epic. Like Ray Liottas’ character says in the beginning of the film “I always wanted to be a gangster”. After seeing this movie, who wouldn’t? Goodfellas shows organized crime through the eyes of three criminal buddies as they make their way to the top. As for De Niro, he does what he does best – plays a gangster. Well, he had some experience from…

# 1 The Godfather: Part 2 (1974)

De Niro was perfect as the young Vito Corleone. 39 years later, The Godfather 2 is still considered as the best sequel and one of the best pictures of all times. Many could swear it’s even better than the first. Mafia, betrayal, corruption, pride and honor and one Fredo that broke our hearts. De Niro portrays the young Vito Corleone. An immigrant who built an empire from scratch. In the most captivating way, we see how Vito becomes a mob boss. T-H-E mob boss.

The mob boss that might put a hit on De Niro if he saw his recent films and especially these ones:

# 3 Godsend (2004)

It Seem that since The Sixth Sense every other movie in Hollywood is a supernatural horror starring a young kid. The rest of the plot is insignificant. And Godsend is no different. De Niro plays a professor that wants to help a couple who lost their child in an accident. So he offers to Clone their son. Really? since when does the godfather clone people??? A box office flop, Godsend is mediocre horror film at best.

# 2 Killing Season (2013)

De Niros’ most recent work is also one of his worst unfortunately. John Travolta (with ridiculous accent) is his rival as they play two veterans chasing each other in the woods in a story of vengeance and uninhibited rivalry. Too bad as these are really two great actors that go to waste here.

# 1 The Big Wedding (2013)

Talk about great actors go to waste… in this all star cast comedy from earlier this year we see so much talent (in addition to De Niro there’s Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and many more) but unfortunately the movie is anything but funny. The Plot tells about Don (De Niro) and Ellie (Keaton), a divorced couple who fakes being married for the sake of their children. De Niros’ comic attempts are pretty lame in most cases and in The big wedding he’s even lamer then ever. Another box office flop and critically slaughtered, the big wedding was even a bigger failure.

But let’s finish with an optimistic note:

American Hustle (2013)

Ironically, De Niros’ only silver lining in recent years is The Silver Linings Playbook. Being one of the most successful films last year, the crew behind it couldn’t get enough of each other and so David O. Russell leads them all on another adventure. Based on a true story, The movie will follow two con artists who were forced to co-operate with the FBI in what became to be one of the most well known sting operations of all times. De Niros’ part is still a mystery but If he’ll deliver the same performance we saw in The Silver Linings Playbook (which got him an academy nomination after 21 years!) we can all be optimistic that his future would remind us of his glorious past. In the meantime let’s wish him a happy present.

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The Young and the Brainless

March 4th, 2013 by Barak

After taking a look at Facebook’s most Liked movies, we couldn’t help but notice how different these movies are from IMDb’s list of top 250, not to mention BFI’s (British Film Institute) list of top 50 films of all time (chosen by hundreds of international critics.)

Here’s our take on these three lists:

Facebook’s top 10 include: Harry PotterAvatar, The Twilight Saga, Titanic, Shrek, Toy Story 3, Jackass 3, Fast & Furious, Transformers, and The Hangover.


Besides Titanic, all movies were made in the 2000′s; most of the movies are teen or family oriented, and about 40% of them are pretty much brainless (Twilight Saga, Jackass, Fast & Furious, Transformers… I’m excluding Avatar and Titanic just because I’m nice. Let’s say both of those movies have a brain, but it was lobotomized.)

IMDb’s top 10 include: The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, The Godfather 2, Pulp Fiction, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, 12 Angry Men, The Dark Knight, Schindler’s List, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Fight Club.

Four of these movies were made during the 90′s, two in the 70′s, two in the 2000′s, one in the 60′s and one in the 50′s. All movies are critically acclaimed and are considered to be classics or modern classics (well, all of them besides The Dark Knight maybe.) Most of the movies in IMDb’s top 10 are testosterone driven American movies, which would be suitable for a boy’s night.

BFI’s top 10 include: Vertigo, Citizen Kane, Tokyo Story, The Rules of the Game, Sunrise, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Searchers, The Man with a Movie Camera, and The Passion of Joan of Arc, 8 1/2.

The most recent movie in BFI’s top 10 was made in 1968… Three more were made in the 50′s, three in the 1920′s(!), one in the 40′s, one in the 30′s and one more during the 60′s. Seven of these movies are B&W movies and six of them are foreign. The BFI guys would definitely shake their heads in disagreement while listening to Frank Sinatra‘s song “the best is yet to come”, because they’re pretty sure the best has already happened, and it was a long, long time ago.

Places 11-20 in Facebook’s book include: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Saw, Finding Nemo, Twilight, Step Up, 2012, Dirty Dancing, The Dark Knight, Paranormal Activity, and The Lion King.

Eight movies from the 2000′s, one from the 80′s and one from the 90′s. All ten are teen or family oriented and were made in the U.S. In risk of receiving death threats I’ll say that six of the ten are cinematic trash (garbage didn’t sound appropriate), some of them are fun trash, but trash nonetheless (Pirates of the Caribbean, Saw, Twilight, Step Up, 2012 and Paranormal Activity. There’s a whole lot of trash and a bit of fun in these brackets.)

Places 11-20 in IMDb’s list include: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Inception, Goodfellas, Star Wars, Seven Samurai, Forrest Gump, The Matrix, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Three movies are from the 2000′s and three from the 90′s, two are from the 70′s, one is from the 80′s and another one is from the 50′s. Once again, IMDb’s top movies continue the trend of highly acclaimed movies which are more boys/men oriented, while this time also showcasing a bit more Sci-Fi and a little less criminal intent.

Places 11-20 in BFI’s list include: Battleship Potemkin, L’Atalante, Breathless, Apocalypse Now, Late Spring, Au hasard Balthazar, Seven Samurai, Persona, The Mirror, and Singin’ in the Rain.

These are very old movies, most of them B&W; eight are foreign movies and none were made during the past 35 years. May I remind you this list was comprised in 2012?

If I had to put a face to each list, Facebook’s list seems like it was made by a young hysterical girl with a real passion for reading (tweets.) Miley Cyrus could have written it with the help of her younger brother (if she has one.)

IMDb’s list seems compatible with a male American film enthusiast; someone like Quentin Tarantino.

And I guess that the face that’s most suitable to represent BFI’s list is that of a European film connoisseur (French no doubt) over the age of 80; let’s say Jean-Luc Godard.

To sum it up, BFI’s opinion is that cinema’s golden age ended back when Moses still wore short pants, and that good movies are eternal, even if they were made in the 1920′s and didn’t include color, or a spoken voice; Most Facebook users probably think that a movie can’t be good if it doesn’t include robots, zombies and/or vampires, and even then, it might be good only if it was made after the year 2000 of course; Preferably after the year 2010. And so, I think that IMDb is the voice of reason in this instance (at least when compared with the other two lists), including great movies that were made in the past, along with great movies that are still being made today.

So, why not end on a positive note, and just say hooray for (good) movies!

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Welcome 2013! What did you bring us?

January 7th, 2013 by Barak

2012 has ended, and guess what? Some of us are still alive. So, now that we all feel like we got a (nice enough) chance of continuing our lives (unless those Mayans were only mistaken by a month or so), it’s time to look forward to 2013 and guess which movies and TV shows will be the very best of this upcoming year:

10. Peaky Blinders


An epic, gangster saga, this series is produced by the BBC, starring Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill. It takes place around 1919 and deals with gangs fighting each other for survival.

Best case scenario: It will be Britain’s improved version of Boardwalk Empire.

Worst case scenario: It will be extremely slow and boring.

9. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


The first movie was smart and fascinating, and not only for a teen-oriented audience.

Best case scenario: It will be as suspenseful, clever and exciting.

Worst case scenario: It will be more teen-oriented (or dumbed down, if you prefer).

8. Da Vinci’s Demons


Judging from the trailer, Starz’ new series looks like a blast. It’s visually impressive, with some exciting action scenes, though I’m not really sure if it’s truly loyal to anything that could have happened in reality (it’s supposed to be about Leonardo Da Vinci’s life, not a hybridization of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons…)

Best case scenario: It will be as genius as its main protagonist.

Worst case scenario: It will suck more badly than The Da Vinci Code.

7. Man of Steel


Probably the most anticipated movie of 2013, millions (billions?) are crossing their fingers, hoping that this Superman movie will meet its great expectations. Zack Snyder is the director and Christopher Nolan is involved, so we can at least be sure it will be dark & visually stunning.

Best case scenario: It will be better than Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies.

Worst case scenario: It will be as good as Zack Snyder’s latest film – Sucker Punch.

6. The Americans


Keri Russell stars in FX’s new series that takes place during the 80′s when the Cold War was still going on. It’s about Soviet KGB officers functioning as a sleeper cell, while living undercover as American citizens. Guest appearance by Anna Chapman. Not really…

Best case scenario: It will be a new & improved Homeland.

Worst case scenario: It will be as suspenseful as Felicity.

5. Gangster Squad


Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling play two law enforcers from the LAPD, trying to bring down some tough gangsters, including Mickey Cohen (portrayed by Sean Penn). For the movie’s director, Ruben Fleischer, this will be the first serious movie he makes (both in tone and in quality I hope), after the amusing Zombieland and the terrible 30 Minutes or Less.

Best case scenario: It will be better than The Untouchables.

Worst case scenario: It will be on par with the dull Public Enemies.

4. House of Cards


After Lilyhammer, comes Netflix’s second original series and it sure looks impressive. Created by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey, this series has a lot of star power behind it. It’s based on a critically acclaimed, award winning British TV show of the same title from 1990.

Best case scenario: It will be better than the original House of Cards.

Worst case scenario: It will remind us of the last time Kevin Spacey was involved in something related to cards (21).

3. Oz: The Great and the Powerful


James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz star in what seems to be an unconventional take on The Wizard of Oz – focusing on the wizard this time. The trailer looks beautiful, as well as the cast.

Best case scenario: It will be the best Wizard of Oz adaptation.

Worst case scenario: It will be like a family friendly version of HBO’s Oz.

2. Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow must be the manliest female director that ever existed (including the Wachowski brother turned sister). Following her nail-biting of a movie about a bomb squad, The Hurt Locker, this movie deals with the manhunt after Osama Bin-Laden.

Best case scenario: It will be better than The Hurt Locker.

Worst case scenario: Its 2.5 hours duration will make the viewers’ feel like they too were hunting him for 10 years.

1. Anchorman 2

Most of the cast from the hilarious previous film will return for the sequel, but there’s at least one major addition to the cast: The funniest woman in the world, Kristen Wiig! What can you expect from a movie with the funniest woman and man (Will Ferrell of course) in the world? You can expect it to be the funniest movie in the world (ever)!

Best case scenario: The Godfather and Casablanca will be regarded as only decent movies in comparison to Anchorman 2.

Worst case scenario: It will be established as the second best movie ever made, after Anchorman of course.

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You’re Never too Old for a Hollywood Duel

April 22nd, 2012 by Barak

This week two Hollywood giants are celebrating their birthdays – Jack Nicholson (75) and Al Pacino (72). Both are just about at the same age and hold the same prestigious status as two of the greatest actors who ever lived. While the last great movie by either wasn’t made very recently, we still think they deserve a high stakes head-to-head battle to determine, once and for all, which of them is the better actor??

10. Adam Sandler Collaborations

Jack and Jill (2011) VS. Anger Management (2003)

An almost scientific way to determine the quality of an actor’s career is to see how well he collaborated with Adam Sandler. Jack and Jill was scorned, but my unpopular opinion is that Al Pacino was absolutely hilarious playing a zany version of himself. Anger Management wasn’t the critics favorite either, but it offered some very funny scenes, including Nicholson singing I Feel Pretty while being stuck in a traffic jam, forcing Adam Sandler’s character to sing along. I call it a draw.

9. Trilogies
The Godfather Trilogy (1972-1990) VS. The Jack Nicholson/Bob Rafelson Trilogy (1970-1996)

There is no way there will ever be a trilogy better than The Godfather trilogy (unless someone will make Mary Poppins 2 and 3.) Jack Nicholson’s unofficial Bob Rafelson trilogy, which included Five Easy Pieces, The King of Marvin Gardens and Blood and Wine, is a pretty good one, but the Corleone family made me an offer I just couldn’t refuse. 1-0 Pacino.

8. Remakes
Insomnia (2002) VS. The Departed (2006)

Insomnia was as good as the Norwegian movie on which it was based. The Departed wasn’t as good as the amazing Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong movie on which it is based. Nevertheless, The Departed was still better than Insomnia and even earned Martin Scorsese his first Oscar. 1-1 draw.

7. 1983 Successes
Scarface (1983) VS. Terms of Endearment (1983)

Pacino’s performance in Scarface is probably ranked 1st place in the overacting hall of fame (if such an hall of fame ever existed) and that’s precisely what makes it so great and fun to watch over and over again while shouting along “Say hello to my little friend!” Terms of Endearment is one of the most overrated and unjustified Oscar winners for Best Picture. Even Jack Nicholson doesn’t save it. Scarface shoots Terms of Endearment in the face and wins this round. 2-1 Pacino.

6. Confined
Dog Day Afternoon (1978) VS. The Shining (1980)

Dog Day is one of the most captivating bank robbery/hostage situation movies ever, and Pacino proves how versatile he can be, portraying a gay criminal 4 years after portraying Michael Corleone in The Godfather 2. The Shining is a Stanley Kubrick masterpiece, a horror movie better than Jaws and Alien put together. I regret saying that, because Jaws is awesome. But I just had no other way to prove that The Shining should be the winner here, which it is. 2-2.

5. Fighting the System
Serpico (1973) VS. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

This is a tough one. Serpico is one of the most famous cop movies ever, with a memorable performance by Pacino as an honest and determined law enforcer with a very honorable moral code. But One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is simply one of the greatest movies ever created in the history of the world and the worlds beyond it. Serpico loses, and it can use the famous line from this round’s winner: “At least I tried”. A dramatic overturn: 3-2 Nicholson.

4. Jack VS. Jack
You Don’t Know Jack (2010) VS. About Schmidt (2002)

Al Pacino’s TV movie was a solid biography of the extremely controversial Jack Kevorkian. In About Schmidt, an excellent and moving character study, Nicholson gave one of his absolute best performances. Jack (Nicholson) beats Jack (Kevorkian) this time, or gives him euthanasia if you like. 4-2 Nicholson.

3. (Slightly) Similarly Named Movies

Any Given Sunday (1999) VS. As Good As It Gets (1997)

Any Given Sunday was a very good sports movie with a convincing performance from Pacino. As Good As It Gets was one of the best feel good movies of the 90′s with an absolutely fantastic performance from Nicholson and therefore it is the winner in this round. 5-2 Nicholson, this is getting embarrassing for Pacino.

2. Acclaimed Crime Movies
Heat (1995) VS. Prizzi’s Honor (1985)

Heat is a strong contender for being the best movie De Niro and Pacino collaborated on, and just to remind you, they were together in The Godfather 2, so that says a lot. Prizzi’s Honor is a darkly humored John Huston movie that shows a battle between Nicholson and Kathleen Turner‘s character, which Nicholson wins. However, Nicholson does not beat Heat. 5-3 Nicholson. Comeback for Pacino? Not if you’re good at math and see that there’s only one more movie-battle left.

1. Nose Related Titles
Scent of a Woman (1992) VS. Chinatown (1974)

First of all I’ll just clarify the connection – in Scent of a Woman Pacino uses his nose to smell the women (that was the more obvious one) and in Chinatown there’s that unforgettable scene where Roman Polanski cuts Jack Nicholson’s nose. As for the tough decision I have to make here, I’m gonna go with a draw. I really love both movies.

Conclusion: 5-3 in favor of Jack Nicholson which is the better actor apparently. I guess the fact that he worked harder (75 movie credits for Nicholson in comparison to only 49 for Pacino) benefited him in this case, and that should be a lesson to us all: Work hard and maybe one day you’ll win a completely insignificant blog post competition.

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Not all Reunions are Sweet

April 5th, 2012 by Nikki

American Reunion, the latest installment from the American Pie franchise, is opening in theaters this weekend. This time, all the original cast (and I mean everyone) from the first movie has returned, so there’s a bit of nostalgia and hopefully some good laughs in it.

american-reunion-pie-comparison

The first American Pie was a huge success and a great film. First of all, it was genuinely funny, and had everything its target audience (mainly teens) was looking for. Second, similar to Scream, Blair Witch Project, Saw and Shaun Of The Dead, it re-defined its own genre, and therefore had many copycats. But since then American Pie has become a franchise, with a lot of lousy films that disgraced the brand name. American Reunion, which returns to the basics, will hopefully restore the movie series’ (dubious) pride.

We decided to take a look at previous and upcoming reunions, sequels and remakes that came after long intervals between installments, whether on the big screen or on your TV sets. These are movies that made waves at one point in time, and we wanted to see if the sequels lived up to the hype and met the high standards of the original classics:

The Godfather – Part III

(back after 16 years of shady mafia business)

Following his 2 cinematic masterpieces, Francis Ford Coppola returns to the crime scene with The Godfather 3. Michael Corleone travels to Italy and gets into a brawl with another Don and the Vatican. He is getting older, while his kids are growing up into annoying supporting characters, especially Sofia Coppola (somebody mention nepotism?), who is just irritating in every scene. Actually, the best thing that came out of this film is her decision to quit acting, which led her to focus on directing films like Lost In Translation.

Caesar’s vote:   

Die Hard 4 – Live Free Or Die Hard
DH4-8771

(back after 12 years of letting his sore bones heal)

When concerns rise about John McClane’s legacy, Bruce Willis pledged that this is going to be a kick-ass movie, and he delivers. Although McClane has a grown-up daughter and less (or actually no) hair, he is still the bad-ass hero who kills a lot of bad guys in innovative ways while complaining, cursing and cracking jokes. The villains have been upgraded to today’s standards as high-tech thieves, but they are still merciless. When your sidekick mentions in awe that “you’ve just killed a helicopter with a car!”, this tells us that the action is quite enjoyable…

Caesar’s vote: thumbs-up-emperor-1-5

Indiana Jones 4 – The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

(back after 19 years of treasure hunting)

One of life’s lessons, is that it’s important to keep your promises. When you’re dealing with one of the most iconic characters in film history, it is actually kind of crucial. Steven Spielberg promised he wouldn’t use CGI effects, and…? The movie feels at times like an interactive computer game. Harrison Ford promised he wouldn’t have a son, and what happened…? Indie is “rewarded” with Shia LaBeouf as his successor.

Indiana Jones movies were always big on supernatural endings, but aliens? Come on. And that’s not all, since Ford is older (66), they changed the period from the 30′s to the 50′s, but kept the Nazis (Indie’s ultimate nemeses) as the villains, which doesn’t work well. And don’t get me started about Cate Blanchett’s German accent.

Caesar’s vote: 892cap012

Bad Boys II

(back after 8 years of trash-talking)

The first Bad Boys movie was a great action-comedy flick, and one of director Michael Bay’s best films (before he mangled with Transformers). Bad Boys 2 continues the great chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, as two partners in Miami PD who investigate a drug crime and in between just can’t shut up. A fast and exciting movie, with one particularly memorable car chase through a Brazilian favela.

Caeser’s vote: thumbs-up-emperor-1-5

Basic Instinct 2

(back after 14 years of shopping for underwear)

Sharon Stone returns as the murderous femme fatale, who prefers not to keep her legs crossed. Without Michael Douglas, the producers probably thought Stone had enough star power to carry the movie. But likeable characters and a convincing script are usually important as well. And so, except for the regular provocations, there isn’t much to sell here.

Caesar’s vote: 892cap012

Wall Street 2 – Money Never Sleeps


(back after 23 years behind bars)

Michael Douglas returns to his infamous role as Gordon Gecko, who believes, in his own words, that “greed is good”. He just gets out of jail and tries to blend right back into the changing financial world; he also tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, who is engaged to an up and coming trader (this time it’s Shia LaBeouf – what’s up with him and sequels?)

Overall this is an adequate film, but has a hard time filling in the gigantic shoes of the original. That’s what happens when you try to tamper with Gordon Gecko’s legacy – you get outmaneuvered.

Caesar’s vote: 892cap012

The Boondock Saints II – All Saints Day

(back after 10 years of laying low in Ireland)

Nobody thought there was going to be a second Boondock Saints. The first movie was innovative, with a great script and characters; It was supported by hilarious shticks and original story-telling, such as presenting the violence sprees through the detectives’ recap, or showing crowd interviews referring to the morality of the Saints’ actions. It was a unique film, a one-time deal.

10 years later, the vigilante Irish brothers are back in Boston, with a vengeance. The sequel kept the humor and the offbeat-ness, and of course the great gunfight sequences. There’s no way to recreate the original Boondock Saints, but frankly, this is as close as you can get.

Caesar’s vote: thumbs-up-emperor-1-5

2000’s Sylvester StalloneRocky Balboa (Rocky VI) & John Rambo (Rambo IV)

(back after 16, well actually 8 years of doing straight-to-DVDs)

Sylvester Stallone’s comeback to the big screen is impressive. But like a singer who covers well-known songs, Stallone has built his comeback on his two franchises (Rocky & Rambo), which made it easier to digest.

In Rocky Balboa, although Adrian is gone (no more ADRIAN!!!), we get to see Rocky’s relationship with his son. As usual, Rocky arrives as the underdog and tries to beat the odds against a stronger opponent. The movies were always uplifting and inspirational, and Rocky 6 manages to follow that line.

John Rambo, obviously, went more into violent territories. It’s interesting to see how Rambo had developed over the years from a tormented tragic hero into a human killing machine, as the action sequences (and the body count) keep on rising. The 4th installment loses some of its distinguishing features, like Colonel Trautman (passed away) or even the shirtless muscles (too many tattoos; same headband though). Rambo is less ideological here, but he still functions as a lone wolf and an actual one-man army. It’s not the definitive Rambo installment, but it’s a proper action film with heavy emphasis on the violence.

Caesar’s vote: gonefishing

90’s L.A. comeback – 90210 & Melrose Place

(back after 8 years of renting out the place)

Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place are two legendary 90’s iconic TV shows. They were both created by Darren Star, and Melrose rode Beverly’s success while being advertised as a second generation to the hit show (when they were, in fact, older). Every household, whether it is proud of it now or not, watched them devotedly back then.

Nowadays, those two L.A.-life series return with a younger cast, but also with some of the old characters making a moderate comeback – Kelly, Brenda and Donna in Beverly; Amanda, Michael, Sydney and others in Melrose. Melrose, who naturally followed 90210, got cancelled after one season; 90210 still hangs on as it’s about to embark on its 4th season. It’s hard to compare between two series from different generations, so the jury is still out on this one.

Caesar’s vote: be-right-back-red-blue--4053_preview

So we can see that there’s no decisive conclusion regarding the fate of reunions; however, caution should be highly exercised when trying to temper with cinematic gems. Here’s a quick review of two more intriguing titles that are about to re-surface soon:

Dallas (upcoming)

(back after 21 years of family feuds over who shot J.R.)

J.R., Bobby, Sue Ellen – Texas is quivering just from the sound of these names. The Ewing family is back in business, with all the intrigue and manipulations that you can imagine. The creators added new blood to the veterans, with the young (and beautiful) next generation of the Ewings. Wonder if they kept the same mythical opening tune; time will tell if this would stand up to J.R.’s criterion.

Prometheus (upcoming) – Alien

(33 years since the first time a creature landed on someone’s face and came out of his stomach)

Ridley Scott goes back to his roots and revives the Alien franchise (last known traces were in 1997) – the best sci-fi horror in space, where “no one can hear you scream”. While Scott returns to the director’s chair, Ellen Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) absence sticks out. Let’s hope that Prometheus would preserve the Alien legacy and not experiment too much with the saga, as a lot of devoted fans are standing by, ready to praise or criticize this highly anticipated movie.

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