Lixin Fan's documentary is an expose to a side of the world most of us have no clue about - yet experienced by so many people, at least in China. The movie is at its best when it is deeply personal and almost invasive. Fan sometimes takes an easy way out when it comes to telling the story he wants to tell, though. Characters explain their situation to one another, when they might as well be speaking directly to the audience, robbing the film of realism, if only for brief moments.
Curtis Hanson's L.A. Confidential is a jazzy crime drama that pays homage to film-noir that preceeded, namely Chinatown.
The performances are memorable, and each character is interesting enough to make you anticipate their next appearance. In my eye, Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger were standouts as a man-beating detective and a prostitute that looks like Veronica Lake.
I'm going to keep the plot very... hush-hush. This is a film for you to discover for yourself.
Of all the character's in Martin Scorsese's first masterpiece Mean Streets, the most important is the streets of Little Italy. The streets are not mean, they are made mean by the greedy hoodlums that reside on such roads. De Niro steals the show as a debt-heavy, trigger-happy hoodlum Jonny Boy. Harvey Kietel's duty as a conflicted man between mob and religion is good too. Scorsese's use of familiar locations, color, and music work beautifully. It's a wonderful precursor to GoodFellas.
Maybe someday I will watch this and GoodFellas back-to-back. That wouldn't be bad.
EDIT: My grammar here blows. Oh well.