Friday, January 11, 2013

Gangster Squad

Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling head up the Gangster Squad, an elite team of good cops formed by Police Commissioner Nick Nolte to help take down the crime regime of mobster Mickey Cohen in late 40's/early 50's Los Angeles.  It's 'The Untouchables' for a new generation, but with a heavily stylized Hollywood noir feel.  Sean Penn shines as crime boss Cohen, masked under an excellent makeup job, but still as animated and fun as ever while not as melodramatic as his usual overacting.  In fact, it's one of my favorite Penn roles to date.  And Emma Stone rocks the moll look as Cohen's red headed doll looking for a fresh start.
Originally scheduled to be released last September when awards hopefuls make their debut, the film's trailer was pulled after the Colorado shooting last July due to a potentially off-putting theater shooting scene.  Re-shoots were done and the film's release was postponed until that wasteland of bad cinema known as January.  But, while it's not quite award worthy, for a January release it's a pretty great surprise with a lot of heavy hitters doing solid work.
Grade: B+

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