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{weekend watch} Gangster Squad, Zero Dark Thirty and Quartet

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Gangster Squad

“Hey girl, are you going to see Gangster Squad this weekend? I’m giving myself cancer for the sake of historical accuracy and everything.”

This star-laden period piece is directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less) and written by Castle-scribe Will Beall, based on the book by Paul Lieberman. It tells the story of how a small team of LAPD officers fought mob-boss Mickey Cohen for control of Los Angeles.

Right now, it’s got more leading men (Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, etc., etc.) than critical acclaim, but it’s those leading men who will give movie goers a reason to risk it. It only has a 50% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes right now. The consensus seems to be this: Watch it as a pulpy, un-serious popcorn flick and you’ll enjoy yourself. Especially when Gosling’s on the screen.

Zero Dark Thiry

Just go see it. Rotten Tomatoes thinks you should (94% fresh rating), and so do I. It’s a must-see from a filmmaking craft perspective, and a don’t-miss-it on the cultural conversation front. Not to mention the questions it raises about the future of our country. Get thee to a theatre.


I saw this delightful British flick whilst in London. Directed by Dustin Hoffman (yep, Dustin Hoffman) and written by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist, Australia, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), the film takes place at a retirement home for aging opera singers and orchestra players. A new arrival (Maggie Smith, as amazing as ever), opens old wounds and inspires new ventures. I’ll write a proper review soon, but in the meantime, know that this is a funny and poignant movie. 79% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes agree that you should put it on your rainy-Saturday-afternoon watch list.

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Sarah Magill

Sarah Magill has a full-time movie habit made possible by a day-time greeting card writing gig. She blogs at Gimme Some Film and is learning to write scripts and direct. She tries to balance her screen obsession with trail running, jazz singing, book clubbing, and hanging out with The Best Golden Retriever Ever, Copa.

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0 comments on “{weekend watch} Gangster Squad, Zero Dark Thirty and Quartet”

  1. Even as a pulpy popcorn flick, “Gangster Squad” is no fun. I like seeing that great cast in those costumes, period, but the movie is completely un-engaging. There’s no investigation or mystery or anything, just dumb setup after dumb setup to get then all in another violent gun battle.

    I totally agree with you on “Zero Dark Thirty,” and its insane that Bigelow was snubbed for Best Director this morning!

    • Ugh. That’s disappointing…I was hoping there would be some enjoyment to be squeezed out of it. Maybe I’ll just content myself with the movie stills and the trailer that David rightly compliments above.

      Can’t figure out why Bigelow wasn’t nominated! It’s either sexism, idiocy or both.

  2. The extended Gangster Squad trailer was the best I’ve seen since Prometheus. The music and the last beat with Sean Penn gave me chills every time. That guy is a powerhouse.

  3. Funny you didn’t mention the other wide release this weekend…A HAUNTED HOUSE. Sure it’s a spoof movie geared toward the African American audience, but it’s very funny (I saw an early screening). The Wrap thinks A Haunted House will be a key player in the box office battle this weekend…

    • Angie, thanks for bringing A Haunted House up. There are quite a few movies opening this weekend, and I didn’t get to cover them all. It will be interesting to see how it does at the box office. Thanks!

  4. Quartet! you can also put it on your rainy any day in London list, like we did. :)

    • Yes! Can’t wait to write the review. Are you London pics up on Flikr yet? I want to link to them in that review if they are : )