Gangster Squad + The greatest of Gangster movies

(R) ★★½

Gangster Squad which is directed by Ruben Fleischer -of Zombieland fame!- is a typical gangster film that doesn't break much ground. Its colorfully elegant images recall Curtis Hanson's far superior L.A Confidential which also dealt with L.A cops. The cast is uni formally good starting with Sean Penn as Gangster impressario Mickey Cohen and Josh Brolin as the LAPD cop that wants to put him down. It's all flourishng, flamboyant stuff with the typical genre cliches that we have seen before yet I was hooked, especially in its last 30 minutes where things tighten up and the violence gets upped a notch. This isn't a film that we'll be talking about years from now and it has enough flaws to warrant cautious expectations before you go see it but if you're a fan of the genre as I am then it's worth watching at a cheapie film house or on DVD. Not much praise eh? Well it isn't Landmark stuff, what can I say.

You want Landmark stuff? Fleischer's film got me thinking on past gangster pictures. I dig the genre, in fact I eat it up. It's classic cinema and has its roots deeply inserted since Howard Hawks' first Scarface hit the screens in 1932. Along with film noir, the Gnagtser film might just be the most cinematic genre in movie history. But what makes a great gangster picture? In my humble opinion, A mix of style, story and directorial flair. Being List-Making maniac that I usually am - based on a mix of major ADD and OCD- I decided to make a list of my 15 favourite Gangster pictures of the past 4 decades of film. The following 15 are all great, masterful examples of what happens when you do it right with the most cinematic genre imaginable. They all range from different decades and all don't resemble one another, which is why they are just so damn good. Pardonne-moi if I didn't leave any comments below the titles.

1) The Godfather Part 2 (Coppola)
2) The Godfather (Coppola)
3) Goodfellas (Scorsese)
4) Pulp Fiction (Tarantino)
5) Casino (Scorsese)
6) Mean Streets (Scorsese)
7) The Departed (Scorsese)
8) A History Of Violence (Cronenberg)
9) Donnie Brasco (Newell)
10) Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino)
11) Gangs Of New York (Scorsese)
12) Carlito's Way (DePalma)
13) City Of God (Mereilles)
14) Miller's Crossing (Coen)
15) The Limey (Soderbergh)
16) Road To Perdition (Mendes)