After presenting various cuts of “The Godfather” trilogy over the years presented on television, HBO has decided to offer up their own version of Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather” entitled “The Complete Epic.” Clocking in at a little over seven hours and presented in HD, the idea for “The Complete Epic” is that “The Godfather” and “The Godfather II” are spliced together telling the entire saga of the Corleones chronologically. They then injected a lot of deleted and or extended scenes for the purpose of exposition and further elaboration on plot points somewhat evaded and under explained in the aforementioned films. As well, what’s considered “The Complete Epic” does not include the often maligned “The Godfather III.”
Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday” is a film that literally anyone can watch. Because while it’s certainly a sport films centered on the industry of football, its central themes are relatable to anyone. While on the surface it’s about business and athletes, and competing, mainly “Any Given Sunday” is about a group of people trying desperately to out run the clock of time, and gain some sense of security for their future before father time catches up on them. When we meet these people in the narrative, many of them are at the beginning of their short careers trying to build a future, while others find their windows of opportunity closing and desperately cling to any chance to secure their future for themselves and their family. Stone composes a very richly defined ensemble drama about the football industry and how demanding it is both as an arena for skilled athletes, and athletes anxiously trying to bank on the momentum of their popularity, as fleeting it may be.
When the credits roll, “The Devil’s Advocate” reveals itself to be a massively ambitious but incredibly mediocre supernatural thriller that sanctimoniously dismisses big city, big business, and law as the stomping grounds of the devil, while casting out its protagonist Kevin as evil for leaving the small country and submitting to the potentially successful life in the big city. There, the skyscrapers are empty, the streets are endless, and the folks are demons of excess, vanity, and sheer adultery. Taylor Hackford’s supernatural thriller seems to be built on and around the final monologue of Al Pacino’s character John Milton, who gives a rousing speech about God, sin, and everything else to protégé Kevin.
There are those films with big stars that you know are because the actors love the part, then there are the films that actors are in, and you know it’s for simply money. There can be no other explanation for actors such as Al Pacino and Colin Farrell to star in this other than that simple reason. There’s a mood director Roger Donaldson is going for desperately but fails with every leap trudging through the plot with a tried attempt. He attempts to go for the Tom Clancy mood and motif with the murky and sometimes sharp cinematography, but little does he know that the script is the ultimate down fall to this film. There’s nothing to like about this movie from its plot holes to immense lapses in logic; for instance, how is it that Clayton goes from a top computer programmer, to a moon lighting bartender right into the CIA without any training beforehand?
Viktor Taransky (movie legend Al Pacino Dog Day Afternoon, The Godfather) is a movie producer who’s basically fed up with uptight actresses and in an attempt to regain his fame, creates a computer generated actress named Simone (Rachel Roberts). But as she becomes famous worldwide, Viktor begins to wonder if he made her famous or if she made him famous. I really enjoyed Katherine Keener’s role as Taransky’s tough ex-wife who also works with him in the studios; she always manages to pull in some good performances in stinkers and excellent films such as “Lovely & Amazing.”