Movie Advent Calendar #05 – The Untouchables

“I think I’ll have a drink.”

In 2011 I did a musical advent calendar that I posted to Google+ (remember that) and a final summary on this blog. In 2012 I did a cinematic advent calendar of twenty four films. These were films that I really liked and have enjoyed at the cinema. In 2019 I did a televisual advent calendar of twenty four television programmes. These were television programmes that I really liked and have enjoyed watching. This year on a similar theme I will be posting a movie advent calendar of twenty four movies.

I think I would have probably included The Untouchables in my (first) cinematic advent calendar. The story follows Eliot Ness as he forms the untouchables team to bring Al Capone to justice during Prohibition. 

The film was released in 1987 and I think this was a film I didn’t get to see at the cinema. I actually don’t remember the first time I saw it, it might have been on the television, or could have been an VHS rental from Blockbuster (remember them).

The story of the formation of the team, known as the untouchables, the challenges they faced, in attempting to bring the Chicago gangster, Al Capone, to justice. This was during the age of prohibition, when the US government brought in a law that strictly prohibited the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. Of course the reality was that there was still a huge demand for alcoholic beverages, so the criminal gangs filled that vacuum with bootlegging and speakeasy illegal bars.

I really enjoyed the strong performances from Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness, Sean Connery as Jim Malone and Robert De Niro as Al Capone.

Of course reading Wikipedia in later years you realise how young Al Capone was when he took control of the crime organisation. He was just 26. De Niro was 44 when he made the film.

Similarly Eliot Ness was just 27 when he was asked to lead his squad. Costner was younger than De Niro, but was 32 when the film was shot.

Aside from these minor inconsistencies, I feel the film really captured the essence of 1920’s Chicago and the story of Eliot Ness and Al Capone.

Get The Untouchables from Amazon.

Cinematic Advent Calendar #23 – Dances with Wolves

Cinematic Advent Calendar #23 - Dances with Wolves

To be honest even I was surprised to find two Kevin Costner films in my list of films. I know when you mention Kevin Costner people think of The Postman and Waterworld, but before those two post-apocalyptic movies there was The Untouchables, Field of Dreams and Dances with Wolves.

I really do like this film, though to really appreciate it you really need to see it at the cinema. This is a cinematic film, from the Buffalo herds to the vast openness of the plains, it certainly doesn’t look as good when viewed on your standard TV.

This is a story of a soldier discovering the beauty of the American west and the native people who live there. I actually do like the length of what many consider to be an overlong film, I think it adds that depth that makes this film an epic masterpiece. I do like the story about discovery, understanding, friendship and devotion.

Alongside is the soundtrack, which everytime I hear it reminds me of the vast epic views in the film.

Get Dances with Wolves on iTunes.

Get Dances with Wolves at Amazon.

By the way, in case you were wondering, my indian name is Dances with Badgers, now that’s another story.

Cinematic Advent Calendar #13 – Field of Dreams

Another baseball movie…

Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams

I did mention Field of Dreams when I talked about A League of their Own. So not only a film about baseball, but also a film with Kevin Costner. Now it has to be said that not many people like Kevin Costner, but for me back in the late 1980s and early 1990s there were two films that I really enjoyed, one was Dances with Wolves the other was Field of Dreams.

Field of Dreams did not get a big release in the UK as it was about baseball and though popular in the US, probably wasn’t that popular in the UK. When it came out I was at University (in York) and one of the people in our shared house was an American, Jason. Now he was passionate about baseball and a fair few other things too. I have to thank him for not only introducing my to baseball, not as a sport, but as a catalyst for literature and cinema. He was also responsible for introducing me to Harry Chapin, but that’s another story.

I am pretty sure that I went to see Field of Dreams before reading W P Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe on which the film is based. The film, despite having ghosts and fantastical elements, isn’t your typical ghost story, it certainly couldn’t be described as scary. This is an emotional moving film, about family and the fulfilment of dreams.

I do think Kevin Coster gives a good performance, but is ably supported by great performances from Amy Madigan, Rau Liotta, James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster.

Ray Liotta in Field of Dreams

Even if you don’t know anything about baseball, the history of baseball, or even if you know you don’t like baseball, this film is still a lovely story and an enjoyable experience.

Get Field of Dreams at Amazon.

Download Field of Dreams at iTunes.