John Cusack Double Feature ...From The Big Apple To The Jewe
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 03/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Cusack is involved in two mysteries. Once as a Southerner in NYC, and then again as a New Yorker in Savannah.
"City Hall"...4 stars
Harold Becker directs a terrific cast in this smart political thriller,"City Hall". It takes place in New York City and revolves around a shootout on the streets of Brooklyn that took the lives of a drug dealer, a cop, and a six year old boy caught in the crossfire.
Deputy Mayor Calhoun(John Cusack), an idealistic but in the know transplant from the South,begins his own investigation that at every turn leads him up the ladder of the political bosses in New York.It also leads to more murders as the cover up begins.
The drug dealer (the nephew of a powerful crime boss),had been let off on probation a couple of years earlier, and this is the focus of the investigation. How did this happen? Who is responsible for allowing this criminal to walk the streets? Everyone is suspect from the Probation Officer to the sentencing Judge. Or could it go all the way to the top? To the man that Calhoun idealizes,his mentor, his boss, the very savvy, diplomatic Mayor John Pappas(Al Pacino).
Al Pacino gives an electrifying performance as only he could do as the leader of the great city of New York. Cusak is excellent in his role as "The Mayor's Boy". They are joined by one great supporting cast. Danny Aiello, Tony Franciosa, Martin Landau, Bridget Fonda and David Paymer, who all turn in terrific performances.You don't want to miss a minute of this mystery, there is always a new twist or turn occurring in the plot.We are also treated to lots of scenes of the city itself.A good story with great acting that will have you totally involved.
So get the popcorn ready and enjoy.
"Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil"...5 stars
New York free-lance jouranlist John Kelso(John Cusack) is in Savannah to cover an elite annual Christmas party thrown by the nouveau-riche Jim Williams(Kevin Spacey). John is in awe of the splendor,the charms,the opulence, and history of his surroundings. The party takes place in the Mercer House, built by the grandfather of Johnny Mercer.John meets some very colorful characters at the party. They all seem to be living in another world, one that is decadent and oblivious to the rest of the world.
John is about to wrap his little essay for "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine, but when the evening ends with a mysterius murder, he stays on and become embroiled in the odd trial that follows.John decides to do a little investigating on his own, as he plans to write a book about the whole sordid affair. Jim Williams is the one on trial for the murder of a belligerent employee(Jude Law). Was he merely an employee though? What was the relationship of these two?
During his investigating John encounters an eccentric array of characters, who all become important in some way to the trial. You'll meet Minerva, the voo-doo lady,who uses charms and spells to help Jim, "The Lady Chablis", a transexual who brings her own special charms to the story, and some of the jury members are pretty out there as well.John becomes one with this community as he must do whatever it takes to get this story. So meet him at the cemetery....at Midnight..in the Garden of Good and Evil!
Clint Eastwood directs this intriguing story that was based on John Brendt's book of the same name.(Which was based on actual events). Eastwood mixes the mysteriousness of these events, with the wonderful surroundings of Savannah, and adds the music of Johnny Mercer to bring us a rare gem. A film that will have you totally involved with all the characters. The cast also includes, Allison Eastwood, Geoffrey Lewis and Jack Thompson. "The Lady Chablis" plays "The Lady Chablis"! And..Uga V the Georgia bulldog actually plays his father Uga IV and does a darn good job!The soundtrack is fabulous, mostly Mercer songs, and the cinematography is beautiful.Eastwood once again displays his behind the camera talents.
A terrific mystery, wonderful characters, well directed, and one heck of a great soundtrack(enter B000002NJF in music search and see my review))...enjoy...Laurie