He's a consummate politician who walks a mile in your shoes, feels your pain. But there may be more to populist New York City populist mayor Al Pacino than meets the eye. Year: 1996 Director: Harold Becker Starring: Al Pac... more »ino, John Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Danny Aiello Special Features: Interactive menus, Scene access Video Format: A: Standard; B: Widescreen Sound: English: Dolby Surround 2.0; French; Subtitles: English, French Region Coding: 1 (U.S. and Canada)« less
Great cast & great performances. Script included some very interesting misdirection which helped alleviate the predictability of the storyline. Jewish references by mayor didn't ring true to me.
Scandal in the Big Apple
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 10/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the 1999 Castle Rock/WB DVD edition....
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 Cusak), an idealistic but in the know transplant from the South,begins his own investagation that at every turn leads him up the ladder of the poltical 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 investagation. 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 occuring in the plot.We are also treated to lots of scenes of the city itself.
The DVD is in widescreen(also in standard if you prefer),has a nice crisp clear picture, and bright colors. The sound is 2.0 Dolby Surround. Could have been better but dosen't take away from the story. There were no special features included, just a good story with great acting that will have you totally involved. There are subtitiles in English and French.
So get the popcorn ready and enjoy........Laurie"
Al Pacino, John Cusack, and Danny Aiello are great!
L. Aiello | West Coast, USA | 11/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best crime-drama movies during the late 1990s. It was filled with a great cast, a huge storyline, and many of the players involved gave great performances. Pacino was great; he should have been nominated for something. John Cusack was good too, as long as the viewer doesn't mind his Louuu-siana accent. He may come off as annoying if you can't stand this dialect. The way that Pacino's character interacted with Cusack's character was believable, dramatic, and slightly comical at times. Danny Aiello was superb as always. David Paymer was great in a supporting role. Bridget Fonda was good but not memorable.
There were times when this picture mentioned so many characters, probably too many. It may take a second viewing to remember, "which Zapatti was which?" After so many cross-references, one has to stop and think just to recap.
The ending didn't have a lot of sting. It was built up for so long in a good way and then was a little bit of a letdown. This was one of the few letdowns in the film
I think that since the movie wasn't billed as a huge, blockbuster big screen hit, it made some forget that this movie even existed. Pacino was great but the film's lack of "splash" in the theaters may have accounted for no nominations. It was semi-successful in the home market, and viewers are still learing that this title is out there. Made in 1996, it still stands up seven years later and should still be popular for many years from now. So, make yourself some lemon pudding (you'll see) and rent this movie! Overall, a great picture.
4 ½ out of 5!!!"
Too Many Cooks?
Odilon | Oak Park, IL USA | 10/22/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This political thriller isn't bad. It's well cast with strong performances. (You've probably seen Al Pacino do this before, though.) It has good pacing, clarity and moving speeches. It examines the possibility that the deal making necessary for political effectiveness is also the root of corruption. Still, it's nothing to go out of your way to see.First, it's predictable. You know whose clay feet the trail of corruption must lead to. One minor character mentions that he's six months from retirement. You know he'll never collect the pension. Also, the film had four writers and seems haunted by distracting fragments from abandoned drafts as if someone wrote things that others took in different directions. Shifting character focus between drafts would explain why important characters often receive perfunctory development while others seem overwritten. The film lacks a center because Mayor Papas (Pacino) is simply a charismatic icon- important only for what he represents to others. Brigit Fonda plays an attractive do-gooder who challenges the hero (John Cusack) to be true to his ideals. There's little chemistry because her character lacks development and their relationship is a formulaic flirtation. By contrast, Danny Aiello's character, an Italian politician, defies stereotype because he loves musical theater rather than opera. However, since the character is otherwise predictably stereotypical, the attention given his musical tastes (including a strange duet with a waiter) seems pointless.Indeed, ethnic and regional origins often substitute for character development here. The hero's Louisiana hometown is mentioned twice, establishing him as an idealistic but wily outsider. Yet, curiously, the mayor is a Greek who spouts yiddishisms. That and other scattered references made me wonder if he wasn't Jewish in earlier drafts and a more developed character. Now, the Jewish references just seem like lame, out-of-towner attempts at New York local color."
Good but I expected more
glv-jazz | PA | 06/03/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
""City Hall" is one of those movies that I watched expecting the best. It had a great cast and crew of which I have seen excellent films from. But all I got in the end was a lukewarm film. The premise is great. Political corruption always makes for an interesting movie and it certainly is interesting. Sadly it suffers from its own plot. So much time is spent trying to uncover this scandal that occurs in this film that there is no time to get to know any of the characters. Al Pacino plays the mayor of New York and while he handles the role passionately the script does not allow his character anytime to develop as with Cusak, Fonda, Aiello. The cast is supurb. In fact I do not believe I have seen better from John Cusak who rarely gets a stab at complex films such as this and Bridget Fonda and Danny Aiello both give excellent supporting performances. The intereaction between Cusak and Fonda also seemed really fake as well not by the actors fault but the screenwriters. There is no chemestry where one would expect. It isn't all that bad of a film. Fans of the actors should definately rent it especially for a really good Pacino monologue (they had to throw that in somewhere). The film had the director and the cast but what it needed was a better script."