Thursday, May 04, 2006

"First you get da money..."

I yield to none ("Well, there's no point fighting them...")
Sorry. That Pete'n'Dud joke clearly works better in audio, rather than written, form.
Let's start again.
I yield to none in my admiration for the Americana-adoring Uncut magazine, and thr newly-launched Uncut DVD seems a three-monthly indulgence I'll happily, er, indulge.
Especially since two of the three cover stars and stories so far have been Clint Eastwood and Al Pacino, perhaps my two most-adored movie, er, movie-ers... Though if the magazine editors opt, for the next two editions, to lead their issues with, respectively, Greta Garbo and Jack Lemmon, I'd be even more impressed...
And, yes, slightly spooked, I must confess...
But, but (and here's the, er, but)... at the end of that article about the icy-coolest of cool, icy Eighties pictures, Scarface is something special... And that something special is the bristling Al, the power-keg Pacino, the man who just don't give a, er, fiddle-di-dee, yet who goes out gloriousa...
And Carlito's Way, also directed by de Palma albeit ?? years later, is a fine old companion piece, with similar, occasional accent slippages but cold disco soundtracks and handlebar moustchaes and glittering glissandos...
Tuck in.
But back to Uncut... Shocking they can end an otherwise-expert feature with the way-off judgment:
"Pacino's career subsequently unravelled for the rest of the 1980s. Retreating into semi-retirement following the disastrous Revolution (1985), he eventually returned to a steady diet of mostly mediocre star vehicles. His belated 1993 reunion with De Palma on Carlito's Way gave some nostalgic nods to Scarface, but he was no longer the force of nature he had been."
There have, I indigantly hasten to add, been several very noteworthy performances, enough to keep ol' Al credibly towards the top of the thespian tree (albeot just behind the shoo-in, God-daddy Marlon, of course...)
Revolution, for example, was not quite a stinker, just a little dull.
But, for all the talk of his premature retirement and exile, it was just a handful of years before Pacino returned in the simmeringly superb Sea Of Love, playing a slightly more wised-up, late-1980s Serpico, who just can't be bothered anymore to not give in...
Other exemplary Pacino performances since then:
* Frankie and Johnny - I think this was the first 15-certificate film I managed to wheedle my way into, two or three years too young (shock! horror!), and was very appreciative of a trying-to-be-dowdy-looking Michelle Pfeiffer, but also Pacino as frankly more entertaining than your basic, puppy-ish short-order cook could, or should, ever hope to be...
* Dick Tracey - he was Oscar-nominated for this plasma-coated performance. Among many. But the biggest, and the best.
* The Godfather III - unfairly, if inevitably panned, but this completes the finest trilogy, extended character development and performance of 'em all: Al Pacino as Michael Corleone. And while Brando and De Niro pocketed Oscars, the true running thread, the man the studio were reluctant to cast, the alternately stolid/fierce/ruthless/reassuring...
Well, he was there all the time...
* Okay, so maybe he was reverting a little into shouty mode by The Recuit, and even before that, the ludicrously over-wrought Devil's Advocate (most memorably for future Oscar-winner Charlize Theron's flagrant nudity... (tch indeed... er, indeed...)
* But his careful, indigant but emptive Shylock in a recent Merchant Of Venice, which hurled Pacino back into the critical limelight, as his painfully realistic turn in Insomia, his canny and conveniently-underrated role in Hollywood sature S1m0ne", and... well, let just watch the stunningly-soundtrack-less, comedy-intro-farce-into-thriller-ness just, well, continue...
Hoooooooooooooh-haaaaaaaaah...

5 comments:

Clarajean said...

He was excellent as Shylock. Especially in the trial scenes. Some people criticised his accent, but I thought he did rather well!

He massively overacted in the Devil's Advocate however!

a.c.t said...

Not forgetting the extremely entertaining Dog Day Afternoon where Pacino plays a homosexual bank robber who needs the money to finance a sex change for his lover. Great stuff.

Aidan said...

Ah, sure - I was confining myself here to purely his post-Scarface performances, but overall Dog Day Afternoon is perhaps his finest - even just edging out the Corleone turns.

"Er, Sal - Wyoming's not a country..."

Lyndon said...

Pacino in The Godfather (1st one) is *hands down* the best performance I ever sawed.

I only got round to watching it a few years back and for the first half an hour I was thinking "Hey, isn't Al Pacino supposed to be in this?" His opening Michael is totally unrecognisable from the Michael he becomes, and yet the character development is *all* there. Stunning performance.

Aidan said...

Me oh my, dear oh dear, how many typos...?
I'm embarrassed, reading back...
But will restrain from editing, 'cos it's cheating, and to punish myself...
Sorry. Shocking.