Richard Roeper Blog

Archive for July, 2013

Dennis Farina: A Chicago original

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Dennis Farina always looked like he had just returned from a long vacation, and what’s it to ya?

In reality, he was almost always working.

With that seemingly permanent tan, the silver hair and the ever-present mustache, Farina was a striking presence on screens small and large, whether he was threatening an underling, hunting down a bad guy or making pitches for a cable provider.

Mr. Farina went to Hollywood and made it big–but he never stopped being a Chicagoan.

Family man, Chicago cop, TV cop, Bleacher Bum and long-suffering Cubs fan, Mr. Farina leaves us at the far-too-young age of 69–but he does leave behind a legacy of nearly two decades of service to his home city as a cop, and three decades of memorable roles in films ranging from “Saving Private Ryan” to “Out of Sight” to “Get Shorty” to “Midnight Run.”

He also did fine work in lesser remembered gems such as “Bottle Shock” and “Sidewalks of New York.” Do yourself a favor and queue them up in the next week or two if you can.

“Is this moron number one? Put moron number two on the line,” barked Farina in “Midnight Run,” and with just that one line we knew we weren’t dealing with a standard-issue heavy. Farina could be menacing and hilarious with the span of a dozen words.

Before Mr. Farina became a familiar face to millions of TV viewers and movie fans, he put in 18 years as a Chicago cop.

Philip Cline, the former Chicago Police Supt. who was a longtime friend of Mr. Farina’s, was a guest on Monday’s “Roe and Roeper Show” on WLS-AM and told us, “[Farina] was a detective in an elite unit and he belonged there. He had a great work ethic..’

“The [police officers] he worked with were still his friends today.”

Mr. Farina’s unique way with a line often featured liberal and humorous use of the f-word–but he could be just as effective on a network TV show. He had one of the most recognizable deliveries of any actor of the last 30 years, delivering classic such as:

“You and that other dummy better start getting more personally involved in your work, or I’m gonna stab you through the heart with a f—– pencil. Do you understand me?” — Jimmy Serrano, “Midnight Run.”

“I’m from Miami f—– Beach, and you wanna show met he ocean, huh?” — Ray Barboni, “Get Shorty.”

“London, you know, London. Fish, chips, cup ‘o tea, bad fod, worse weather, Mary f—— Poppins. LONDON.” — Cousin Avi, “Snatch.”

“There goes a perfectly good pair of Gucci loafers.” — Detective Joe Fontana, walking through the snow on “Law & Order.”

When Mr. Farina was in bad movies, he usually made them a little more tolerable when he was onscreen. When he was in great movies, he was usually as good as anyone else in the room.

New The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Trailer

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

REVIEW: “The Conjuring”

Friday, July 19th, 2013

“The Conjuring”

I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, a family moves into a giant farmhouse in the country where mysterious things happened in the past. What could possibly go wrong? My review of “The Conjuring,” next.

In virtually every haunted-house movie, there comes a moment when we want to scream: “WHY DON’T YOU PEOPLE JUST MOVE OUT OF THAT HOUSE!” Credit “The Conjuring” for addressing that issue twice—but I still say when the doors are slamming and ghastly images are appearing in bathroom mirrors and whispers are heard in the night and pictures are flying offthe walls and there’s a creepy hidden cellar—GET THE F— OUT OF THE F—— HOUSE!

Set in the 1970s and “based on the true story” of a haunted family and the husband-and-wife team of demon-hunters that tries to save them, “The Conjuring” is never above mining familiar territory for jump-in-your-seat-and-then-release-a-laugh moments—but it’s often framed in a uniquely twisted way. The camera is alive with nifty spins and tracking shots.

Reliable everyman Ron Livingston is Roger and Lili Taylor is his wife Carolyn. Along with their five adorable daughters, they move into a farmhouse in the Rhode Island. It takes all of about six hours for things to go bump in the night. They enlist the help of well-known demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.

The editing is crips, the music perfectly timed, to give us some terrific scares and some well-placed moments of comedic relief. We also get a level of writing and acting rarely seen in films such as this, particularly when Taylor and Farmiga bond over thefiercely protective love a parent feels for a child.

Despite the reminders this is based on a true story, we do get a lot of standard scary movie stuff, but it’s almost always done with style. I give “The Conjuring” a B+.

TRAILER: ‘The Counselor’

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

REVIEW: “Pacific Rim”

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

“Pacific Rim”

I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, it’s going to take one of the Sons of Anarchy to bring down these sea monsters and save the world. My review of “Pacific Rim,” right now.

The End of the World tour continues at the movies, and this time we get “Pacific Rim,” a ridiculously entertaining (and often just plain ridiculous) monster-robot movie that plays like that “Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots” game from the 1960s combined with the cheesy wonderfulness of the Japanese monster movies from the 1950s.

“Pacific Rim” is set in a near future in which increasingly lethal monsters known as Kaiju are surfacing from a portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. We’re taking them on with Jaegers, robotic creatures capable of wading into the ocean and waging battle with the Kaiju. It’s too taxing for just one person to work the controls—so you need a two-person team connected by something called a “neural bridge” that enables them to act as one. Don’t ask.

Charlie Hunnan (Jax on “Sons of Anarchy”) plays Raleigh Becket, the obligatory rogue pilot with unprecedented skills but a tendency to disobey direct orders.

There’s rarely an uninteresting shot in “Pacific Rim,” whether we’re watching the monsters and robots thrashing about in the water or marveling at the details of the costumes, the sets, and the CGI mixing with a cast that does a fine job of selling this madness, even as the talk of neural bridges and closing that porthole at the bottom of the ocean grows increasingly dense and meaningless.

We’re also treated to a fantastically entertaining if hardly germane subplot with the great Ron Pearlman–who plays Hunnan’s stepfather on “Sons”–as a pimped-out black market dealer that sells nearly every surviving part of a Kaiju corpse for big profit.

Mostly, though, we’re here for the Jaegers vs. the Kaiju. I’m thinking either team could take down the Transformers.  I give “Pacific Rim” a B.

THE FIFTH ESTATE Official Trailer

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

200+lbs Tortoise

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Trailer: 12 Years A Slave

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

TV Station Tricked; Announce Asiana Pilot ‘Names’

Friday, July 12th, 2013




Trailer: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Friday, July 12th, 2013

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