Cop Land

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:45 Long
A Review by:
Stu Gotz

Cop Land
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Miramax
Release Date: 1997
Kiddie Movie: Lots of use of the “F” word, and a nudie bar scene so I’d say probably not.
Date Movie: It’s a good drama, bring them along.
Gratuitous Sex: Some boob shots in the nudie bar.
Gratuitous Violence: Some quality kills, blood, and a gory burn victim.
Action: No real high speed car chases in this one, but some pretty good suspense type scenes.
Laughs: Not really.
Memorable Scene: None stand out, just the whole movie is good.
Memorable Quote: Again, none stand out.
Directed By: James Mangold

I’ll be honest with you, when I first heard about “Cop Land” all I knew was that Sylvester Stallone was to star in the movie. Knowing this I honestly thought the movie was doomed to be cheesy. Let’s face it folks, Stallone has a knack, or maybe a curse, that in any movie he has top billing, although often action packed and entertaining, it tends to be over-acted and unbelievable. I call it the “Stallone Factor.” With that I wrote the movie off. But then I heard that Di Niro, Liotta, and Harvey “The Bad Lieutenant” Keitel were also in the movie. Hmm… maybe this movie would be good after all. You know what? It wasn’t good… It was GREAT! Best cop/mob drama I’ve seen in a long time, and maybe that Stallone curse is lifted!

Unlike other cop and mob movies, “Cop Land” doesn’t overdue stereotypes and avoids all those cliché high speed chase scenes that end up in monumental explosions. Instead, we are given an overweight, droopy Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Stallone) who desperately wants to be an NYPD Cop. Problem is he’s partially deaf, and therefore winds up being the patsy Sheriff of a podunk New Jersey town. This really doesn’t sit all that well with him, but what else is he to do? Harvey Keitel plays Ray Donlan – You can think of him as the “Godfather” of bad cops, and it’s a role he plays well. All of the bad cops in New York’s 34th precinct report to him, and he keeps the heat off them courtesy of mob money.

Now, in order to keep better tabs on his men and get some pretty safe housing at cheap interest rates, Ray and the mob boys have worked it out over the years so that the players in this cop game get the low interest loans, usually in exchange for bending the law and always keeping their mouths shut. Basically the cops of the 34th own Garrison, New Jersey (didn’t Pullman try something similar in Chicago?), and this land has its own rules, which Sheriff Freddy really has no control over. Anyway, “Cop Land” also has the likes of Gary “Figs” Figgis, played by Ray Liotta, as a coked out (and I’m not talkin’ soda) cop who wants out of it all. This doesn’t sit too well with Ray. And lastly, we have the smooth, NYPD Internal Affairs Investigator, Moe Tilden (Robert Di Niro), who knows what’s going on and desperately wants to expose it all, but he doesn’t have that one piece of evidence to put the case together. So, how does it all play out? Well… I don’t want to spoil it for. Just know this – Ray is one heartless mother-fucker, Sheriff Freddy gets a spine, and a lot of bad cops wind up dead.

For me the best way to describe “Cop Land” is “believable.” Sitting there in the theater I really felt sorry for poor, dim-witted Sheriff Freddy, I felt rage when I thought about what a ruthless bastard Ray was, and I just loved Di Niro’ s portrayal of a sneaky and cynical IA officer. With that being said I give “Cop Land” 4 of 5 stars. A great movie – ’nuff said, and I’m Stu Gotz.

15 Minutes

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:00 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

15 Minutes
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Robert De Niro, Edward Burns, Kelsey Grammer, Melina Kanakaredes
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: New Line Cinema
Kiddie Movie: Not at all.
Date Movie: She might get scared and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: More nudity than sex.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of it.
Action: Some good chase scenes.
Laughs: De Niro always gives some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: I won’t spoil it.
Memorable Quote: None stand out.
Directed By: John Herzfeld
Produced By: John Herzfeld, David Blocker

“15 Minutes” was one of those movies that as stupid, hopefully for a while, was its base story line, it still ends up enjoyable, I guess mostly because the characters are creepy and likeable, and there is one twist that I’m still surprised the filmmakers used. Here’s the story that hopefully never ends up on TV.

Robert De Niro plays Eddie Flemming. He’s a cop in New York who does his job well, even if he does let news-dude Robert Hawkins (Kelsey Grammer) film a lot of what he does. With this Eddie has become sort of a celebrity in the town. Enter Emil (Karel Roden) and Oleg (Oleg Taktarov), two new visitors to the United States from Western Europe. Oleg dreams of being a film director and to help him achieve his dream he begins by stealing a way-cool video camera and then directing his first scene – Emil killing his buddy. Emil isn’t too hip to Oleg’s filming until he finds that documenting their assorted murders might land him a financial windfall when he sells the footage to Hawkins and plans to option the screen rights. In the meantime Jordy (Edward Burns), the fire marshal, hooks up with Eddie when both their jobs intersect investigating some of Emil’s handiwork. Eddie tries to teach Jordy a thing or two about being a celebrity and Jordy tries to teach Eddie a thing or two about being a little less intimidating when questioning scared suspects, in this case Daphne (Vera Farmiga) who witnessed Emil’s slicing work on his buddy.

So with our heroes on the trail of the killers, the movie turns to Robert Hawkins lack of scruples, or at least lack of caring about anything he shows on TV, when he airs one of the murders Emil committed. Upsetting everyone, especially young Jordy, it does make you wonder if there isn’t anything that might not end up on TV nowadays, but you sincerely hope, although you would probably still watch, that it doesn’t come to the likes of Grammer’s Hawkins showing the top story.

The story for “15 Minutes” is one that doesn’t seem too realistic, it has a few holes, but it is daring enough to pull off a couple of surprises which I won’t tell you here lest I spoil a major plot point, and I think that might be why I ended up coming out of “15 Minutes” saying to myself as well as hearing from others that the movie wasn’t that bad. De Niro is his usual great self and Burns plays Eddie’s puppy dog sidekick faithfully. You tend to hate Emil and feel kinda sad for Oleg, yet the one plot line that really didn’t fit was Eddie’s relationship with news reporter Nicki (Melina Kanakaredes) which just seemed a little out of place for Eddie’s personality. Oh well, I guess you can’t have it all.

So, for “15 Minutes” you get an entertaining movie containing well-played bad guys, well-played good guys, some quality kills, a little gratuitous nudity, and a feeling that it won’t be too long before some broadcaster really does show someone’s murder on TV. I’ll give “15 Minutes” 3 ½ stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!