‘Midnight Run’ with Robert De Niro on Netflix

The midnight run of Martin Brest’s action comedy Midnight Run (1988) refers to what is supposed to be an easy job for skip tracer and bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro). He’s hired to capture Jack “Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin), a mild-mannered accountant who stole $15 million from the mob and then skipped out […]

Viggo Mortensen makes ‘Eastern Promises’ on Peacock

Eastern Promises (2007) reunites A History of Violence director David Cronenberg and star Viggo Mortensen for another dive into the shadowy, dangerous world of organized crime and hidden identities. As Nikolai, a chauffeur and foot soldier in a Russian crime family in London, Mortensen wears his shadow of a smile like an impenetrable mask. One […]

Al Pacino is Cuban thug turned Miami drug lord Tony Montana in Brian De Palma's 'Scarface'

‘Scarface’ – Say hello to my little friend on Netflix

Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983), ostensibly a remake of the Howard Hawks gangster classic, moves the iconic rise and fall crime opera from the tommy-gun gangster street battles of prohibition era Chicago to the cocaine wars of Florida in the eighties. In the process, De Palma, screenwriter Oliver Stone, and star Al Pacino carved out […]

Robert De Niro in the Martin Scorese gangster epic with Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino’ on Peacock

“In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.” Five years after his gangland masterpiece GoodFellas, Martin Scorsese reunited with writer Nicholas Pileggi and stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci […]

Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's gangster classic.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘GoodFellas’ on HBO Max

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” GoodFellas (1990), Martin Scorsese’s violent, dynamic, exhilarating adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction book Wiseguy, about real-life wiseguy-turned-witness against the mob Henry Hill, exploded across screens in 1990 and was embraced as the first great American gangster movie since Coppola’s The Godfather […]

Antony Starr and Ivana Milicevic star in the Cinemax series 'Banshee'

The Pure Pulp Pleasure of ‘Banshee’ on HBO Max

I like to think of Cinemax as the grindhouse version of HBO: not as exclusive, not as ambitious, not as high-toned (late night Cinemax wasn’t called “Skinemax” for nothing). And it’s the same when it comes to original programming, the cable TV mark of distinction. Where HBO boasts such impressive productions as The Wire and […]

‘Public Enemies’ on Peacock

Public Enemies (2009) is Michael Mann’s take on the gangster glory days of the depression, when the most flamboyant and notorious bank robbers became the outlaw heroes of the day. That makes Johnny Depp great casting as John Dillinger, whose spree of daylight bank robberies and daring getaways between May 1933 (when he was paroled […]

‘Tokyo Drifter’ – A lonely hitman on a wild odyssey on Criterion Channel

Weird, wild, and nearly incomprehensible, Seijun Suzuki’s gangster movie masterpiece Tokyo Drifter (Japan, 1967) recreates the Yakuza genre as a pop-art James Bond cartoon as directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It opens on a gangland beating on the docks of the grimy waterfront, a dynamic widescreen image in stark, overexposed black and white. As a trumpet […]

Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson star in the Oscar-winning gangster film

Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’ on Netflix

The Departed (2006), Martin Scorsese’s return to American urban crime cinema, became the biggest hit of his career and earned him his very first Academy Award for Best Director. Leonardo DiCaprio is Billy Costigan, a street thug working for South Boston crime boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), and Matt Damon is Colin Sullivan, a rising […]

Jason Statham is ‘Safe’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

In Safe (2012), mid-budget action movie stalwart Jason Statham plays a former cop turned cage-match fighting burnout who, having run afoul of the Russian mob and his former colleagues in a thoroughly corrupt NYPD, rouses himself back to life as a one-man army top save Chinese math prodigy (Catherine Chan) from what appears to be […]