Video Picks Archive
This week my picks are Brokedown Palace (1999 - ) and GoodFellas (1990 - ).
The first film this week stars Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale
as two American girls vacationing in Thailand. They meet
an attractive young man who frames them for drug smuggling.
In the unforgiving Thai penal system, they depend on expatriate
American lawyer Bill Pullman to help them get out. Brokedown
Palace is a well-made prison film from director
Jonathan Kaplan (The Accused). Solid performances from
the cast combined with an exotic location help offset some
of its more conventional aspects.
Kaplan was a student of Martin Scorsese at NYU film school many years ago, so I thought I should make GoodFellas -- which I recently called the best film of the 1990s -- my second pick. Ray Liotta plays Irish-Italian-American mafioso Henry Hill in this true story about the fall of one of the biggest crime "families" in New York. As with all the best Scorsese films, Robert De Niro has a good role, but it was Joe Pesci that came away with an Oscar for his performance. GoodFellas is filmmaking at its best, by the best filmmaker alive today. However, due to popular sentiment, it lost the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Director to Kevin Costner's Dances With Wolves.
Fun Fact: Just to show that talent runs in the family, the woman who plays Pesci's mother in the film is actually Scorsese's mother. The scene with her and the three guys was mostly improvised, but she comes off beautifully.
For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Brokedown Palace (1999)
Guide to Star Ratings
Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan