Video Picks Archive
Reviews by Matt Heffernan <email@example.com>
This week my picks are Liberty Heights (1999 - ) and Diner (1982 - ).
This week, I'll be talking about two films from Barry Levinson's
Baltimore "Trilogy" -- which has expanded to four films with the
addition of Liberty Heights. This film stars Adrien
Brody and Ben Foster as two young brothers who deal with
growing up Jewish in Baltimore during the 1950s. Levinson's
screenplay is simply brilliant, bringing many interesting
characters to life. Helping immensely is the cast, including
Joe Mantegna and Bebe Neuwirth as the boys' parents, and Orlando
Jones as a black gangster who gets involved with the family's
more illicit affairs. Somehow, this film never caught the
public's eye like the previous films, but it can still stand
among them as a fine character study and an entertaining comedy.
Of course, the first entry in the "trilogy" was 1982's Diner. This film helped launch the career of several young actors, and influenced the style of many films to come. It follows six young men (Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Tim Daly, and Paul Reiser) as they move into adulthood and one of them (Guttenberg) gets ready to be married (to Ellen Barkin). This is the cause of a great deal of reflection and discussion, which basically comprise the film. Again, it is Levinson's sharp dialogue that keeps this film from getting boring (like its many imitators) and instead keeps the viewer engrossed in the situation. This was Levinson's first time as a director, and he also earned an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay (after writing several other films, including ...And Justice for All).
For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Liberty Heights (1999)
Guide to Star Ratings
Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan