THE ICEMAN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 313 days ago

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Writer-director Ariel Vromen’s dramatic adaptation of the life of notorious hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski is now available on Blu-ray.  The Iceman stars Michael Shannon (Man of Steel) in the title role: a loving and devoted family man on the surface, in actuality a brutal and sadistic serial murderer with mafia ties.  Adapted from Anthony Bruno’s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the film attempts to examine the duality of Kuklinski, but ultimately ends up being little more than a showcase for Shannon’s terrifying talent.

The Iceman also stars Chris Evans, David Schwimmer, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Stephen Dorff and James Franco.  The Blu-ray extras include the standard “making of” featurette and filmmaker interviews, but unfortunately do not include the oft-cited HBO documentary, The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman.  Hit the jump for my Blu-ray review.

THE ICEMAN Review

by     Posted 1 year, 87 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.  The Iceman opens today in limited release.]

The Iceman is a hitman movie. It’s about a hitman and nothing else. Director and co-writer Ariel Vromen takes no chances on his film based on the life of mob enforcer Richard Kuklinski. The movie paints a two-dimensional character, and then wants credit for not making him one-dimensional. There’s more effort put into developing the characters’ era-appropriate facial hair than developing the story into anything more than a description of Kuklinski’s actions. Only Michael Shannon‘s overpowering screen presence stops The Iceman from being the driest crime drama in recent memory.

Director Ariel Vromen Talks THE ICEMAN, Researching the Serial Killer’s Story, Casting Michael Shannon and Chris Evans, NARCO, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 92 days ago

Director/co-writer Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman chronicles the life of notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) who earned the nickname for freezing the bodies of his victims to throw authorities off his trail.  A man of many contradictions, Kuklinski was by various accounts a loving husband, a devoted father, and a ruthless hitman who concealed his work from his family.  Opening on May 3rd, the film also stars Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, David Schwimmer, Ray Liotta and Robert Davi.

At the recent press day, Vromen talked about why he thought Kuklinski’s story would make a fascinating film, how he convinced Shannon to shoot a test scene that helped secure the financing, why the ying yang dynamic between Shannon and Ryder worked so well, what led to some of the surprising casting choices for the supporting roles and how he balanced those with veterans of the genre, and why he was inspired by American mob movies while growing up in Israel.  He also discussed his next project, Narco, a drug-centric action thriller set in the world of narco-trafficking submarines.  Hit the jump to read the interview.

New Trailer for THE ICEMAN Starring Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, and Ray Liotta

by     Posted 1 year, 195 days ago

michael-shannon-the-iceman-slice

A new trailer for the thriller The Iceman has landed online.  The film stars Michael Shannon and chronicles the life of Richard Kuklinski, a professional hitman who kept his work secret from his family. The contract killer received the nickname “The Iceman” because he froze the bodies of his victims in order to disguise their time of death and throw the authorities off track.  This trailer makes the film feel a bit more dramatic than the action-oriented first trailer, but it looks like it might reveal a tad too much of the film’s plot.  Matt caught the film at the Toronto Film Festival and was not impressed by director/co-writer Ariel Vromen’s shallow take on Kuklinski, saying the pic is “about a hitman and nothing else.”

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.  The film also stars Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, and James FrancoThe Iceman opens on May 3rd.

TIFF 2012: THE ICEMAN Review

by     Posted 1 year, 321 days ago

michael-shannon-the-iceman-slice

The Iceman is a hitman movie.  It’s about a hitman and nothing else.  Director and co-writer Ariel Vromen takes no chances on his film based on the life of mob enforcer Richard Kuklinski.  The movie paints a two-dimensional character, and then wants credit for not making him one-dimensional.  There’s more effort put into developing the characters’ era-appropriate facial hair than developing the story into anything more than a description of Kuklinski’s actions.  Only Michael Shannon‘s overpowering screen presence stops The Iceman from being the driest crime drama in recent memory.

First Trailer for THE ICEMAN Starring Michael Shannon, Ray Liotta, and Chris Evans

by     Posted 1 year, 332 days ago

michael-shannon-the-iceman-slice

The first trailer for the thriller The Iceman has been released.  The film chronicles the life of Richard Kuklinski, a professional hitman who kept his work secret from his family. The contract killer received the nickname “The Iceman” because he froze the bodies of his victims in order to disguise their time of death and throw the authorities off track.  “Michael Shannon as a hitman” was really all I needed to hear to get me in the theater, but the film looks to have some great scenes between Shannon and Ray Liotta.  Moreover, Chris Evans is nearly unrecognizable in dirty long hair as Kuklinski’s mentor.  James Franco was originally slated to play that role before Evans took over, but it appears that Franco is still in the film as a supporting character.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  Directed by Ariel Vromen, the film also stars Winona RyderThe Iceman recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is slated to play at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals.

CONFIRMED: Michael Shannon, Benicio del Toro and James Franco Set for THE ICEMAN

by     Posted 3 years, 190 days ago

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Back in September, we reported that a trio of actors were reportedly looking at starring in The Iceman, the true story of mob contract-killer Richard Kuklinski.  Today, we’ve got confirmation that Michael Shannon, Benicio del Toro and James Franco have officially joined the cast. Shannon has been cast in the lead role of Kuklinski, with del Toro set to play Kuklinski’s employer, mobster Roy Demeo, and Franco tapped as Kuklinski’s mentor assassin. Directed by Ariel Vromen (Danika), the film is based on the book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer by Anthony Bruno, as well as interview footage. Regarding the casting, Vromen said:

“I am honored to work with such a talented cast on such a compelling story. Since the early stages of development I had the dream of casting Michael Shannon as Kuklinski, as I believe there’s no one else that can play this part better than him.”

Kurklinski earned his nickname by freezing the bodies of his victims, disguising the time of death, and throwing police off-track. Hit the jump to read the full press release, which includes a rather terrifying description of Kuklinski.

James Franco, Michael Shannon, and Benicio Del Toro Join Ariel Vromen’s THE ICEMAN

by     Posted 3 years, 302 days ago

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It was recently announced that Mickey Rourke would star in The Ice Man, a biopic based on Richard “The Ice Man” Kuklinsky, a ruthless hitman who claims to have murdered 250 people from 1948-1986.  In the meantime, director Ariel Vromen (Danika) has been developing a different Kulinsky biopic under the slightly different title of The Iceman.  Rourke’s casting appeared to give that project a leg up in the war of biopics, but according to Production Weekly, Vromen countered by rounding up an impressive cast of James Franco, Michael Shannon, and Benicio Del Toro for his film.

In fact, Vromen may have had the upper hand for some time now.  An IMDB user by the name of “arielvromen” posted back in April, “Michael Shannon is The Iceman!!!”  Shannon is a fine actor, whose work justifies three exclamation points.  Franco and Del Toro are pure icing (ha) on the cake.  So, sorry Mickey Rourke.  Unless you get the equivalent of, say, George Clooney and Betty White, I’m rooting for The Iceman over The Ice Man.  Hit the jump for a synopsis of the book which serves as the basis of the film.

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