2 DAYS IN THE VALLEY - What do you get when you take an overly stressed police officer, a cocky hitmen, a "sleeve dealing" sports celebrity, a pompous hollywood executive, his timid secretary and an old school mobster who's biggest fear is dogs? Well, you get a movie called 2 Days In The Valley, a quirky little movie housing a rather wide array of star power including Danny Aiello, Charlize Theron, James Spader, Jeff Daniels and the Desperate House wife Teri Hatcher. From the beginning of the film you know nothing is what it seems, but you have no clue what is the real bottom line until the reveal. 2 Days In The Valley is filled with classic characters and tons of quotables from some of the most memorable characters in film from the past decade. *** out of ***** SNATCH - Brad Pitt as a drunken, bare fist boxing, mumbling gypsy????? I am sure the first studio executive that heard that idea was wondering what the makers of this film were smoking. Yet it works so well you can't even imagine anyone else playing the part. Don't be fooled by the large photo of the smaller lipped half of the "brangelina" duo on the cover, as Snatch is filled with loads of memorable characters portrayed by some amazing talent like Transporter star Jason Statham as the smooth talking boxing promoter Turkish, his bumbling sidekick Tommy played by a hilarious Stephen Graham, and not too mention Benicio Del Toro as the gambling junkie Frankie Four Fingers and the now juggernaut Vinnie Jones as Bullet Tooth Tony. Snatch has about anything one could wish for in a movie about the world of crime, humor, revenge and lots of delightful British wit. ***.5 out of ***** TRAINING DAY - "Why is he my friend, because he knows my first name? Roger sold dope to kids. The world is a better place without him. This man was the biggest major violator in Los Angeles. This is the game. I'm playing his ass. That's my job. That's your job. I watched that cocksucker operate with impunity for over 10 years, and now I got him. The shit's chess, it ain't checkers. What, we all of a sudden gonna roll up in a black-and-white? Come on, man, take the money." - Detective Alonzo Harris. Training Day is a genius film about crime, not because it shows the underbelly of the Los Angeles drug culture, but in how it shows the political aspects of police and their hand in said business. As long as you have something the cops want or can do for them a drug dealer is safe and untouchable but as soon as these circumstances fade it's open season with the police justifying their means by the plethora of illegalities they let the drug dealers slide on in the past. The effects of which cause everyone within the society to feel the repercussions and leads to one of the most effective end moments in film history, when a community finally takes a stand against the injustice of their justice system **** out of ***** HEAT - "A guy told me one time, "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner." Now, if you're on me and you gotta move when I move, how do you expect to keep a... a marriage?" - Neil McCauly Yet another Los Angeles crime saga (I don't know if I am more drawn to them because I live in LA or not), but what Heat does that most other crime films of the type don't is show a human side to the criminals and to the police chasing them. None of them have perfect lives or the perfect marriages, yet they all struggle to maintain them as they do what they do, whether that be illegal or legal. As well Heat has the first on screen appearance of Al Pacino and Robert Deniro together, which will surely go down as one of the all time great on screen duos. As well a mention should be made for Val Kilmer, Ted Levine, Tom Sizemore and Ashley Judd all of whom help round out an amazing cast of talent that help to lock you into an insane downward spiral. **** out of ***** THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY - How can one even mention a movie such as Snatch with out giving credit to a film that helped breed such films? One of the oldest films of my list yet still one of the most underpraised crime dramas ever. In The LOng Good Friday, Bob Hoskins takes the lead as a crime lord in merry old London who is on his way to becoming one of the most powerful and well known criminal underlords until his crew begins to be murdered one by one. As he tries to hold on to his name sake while getting to the bottom of the recent string of attacks against his family of crime, we wathc as his whole world begins to crumble and his paranoia begin to build. An emotional and intense thriller that (in my opinion) should have at least earned Mr. Hoskins an Oscar nomination if not the statue it's self. While watching this film you truly feel everything Hoskins is going through emotionally, from fearless to fearful leading to a silent final scene where the facial expressions leave you speechless! ****.5 out of ***** SCARFACE - "Say hello to my little friend!" This is one of the most memorable and most overly quoted movies of all time. Standing tall to the test of time Scarface is seemingly what every mobster/drug lord movie was always trying to be, and Al Pacino as the driven immigrant who will stop at nothing to gain everything he was never able to have was perfectly cast. Filled with lots of gruesome murders and carnage for most Scarface is the best crime film of all time. ***** out of ***** CARLITO'S WAY - OK a common thread between most of the great crime films has to be Mr. Pacino. At times these roles can feel a bit typecast for him, but when the role is right he shines like no other. In Carlito's Way we get to meet yet another immigrant but on a different side of coin. Carlito Brigante is fresh out of jail after being incarcerated for drug trafficking. Now of the mind to get out of the crime scene and make a real life for himself, he strives to help those who helped him in the past and reignite the flame of his long lost love. Though all does not go to plan and Carlito soon remembers that friends are a quick enemy and theonly way out of his past world of crime may just be in a body bag. "Fuck you and your self-righteous code of the goddamn streets. Did it pull you out of a 30 year stint in only 5 years? No, it didn't, I did. Did it get you acquitted 4 fucking times? No, it didn't, I did, so fuck you, fuck the streets, your whole goddamn world is this big, and there's only one rule, you save your own ass." - David Kleinfeld ***** out of ***** DONNIE BRASCO - Pacino, Pacino, Pacino......what did I say when he is good, he is great and here is another where he is simply GREAT!!!! One of my all time personal favorite films (as I tend to be a sucker for biopics) Donnie Brasco gives us the story of FBI agent Joe Pistone who was one of the first operatives to succsessfully infiltrate the italian maphia family. Al Pacino plays Lefty an older player in the mob scene who has been around the corner a few times without going very far up in the family. What I loved about Pacino's character is how he at one moment commands so much power and respect to turn around in the next moment he is a spineless yes man for the "higher ups". You truly feel compassion for a murderous criminal and by the end of the film you are wrapped right up in Joe Pistone dilema on whether he should take his now befriended mobster down, or risk his job and family to save Leftys life. ***** out of ***** RESERVOIR DOGS - OK, now traveling out of Pacino country into a little budding new union known as "Tarantino Land" I would be remiss if I were not to give this film the dues it deserves. Reservoir Dogs was actually one of the first crime movies I ever saw (I am only 26 so give me a little break here) and is the film that sent me back to check out such other greats as the Godfather films, Scarface and THe Long Good Friday. Reservir Dogs was a very "niche" feeling film but with such a talented cast of actors that you couldn't help but cling to every word, facial expression or body gesture. From the ever cool and demanding Harvey Keitel as Mr. White, to the impressive and eventually emotional role played by Tim Roth (an actor of today who I feel gets way less credit than deserved) as Mr. Orange and most noticeably the comedic role of Mr. Pink played by Steve Buscemi. The film is great from start to finish and is a classic of american film making. There is alot that could be said for this film but no matter what it would be it would never even come close to paying it proper dues. ****** out of ***** THE GODFATHER / GOODFELLAS - Most people would of gave these two films seperate places, yet I find it to hard to make one number one and the other number two and simply by doing so I would be denying either film it's true greatness. Marlon Brando is just breath taking as Don Vito and easily earned himself one of the most iconic roles ever in motion pictures. Without this film this list would probably not exist and all of us fans of such films would be forced to join the mafia if we wanted even a taste. As for Goodfellas, I just simply love, the characters, the style of the film, the way the story flows and the all star cast of hollywood's best easily ranks it up there with THe GOdfather as one of the best films of this genre. I am not even rating these as that (in my opinion) is somehow sacreligious!!!