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Movie Reviews: Mama and Gangster Squad

The fabulous Emma Stone and a bit of Goth flare

Jerry Williams | February 1, 2013


Director: Andrés Muschietti

Writers: Neil Cross (screenplay), Andrés Muschietti (screenplay)

Stars: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier

Runtime: 100 mins

For 5 years, 2 little girls are raised in the woods by a ghostly specter. When they’re returned to civilization, they move in with their uncle (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) and his girlfriend (Jessica Chastain). Of course, their “mama” comes with them. This is a relatively well-told ghost story with a creepy atmosphere, some nice surprises and a few good scares. Since there’s only one evil presence, the intrigue is limited. To make things worse, it completely falls apart by the time we get to the laboriously overdone ending. Fans of the genre might enjoy much of it, but it’s not special in any way. Ironically, the action takes place in Richmond and Clifton Forge, but was actually shot in Canada and Spain.

GAY ANGLE: Girls might like Chastain’s goth/punk look.


Gangster Squad

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Writers: Will Beall, Paul Lieberman (book)

Stars: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

Runtime: 113 mins

In 1949 Hollywood, a gangster from New York (Sean Penn) muscles his way into the West Coast crime syndicates. To bring him down, a renegade cop (Josh Brolin) assembles a team of outsiders (including Ryan Gosling). This is a time when everybody smoked and women were called “tomatoes.” This film’s elegant period style and suave, snappy dialogue verge on parody, but director Rubin Fleischer manages to keep a sense of fun, while loading it with plenty of fights (fists and guns). The performances are enjoyable and the pacing never lags. While this isn’t exceptional in any way, it’s still thoroughly entertaining.

GAY ANGLE: Only tiny glimpses of flesh from Penn, Brolin and Gosling, but Emma Stone and Gosling both look fabulous.