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Sean Penn plays Mickey Cohen in Gangster Squad

Sean Penn in Gangster SquadWhile I anxiously await the release of the new movie Gangster Squad, I couldn’t help but reflect on some of the great past performances by renowned actor Sean Penn. In anticipation of the release of Gangster Squad, I combed through my library and re-watched a few of my favorite movies that feature Penn’s intense and emotional method acting style. Though I wouldn’t necessarily consider Sean Penn to be the greatest actor of all time, he is certainly one of the best performers in the business. He definitely ranks at the top of my list of favorites.

 

Jimmy Marcum from Mystic River

Hands down, my favorite performance from Sean Penn is his portrayal of the gangster Jimmy Marcum in Mystic River. My first reaction to this movie was amazement. I have never seen a more passionate or convincing depiction of a hardened criminal gangster. I can’t think of one actor in the history of movies that could possibly replace Penn in this film. My friends and I often try to select another character that could challenge Penn’s persuasive depiction of Marcum. It’s always an interesting conversation. Truly, a more intimidating gangster figure does not exist in modern cinema.

The Trailer

Brad in At Close Range

At Close Range is another example of Sean Penn’s amazing ability to accurately illustrate periods of historical reference. The character of Brad Whitewood Jr. is so richly portrayed that you can almost feel what it would have been like to witness the development of an influential crime family in America. I can’t help but acknowledge that Penn’s unique application of emotional method acting adds a very distinct authenticity to American period piece cinema.

History

Considering the impressive achievements of Sean Penn in the past, it seems like a safe bet to assume that I will be pleased with his most recent interpretation of Mickey Cohen in Gangster Squad. And, once again, I can’t think of another actor that would be more appropriate for the iconic portrayal of Mickey Cohen. One thing is for sure, I will definitely be venturing to the box office to check out the highly anticipated release of Gangster Squad.

Watch 42 – The life story of Jackie Robinson

42 is the life story of Jackie Robinson, the first Black major league baseball player. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. This film is one of the series of 2013 films that dealt with Black historical figures and leaders including both Winnie and Nelson Mandela, the Butler, and Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson opened up baseball and by extension all major league sports to Blacks and to players of all races.
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The film takes place in the 30s and 40s. Branch Rickey signed Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers because of as recognition of Robinson’s talent and also because he wanted to do the right thing and fight against the disenfranchisement of Blacks. The Dodgers threatened to organize a petition against Robinson, but Rickey forced them to back down. They begrudgingly accepted his as a teammate, and after Robinson was responsible for many of their wins, completely accepted him as a teammate.

Chadwick Boseman excels in his performance as Jackie Robinson. Boseman had to portray Robinson’s inner conflicts as a man who endured extreme bullying from white players in order to play baseball. Harrison Ford was recognizable as Branch Rickey. Ford even changed his voice in order to portray Rickey’s heavy smoker’s voice. In the film we saw the full effects of Robinson’s pushing forward with his career effected his family life. Nicole Beharie played Rachel Robinson. Rachel was the only wife out of all the other baseball players wives allowed to be at the games. Mr. Rickey did this to be supportive of Jackie. Beharie portrayed the stereotypical supportive wife. She wasn’t a bad actress, but the role didn’t require much out of her. The other characters in this film all where either racists, fans, or other non characters. This may very well be how things actually happened, as in real life Robinson and Rickey were the two heroes who changed supports. Robinson due to his talent, and Rickey due to his open mindedness. This film’s been out for a while, but its certainly worth downloading from Amazon or ITunes.