I have a old friend that is just wild about movies featuring men in hats. You know the kind of films I mean--good old-fashioned gangster pictures in which even the lowest-rung flunky wore a suit, tie, sock garters, and, of course, a hat. The latest entry in the men-in-hats series is the wildly kinetic GANGSTER SQUAD, starring the likes of Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, Emma Stone, Mireille Enos, and the list goes on. The film was directed by Ruben Fleischer (ZOMBIELAND), written by Will Beall, based on the book by Paul Lieberman, chronicling the LAPD's struggle to keep East Coast Mafia types (such as Penn's Mickey Cohen) out of Los Angeles in the 1940s-50s.
The film is flashy, hyper-violent, and an exercise in tough-guy behavior. I was particularly impressed with Gosling, playing a type you don't often see in these kind of movies--a cop who wants nothing to do with gunplay or being a hero. And, yes, GANGSTER SQUAD is the film that had its climactic final gun battle in a movie theater reshot last year. I can tell you for a fact that the gun battle is still there; it's just relocated to another setting. No worries, lots of people still die badly. But the real reason I like this movie is because it's in large part a reworking of THE UNTOUCHABLES, and I haven't seen a film that was that much of this kind of fun in quite some time.
Not only are Chicago folks going to see GANGSTER SQUAD early, but we have the added bonus of one of the film's star, the great Anthony Mackie, appearing for a post-screening Q&A. Mackie has been one of my absolute favorite actors since his early work in 8 MILE, Spike Lee's SHE HATE ME, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, WE ARE MARSHALL, and his breakthrough role in THE HURT LOCKER. With recent appearances in such films as THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, REAL STEAL, and ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, he's about to show up opposite Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay's PAIN & GAIN, and as Captain America's fighting partner The Falcon in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.
This advance screening of GANGSTER SQUAD will take place this coming Wednesday, January 9 at 7:00pm at a theater in downtown Chicago (the exact location will only be given to those who win). We've got 100 seats for Ain't It Cool News readers. Here's how to win…
Send me an email at GangsterSquadChicago@aintitcoolmail.com (please note the new email address) with the subject line "No Badges. No Mercy." (exactly like that). In the body of the email, I need your Name, whether or not you're bringing any Guests (winners can bring up to three guests, whose names are not required), and the answer to the following question: "What is your favorite men-in-hats movie, and why?" The most interesting answers (as judged by me) will win. Winners will hear from me soon.
Although this is not an exclusive Ain't It Cool screening, winners' seats will be reserved until 15 minutes before showtime, meaning 6:45pm, at which time any unclaimed seats will be given away. So you should arrive early to make sure you get in and get a good seat. If you can't arrive early, don't enter this contest. If there's even the slightest chance you or your guest will have to back out of attending if you do win, don't enter. If you have a job that might make you late or unable to attend, or an ill/pregnant relative, or a temperamental significant other, or a scratchy throat, do not enter.
I want you to read the previous paragraph and this paragraph very carefully. We've had way too many last-minute cancellations at recent screenings, so the 24-hour cancellation policy does not apply for this screening. If you enter this contest, win, and cancel or don't show up for ANY REASON, the black list will become your new best friend.
Good luck, everyone! And thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures for giving us this great screening and bringing our guest to Chicago.