City Hall

The only thing new in the world is the history we forgot.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * · · )

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City Hall has a real strong beginning. We get all the character introductions and then a situation that defines the rest of the story. A New York detective, a street punk and a child are all killed in a shootout. The mayor (Al Pacino in one of his normal loud speech giving performances) and his "boy", the deputy mayor (John Cusack) begin to deal with and turn the spin of the situation in their favor. Then the movie goes south. John Cusack begins "playing gumshoe" (an actual quote from Pacino) running around on boats with drug dealers, running around to old parole officers in upstate New York and running around with Bridget Fonda who plays a lawyer for cops or something. If this were one of the Clancy movies, it would have been done right. Each guy has a job to play, and it is fine to have another character playing gumshoe while Cusack keeps doing his job. I just don't like it when people are so quick to jump out of a character we are just getting to know. Then we get a rip off from Godfather 2 at the end (ironic that Pacino is in both) and the story comes to a close. John Cusack really is becoming a generic actor. He is just the pure median of acting. He isn't that good, and not that interesting, but just takes his same character and places it in every movie. If you have a role to fill and you don't know who to give it to, give it to Cusack. That is probably a formula in Hollywood right now. The DVD of City Hall has a very nice 1.85 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture but only a 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack and no extras. Basically, the DVD is about as bland as the movie was. If I was to pick a comparison I would pick LA Confidential but City Hall does it very little justice.