15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"10th & Wolf" is a crime drama that keeps your attention. James Marsden who came on my radar screen with the last season of TV's "Ally McBeal" and then played in the 3 X-Men films, "Bobby," and a good sleeper "Gossip" leads as Tommy Santoro, a soldier dishonorably discharged and then made to go undercover with the Mafia, a past he's been trying to forget. Unfortunately his brother Vincent has stayed close to their roots. Played by Brad Renfro whose first film in 1994 was "The Client" and recently appeared in "The Jacket," Vincent is a dim-witted by good-hearted gangster. Their cousin Joey is played by Giovanni Ribisi who has starred in a number of films including "The Gift," "Cold Mountain," & "Gone in 60 Seconds." Giovanni plays the ruthless gangster who has more bullets than brains. Leo Rossi does an excellent job as the sleazy cop Thornton. While he doesn't get much screen time, he does have producer billing and his icy stares are enough to chill the tropics. Brian Dennehy plays the other wheeler-dealer cop Horvath who ropes Tommy into wearing a wire. Lesley Ann Warren does a nice job as the vulnerable Aunt Tina who is half alcoholic, half nymphomaniac. Dennis Hopper has a good cameo as Matello, a godfather type. Val Kilmer comes & goes rather quickly as Murtha, a drunken barfly. Riding high on his Oscar for Best Screenplay for "Crash," this was Bobby Moresco's directorial debut. The film is shot very dark, which seems to give it a gothic feel as much as that of a crime drama. There is a hefty body count and a bullet ballet to conclude the film. This film goes down easy, even if it tends to evaporate soon after viewing. Enjoy!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2006
This is a solid film.
It doesn't have the calibre of acting from "Donnie Brasco", but it is acted well. Especially, from Brad Renfro and Val Kilmer. (Kilmer for less than 5 minutes, but who cares?)
From flashbacks to double-crosses, it is easy to follow. Aside from an obviously overzealous pyro tech, it hardly falters.
Given another 15 minutes to the film and another 10 mil. to the budget and this would have been a gem.
Do not look past this movie, it's more than a gangster flick.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2007
This is a moderately entertaining and acceptably acted film that, as mentioned before, has some credibility holes, both small ( a real Marine would laugh at the way the main character holds his gun ), and large ( if it was that easy to assault a mob boss's mansion, we'd ALL be kingpins ). Dennis Hopper fans should be warned that he appears for all of 10 seconds. As an honorary Philly boy, though, I should point out that, in order to 'capture the spirit' of a city, it helps if you actually shoot the film there..aside from the vocal accents being wrong, the exteriors were obviously done in Pittsburgh, Boston, or some other old NE city..I don't usually see foothills when I look north on Broad Street(!), and they could have at least painted the "SEPTA" bus white, even if they didn't have a copy of the logo..all in all, you'll have more fun watching a few episodes of "The Sopranos"..( exept the "Pine Barrens" episode; obviously shot at Delaware Water Gap! It's like real estate, people - location, location,..etc.! )
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2006
Although "10th and Wolf" is not a bad movie I was a bit disappointed. Since it's based on the same story as "Donnie Brasco" I was expecting something as intense and breathtaking as Mike Newell's film. And I have to say "Donnie Brasco" was more thorough and more thought-provoking than "10th and Wolf".
It starts as Tommy (James Marsden) returns to Philadelphia from the army and he's having a deal with FBI to be an inside man in his cousin Joey's (Giovanni Ribisi) gang which has some business with mafia. Federals will be able to catch some bigger fish and Tommy will get a chance to save his younger brother Vince (Brad Renfro) and Joey from going to jail. So Tommy who never wanted to join the local gang starts having business with his friends and wears a wire.
That's the basic story-line, but what I liked here was not this "undercover agent" plot but relationships between the main characters. Tommy who hasn't been home for some years begins to build his relations with his cousin, his brother, old friends and aunt - and all that looks rather interesting and vivid mostly due to the good actors taking part in the feature. The cast in "10th and Wolf" is indeed very nice. Marsden is surprisingly good, I never expected such a credible performance from him. Ribisi is awesome as always, he's full of energy, he's vigorous and a little bit mad. Renfro is also very good, he's almost always authentic albeit overacting sometimes. Piper Perabo is quite believable as a single mother and Tommy's love interest although we never get to see any love scenes in the movie. I can also mention Lesley Ann Warren whom I adore, actually I can't remember a role she was bad at. And Brian Dennehy with Leo Rossi were OK as two federal agents. What I disliked or rather was distracted with were the cameos of Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper and Tommy Lee. Hopper was the only one to get a sort of a real part in "10th and Wolf", but generally it looked like big names were used just to attract attention to the movie although they appeared on screen for 10 minutes altogether.
Robert Moresco whose latest achievement was a screenplay for "Crash" did a nice writing and directing job here, but throughout the whole film I've felt something's missing. First it seemed to me "10th and Wolf" happened to be smaller than I thought it would be. It lacked some calibre. Or maybe some things seemed strange to me. Or maybe I had some doubts. Here they are:
1. I doubt the gangs are usually consist of 5-6 persons. I thought of some bigger number. But in "10th and Wolf" it looks like the local gang really IS 5 people.
2. I doubt a leader of the gang can be that young. Well, Giovanni Ribisi looks rather young especially after Dennis Hopper who was the head before.
3. I doubt top mob members participate in everything their crew does, from negotiating to killing someone, they must have some apprentices.
4. I doubt just two feds are handling the case of undercover agent and some mafia family. Obviously there's some other people, but here it sometimes seems that FBI is two persons only.
5. I doubt a person who messed with a mob boss and then blackmailed two back-alley feds can walk away from this easily instead of being whacked by mobsters or corrupted feds.
6. I doubt a mob boss would torture and kill someone in HIS OWN house where he lives, where his wife is waiting for him in an upstairs' bedroom.
7. I doubt two persons, even armed, can easily intrude the mafia's boss house (who knows they can attempt to do it) killing all the resistance.
I had some other doubts but I guess you got the idea. I read people from Philadelphia saying the film really captured the city's spirit. I don't live there so it's not up to me to judge, but if to sum it all up I've seen better: from "A Bronx Tale" to "The Sopranos". But with all my doubts there clearly are some positive things about "10th and Wolf". Nice story, directing and acting - I think that's quite enough, and as for several flaws - I sincerely think there are no movies without them. Maybe here they just stick out too evidently.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2007
10th and Wolf is an action packed, bloody movie. If the sight of fake blood is not your tea, better pass. However, the movie, is well written and very well acted. The cast included several well known personalities and each brings quality acting to the screen. But, it does show multiple ways to kill people. The film is interesting for those that live in Pittsburgh as a large part was filmed in and around the Pittsburgh area (Wholley, various bridges, Hartwood Acres, etc. Also the movie will be interesting to those following the Donnie Barasco type of script.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2007
One of those rare films you catch on the previously viewed rack at Blockbuster. You take a chance on it. You're glad you did. This is one of those rare films that gets better and better every time you watch it.
Giovanni Ribisi is brilliant as Joey Marcucci, a straight up Italian low-level mobster who gives little to no regard about honoring his "zippo" blood, demanding a shot of Crown Royal over the glass of wine he's offered by his Italian counterparts. His contempt for the Sicilians in the film is a pretty hilarious sight to behold, as well as Vincent (Brad Renfro, Dueces Wild, The Jacket) and his feeble attempts at learning the Italian language from Provenzano, one of the boss' top guns. Ribisi steals every scene he's in, from his improv lines to his facial features to his weasly, contemptuous giggle.
Piper Perabo (Coyote Ungly) is equally as memorizing as Brandy, sporting a dark hair-do for this one, which makes her look like J. Lo's long lost twin. She pulls off the grieving but tough as nails single mother, trying the best she can to take care of her asthmatic kid. She develops an interest in Tommy (James Marsden, X-Men), who subsequently, wears a wire for the Feds while he and his cousin Joey conduct their dirty deeds with the Sicilian mafia led by Luciano Reggio, who continually calls Joey "Giuseppe," the Italian translation of the name.
Joey proves to be a loose cannon at times, a live-for-the-now sorta nihilist who spirals out of control and starts a pre-meditated war with Reggio. The ending is classic, everything from Brandy's revenge on Junior, Joey's pea-on, for the murder of her husband, to Joey and Tommy's ten year fight inside the walls of Reggio's mansion in the 'burbs of Philly.
My favorite mob flick is "State of Grace," starring Sean Penn and Gary Oldman, a fine piece of acting and action about the last days of the Irish mob in Hell's Kitchen. "10th and Wolf" is very similiar, reminds me a lot of "State of Grace," with Giovanni Ribisi pulling off the perfect culmination of Gary Oldman's short fuse and Sean Penn's competance and poise as an undercover mingling with his old cronies.
I love mob movies, and "10th and Wolf" is right up there with my favorites. Solid acting all the way through, great supporting characters, fun little cameos from a mobbed-out Dennis Hopper and a Geico caveman look-alike Val Kilmer. Take a chance on this one. I did, and was pleasantly surprised.
High quality H2O.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Robert Moresco ('Crash') is proving to be a fine storyteller with a definite style of his own. 10TH & WOLF, written by both Moresco and Allan Steele and directed by Moresco appears on the shelves of DVDs as one of those films that makes us wonder why it didn't do well on the theater screens: it is well written, beautifully directed, has a cast that is consistently fine, and unravels a family involved in organized crime theme as well as any movie out there.
Moresco very wisely starts his story in the burning oil fields of Kuwait during Desert Storm where Marine sargeant Tommy (James Marsden, doing his finest work since his brilliant portrayal in THE 24TH HOUR) drives his Hummer through the desert, coming to grips with the absurdity of war, a key turn in his personality causing him to be dishonorably discharged for his refusal to take part in that ridiculous war game. He is given a deal: FBI agents Horvath (Brian Dennehy) and Thornton (Leo Rossi) visit his cell stateside and offer him clemency if he helps them capture a big drug dealer Reggio (Francesco Salvi) in Tommy's hometown of Philadelphia. Tommy had escaped the organized crime scene by joining the Marines, but is suddenly returned to his family occupation as an undercover agent with a wire. Tommy's brother Vincent (Brad Renfro) and his cousin Joey (Giovanni Ribisi) welcome his return and begin plotting ways to off Reggio. Beatings and murders begin to occur: Joey is a bit on the mad side and plunges his boys into messes that become like quicksand. How the family bonds over losses to big crime and vendettas, and how that lifestyle affects parents (Lesley Ann Warren) and victims turned girlfriends (Piper Perabo) leaving the drive to survive as the paramount goal is the run of the plot.
There are plenty of cameos (Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Dash Mihok etc) to round out the dark atmosphere, but the strength of the film lies strongly on the shoulders of Marsden, Ribisi and Renfro and they handle their roles exceptionally well. This is yet another big crime story but one that grips the audience's attention and holds it to the final twisted end. Strong violence and language, but a testy and tightly woven story with many unspoken metaphors. Grady Harp, October 06
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2006
I had the chance to see this movie at a smaller premiere, but I fully intend on purchasing the DVD once it comes out.
If you didn't catch the summary, or even the trailer, the movie about of a soldier that comes back home years after running away from his life in a small town. His family is all involved in the mob (mafia, anything you'd like to call it) with the story unfolding as you learn of the events of his childhood. This movie is the story of his life immediately after arriving home. Getting involved with the mob again, its almost as if nothing has changed.
The irony is that every critic out there trampled on this movie for being a complete dud for the small details, calling it a steroetypical gangster movie. I beg to differ. A New York City gangster flick shouldn't be expected from this movie. You're watching how crime works in Philidelphia.
Overall a very good movie, this movie definitely jumped right into the deep end in the first 20 minutes, stuffing your mind full flashbacks of the characters lives, and a lot of other difficult to remember details and names, but thats not too imporant. The 'romance' is also left hanging about halfway through. If they took the time to make this movie 10 or even 20 minutes longer, they could have done great with it. I give it a solid B.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2008
10th and Wolf (2006) promises thrills and a story told in the first person,
concerning the ultra-dangerous living environment of those taking part in
the underworld, tempted by the millions of dollars in earnings from the import
of cocaine, and its distribution in night clubs; yet resolved in accepting the fate
reserved for those taking part in it: often a fast trip to the morgue, through gang
rivalry and jealousies.
One strength of this picture, is its consistent, calm, subtle, moody,
and nostalgic approach in laying out the point of view of the story teller,
concerning past life events. Although pigeon-holed mentally, as
a Marine veteran in terms of job skills, this might also stem somewhat from PTSD after
being released from service, from being user the pressure of being a paid
confidential informant for the government, based on an ease in approaching
childhood friends from the past, and capturing their dialog on tape, and relaying
news, plans, tactics from the underworld to the FBI, as hard evidence for use
in the courts against the gangs. As such, the realism is extreme, taking the
movie to the next level for viewers, who "buy into" the action.
Giovanni Ribisi, once again, (as in past films) does an outstanding job in
relaying to the audience, the psychological landscape of the gang leader,
who, as a third generation American, doesn't buy into the European - Sicilian
mob rules of his forefathers and rival in the city - not only culturally,
linguistically, - but also in not seeing past his own limitations. In fact, Ribisi
shows a leader fully conscious of his limited shelf life, so to speak,
in that operating environment, yet paradoxically is comforted and satisfied
with his modest ability to think things through, or the implications of certain
murders that are spontaneously and irrationally done, for trivial motives.
The film also builds a rapport with the audience, by recalling recent events (Desert
Storm deployment in the Middle East) as well as the mental conditioning that
is learned and stays with a person after they completed military training and also
after they have left active service. The "quid pro quo" as a survival mechanism is another
interesting theme in the work.
Overall, the picture is redeemed by its truth in face of brutal events
over the 90 minutes, such as multiple stabbings, stranglings, point blank
pistol executions, blood packs going off, guts spilling out, and a finale that has
a DOOM - style gaming sequence exceeding 10 minutes, along dark corridors.
Brian Dennehy is a plus to this picture, from his gravitas and clean cut look
in the FBI role, who admittedly, has to cross the line, into a grey area, to get
his job done, through the use of confidential informants, threats and more.
"You're up the creek, but maybe I've got a paddle for you!" he says.
The stigma of snitches, widely discussed among the encarcerated, is amply given
prominence, by Ribisi's torment in his own Father having been one, etc
Perhaps a weakness of this picture, is the suggestion that an individual having been shot
1 or 2 times, can still retain consciousness for 10 or 15 minutes longer, with no help,
and keep walking along, climbing stairs, moving - perhaps not quite rooted in reality,
or even, recovering from a blast to the stomach from a pistol, and other shots, in
separate events, with no repercussions.
Next, some eye candy is offered to the public, dancing girls manning the poles, bar
maids, drunks, bar fights, bouncers, the weakness in face of the need for sex,
plenty of inner city outdoor scenes, is shown.
The soundtrack is exactly as required, from its minimal role in the movie, further
emphasizing the subtlety of the picture, necessary to give meaning to other moments,
in terms of underlying feelings, emotions, human relationships, etc.
The filming is no-nonsense, excellent wide-screen and consistent high quality.
The acting, filming, the drawing of the audience into the action makes this DVD remarkable
and worth seeing, although James Marsden's acting might be an acquired taste, yet reminiscent
of the late Brad Davis.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If you've seen DONNIE BRASCO, you've seen parts of 10TH & WOLF.
Here we have Tommy (James Marsden, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) trying to set his life straight. After finding out that his father was a hit-man for a local boss, Tommy soon sees him gunned down on the street. Twelve-year-old Tommy never forgets this and once eighteen, joins the marines and is whisked off to the Persian Gulf. He fights the war his country tells him to fight, only to learn that they can't go into Baghdad and capture Saddam in the end. Tommy loses control of himself, hits an MP, and steals a colonel's Jeep. Now in hot-water, and facing a court martial, he is shipped back to the brig in the U.S. where he's approached by Agent Horvath (Brian Dennehy, COCOON) of the FBI. Tommy is told that what remains of his family is in danger. His brother Vincent (Brad Renfro, GHOST WORLD) has fallen in with a friend's "business." This friend is Joey (Giovanni Ribisi, THE GIFT) who's attempting to become a boss of his own. The hitch is that Joey also saved Tommy's life once, and Tommy loves Joey like a second brother. Agent Horvath explains that another wannabe boss in the area needs to be caught on tape with incriminating evidence so that they can put him away. Joey and Tommy's brother Vincent will be given an easy deal IF Tommy cooperates.
Tommy returns to 10th and Wolf, his true home, and rekindles his friendship with Joey. But once in tight with him, Tommy's values toward family and friends comes creeping up. That he cares deeply for Joey is all too evident; he may even care more for Joey than he does his own brother, something that is touched on in the film.
In the end, Tommy has to make a tough decision that is supposed to save his brother, but put Joey in harms way. Not willing to let Joey go through the danger alone, Tommy accompanies him into an explosive situation, only to learn that his brother Vincent's mortal coil may have been shed already.
Although fairly predictable, the story has some wonderful acting moments. Giovanni Ribisi was flawless as the cocky start-up Joey. Every scene he was in felt electrified. There's one in particular that stands out. It is where he and Tommy stand near a fence toward the end of the film and Joey speaks of trust and those who wear wires for "the good guys." It is a very touching and dangerous moment, because the audience doesn't know if Joey is going to kill Tommy or if his cold heart actually has a place for Tommy in it.
That there aren't any "big bosses" around adds a tension to the flick that is often lacking in other more gratuitously violent mafioso movies. Joey and another small time crook are trying to become godfathers of their own in the small community, and it is their battles with the past, as much as with each other, that makes this film stand out above its predecessors.