Friday, October 10, 2014

Indie Film Spotlight - Once Upon a Time in Queens

Originally, this movie was known as Last I Heard, but has since changed to Once Upon a Time in Queens which I feel suits the material perfectly. Directed by David Rodriguez, the film stars Michael Rapaport, Chazz Palminteri, Renee Props, and the late Paul Sorvino.

This film has been hitting the festival circuit pretty hard for the last year and was eventually rewarded by signing a deal with Legendary Pictures. Since then, the name has changed and momentum has begun to build for a picture that could end up gaining quite an audience before it's all said and done. Last I Heard had it's world premier during the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival and I had a chance to interview director David Rodriguez as well as several members of the cast including stars Renee Props and Paul Ben-Victor.

From my review:
When putting this story together, Rodriguez could have taken the easy road and given the audience a story that heads down the obvious road of a former mob boss heading back into "the life", but instead he chose to stay focused on the more intimate and personal connections while still keeping that obvious threat looming in the background. Every time Joe walked down the street or picked up the phone, you worried about whether he might make the wrong decision and this dynamic is exactly what drives the point of this movie home.

Rodriguez noted in the interview how there are "centuries worth of experience" when you put everyone's years of service together. Paul Sorvino alone has been in more movies than you would ever know what to do with including classics like Goodfellas and Romeo and Juliet, but has never had a role quite like this one. Michael Rapaport has also played countless characters in both movies and TV shows all the way back to his debut in 1992's Zebrahead (Yeah, I went there!) and is widely known for his consistency in delivering quality performances.

As Once Upon a Time in Queens continues to show in theaters around the country, I am hopeful that it achieves the success that it deserves. It's not very often you come across such an honest and well written movie filled with characters that you can't help but enjoy watching on screen.

CLICK HERE to read my full review of the movie.


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