Digital Copy, Making of, trailer.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN QUEENS:
After being in prison for the past 20 years for all the crimes committed when being the mob boss of Queens, Joe Scoleri (played by Paul Sorvino) will have to relearn how to live as a free man. This time around won't be as easy for him before going to prison. In the old days he could go where he wanted when he wanted and see anyone he wanted to but now he has a parole officers to answer to. His new life is full of limitations and regulations. Joe can't see, talk, listen to, or even be near any of his old friends and associates. If not for his daughter Rita (played by Renee Props) and his next door neighbor Bobby (played by Michael Rapaport). Between his daughter trying to get reconnected with Joe and make him realize that the old ways are no longer the current ways of life and Bobby getting in trouble with other mobsters and the law just for trying to make Joe feel comfortable being back in the neighborhood, Joe also has to deal with his failing health while living in a world that has moved past what he knows.
LAST I HEARD:
Are you wondering why I gave, “Last I Heard”, as a title head for this part of the review? That's because that's what the movie was originally called before getting changed to Once Upon A Time In Queens. I bring that up because if you are looking up about this movie, like I did, you will find more on it with the original title then with the new one. Now that I got that out of the way let me talk some about this movie that I just sat through waiting for the moments to happen that makes it such a great film (that's according to some of the reviews I've read on it.)
I watched some more.
I waited even longer.
It never came.
For a plot the movie is simple, there's a guy getting out of prison that's an old mob boss that now has to deal with living in a world that he knows nothing about, his daughter has a shocking secret that might destroy the fragile bond they have, a neighbor trying to be friendly, and the law coming down on them. Well, that's a decent start to a story but what happens once all this is told in the first 10 minutes? Nothing does. That's because that summery that I told, that's the whole 100 minute long movie. Once Upon A Time In Queens is a movie about a few characters talking to each other, some moments are good, some are boring, and some seem forced, but it's just a lot of talking.
During that time of talking, the actors do a decent job in making their characters real and believable. Paul Sorvino has had many years to perfect the role of a mob guy and now that he is an older man, having to play as the old mob boss was a good fit for him. Which he does well in this movie. He has a good feel for emotional transitions with his character. One minute he's this nice old man who is having trouble in the modern world to being that old mob guy who will break your legs and poof back to the old man. It's amazing how he can make his character look like a fragile old man to suddenly being someone you should be afraid of. As for the other big names in this movie, like Chazz Palminteri and Michael Rapaport, both are just as good with their characters but only one is actually in the movie. Even though Chazz Palminteri is listed on the cover of the DVD he's in it for a few minutes and his role of a lawyer is no more than him saying, hey Joe, don't be a mob guy anymore. If not for him playing that role, that role would have been useless and unneeded. And for Michael Rapaport who plays the neighbor Bobby, he does what he's done for years, makes you like his character and feel like he would be someone you would like in real life.
That's the good of the movie, the rest of it was just boring and long. During the whole movie I kept waiting for something to happen, between Joe and Bobby, Bobby and the agents, Joe and Rita, or Joe and some other old mob guy but it don't until it's too late and then the movie ends. What this movie gives is a story that takes up 97% of it that should have been told in the first 10 minutes and then gotten on with the rest of the story. Yeah, I get that Joe is old and set in his ways, but does that need to be told throughout the whole movie? What about the confrontations between Bobby and the agents? Shouldn't something come of that by the second time maybe in the first? There's no real point to this movie and nothing ever happens. It's a movie that has an idea, it has decent acting, and then it's over. Will I remember this movie? No. Having a movie full of introduction style moments as the whole movie and then the scene that should have been the catalyst that would drive the rest of the movie as the ending, only made Once Upon A Time In Queens a way too long and drawn out movie that I was bored with 20 minutes into it.