Last I Heard Review – Mob Flicks Just Ain’t What They Used To Be

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Last I Heard,” from Fuzzy Productions and Cine Relevante, brings to the screen a new take on a story as old as the mean streets of Manhattan, that of a Made man losing control and regaining family dominance.

Starring Paul Sorvino, Michael Rapaport, Renee Props, Andrea Nittoli, Paul Ben-Victor, William DePaolo, Steven Bauer and Chazz Palminteri, “Last I heard” was directed and written by David Rodriguez.

Last I Heard” opens with a collage of moments lost recaptured by the headlines of Mafia glory days: the New York five families, turf wars, defending the life, building organized criminal empires along with, of course, the headlines that included arrests, discovering of the dead, or at least parts of them, and the FBI dismantling the last of them.

Paul Sorvino plays aging mobster, Joseph Scoleri, a John Gotti type, and shows up as the steel gate slowly opens and he walks out, a free man, older than the headline image introductions, after twenty long years in prison. Apparently, the days when the families owned someone inside are over or at least limited. He wasn’t doing hard labor but certainly not easy street either.  Scoleri’s release is due to his ailing health. Expected to pass away soon, the feds seemed to have a moment of humanity and set the old guy free.

Mr. Joe, as the audience is told by Bobby DiBianco, played by Michael Rapaport, was the man, the boss of bosses in his old Queens neighborhood. With the backdrop of New York City, each city block a story unto itself brings Mr. Joe back to the streets he controlled. Chazz Palminteri, plays Ben Rose, Mr. Joe’s long time trusted confident and lawyer. Palminteri appears in the beginning handling the Do Not orders provided within the conditions of his parole.

In addition to the crew that would like to meet, Mr. Joe is pursued by the local FBI who simply wants to harass a dying man.

Caught in the middle is DiBianco, a traditional neighborhood guy left the local deli by his parents, who made the move to Florida. Just a kid when Mr. Joe was sent to prison, DiBianco, retells the glory days stories with the locals, Carmine LoRocca, played by Johnny Williams, Vinnie Nero, played by Paul Ben-Victor, and Anthony, played by William DePaolo, who hang at his deli.

For an aging mobster, twenty years in the slammer may have taken him off the streets but not out of the minds of the neighborhood and didn’t diminish the respect from those who remember.  Life doesn’t wait, as people do, when someone cared for is incarcerated and it is no different in this film.

Last I heard” has a duel storyline that revolves around father and daughter, Rita Scoleri, played by name Renee Props, who is dealing with her own skeletons and feelings which adds a nice friction as she is living life her way, unusual in that type of family business.

Last I Heard” is a kinder, gentler, Mob film, with zings and whammies around every corner. Rodriguez created so many is this really happening or WTF (!?) moments that it truly seemed genuine almost like it could my family reunion; twenty years of living without concern of parental approval and then, well, father comes home.  It was engaging from the beginning. A fan of mob films, I had hoped it would lean more toward the heyday and then I realized I was really into it.

Sorvino, is just as commanding on screen as during his more famous mobster roles and is joined by a talented group of familiar faces including Chazz Palminteri, Michael Rapaport, Steven Bauer and Johnny Williams.

No  self-respecting mob flick would be complete without the instructions of how to make-a-da-sauce. “Last I Heard” is no different. Its mob aged and modernized, like fine wine and mozzarella. I enjoyed it.

Last I Heard” premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival and opens in limited release June 2013.

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