MONUMENT AVE. directed by Ted Demme; Miramax, 1998

What would otherwise be your run-of-the-mill, gangsters trying to break-the-cycle of-violence film is elevated by the performance of Dennis Leary playing a coked-out, two-bit car thief who runs with a modern day Irish outfit out of Boston. Call the sleeper patrol on this one! Leary who is fairly well type-cast at this point, with little to no hope of breaking the mold, puts on a truly incendiary show here. Strong writing and direction with an accompaniment of solid character acting (up and comers, Billy Crudup and Famke Janssen) supporting him doesn’t hurt either. Extra points for novelty scored by the inclusion of Greg Dulli as one of the bosses’ henchmen, a mush-mouthed thug who justly gets his cap peeled. Sorry to give away part of the ending but you can’t deny that knowing this in advance makes it more worth the rental price!

-Peter Davis


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