At the heart of all great films is the joy of discovery. We become not merely entertained with a fascinating story and engaging characters, but consumed by a vivid new landscape that excites and frightens us. In its own twisted way, True Romance opens up a whole new world. And this world of pimps, guns, drugs, and love is zanily, ridiculously brilliant. Not often do we see such a world in what is otherwise a simple love story, but that is the essence of True Romance; it is the most warm-hearted movie ever made about killers, coke dealers, and hookers.
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Four years later, Taylor drops another oddball flick on us, and the trouble is obvious before frame one. For starters, the name of the movie is The Darwin Awards, which sounds like it's going to be a documentary about those nutty people who kill themselves doing stupid things, thus earning posthumous "Darwin Awards" (as written up in a series of books of the same name) for ridding the gene pool of their DNA.
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Before he became a household name, Tarantino stunned us all with this low-budget tale analyzing the before-and-after (and remarkably very little of the "during") of a diamond heist. Set largely within the confines of one warehouse, the movie is so chock full of witty and quotable dialogue ("Mr. Brown? That sounds too much like Mr. Shit. ") and eye-popping scenes (when, say, the suspected cop is doused in gasoline and has his ear cut off) that it has become an instant classic. Not incidentally, it also remade both the heist movie and the gangster flick, spawning countless imitations, just like later Tarantino works would do.
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Unfortunately Ratner does not find the same joy in Rush Hour 2, an occasionally amusing comedic adventure that leaves us with a profoundly annoying Chris Tucker fighting for attention while Jackie Chan fights one-dimensional Chinese villains with his bare fists. The film contains some neat action sequences, a great third act, and the most hilarious outtakes I can remember - but the clash of genres feels intrusive and awkward. I wanted more excitement, more character dimension, and a whole hell of a lot less of Chris Tucker's irritating mouth.
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The result of this combination is an overly ambitious film that's as muddled and cryptic as a mumble-filled Dylan vocal. Dylan stars as the symbolically named Jack Fate, an apparent musical legend, jailed in the midst of a brutally downtrodden America where the government has taken over, war is rampant, and even the counter-revolutionaries have counter-revolutionaries.
Continue reading: Masked & Anonymous Review
Deceiver may not be the latest in this trend of trying to trick us, but it is, like most of them, incredibly easy to predict. You see, when you've watched enough movies, you become immune to their tricks. You see through them, know the killer ten seconds in from their first facial expressions.
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"After the Sunset" is a heist flick in which the audience is left out of the best part -- the logistics of the heist. Whose dumb idea was that?
Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek play an ace diamond-snatching couple who begin the film by pulling off their genre-traditional One Last Big Score, swiping a multi-million-dollar rock from an armored FBI transport -- and that scene is actually crackling with creative how-they-done-it details (unlike the rest of the movie), even if the circumstances themselves make no sense. Why would the FBI be transporting a diamond?
After that, they retire to live a quiet life of sunsets on the beach and piña coladas in a Jamaican resort town. The two talented stars take great joy in giving this criminal couple a sexy playfulness that goes beyond the fact that neither of them wears much once the action shifts to the Caribbean. But almost as soon as Brosnan's old FBI nemesis (Woody Harrelson) turns up -- hoping to lure the thief back into the heist life so the lawman can make the big bust that has always eluded him -- the movie springs a leak and begins a slow and torturous sinking.
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Now here's a stellar directorial debut from some guy named Quentin Tarantino. Before he...
Before I begin my review of After the Sunset, there is one thing I need...
Since her "breakthrough" performance in the Sylvester Stallone action vehicle Demolition Man, I've never much...
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