Greg Johnson

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Blue In The Face Review


Good
It took all of five days after wrapping the shoot of Smoke to create Blue in the Face, an (allegedly) all-improvised follow-up to Wayne Wang and Paul Auster's feature centered on a tiny smoke shop in Brooklyn. It's a weird experiment in filmmaking, studded with cameos by Lou Reed, Madonna, Michael J. Fox, Roseanne, Lily Tomlin, and more. Unfortunately, you've probably seen all the funniest bits in the movie's trailer.

Separated into segments with titles like "Brooklyn Attitude," Blue in the Face explores the Brooklyn mystique and the Brooklyn experience with video interviews and impromptu sketches. Everything "Brooklyn" is praised, from Ebbets Field and Jackie Robinson to Belgian Waffles and the sanctity of the local cigar store.

Continue reading: Blue In The Face Review

Lulu On The Bridge Review


OK
Paul Auster (writer of Wayne Wang's Smoke and Blue in the Face) is no stranger to oddball productions. Lulu on the Bridge is another step down the path to David Lynch, with Harvey Keitel as a sax player who gets shot and -- after a miracle recovery that leaves him with one lung -- embarks on an adventure involving Mira Sorvino and a magic rock that glows in the dark. Oh-kayyyyy. It all becomes all-too-apparent what's been going on by the end of this, so after plenty of mood lighting and jazz music, you're released back into the world to completely forget everything you saw. Whatever.

Smoke Review


Good
When you sit in the theater, staring up at the big screen, during the first few minutes of Smoke, you know you're watching an "Art Movie." Smoke obviously has no misgivings about its place in the film chain, being perhaps the best example of a pure character-driven drama to come along in ages.

The sketchy plotline defies explanation. Basically, Smoke is the lazy, drawn-out story of a smoke shop owner, Auggie (Harvey Keitel), his estranged lover (Stockard Channing), a favorite patron/novelist, Paul (William Hurt), and the young man who saves his life (newcomer Harold Perrineau). As $5,000 is kicked around among these characters, their lives interact in unpredictable ways. Sometimes this is interesting, often it's just tiresome.

Continue reading: Smoke Review

Greg Johnson

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