A schizoid doppelganger mind-bender wrapped around your standard ticking-bomb scenario (it's hidden somewhere in Los Angeles and could take out the whole basin if detonated -- or something), Face/Off is an utterly lunatic film in the best possible way. Originally a futuristic thriller, the script was retooled for a modern-day setting, keeping several of its sci-fi elements but focusing more intently on its personality-shifting aspects which seemed to come straight out of Woo's international breakthrough, The Killer. An FBI agent, Sean Archer (John Travolta) has been hunting jet-set super-criminal Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) for years. For Archer, it's gone beyond personal to haunted obsession, particularly after Troy tried to shoot Archer but missed and killed his son instead. After a gonzo opening sequence involving a Humvee/private jet showdown on a runway and about ten thousand expended rounds (mostly fired by people flying sideways in slo-mo, of course), Archer's team brings down Troy.
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Fargo is one of those rare pictures about which I have nothing negative to say. Based on an allegedly true story (since debunked as fiction) that took place in North Dakota/Minnesota in 1987, Fargo is the instantly enthralling tale of the financially-troubled Jerry Lundergaard (William H. Macy), a plan to kidnap his wife (Kristin Rudrud), her wealthy father (Harve Presnell), the halfway-competent criminals who screw everything up (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare), and the pregnant cop who's on the case (Frances McDormand).
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Boy, was I wrong. What with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood's singing, a whorehouse being built, a criminal tunnel being dug under "No Name Town," and a polygamous relationship among Marvin, Eastwood, and local honey Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon is so chock full of debauchery one might think Sam Peckinpah had been involved.
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Jeff Daniels writes, directs, and stars in the movie as Fred Barlow, a struggling but fulfilled door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. When his rival competitor, Winslow Schnaebelt (Harve Presnell), agrees to a "winner takes all" contest, they begin an all-out competition to see who can sell the most vacuums over a limited time period.
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