Not unlike his cigar-shop patter with Harvey Keitel in "Blue in the Face," the great American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has now released a feature length collection of café-style conversation. It consists of eleven semi-fictional segments, the first three of which were released as short films in 1986, 1989 and 1993 respectively. In each, various agents of cool meet at cafes for the title beverage and its symbiotic smokes.
The participants can be as well known as Stephen Wright, Roberto Benigni, Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Cinque and Joie Lee, Steve Buscemi, Steve Coogan, Alfred Molina, Bill Murray, the RZA and the GZA, or, like the gorgeous Renee French, they can be unknown to everyone except Jarmusch and a small cache of insiders. No less a talent than Cate Blanchett appears opposite herself, playing both a movie star and the movie star's lesser-known cousin.
Nothing much holds the eleven segments together, other than their luscious black-and-white photography -- shot by several different cinematographers over the years -- that only emphasizes the eternal coolness of smart people sitting around and talking about nothing. Certain lines of dialogue pop up more than once, and more often than not the talkers don't really connect on either a verbal or spiritual level; most of the conversations are lively disagreements. None of the world's problems gets solved.
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