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True Romance Review


Essential
Pardon the unprofessional lingo, but True Romance is one of the more awesome movies of the past 20 years. It is a film about the guttural connection between the heart and soul and the blood and guts. It is a brilliant romance about people who love movies, are obsessed with Elvis, and who love so deeply that they will kill in the most heinous, merciless, cold-blooded ways. It may seem contradictory to call a movie like this both hardboiled and sweet, but True Romance is a movie that thrives on its contradictions. It is wacky, scary, violent, funny, and completely off-the-wall -- just like love itself.

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.

Continue reading: True Romance Review

The Darwin Awards Review


Good
Poor Finn Taylor can't catch a break. By all reports he's the nicest guy in the world, and he typically toils for three or four years on each indie flick he directs. When they finally hit the screen they flop. His last outing, Cherish, was a bizarre story about a cop falling in love with a girl under house arrest who he's assigned to watch. I guess it wasn't bizarre enough, though. I had to reread my review of it just to fully remember what it was about. Cherish bombed with a $180,000 gross.

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.

Continue reading: The Darwin Awards Review

Reservoir Dogs Review


Extraordinary
Now here's a stellar directorial debut from some guy named Quentin Tarantino.

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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After The Sunset Review


Weak
Before I begin my review of After the Sunset, there is one thing I need to get off my chest. Salma Hayek...awoogah!!!

Thank you for permitting that interruption.

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Rush Hour 2 Review


Good
I enjoyed the original Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy that grossed more than $250 million worldwide. Through its central characters, played by Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, the film provided audiences with a fresh, exciting combination of action and outrageous comedy. Although not a great film, and certainly not worthy of a sequel, director Brett Ratner admirably stitched together two immensely different characters, finding a charismatic delight in the diversity of Tucker and Chan.

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.

Continue reading: Rush Hour 2 Review

The Florentine Review


Weak
The Florentine has that desperate desire to be Reservoir Dogs, with a rogues' gallery of ex-cons, mobsters, and sad sacks all trying to make a go at life and intersecting at their favorite bar. Alas, few of their stories are worth paying much attention to, though James Belushi is (unintentionally) hysterical as a scam artist taking advantage of poor Luke Perry.

Masked & Anonymous Review


Bad
Masked & Anonymous, as a title, comes across as a vague, artsy moniker as inaccessible as the film it represents. But look closer at the name of this movie about revolution and despair, and you'll discover a clear reference to the film's writers; credited as Rene Fontaine and Sergei Petrov, the screenwriters have been unmasked, as it were, revealed to be the film's iconic star, Bob Dylan, and director Larry Charles (HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm).

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.

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Deceiver Review


Good
It's becoming pretty trendy to try to surprise the viewer. It seems like, every time I turn around, some critic friend of mine is blurbing about "a twist ending rivaling such-and-such film." The such-and-such is normally some not-that-obscure, not-that-old film such as The Usual Suspects, 12 Monkeys, The Sixth Sense. My personal favorite would be calling it a "Nowhere Man" ending, after the short-lived ultraparanoid UPN series about a photographer whose existence is erased. At the end of it all, he finds that he was never a photographer to begin with and that he is the head of the organization he has been fighting against and created a new identity and memories for himself so that the security of their conspiracies could be tested.

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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Footloose Review


Good
Hey everybody, let's dance!

The teen, male version of Flashdance inspired a love of dancing to bad pop music -- especially if you could do the move where you run, jump, and slide on the dance floor on your knees. Cool, man!

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Corky Romano Review


Zero

Why do you suppose "Saturday Night Live" stars seem to be no more discriminating when picking movie scripts than zoo monkeys are when they eat their own feces? Are they that desperate to see themselves on the big screen?

And what kind of studio executive can live with himself after green-lighting a picture in which the infuriatingly shrill Chris Kattan nancies his way through a lobotomized plot about the nitwit son of a mob boss going undercover in the FBI? I mean, is it all about the money? Do these producers and actors have any shame or integrity whatsoever?

If "Corky Romano" is any indication, clearly they do not. An aimless parade of puerile ploys for Kattan to launch into unwatchably histrionic slapstick buffoonery, the movie revolves around a ludicrously benevolent mafia don (Peter Falk, desperately clinging to his dignity) calling home the shunned white sheep of his family to steal evidence from the feds so he won't go to jail.

Continue reading: Corky Romano Review

Chris Penn

Chris Penn Quick Links

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Chris Penn Movies

Reservoir Dogs Movie Review

Reservoir Dogs Movie Review

Now here's a stellar directorial debut from some guy named Quentin Tarantino. Before he...

After The Sunset Movie Review

After The Sunset Movie Review

Before I begin my review of After the Sunset, there is one thing I need...

Murder by Numbers Movie Review

Murder by Numbers Movie Review

Since her "breakthrough" performance in the Sylvester Stallone action vehicle Demolition Man, I've never much...

Rush Hour 2 Movie Review

Rush Hour 2 Movie Review

I enjoyed the original Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy that grossed more than $250...

Mulholland Falls Movie Review

Mulholland Falls Movie Review

Just so you know, there are no waterfalls in Los Angeles. The titular Mulholland...

Masked & Anonymous Movie Review

Masked & Anonymous Movie Review

Masked & Anonymous, as a title, comes across as a vague, artsy moniker as inaccessible...

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