The Underneath Reviews
"For passion, betrayal and murder... there's still no place like home."
First off, I haven't seen Criss Cross, so I'm judging this movie based only on itself. It's definitely my least favorite film from Soderbergh. The acting is bad and the dialogue is also horrible. Peter Gallagher, while by no means a terrible actor, just can't hold a movie like this up by himself. William Fitchner is good in his role, but it is still to small to make the movie any better for it. The worst acting comes from two women though, Elizabeth Shue and Alison Elliot. They made ever scene that they were in unbearable to watch.
Michael returns home because his mom is getting remarried. His new stepdad offers to help him get a job as an armored truck driver. It is pretty obvious what is going to happen from here. He's going to try to pull off a robbery. Along the way, he tries to rekindle his relationship with his ex-wife, who is now married to a crook.
The only saving grace in this film, is Soderbergh's cool little tricks that you see in all his movies. In the end, it isn't enough to save an overall worthless film. The movie meanders on at an amazingly boring rate for an hour and then decides to speed up for the last thirty. Then the plot gets all twisty and it just doesn't work. I didn't buy the ending at all.
Still, it's worth a look if you are a Soderbergh fan. If not, this definitely isn't going to make you one. It would probably just turn you against him more.
See Criss Cross, for sure.
NIGHT AND THE CITY[/b]
I just don't like Richard Widmark. That's the tough part about enjoying a film like this. I don't like his acting style. He's over-the-top, but not in a charming, Heston kind of way and it bothers me. Aside from that the film was entertaining, but nothing special. This could be another case of high expectations, since the only other Jules Dassin film I've seen is [i]Rififi[/i], the best film noir I've had the pleasure of seeing, but I don't think so. I just think this was a decent film that became less decent by an annoying lead.
[/b]Equal parts interesting and scary, this is a documentary that everyone should see. I had issues with the length, but it's understandable considering how much footage they had after finishing shooting. To trim it down to 2 1/2 hours is pretty remarkable. Still, parts dragged a bit, but when it was at it's best it was jaw-dropping. It certainly instilled a more urgent sense of fear for our country's future, though I'm not sure that's such a good thing.
[/b]This film couldn't have had a more apt title. I say that because underneath the surface of this film was the Soderberg I've come to know and love. He was peeking out at me as if to say "Cut me some slack, I was still learning". The first hour of this film is sluggish at best, nap-enducing at worst. It also falls into that territory of having no likable characters. In a neo-noir, that's usually not a problem, but Soderberg spent a lot of time setting up the characters as if he wanted the audience to get to know them and get behind them. I couldn't do it, and the film suffered. It had some nice moments, but overall was completely forgettable.
[/b]I'll get this out of the way right off the bat. Yes, Kevin Bacon is amazing in this film. Yes, he deserves all the credit and probably should have been nominated for an Oscar. That said, the film didn't live up to his performance. It reeked of rookie outing and had some glaring flaws that I couldn't look beyond. The first was Candy, who played a very convenient role. The second was the style, which felt very amateur. The third was hiring Eve, who had a simple role that most anyone could have played. Her presence was unnecessary and distracting. She wasn't all that great either. The fourth was the beginning of Bacon and Sedgewick's relationship, which I thought could have been handled a bit better, and would have been more believable. It had some powerful moments, especially Bacon's conversation with Robin in the park at the end of the film. That was spectacular. Overall though I was underwhelmed and was left wondering what could have been.