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All Critics (27)
| Top Critics (8)
| Fresh (20)
| Rotten (7)
| DVD (3)
The Cotton Club is an expensive fiasco that meanders through the '20s and '30s with flimsy characters and a pointless plot.
It's the most entertaining art film of the year, the kind of movie you can't help smiling along with.
Dramatically, Coppola and coscreenwriter William Kennedy, juggle a lot of balls in the air. The parallel stories of Gere and Hines' professional rise prove more potent, thanks largely to a mixture of romance, music and gangland involvement.
Given its garish production history, one rather expected The Cotton Club to sing with hot-jazz desperation. Instead, we get the mediocre craftsmanship of a pit band in Vegas.
It was the most assured film Coppola had made in a decade, full of casual wit and visual invention.
The narrative is a mess despite the simplistic twinning of tales.
The music and dancing isn't enough of a substitute to make this a satisfying film and it may seem more distended than it really is.
Sharply uneven, Coppola's period musical about he famous Harlem club is lavishly produced but shallow.
This musical gangster movie is a tour de force, even if a little muddled.
Lavish, interesting, evocative but strained and self-conscious, Cotton Club is all watchable curiosity.
Energetic and involving.
Coppola's most shamefully underrated movie.
The main reason why I watched this was that I worked on a stage show starring Maurice Hines and he mentioned this as a highlight of his and his brother's career. Most of the song and dance numbers don't advance the plot, which weakens the story overall. However, it is too bad that this lost so much money upon release because, separately, the musical numbers and the plot about crime and fame have such good production values. Gregory and Maurice Hines play tap dancing brothers based on their own relationship and performing styles. Gregory's character goes solo at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem, which was only open to white audiences. His character falls for a woman of mixed race. Otherwise, Coppola and whoever really deserves credit for writing don't seem to know how to develop the black characters. They are still pushed to the background. Bob Hoskins and James Remar play real life gangsters, Owney Madden and Dutch Schultz, respectively. Richard Gere and Nicolas Cage play a pair of brothers, as well. And each of them is loosely based on a real person, though not a real pair of brothers. Gere, who is really playing the trumpet on the soundtrack, plays the character Dixie Dwyer, who is likely a version of the 30s and 40s actor George Raft. The award nominated editing and art direction are eye catching. Coppola does generally direct a team that can visually quote other classic films of the genre and the era. But mainly, because of the ensemble cast, and actors playing celebrities in cameo roles, this deserves another look.
Good motion picture, but The Cotton Club presents some cliches of gangsters movies. Whatever, Coppola made a remarkable film.
While not the Godfather (and what is really...besides Godfather 2, but I digress)
The Cotton Club is a great entertaining little movie. All controversy about it's making aside Coppola and Evans managed to craft a thoroughly entertaining film with several great scenes and mostly solid performances (I'm looking at you Nic Cage and James Remar). I can say however, that this is hands down, the single best tap dancing gangster film ever made.
Period gangster drama set around a nightclub in the 20s that's a little lacking in substance.
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