I thought it sounded interesting when I first read about it recently--a musical comedy from director John Turturro and producers Joel and Ethan Coen and starring James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Christopher Walken, Eddie Izzard, Elaine Stritch and Amy Sedaris.
Wow, with such a wonderful cast, the movie has to be great!
Silly me. "Romance & Cigarettes" is just plain awful. It was filmed back in 2005, but it was only released in New York City a few weeks ago--BUT it is available on PAL Region 2 DVD, which is how I--unfortunately--got to see it.
I just wasn't expecting it to be so bad. It's not a comedy because it sure isn't very funny. Weird maybe--and often boring--but definitely not funny. And the musical numbers aren't very good--except for Sarandon's Janis Joplin number in a church, which isn't too bad. After that "high point", the film takes a major nosedive. If you don't want me to ruin the movie for you, skip to the next paragraph: Here's the plot in a nutshell--it's about a guy (Gandolfini) who cheats on his wife (Sarandon) with a nasty slut (Winslet)--this is the romance part of the title--and then he ends up dying in the end from lung cancer--this is the cigarettes part of the title. It's a real laugh riot.
However, I couldn't take my eyes off the TV. I kept thinking "this has got to get better". Again, silly me--the movie only gets worse as it progresses. And when Gandolfini dies in the end, I didn't cry. I didn't care--about any of the characters. In fact, I was greatly relieved since I knew the film had to end soon. And, thank God, it did.
Talk about a huge disappointment. I was shocked at how bad this film is. SHOCKED!!! What a waste of talent--Sarandon, Stritch, Sedaris, Walken, Parker--some of my favorite actors. I would love to see a great musical comedy with all of these actors in it. But sadly "Romance & Cigarettes" isn't it. Instead it's my choice--so far--for this year's worst film. In fact, it's probably the worst film I've seen since the '90s. It's that horrible. Trust me.
I found this film a bit disappointing--and not very funny. Frank Langella is the best thing in it--he's quite handsome and is letter perfect in his role. Dom DeLuise is his usual amusing self, but his scenes don't quite gell with the rest of the film. Unfortunately, Mr. Brooks has a small part. I kept thinking while watching the movie that if Mel had played the lead role (instead of Ron Moody, who just isn't that funny), then the movie might've worked better. As it is, it has a few funny moments, but overall I was kinda bored. Worth watching once just for Mr. Langella's terrific hair and sexy eyes--and, of course, his performance.
Saw this flick tonight and loved it. If you're in the mood to laugh, go see this hysterical romp about a man trying to give his late father a dignified funeral that turns into a living nightmare. Great comic performances from the entire cast, especially Alan Tudyk (who has a very nice butt--in case that may interest you), Daisy Donovan, Matthew MacFadyen and Peter Dinklage. If I laugh out loud during a film, it has to be pretty good--and this one is. Go see it right now!
Excellent drama about a young schoolteacher (played by the wonderful Sandy Dennis) and her experiences in an inner-city New York high school. Somewhat similar to "To Sir, With Love", but less hip with no hit song from Lulu, "Staircase" is a smaller, quieter gem of a movie. Released in July 1967 (one month after "To Sir" was released) and directed by Robert Mulligan (who also did "To Kill a Mockingbird", "Summer of '42" and the creepy "The Other"), "Staircase" also stars Jean Stapleton (long before she became Edith Bunker) and Eileen Heckart (if you don't know who she is, watch "Butterflies Are Free"--she won an Oscar for it). But the main reason to watch this movie is for the lovely performance of Miss Dennis--she just lights up the screen and makes an ordinary character extraordinary. I'm happy to report that "Staircase" will be released on DVD in November so now many more people will be able to enjoy this great film.