October 14, 2009 |
Since breaking out in the mid-'90s with the hip-hop-flavored "Friday" and the young-women-robbing-banks urban thriller "Set It Off," F. Gary Gray has established himself among the handful of former music video directors who graduated to helming big-budget projects. But after a steady career that included the back-to-back crunch of directing 2003's "The Italian Job" and 2005's "Be Cool" -- two films with more than their share of physical and creative demands -- Gray seemed to vanish, prompting some to wonder about his professional future.
August 31, 2008 |
The 25 best L.A. films of the last 25 years "Los ANGELES isn't a real city," people have said, "it just plays one on camera." It was a clever line once upon a time, but all that has changed. Los Angeles is the most complicated community in America -- make no mistake, it is a community -- and over the last 25 years, it has been both celebrated and savaged on the big screen with amazing efficacy. Damaged souls and flawless weather, canyon love and beach city menace, homeboys and credit card girls, freeways and fedoras, power lines and palm trees . . . again and again, moviegoers all over the world have sat in the dark and stared up at our Los Angeles, even if it was one populated by corrupt cops or a jabbering cartoon rabbit.
August 15, 2003 |
"The Italian Job," which tooled along most of the summer on its way to more than $96 million to date, will shift to a Labor Day weekend sprint, with Paramount boosting its dwindling theater count to between 1,500 and 2,000 venues. The well-reviewed film had done modest but steady business following its debut May 30, but competition for screens from newer wide releases since mid-July has reduced the number of theaters still showing the movie to 217.
March 4, 2005 |
Ten years ago, the amusing "Get Shorty," based on the Elmore Leonard novel, introduced John Travolta as Chili Palmer, a Miami loan shark and movie fan, who on a trip to L.A. became convinced the motion picture business was a snap compared to wheeling and dealing in the underworld. Palmer is back in "Be Cool," and although Travolta is as smooth as ever, the picture is a bust, a grimly unfunny comedy with no connection to reality, and worst of all, running on and on for two dismal hours.
October 19, 2009 |
If the revenge thriller seems like an especially inflexible genre, it might be because its founding formula is basically a biblical credo: an eye for an eye. In film after film, a vigilante hero is wronged and because of the failures of the legal system must take matters into his -- or, in some cases, her -- own hands. There is no real suspense over the outcome -- payback is exacted, in due course -- but the nominal pleasures of most of these movies lie precisely in their familiarity, in their brazen appeal to our most basic instincts.
May 30, 2003 |
A helicopter shot picks up six men standing on a snowy mountaintop, presumably in the Alps, celebrating the perfect heist of $35 million in gold ingots that provides the jaw-dropping opening of the breezy caper movie "The Italian Job." Each member of mastermind Mark Wahlberg's gang muses about what he's going to do with his share of the loot except for daring "inside" man Edward Norton, and that's because he's about to snatch all the loot for himself.