The Italian Job (2003)

By Adam Lippe

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When the movie was being released, I heard the story that Ed Norton was forced to do the movie, because he was under contract with Paramount and kept turning down script after script, and this was the last option he was given. And yet, Marky Mark claimed this was the best movie he’d ever been in. Well I believe Norton, because rarely have I seen a major actor, outside of Return of the Jedi, look so bored and unhappy to be there. Norton hides behind a terrible satanish goatee and says his lines with disgust. He has little screen time with the other actors anyway, but you would hardly be able to tell how generally talented and charismatic he normally is. Marky Mark Wahlberg is a terrible actor, so he is adequate considering his limitations.

The opening action scene is well done, but the slickness of the stunt is at first worthy of admiration, except that the screenwriters pull the exact same trick at the end of the movie, which dulls your memory of the intro. The rest of it is perfunctory genre clichés and the only laugh out loud moment is when an actor clearly says the word “motherfucker” (and a 600 pound man at that), but to garner the PG-13 they had to awkwardly redub it “motherfreakin.” Seth Green has one humorous scene where he makes fun of Jason Statham, Charlize Theron looks less pained than she normally does, and therefore much prettier, but I can’t say I wasn’t bored almost the entire time. It’s odd to think that even though this movie was a remake, considering the style and mood of the film, I don’t think they would have bothered with it if Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven hadn’t made so much money.

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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.