(it) wrote: The movie has some good structure, esp. in a labyrinth under Moscow, threatening to be full of demons. Joss Ackland, Oksana Akinshina and Vincent Gallo give it some depth with their characters in searching for a long lost friend. Some parts are scary with the disappearances of friends, and the presence of spirits, but not overall a great horror film. (Val Kilmer was on film for a few scenes! Why was he on the cover?)
(jp) wrote: Good movie. Hearts in Atlantis isn't completely new in the family drama mixed with mystery man thriller, but with that general air of a King adaptation involving childhood, the supernatural, and "reunion," it brings some great performances from Yelchin, Boorem, & Hopkins, and an entertaining story.
(ca) wrote: Better Than Anticipated Honestly, Antonio Fargas may well be the best part of this, and his Lindy is certainly the most sociologically interesting character. Yeah, you've got a lot of the token rebels, the same sorts who populate most movies set in this time and this general place. The Muslim, the Maoist, the slightly suspicious reverend, and so forth. However, the way they interact is the way they interacted in dozens of movies before, would in dozens of movies yet to come. Even the funny bits aren't terribly surprising. However, swishing through it all is the delightfully flaming Lindy, so confident in himself that he effectively puts down the Muslim (in a scene which makes it into [i]The Celluloid Closet[/i]). The part that's truly surprising is that, yes, the Muslim is the only one who really seemed to have a problem with Lindy. Even that almost seems to be because he needs a way to feel superior to the others. We are spending a day at the car wash. This is an old-fashioned hand-wash place run by Mr. Barrow (Sully Boyar) and staffed with your requisite wacky crew. Honestly, they all kind of run together. A few stand out--Lindy, naturally, and Duane/Abdullah (Bill Duke). TC (Franklyn Ajaye), who spends the whole day trying to win tickets from a radio station and then convince I think Mona (Tracy Reed) to go out with him. There are all sorts of hijinks and all sorts of crazy customers. There's no real coherent story here; it's just a bunch of stuff that happens. But even though I can't safely identify much of anyone here by name, many of them are distinct enough so that you can pick them out while watching the movie. One character, Lonnie (Ivan Dixon), is trying to raise a family on not enough money, and the ideas he has to make the car wash make more money are being ignored. One character is in a debate with his girlfriend about going back to school. Two of the characters seem to have a minor rivalry of pranks with one another. And so forth. And then there's gratuitous George Carlin as a taxi driver who spends the entire movie looking for a prostitute, actually credited as "Marlene the Hooker" (Lauren Jones), who stiffed him for a fare. The idea that he's not going to do anything about it by searching for her all day does not occur to him. There is also gratuitous Richard Pryor as "Daddy Rich," a minister who's open about the fact that he wants money, and lots of it, from his flock. He's also followed by the inexplicable presence of the Pointer Sisters. He holds a little court at the shoeshine rack (I'm not sure who plays the shoeshine man), then goes away again. Obviously, most of the movie plays out as "then goes away again," but of all those people, only Richard Pryor (onscreen maybe five or ten minutes) makes it onto the poster. It's pretty clear that anyone could have played the part, but Richard Pryor earned them money. This is almost by definition a cult movie. There are only a couple dozen reviews by professional critics here on the site, but they're almost all positive. Hardly anyone has heard of this movie at all, frankly. I'd only heard about it from the aforementioned [i]Celluloid Closet[/i] appearance. It would not come up in a Blaxploitation search, because it really isn't. It's just a simple, silly comedy. Roger compares it to [i]M*A*S*H[/i], and I can go there. Okay, I haven't seen the movie version of [i]M*A*S*H[/i] in years--I think I saw it on [i]Dialing for Dollars[/i] when I was living in Port Angeles--and didn't much like it, but from what I recall of it, I can see the similarity in feel. There are plots here, but they almost don't matter. Do we care if Irwin (Richard Brestoff) succeeds in swaying anyone to the wisdom of Chairman Mao? We do not. (I note that he refers to a quote as being from "Ibid," which proves a bit about his educational standing.) We don't have to. It's just a bunch of stuff that happens. In the end, it's the people who matter, not the plot. Marlene spends, judging by what's going on outside, at least an hour in the car wash bathroom getting ready for going to "work." We don't know for sure who Joe is and why she's trying to get in touch with him, but the movie is really just presenting us with a portrait. A series of portraits. This is not great art, but it's not really trying to be. Honestly, little effort seems to be put into much of anything. It just fits together. George Carlin gets to ramble for a minute or two at a time at the beginning, and then he just sort of pops up demanding to know if anyone has seen a tall, blonde black woman. It really doesn't matter beyond that. The customers with the dog are just there to be customers with a dog. And so forth. That's just how things go at that car wash. We don't know how things will go tomorrow. We don't know how things went yesterday. And in the end, we don't have to. It's just what happened today.
(br) wrote: In todays standards more weird and comical in its absurdity than it is shocking. One of the most interesting things about this movie is not what it shows from different cultures with their states and customs but how the konstant jumping between them creates a montage effect. This makes the films meaning one of mankinds degeneration, which is underlined by the ironic use of editing and music. Even though it eventually becomes a bit boring watching all the different absurdities being told by a falsely objective narrator, some of the things shown in the film still has a strong effect on the viewer, much thanks to the powerful music.