2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

Members' Marquees

Critical Contacts

Lobby Reading

The Video Store

Reel Resources

The Blog Bijou

-Admit One
-Artistic Delusions
-Belligerent Bunny's Bad Movie Shrine
-Beware of Blog
-The Brain Drain
Biancolo Notes
-The Big Ticket
-Bitter Cinema
-Black & White World
-Bull Durham's Hot Corner
-Brewed Fresh Daily
-Camille's Film Journal
-The Chutry Experiment
-Cineblog (II)
-Cine Club
-Cinegraphic.Net: The Avante-Garde Film and Video Blog
-Cinema 24
-Cinema News
-Il Cinema Secondo (Italian)
-Cineaste (Russian)
-Cinema Toast
-Concentrated Nonsense
-Confessions of an Indie Filmmaker
-Cult Movies I Dare You to Watch
-Cutting to the Chase
-Cynthia Rockwell's Waiting Room
-The Daily Despair
-The Daily Digest
-Day for Night
-Delta Sierra Arts
-Dinky's Docket
-Distorting the Medium
-Donald Melanson On Movies
-Electric Movies
-Fade In: Blog
-Feeling Listless
-Filmfilter (German)
-Filmtagebuch (German)
-Film Talk
-Five Easy Pieces
-Frank Booth
-A Girl and A Gun
-Glazed Donuts
-GreenCine Daily
-Harlequin Knights
-He Loved Him Some Movies
-The Hobo Reviews
-Hot Buttered Death
-Iggy's Movie Review Weblog
-Iguano Film Blog
-In Development
-Japanese Films' Journal
-Joe Sixpack's Film Blog
-Joe's Weblog & Film Project News
-Junk for Code
-Kumari's Movie Blog
-Lights Out Films
-Like Anna Karina's Sweater (Filmbrain)
-Listen Missy
-Magnolia Girl
-Marley's Ghost
-Media Yenta
-Michael I. Trent
-Moov Goog
-Motime Like the Present
-Movie Boy
-Movie Criticism For the Retarded
-A Movie Diary
-The Movie Generation
-The Movie Marketing Blog
-Movie Retard
-The Movie Review
-Moving Pictures
-Nando's Blog
-Netflix Fan
-Or Kill Me
-Out of Ambit
-Out of Focus
-Paolo - Cinema's Radio Weblog (Italian)
-Pigs and Battleships
-Plot Kicks In
-Pop Culture Junkies
-The Projector
-Qwipster's Movie Reviews
-Reel Reviews (Podcast)
-Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
-The Screening Room
-Screen Watcher
-Short and Sweet
-The Silver Screen
-Stinky Cinema
-Sunset Blvd
-Tagline: A Movie Weblog
Talking Pictures
Tea for One
-Tom Vick's Asian Cinema Blog
-Trailer Park
-Truly Bad Films
Waste of Tape
-Wayne's Movie Blog
Whippin Picadilly
Wittgenstein's Bunnies
-Yay! Movies!
McBain Recommends
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Kill Bill vol 2
Shroom Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Head On
Joker Recommends
-Top 20 List
-House of Flying Daggers
-The Aviator
-Bad Education
Yun-Fat Recommends
-Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
-Los Muertos
-Tropical Malady
Allyn Recommends
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Songs from the Second Floor
Phyrephox Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Design for Living (Lubitsch, 1933)
-War of the Worlds
-Howl's Moving Castle
Melisb Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Return
-Spirited Away
-Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring
Wardpet Recommends
-Finding Nemo
-Man on the Train
-28 Days Later
Lorne Recommends
-21 Grams
-Cold Mountain
-Lost in Translation
Merlot Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Man on the Train
-Safe Conduct
-The Statement
Whitney Recommends
-Femme Fatale
-Gangs of New York
-Grand Illusion
Sydhe Recommends
-In America
-Looney Tunes: Back In Action
-Whale Rider
Copywright Recommends
Top 20 List
-Flowers of Shanghai
-Road to Perdition
Stennie Recommends
Top 20 List
-A Matter of Life and Death
Rodney Recommends
Top 20 List
-The Pianist
-Talk to Her
Jeff Recommends
-Dial M for Murder
-The Game
-Star Wars Saga
Lady Wakasa Recommends
-Dracula: Page from a Virgin's Diary
-Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler
-The Last Laugh
Steve Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
Jenny Recommends
-Mean Girls
-Super Size Me
-The Warriors
Jason Recommends
Top 20 List
-Old Boy
-Million Dollar Baby
-Head On
Lons Recommends
-Before Sunset
-The Incredibles

Powered by Blogger Pro™

links open windows

(c)2002 Design by Blogscapes.com

The Blog:
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The Good Thief

In Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1955 film Bob le Flambeur the title character, an addicted gambler and aging thief, keeps a slot machine neatly hidden in his closet, an extension of the masked seriousness of the film’s noir setting; the Bob of Neil Jordan’s surprisingly fresh revision of Melville’s scenario keeps a roulette wheel in the center of his living room and in The Good Thief it is a embodiment not only of the far more visible harsh reality of Bob’s addictions but also of a change in tone from the original film. Le Flambeur’s funky closet casino suggests all of the light, humorous noir posing of Melville’s classic, the realities of gambling kept quietly behind closed doors, just as Bob’s roulette wheel pushes his character’s dark whims from a devil-may-care atmosphere to the more authentically noir street callousness of Jordon’s world: Bob’s a drinker, a gambler, an old man, a heroin addict and dead broke.

Played to perfection by a disturbingly honest Nick Nolte, the Bob of The Good Thief looks the way Tom Waits sounds and in his worst moments even sounds the way Waits sounds, with the second half of each sentence trailing off into a growling, raspy oblivion. To keep The Good Thief just as satisfying as its predecessor Jordan wisely sets Nolte’s visible grittiness of in a lustrous and shadowed Monte Carlo all full of smoke and neon-if someone gave Christopher Doyle Monte Carlo instead of Hong Kong, Nick Nolte instead of Tony Leung and a steadicam instead of a handheld, you would end up with the dark and dirty gloss of Bob’s sleepless nights.

The plot is classic heist noir, and deliciously generic. As an old thief, convention necessitates Bob to attempt one last score to go out with a bang, and he finds room during his busy days of kicking the habit, shielding a gorgeous young woman from the streets, and dodging the cops and snitches to come up with a heist scam with the elegance and sense of fun embodied in the whole film. Like the some of the best of Raymond Chandler’s work, the plot of the hard-boiler isn’t quite as important as the characters who lurk the streets and spit wit hidden behind urban slang, and while the film never achieves noir perfection (a feat I doubt The Good Thief was even aiming at, it is quite aware this is all just for fun), Jordan liberally peppers the film with enough stinging one-liners and enough interesting characters played by an international cast to let one forget they are watching slick fluff.

The most prominent among Bob’s crowd is Police Lt. Roger, who amusingly wants to stop the heist before it starts because it would break his heart to jail his old friend Bob; Roger owes Bob a life debt and the inimitable Tchéky Karyo brings to the generic French inspector role a suppressed humor and talent for verbal banter that makes his relationship with Nolte almost tender. Suddenly reappearing in an English film after his spectacular turn as the Iraqi interrogator in Three Kings, Saïd Taghmaoui pops up in The Good Thief in one of the best roles from the original film: the young wannabe gangster who idolizes Bob to such an extent that he gladly picks up Bob’s sexual leftovers. The small little creature in question in this tale is the slinkiest, sexiest, most surprising member of Bob’s crew, Anne (played by Nutsa Kukhianidze in her film debut). Sleepy voiced and halfway to a life on the streets Bob nobly rescues her from a pimp and forever gains the smoky allure of one of the best femmes within recent memory to be shot with a canted angle and chiaroscuro lighting. Like Soderbergh in the Ocean’s 11 remake, Neil Jordan has the sense to keep violence and unnecessary sex as far away as possible in his film, though both are bound to pop up eventually, albeit gracefully. In a cinema replete with numerous mediocre and exploitive crime thrillers, an exotic local populated by a talent cache of unique foreign faces and spearheaded by the familiar, expert slumming of Nick Nolte, The Good Thief freshly updates a fun classic by tainting it with a lovingly stylized dark tone, making it the best piece of pseudo-noir fluff in a long time.