Friday, November 19, 2004

Shades of a Good Movie

Just watched a rather interesting film, Shade, starring quite a few well known, although somewhat past their prime, actors.

The story is fairly simple, a group of conmen played by Gabriel Byrne, Stuart Townsend and Thandie Newton, reunite for one last shakedown, this time poker legend, The Dean, played by Sylvester Stallone. There's some good talent rounding out the supporting cast, including Melanie Griffith, Jamie Foxx, and Hal Holbrook. There's even an apearence by Star Trek alum Michael Dorn, looking his most un-Warf-ish ever.

Foxx's role is far too brief, he just plays a mark at the beginning of the film, as is Holbrook's, who gets more out of his five minutes than Townsend gets in the whole movie. Overall it's very well acted though, I even enjoyed Griffith's performance, which is very rare for me.

There are elements from the much better film, Rounders that do pop up now and then, and there's even some of that "not what you think it is" element that The Usual Suspects made so famous. Worth a rent, and the DVD has quite a few extras, including a commentrak and two featurettes.

For those wondering, yes Stallone is pretty good. He doesn't have much to do except look imposing and spit out a few lines of dialogue now and then, but it's still the best performance he's turned in in quite sometime. Thandie Newton was a surprise, she seemed to fall of the face of the earth after the failure that was The Truth About Charlie. She's not a bad actress, and given the right role she could be excellent, but this isn't it. Byrne is the most notable of the bunch, you're never sure if you should like him or hate him, even after the all-too-obvious plot twist towards the end.


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