by Jeff Frost
In this corner, weighing in at three Oscars, is Jack Nicholson. In the other corner is Opera Man himself Adam Sandler. Why don’t you have ringside seats yet?
Anger Management tells the story of mild-mannered Dave Buznik (Sandler), whose bad day lands him in the care of unconventional therapist Dr. Buddy Rydell (Nicholson). As Dave tries to clear up what seems to be one giant misunderstanding, Buddy does his best to “cure” his patient. Before long, Dave is questioning who really needs the therapy. Buddy’s unusual treatments only create more chaos. Buddhist monks, porn stars and cats in berets all come along for the ride.
This is a film for Sandler fans, plain and simple. It features a supporting cast and cameos from Sandler’s usual gang of miscreants. New faces to Sandler’s gang include the always-welcome Marisa Tomei, starring as Dave’s girlfriend, Linda.
Sandler plays a loveable loser with repressed rage. Nicholson tries something relatively new as the wacky therapist, coming off his depressingly humorous turn in About Schmidt. Together the two share an uplifting and unbeatable comedic chemistry.
The only thing that hinders the film is the script. Though humorous, the story overextends itself to the point of choppiness. Sandler flicks rarely concern themselves with logical plots, but always tend to derive a sense of heart from the story itself. Perhaps this is their charm.
Although Anger Management is no different, an abundance of subplots drag it down. Sandler’s best material is often written by the man himself.
Despite the film’s minor flaws, Sandler once again proves he can innocently charm anyone and make them laugh while doing it. Nicholson proves that when you’re Jack, you can do anything you damn well please.
The Good Thief
by Lauren Spitzer
Nick Nolte returns to the film scene as a down-and-out narcotics addict and big time thief in Neil Jordan’s The Good Thief. The film, is a remake of Jean Pierre Melville’s classic French film Bob Le Flambeur, Bob the Gambler.
At 61 years old, Bob Montagnet (Nick Nolte) is able to step out of the “stone age” and lead one of the biggest heists ever to strike the French Riviera.
Once his lowly living arrangement becomes more than he can bear, Montagnet decides to abandon his life of heroin use in order to team up with companions Raoul (Gerard Darmon) and Paulo (Said Taghmaoui), and plan a heist on the Casino Riviera. Along the way, Montagnet adds others to his team, including Anne (Nutsa Kukhianidze), the 17-year-old prostitute he rescued from drugs and abusive boyfriends.
Kukhianidze’s debut playing Anne, the only female role in the film, is a nice complement to the Nolte’s father-like character. Nolte uses this to add depth to his character and shine in his role, reclaiming his place in Hollywood.
Like the fake artwork displayed on the walls of the casino, while the real is hidden in a security vault, Montagnet’s team will conduct a double heist, one real and one fake. It is up to Montagnet’s friendly nemesis, policeman Roger, as well as the audience, to decide which is which.
The artwork of Pablo Picasso inspires Montagnet’s thievery, as he dubs the artist, the “best thief that ever lived because he stole [his work] from everybody.”
Mixing thematic elements of Steven Sodherberg’s Ocean’s Eleven, Neil Jordan’s film adds contemporary elements to the authentic portrait of the French Riviera and the life of crime and drugs.
Thief’s cinematographic director enhances the film, creating camera angles that show constant motion combined with still frames, all capturing the essence of the scenery.
The Good Thief is an interesting drama that adequately portrays the goings-on in the French Riviera. Using appropriately placed musical scores throughout the film, director Jordan fine-tunes the classical elements of French film noir.