Disorganized Crime

Jim Kouf, the writer of Stakeout, scripted and directed this shaky heist film, which is a comic variant on The Asphalt Jungle and its numerous successors. Four crooks (Lou Diamond Phillips, Ruben Blades, Fred Gwynn, and William Russ) are summoned to Montana by a criminal mastermind (Corbin Bernsen) to pull off a bank robbery, but their leader gets arrested by two New Jersey cops, obliging his four recruits to fend for themselves. There’s a great deal of bungling on everybody’s partcops, crooks, criminal mastermind (after he breaks away), and also, alas, the filmmakers, who never manage to give this the right amount of snap and periodically fall back on stale scatological jokes and silly plot contrivances. Apart from a nice use of Montana locations, this is strictly routine. (JR)

Published on 01 Apr 1989 in Featured Texts, by admin

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Devi

One of Satyajit Ray’s greatest early films (1962), full of sensuality and ironic undertones, Devi is sufficiently critical of Hindu superstition that it was banned from foreign distribution until Nehru interceded. The plot concerns a wealthy and devout landowner in the 19th century who believes his daughter-in-law (Sharmila Tagore) is the reincarnation of the goddess Kali and convinces her that he’s right. With Soumitra Chatterji and Chhabi Biswas. In Bengali with subtitles. 93 min. (JR)

Published on 01 Apr 1989 in Featured Texts, by admin

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