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Wayne Wang's follow-up movie to Smoke presents a series of improvisational situations strung together to form a pastiche of Brooklyn's diverse ethnicity, offbeat humor, and essential humanity. Many of the same characters inhabiting Auggie Wren's Brooklyn Cigar Store in Smoke return here to expound on their philosophy of smoking, relationships, baseball, New York, and Belgian Waffles. Most of all, this is a movie about living life, off-the-cuff. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Disjointed but really funny look at the community of Brooklyn
Wang's followup to Smoke is a series of improvised scenes put together to represent the diveristy of Brooklyn's culture. Meanwhile Auggie is struggling with Vinnie's decision to sell the cigar store.
The "plot" to this film doesn't really matter. This was shot in the time that was left over when Smoke wrapped earlier than scheduled. In many ways this is a much better film. It's a huge amount of fun to watch and it all ends in a street party - it all makes you want to live in Brooklyn and meet all these weird and wonderful people that live there. It's sketchy nature can mean that it feels a little piecey but most of it is funny or interesting and you may not notice it's lack of structure. The actual story is actually quite good - Vinnie's decision to shut the store is handled as a threat to the friendships that exist around the story and also the importance of such places in holding the community together. It makes a good point and, mixed with the humour, isn't hard to swallow at all.
The cast are good - many of Smoke's faces are still there and are complimented by famous faces. Stars such as Fon, Roseanne, Madonna, Lou Reed, Jim Jarmusch, Lily Tomlin, Ru Paul etc all make cameos - Madonna isn't great but MJ Fox is really funny. The remainder of the cast are made up of real quality actors such as Victor Argo, Harvey Keitel and Giancarlo Esposito to name a few.
Overall this is a light reward for watching the slighly heavier Smoke. Both films are good in their own way but this is the most fun to watch.
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