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|Index||70 reviews in total|
This rambling drama looks at the intertwined stories of a group of New Yorkers, centered around a cigar shop. While it has its moments, the script is ridiculously contrived, a lackluster mixture of forced sentimentality and pretentious dialog. It is billed as a comedy, but there are no laughs to be had here. The relationships among the characters are not at all believable. There are also subplots, such as the one involving Keitel's ex-wife (Channing in a thankless role) and daughter (Judd in an early role), that are pointless. The acting is uneven, ranging from good (Keitel) to bad (Whitaker) to awful (some of the actors in small roles). Keitel is particularly good in relating a Christmas story.
As final exam scenes at Actors' Studio, these vignettes are experly done,
deserving A's for all. As parts of a major film work, the sketches seem
fleeting, pregnant, yet ultimately unrealized propositions.
Whatever Wayne Wang is attempting here, he does a fine job of keeping the secret. A cross somewhere between updated Saroyan and O'Neill, this production offers a cast of thorough professionals giving convincing, though seldom moving, renditions--at least to this viewer.
Certainly a film which will have both admirers and detractors. In this case, the later rules.
Among the cast notables are William Hurt and Stockard Channing.
Character-oriented piece from director Wayne Wang centering on the owner of a New York-based smoke shop, his offbeat clientèle and assorted colorful friends. Heavily improvisational--yet only intermittently interesting--"Smoke" managed to create a small cult with audiences and critics, although neither the actors nor Paul Auster (the credited screenwriter) have anything important to say. It's imperative in a talking-heads movie like this to create a beguiling inner-sanctum, a small universe within this store with its rapidly changing groups, but Wang only gets strong scenes out of Harvey Keitel and Ashley Judd. Some interesting bits and pieces (and a moving finish) make the picture worthwhile for art-films fans. Followed by the sequel "Blue In The Face" in 1995. ** from ****
When I first heard that this movie had Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, and Forest Whitaker in it, I salivated. I just knew it was going to be great! What a yawn fest! The acting was fine, but the plot was dull and in some instances pointless. The concept is unique, but I found myself wondering why everyone had to be so vague! I usually like vague movies, but this one wasn't very concrete. This is a very slow moving movie!
Pretentious, devoid of plot, minimal acting. This movie is billed on the box as a comedy, with enthusiastic endorsements of its comedic qualities excerpted from reviews. There is absolutely nothing faintly humorous about it. It is strictly a dark, pseudo-realistic portrait of New York City life. Having endured the whole thing - i borrowed it from the library and still regret it - I wonder what the reviewers were smoking. This is one of those movies where the cover, especially the photo, bears absolutely no relation to the movie. Bottom line: it seems to be a fad exploitation of the momentary fascination with cigars. Sometimes a cigar isn't worth smoking.
A string of clichés so pretentiously delivered that I was fooled when I first saw it in high school. Watching it again ten years later I am rather shocked that I could ever have enjoyed it, and that so many fine actors could have been fooled as well. Strip them away and you are left with a sentimental TV special for bored housewives, and on those terms I suppose it could be enjoyed as a pleasant waste of time. Still, it makes mediocre indie slice-of-life movies like "Twenty Bucks" or "Clerks" seem like masterpieces, and is not even in the same universe as the films of Jarmusch or Altman (I would particularly recommend Jarmusch's Night on Earth to people who think they love Smoke).
And that's on a scale of 1 to 10.
I've seen worse movies, but I generally don't stay to the end. This movie has the cast and a good reputation, so I gave it my best try. But I don't like it.
And what's with this movie being labeled a comedy? This is just plain dishonest.
And in case anyone's interested, I lived in New York City, so I don't have a bias against movies from the Big Apple.
I saw this movie with two friends. We all are intelligent moviegoers, not action-movie fans, or blockbuster addicts. I kept thinking, " Oh God, this is AWFUL", but thought maybe they might be enjoying it. It turns out none of us was enjoying it. It was the most boring piece of pretentious garbage I have ever sat through in a movie theatre. There was no plot, to speak of, just a series of 'episodes", and it seemed like most of the inane dialogue was improvised. The worst "detail" was Forest Whitaker's fake hook, which was about 12 inches longer than his "good" arm. What a joke !! This looked like some NYU film student's senior project. I would have given him a D-.
No spoiler ahead.
I'm sorry, was there some point to this movie? I fell asleep in the middle. Or is this just some pseudo-intellectual clap trap?
Just for the record, I used to live in NYC. But I don't like stare-at-your-navel movies about New York any more than the ones about California and Hollywood.
And what really irks me is that the cover of the video portrays the movie as a light-hearted comedy. It is anything but. Apparently, even the film studio could bear to watch it through to the end.
I understand I have to write at least 10 lines about a movie to qualify as a review. This is a challenge in this case.
On the plus side, the cast is excellent. There is nothing particularly wrong with the acting, aside from the fact that the movie is basically pointless and boring.
And since I borrowed the movie from the library, I didn't have to pay to watch it.
By the way, I once interviewed Harvey Keitel, who was doing - get this - an Italian movie set in eastern Canada that was being filmed in Alaska. He was some sort of bear hunter searching for a buddy lost somewhere near the North Pole or something, and he was getting on the train to go find him. And the train he was getting on was in Anchorage. Right.
I didn't have the heart to point out that there was no rail line to the Arctic, in either eastern Canada or Alaska.
I wonder what ever became of this movie? As far as I can tell from IMDb, it was never released. Not that I know Italian.
My biggest regret is that I didn't walk out. Horrible dialogue, constant overacting, a pace that is meant to be thoughtful but is, in fact, coma-like. I find it absolutely stunning that a sequel was made.
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