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|Index||16 reviews in total|
This has to be, to my knowledge, the only christmas/abortion comedy ever made. Featuring splendid performances by Charles Durning as a hen-pecked love lorn bar owner, Eric Stoltz as the self-absorbed actor, and Campbell Scott as the bitter ex of Daryl Hannah, this film continually surprised and delighted me. Filmed in New York City by John Thomas (of Whit Stillman and "Sex in the City" fame) the city has never looked crisper or more inviting. The plot is wacky- a subplot involving two wacky ambulance drivers is particularly silly- but also has a wandering tone that careers from touching to bizarre, in the way that all good independent films do. Featuring the angriest Jewish santa clause ever filmed, rousingly played by Dean Cameron of "Ski School" fame. Worth a look!
Hi-Life is a complicated tale of friends and acquaintances trying to outwit and bamboozle each other over a gambling debt only a few are privy to. Each of the finely scripted characters gets drawn into the conspiracy for their own reasons, being deceived by the previous conspirator yet remaining unaware of the others. Taking place one evening in a nondescript New York neighborhood, it's the tale of ordinary people living mundane lives complicated by love, hate, ego, and chicanery, yet each are a charming mixture of goodness and banality much like every one of us. The complicated plot comes together at closing time in the Hi-Life Bar where all the characters meet and their deceptions are revealed. The script is witty, the acting is first rate, and one hates to see the story end.
Hi-life is a quiet movie. It has a combination of good acting, a
pleasing script, and its completely unpretentious.
A good comparison would be to "Nobody's Fool" with Paul Newman, and in some ways this is a sort of urban version.
The characterizations are wonderful. Ray the bartender seems a rather hard unyielding type, but as the movie progresses we find out he's anything but unsympathetic.
Peter Reigert has a wonderful character part as a barfly-come-debt-enforcer who dishes out advice on women that he doesn't follow.
Charles Durning has a great little role as "Fatty", and I couldn't leave off discussing acting without mentioning the late Katrin Cartlidge, who gives a lovely performance as a lush with a crush.
All in all, even if you don't care for quiet little movies, put this one on the tube at Christmas time.
"Hi-Life" is no Christmas blockbuster. It's a small, rewarding treat of a Christmas-in-NYC movie, and it's one of the few holiday movies I love to see every year. It's a slice-of-life (well, slice-of-one-night, really) film full of small, everyday characters, written smartly and played by first-rate character actors. The NYC setting is warm, colorful and nostalgic without being dated in the least... kind of like New York itself (okay, like some parts of NYC). So: if you don't enjoy that sort of thing, if you've gotta have big-name glamour, special effects, knee-slapping jokes, car crashes or heavy,"message" drama in order not to be bored - avoid this film. P.S., if you miss living in and hanging out around New York, see it, especially during the holidays.
Bizarrely funny comedy that keeps the viewers on their toes as a bevy of characters flit all over town chasing an illusive 900 dollar payoff, but not for exactly what each supposes. Good dialogue and hilarious situations make for a snappy, fast paced film which appears to be going much more slowly.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a somewhat cute little bar hopping movie that always seems like
it's going to end badly, but due to amusing twists, never ends as one
expects. It's interesting to see how the interaction of characters
cause and negate problems between them.
Basically it's Christmas in New York and a rather unlucky actor owes ("Fatty") a fat bartender (and illegal bookie) money. The out of work actor decides to tell everyone he needs the money for his girlfriend's abortion. She, in turn, is the sister of another bartender who is known for selflessly lending everyone money. Hearing his sister is pregnant he goes off to call in a few debts. His pride and sympathy for others hamper his efforts. Some of the people involved in the plot appear to be somewhat unscrupulous, but thanks to the domineering and honest counterparts in their lives, they shrink to conform to the imposed morals.
Throughout the movie there is the threat that things could go horribly wrong at any time... but ingenious twists in the plot constantly surprise the viewer, neutralizing the threat and this is done rather ingeniously.
True, much of what goes on in between is totally TRIVIAL. I believe that is partly why this movie may get bad reviews, but the story is well tied up with unexpected twists... but it's HOW they get tied up that is mildly amusing. Not hilarious, but mildly amusing.
There are, however, a few pointless lengthy scenes, for example where the bartender meets up with old friends comparing wine around a table. This they could have cut, or used the time better to include other stories.
4/10 for interesting, unexpected and "different" plot twists.
I kind of liked this flic'.
It's one of those movies that you catch whilst flicking through the movie
channels and you see and actor you like and say, I'll give this a chance.
This is a movie that involves lies, gambling debt, abortion, gunpoint muggings and heartbreak, but not at one point will you become exited, mainly because the film is flat. Every shot is one dimensional and maybe the writer, who is also the director should stick to just writing.
I am sure that this is a really good screenplay to read because I enjoyed the dialogue very much. I would also think that this is the reason that there was such a well known cast. It would have made a great piece for radio. Out of ten I would have to go with a five.
Hi-life is a complicated tale of friends and acquaintances trying to outwit and bamboozle each other over a gambling debt only a few are privy to. Each of the finely scripted characters gets drawn into the conspiracy for their own reasons, being deceived by the previous conspirator yet remaining unaware of the others. Taking place one evening in a nondescript New York neighborhood, it's the tale of ordinary people living mundane lives complicated by love, hate, ego, and chicanery, yet each are a charming mixture of goodness and banality much like every one of us. The complicated plot comes together at closing time in the Hi-Life Bar where all the characters meet and their deceptions are revealed. The script is witty, the acting is first rate, and one hates to see the story end.
I loved the fact that the producers of Hi-Life used real Upper West Side locations in this film, including the Hi-Life itself. It tugged at the heartstrings of this former UWS resident, now exiled to Atlanta. The movie itself was tolerable -- mainly because Peter Riegert was in it. Can't have enough Peter Riegert in a movie, as far as I'm concerned. The rest of the cast was amiable, if not very energetic. The story -- which could have been quite clever, with various folks chasing the same $900 for a variety of unethical reasons -- floundered in the face of lackadaisical pacing and cramped, dark cinematography.
And that's enough for me.
It's tries to be a morality tale about the dangers of lying, but doesn't quite pull it off.
This movie doesn't have much more to recommend it, unless you enjoy seeing Daryl Hannah doing her blond impression.
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