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|Index||20 reviews in total|
This was Joe Pantoliano's first starring role, and I've always found
him to play interesting guys - AFTER this movie because he's kind of
flat in here. His character, "Al Benjamin," doesn't have the normal
"Joey Pants" spark to him. Even the narration - and I love narration -
is dull. His character also is a little obnoxious to be the "hero" of
the story. Unlike others, I was expecting more going into this viewing.
His sidekick, however: "Joseph Romero" (Wade Dominguez) is very interesting. Michael Chiklis also was good as a Russian businessman who has been a target of the Soviet hit men.
The story is a bit convoluted, concerning the Russian and gas stations being used as fronts for tax purposes. Once again, we get the typical Hollywood cliché of the good cop being a renegade on the force. Overall: fair, at best.
This is an offbeat, often funny film about a taxman who is
investigating a crime when he meets a Russian family and eventually
begins to care about them. There are twists but it is mostly a
character driven film. Joe Pantoliano is (as usual) great as the
taxman. Elizabeth Berkley does a good job as the Russian daughter. Her
accent is on target. Robert "The Meteor Man" Townsend is also in it who
does an okay job as a lawyer. Joe Pantoliano never gets praise when
praise is due. He always puts at least a little effort and energy into
all his roles. He usually steals all the movies where he is a
supporting character. As evident with this film, he is definitely ready
for the lead roles.
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Joe Pantaliano, Wade Dominguez, and Robert Townsend make for a most interesting crimestopping team. This is a blue collar, unglamorous tale. Pantaliano's character is no superhero: he's a tax investigator and a family man (Great line: "I'm not interested in sex. I'm married.") with a rough-hewn manner and an unpleasant disposition. Dominguez is a great balance who goes along with Pantiliano for the ride as he does in life. The film is dedicated to his memory so he died very young. Townsend is perfect as the ambitious D. A. who finally agrees to take the case. Michael Chiklis (The Commish) nearly steals the film as a sympathetic Russian businessman being hunted by Russian mafia hit men. He is terrific in all of his scenes and teaches the boys about Russian life in Brighton Beach.
I caught this on HBO while channel surfing and was almost immediately pulled
into it -- it was so refreshing to see a cop film that was realistic, with
believable characters who weren't superheroes, the kind of cops who get
winded when they chase after a suspect and manage not to kill everyone in
sight (in slow motion and utilizing more moves than the entire Romanian
Olympic gymnastic team). The two main characters were real human beings who
screwed up, went down blind alleys, made wrong assumptions, exploded in
frustration when they should have stayed silent, did the right thing for the
wrong reasons, and yet, in the end, did some good. I've noted in some of
the other comments that people were put off by the fact that these guys were
flawed, but that was exactly what attracted me about them.
I thought the direction of the film was very understated, yet avoided the kind of studied casualness that's considered stylish these days. The story was engaging and kept me involved. The film moved along at a good clip, but took time out for the lead character to contemplate the situation as it developed. Although there may have been a few holes in the plot, I wasn't overly aware of them, and they certainly weren't as egregious as those we've grown used to in most blockbuster films.
This was not a perfect film, and the elements from which it is put together (outcast cops buck the system, persevere and triumph) border on the cliche, but it's a film I would gladly watch again, and perhaps even want to keep in my permanent collection
This film reminded me of why low-budget films of earlier decades used to fascinate me: interesting premises, offbeat characters, and even good acting. But one must be tolerant of occasional over-acting (such as by Joe Pantoliano, who is nonetheless good), dialogue that seems at times to be ad libbed, and a screenplay with gaping holes. It is something less than a movie, yet it holds the viewer's interest with an interesting story and characters. There is also some action.
I saw this film in the theater when it opened in New York and just rented it again, I loved it so much. It is one of those rare, moving but subtle movies that you don't see much of anymore... a true work of art. The main character is so flawed, like each and every one of us, and makes so many mistakes -- falls for the young girl, gets his friends hurt, screws up his investigation -- but we love him anyway. Joe Pantoliano (who I have seen in the previews for the new season of The Sopranos... great actor!!!) is fantastic as a man who is so misled by his own desire for fame, and is so human at the same time... we root for him no matter what he is doing... chasing the mysterious Wizard behind the scheme or dancing at the wedding of the woman he loves. Wonderful!!! An incredibly directed, wonderfully acted story everyone should see.
This one is a real sleeper. The premise of a tax investigator and a screwed up cop working together to foil the Russian Mafia sounds dumb, but really works quite well. The reason that it works is the tight script, and fast-paced direction combined with outstanding performances by all involved. Will keep you on the edge of your seat. Those who don't like this one, are probably the folks who feel they shouldn't have to pay taxes, and want the rest of us to carry their load.
All hope for a coherent movie was dashed as soon as the narratives began. Of course without Joe Pantoliano spoon feeding the story you would have no idea what was going on. This low budget affair is not only confusing, but vacillates wildly between grab ass bantering and sudden bloody violence. To make matters worse there are unnecessary scenes like the wedding party that go on forever, without advancing things one iota. I found "Taxman" about as much fun as an IRS audit. Despite the presence of "Joey Pants" and even Mike Starr as his blustery boss, the weak story line drags this one right down to the mat. Not recommended. - MERK
I thought that some of you might be interested in knowing what it's like to actually work on films like these. I was on the crew as a Production Assistant. It was an independent film (not produced by a major Hollywood studio) which meant a low budget. We shot it mostly in Brooklyn where the real Russian mob have been known to operate from. It was an extremely difficult movie to work on because it was poorly managed and there were a lot of jerks on the crew. I think a big reason why so many people acted like they did was because of the utter chaos which stressed everyone out. On most other productions they are probably nicer people. The producers didn't care that we didn't have enough resources to do our jobs because all they wanted to do was keep the budget down. The production coordinator had the nerve to ask me to work on Thanksgiving and then got annoyed when I refused. We worked six days a week at an average of 15 hours a day. Then near the end they laid off a bunch of us, including me because of budget problems. Several other Production Assistants quit beforehand which I can say from experience is not typical, even on low budget movies. They also fired a few other members of the crew. I will admit it was a good film when I saw it and was amazed they were able to pull if off considering how much they screwed up the actual shoot. I invite all comments and questions.
Flipping channels one day and came across this film. Joe Pantoliano has
always been good in whatever he does, and then it was 'Hey, Michael
Chiklis!,' "Oh look, it's Elizabeth Berkley!" and the clincher was
"OMG!! Freakin' Robert Townsend!!" It's a good movie, not a great film.
It has a somber ending, fitting the film's almost anti-climatic
Worth a rental for sure... It's funny how much cell phones have changed movies, especially cop dramas.
My only complaint .. as usual with Joe P.'s movies .. is his hair. The poor guy needs to just shave that mess... or go big with the transplants... Plus he's blonde in the movie and I just don't seem his as this fair-haired guy.
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