The words "Black Power" bring back memories of names like Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and Eldridge Cleaver, but in Bogalusa, LA a group of harassed Afro-Americans had decided they'd ... See full summary »
A group of best friends and amateur thieves steal a valuable statuette for a ruthless black market art dealer. After the thieves botch the delivery of the objet d'art, the art dealer forces them to 'find' $1 million by the end of the week or face certain death. The desperate friends concoct a plan whereby each of them takes out a $1 million life insurance policy on themselves. Consequently, if one of the friends die, the others will collect on the policy and pay off the dangerous art dealer. The thieves then enter into a lethal lottery to choose who will be the victim and who will be the killer. Written by
Smart cross between "Usual Suspects" and "Shallow Grave". Two thumbs way up!
I got to see a test screening of the film noir `Four Dogs Playing Poker' and I was blown away. It was awesome. The director was able to spin a sensational story about a group of friends who, after participating in a heist gone awry, are forced to ante up with their lives and participate in a deadly game to correct their mistake. Even though this sounds cool, trust me the film is cooler. My little description does not do the film justice! This movie would be best described a sophisticated cross between `The Usual Suspects' and `Shallow Grave'. And from the opening scene in an Argentina, I was immediately hooked. In fact, I sat on the edge of my seat (literally) until the film was over my palms were sweating. When I was told the film was over 90 minutes, I couldn't believe it!
Forest Whitaker, who plays a dangerous art dealer named Mr. Ellington, was truly intimidating - the filmmakers really captured Forest's dark side. Also, it was great to see Tim Curry finally sink his teeth into a serious role. He was terrific as Felix, the shady snake-in-the-grass' mentor to the four main characters. Olivia Williams (`The Sixth Sense', `Rushmore') is great as Audrey. After watching her performances in `Rushmore', `Sixth Sense' and `Four Dogs Playing Poker', I have no doubts that Olivia will become a household name on par with the likes of Bridgette Fonda, Patricia Arquette and Angelina Jolie. Balthazar Getty (`The Lost Highway') plays his macho but confused character perfectly and with a healthy dose of charisma. I have always been a big fan of Balthazar's he looks great on film. Stacy Edwards (`In the Company of Men', `Primary Colors') portrays her character perfectly as an innocent tough girl'. Stacy's strong performance imbues the down and out group with a requisite touch of humanity. Watching Daniel London (`Patch Adams') is a real treat. His character, a paranoid druggie, is just as hilarious and he is unpredictable and dangerous. Daniel does a good job providing much of the comic relief in the film. Everyone in the theater was laughing at his antics! There were also some great scenes where Steve Jones, former guitarist from the Sex Pistols, and John Taylor, former bass from Duran Duran, get to strut their acting chops as Mr. Ellington's henchmen. George Lazenby (James Bond from `On Her Majesty's Secret Service') also makes an appearance and in a Bond-esque tuxedo no less!
All in all `Four Dogs Playing Poker' a fresh and exciting entry onto a tired landscape of today's cinema. I will be very excited to drag my friends to the theaters to watch it again!
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