Claire Cooper dreams strange things from time to time. One night, she dreams about a little girl being taken away by a stranger, right in her neighbourhood. When her own daughter Rebecca is... See full summary »
Robert Downey Jr.,
A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.
Robert De Niro,
Set in New York City, Black and White features several losely related stories centering on a pair of documentary filmmakers, Sam and her husband Terry, in following a group of caucasian teens, Raven, Charlie, Will, Marty, Wren and others who try to fit in with Harlem's black hip-hop crowd who include gangster rapper Rich Bower and his music partner Cigar in landing a recording gig, as well as college basketball player Dean who is conflicted on taking a fall on a game for shady gambler Mark Clear who has hidden agenda for Dean and Rich. Written by
Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic in all of his 60 or so seconds in this film. I think he is one of the best comic actors of all time.
Brooke Shields also does a spot-on amateur documentary film-maker shtick. I didn't even recognize her in her dreadlocks in the first half of the film. She and Downey trail a bunch of rich white high school kids half their age, trying to be one of them as they go slumming. Shields best moment is when she meets a recently married old friend on the Staten Island ferry, and you feel the disparity between Shield's refusing-to-grow-up character and her ordinary, grown-up old friend.
Downey's best moments are when he tries to pick up Mike Tyson and when he tries to pick up one of the high school students, reprising his character in Wonder Boys. It's too bad Hollywood has an insurance clause against him now, because everything he does is exceedingly knowing.
The flattest moments are the James Tolback Obligatory Sex In Central Park scene, apparently a rehearsal for an identical one in this year's "When will I be loved?", and in the contrived Typical Banker's Family Dinner with the Sullenly Rebellious Daughter While The Manservant Ladles the Soup. Please. We know Tolback has a lot of celebrity friends; they're all in his movies. I doubt he has met a single real banker in his life.
Also we are treated to the same flaw which is in Black and White, namely the highly implausible plot devices that tie all of the characters together, wherever they live in the movie and whatever their social strata. He is a big buyer of the Deus Ex Machina.
He's also a big buyer of improvisation. In the DVD he says almost all the films are improvised except the one where Claudia Schiffer impersonates what one critic called "the world's most unlikely graduate student", and another called "a surprisingly believable turn as a faithless brainiac". Whatever. She looks hot for the most part except towards the end where they're one outdoor shot in a riverside park where her lips just look too big and she looks like a squeaky and insufficiently made-up skinny yin-yang. What can you do. Her funniest moment was the split second sitting next to and conversing with Robert Downey Jr. when he turns to compare perfume notes with the young man sitting next to him, and she figures out she's no longer the center of attention and suddenly gets up and walks away. Her least likely moment is when she is about to have sex in a bathroom with her boyfriend's best friend. Not that the premise is unlikely: She is just too Teutonic and awkward beneath all that prettiness to look like she's about to tongue-wrestle with a big sweaty gangster. (Much more believable is the news story about her I read the other day where she is applying to private schools for her unborn child.)
Tolback cast himself as Tolback pretty much, as usual. If you're the director, why not throw yourself a cameo? It's just a stone's throw from there to writing in a sex scene with the lead actress, but if he did that he'd have to write himself a lead part and then he'd be Vincent Gallo, but he's not, he's more of a voyeur; enough to write those Central Park scenes and shoot them in closeup with full improvisatory rein given to the actors. Let them really get into the moment, keep the cameras rolling.
Am I boring you with this review? Is it running on a little long? Does it seem a little disconnected?
If you think this is bad, go see the movie.
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