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|Index||26 reviews in total|
The Russians smalltime crooks Sergei Akotia (Brian McCardie) and Yuri
(Alexis Denisof) plan to hold up two million dollars from a casino with
the inside information of the security guard Troy (Steve Harris) and
the support of two dirty cops. When the two cops are killed, they
decide to call off the heist and they kick out their girlfriends Misha
(Nastassja Kinski) and Lexi (Alison Hannigan). Misha and Lexi meet an
old friend of Misha, Helena Toretti (Jennifer Esposito), who is in a
divorce process with the bored and upset detective Jack (Todd Field).
The trio plots revenge against the guys and decide to rob the casino
with Troy. But the plan turns upside-down with unpredictable events.
When I saw the names of Alison Hannigan (from Buffy), Alexis Denisof (from Angel) and the gorgeous Nastassja Kinski and Jennifer Esposito in the cast of this movie, I decided to ignore the bad reviews and IMDb Rating and watch it. Unfortunately, the reviews are right and this movie is really bad, with a messy screenplay and awful conclusion. The story is very confused, with a terrible direction that is not able to make a funny, or dramatic, or violent movie. There are some ridiculous parts, like for example when the two "Russians" argue in English with a weird accent. If they are Russians, wouldn't they speak in their native language while alone? The character of Alison Hannigan, Lexi, is awfully developed and never clear of her objectives and feelings. Brian McCardie looks like a cartoon with his character (or caricature?). I tried to find good and positive points in this movie, but with such unpleasant end with the fate of Misha it is impossible to like it. I have never read anything about this director, Gigi Gaston, but he was able to waste a good cast and I had a really bad experience watching this confused flick. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Além dos Limites" ("Beyond the Limits")
Lame Canadian heist flick will be of interest to Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans since it stars not only Allyson Hannigan (Willow) but also features Alexis Denisof (Wesley on Buffy and Angel). The movie seems like it might have been inspired by Bound, but it's unconvincing and dull. Of the three female leads Hannigan comes off best by far, bringing a touching vulnerability to her part. Jenniffer Esposito, on the other hand, is dreadful. You never believe her for a second and are always too aware that you're watching an actress play a part--and a not very good actress at that based on this movie and Backflash.
This film has absolutely no direction. I was a little skeptical of the concept but saw that it could actually work. But the story and dialogue just got lost and the film got muddled into the second act and fell apart from there. Any comedic or dramatic elements of the film got in the way of each other.
Ok, I just want to say, if Gaston wanted a Russian accent, why didn't she
get a Russian person? I mean, I know that it's ok sometimes to change for
role, but Denisof's accent sucked. I am normally a fan of both him, and
Alyson Hannigan, but please! The movie was a waste of time. I watched it
twice, just to reassure myself that it really was crap and I didn't look
over some hidden meaning in every scene.
I know that the same POV the entire movie gets boring, but how many times did the editor's have to change it? None of the scenes make much sense, either. I literally didn't get the point of half of them, unless they were there just to confuse the audience. I just hope that when I start directing, my movies won't get as many horrible reviews as this one did.
1. This is not an action flick.
2. This is not a crime thriller.
If you can swallow those up front, I think you might enjoy the film. As best as I can put it, this story is a character study of three loser women and the loser men they hang out with in LA. The three women, realizing that their lives are nothing but sound & fury, band together to change things, although they're not quite sure how. As the story progresses, so does their desperation and ultimately their resolve to pull off a crazy heist which they hope will get them beyond the city limits and free of their loser lifestyles forever.
Although the story is interesting, make no mistake, the principal focus is on the characters. Most of the film focuses on the 3 friends and their funny, sad & angry moments, building a tone of quiet frustration which comes to a climax in the last 20 minutes when they decide to go through with the crazy heist. But the first 70 minutes of the film is more like "Stand By Me", the adult female version. I think if you view the film that way, you'll really love it.
The acting of these 3 main characters is fantastic. There's not a lot of fireworks and histrionics, but instead you get a good, solid, realistic portrayal of real people. Natassja Kinski shines as the free spirit who, for some reason, can never get free of circumstances. Jennifer Esposito is equally convincing as a feisty woman whose life is winding down way too soon. And Alison Hannigan gives a great performance as the kid whose life has imploded before she can even get off the ground. I give another round of applause to Sophie B. Hawkins who shows that she can act as well as sing (not to mention wear a vinyl cat suit better than anyone I've ever seen. homina homina, "damn I wish she was my lover").
By the way, don't kill yourself looking for a widescreen version; I believe this was filmed in 4:3 which was annoying to me at first, but as the film progressed, I realized how well director Gigi Gaston made artistic use of the full screen format to convey a feeling of both claustrophobia and tightness between the 3 friends. I'd like to think it was planned that way (but if not, heck, someone did a great job of pan & scan). Gigi Gaston did a great job with this.
There are some great comedic moments if you're into dark comedy. Some of the situations are so bizarre they're hilarious. And I really think the dog "Woody" deserves an Oscar nom.
To tell the truth, I have mixed feelings about Beyond the City Limits. It
had its high and low points, its strong and weak moments. It isn't the
indie film, but it also isn't the worst.
Beyond the City Limits is about two Russian men, Sergei (Brian McCardie) and Yuri (Alexis Denisof), who try to pull off a casino heist with two crooked cops. Unfortunately, the two cops are killed in a shoot-out in a bar. The men need to find replacements soon.
The other part of this film revolves around three women: Lexi (Alyson Hannigan), Helena (Jennifer Esposito), and Misha (Natassja Kinski). Lexi was dating Sergei before being thrown out of his apartment and their heist. Her friend, Misha, tags along. With the help of Helena, who recently moved out on her husband (Todd Field), and another man (Steve Harris), they try to pull off the heist themselves.
The main reason I bought Beyond the City Limits in the first place was to see Alyson Hannigan and especially Alexis Denisof in very different roles than those they play on TV. I was surprised at some of the things they did in this film (Lexi shoots heroin, Yuri gets oral sex in an alley). They were the films main high points.
If you like indie films, you might like this one. If you're a fan of either Alyson Hannigan or Alexis Denisof, you will love this film. The ending seemed kind of... fake. I don't know what it is, but I saw it coming. Otherwise, this is a decent film that deserves some sort of audience.
I finally saw Beyond the city limits after a long search it has been released here in the Netherlands in the video rental. Not the best movie I have ever seen, it was certainly not the best performance the actors ever did, except for Jennifer and the lovely Alyson who are the real stars of the movie these two make the movie worth looking. Beyond the city limits will be released for sale in the Netherlands on 21st of may.
I am one of the few outside of the Philippines who actually owns a copy of
Beyond the City Limits. It's too bad this movie hasn't been released more
widely, since it's not a bad movie. It's sort of a low budget clone of
oceans 11, but with female lead characters.
There's nothing really unexpected or exciting about the film, the acting is above average, the editing/directing is slightly below average, and the plotline/script are average. It's worth watching, if only to see the gorgeous Alyson Hannigan. It's also pretty funny watching Alexis Denisof talk in a Russian accent. Quite different from his role as Wesley the Watcher in Buffy/Angel.
If you get a chance to see this movie, I say go for it, especially if you're a fan of Alyson Hannigan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, this movie is a disaster. Yes, it has clumsy cinematography and direction. It has uninspired acting from the women who are at the center of things.
So do most movies. What this lacks is a success where it takes its big risk, and that big risk is worth noting.
A game these days for writers is to play with shifting narrative. You can do the time folding thing, or folding the narrator (by shifting among different perspectives), or folding the story (by having several parallel threads) or folding the genre (for instance comedy into horror, here "women's film into con game). You can additionally, if you are very clever (as in "Donnie Darko" and "Ghost World" and even "Boondock Saints") fold irony.
These guys try all of them. No genre is more flexible for this sort of thing than the con movie, unless it is a mockumentary about performance. And they follow in the footsteps of "Bound," which works some of this territory successfully.
They fail, I think, because the director just doesn't have the vocabulary to manipulate and fold that space between the story and our mind. But they get extra credit in my mind for trying to go beyond "Go."
Along the way, we get the rule of doubling: two of everything, and reflections of every relationship and event. That's why you have the shifting POVs, the dual lesbian stuff, the two pairs of thugs, the "extra" girl (Sophie) and the apparently useless heroin segment.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
Beyond the City Limits or Rip-It-Off, more like just rip-off, is supposedly a heist movie featuring surprising backstabing. However the only backstabbing I detected must have been done to the writer, because they were unable to finish the script. There is time spent on character development but it is wasted. No back-story is revealed, we have no idea how the characters know each other, and minus one character you (I anyway) have no desire to know them. The acting is akin to that you would perhaps see in your child or siblings kindergarten play. Minus the performance of Alyson Hannigan who plays a smack junkie who can't kick the habit giving her character a least a reason for empathy. I see that the guidelines for posting a review say no spoilers but with this plot (if you call it that) it is next to impossible. Consider this a P.S.A. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!
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