A twisted take on 'Little Red Riding Hood' with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker traveling to her grandmother's house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer/pedophile.
Barkley Michaelson is in a deep life rut. He's struggling to finish his PhD thesis when his father, the learned Eli Michaelson, wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Barkley and his mother, ... See full summary »
Larceny, lust and lethal behavior. In icebound Wichita, Kansas, it's Christmas Eve, and this year Charlie Arglist just might have something to celebrate. Charlie, an attorney for the sleazy businesses of Wichita, and his unsavory associate, the steely Vic Cavanaugh have just successfully embezzled $2 million from Kansas City boss Bill Guerrard. But the real prize for Charlie is the stunning Renata, who runs the Sweet Cage strip club. Charlie hopes to slip out of town with Renata. But as daylight fades and an ice storm whirls, everyone from Charlie's drinking buddy Pete Van Heuten to the local police begin to wonder just what exactly is in Charlie's Christmas stocking - and the 12 hours of Christmas Eve are filled with surprises. Written by
Take the sardonic wit of "Prizzi's Honor" or "Body Heat." Combine with not-too- bright characters working a shady deal for quick riches in a caper that could have been written by Elmore Leonard. That's what you have in "The Ice Harvest," a highly entertaining dark comedy.
It's Christmas Eve during a terrible ice storm in Kansas City. Charlie (John Cusack) and Vic (Billy Bob Thornton) have stolen a bundle from the mob. This could create an awkward situation for Charlie if they don't get out of town fast. He's the lawyer for the local mob boss, Bill (Randy Quaid), who has a terrible temper.
So as not to arouse suspicion, Vic and Charlie go their separate ways early in the evening. Both have family duties and Charlie has other things to take care of. There's the beautiful Renata (Connie Nielson), for one. And Pete (Oliver Platt), who shares part of Charlie's past. Life becomes more complicated as the night goes on and Charlie meets up again with Vic. More twists and surprises follow.
I almost didn't go to this movie, because the teaser for the Austin Film Festival made it look like a Cusack-Thornton buddy movie, and I'm tired of the character Thornton keeps playing. Happily Thornton is not on screen much. This is John Cusack's movie and he has created an interesting, unhappy man looking for a way out. Oliver Platt, who steals every scene he's in, provides comic relief and story exposition.
Director Harold Ramis introduced the film and did a Q&A afterwards. He talked about how the snowstorm in the book became an ice storm because that's the weather they had to work with. He talked about the many ideas Cusack and Platt brought to their characters. New to me was Connie Nielson, originally from Denmark. Ramis said she told him she was channeling Jessica Rabbit in the part of the femme fatale. I think she succeeded. Kudos also to Pulitzer-prize winning author Richard Russo and Robert Benton for a snappy script.
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