Sometimes, you can find some good movies in the bargain bin.
Suicide Kings had an ensemble cast that featured Jay Mohr, Henry Thomas, Sean Patrick Flanery (think he’s Irish?), Denis Leary and Christopher Walken. It’s almost hard these days to watch a movie that has Walken in it and not enjoy it (at least during the time he is on the screen). The guy is so good and he doesn’t disappoint here as a crime boss, kidnapped by a group of rich kids to use in order to get their hands on $2 million. Denis Leary plays Walken’s right hand man — he was to Sammy Gravano as Walken was to John Gotti.
The movie is a slick ‘whodunit’ where the details behind the facts start to unfold as the film moves along. It’s a concept where everything is not as it seems in the beginning. Leary and Mohr bring their comic skills to the script as several of their ad-libbed remarks brought about the biggest laughs. The ending is somewhat predictable even as the filmmakers try to surprise us, but that’s allright. Watching Walken work his magic with his younger counterparts is worth the time it takes to watch it. The movie dragged on a little longer than I would have liked but that’s a minor complaint.
Usually, a DVD that costs $6 is going to be lacking for extras, but this one had quite a few. There was a screen specific commentary by director Peter O’Fallon and one of the three screenwriters, Wayne Rice. Some of it was recorded together as Rice and O’Fallon laugh about certain scenes and discuss how they worked out differences they each had in the script. At other times Rice talks about O’Fallon in the third person. It was either recorded separately or O’Fallon went to the bathroom or something. Most of the commentary is fair. They spend too much time saying things like, “Oh watch Mohr right here. His expression is great” and discussing the problems they had with the budget. When they do get into the behind the scenes imformation about the actual filming it is much more enjoyable.
There are several deleted scenes, as well as two alternate endings. The endings came about as a result of testing, and this film went through a good deal of testing. I don’t know if that amount of testing it par for the course in Hollywood, but I suspect it isn’t considering the amount of crap they release. There are storyboards and an interesting scene breakout where you can listen to one particular car scene in a tunnel with just the dialogue, sound effects, or music or a mixture of 2 or three. There are also the usual cast and crew biographies, production notes and theatrical trailers. It’s a pretty good movie, and it’s a steal at such a low price.
I’ve seen ‘Snake Eyes’ before, but I had pretty much forgotten all about it. Brian De Palma, the director has had a mixed bag of results over his career. He can be really good sometimes — ‘The Untouchables’, ‘Mission: Impossible’, ‘Carrie’, ‘Blow Out’, ‘Scarface’ — and really bad — ‘Body Double’, ‘Bonfire of The Vanities’, ‘Raising Cain’, ‘Casualties of War’. ‘Snake Eyes’ falls somewhere in between.
‘Snake Eyes’ takes place in only a few hours (save for the epilogue) , and stars Nicholas Cage as Atlantic City detective Rick Santoro, a dirty cop in a dirty town. He’s happy because a buddy of his, Gary Sinise is in town protecting the Secretary of Defense and got Rick some front row seats for a heavyweight title bout. The Secretary is assassinated, and a conspiracy unfolds as Santoro tries to get to the bottom of it.
The visual aspects of this film are just amazing, especially in the first 20 minutes which takes place in long steadicam shot. In that time span, all the characters are introduced and the murder takes place. Unfortunately the movie starts to go downhill from there. The main problem is that the plot and antagonists are revealed much too quickly, and once that happens the film really has nowhere to go. The suspense is gone and the ending feels somewhat contrived.
However, it isn’t all that bad, and you can purchase it for what it would cost to rent.