The Deli

The Deli
Director : John Gallagher
With : Heather Matarazzo, Debi Mazar, Gretchen Mol, Chris Noth, Michael Imperioli, David Johansen, Heavy D, Ice-T, Iman

“The Deli” is really the movie “Smoke” but not quite as good and set in a deli instead of a cigar shop. Featuring a who’s who of New York indie film (Debi Mazar, Heather Matarazza, Matt Keesler, Heavy D, Michael Imperioli, David Johansen, Jerry Stiller, etc.) the story follows the escapades of a painfully unlucky part-time deli owner and full-time addicted gambler named Johnny. As an odd lot of delivery men and local goons stop by the store attempting to collect on long over due payments, Johnny squirms and wiggles his way into and out of the arms of trouble. Dancing between the raindrops Johnny waits for the grand daddy of bets, a triple parlay basketball bet, to save the day and bail him out of “life ending” destruction.

An entertaining cast and palatable script save a predictable film from imminent disaster. In the end “The Deli” is a nice brainless rental, that makes you feel much better than having to rent say – “The Fifth Element.”

For Roseanna

For Roseanna

Director : Paul Weiland
With : Mercedes Ruehl, Jean Reno

For Roseanna, aka Roseanna’s Grave, is a sweet Italian comedy in the tradition of “Cinema Paradiso” about a man who spends his time helping to keep the dying alive so that his sick wife can have one of the last two graves in the village cemetery.

Freeway

Freeway

Director : Matthew Bright
With : Kiefer Sutherland, Reese Witherspoon, Amanda Plummer

‘Freeway’ is the kind of film that helps prove to the world what a wonderful influence Sundance has had on the future of American independent film. An ultra-ballsy film with a stellar cast of familar faces, ‘Freeway’ is most like ‘Natural Born Killers’ but without the superflous glitz and prentious Oliver Stonisms that plagued the latter film. Featuring an odd assortment of great performances ‘Freeway’ is the story of an young trampy illterate (Witherspoon) who flees from her prohbation officer after her drugged out prostitute of a mother (Amanda Plummer) and crack addict step father (Michael T. Weiss) get carted off to jail. After stealing a car and heading up to Stockton, California to stay with her grandmother she meets up with the rapist-at-large (Keifer Sutherland). At this point the movie picks up some major speed including some comically gratuitous violence and an unending series of unpredictable surprises. Ultimately ‘Freeway’ is wonderful piece of California road movie pulp, bolder and much less inhibited than anything self-conscious than anything Hollywood is capable of producing.

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