January 29, 2007

Interview. Joe Carnahan and Jeremy Piven.

Smokin' Aces Smokin' Aces "may not necessarily pay off in terms of character or dramatic heft, but viscerally, it is strangely fascinating," writes Sean Axmaker, introducing his interview with its director and star. He also asks Joe Carnahan about the film's shared DNA with his debut, Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane, and gets Jeremy Piven going on Entourage.

Related: "A world series of assassins may be the movie's five-word pitch but, burdened with an unnecessarily complicated and aggressively insistent backstory and hence immediately unintelligible, Smokin' Aces is one busy-busy-busy movie," writes J Hoberman in the Voice. "Carnahan does, however, have an oddball sense of comic timing; what his picture lacks in hilarity it recuperates with a well-developed, albeit mumbling, sense of the absurd."

AO Scott in the New York Times: "'FBI! FBI!' Blam blam blam blam. '[Expletive]. [Expletive].' Blam blam blam. Spurt of blood. Plot twist. 'FBI! FBI!' '[Expletive].' Blam blam blam blam blam. '[Expletive].' "FBI!' 'Hotel Security!' Blam. Exploding skull. Guy sits on a chain saw. Montage. [Expletive]. Plot twist. Roll credits."

At Slant, Nick Schager calls it "a multi-character crime saga that's even less appealing than watching televised poker. Managing the impressive feat of getting practically nothing right, Carnahan's film is the ugly stepchild of True Romance."

"There was much to like about Narc, writer-director Joe Carnahan's previous feature, about a pair of cops dragged to gritty depths by a murder investigation," writes Cheryl Eddy in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "Unfortunately, any good cinema credit Carnahan earned with that flick dissolves in the cesspool that is Smokin' Aces."

Jeffrey M Anderson at Cinematical: "If this is Carnahan's version of Snatch, let's all pray he doesn't attempt an American version of [Guy] Ritchie's follow-up, Swept Away."

"There are nuggets of humor and flashes of hilariously choreographed brutality among the splatter patterns, but [Carnahan's] reluctance to develop any of the ideas beyond the vignette level makes for an unsatisfying whole," writes Kevin Crust in the Los Angeles Times.

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Posted by dwhudson at January 29, 2007 12:42 AM