On the Screen
HHH American Buffalo
Dennis Franz is a junk shop owner and Dustin Hoffman his best friend in this well-crafted film version of the David Mamet play. The movie covers the scheme the two hatch to steal a mysterious customer's coin collection while he's away on vacation, thus reaping themselves a small fortune. But Bobby (Sean Nelson), a local street youth, also wants in on the deal, and the interplay between the three in the hours before the planned heist leads to disaster. The movie is somewhat done in by its limited scope (three characters, one set) and its near-complete reliance on dialogue to carry the story. Still, the acting is superb, especially on Franz's part, and the screenplay (also by Mamet) is razor-sharp. The movie ultimately resonates with a powerful message about the corrupting influence of money on even the closest of friendships. -Yaron Koren. Coolidge Corner Theatre.
Bound tells a familiar film noir story - a drifter comes into contact with a sultry, dissatisfied woman and is lured into a chain of events that escalates into some serious violence. But in this sexy, intelligent, and stylish new thriller, the drifter is a lesbian ex-con who is repainting a vacant apartment next door to a Mafia money launderer and his restless mistress. As played by Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly, these two dangerous women bond immediately, and then take on the mob and the boyfriend to snatch $2 million in a caper that will leave you breathless as it unwinds. The production design emphasizes gunmetal gray and black with highlights of white, against which red blood and green money stand out with startling intensity. Bound is tightly written, beautifully filmed, and adroitly edited to keep the tension twisting tighter and tighter. Imagine a cross between The Last Seduction, Goodfellas, and Go Fish. -Stephen Brophy. Sony Nickelodeon.
Arnold Schwarzanegger plays a federal marshal responsible for the safety of witnesses, in this case, Vanessa Williams, a "bona fide honest person" whose company is selling high-tech weapons to foreign terrorists. But Arnold soon learns his boss is in on the deal and that he's being set up to take the blame, so Arnold goes out on his own to clear his name, save the witness, and save the world. Needless to say, he kills/breaks everything in his way. The action is fairly good but uninspired. As far as Schwarzanegger movies goes, this rates in the middle. -David V. Rodriguez. Saturday at LSC.