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The Films of Andrei Konchalovsky

The First Teacher

The Story of Asya Klyachina Who Loved But Did Not Marry

A Nest of Gentry

Uncle Vanya

A Lovers' Romance


Maria's Lovers

Runaway Train

Duet for One

Shy People

Homer and Eddie

Tango & Cash (June 13/18)

Ultimately not as fun as one might've hoped, Tango & Cash follows the title characters (Sylvester Stallone's Ray Tango and Kurt Russell's Gabriel Cash) as they're forced to clear their names after a vicious crime boss (Jack Palance's Yves Perret) frames them for murder. There's little doubt that Tango & Cash fares best in its fast-paced and thoroughly entertaining opening stretch, as director Andrei Konchalovsky, working from Randy Feldman's screenplay, effectively establishes Stallone and Russell's respective protagonists by delivering a pair of appreciatively over-the-top interludes (eg Tango takes down a hijacked tanker trailer using only a pistol). It's clear, too, that the picture benefits substantially from the consistently irresistible banter between Tango and Cash, with both Stallone and Russell ably stepping into the shoes of their familiar yet thoroughly agreeable characters. (Stallone is solid as the uptight Ray Tango, though it's ultimately Russell, at his charismatic best here, who stands as the movie's most valuable player.) The film's downfall, then, is a plodding second (and third) act mostly devoid of compelling set pieces or sequences, with, for example, the midsection's heavy emphasis on the protagonists' dull exploits within a maximum-security prison establishing an air of tedium from which it never quite recovers (although the climactic confrontation with Palance's underwritten villain is actually not bad) - thus confirming Tango & Cash's place as an ineffective misfire that surely looked a whole lot better on paper.

out of

The Inner Circle

Kurochka Ryaba

House of Fools (April 25/03)

House of Fools transpires primarily inside a Russian psychiatric hospital, where Janna (Julia Vysotsky) has been living for an undetermined amount of time. Aside from her obsession with Bryan Adams (yes, that Bryan Adams), she seems to be somewhat normal - at least compared to some of the other patients. But when a war between Russians and Chechens begins to infringe on the hospital's property, the various men and women held within are forced to fend for themselves (the lone nurse and doctor are quick to flee). Director and writer Andrei Konchalovsky's approach to the material is utterly disastrous, turning what could've been an edgier One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest into a colossal bore. Aside from the fact that there isn't a single compelling character in the film, the complete lack of a storyline makes the relatively short running time feel about ten times longer. Not helping matters is the unpleasant look of the film, which likely is an accurate representation of a Russian nuthouse - but nevertheless is about as interesting visually as a pile of gravel. Konchalovsky's directorial flourishes are anything but subtle; his shaky camerawork and use of various filters only serves to disorient and annoy the audience. His intent was (presumably) to make us feel as though we're in the same boat as the characters, but this is the sort of thing where some serious distance is not only called for but required. Questionable visuals aside, the film has some serious pacing issues. There comes a moment in which everything seems wrapped up, but the film keeps going for an additional half hour - an excruciating 30 minutes that feels almost endless. And then, of course, there are the sporadic interludes featuring Adams singing Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? - a song of which, by the end of the movie, even the most ardent Adams fan will be tired. Adams' presence is completely pointless and unnecessary, and serves as the most obvious indicator that the director is perhaps more loony than any of the characters.

out of

The Lion in Winter


The Nutcracker in 3D

The Postman's White Nights


© David Nusair