Directed by John Herzfeld.
Written by John Herzfeld.
Starring Robert De Niro and Edward Burns.
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 3/1/01
What up? Yeah, it is rare that I find the
energy to write twice in two days, but when you got the juice, you
got the juice!!
Tricia "Hot" Ocampo once again sent out
freebies to a preview flick, and this time it was the Robert De Niro/Edward
Burns thriller "15 Minutes." I love De Niro, so I will see him in
almost anything (note, ALMOST anything...I skipped that flick he was
in two years ago called "Flawless" and all I have heard is bad
things about it). Two foreign criminals named Oleg (Oleg Taktarov)
and Emil (Karel Roden) come to New York City to collect money from a
friend that has been holding the money while the two were in
prison. However, this so-called friend spent all the money, and
this understandably pisses off Emil so much that he murders the man
in his apartment...while being videotaped by Oleg, a wanna-be film
director. To cover up the crime, Emil torches the apartment, which
brings together the city's top homicide detective (De Niro) and one
of the city's top arson detectives (Burns) to solve the case.
But, that is only the beginning of the film,
which has a few twists and turns that really make this a great,
unpredictable crime movie. The performances of the criminals--which
take up almost as much time as the Burns/De Niro sequences--are
very, very good; as mismatched as a twosome can get, the Czech Roden
and the Russian Taktarov are volatile at varying turns, with
Taktarov being as intense as anyone I've seen in a movie in a
while. To think that both of these guys are in their first film is
pretty amazing; they help make their scenes very lively and
surprisingly, very funny. As for Burns and De Niro, I enjoyed their
partnership and although you know that De Niro has played this role
many times before, he makes it interesting as the seasoned Detective
And, there are more "Holy shit, isn't
that..." actors and actresses in this movie than any in recent
memory. By using Kelsey Grammar, Avery Brooks, Charlize Theron, and
that guy that played Eddie on the TV show "Family Matters", there
are a lot of faces that normally don't appear in movies like this
and that makes "15 Minutes" all the more interesting.
It's not perfect, though; while its second
half is a roller coaster ride, the first half is periodically too
dry. And, the script does stretch the limits of the imagination at
times, but one can believe that the American people are a bunch of
mindless drones who will watch anything on TV if it is sensational
enough. If we can make "Survivor" our most watched television
series ever, then I for one can believe that we will sit in a bar,
drink gin-and-tonics and watch real-life videos of people getting
stabbed to death.
My roommate Chuck and I had pretty much the
same impression of the film after leaving the theater--not an
Opening Weekend, but a pretty solid, entertaining film.
Rating: $8.25 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard