Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Ice Harvest |
Actors: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen, Lara Phillips, Bill Noble
Director: Harold Ramis
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
A WICKEDLY FUNNY THRILLER ABOUT A MOB LAWYER'S PLAN TO STEAL MONEY FROM HIS BOSS ON A DARK & ICY WINTER'S NIGHT. THIS IS FILLED WITH MAYHEM & LETHAL SURPRISES THAT WILL KEEP YOU LAUGHING & GUESSING UNTIL THE VERY END.
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Member Movie Reviews
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO
Reviewed on 11/22/2015...
Absolutely hilarious movie with plenty of extra material well worth watching over and over again! The story moves along so fast it might be helpful to watch it again and again.... maybe with director Harold Ramis audio commentary turned on the second time. Billy Bob Thorntons role is not very big but as usual he can be dangerously hilarious. Mike Starr (Goodfellas) stuffed in a trunk to be dumped in a lake nearly frozen over. The recurring role of police officer who pulls John Cusacks character over for traffic violations yet never tickets him is portrayed by T.J. Jagodowski who if you ever see those annoying Sonic drive in commercials will recognize! These and lots more are highlights that kept me laughing out loud throughout the great movie!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Heather F. (8izenuff) from PHOENIX, AZ
Reviewed on 2/10/2008...
John Cusack does a really good movie and then throws in a stinker every one in a while. This stunk. Oliver Platt and the ending were the best part. The rest just lacked a certain something.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Noir and Noel and Nuance: Excellent Movie, Entertaining Back
Richard L. Pangburn | Bardstown, KY USA | 03/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is more than just another last-man-standing suitcase-full-of-money movie.
John Cusack plays an everyman, a lawyer who has sold out to the values of corporate corruption. With mixed feelings, he steals over two million dollars from the local mob on Christmas Eve, then plans with Billy Bob Thornton to make a break for it later on Christmas Day.
The mob boss (Randy Quaid) finds out and sends a hit man to get his money back, and the movie plot is about John Cusack trying to avoid getting killed by them.
The movie has been pretty much panned by almost every critic to review it, although Roger Ebert praised it enough for three stars. I loved it and loved the book before it. I realize that I am in a small minority in this regard.
What makes THE ICE HARVEST work for me is its noir blend of saltiness and satire, its mixture of comedy and karma.
The comedy here is based upon the hypocrisy of Christmas in this era of corruption and greed. All of the liars and killers and thieves in this movie talk about Christmas, about being home opening up presents with their kids. If you don't get that, I guess you won't see the comedy. It is nice that it is set in Wichita, Kansas, especially if you have read Thomas Frank's WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?
The opening graffiti above the urinal, "As Wichita Falls Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls," is a repeated line of jazz that caused an existential crisis for the film's French translator who had trouble distinguishing between "falls" as a noun and "falls" as a verb with a misplaced execution, Wichita Falls not being in Kansas but in Texas.
The author of this blood red graffiti is not revealed until the end of the film, at which time its coded karmic message seems clear, "what goes around, comes around," or "as ye sow, so shall ye reap."
The backstory segments are generous and entertaining, including a segment where the movie is discussed by book author Scott Phillips and the screenplay authors, Robert Benton and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo, author of STRAIGHT MAN and EMPIRE FALLS.
John Cusack is endearing as an everyman who has gone too far with a fantasy and now is just trying to survive.
Billy Bob Thornton is menacing as Vic. His idea of winning is the American way, giving lip-service to religion and humanist values while embracing ruthless materialism.
Oliver Platt plays a jolly-faced loser, John Cusack's hapless doppeldinger, addicted to sexual conquests and alcohol, now married to Cusack's former wife. He seems to be an extention of the drunks who played in GROUNDHOG DAY.
Connie Nielsen vamps it up, a cross between Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake. She's a tribute to a different era, like the femme fatale in WHO'S AFRAID OF ROGER RABBIT?, not really bad, just drawn that way. The book fills the character out more and speculates more on her background as an abused woman who learned how to survive, a hardened refugee from the war in Bosnia.
Randy Quaid is terrific as a capitalistic Christian mob boss murderer, sad to be doing business when he could be home celebrating Christ's birthday.
This movie has fun poking fun, with style and karma, with a moral and a motto. As Jon Stewart says, "IN GOD WE TRUST" is our motto, and we place it where it can be read on every dollar bill in this film, "right where Jesus would have wanted it.""
Why are so many people down on this flick?
Arthur Martin | Toledo, OH United States | 02/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a fan of John Cusack, and a fan of FARGO-ish dark caper comedies, this was a perfect combo -- lean, smart, and entertaining. I have no idea why so many people seem to LOATHE this movie.
This is easily the best flick Cusack has been in since 2000's HIGH FIDELITY and the wait was painful. His character is a bit of a throwback to his role in THE GRIFTERS, but with a hint of additional warmth.
Admittedly, this movie was marketed all wrong. Advertising this Coen-brothers-like neo-noir as being from "The director of GROUNDHOG DAY and CADDYSHACK" is like advertising MUNICH as being from "The director of 1941 and JAWS." Sure, it's true, but it gives people the wrong expectation.
I say, give it a shot."
"Charlie, I hate to say this but you're a nice guy"..."I'm s
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 03/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First a disclosure--this film isn't for everyone. This is sort of the anti-"It's a Wonderful Life". There are always great movies that are lost in the shuffle of holiday releases. Somehow this fine film was overlooked during the holidays. No word of mouth, no buzz and no worthwhile advertising heralded this films arrival. Lucky for you and me we have DVD to save this film from having to be rediscovered in ten or twenty years as one of the funniest film noirs to come out in years and one of the best films of 2005. Charlie Arglist (John Cusack) plots the perfect crime-stealing $2 million from his boss with his partner Vic (Billy Bob Thornton) that goes horribly wrong in this black comedy set on Christmas Eve. Charlie believes that the perfect crime can be committed as long as you have character something that Charlie admits he can't have otherwise why would he be committing this crime? In the meantime he has to deal with his drunk buddy Pete (Oliver Platt) who has married his ex-wife, a lawyer who is being blackmailed for a photo of his indiscretion and a mob heavy looking for him that Charlie suspects knows all about his planned heist. Thank God this project came along as I was afraid that one of our generation's great comedic leading men was going to continue to be wasted in projects like "Must like Dogs". Ramis manages to capture just the right note desperation, comedy and madness that infect all of these unhappy people on what is supposed to be the warmest night of the year.
The chilly surface of the film is captured perfectly here. The cool looking surface of the film mirrors the subject matter. Detail and clarity are exceptional. The 5.1 presentation sounds quite nice but keep in mind that this is a comedy with action not an action comedy. There's a difference-the former focuses primarily on highlighting the dialogue the latter the explosions. The film is available by the way in both a 1.85:1 widescreen and 1.33:1 full screen presentation.
The special features are pretty good. "Cracking the Ice" features screenwriters Robert Benton ("Kramer vs. Kramer", "Places in the Heart"), Richard Russo ("Nobody's Fool," "Empire Falls") and novelist Scott Phillips discussing the creation of the story covering it from a unique angle-from the moment that Philips came up with the idea for the novel through the adaptation process for Ramis' film. Benton discovered the book recommended it to Russo. The three writers interview each other. Interestingly both Benton and Russo thought it was perfect for a film while Phillips felt it was not good material for a film despite the fact that he had spent months previously to writing it working on screenplays.
"Beneath the Harvest" features director Ramis, producer Ron Yerxa, actors Connie Nielsen, John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton discussing what the film is about and what attracted them to the project. Ramis is the most interesting of the group revealing what attracts him to comedies like this (let's just say it's a dark philosophy). Cusack focuses much more on what he liked about playing Charlie his character in the film and what drew him to playing such an unfortunate character. One of my favorite actors Oliver Platt mentions what he feels is the core of the story and what makes it work so well. Interestingly Ramis came to the project AFTER the script was written and admits he went back to read the novel after he read the screenplay. While he loved the screenplay he wanted to see if there was anything the writers had missed (probably the writer in him talking) and found that they had captured it perfectly. It's a solid "making of" featurette although nothing spectacular.
"Analysis of a Scene" is pretty self explanatory discussing the difficulty in creating one scene involving the lake. The scene was central and crucial to the success of the film. Ramis and the producers had their team create a mini-lake that they digitally enhanced for the sequence. They all knew though that they needed to have a physical location to sell the scene beyond the digital enhancements. They used melted paraffin to crate the look of the ice in the scene making it easier (and safer to shoot the sequence). We also have a very funny outtake where Thornton plays the scene in his character of Carl from "Sling Blade".
Ramis provides an amusing blow-by-blow commentary track that's quite amusing. Strangely you can access his commentary tracks via both the special features menu and language but can't turn it off via both menus. The special features are great for this set my only complaint is that you can't turn on and off the commentary track via your remote (something I like to do if I've just watched a scene and want a scene specific commentary) via your remote. Other than that whomever Universal hired to do the special features did a exceptional job overall.
A suspenseful black comedy that lost its way into the glut of holiday releases, we're lucky to have home video to appreciate this terrific black comedy. This is truly a gem of a film. Yes, it's cynical and dark but it's funny as hell. Ramis has crafted the antithesis of "It's a Wonderful Life". It's a tonic for the dark soul and funny bone regardless of the type of year you watch it.