Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
So why didn't this make it to theaters?
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is rare to hear such polarization of opinions on a film that apparently didn't ever open in the theaters. When the list of current fluff is surveyed - films not only with no storyline but no actors of any merit to propel what is not there - it makes you wonder 'what happened?' A great movie? No, but it is far above the things that draw massive crowds to the popcorn palaces. SHADE, as written and directed with aplomb by Damian Nieman, is another Con Artist/Grifter/Confidence Game story that just happens to be populated with a crew of excellent actors. This time it is about poker, this was a riveting and fascinating story. At last Stuart Townsend gets a chance to star as the main card shark and he handles his pivotal role with tremendous finesse. He is teamed with Gabriel Byrne and Thandie Newton in the near perfect con. The victims and other players include Jamie Foxx, Dina Merrill, Hal Holbrook, Melanie Griffith, and even Sylvester Stallone in a fine turn as the Dean of Cards. The card tricks are believably performed by the actors trained to the nines and the surprise ending is a real jolt, making you realize how easy it is to get caught up in the Grifter mindset. I think this is a polished little film that deserves more attention!"
THREE Stars for the story; FIVE for the casting!
Reginald D. Garrard | Camilla, GA USA | 12/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As far as the story is concerned, the plot twists were kind of easy to predict and the characters were your typical assortment: sexy female diversion, cool calculating young apprentice, savvy street-wise hustler, experienced poker ace, and the omnipresent crimeland kingpin of whom everyone is afraid.
But, it is the marvelous casting that makes this film for me. Stallone, Townsend, Byrne, Newton, and Foxx seem to really be enjoying themselves in their various parts and could easily have given Clooney's "Ocean Eleven" crew a run for the money. Melanie Griffith's extended cameo fits well into the film's structure, too.
However, the appearance of acting pros as Hal Holbrook, Patrick Bauchau, and Dina Merrill are a pleasure for this movie fan, adding an element of class and authenticity to the posh surroundings. Bo Hopkins (who also served as executive producer) has a field day as a not-so-honest L.A. cop.
Even "Deep Space Nine's" Michael Dorn has a small part, sans his KLINGON garb.
Roger G. Smith makes an impression as a "hood" with impeccable diction.
The film may not have made much headway at the box office but is still an enjoyable look at what goes on with those with money to burn."
Stallone gives a good performance
A man from the east coast | The East Coast of the USA | 06/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you like cards, you'll like this movie. If you like Stallone, you'll like this movie. If you like neither, you won't.It's just about that simple.Stallone and Melanie Griffith both give good performances, with Sly showing us, for the first time in a long time, that his acting muscles are as impressive as his physique. He really turns in a good performance here; strong, lean, sincere, centered. Ms. Griffith is wonderful as his love interest, she's all charm and she looks great, too. It's her best since "Nobody's Fool" in terms of playing a love interest any man would adore.The other actors and the director certainly turn in worthy performances. This is a good, enjoyable film and really should have been given a chance at least a limited theatrical release. The studios just don't have any confidence in Sly any more, they think he's typecast and they won't let him break out. He was terrific in "Copland", and I still believe he's got a few great performances left in him. Still, the studios just don't see him as anything other than Rocky or Rambo, and it's a shame. Stallone has always been an underrated actor. Part of the blame belongs to Sly and his inferiority complex. I suppose he just didn't seek out the roles that would have truly challenged him as an actor, and distinguished him to critics and audiences alike. That tendency to abandon his underdog status (see "Rocky", "First Blood", "Copland" and "Lock Up") to play the superhero (Forgettables like "Cobra", "Judge Dredd") has certainly been his Achilles' heel. Stallone needs to sink his teeth into some meatier fare, and "Shade" is, at least, a step in that far more satisfying direction.He delivers a few great, comical deadpan lines in this film, and he comes across as a true master of card mechanics. More than this, though, is his presence at the card table. He's intimidating, though not like Rambo or even Cobra. He comes across as being intelligent and experienced, a deadly combination. His limited role in this film makes his performance work all the more, because we spend the film anticipating the challenge of competing with his character "The Dean", and when we finally meet him, we find that the legends surrounding him were indeed true.I just wish Stallone would do more films like "Shade", low-budget, character driven ensemble roles that bring out the best of his talent. I'll say it again: Sly is an underrated actor, and he deserves a better chance than the studios are willing to give him.Well, 'nuff said. "Shade" is good, you'll enjoy it if you like cards or Sly. Enjoy."
Watch the DVD extras
Reginald D. Garrard | 11/30/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"it was okay. the kewlest parts was the extras. better than the movie!!!!! :-)
poker players complaining bout stuff in the movie should watch the featurette or listeen to the commentary.
lotsa things in the movie was done on purpose -
technical consultant: "the challenge was to get the procedures pretty accurate, but within the dramatic structure of the story. because one of the things we did was we don't use the table stakes structure which everybody knows about...in the shade gangster world we wanted to be able to create this situation were more money could be thrown into the pot."
director: "right. this is an omaj to all those films like cincinnati kid, big hand for little lady..."
technical consultant: "and it drives poker players nuts sometimes but its really about the story...we wanted to make sure the story didnt' suffer."
director: "we wanted to make sure that all you poker players at home realized that we were aware of the foa pahs that we created...we did them intentionally."
you guys are right though. this dvd aint for poker players. its for regular people. gotsta pay the bills ya know?"