I REALLY enjoyed the film
Steve Beach | 09/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a fan of noir in general and of comic noir in particular, so it won't surprise you that I REALLY enjoyed the film. Im fact, I really can't think of any recent direct-to-video release that I've liked more. I rented the video on a flier, mostly because of the cast. The core of the film is the plot twists, which work exceptionally well - I had to stop the video twice (when the wife is shot and for the electrocution scene) just to catch my breath. The obvious comparison is with the Coen Brothers work, but I was also reminded of WILD THINGS and CLAY PIGEONS. It's beyond a crime that utterly worthless crud like TOMCATS and RUSH HOUR II makes it to the multiplex and this film is relegated to a video only release. It would easily make my top ten of the year - and I'm a pretty mainstream person with tastes pretty much the same as people like Roger Ebert. I'll recommend it to all my friends and keep my eyes peeled for the director's next release. Oh, and the music is actually good - good enough to stand on its own -- and I'm not a big country fan. Overall: BRAVO! And thanks!"
Julian from ?
BD Ashley | 10/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great film. Daniel is great. great comedy, thriller very suspensful. james Caan is great also"
Aka "VIVA LAS NOWHERE"
BD Ashley | Otago, New Zealand | 06/29/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Frank Jacobs (Daniel Stern) is not the most fortunate guy in the world. A struggling songwriter who is married to a borderline psycho Helen(Patricia Richardson) and operating a run down hotel in the middle of nowhere; Frank's existance seems to be a perpetual dead end. But he soon sees an opprtunity to reverse his bad fortune when at the local nightclub he meets a country western singer, Julie (Lacey Kohl) who is married to a has-been music star named Roy (James Caan). Frank sees Julie as the perfect opportunity to get his songs published. Roy is none too pleased at his wife for this and this leads to them having an argument, which ends up with Frank offering to let Julie stay at his place for the night. As you'd have guessed by now, Helen flips her wig at this so in a fit of rage Frank kills her and buries her in his garden, then sets off with Julie to seek fame and fortune. But nothing goes as planned; although the blood and bone fertiliser of the human kind is doing wonders for Frank's tomatoes...
Also known as VIVA LAS NOWHERE, DEAD SIMPLE is a cliched movie directed by Jason Bloom; who made BIO-DOME, one of the most moronic and excruciating movies ever made. This is an improvement. But unfortunately this black comedy thriller coasts for a while on the power of its stars, then limps towards the finish line in the final act. Worst of all, there's plenty of godawful country western music; which gives the DEAD SIMPLE special appeal for backwoods hicks, rednecks and slack-jawed yokels. The good cast is wasted, and DEAD SIMPLE is further proof that James Caan's career is sinking further into direct-to-video hell, no matter how good an actor he is. DVD also includes the trailer."
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 10/05/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a real puzzler. It's meant to be a comic noir but the elements don't completely mesh. Is there a femme fatale? Yes. Is there an innocent man caught up in noir circumstances? Yes. Is there actual comedy? Yes. So what's wrong?For those who really love noir, the problem is that the stakes are just not high enough. This is more like an American, winking-an-eye-at-you-because-you-know-none-of-this-is-serious-anyway noir. It's cartoon noir. The acting is OK. James Caan is OK. Daniel Stern is OK. And so on. But it's all so superficial it just kind of goes by and then, poof, the movie's over.Both comedy and noir work best when the stakes are high enough to cause the main character(s) to undergo a serious change in attitude or lifestyle, etc. For example, in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a great comedy, Steve Martin undergoes a radical change when he submits to Michael Caine's tutelage. In Double Indemnity, a great noir, Fred MacMurray undergoes a dramatic change when he falls under the spell of Barbara Stanwyck. But here in Dead Simple, there just isn't that kind of intense need for our hero, played by Daniel Stern, to undergo any real transformation at all. There are some funny scenes--excellent black humor--involving corpses in the garden of an isolated motel, (hence the three stars), but nobody really has much to lose.This is slacker noir. Even James Caan doesn't have a whole lot to do except flip his huge ponytail back and forth a few times. He's been in other indie films that make MUCH better use of his talent; for a great example of this, see Flesh and Bone where he has a great script to work with and turns in a smashingly good performance.Yes, the hero falls for the femme fatale. But that doesn't last long enough to mean anything. Yes, there are murders, but they're really "so what" deaths. The presence of twin Patricia Richardsons is another OK element that doesn't really add much to the mix. Throw in the desire for country singing stardom and you can possibly see what a goofball noir this is. Could have been a whole lot better."