Tag Archives: Jesse Williams

Snake and Mongoose (2013, Wayne Holloway)

I’m trying to think of something nice to say about Snake and Mongoose because pretty soon it’s going to seem like I’m picking on it. Fred Dryer. As in “Hunter” Fred Dryer. He’s in it for a bit. He’s having fun and still has some personality.

Sadly, the main actors have none. Richard Blake is a little bit better than Jesse Williams, but Williams is atrocious so it doesn’t make much difference. The rest of the supporting cast is even worse, though a lot of the fault might be the script. Alan Paradise and director Holloway write in one liners. It’s okay, of course, since the actors don’t act so much as wait to recite their crappy lines.

But the film’s incompetent in some ways it shouldn’t be. Holloway has a very limited budget. The way he shoots cars, one has to wonder if he promised the owners of these classic vehicles they’d be presented well. Shame Holloway didn’t put the attention into how he was shooting scenes.

Budget aside, the problem is director Holloway. He has no imagination for his small budget. He just pretends what he’s doing works and it doesn’t. More than half the film is old footage of the actual events, but there’s no attempt to integrate the scenes stylistically. Experienced cinematographer John Bailey doesn’t help. Sure, it’s digital, but Bailey does an awful job.

Snake and Mongoose’s badly made, badly acted. It’d do better as an historical clip reel than as an inept docudrama.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Wayne Holloway; written by Alan Paradise and Holloway; director of photography, John Bailey; edited by Richard Halsey and Nicholas Wayman-Harris; music by Gary Barlough; production designer, John Mott; produced by Robin Broidy and Stephen Nemeth; released by Anchor Bay Films.

Starring Jesse Williams (Don ‘The Snake’ Prudomme), Richard Blake (Tom ‘Mongoose’ McEwen), Ashley Hinshaw (Lynn Prudhomme), Kim Shaw (Judy McEwen), Maxwell Perry Cotton (Jamie), Fred Dryer (Ed Donovan), John Heard (Wally Parks), Julie Mond (Wendy), Leonardo Nam (Roland Leong), Ian Ziering (Keith Black), Tim Blake Nelson (Mike McAllister) and Noah Wyle (Arthur Spear).


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Brooklyn's Finest (2009, Antoine Fuqua)

When Richard Gere gives the best lead performance in a film, it’s definitely a problem. Gere doesn’t bring any gravitas to this role–a retiring police officer–and, when it gets to his redemption, it’s not clear why he needs redeeming. The film calls him a failure a lot, but it’s never clear why he’s a failure, especially when he’s being juxtaposed against two dirty cops.

Don Cheadle’s at least an undercover cop who’s experiencing morality qualms as his superiors support one drug dealer over another, but Ethan Hawke’s just a scumbag. The film loves to use Catholic as an excuse for anything, like why Hawke and Lili Taylor have an endless supply of kids, one for whenever the film needs to emphasis Hawke’s money troubles.

Fuqua manages to keep Brooklyn’s Finest on schedule, if not on track. His Panavision composition doesn’t fail and, for a time, it seems like the film might squeak out one honest moment (the script’s a collection of movie cliches). But every opportunity it has, it squanders–most of these opportunities go to top-billed, non-lead Gere, whose story has at least two threads left unfinished, though only one of them really deserves any attention.

The supporting cast–Vincent D’Onofrio has a great cameo–is weak. Will Patton’s terrible, as is Ellen Barkin. Wesley Snipes plays a caricature, but is better than most of those around him (surprising since they’re all “Wire” alums).

Too bad they didn’t hire a “Wire” writer for a rewrite.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Antoine Fuqua; written by Michael C. Martin; director of photography, Patrick Murguia; edited by Barbara Tulliver; music by Marcelo Zarvos; production designer, Thérèse DePrez; produced by John Thompson, Elie Cohn, John Langley, Basil Iwanyk and Avi Lerner; released by Overture Films.

Starring Richard Gere (Eddie), Don Cheadle (Tango), Ethan Hawke (Sal), Wesley Snipes (Caz), Jesse Williams (Eddie Quinlan), Will Patton (Lieutenant Hobarts), Lili Taylor (Angela), Shannon Kane (Chantel), Brian F. O’Byrne (Ronny Rosario), Michael K. Williams (Red) and Ellen Barkin (Agent Smith).


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