×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Phoenix

It's just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in "Phoenix." And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be bettered served as a pay cable premiere.

With:
Harry Collins - Ray Liotta Mike Henshaw - Anthony LaPaglia Leila - Anjelica Huston James Nutter - Daniel Baldwin Fred Shuster - Jeremy Piven Chicago - Tom Noonan Clyde Webber - Xander Berkely Louie - Giancarlo Esposito Veronica - Brittany Murphy Katie Shuster - Kari Wuhrer

It’s just a matter of degrees that separates the good cops from the bad ones in “Phoenix.” And though the film attempts to give the genre material a hip, complex spin, the efforts are largely tiresome and uninspired. Technically, pic has a bigscreen sheen, but because it covers all too familiar territory, it would be bettered served as a pay cable premiere with some modest video afterlife.

The plot centers on four Phoenix detectives, particularly gambling addict Harry Collins (Ray Liotta) and the pliantly corruptible Mike Henshaw (Anthony LaPaglia). Harry’s in way over his head to loan sharks and eventually is driven to hit a crime czar’s club (where Mike works after hours) with his fellow officers to get the cash to pay his debt. But lurking in the background is a sanctimonious internal affairs officer (Xander Berkely).

Despite its many plot twists, Eddie Richey’s script is largely predictable. But he peppers the characters with odd quirks: One of the heavies lisps, a bad cop acts the class clown, and Harry, just to show he’s no fool, makes references to Dostoyevsky and King Kong. The effect is contrived rather than providing the sort of ironic edge that serves film noir so well.

Director Danny Cannon has a keen sense of ambience, directing the piece with a technical assurance that cannot overcome the flyweight material. Even the performances have the feel of actors recycling past work that had considerably greater texture. This “Phoenix” is mired in the ashes.

Phoenix

Production: Lakeshore Entertainment presents a Paradox Films production. Produced by Victoria Nevinny and Tracie Graham. Executive producers, Tom Rosenberg, Sigurjon Sighvtsson, Ted Tannebaum. Co-producers, Ray Liotta, Candace Veach. Directed by Danny Cannon. Screenplay, Eddie Richey.

Crew: Camera (Eastman, Panavision widescreen), James L. Carter; editor, Zach Staenberg; music, Graeme Revell; production designer, Charles Breen; costume designer, Alexandra Walker; casting, Rick Pagano. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May, 14, 1998. Running time: 104 MIN.

With: Harry Collins - Ray Liotta Mike Henshaw - Anthony LaPaglia Leila - Anjelica Huston James Nutter - Daniel Baldwin Fred Shuster - Jeremy Piven Chicago - Tom Noonan Clyde Webber - Xander Berkely Louie - Giancarlo Esposito Veronica - Brittany Murphy Katie Shuster - Kari Wuhrer

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content