Friday, October 18, 2013

After the Sunset (2004)

After the SunsetI must confess to not being a fan of Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle or Selma Hayek, so you know off the bat who I went to see in this film -Pierce Brosnan.

However, but the time this film was halfway through, I became a BIG fan of those three actors. Very rarely do you get the sense that the actors had fun making a film, but the chemistry and joy that comes off the screen in After the Sunset makes it very hard to miss. This is a great popcorn flick, and clearly the actors had a great time making it. How could they not, they were in paradise.

Speaking of -the cinematography in this film is costly. Costly because after seeing ATS you will want to stay at the Atlantis resort, and I am guessing it is costly.

Costly too is Max Burdett's (Brosnan) tastes but he can afford it with his skill in thievery. Equally skilled in law enforcement is Stan Lloyd (Harrelson), who is banking his career on finding Burdett as he tries to steal the third Napolean diamond. Who ultimately succeeds in this film is something you have to pay to find out, but trust me, like Catch a Thief there is a twist at the end.

Selma Hayek is GORGEOUS in this film and equally believable as a thief and as a lover. Don Cheadle's role is only a touch longer than a cameo, but when he makes his appearances, he can not be missed.

One of the big surprise highlights of this film is the chemistry between Rachael Harris and Obba Babatundé. Equally fun is the banter between unlikely gal palls Hayek and Harris.

Another surprise is the deft hand Brett Ratner had at giving the film goers just as small taste of social commentary. You do see both sides of Paradise, and a careful viewer will take note of the stark differences between the two.

Being a Brosnan fan, I went into this film expecting to enjoy it a lot, but there was no way I could anticpate the many different ways I would. After the Sunset is a film where you mind spending the money on the tickets and the popcorn.

Oh and that noise you're hearing? That's the folks at Eon Productions banging their heads against the wall because they let their billion dollar Bond get away.

Okay, so After the Sunset certainly isn't a film that you'd be hearing about at the Oscars. It's not even a good caper movie, but it is funny. While the movie is surrounded around one great caper, the caper itself is nothing special, nothing we haven't seen before, and without any surprises. As a caper movie, it flops. As a comedy, it's, well, pretty good.

Brosnan and Hayek star as Max and Lola, two thieves ready to give up their caper lifestyle and retire to the Caribbean. Lola is excited about quitting-she would rather spend her time scuba diving and watching sunsets with Max. Max, on the other hand, learns that a big fat diamond is on public display, coincidentally on the same island that he is now living on with Lola. He can't get the jewel out of his head. Then we have Stan (Harrelson). He's an FBI agent who teams up with a local cop named Sophie with the hopes of finally nabbing Max, whom he's been chasing for seven years. Toss in a gangster played by Don Cheadle, some funny one-liners, and lots of bronzed skin and you have yourself the perfect popcorn flick.

What's funny is that Brosnan and Harrelson have more chemistry than Brosnan and Hayek. I found myself wanting to skip the parts with Hayek just to get straight to Harrelson! These two are so funny together, especially in one noteworthy scene where they end up in bed together. Brosnan and Hayek make a beautiful couple no doubt, but their relationship seems forced and somewhat awkward. But at least they're nice to look at. All in all, this is just a funny and sometimes goofy movie. Not much in the caper arena, but funny nonetheless. Check it out sometime -RECOMMENDED.

Buy After the Sunset (2004) Now

Now "After the Sunset" is what I would call a really cool and funny movie. You can well expect something fun and interesting if a movie has both Woody and Pierce Brosnan in a movie together, and you get it in this film. The movie doesn't take itself so seriously since this isn't a serious heist film. There are little small jokes thrown in here and there that keep you watching and really keep you entertained. There is even a twist at the end of the movie that I never really saw coming. Throughout the film, you see two enemies that eventually grow to have respect for each other and even become friends. If you want a serious action flick like off of a James Bond movie, this movie probably wouldn't appeal to you. But if you like "good cop bad cop" comedies that keep you entertained the entire time, this is it. Not a blockbuster movie, but entertaining none the less.

Read Best Reviews of After the Sunset (2004) Here

this is what his life would have been.

Max (Brosnan) is a jewel thief who always gets his target. Stan (Harrelson) is the FBI agent in charge of guarding the latest gem Max has his eye on. Stan doesn't have a chance but nearly manages to take Max down during the theft. Lola (Hayek), Max's girlfriend and partner convinces Max that it is time to retire while they are one the top of their game. With some reservations Max agrees and the two move to the Bahamas where Max soon gets bored while Lola seeks to find ways to fill their days.

Stan then appears convinced that this has all been a ruse as Max and Lola prepare to steal yet another diamond that will be arriving soon. Max protests his innocence but Stan does not believe him. Others soon become involved in this would be heist and eventually the diamond does disppear but who is the thief?

This is to serious heist films what REMINGTON STEELE was to serious detective shows. Like Steele, AFTER THE SUNSET is a lighthearted romp that requires to viewer to not look too closely. The real attraction here is not the clever heist but the interactions between the various characters.

While this film is fun and I definitely recommend it, it is not without flaws. At times the action gets a bit confusing, even to lack focus. This is somewhat explained during the directors commentary where it is made clear that the movie was rewritten a few times up to and including who the thief was and how the film would end. Still this is a fun film, like REMINGTON STEELE, there are references to other movies. Some are subtle like the split screen action a la THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR others more obvious like Max watching TO CATCH A THIEF.

The film is beautifully shot, and is at times, as the director jokes, almost an advertisement for the Bahamas in general and the Atlantis resort in particular. The music score is a delight in itself.

The additional features are interesting and include, besides the director's commentary, deleted scenes, bloopers, a 'making of' feature, and some hidden 'goodies' that require a bit of searching.

Want After the Sunset (2004) Discount?

"After the Sunset" is a caper movie that doesn't function particularly well as a caper movie, a romance that doesn't function particularly well as a romance, and a buddy movie that...well, you get the point.

This movie breezes through a hour and a half pretty painlessly, and provides some decent moments; besides, honestly, any film that shows this much of Salma Hayek gets two stars on general hetero principles.

Problem is, caper movies have to have something that crackles the dialogue, the details of the caper itself, the action, the suspense and "After the Sunset" settles for a laid-back, Jimmy Buffett style of storytelling that doesn't offend, but isn't particularly involving or fun.

Pierce Brosnan plays Max, an ace jewel thief; Hayek plays his partner in crime and life, Lola. Brosnan and Hayek have a nice, easygoing chemistry well suited to their comfortable onscreen relationship, which is tested when Max decides to pull one last job.

Woody Harrelson plays Stan Lloyd, an FBI agent who has been foiled by Max before, most notably in the opening sequences, during which Max takes remote control of the SUV Lloyd is riding in (neat trick, since 1) no car can be driven this way, and 2) Max couldn't possibly drive the car without knowing where it's going), knocks him out with gas, and steals the diamond the FBI is transporting.

Lloyd follows Max to the Bahamas (one wonders how much the Atlantis resort paid for all the free product placemeent), where he finds Max thinking (or maybe not thinking) of knocking over an ocean liner carrying a precious diamond.

Along the way, a local cop (Naomie Harris, following up her strong performance in "28 Days Later" with another one) takes notice of Lloyd, and they eventually hook up in a scene taken straight from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (you know, the one where Indy keeps telling Marian to kiss different innocuous body parts before pointing to his lips).

And, amazingly enough, Max and Lloyd become buddies, though I never bought that aspect of their relationship one bit (which, as it turns out, is more of a plot contrivance than a failure of the actors or script).

There's also a local crime boss (Don Cheadle), a transplanted gangster from Detroit who tries to contract Max to steal the diamond to "develop the local infrastructure."

Caper movies can either revel in the details ("Heist"), the characters ("The Sting"), or in the style (the remake of "Ocean's Eleven"), but "After the Sunset" doesn't seem to revel in anything but its own mellowness (and long, lingering shots of Hayek, thank goodness).

All this adds up to a movie that tastes good and is instantly forgettable a cinematic Pina Colada, if you will.

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