HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ice Harvest, The Cold, Cold Heart
Year: 2005
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Platt, Mike Starr, Randy Quaid, Ned Bellamy, T.J. Jagodowski, Lara Phillips, Meghan Maureen McDonough, David Pasquesi, Caroline Gehrke, Steve King, Justine Bentley, Max Kirsch, Brad Smith
Genre: Comedy, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's Christmas Eve in Wichita, and a lawyer who makes his living from taking the cases of the Mob is pondering his next move after stealing over two million dollars from his boss. This lawyer is Charlie Arglist (John Cusack) and he hasn't been acting alone, for he has a partner in crime, Vic Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton) who assures him he will take care of the bag full of cash while they wait for the heat to die down, but this does set Charlie off wondering how trustworthy Vic actually is. Something to worry about as the night draws on and he visits his local strip club to have a much-needed, nerves-steadying drink. While he's there, he meets the businesswoman he is carrying a torch for, Renata (Connie Nielsen), who he would like to do a deal with and possibly run off together, but there's always a snag, isn't there?

The Ice Harvest did next to nothing when it was first released, garnering mostly lukewarm reviews and failing to interest the public for whom this wasn't their idea of a cosy Christmas movie. Indeed, it was about as chilly as the weather in Wichita, with rain turning to ice across the landscape, which would have been offputting even for a work described as a black comedy, though in effect just as that precipitation was freezing, the comedy tended to turn to bleak drama more often than not. It was directed by Harold Ramis, who had much experience in humour though in spite of some serious elements to his best film Groundhog Day was not exactly welcomed for his less deliberately laugh-inducing material.

As this was based on a less than well known novel by Scott Phillips, the script from Richard Russo and Robert Benton (himself no slouch at mixing comedy with drama in his self-directed efforts) delivered a distinctly novelish tone, something Ramis was only too happy to expand upon with the emphasis on cynical dialogue and world-weary characters practically goading one another into fresh depths of despair and self-degradation - though the degradation of others is preferable. Helping this were a brace of performances largely behaving as if the heyday of film noir had never finished; well, there was the neo-noir of the eighties and nineties, but even that had grown old hat by the early twenty-first century which could be another reason The Ice Harvest didn't catch on.

Not initially at any rate, but then a funny thing happened, as certain movie buffs looked around for seasonal entertainments to watch, and this became a staple of those who preferred a Christmas film with bite, joining the ranks of Black Christmas, Die Hard or Bad Santa for the Yuletide favourites which mixed the end of the year festivities with a more bracing pessimism that pointed out not everyone has a fine old time on December the 25th. It was accurate to say those performances were a boon to anyone seeking that acid mood, as the balance of power shifts between the collection of fairly well-known actors, some one scene wonders, others with more substantial things to do. Oliver Platt who played Charlie's boozy pal and colleague Pete Van Heuten counted this as one of his most beloved roles, and you could sense the cast were relishing their work.

Platt apparently liked Pete so much that he more or less went on to play him in cult television drama Huff for a couple of seasons, but that was not to do down what he achieved, a funny, tragic and often obnoxious character who managed to lighten the tone even if one of his testicles has been kicked up into his body cavity. Thornton too was in complete control, interesting as this had echoes in his dark-hearted villainy of the Fargo television series, since you couldn't imagine many involved in The Ice Harvest had not seen the Coen Brothers classic around ten years before, but it was really Cusack who held it together in a period where he was increasingly phoning in his performances in pulp unworthy of his talents, as if he thought they were what he deserved by that point. In this case, he was as engaged as his co-stars, Nielsen essaying a brazen femme fatale with slinky, jaded aplomb and even Mike Starr and Randy Quaid as hitmen making an impression in spite of limited scenes. Overall, it was a tad too sorry for itself, but if you liked good actors appreciating good lines, it was fine. Music by David Kitay.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1893 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: