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Four Rooms (1993) 

While a collaborative film in which four Director/Writers (originally meant to be 5 ) share quick tales of murder and mayhem, it’s clear there’s an overall presence of Quentin Tarantino. Something any film geek would notice and get a nice stiffy for (ok, guilty!). Hence the signature Red Apple cigarettes, Tim Roth bouncing about connecting the stories, having just starred in Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction. With Lawrence Bender having a small role as well as title of executive producer along with Quentin. Having the film told through the “eyes” of Ted (Tim Roth) the bellhop, whose first day at the Mon Signor was going to be far more melodramatic than could have dreamt up. After viewing a small nostalgic montage on what had once been, former bellhop Sam (Marc Lawrence) finishes his pep talk as the credits first come out in animation form, catching a mere glimpse of what is to ensue in the nights events.

Honeyroom Suite/The Missing Ingredient: Directed and Written by Allison Anders What is arguably the oddest of tales within the bunch, a lot of familiar faces fill the screen that at least “made up” for their hit or miss antics; no pun intended! A coven of witches join so as to resurrect the goddess Diana (Amanda De Cadenet). Requiring the milk from a tit, virgins blood, sweat from men’s thighs, a years worth of tears and sperm. Having some trouble obtaining the last as Athena (Valeria Golino) insist that Eva (Ione Skye) finish the job intended and spend a few minutes with Ted in order to achieve such. It was the oddest combination of Actresses to get though. Madonna played Elspeth, the freaky witch that randomly hissed and wore tight black clothing. Having a lesbian lover by the name of Kiva (Alicia Witt) whose odd way of life becomes more so after deciding she wanted to become one like the coven. Jezebel (Sammi Davis) was simply the ditzy blonde that takes her top off and I was kind of surprised that Ione also did such. But mostly because I always associate her as Diane in Say Anything. Leaving Raven (Lili Taylor) who was clearly the more natural witch of the bunch; okay, basically a hippy. But is great at capturing different emotions and being very true to her character, whatever it may be. But in the end an unnecessarily dramatic and simply terrible story that only got worse as it progressed.

Room 401/The Wrong Man: Directed and Written by Alexandre Rockwell A story concerning a married couple of which evidently is going through a rough patch. It seemed right time, wrong place was continuing as a theme with Ted finding himself in the middle of a married man’s drunken state who believed he had finally caught his wife’s lover though to be Ted. Siegfried (David Proval) had taken his fair share of medication and the gun in his hand assured his confidence in bossing Ted around, demanding he do whatever should cross his mind at the moment. Jennifer Beals only good lines streaming from her taunts against her husband concerning Ted and his enormous “talent.” Though I did enjoy the break as Ted tries to escape and is thrown up on from Lawrence Bender on the above floor, from outside the bathroom window. Directorially it was appealing, especially the beginning shot. The story just came out flat in the end.

Room 309/The Misbehaviors: Directed and Written by Robert Rodriguez No secret nor surprise that Robert made the best short within the film. Making greatness is kind of his thing. Being so close to wrapping up Desperado, the short plays as though that character had Spy Kids, without Machete’s gadgets. He was also sure to fill the background with some Easter eggs as the shows watched on TV were his first film, Bedhead as well as Salma Hayek dancing (who couldn’t recognize that body, come on!). As the corpse was played by his sister Patricia Vonne. The story involved a Man (Antonio Banderas) and his Wife (Tamlyn Tomita) going out to celebrate the New Year and at the last minute, deciding to pay Ted five hundred dollars to baby-sit. Giving the advice to behave as Sarah (Lana McKissack) and Juancho (Danny Verduzco) immediately grow restless and begin getting in one mess after another. Roth was also vastly more vocal which played nicely off the kids, for which the daughter was the ringleader. Antonio was undoubtedly still on a high from being so awesome in the before mentioned that it carried over (not that I‘m complaining). Building into a hilarious climax and later speech given by Roth that surely made up for the slow pace the film had started out with.

Penthouse/The Man from Hollywood: Directed and Written by Quentin Tarantino Playing Chester Brown (like Mr. Brown *wink*), Quentin plays an ego induced, dialogue driven, addict of life whose antics are outlandish and mouth always seems to be in overtime. So basically, himself! But hey, maybe he got out some inner demons, referring to the very life I’m sure he’s perceived to have. Major success coming off a film in which his friends got to benefit from with endless partying. Bored and not having enough things to do with their money as they decide to make the nights events a bit more interesting. Though Bruce Willis did this film as a favor to Quentin and wasn’t paid, I didn’t find his ranting or lines particularly funny in their delivery. His other friend Norman (Paul Calderon) was a poor Quentin’s Samuel L. Jackson and having Beals pop up again wasn’t really necessary but perhaps done just to throw a girl into the bunch. Their idea being inspired from an old Hitchcock Presents episode written by Roald Dahl entitled The Man from the South. In which a bet is made that if unable to light ones lighter ten times in a row, that his pinky would be cut off. With a convincing argument, Ted is shown how much he would make in order to be able to live with the memory for the rest of his life. Confirming the deal as the first light is not completed with an instant reaction causing chaos as the bellhop takes his cash and heads out as the rest scramble about with the credits rolling over.

While a clear homage to the film The Bellhop (Quentin even writes it into his script!) it’s not as though Jerry Lewis’s performance is something that can easily be duplicated. So they went in different direction by having Tim Roth display the eccentric and hilarious mess that he can be and I loved every minute of it. Watching him parade about as though on the verge of a nervous breakdown the more the night continued. His constant shuffling, way in which his voice changed per incident and part when throws up because of everything being too much were greatly underrated in giving Roth the credit. He’s the only reason to even watch it all the way through more than a handful of times; otherwise fast forwarding never hurt anybody. There was also cameos from Kathy Griffin as Betty (owner of Hotel) and Marisa Tomei as Margaret; Betty’s party guest. Though a slow start, ends up as a not too bad comedy with entirely too much talent and not enough material.