Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Movie Review: "Four Rooms" (1995)

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Movie"Four Rooms"
Director: Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino
Year: 1996
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

A bellhop named Ted (Tim Roth) has an interesting night on New Year's Eve at the Hotel Mon Signor. He has interactions with some truly bizarre guests in four separate rooms throughout the night. These interactions include an almost fully nude witch's coven, a man with a gun and his tied-up wife, a pair of rambunctious kids and their intimidating father, and a Hollywood producer that is engaged in a rather interesting bet.

Loosely inspired by some of Roald Dahl short stories, "Four Rooms" is an anthology film that tells four separate stories connected through a hotel and its bellhop Ted, played by Tim Roth. Each segment is written and directed by a different person, and you can really tell the difference in the camera work, tonality, and style of each singular piece of this larger puzzle featuring Ted the bellhop.

The first segment is entitled "The Missing Ingredient," which is written and directed by Allison Anders. It focuses on a coven of witches who wish to bring their mistress back to life. It stars the likes Madonna, Ione Skye, Lily Taylor, Valeria Golino, and of course, Tim Roth who is the only constant in these stories. Unfortunately, one of the ingredients these witches need is missing, and only a man can give it to them. The closest man available is Ted the bellboy. This segment is dirty, pretty funny, and has its moments of intrigue, but overall, it's pretty corny. It's all an excuse to showcase topless women talking about "getting seed" from someone, plus stuff you'd talk about in third grade with your friends, you know, boob stuff. Nothing groundbreaking or all that interesting at the end of the day.

The second segment titled "The Wrong Man," which is written and directed by Alexandre Rockwell. Ted delivers room service to the wrong room and is held at gunpoint by a man who accuses him of having an affair with his wife, who is tied to a chair. It stars David Proval and Jennifer Beals as the husband and wife, plus, Tim Roth. Tim Roth starts to get a little more spastic in this segment, and while it's a little annoying, we'd probably be spastic too if someone held us at gunpoint with a tied up woman in front of us. This whole segment feels like something we've seen before and doesn't do a lot for us.

Next up is an installment called "The Misbehavors," written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. It stars a younger Antonio Banderas as a seemingly angry and very intimidating man who just wants to enjoy New Years Eve with his wife, so he's willing to pay the bellhop to watch his kids. These kids look like angels, but are really devils in disguise. The kids start to become hellions the moment their parents leave, giving Ted a harder and harder time throughout the night. Of course, Ted is a bit of a twat in this installment and is unnecessarily combative and careless, but then again, he's there to work, not to watch someone's kids. Banderas is fantastic in this limited role. He is suave, jagged, and you get the sense that he'd kill you for less than what Ted is doing by ignoring his bratty kids. You also get the classic Robert Rodriguez signature camerawork here, just in a smaller time frame. A noble effort. This is our second favorite segment and is overall mostly entertaining.

The final segment is called "The Man from Hollywood," which is written by, directed by, and stars the infamous and notorious Quentin Tarantino. Much like most Tarantino ventures, it is full of fast-paced, rapid fire dialogue including a lot f-bombs. If you don't believe us, we looked it up! During this 21 minute segment, the f-word and its derivatives are used 193 times. WOW. This story is all about a bet between two friends who are very, very drunk. One of the friends bets his car against the pinky finger of the other friend. He bets that he can't light his Zippo lighter 10 times in a row. This segment takes a while to get to the point (as per most of Tarantino's works), but certainly concludes on a strong, very Tarantino note. Overall, this piece of the puzzle has its moments, but they are a bit hit or miss and super disjointed. Tim Roth is in full-fledged spaz mode and can get annoying at many points in the film, but he bothered BigJ more than he bothered me as I rather liked his over-the-top nature that progressively gets worse the longer the hours tick by in the night. Even though Tarantino is a good director, he isn't the best actor and really never has been.

In the end, this movie is a mixed bag for us. We like the idea of taking four interconnected but separate stories that happen over the course of one night, in one place, each one by a certain director, tied together by a single thread. Overall, it's mostly mediocre, even when featuring so much talent.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 14%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"

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