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PCR # 258  (Vol. 6, No. 9)  This edition is for the week of February 28--March 6, 2005.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Be Cool"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

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Starring: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer and The Rock.
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 54 mins

After Quentin Tarentino brought John Travolta back to the "A" list with "Pulp Fiction," Travolta thought long and hard about his next film. With Tarentino's urging, he took the role of Chilli Palmer in the film adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel, "Get Shorty." A low level shylock with a love for movies, Chilli traveled to Hollywood and soon found himself involved in the film business. Now, when a friend of his is murdered, Chilli jumps from the movies to the recording business in the hilarious follow up, "Be Cool."

After a string of hit or miss films, I'm happy to report that, once again, John Travolta is back! Is there really a cooler person in the world? And if not, who better to star in a movie called "Be Cool." The story goes like this: following the death of his friend, Chilli decides to help his widow (Thurman) hold on to their record label. In doing so, Chilli keeps an appointment with a talented young singer (a very good Christina Milian). Convinced that she has the talent to be a star, Chilli does what he can to promote her. Along the way he must deal with a variety of characters. From a white wannabe thug (Vaughn) to a Harvard educated rap producer (Cedric the Entertainer). From a bodyguard/actor whose only talent seems to be the ability to raise one eyebrow (the Rock) to a rapper who is just itching to shoot somebody (Outkast's Andre' Benjamin). The plot jumps from one great scene to another. This is easily the funniest film of the early film year. And I'm going to go on a limb here and say this is the only film where you'll find Danny DeVito, Anna Nicole Smith and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler share the screen. And if that's not enough, I promise you that this is the only film where you'll come across a rapping Harvey Keitel. The entire cast is spot on perfect. The Rock, who has already made a smooth transition from the wrestling ring to the big screen, almost steals the film. The man has a knack for comedy and I hope he does a few more between his action films. The script is full of great lines and director Gray brings the same skill he displayed with "The Italian Job" to this film. He has a way of letting his actors know that he trusts them and that obviously inspires them to do their best.

But the coolest one here is still Travolta. How cool is Chilli Palmer? When someone tells him they remember him from an appearance on "Larry King" but can't remember the other guest, he casually reminds him that it was Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Like his first screen triumph almost 30 years ago, Brooklyn born Tony Manero in "Saturday Night Fever," Travolta owns the dance floor that is the screen. When he's asked early in the film if he can dance, Chilli replies, "Of course, I'm from Brooklyn." Must be something in the water.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Be Cool"  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Be Cool" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2005, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.