Hey, psssst! You ever hear the one about the guy who fakes his own death to dodge his debts? Well, loan shark Chili Palmer has. And in this “funny, cryptic and compelling winner” (Playboy), Chili not only tracks the guy down, but also uses him in a scheme that’ll set the world on fire!
Here’s how it goes down: Chili (John Travolta) squeezes Miami lowlifes for a living but dreams of making it in the movies. So when he comes to Hollywood, he attempts to schmooze filmmaker Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), star Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) and B-movie queen Karen Flores (Rene Russo) into filming the story of his last “debt collection.”
Can this mobster-turned-mogul pull it off? If the tricks of the film trade are the same ones used in loansharking (i.e., intimidation, fear and deceit)… then, you bet! –MGM
A former director of photographer who made the successful transition into directing features, Barry Sonnenfeld was responsible for some of the biggest hits in the 1990s, including the international sci-fi hit, “Men in Black” (1997). He previously cut his teeth as a cinematographer for Joel and Ethan Coen, shooting some of their earliest films – from “Blood Simple” (1984) through “Miller’s Crossing” (1990) – before making his own directorial debut with “The Addams Family” (1991). While he found limited success following “Men in Black” – mainly with its 2002 sequel – Sonnenfeld moved away from feature directing to start a third career as a successful television producer. Though he initially hit a few snags with several short-lived series like “Karen Sisco” (USA, 2003) and “Notes From the Underbelly” (WB, 2007-08), he found his stride with “Pushing Daisies” (ABC, 2007- ), a critically-lauded fantasy drama that earned Sonnenfeld high praise and his first ever Emmy Award.
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This film is the cock of the walk. John Travolta is the engine that drives this brilliant comedy adaptation of the Elmore Leonard book. It captures the rhythm of Leonard's prose precisely. An that's high praise. It has a visual style that arrests and it's pacing is amazing. Great performances abound in every role. Okay, so Denis Farina is a little over the top, but if you know any wise guys they can be as well.