14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2004
Loving misfit comedies as I do ... (OK, loving George Clooney as I do) ... and being from Collinwood myself long ago, I decided to check out Welcome to Collinwood.
Bad news first ... I was disappointed in Clooney's role. Good news ... that was all I was disappointed in. THis movie was a laugh riot from beginning to end while at the same time conveying an endearing pathos. This is the first time I have ever seen a criminal caper movie and felt sorry for and touched by the lives of the criminals, even while I was laughing MAO. These guys "punch through" the problems in their lives with interesting results. Jeter and Macy are fantastic and if you ever wondered what was Sam Rockwells breakout role, this is it.
I was born and raised in Collinwood in the 60's, and attended OH Perry school as a kid. This is not the Slavinian-rich neighborhood I remember but I guess nothing stays the same in this life, not even Cleveland. Check out this unique movie about my old neighborhood, you'll be glad you did.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2003
This "small-heist-went-terribly-awry" film has its own charm, which might or might not appeal to you. It is not the story that counts; it's the characters you enjoy watching, and the terrific cast give this light-weight film some good reason for you to watch.
The film's opening scene should not be missed; four guys in tattered and sooty clothes standing in the street, all staring vacantly in the air. What happened to them? The film goes back to the chain of events leading up to the first moment.
And the story is simple; Cosimo (Luiz Guzman) hears a story about a big deal from the guy in jail. The deal of stealing from a jewelry shop, and Cosimo knows how to break in there. Cosimo tells it to his love Rosalind, who tells it to another, who tells ... and finally, five guys in Colinwood get together around the plan. Now let me introduce these lovable guys. They are: down-and-out boxer Pero (Sam Rockwell, great as usual); Riley, failed artist who had to sell his camera to buy diapers (William H. Macy, never better with Mel Gibson-like sideburns); Leon, Dandy of Colinwood (Isaiah Washington); Toto, too kind and too old maybe for the job (Michael Jeter): and Basil, who falls in love with the sister of his buddy Leon at first sight (Andrew Davoli). And they are all broke.
You got also the cameo of cast-against-type George Clooney (see his disguise), and Gabrielle Union ("Bring it on").
The film's approach to the material is downplayed, so the humor is the kind of what you call 'dead-pan' or "off-beat.' You might not find the film not so amusing. After all, potentially the film is talking about the losers who remain losers. They are likable in spite of (and because of) their utter silliness, and their silliness is mingled with sadness. But that is exactly the charm of the film. To realize this, the actors did splendid job, especially Macy, Rockwell and Jeter.
Another merit of the film is its music by Mark Mothersbaugh, ex-"DEVO." His bouncing jazzy guitar music gives another joy for watching the film.
"Welcome to Colinwood" is, as its credit shows, a remake of Italian film "I Soliti Igonoti," usually called Vittorio Gassman's "Big Deal on Madonna Street." This old-Italian film, itself a parody of noir genre, has already spawned several similar films -- such as "Palookaville" and "Crackers." Compare them with "WTC."
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2003
"Welcome to Collinwood" is a small, simple but fun story of misfit criminals trying to land the heist of a lifetime.
Sure this is a story we've all seen before, but "Welcome to Collinwood" is a wonderfully scripted and acted film that avoids tired clichés. It feels new, like something we've never seen before despite the truth, and that's the mark of a good film.
The excellent cast is what really helps move along the good script treatment. William H. Macy is, as always, a great addition, but it's Sam Rockwell and the late Michael Jeter that really stand out. I happened to watch this for the first time the day I found out Jeter died, and his fantastic off-the-wall character, a trademark of his, made me realize just how much I will miss his film presence.
This is just a smart little indie film that, while not particularly memorable, is plenty of fun and is much better then much of the schlock Hollywood throws together. Definitely worth a rental, and maybe more if you love those quirky little crime films.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2003
What a great little movie. I had never heard of this, but it popped up on my recommendations and got good reviews, so I gave it a try. This so much reminded me of Donald Westlake's comic crime caper novels. A great little story with plenty of laughs. The plot involves a group of low rent, misfit criminals trying to pull of a heist of a lifetime, or as the call it, their 'Bellini'. Well, complications occur, problems arise, and the whole thing gets rather messy. William H. Macy is great along with Isaiah Washington, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter, and Luis Guzman. A great ensemble cast in a highly enjoyable, funny movie. A sad note, I had heard Michael Jeter died recently, which is quite sad. I thought he was great in the Green Mile.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2007
I cannot say how many times I laughed during this film. I'm really at a loss for how some of the other reviewers were disappointed. I have seen the original "Big Deal on Madonna Street" and although I generally find foreign films much better than their American counterparts, I like "Collinwood" much better. It's funnier, for one thing. The comedy has better delivery, the characters are more solid, and the story more clear.
It is very easy to sympathize with these characters despite all their faults, dishonesty, and criminal behavior. Don't be mistaken - there are some very human moments to offset the funny parts. There are many one-liners, quips, arguments, friendly insults, physical humor, scheming, and the overall situation of never getting things quite right during an attempted heist.
What a great cast too - every one of them perfectly selected for their roles. I love this movie. Not too light and not too heavy. It's just right. Great soundtrack too. This movie was in the official selection at Cannes in 2002.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2004
I was delighted to find some of my favorite actors together in this film: Luis Guzman: Michael Jeter (who recently died)and William Macy. Luis is a scary-looking dude--that was the first thing I noticed about him--but he is a good actor. His reply to anyone he's mad at in this is "Your mother is a w_____! For some reason, I found that hilarious. Then at the end they say about his character--"poor guy, his mother was a w_____."
The movie has a lot of physical comedy that is well-done. Michael Jeter is such a natural--he is a pleasure to watch. (See "The Green Mile.") William Macy carrying that darling baby around with him added a quaint touch.
This movie will surprise you.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2006
This movie had me laughing all the way.
It all takes place as a crook gets nabbed for grand theft auto. Right away he is hauled off and forced to share the cell with a man who has a funny secret and traditionally wants to pass it onto someone before he dies laughingly. But this is not a story about the old man. This is a story of a group of not-too-smart criminals in pulling off a master of a 'belini', what is referred to in the film as the Big Hiest.
But first, they need a 'Lavenski', a person to take the wrap for the man in jail, you'll find that the movie makes up a lot of words but you'll get the hang of understanding them all.
The group is formed when each member is requested to become the lavinski for the mere sum of 15,000 dollars. But, in telling that person, the word spreads, as they search for a lavinski, of the job and of it's grand total that racks into close to 300,000 dollars.
These bumbling knuckle heads pay tribute to the likes of THE THREE STOOGES and THE MARXX BROTHERS in their gags and criminal endeavors. Some of the humor is in your face at times but there are other times where it's just crossing wittiness and absoultely gut-busting funny. The best character in this movie would have to be The hunching old man with red hair. He's the classic old-timer crook who sometimes doesn't have a clue.
You'll fall in love with this homage to heist comedies. It has a 1930's flavor but the time period is never really annoucned in the movie. But the costumes play a role in dipicting the fictionalized town.
Also, be on the look out for GEORGE CLOONEY who plays a small role in the film, after all, of course he would, he's one of the executive producers.
This is a very funny movie that will have you laughing out loud. You may not like the ending but you'll love all of the gags in between.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2010
Quite simply, this is one of my favorite films.
It kills me to think that it did so poorly in the box office (it made $336,620 with a $12 million budget according to Wikipedia). From its lukewarm reviews, it's clear that most moviegoers don't share my enthusiasm. Frankly I can't figure out why. This movie is hysterically funny from start to finish.
All of its characters are sympathetic and, no matter how self-centered and amoral they might appear, they manage somehow to redeem themselves to the audience. Their coarse world comes across as plausible and endearing, even warm and inclusive. The acting is outstanding, the story is witty, and the overall mood is uplifting. George Clooney has one of the funniest cameos I've ever seen. The romantic subplots are charming and amusing without the usual Hollywood heavy-handedness. The screenplay is surrealistic and draws viewers into a kind of altered reality. It's as though they're in on a joke that eludes the cast. Even the silly intro music adds to the movie's ambiance.
What's not to like? I've never reviewed a film for Amazon before and when I read how poorly it did, I felt compelled to add my two cents and to try to change the record encouraging people to try it out.
In my apparently perverse opinion, "Welcome to Collinwood" is an understated gem.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2003
Yes, it's not a perfect movie, and for once, George Clooney was the least enjoyable character. But, damn if this flick didn't make me laugh pretty hard a few times. It's silly and not intended to be anything but light entertainment. What's interesting to note is that three of the main characters were in 'The Green Mile', and three of them were in 'Out of Sight'.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2012
A ragtag crew of low level criminals attempt the ultimate heist. If nothing else it proves the old saying "crooks is dumb." The tricks, alliances, schemes, betrayals, and cover ups are amusing if not laugh out loud funny. If you want a few good natured chuckles with a light and simple farce give it a try.