Combustible Celluloid
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With: John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Esposito, Michael Rispoli, Saverio Guerra, Brian Tarantina, Al Palagonia, Ken Garito, Bebe Neuwirth, Patti LuPone, Mike Starr, Anthony LaPaglia, Roger Guenveur Smith, Ben Gazzara, Joe Lisi, James Reno, Arthur J. Nascarella, John Savage, Jimmy Breslin, Michael Badalucco, Spike Lee, Lucia Grillo, Nelson Vasquez, Darielle Gilad, Michael Harper, Jessica Galbreath, Evan Cohen, George Tabb, Michael Imperioli
Written by: Victor Colicchio, Michael Imperioli, Spike Lee
Directed by: Spike Lee
MPAA Rating: R for strong graphic violence and sexuality, pervasive strong language and drug use
Running Time: 142
Date: 05/20/1999

Summer of Sam (1999)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Heat Is Murder

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

There is much to like about Spike Lee's Summer of Sam, which takes place in New York during the summer of 1977 when the killer Son of Sam was on the loose. But ultimately, it disappoints. Containing dozens of interesting small characters, the movie focuses on two: the cliched and predictable Vinny (John Leguizamo) and Ritchie (Adrien Brody). Vinny cheats on his wife (Mira Sorvino) and Ritchie adopts a punk rocker image. The atmosphere and energy are gripping and Son of Sam feels like a genuine threat throughout, but I needed stronger and more balanced characters to really care what happened.

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