Four young men make a risky investment together that puts them in trouble with the mob.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just finished the movie, and I was captivated the whole time. I wassurprised to see that the entire cast put together a very convincingperformance. The script and plot were also clever, and somewhatoriginal for a change (which was refreshing to see). It did seem alittle Tarantino-esque with some of the music, dialog, and situation.But I guess if you’re going to model your work after anyone, QT isprobably the guy to go with.
Overall I enjoyed the movie, and I do recommend checking it out. Itprobably is not for everybody but if you are a fan of Guy Ritchie andQuentin Tarantino’s work, I imagine you will probably enjoy this too.Jackie Earl Haley did a fine job in his directorial debut, and I lookforward to seeing more of his work.
I felt that this film was well thought out and for a guy who isgenerally pretty good at figuring out twists in a film this one wassuccessful in tripping me up.This is not a big budget film by modernday Hollywood standards but felt it was casted very well and veryentertaining. The story line and the characters keep you engaged andthere are no ”slow” points in this film. It has a great balance ofaction scenes as well as intellectual content to keep all typesentertained. A film I can honestly say is worth seeing and you wouldnot be disappointed in this film unless you are an ”impossible toimpress or please” kind of person.
This is a fairly basic Hollywood story of how things take a turn southreally fast in peoples lives and keep getting worse by the minute. I’vealways liked ”gangster” movies like this, kinda simple but yet funnycharacters and unexpected twists you really cannot predict. It’s thesmall things that can make an average movie turn in to a good one andthis did that for me. About half of it is just plain average but thenthings start to happen so don’t stop watching.
The writing and characters have clear influences from Tarantinos PulpFiction, Guy Ritchie’s Snatch(and others) and the ending is quite”Usual Suspect’s” type but so what if we’ve seen it before, it stillworks. For it’s budget I’m happy with what I saw.
Too much of movies these days throw money away in effects and otheruseless crap, they still haven’t learned that a billion dollars worthof effects won’t make a bad script good. Save that money Hollywood andmake a hundred of these types instead. Put the money towards goodwriters and casting and that will save you a lot.. and make a bettermovies at the same time.
For all the gritty title and noir poster it has, the better part ofCriminal Activity is its satirical attempt on crime genre. The thrillerworks by introducing subplots while playing out the main story with alot of twists and turns. While not every narrative pays out, there’s asolid acting here and it’s pretty exciting to see the diversecharacters as they are put in highly volatile situations.
Four young men reunite on the funeral of their friend. After a smokethey are intrigued by an investment opportunity that fails almostimmediately. Unfortunately to them the investment is already tied to amafia and they must do a difficult favor to clean the slate. Theirhardship eventually turns into a spiral of dangerous power strugglewith kidnapped niece and nephew while agents and assassins chase afterthem.
It’s a deeper premise than it originally shows, creating layers ofsubplots as it progresses. Some of the sequences are highlyentertaining due to their absurdity and good delivery by the actors.Edi Gathegi as the gangster involved in all the shenanigans stands outeven among the capable leads of John Travolta and Dan Stevens. Thereare unexpected outlandish mafia themed narratives, or perhaps slightparody of it, that will deliver chuckle or thrill to audience.
However, even with most of the story manage to be entertaining, themovie tends to overreach. It has plenty of side characters or eventsthat may not be that important yet still get a lot of screen time. Ittries to pull off too many tricks that don’t resonate better than itscore story. Not to mention the twisting revelation at the end feelsrather abrupt and might too far fetch, although it’s still decent dueto the outlandish nature.
Criminal Activity works on parts where the acting and satire arestrong, but it does try to overreach with few others distracting stintslike a greedy mobster.
This is the first time I write a review on this site so forgive me ifit’s a bit messy.
What prompted me to write a review is the low score of thismovie…5.8? Really???
Criminal Activities had me glued to the screen for the entirety of thefilm. Every actor was spot on in their role and there was not a momentwhere I thought of them as actors. This movie really managed to keep meon my feet because you could never know what was going to happen next.I’m no genius but I usually figure out the plot. In this case I had itall wrong, this film went a different way than most and didn’t followbasic Hollywood formulas. A bold move but I would argue it paid off inthis case.
I give it a 9/10 considering a low budget. With a bigger budget thefilm could’ve had better production and a more complete script
I don’t get it. You take a lame script, stick John Travolta in it, andit becomes a 7 star picture. And if he’d get a decent toupee, it mightmake it to an 8 star movie. I don’t understand how people can’t callJohn aside and say, ”John… look man… That thing is reallyridiculous. Either cut it off or get a decent one, but this thing’s notmaking it. That being said, this movie was a real kick. The actors werelikable, funny, and believable. Not a spoiler, but the kidnapping sceneitself is worth renting this one. Michael Pitt, fresh out of BoardwalkEmpire and Hannibal, was great– top notch actor; Rob Brown wasexcellent; Dan Stevens was also excellent; Chris Abbott was good; andas I said, Travolta was amazing. I don’t know how he does it. I don’tknow how he learned to act like that because he’s really done somejunk. But after Pulp Fiction, he makes or breaks a movie.
First time writing a review for any movie. I actually rented this movieand viewed it in the comfort of my home.
The movie kept me totally interested the entire length of the film.Lots of twists and turns to keep one from getting up and leaving yourcomfy seat.
Had me captivated from start to finish. I always enjoy watching JohnTravolta in any movie from his beginning many years ago.
The ending with all the twists and turns leaves you with the feelingthere should be a follow-up in the near future.
Great casting for this movie especially with the up and coming actorsRex Baker and Tyrone Jenkins.
”Sometimes what looks like a dead end to a dire situation can be anopportunity.” After meeting at an old classmates funeral four friendsbegin to reconnect. When they hatch a plan to play the stock market fora sure thing that will make them all millionaires they jump at thechance. When things go wrong they not only lose their money but theyfind out that one of them borrowed money from the mob. Now, left withno other choice they must make a deal in order to survive. I love mobmovies and was looking forward to this. This is not the type of mobmovie I was hoping for. The movies is essentially a kidnapping andlittle by little more truth is uncovered. The movie isn’t that bad anddoes keep you watching but it was a little slow and not really what Iwas expecting it to be. The acting is really good, even though it ishard to buy Travolta as a mob boss. This is a decent one time watchmovie but nothing all that amazing and nothing I think I would watchagain. Overall, good but nothing to scream about. I give this a B.
”Are you sure he said he wanted to talk to all of us? Actually he saidhe wanted to talk to everyone but the black guy
.. Yes! He wants totalk to ALL of us!”
John Travolta standing in the middle of the cover in a ”Pulp Fiction”-like pose and according to the brief description he has something todo with the mob. He’s flanked both by Michael Pitt, who I saw recentlyplaying in the grandiose films ”I origins” and ”Rob the Mob”, and bythe alertly looking Dan Stevens. And all this directed by the versatileactor Jackie Earle Haley. It all looked promising. However, the endresult is as horrifying as Freddy Krueger himself. A pseudo crime storyfull of irritating dialogs, nervous characters and a complexdenouement. But don’t panic. Everything will be explainedcomprehensively in the end. A kind of brief guide for those who didn’tunderstand it, entitled ”How to screw your friends for dummies”.
It all starts at a funeral of a mutual friend from Zach (Michael Pitt),Warren (Christopher Abbott) and Bryce (Rob Brown). The three formerschoolmates organize a private after-funeral gathering in a bar wherethe rather timid and nerdy Noah (Dan Stevens) shows up. Quickly you’llnotice that Noah used to be the poor bastard they picked on duringcollege time. He’s called, somewhat contemptuously, ”poodles”. Whileenjoying a joint, Noah tells them he got a golden tip about shares of apharmaceutical company. Thanks to a little foreknowledge, this could bea lucrative proposition for them. However, since those loud-mouthsdon’t seem to have the right amount of money, Noah proposes to givethem the necessary money in advance. And you’ll never guess what theoutcome will be. Yep, how’s it possible. It goes horribly wrong. TheCFO is arrested for fraud. The shares are worthless. And apparentlyNoah borrowed the money from the mob.
Enter Eddie (John Travolta). The quiet,calculated and thought out mafiatype who, while enjoying a cactus cocktail, explains them what theoptions are. Or they cough up the amount due. Or they’ll take care of asmall matter. Namely the kidnapping of Marques (Edi Gathegi), thebrother of a drug dealer to whom Eddie’s coke snorting brother owes alot of money. To put some pressure on them, the drug dealer kidnappedtheir niece. The brother could then be used for an exchange. Stillfollowing? Trust me, it gets even more complicated as the filmprogresses.
The most successful performers in this not so successful film (in myopinion) are undoubtedly Travolta and Gathegi, although Travolta alsosuffers from the illustrious ”Bruce Willis disease”. First there’s ashort opening scene he appears in, followed by a long absence andfinally a reappearance during the denouement. And yet his shortperformance was excellent. Although the attempt to reach the same levelof humor as in ”Pulp Fiction”, didn’t really work out. Gathegi only hada limited working space, because he was taped to a chair the wholemovie. But his defiant tone and manipulative teasing all the time wasamusing enough. The rest of the cast just looked like a neurotic andpanicky gang. Gradually they start realizing they ended up in a shittysituation. And this leads to lots of cursing, bickering and shoutingback and forth (using the f-word an awful lot of times).
What we get is an amateurish kidnapping that takes place in a confinedspace with forced dialogs. And also a reasonable failed attempt toimitate the chemistry in dialogs as we know from ”Pulp Fiction”.Everything feels a bit flat and pointless. The only reason why it’s someaningless, is because the denouement should blow you off your socks.The calm before the storm. The only lesson to learn here is that youshould always treat others with dignity. You’ll never know how it couldbackfire on you.
PS. Funniest moment anyway : the slipping shoes.
More reviews here : http://bit.ly/1KIdQMT
Now firstly, lets remember this was Directorial Debut from Jackie EarleHaley, so lets cut him a bit of slack. From start to finish the filmhad me hooked. You never quite know what’s coming around the corner,which is refreshing; I watch A LOT of films and I normally have a goodidea of what’s going to happen.
The acting is mostly great, apart from some of the 1 – 2 linecharacters, but the main cast are great. I thought the dialogue wasfantastic, and had the perfect amount of humour scattered throughoutthe film. As another reviewer stated Jackie was definitely influencedby Mr Tarantino, but why not, he’s a genius!
Overall, I think this movie has been unfairly scored by quite a fewreviewers, but then at a guess I reckon they were expecting the sameold, big budget crap that’s spewed out of Hollywood.
If you like QT, you’ll love this movie, and the end is GREAT!! Justwatch it and make your own mind up!!
Review: I can honestly say that I didn’t have high hopes for this moviebut it didn’t turn out to be totally bad. The 4 dumb criminals, Zach(Michael Pitt), Noah (Dan Stevens), Warren (Christopher Abbott) andBryce (Rob Brown), really didn’t have a clue about kidnapping but theywere stuck in an impossible situation after borrowing $200,000 from mobboss, Eddie (John Travolta). After a bad investment, they end up owingEddie $400,000, so to pay there debt, they have to kidnap Marques (EdiGathegi), who is the brother of a gangster who has kidnapped Eddie’sniece. I know it sounds confusing but it’s pretty straight forward.Whilst holding Marques in a derelict building, Gerry (Jackie EarleHaley) is on the hunt for Eddie’s niece so the 4 best friends are stuckwith Marques, waiting for instructions from Eddie. When the storylineunfolds, you soon realise that all is not what it seems, in a UsualSuspects type of way but I do have to watch the movie again to trulyunderstand the major twist. The acting isn’t bad from the whole cast,especially Edi Gathegi and Michael Pitt but the professionalism fromJohn Travolta, makes the rest of the cast look quite amateur. Thecharacter that I really liked throughout the film was Jackie EarleHaley, who also directed the movie, so he really gave his all to thisproject. It’s not in the same league as Usual Suspects but it’s awatchable movie which isn’t bad for the directors debut. Watchable!
Round-Up: I first saw Jackie Earle Haley, 54, in Little Children, we’rehe played a paedophile and was extremely creepy, and since then he hasstarred in some big movies like All The King’s Men, Semi-Pro,Fragments, Watchmen, where he played Rorschach extremely well, ShutterIsland, Lincoln, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Dark Shadows, Parkland,Robocop and the upcoming London Has Fallen. He really has an impressiveportfolio, which is understandable because he’s an unique actor whobrings intensity to all of his roles. As for this movie, I think theending was extremely rushed and a lot of the scenes with the 4kidnappers were average. He was lucky to get such a diverse cast, whoall brought something different to the project but I would have likedto have seen more from Travolta and Haley, who were the best thing inthe movie.
I recommend this movie to people who are into theircrime/drama/thrillers starring John Travolta, Michael Pitt, DanStevens, Rob Brown, Jackie Earle Haley and Christopher Abbott. 4/10
A Low-Budget Indie by First Time Director Haley. His Film will Probablyhave You saying this isn’t the first time for this Type of Thing.Obviously, a Homage or a Copycat, depending on Your Feeling about theFilm.
It’s mostly Dialog Driven with Splatters of Violence for Punctuation.Sound Familiar? Some of the Scenes are irritating Shouting Matches andHardly Witty. Others are more Clever and make for some InterestingExchanges.
An Amateur Kidnapping Scheme is at the Center of this Exercise inNeo-Noir. Haley plays a Glib and Aloof Mob Enforcer and John Travoltais in one of His Slumming Roles with Bad Makeup, but Manages to be anAnchor of Sorts for the Young Turks and Their Concern with High SchoolCamaraderie and Current Girlfriend Fidelity.
It’s a Scattershot Story with some Intrigue and Interest, not a lot ofit Works but some Things Do and it is Worth a Watch for B-Movie Fans,and Tarantino Rip-Off Spotters. The Ending may be more Complex thanNeeded, but it Feels like the Filmmakers think that the Overly TwistedWrap Up makes this Something Special. Maybe, but Maybe too Clever forthis Small Film to Pull Off.
It’s a Multitude of Things that were Withheld from the Audience and Youwill either be Saying A-Ha, or Give Me a Break. Depending if You canFully Understand it all or Feel that it isn’t Worth Understanding afterall.
The end could be better if it takes sometime to describe the strategybetter.
John is fine as last years of his career, but the director shouldexplore his talent a bit more.
I expected a longer action in this movies.]
But it is fine if you just want to see some actors making the best theycould.
As I commented before, some more know actors would improve this moveperformance, once there is a good role play behind.
thanks for the opportunity of watching it based on IMDb comments.
Anyone involved with this movie should just be ashamed of themselves.Why?
The script, if there was one, was just a bunch of guys yelling f-wordsat each other.
Worthless, f, f, f, this, and f, f, f, that.
Cinematography? Shaky cam shot by a 12-year-old. Not one interestingvisual.
Plot? Forget it.
Acting? Beyond lame.
This is a product with a major star (Travolta) vying for your consumerdollar. The problem is, it’s utter garbage. Do not waste a minute ofyour life on this sad rip-off.
The movie starts a little disheartened with an air very British film,there are moments that are a bit uncomfortable because they make youwant the plot is resolved as to take away the anxiety of brown in whichare involved the characters, but eventually. .. Surprisingly the endmakes all this worthwhile.
”Criminal activities” is a thriller with touches of comedy about agroup of friends who get in trouble with the mob. Of 90’s air, the filmis an entertaining exercise in style by Jackie Earle Haley, actor(Little Children, Watchmen) and now director, but the problem is thatthe story is not too interesting, neither charismatic nor brilliantdialogue. Conceivably, it could have done with this story someone likeTarantino.
The movie starts a little listless with an air of British film, thereare moments that are a bit uncomfortable because they make you want theplot is resolved as to take away the anxiety of brown in which areinvolved the characters, but surprisingly the end It makes all thisworthwhile.
They are undoubtedly the best actors. Travolta enjoys acting and makessketch smiles to viewers. Jackie Earle Haley is always disturbing andinteresting. Dan Stevens and Michael Pitt put the young note in twovery different characters from his previous performances.
I wish there was something good about this movie so I can write aspoiler. It is plain awful. Terrible people, doing terrible things toother terrible people.
The plot is pretentious and stupid at the same time. Sleazebags stealmoney from other sleaze-bags, so they can provide a setup for a lot ofF-word and many variations, repetitions, and the derivatives of thecurse word. The language gets so bad, that it becomes unbearable. Whotalks like that? Even if they do, why do we need to be slapped in theface with the flood of profanity? And people pay money to be subject tothis?!
This is a bad movie, so bad that I consider it one of the unimportantsigns that we are coming to the end of the world.
Do not waste your precious time. I couldn’t not finish it and justwalked away.
TO PERSON WHO ARE GOING TO SEE THE MOVE….This will give away a lot ofit, so I suggest you read this AFTER you’ve seen the movie.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. And I know it’s only fiction, but theplan revealed at the end had some major flaws. How did the guy makingthe plan know the following stuff: 1. The guy behind the stock wasgoing to be arrested? 2. The two friends not involved with the scamwere going to be interested in investing in the stock? 2.Their twofriends not involved in the scam were going to go along with thekidnapping plan and not go directly to the cops? 3.The kidnapping wasgoing to be successful? This means:
a. The guy being kidnapped wasn’t going to be able to maneuver out ofit especially since he had a gun
b. The feds chasing them weren’t going to be able to stop them? 4. Thekidnappers uncle was going to offer a reward for his nephew? AND gothrough with it especially after he learned his nephew was a rat?
All the guys proceed well but the actors, including the scene-stealing,acquit themselves quite amusingly, as does director Haley, who alsoplays one of Travolta’s henchmen. Working from a chatty script not ascleverly hatched as it likes to think it is, Haley whips it intosomething decently entertaining even as you begin thinking about howtruly great ”Get Shorty” and Travolta’s Chili Palmer were midwaythrough those double-crossing criminal activities. Criminal Activitiesis overall a sneaky, snaky little crime thriller with some prettyimpressive plot twists with some stylish touches and committedperformances which enliven this otherwise not special crime thriller.
Im not going to say much other than it reminded me of suicide kindswith a much better twist. Iveseen a lot of reviews where people arecomplaining about the twist at the end. I found it totallyunpredictable and actually gave you an answer to the whole movie unlikeso many movies today where it ends with someone just walking away andyou are left saying ”that’s it”? I gave it a 7 only because 7.7 isn’tan option. I would watch it a second time and i do suggest this movieas a good movie that will not leave you feeling you’ve wasted yourtime. Also, i had no problems with any of the acting, overall i wouldgive the actors a 7 as well.
B-movies can be fun, they also can be bad. Or they can be quitealright. And this for me was the latter. It wasn’t really bad, but itdidn’t really give me that much. So while there were a few things thatdidn’t quite work, I did like the overall chemistry. There were acouple of missed opportunities, considering the set up the movie couldwork with, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t get the things right it diduse (eye of the beholder and all).
There is tension and there is decisions that do not make too muchsense. There are also a couple too many forgettable characters throwninto the mix. And there are the (sometimes) foreseeable twists andturns in the story and character development … Does that soundenticing to you?
Criminal Activities has a good cast for talent in the main roles withMichael Pitt, Dan Stevens, Christopher Abbott, Rob Brown, Edi Gathegiand John Travolta. The premise of the film is four old friends come upwith a financial investment plan to make a small fortune but they need$200K in seed money which one of the four old friends arranges to get aloan for. When their financial investment plan quickly goes south theiranonymous financial backer comes forward and demands his $200K backimmediately plus another $200K in interest, or else their heads will behanded to them, literally. The loan arranger is connected to the mobunderworld and he tells his four patsies that he will wipe the slateclean of the $400K loan if they agree to kidnap another hood and holdhim for just 24 hours.
So the kidnapping plan is set in motion with the four amateurs andalthough it hits a few snags they eventually get the kidnappingcompleted and they keep the mob hostage tied up for their loan sharkwaiting to get the green light to let him go.
What follows is about 60 minutes of continuous blather by all castmembers including a whole lot of four letter words that rhyme with theword ”PUCK”. Most sensible film goers would at some point get up andask for a refund but since I purchased the Blu Ray I chose to bear withthe directors master(less)piece and although I was becoming veryirritated with the endless blather of totally useless dialogue by thesix main characters which I assumed was necessary to fill an otherwiseempty void to completing a 94 minute movie I hung in there and I wasrewarded with a better than average film end.
I don’t want to spoil any film goers surprise ending or personalexperience with Criminal Activities but to summarize the film in threeacts I would rate: Act One (1) with a ”C” rating, Act Two (2) with a”D” rating, and the final act, Act Three (3) with a ”B+” plus rating.
So if you can hang in there through a pretty boring middle half of thefilm with a lot of useless four letter word dialogue you may bepleasantly surprised with an above average decent film ending.