Capers | Chicago Reader


The racist owner of a Brooklyn pawnshop (Phyllis Somerville) is targeted by three ethnic gangs who know about her Mafia connections and think she's sitting on a million dollars. That's not a bad premise, but Julian Mark Kheel, who directed this 2008 comedy, is too caught up in stylistic conceits: scenes with Danny Masterson (That '70s Show) as an Irish-American petty thief are shot in the low-grain resolution of 70s thrillers like The French Connection; those centering on a henpecked African-American gangster (Leon) and his crew mimic the garish look of urban exploitation flicks; and those focusing on two Arab-Slavic siblings are inexplicably shot in black and white, with framing that recalls early Bergman movies. Kheel also tosses in spoofs of Hong Kong actioners and soft-core porn, but what his movie really needs is tighter pacing and sharper characterization. 86 min.


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