Reservoir Dogs

While 1994’s Pulp Fiction is often seen as Quentin Tarantino’s Citizen Kane, some might argue that his 1992 debut, Reservoir Dogs, is actually his best work. Dogs has all the classic elements of Tarantino’s style: an out-of-sync chronology, cultural reference-filled dialogue and brilliant use of vintage music.

Tarantino coaxes great performances out of his stars, who play a group of jewel thieves known only by color-themed codenames, picking up the pieces after a heist that goes devastatingly wrong. Particularly great are Michael Madsen as the quiet sociopath Mr. Blonde and Steve Buscemi as the complaining Mr. Pink.

Yes, half of the plot of Reservoir Dogs is stolen from Hong Kong director Ringo Lam’s City on Fire. And the other half is stolen from crime novels, B movies and primetime detective shows. Tarantino is like a great hip-hop DJ; he samples everything and always leaves you wondering what he’s going to bring out next. And he’s been damned good at it since the very beginning. 11:55 p.m. today and tomorrow. River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For tickets and information, call 713–866–8881 or visit $8.25.
Fri., Feb. 1, 11:55 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 2, 11:55 p.m., 2008

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Nick Keppler