Once In The Life
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Actor Laurence Fishburne makes his debut as a director in this urban drama adapted from his one-act stage play +Riff Raff. 20/20 Mike (Fishburne) and his half-brother Torch (Titus Welliver) bump into each other under less than ideal circumstances -- both are in jail, Mike on parole violation and Torch for theft. Torch is a heroin addict who has trouble financing his habit, so when Mike says he has a plan to make some quick money, Torch is more than eager to help. Mike and Torch try to swindle Hector (Andres "Dres" Titus), who works with his uncle Freddie Nine Lives (Dominic Chianese… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 28%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Billy's meltdown provides a real-time reality check, but for most of the time we're waiting for the payoff, and when it comes, I'm afraid, it's not very satisfying."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Serves only to demonstrate that Fishburne, a talented, inventive actor, is, unfortunately, not ready to write and direct motion pictures."
‑ Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter
"It reeks of staged theater: three men in one room talking endlessly."
‑ Jeffrey Westhoff, Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
"Not embarrassing, just not all that interesting, either."
‑ Dave White, IFilm
"Enough expertise has been lavished on this small film to make one almost forget that Once in the Life has been done more than once before."
‑ Eric Monder, Film Journal International
"Fishburne is able to create such an effective balance between humor and anxiety that the movie survives its familiarities of character and language."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"Talky in the best sense."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"Strictly for die-hard Fishburne fans, and even they might be getting awfully fidgety by the end."
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, New Times
"The pingpong repetition of dialogue is more precious than poetic and heavy silences and actorly asides draw out a slim story that packs few dramatic surprises."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"While this cautionary tale of brotherhood gone wrong doesn't exactly break new ground, it certainly shows off its writer-director-star's triple-threat filmmaking potency."
‑ Kevin Maynard, Mr. Showbiz
"Would easily qualify for an Oscar nomination if it were in a movie that was a bit less like canned theater and more cinematic."
‑ Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"The script bogs itself down in reminiscing passages that steal Life's soul."
‑ Sean O'Connell, Citysearch
"The good news is that Fishburne also stars, and has recruited a talented group of actors to flesh out the cast; the bad news is that no one seems to have been on hand to help out with the rest of film."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Once In The Life on Rotten Tomatoes