Posts Tagged ‘heists’

Money Train

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

tn_moneytrainex3-snipes“You know, we are not getting along.”

In MONEY TRAIN that legendary comedy duo of Wesley and Woody play John and Charlie, brothers who are both New York City transit cops who play by their own rules. They get into fist fights with other cops (for example over the fatal shooting of a guy who only snatched a chain), Woody has a gambling addiction, and when they chase a suspect onto the tracks it slows down the train that delivers the apparently millions of dollars of subway fare, getting them on the shit list of Captain Patterson (Robert Blake, Our Gang).

Then they get assigned a new partner. Somebody who’s uptight and doesn’t like their methods, right? No, actually she’s really cool, works well with them and even hangs out with them at the bar after work. The trouble is she’s Jennifer Lopez, so they fight over her.

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Takers

Monday, September 10th, 2012

TAKERS is a heist movie that features Paul Walker (THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 1,2,4-present) and Hayden Christensen (STAR WARS 2-3) as thieves, Jay Hernandez (HOSTEL, CARLITO’S WAY: RISE TO POWER) as one of the cops that’s out to get them, and Johnathon Schaech as their fence. Holy shit, this is like the EXPENDABLES of likable but bland, inarticulate would-be leading men! I bet they’re looking at Chris Klein for part 2. Maybe Scott Speedman.

Nah, that’s a cheap shot. The truth is I sort of like all those guys, or at least root for them to prove everybody wrong. Walker seems too nice to hate, and he’s been in a bunch of movies that I’ve enjoyed, and even been good in some of them. Hernandez – I liked the HOSTEL movies. Schaech channeled Swayze well in ROAD HOUSE 2. Christensen is all right, he’s just going down a path I cannot follow.
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Killing Zoe

Friday, March 4th, 2011

tn_killingzoeToday I’d like to give a little nod to one of the undervalued sidekicks of cinema, the Steve James of filmatists. Roger Avary shares with Quentin Tarantino the best original screenplay Oscar for PULP FICTION. I always thought he was supposed to have just written the Bruce-Willis-lays-around-in-bed-talking-cute-with-a-French-lady portion, but Wikipedia says the accidental shooting of Marvin (SPOILER) and The Miracle of the Bullets That Totally Miss both came from an earlier screenplay by Avary. The two worked at a video store together (and also as production assistants on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video) and collaborated alot when they were coming up. For example Avary’s script was rewritten by Tarantino into TRUE ROMANCE, then Avary came in later on when Tony Scott was making the movie and wanted rewrites. He also wrote a little bit of NATURAL BORN KILLERS and the shit Steven Wright says on the radio in RESERVOIR DOGS and Tarantino was credited as executive producer on this one.

By the time of JACKIE BROWN Tarantino and Avary didn’t really seem to be working together anymore, so to people who haven’t paid attention to him since then it would be easy to think he might’ve just been a lucky buddy of Tarantino’s, riding in on the ol’ ’70s TV show referencing coattails. I think he’s since proven himself capable of standing on his own, it’s just that all his movies end up being misunderstood or underappreciated: he wrote and directed RULES OF ATTRACTION and wrote SILENT HILL and BEOWULF. All movies I like that a whole lot of people hate.

It’s gotta be hard living under the shadow of Tarantino, because #1 nobody can really live up to him and #2 the chin part of the shadow is just gigantic (wocka wocka). But I think Avary’s got some talent.
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Reindeer Games

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

tn_reindeergamesIn the popular song and cartoon RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, “reindeer games” are the fun group activities that all the popular reindeers enjoy but Rudolph is excluded from due to his low social caste. In the movie REINDEER GAMES the character “Monster” (Gary Sinise) uses it as a synonym for “funny business,” something that he threatens Rudy (Ben Affleck) not to participate in. This misuse of Christmas terminology doesn’t bother Rudy or probly occur to him, but it does bug him when Clarence Williams III keeps referring to “Santa’s dwarves.” So he does have a certain amount of respect for Christmas tradition.

REINDEER GAMES is not a Christmas movie in the sense that it’s about Christmas, or about somebody coming to a realization about the meaning of Christmas, at least not a very convincing one. But I can guarantee you this much: it takes place in December, with a heist planned for Christmas Eve, and with the participators all dressed as Santa Claus. So there are some discussions of cranberries and what not. Maybe a mention of sugar plums, I can’t remember for sure. (Have you ever had sugar plums? They’re actually really fuckin good. I wish I knew a place that sold them. I might have visions of them dancing in my head now that I remembered them.)
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The Silent Partner

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

tn_silentpartnerTHE SILENT PARTNER is a Christmas-time bank robbery thriller directed by one Daryl Duke and written by Curtis Hanson (director of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and 8 MILE, writer of WHITE DOG). Elliott Gould – who I wouldn’t think would be that into Christmas, go figure – plays Miles, a Toronto teller at a bank inside one of those indoor shopping malls. (This was 1978.)

I think Miles sees himself as pretty cool, not a loser, even though he’s not having the success he’d like in wooing his co-worker Julie (Susannah York), and is later revealed to own a Superman lunchbox. Maybe having a cool name like Miles balances that out, I’m not sure. He also has a passion for rare fish, which he keeps in his aquarium, that’s what he spends his extra money on.
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The Town

Monday, September 27th, 2010

tn_townTHE TOWN is a real well done, more-realistic-than-most crime drama. Not exactly a heist movie, because although it’s leading up to an elaborate caper it’s not as much about the planning and executing of the thing as it is about the people who do it. It’s also one of these movies people from Boston make where they’re real anxious to show off every last detail about the Boston neighborhoods and culture. I haven’t been there much so I got no clue how accurate it is, but it seems believable enough. There’s a part where they have coffee at Dunk’n Donuts, that part was real I know. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Lost Man

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

tn_lostmanTHE LOST MAN is a 1969 Sidney Poitier heist movie, a pretty obscure one, never released on DVD. Maybe if it was better known then Tony Scott and Denzel would do a juiced up remake. But actually it’s already sort of a remake, based on a novel that was made as ODD MAN OUT in ’47, but that version had James Mason as an IRA type, this has Poitier as a Black Panther type. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Italian Job (2003)

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

tn_italianjobcountdownlogoTHE ITALIAN JOB circa 2003 is a standard issue studio ensemble heist movie, and a really enjoyable one. The director of FRIDAY and the writers of DEEP BLUE SEA put together a good group of likable actors to play the team of expert thieves, they came up with some clever gimmicks for an elaborate heist, and they executed it well with good pacing, light humor, a sense of fun but also a reasonable enough sense of danger. So it’s closer to OCEAN’S 11 where they obviously know what they’re doing but have to put in some elbow grease than OCEAN’S PART 13 where they seem to have super powers and can do absolutely anything at a moment’s notice with no trouble at all. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Split

Monday, April 20th, 2009

tn_thesplitThere are two Richard Stark based movies left that have never been released for the home video in the U.S. One is MISE A SAC, a French one based on The Score, where Parker and a crew try to rob an entire mining town. The other is THE SPLIT, based on The Seventh, where Jim Brown as the Parker character robs a football stadium and then has some trouble afterwords. My man David M. in France has seen both – he saw a restored print of MISE A SAC and told me it was great. As for THE SPLIT he did me one better than telling me about it, he sent me a recording from when it played letterboxed on the French Turner Classic Movies channel. (I don’t know who the French Ted Turner is, but it sounds like he plays better shit than the American one.)

If you’re reading this in the future maybe every movie ever made is available for instant download, but in my day you had to be patient. You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to see this thing. The closest I came before now was an old movie magazine I bought at an antique mall because it had Barbarella on the cover (wait a minute, is Roger Vadim the French Ted Turner?) So I bought it for the Barbarella, because a man has needs, but it turned out there was also an “article” – really just a plot summary – about THE SPLIT. I’d been meaning to read it and write a book-to-movie-summary comparison until they get off their ass and release it. But now thanks to French Ted Turner I don’t have to stoop to that. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Ice Harvest

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

I was excited about this at one point, but I missed it when it was in theaters. I thought it was a diamond heist movie starring Billy Bob Thornton, but it turns out Billy Bob is the co-star and there are no diamonds. The ice in the title is literal, because it’s winter. Christmas Eve, to be exact. There’s not snow though, just frozen rain, which is not something you see in Christmas movies very often, and rings true to me since here we’re lucky to even see that. (I don’t know about Kansas.)

It’s not exactly a heist movie because like RESERVOIR DOGS or something you never see the theft itself. John Cusack (the rich man’s Scott Baio) is a Kansas mob lawyer and Billy Bob Thornton (ON DEADLY GROUND) is his partner in skimming. They have just stolen upwards of $2 million from their boss, but can’t leave town yet due to the ice. The movie is about them trying to hang out and play it cool for a few hours before they can leave. They figure the boss won’t know about the missing money until they’re gone, but this seems to be incorrect since Cusack keeps seeing an enforcer played by Mike Starr (ON DEADLY GROUND) going around town looking for them. (read the rest of this shit…)