Archive for bank robbery

Now You See Me

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Four street magicians — J. Daniel Atlas, Henley Reeves, Jack Wilder, and Merritt McKinney—are brought together by an unknown benefactor and, one year later, perform in Las Vegas as “The Four Horsemen”, sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler. For the finale, a member of the audience is invited to help them in their next trick: robbing a bank. That member in an audience is Étienne Forcier, the account holder at the Crédit Républicain de Paris. Forcier is apparently teleported to his bank in Paris, where he activates an air-duct that vacuums up the money and showers it onto the crowd in Las Vegas.

Upon discovering that the money really is missing from the bank vault, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes is called to investigate the theft and is partnered with Interpol agent Alma Dray. They interrogate the Four Horsemen, but release them when no explanation can be found. Dylan meets Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks. Thaddeus was in the audience and deduced that the Four Horsemen stole the money weeks before, and manipulated the audience’s perception of current events.

Dylan, Dray, and Thaddeus attend the Four Horsemen’s next performance in New Orleans. The group’s finale involves them stealing roughly $140 million from Tressler’s bank account and distributing it to the audience, composed of people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by Tressler’s company. Dylan attempts to arrest the Four Horsemen, but they escape with help from hypnotised audience members. An infuriated Tressler hires Thaddeus to expose and humiliate the Four Horsemen in their next performance. Later, while researching the Four Horsemen’s background, Dray learns about rumors of a secret society of magicians called “The Eye”, who steal from the rich and powerful to give to the needy, and suggests to a skeptical Dylan the case might be tied to a magician named Lionel Shrike, whom Thaddeus had exposed 30 years earlier and who was so embarrassed that he undertook a dangerous underwater stunt and drowned.

The Four Horsemen are located in New York, but they escape during the raid to arrest them. However, Jack is killed when he crashes a stolen car and it bursts into flames and explodes. The remaining Horsemen vow to continue and complete their final performance, stealing a safe made by the same company that made the safe Lionel Shrike died in. Then they perform their one last show at 5 Pointz during which they seemingly vanish into thin air, transforming into loads of money that is showered on the crowd. The money turns out to be a fake and the real money is found stashed in Thaddeus’s Range Rover. Thaddeus is then assumed to be the fifth Horseman and arrested, although he said that he was framed.

Dylan visits Thaddeus in his cell, where Thaddeus explains that the only way the safe could have been removed was if Jack was still alive, but they would have also needed an inside man. Thaddeus realizes that Dylan is the fifth Horseman (when he disappears from the locked cell, reappearing on the outside). Dylan tells Thaddeus he wants him to spend the rest of his life in jail and leaves as Thaddeus asks why he did it.

The Horsemen are now rejoined by Jack, whose death was staged. They finally meet their benefactor and are surprised to find it is Dylan. He welcomes them into “The Eye.”

Later, on the Pont des Arts in France, Dray is met by Dylan (as he reveals himself to be the son of Lionel Shrike, the magician who drowned years ago). He masterminded and designed the Horsemen plot to obtain revenge on those involved: Thaddeus, for humiliating his father; the Crédit Républicain de Paris and Tressler’s company, who refused to pay the insurance on his father’s death; and the company that produced the substandard safe used in the trick that led to its failure. Dray, however, decides not to turn him in. When Dray sees the lock with a key that Dylan magically handed out in front of her eyes, he proclaimed, “One more secret to lock away”. As soon as Dray locks the lock on a chain fence with all of the locks that have been locked, she throws the key into the Seine.

In a post-credit scene in the extended cut, The Horsemen are seen arriving at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. They find crates marked with the sign of the “Eye”. The movie ends with them looking for the four key cards to open the crates that hold their new equipment.

REVIEW:

You may recall about 5 yrs or so ago that magicians were all over the place, most specifically “illusionists” such as David Blaine and Chris Angel. Well, apparently Hollywood wants them to come back because Now You See Me and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone have been released this year with the subject matter of magic and/or magicians. Let’s hope this doesn’t start a revival in that so-called magic, although I wouldn’t mind those David Copperfield specials that used to come on ever year back in the day.

What is this about?

Brainy magicians Atlas and Henley lead a troupe of illusionists who specialize in robbing from the rich, in the form of banks, and giving to the poor, their audiences, all while trying to outwit a team of FBI agents determined to bring them down.

What did I like?

Just like magic. Perhaps the biggest illusion this film pulls off is that it is a crime thriller, and a fairly competent one at that. From what I recall from the trailers, it wasn’t advertised as anything more than a film about magicians. Perhaps that is why, initially this film didn’t do as well, because who wants to see a film about magicians, especially after Burt Wonderstone earlier this year? Covering up what this film is really about, though, was quite the impressive feat.

Twist. I’ve been reading people’s complaints about this film and it seems that the major issue is with the ending. Personally, I like the twist, especially since it wasn’t what you would have excepted. I was thinking it was going to go another direction, but I was completely wrong. Sorry for the vagueness, I’m trying not to spoil anything. If you’re into endings that come out of nowhere and surprise you, be on the lookout for this one.

Heist. You have to give these guys credit, they literally got on the stage and said they were going to rob this bank or that one. The fact that no one believed them was only the fault of the authorities. It takes some real cojones to do that, don’t you think? Of course, you also have to be able to pull it off and not leave a trace of evidence that you were there, as well.

What didn’t I like?

Atlas. So, another film starring the untalented and overhyped Jesse Eisenberg. I swear, the only thing I’ve liked this guy in has been Cursed, everything else he has ruined!!! How the hell does this guy keep getting work?!! Just because you have the make up artists slap some peach fuzz on your face and make an attempt to not make your voice so annoying isn’t going to make you a competent actor. Someone should inform him of this fact!

Weight. If you don’t know who Isla Fisher is, take a moment and look her up in Google images. Now that you’re done drooling…Can you believe they used her as the butt of weight jokes in this film? What was the point of that, I wonder? Here you have the super hot Isla Fisher and you reduce her to fat jokes. The only thing worse would have been to make her a shrill shrew of a character, which at times, it did seem like they wanted to go that route, but fought it. Very disappointed that they had to make those jokes.

Franco. No, not James, but his little brother, Dave, was impressive…in the short time he’s on the screen. I loved his one on one showdown with the cops, but it would have been nice to have more of him. Just because he was the youngest doesn’t mean he had to get such little screentime, while we get bogged down with Eisenberg’s whiny narration. Ugh!

There is no reason that Now You See Me should have been this good. It has already been greenlit for a sequel. I don’t know if it was that good, but it was entertaining. There are flaws to be sure, but if you really sit there and nitpick each and every one of them, then you’ll never have fun watching a film ever again. For that reason, I give this a fairly high recommendation. Check it out!

4 out of 5 stars

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Three Fugitives

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Lucas (Nolte) has been in prison for armed robbery. On the day he is released, he gets taken hostage by Ned Perry (Short), an incompetent, novice criminal who robs a bank (to get money for treatment for his ill daughter, Meg) at the moment Lucas just happens to be there.

Detective Duggan (Jones) assumes they must be in it together and sets about tracking them down. Several chases, an accidental shooting, treatment from a crazy vet and other capers follow, all the while Lucas trying to ditch his idiotic companion and prove his own innocence.

Whilst avoiding the law, the two form an unlikely partnership to help cure the silent Meg and make good their escape. They rescue Meg from the care home she’s in (with Perry nearly ruining the whole affair with his clumsiness) and flee for Canada, pretending to be a married couple with a son.

All appears to end well. However, in the closing scene, Perry enters a Canadian bank to change some currency only to find himself taken hostage by a different bank robber in the same manner he originally kidnapped Lucas. Because of this unexpected development, Lucas does not need to say goodbye to Meg, with whom he has formed a bond.

REVIEW:

Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do, even if it means pairing up a pair of guys that would not normally be the first in your head to work well together. Three Fugitives combines the talent of stoic Nick Nolte and always funny Martin Short in an effort to recreate the magic formula that worked for Nolte with Eddie Murphy and Nolte in the 48 hrs films.

What is this about?

Fresh out of prison, former stickup man Daniel Lucas (Nick Nolte) finds himself taken hostage at a bank by would-be robber Ned Perry (Martin Short), and the cops — aware of Lucas’s history — naturally assume the two are a team. Before you can say “getaway,” Lucas and Perry are on the run with Perry’s 6-year-old daughter (Sarah Rowland Doroff) along for the ride in director Francis Veber’s fast-paced remake of his French crime caper.

What did I like?

Simple. Par for the course with films in the 80s, there is nothing too terrible complicated about this film. If you’re looking for a deeper meaning in your movies, then this is not the one for you, because the simplistic plot about a guy who is robbing a bank so that he has money to pay rent and just happens to take a hostage who is fresh out of prison could not be more basic. Even the way things play out is pretty basic. Every now and then it is good to just sit back and enjoy a film without having to rack your brain figuring out what is going on.

Chemistry. I cannot get over how well Nolte and Short compliment each other. The chemistry between these two polar opposites is the selling point of this film, especially when you consider the random way they end up meeting. Throw in Short’s young daughter who also has a great rapport with Nolte and the three fugitives will keep your attention, even if the rest of the picture won’t.

Long enough. Perhaps it can be said that the last few acts of the picture were a bit tacked on, and I won’t disagree with that. However, in the grand scheme of things, I found the length to be just right. It wasn’t too short and definitely wasn’t too long.

What didn’t I like?

Vader. James Earl Jones plays some sort of cop who, it is assumed, arrested Nolte’s character and sent him to prison. For the entirety of the film, he is more or less a Wil E. Coyote type. That is to say, at every turn, just when it seems he’s about to catch his man, something goes wrong. Throw in the fact that he seems to think that everything Nolte does is a crime, and you really wonder if there is something wrong with this man. Why, oh why, did they cast a great actor like James Earl Jones in this role. There are plenty of second and third tier actors that could have easily been better suited for it.

Common sense. When Martin Short’s character goes into the bank and takes a hostage, he ends up taking the biggest, meanest looking man in the joint. I realize that was for the purpose of the film, but what sense did that make? It isn’t like Martin Short is a big guy, he’s actually quite tiny, and could have easily been overpowered by just about anyone in that bank, but he just happens to pick the guy fresh out of prison. It just so happens that nothing bad happened to him.

As far as late 80s films go, Three Fugitives is one that many have pushed aside. True, it isn’t the greatest comedy, but it is entertaining, at least. I won’t highly recommend it, but there are sure to be pockets that are more than happy to check this out. If you get the chance give it a shot, it won’t hurt.

3 1/3 out of 5 stars

The Bank Job

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , on December 29, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Petty-criminal-gone-straight Terry Leather (Jason Statham) owns a failing car-sales garage and is being harassed by two debt-collectors. His friend, the photographer Kevin Swain’s (Stephen Campbell Moore) ex-girlfriend, a former model named Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) offers Terry a chance to earn enough money to never worry about debt again: a bank robbery in Baker Street, London. Leather gathers his petty-criminal friends, including Swain, a pornographic actor Dave Shilling (Daniel Mays), a mechanic named Bambos (Alki David), and an elegant con-man “Major” Guy Singer (James Faulkner). While scouting out the bank, Leather and Love enter and inspect the vault while Shilling poses for photographs by Swain. The gangster Lew Vogel (David Suchet), who keeps records of his pay-offs to police at Lloyd’s bank, happens upon Shilling and Swain.

They lease a shop named Le Sac two lots away from the bank and dig a tunnel under The Chicken Inn fast-food restaurant to reach the underground bank vault. Terry employs Eddie Burton (Michael Jibson), one of his garage workers, as a “watchman” with a walkie-talkie to sit on a roof to keep look-out. Martine, once caught smuggling heroin into Britain and wanting to avoid jail, set them up for this job on behalf of MI5, which desires the contents of a certain safe deposit box, No. 118. This box contains sensual and compromising photos of a member of the British Royal Family (in the film, Princess Margaret). The photos and box belong to a black militant gangster who calls himself Michael X (Peter de Jersey); he uses the photos to avoid trouble with the Metropolitan Police, and MI5 is charged with keeping the photos out of circulation.

As Terry’s crew digs, the radio chatter draws the attention of a local amateur radio operator, who overhears the conversation and realizes a robbery is in progress. He calls the police, who begin to search their ten-mile radius and listen for concrete details to pin the robbery down. Terry’s crew breaks through and loot the vault, as Martine goes for the photo deposit-box. A suspicious Terry opens it with her and, upon seeing the pictures, realizes Martine’s hidden agenda. Among the photos are many of high-ranking government officials, including a senior MP, in compromising positions in a local S&M brothel. The robbers take these with money and other valuables. Terry arranges for alternate transportation “to be safe”, throwing off MI5 who had intended to intercept them. Guy and Bambas escape with their share and Terry confronts Martine over the photos, who explains the unfolding predicament. The robbery discovered, the police — corrupt ones receiving payoffs and honest ones — began an investigation while MI5 continues their search. Also joining the search for Terry’s crew is Lew Vogel, an organized crime figure worried about the contents of his ledger, which lists payoffs he made to police, which was stolen in the robbery. He informs Michael X that the royal ‘portraits’ had gone missing and Michael X becomes suspicious of Gale Benson (Hattie Morahan), a British spy who loves his American colleague Black Power militant, Hakim Jamal (Colin Salmon), and has traveled with him and Jamal to Trinidad.

Remembering the encounter with Shilling outside of the bank before the robbery, Vogel has him tortured for information with a sandblaster. Shilling breaks and Vogel goes to Terry’s garage and kidnaps Eddie, the lookout. Meanwhile, a senior minister in the government, Lord Drysdale, is shown photos of himself in the brothel run by Sonia Bern (Sharon Maughan) and agrees to help absolve the robbers and secure them safe passage. Meanwhile, MI5 issues a D-Notice forbidding press reports. Police simultaneously release recordings of the walkie-talkie conversations in the hope that someone will recognize the voices. These recordings are heard on the radio by Terry’s family. Vogel’s accomplice, corrupt Detective Gerald Pyke (Don Gallagher), shoots Dave and threatens to shoot Eddie unless Vogel gets his ledger back. Vogel agrees with Terry to meet him at Paddington Station in London. During this time, Guy and Bambas are murdered by persons unknown, and Michael X has Benson killed in Trinidad by an associates. Terry has Kev give the same instruction to Detective Sergeant Roy Given (Gerard Horan), the officer in charge of the investigation, citing knowledge of corrupt officers under Vogel’s control. He convinces Vogel to go to Paddington Station at the same time, offering him the ledger in return for Eddie’s safe return.

Terry heads to the rendezvous while Martine meets up with Tim Everett (Richard Lintern), her original contact in MI5, on a bridge overlooking the scene. Vogel and his corrupt police arrive with the mechanic, but recognize the MI5 agents and run. The deputy head of MI5 (with Lord Mountbatten) hands over the passports Terry bargained for, in return for the photos of the princess. Terry then chases Vogel and in a fight knocks out Vogel and his thugs, including corrupt Detective Nick Barton (Craig Fairbrass). Detective Given, officer in charge of the investigation, arrives to see the robbers arrested. He speaks with the MI5 officers present, who direct police to let the robbers go. Terry gives the ledger to the police officer before he, Kevin, and Eddie leave the scene. Vogel and the corrupt officers are arrested instead. Everett personally supervises Michael X’s arrest in Trinidad and Tobago and has Benson’s remains exhumed for reburial in Britain. The final scenes have Terry and Martine saying good-bye, and Terry and his family enjoying a relaxed and carefree life on a small motor yacht of their own, off a sunny beach.

The epilogue states that the revelations about the brothel forced many government officials to resign. Scotland Yard begins investigating the corrupt officers named in the ledger. Michael X was hanged in 1975 for Benson’s murder and his personal files are kept hidden in the British National Archives until 2054. Vogel is imprisoned for eight years for crimes that were unrelated to the robbery. The murderers of Guy and Bambas have never been found. About ₤4 million worth of materials and money were stolen from the robbery. At least 100 safety-deposit box owners did not claim insurance nor identify the items in the boxes.

REVIEW:

 Action, drama, murder, a bank heist, deceit, and a bit of comedy are what you are in for when watching The Bank Job. I did not know until the film’s conclusion that it was a true story, but that turns out to be the case. Quite intriguing if you ask me, especially considering what happens to these people.

So, we start off the film with a lengthy introduction to our major characters. For some people this works, but for me, I don’t have the patience or attention span for such things. I just want the film to get going and get to the meat and potatoes. Introduce the characters and let’s move this thing along.

The way this film is made is pretty good, but then as the ending nears, it starts to get confusing with all the shoved in stuff with all the characters. Maybe its just me, but I just think they could have found a better way to do that. Hell, cut some of the character intros out and use that time to flesh out the ending more.

The chemistry with all the bank gang is pretty awesome. That is where the comedy comes in, especially since they came off as Keystone coppers at times, but it works. In a film that has such a serious tone, these bits of lighthearted camaraderie really made a difference.

There are about 3 or 4 different character stories going on here that all come together after the bank job. While that sounds like it could be a bit much, you can see how they all fit.

Jason Statham shows he can actually do some real acting here. Something I haven’t seen from him since some of his earlier films like Chaos and Snatch. He actually does a pretty good job, but I was hoping to get more action. Sadly, that doesn’t happen until the end, and even then, it was barely worth the wait.

Saffron Burrows, as beautiful as she is, comes off as nothing more than a girl who got away, who happens to be hot, so they’ll do what she wants. The way her character is written, the audience wants to feel something for her, but it just doesn’t happen.

The character of Michael X is actually quite interesting, though I didn’t quite understand the similarities to Malcolm X. That may be because of my lack of knowledge of Malcolm, but I just didn’t get it.

So, The Bank Job is pretty good. It is a surprise that a true story like this doesn’t come off as some kind of dull drivel. Having said that, this isn’t the most interesting flick in the world, but it is decent enough. I recommend it to anyone into this kind of flick.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars