5 posts categorized "Heist Movie"

October 20, 2018


Les CadavresThe narrative is appropriately thin in this wildly inspired homage to European crime action movie tropes of the ’70 (think “Zabriskie Point”). As a result, “Let the Corpses Tan” plays better as a retro art instillation piece or as a film you could project on a giant party screen for revelers to get wasted as they engage in all types of sexual misconduct.

Nonetheless, Belgian writing/directing duo Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani (“The Strange Color of You”) wring a lot of movie out of their “genre” (low budget) exploration.

Corpses tan

Although it sports one of the most incendiary film titles in recent memory, “Let the Corpses Tan” is too one-note to hold your interest for its 92 minutes regardless of how much fetishistic attention is paid to every gritty detail involving a stand-off between gangsters in a remote dusty seaside location.

Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani - Let the Corpses Tan #Locarno70 - Fred  English Channel

The filmmakers revel in playing tricks with your eyes as when, what seems to be, an overhead shot of the location’s compound is overrun with [seemingly giant] ants. Sure it’s all style with not much substance but that’s the point. If you’re in the mood for virtuosic visual panache involving machine guns, gold, cars, motorcycles, fire, smoke, and blood, then you’re in business.   


Not Rated. 92 mins. Three Stars


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June 08, 2018



For the first time since Quentin Tarantino reinvented the heist genre with “Reservoir Dogs” way back in 1992, a filmmaker has broken the whole thing wide open. With a handful of documentaries under his belt writer-director Bart Layton crafts a snappy docudrama rendition of a small-town heist at a university in Lexington Kentucky that finishes with appropriate grace notes of hubris and pathos. Bart Layton isn’t a household name, yet.

Layton uses interview clips with each of the real-life young men who schemed to steal rare books and manuscripts from Transylvania University’s library, as overseen by a lone librarian — one Betty Jean Gooch. A first edition of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” and four double-size folios of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” are on the would-be thieves’ shopping list.

American Animals1

We relish as the amateur heist team of college students assemble. Pals Spencer (Barry Keoghan) and Warren (Evan Peters) watch a collection of heist movies ranging from Kubrick’s “The Killing” to “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Naturally, the guys gets colors for names. Warren names himself Mr. Yellow because he’s his mom’s “sunshine.”

American Animals2

No one wants to hurt the librarian, the only person guarding the university’s precious books, but pain must be inflicted. By the time the heist takes place, the suspense is gut-wrenching. Here is a thrilling caper movie that makes us empathize with the crooks and their victim in equal measure. By interviewing the real thieves, while dramatizing their story, Bart Layton adds a meaty layer of social realism to the film. Get out your knife and fork; this is one movie you can really sink your teeth into.

Warren Lipka - Evan Peters

Rated R. 116 mins. (A) (Five stars — out of five / no halves)

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

October 02, 2017


Anderson_tapesChristopher Walken has his breakout performance as a recent ex-con on a mission with his former prison mate (Sean Connery) to rob the tenants of “1 E 91st Street” — namely the Otto Kahn mansion.

Quincy Jones’s score is no bueno, but the film’s goofy sci-fi sound effects are cheesy beyond belief. Here is a movie that could be made 10 percent better by deleting its sound effects and updating the score.

Nonetheless, “The Anderson Tapes” provides the most up close and personal tour of the beautiful Kahn mansion that you could hope for. This lush building shows up in a lot of movies, but none so explored as the mansion is here. 

Dyan Cannon provides sexy window dressing as Connery’s girlfriend who belongs to the sugar daddy who owns her apartment in the mansion.

Kahn Mansion

Keep an eye out for great supporting turns from Margaret Hamilton (“The Wizard of Oz”) and from the great Garrett Morris — who went on to fame with Saturday Night Live during the program’s salad days in the ‘70s.

Sure the heist is full of plot holes — how does Christopher Walken get in the van inside the Mayflower moving truck?

For all of the narrative’s focus on the mansion’s high-tech surveillance, the plot point is nothing but a ruse. Although one of Sidney Lumet’s minor efforts, “The Anderson Tapes” functions as a cool retro caper movie full of nostalgic details. The film’s car chase climax is no joke. Did I mention Dyan Cannon is in the movie? Sparks fly from hard and soft surfaces in this kooky heist flick with a great cast. The contrasts between Connery's and Walken's acting styles creates a buoyant effect of character dynamics. This is fun stuff. 

Colesmithey.comRated GP. 99 mins. (B-) (Three stars — out of five / no halves)

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