Posts Tagged ‘books

22
Jun
18

“Bored? Let’s Have an Art Heist!” Movie Review: American Animals

american_animals.jpg

Starring Ann Dowd, Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, Barry Keoghan, Jared Abrahamson, and Udo Kier. Directed by Bart Layton

Not your usual heist.

Our story begins with four men dressed to be much older. Waiting. For what we know from the trailers – they’re committing an art heist. Why? That’s the question the movie answers whether you’re satisfied with the explanations or not.

Following the titles we get into the characters: Spencer Reinhard, (Barry Keoghan), a sensitive art student who excels at illustration (painting, drawing). Lost in the mire of classes he’s lost purpose in his life to the point of asking himself why he bothers with fraternity hazing. Stepping in to fill that void is Warren Lipka (Evan Peters), a guy whose credo is “fly by the seat of your pants.” Both are students at Transylvania University in the fall/winter of 2003. One day while visiting the University’s Library he enters their rare book collection and finds books of value which sparks a question: what would it be like to steal the book, sell it for money, and live off the cash? The purported value of said rare books is somewhere over $17 million…

So begins the plot, or rather journey, the characters take to commit an art heist that no one saw coming. Warren brings in other friends: the smart loner Erik Borsuk (Abrahamson) and Alpha-personality Chas Allen (Blake Jenner). Erik is there to help with the planning, Chas because he has money and winds in being their getaway driver (in a minivan, nonetheless). Cautiously and meticulously they observe the times to get into the Library, exit strategies, and etc. while teaching themselves how to commit a heist (including a scene from one of my favorites, “The Killing”)

If you know anything of the story you know that they pulled it off, were found out by the FBI, and sentenced to 7 years in Federal Prison. What you don’t know is how and why, which is where director Bart Layton steps in. Interspersed with the scenes of the actors going through the steps are “retrospective” shots featuring the REAL Warren, Barry, Erik, and Chas along each major beat of the story offering their perspective explanation as to what was going on (sometimes conflicting). It reminded me a lot of “When Harry Met Sally” or more importantly, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” whereby others, including the librarian who was subdued during the heist, offer their recollections and opinions. Structurally you can run parallels to “I, Tonya.”

Does it work? It the very least it’s an interesting take on how to do a heist film. Instead of a fictionally-plotted occurrence everything that happened DID actually happen in the way portrayed. The reactions from the real participants is REAL as opposed to conjured up for movie’s sake. Just like in the movies the heist was based on people make stupid mistakes. And, like so many heist films, they’re found out in the end (although there is only speculation as to how they were found as opposed to FBI agents commenting on what happened).

Overall, I enjoyed the film. Then again, I always enjoy a good heist movie. While watching the film I looked at the films they rented just to make notes on how to do a heist and realized I owned most of them (including “Rififi”). This isn’t “Inside Man,” “Heat,” “The Bank Job,” or the “Killing” – this, while very much like them, is something different.

Is it worth your time? Sure. At the very least check it out matinee or even wait for it at Redbox. In a pseudo-documentary sort-of way it’s a sobering look at boredom and “crossing the line.” As one of the characters states you don’t know UNTIL you cross that line and, maybe, that’s less the moral but more the point of the film. While you’re at it check out the director’s previous film, “The Impostor.” It’s true and somewhat unsettling.

My Grade: B

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09
May
08

What the Wiki?

Superhero Week is winding down and I’ll have to do more research for articles in the coming weeks when Hulk and Batman hit the screens again. For this article I have found not one but TWO websites that you may find of interest.

 

http://en.dcdatabaseproject.com/

 

From this site you can find out just about everything you want, or don’t want, to know about the DC Universe. Read up on your favorite characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, the Green Lantern, and others. They have links to bios, weapons, the comics, etc.

 

Should you want to know the same about Marvel, here’s your link:

 

http://en.marveldatabase.com/

 

 

Enjoy

07
May
08

DC and the Warners

 

 

Seeing as yesterday I released the list of Marvel’s production slate, it was only fair to devote today to D.C. Sad to say, D.C. is not fairing so well. With the fact that the Justice League movie has been tabled due to George Miller’s financing problems, well… at least we have “The Dark Knight” being released on July 18th, right?

 

So, here’s where it all stands:

 

         Justice League. As said above, director George Miller (“Mad Max” trilogy, “Happy Feet”) is having finance options. Adam Brody and Common were attached to the project. This is officially tabled.

         Watchmen. Directed by Zack Snyder (“300”) this is a murder mystery set in an alternate 1985 where superheroes are a part of everyday society, and someone wants them all discredited. Carla Gugino, Patrick Wilson, and Billy Crudup star. Opens March 6, 2009.

         Superman: Man of Steel. Set for June 2009 release. No further details.

         Wonder Woman. A woman brought up in an Amazonian kingdom to be like the Greek gods and goddesses comes to the cityscape. No further details available.

 

That’s it. Huh.

 

Well, go see “The Dark Knight” on July 18, 2008!

07
May
08

I’m too sexy for my cape

 

 

In continuance with “Superhero Week,” today I’m bringing you news of fashion, pop culture, and high art. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (known as ‘The Met’ to its friends) is now showcasing the Fashion of the Superheroes. Dresses, costumes, print, pulp, statues and more are on display.

 

For more information, check out the exhibit at: http://www.metmuseum.org/special/superheroes/

 

Photo from the Jaman blog:

http://blog.jaman.com/?p=474

 

 

If you get to see it, let me know how it is!