Posts Tagged ‘original


Movies on DVD Review: The Italian Job (1969)



THE definition for “cliffhanger.”


Starring Michael Caine, Noel Coward, and Benny Hill. Directed by Peter Collinson.


Note: the original, not the remake.


Charlie Croker (Caine) has just been released from prison. He’s met by his girlfriend Lorna (Margaret Blye) who picks him up in a stolen car (“Charlie, I just wanted you to come out in style, baby.”) Later he finds that an old partner Roger (Frank Jarvis) left a film for him to watch. On the film is the greatest heist idea of all: stealing $4 million from Turin. Charlie thinks it over and decides to do it for the money, and for England. Breaking back into the prison he informs Mr. Bridger (Coward), a fellow prisoner who has attained a king-like hold over the prison (the guy goes to the bathroom escorted by two guards who provide him with the current newspaper). Croker then takes the initiative to assemble a crew; albeit of miscreants (“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”). The plan: stage a traffic jam in Turin during a sports event and get out of the city with $4 million. The obstacles: aside from getting out of the city with the gold, the Mafia know about the plan and threaten him and his team. Croker and company are forced to speed up their plans for the gold and most importantly for the glory of England.


Forty years since and “The Italian Job” is still a fun movie. Michael Caine is great as Charlie Croker, a swingin’ Sixties convict. Coward eats up being the King of the Penal Colony. Benny Hill does a great job at being Professor Simon Peach, the resident “computer expert” who is into “big women.”


The movie itself can be divided into two parts: the buildup to the heist, and the chase. The buildup to the heist is the main humor of the movie: Croker’s motley crew practicing with the mini-Coops, Bridger’s reactions, and Charlie himself.


The second half, the car chase, is one of the coolest ever on film. The minis drive on sidewalks, through buildings, and even top of a building (you have to see it to believe it).


Overall, a fun little movie. A great way to spend a weekend afternoon, or pop it in on a weeknight. You’ll find yourself singing, “The Self Preservation Society.”


Of note, the DVD contains the deleted scene of the mini-Coopers driving around to the tune of Strauss’s “The Blue Danube.”


My grade: B+




Predicting the Box Office, Part III

When we last left off, Big Willie-style Fourth o’ July was goin’ on, and “Hancock” had one of the largest opening weekends of the summer. Let’s see how other movies have fared…


The next weekend released one of the better movies of July: “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.” What shocked me were the differing opinions between the critics and the audience on the weekends. The critics hated “Hancock,” but loved “Hellboy 2”; conversely, the public went and saw “Hancock” and didn’t turn out for “Hellboy 2” like I had expected. Another release for that weekend was Brendan Fraser in “Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D,” which I was told you really DID need 3-D glasses for.


Eddie Murphy’s comedy “Meet Dave” opened at $5.2 million.


“Mamma Mia!” had an impressive opening as it could have hoped: $27,751,240. Why? Because of its competition: “The Dark Knight.” “TDK” kicked “Iron Man” and “Indy 4”’s opening weekends, raking in $158 million. It has since set box office records the least of which was biggest weekend box office opening. Whether it was the fact that it was a sequel to “Batman Begins,” or Heath Ledger’s last movie, or simply people who enjoy the work of Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight” has held the number one spot at the box office for the last month.


Believe it or not, I really DID want to believe, but the new “X-Files” movie let me down. With an opening of $10 million for the weekend, it was beaten out by the Will Ferrell/ John C. Reilly comedy “Step Brothers.” Whether it was the plot of “X-Files,” the fact that it’s been years since the series has been on the air, or maybe there are that many more fans for Ferrell and company as opposed to “The X-Files.”


We got a third “Mummy” movie, which was a slight disappointment at the B.O., only taking in $40 million. Its competition, “Swing Vote,” had one of the lowest openings for the summer as well. Was it the reviews of “Mummy 3” that kept people away, or are we already done with the franchise?


Batman continued his grip on the number one spot and if any movie could thwart him, it was “Pineapple Express.” However, Judd Apatow and company couldn’t pull that off, but did take in $23 mil for the weekend. Their competition, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” brought in $10 mil.


Will anything break Batman’s stranglehold on the number one spot? This week we have the premiere of “Tropic Thunder.” If “Pineapple Express” couldn’t do it, this is the last chance.


Here are the rundown of the numbers for the summer:


Biggest Openings of the Summer:


“The Dark Knight”                    $158,411,483

“Indy 4”                                   $126,917,373

“Iron Man”                               $102,118,668

“Wall*E”                                  $63,087,526

“Hancock”                               $62,603,879

“”Kung Fu Panda”                    $60,239,130

“Sex and the City”                    $56,848,056

“The Incredible Hulk”               $55,414,050

“Narnia: Prince Caspian”          $55,034,805

“Wanted”                                 $50,927,085



And the Top Ten Cumulative for the Summer:


“The Dark Knight”                    $448,886,084

“Iron Man”                               $316,590,841

“Indy 4”                                   $314,819,219

“Hancock”                               $222,625,918

“Kung Fu Panda”                     $211,507,723

“Wall*E”                                  $211,332,152

“Sex and the City”                    $151,838,609

“Narnia: Prince Caspian”          $140,117,978

“The Incredible Hulk”               $133,932,430

“Wanted”                                 $132,802,780