Review: American Heist

American Heist is a new film recently released on DVD from director Sarik Andreasyan and writer Raul Inglis. This film starts with Adrien Brody getting out of prison and after a night out on the town is taken to a warehouse were he meets some old friends played by Akon and Tory Kittles who go by Sugar and Ray. He soon finds out he is going to have to payback his debts to his old friends and part of that is getting his brother, played by Hayden Christensen, involved.

One of the most interesting parts of this film is a femme fatale that does not know she is one. Jordana Brewster plays an old flame that is brought back into Christensen’s life and that attraction is used against him.

This film doesn’t have a very original or outstanding plot by any means. It does have another great performance from Brody and I liked Brewster in this as well. I don’t know why I got this vibe, maybe it was because of Brewster playing his love interest or because there is a bit of a resemblance I did not notice before, but I felt that Christensen’s part was written for Paul Walker and Christensen was just trying to do his best impression of him. This doesn’t mean Christensen did a bad job, just once this got in my head I could not get it out for the duration of the film.

While I was doing some research on this film, I found out it is actually a remake of The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery starring Steve McQueen. This movie was based on the true life incident involving the bank robber Fred William Bowerman. I have not seen this original film, but looks to have taken a lot of time and effort to be as accurate as possible. Reading a bit about The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery and the history of the bank robbery it is based on, I would say this film is very loosely based on the original film and has little to nothing to do with the real life bank robbery.  While the original took place in St. Louis and the film was made in 1959 only 6 years after the 1953 attempted bank robbery, this film takes place in a modern time frame and in New Orleans. The original didn’t have brothers involved, which is a key part of this films plot as well. I hope to watch The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery at some point and further compare the two films.

This film is not a modern-day classic that somehow slipped through the cracks. There is good reason you may not have heard of this film. That being said, it is not a horrible film and if you are in the mood for a heist film and do not want to watch Heat for the 100th time, this may fit the bill for you. I think fans of Adrien Brody will also enjoy his performance in this film.

Favorite Tidbit: Look for Hayden Christensen’s girlfriend Rachel Bilson in a small non-speaking but pivotal cameo appearance.

Re-Watching the Best of 2014: True Detective Season 1

LjGKxgQP I started this site in January of this year, and there are a handful of great neo-noirs that came out last year I didn’t get to cover.  I know everybody has already seen these and probably wrote their own review.  I still wanted to re-watch these films and television series again and put my own review out there on the world-wide web.  Here is the first of those reviews. True Detective is an original series from noir author Nic Pizzolatto.  I have read Pizzolatto’s novel Galveston before watching this series and found it a very good book.  Something fans of the show may want to read. This anthology series stars Matthew McConaughey as Rust and Woody Harrelson as Marty.  I would classify both as hardboiled,  Rust being the more so of the two. k14lysr4msp2q5887mjy This story starts out with our duo getting interviewed by two detectives played by Michael Potts and Tory Kittles.  Both are being interviewed individually about a case that happened 17 years ago.  In typical noir fashion we get our story with a series of flashbacks.  We quickly see our detectives are worse for wear 17 years after the story started and through 8 episodes we find out why. Our case from 17 years ago is a murder where the body has been staged in a ritualistic way.  This case has no suspects or witnesses and very few clues to go on.  The clues also leads to some missing children cases that may be related to the murder.  Our story takes us to dive bars, whore houses, meth labs, stripper bars, burned down churches and lots of Louisiana backwoods locations. We have a bunch of great characters in this, some are small parts and some are much bigger.  Our lead female, is Marty’s wife played by Michelle Monaghan.  Marty, and Rust for that matter, keep her away from the darkness of the case.  I would consider her Rust’s femme fatale.  We also get two more interesting femme fatales, though they are not part of the murders they do trip up Marty in his private life.  Alexandra Daddario appears in the first half and Lili Simmons in the second half. The show plays more like an 8 hour movie then a television show.  You will want to watch the next episode as soon as you finish one.  The story is intricate, intriguing, and addictive.  The music is dark and fits the southern Gothic feel, T Bone Burnett did a great job with the score. We will be getting a season 2 of True Detective this summer.  It has a high standard to live up to and I hope it can.  The new cast looks outstanding and the trailer looks great.  We go from our country noir setting to one of the most famous of noir locales in Los Angeles.  Can Pizzolatto keep the dark, intensity with the city landscape, a new story, and a new cast?  I look forward to seeing it and if it’s as good as the first season we are in for a treat.