I'm on vacation right now. I mean that literally. As you are reading this, I'm sleeping in (or possibly just going to bed). No wild and crazy nights for me, though. Just taking advantage of not having to be a slave to the alarm clock. I feel like I'm stealing time. I also stole a little time to even create this post. While my family were all taking a little siesta after a long day of spending what little money I have, I pulled out the laptop and got busy. Completing this post means I pulled off a great heist. And that's what this week's topic is for Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Okay, so that was pretty weak. Best I can do with my brain also on vacation. Once again playing it fairly straight this week, but hopefully with some unique picks. Let's get to it.
(1989)The story concerns Sugar Ray (Richard Pryor), who runs an after-hours joint in Harlem with his adoptive son Quick (Eddie Murphy) during the Prohibition Era. Ray's trying to keep a pretty low profile, but is getting some pressure from big time gangster, Bugsy Calhoun (Michael Lerner). The heist comes in the film's second half as they decide to try and steal a boatload of Calhoun's money before getting out of town. This is one of my favorite Eddie Murphy flicks. He wrote, directed, and starred in this one. However, he was far from the lone star in the cast. He was joined in excellence by Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Danny Aiello, Robin Harris, Michael Lerner, Arsenio Hall, and brother Charlie Murphy in a bit role. More memorable than any of them is Della Reese in a role quite different than anything she's ever done.
(1996)At first, we think Violet (Jennifer Tilly) is the stereotypical gangster's moll. She's been with Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) for quite a while, but is looking for bigger and better things. The chance to get them shows up in the form of Corky (Gina Gershon). She's an ex-con who has just been hired as a plumber in the apartment building where Violet and Caesar live. The two fall in love (or just lust) and quickly hatch a get rich plan: steal a bunch of mob money and pin it on Caesar. This is the directorial debut of the Wachowskis who would go on to helm The Matrix and Cloud Atlas among other things. I also like to call this one The Moment I Fell in Love with Jennifer Tilly.
(2008)The letters of the title are actually the initials of the film's star Jean-Claude Van Damme. He is playing himself, sorta. He is a down-on-his-luck actor with money troubles, unable to get into a decent production, embroiled in a nasty custody battle over a daughter that wants nothing to ado with him, and back in his native Brussels. While there he goes into a post-office/bank to receive some money via wire transfer. At that moment, some thugs burst in and start robbing the place. There's your heist. Of course, it turns into a hostage situation. Once the bad guys recognize Van Damme they try to use him to their advantage. The question becomes does he really get involved with them in a way that will profit him or is he playing along until the cops can get things under control? This is a contemplative film where the star sheds the action-star bravado and openly discusses his own career and personal issues. Seriously. Depending on how you feel about Van Damme movies take this as either a warning against or a ringing endorsement for JCVD because it is nothing like the rest of his catalog. Nothing.
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