June 2024


heist movie

Ocean’s Eight (2018)


CAST: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Richard Armitage, James Corden


2001’s Ocean’s Eleven was a slight but breezy and enjoyable heist caper.  Its two superfluous sequels were aimless, self-indulgent add-ons that felt more like thin excuses for the star-studded cast to get back together and have some more fun.  And now, as if the “brand name” has not been milked to death, here comes a paper-thin indirect “sequel” of sorts.  Ocean’s Eight is a generic and uninspired heist caper that’s never more than mildly entertaining and doesn’t offer anything fresh besides its all-female cast. Continue reading

Baby Driver (2017)

DIRECTOR: Edgar Wright

CAST: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal


After all the higher-profile, more anticipated movies that have all, to greater or lesser degrees, felt underwhelming and failed to meet their hype (for my $.02, at least), it’s a simple, straightforward action flick that completely succeeds at what it sets out to do.  While their two plots don’t have much in common besides featuring some street chases, Baby Driver might appeal to those who enjoy the likes of Premium Rush; it’s nothing deep or complicated, but it provides a couple hours of breezy, fast-paced escapism and is an eminently engaging and satisfying entry for those seeking some straight-up action with dashes of humor and romance (and a busy soundtrack) thrown into the mix. Continue reading

Now You See Me (2013)

Now-You-See-Me-2013-DIRECTOR: Louis Letterier

CAST: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Common


Now You See Me is a fast-paced, whizz-bang caper that, like its magician characters, misdirects from some flimsy plot holes with quick-moving panache.  It’s not terribly deep or substantial, but it serves up two hours of compulsive entertainment and a few twists and turns along the way. Fans of the likes of Ocean’s Eleven might find Now You See Me to their liking. Continue reading

The Italian Job (2003)

DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray

CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def, Donald Sutherland


The Italian Job takes its name from a 1969 British film starring Michael Caine, but the two films have little in common besides the title and some minor plot elements, and 2003’s version is its own entity enough to disregard the original and review purely on its own merits.  The Italian Job is in the same vein as 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven, and will likely appeal to the same audience.  The Italian Job isn’t quite as much of a lighthearted lark—though apart from an occasional “dramatic” scene, it’s not taking things ultra-seriously either—but it follows the basic structure of this kind of slick whiz-bang heist/action caper, a colorful crew of thieves, a complicated heist (the movie is bookended with two), and a few twists and turns.  It’s not a great movie, but it goes on its way with slick panache, and is involving enough to be an entertaining diversion. Continue reading

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

DIRECTOR: Steven Soderbergh

CAST: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Elliott Gould


After such more serious, heavier material as Traffic and Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven (a loose remake of a 1960 heist caper starring the “Rat Pack” consisting of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford) seems like a bit of a vacation, but if it’s fluffier and more lightweight and insubstantial than what’s typically expected from Soderbergh, it’s at least a breezy, entertaining heist caper that provides an engaging couple of hours.  Ocean’s Eleven isn’t really anything too challenging or special, but it’s a smoothly enjoyable diversion. Continue reading

The Score (2001)


CAST: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett


The Score isn’t a classic entry in the heist movie genre, but it’s a slick little diversion that sets fairly modest goals and achieves them, gives us some interesting interplay between accomplished actors, and treads familiar ground with enough assurance to make us not mind coming along for the ride. Continue reading

Sneakers (1992)

DIRECTOR: Phil Alden Robinson

CAST: Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, River Phoenix, Ben Kingsley, Timothy Busfield, Eddie Jones, Donal Logue, Stephen Tobolowsky


Sneakers, coming out at a time when the pervasive technology at the center of its plot was only beginning to take off toward its virtually limitless full potential, is a bit like a forerunner of heist movies like Ocean’s Eleven.  Coming out in 1992, Sneakers is fairly low-tech by today’s standards, but it has a bit in common with Ocean’s Eleven in its offbeat ensemble team and a generally cheerful tone that, even when some scenes turn more serious, permeates the movie with the feeling that, more than anything else, this was made to be fun by people who had fun making it.  Continue reading