Stolen (2012)

US / 96 minutes / color / Millennium, Nu Image, Saturn Dir: Simon West Pr: Rene Besson, Jesse Kennedy, Matthew Joynes Scr: David Guggenheim Cine: Jim Whitaker Cast: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston, Malin Akerman, Sami Gayle, Edrick Browne, Mark Valley, Barry Shabaka Henley, M.C. Gainey, Garrett Hines, Tanc Sade, Dan Braverman, Jon Eyez.

Stolen 2012 2 - Gum surrenders having thrown the money into a brazier

A movie that’s filled with noirish tropes—it begins with an extended heist sequence of length and ambition comparable to such classic equivalents as that in The ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950)!—yet has more the taste of a caper. It’s fast and entertaining fun, relying on its pace and narrative flair to ease the viewer past rather more by way of egregious plot holes than there should be.

The heist is of a New Orleans bank and is conducted by a gang led by Will “Gum” Montgomery (Cage); the rest of the team are Vincent “Vince” Kinsey (Lucas), Donald Hoyt (Gainey) and Riley Jeffers (Akerman). What they don’t know is that Continue reading

Hotel Noir (2012)

US / 97 minutes / bw / Shangri-La, FotoKem, Gato Negro Dir & Scr: Sebastian Gutierrez Pr: Steve Bing, Sebastian Gutierrez, Zach Schwartz Cine: Cale Finot Cast: Malin Akerman, Kevin Connolly, Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, Robert Forster, Carla Gugino, Mandy Moore, Rufus Sewell, Aaron Behr, John Colella, Andrew Fiscella, Michael B. Jordan, Cameron Richardson, Maureen Chapman, Derek Schreck.

A beautifully modulated nest of stories which prove, in the usual neonoirish fashion, all to be in fact interconnected—all but one, which is the opening scene. Yet, while this movie can be seen as sitting right at the heart of the neonoir canon, at the same time it’s quite atypical of that canon: there’s very little violence and not much chasing around—very little straightforward, easy suspense, in other words—with much of the enjoyment coming instead from a screenplay that’s full of dialogue and that revels in language and its own use of it. At one point two of the characters seem to display awareness of this:

Felix: I’ve never met anyone with said proclivity before.
Hanna: I’ve never met a detective who said “proclivity” before.

We’re introduced to the movie by Eugene Portland (DeVito), whose trade is installing new shower doors. He explains that, while it might seem the kind of job that would have him being propositioned by dozens of bored housewives, in fact it’s happened on just two occasions, one of which he prefers not to talk about. The other was with neglected housewife Evangeline Lundy (Moore), and we see his flashback of his own principled behavior as, clad in her scanties, she alternately threw herself at him and wept on his shoulder. It’s an entertaining sequence but seems to have little to do with the movie proper.

Hotel Noir 1 - Eugene does his best to be principled

Eugene (Danny DeVito) remains staunchly high-principled despite the obvious inclinations of housewife Evangeline (Mandy Moore).

Eugene is now in a room in a nameless and seemingly scarcely occupied hotel. The trigger to the nest of stories is when, as Eugene stumblingly types in his hotel room, a caller arrives dressed in the costume of a masked superhero; dyslexic, she’s come to the wrong room. Before leaving she introduces herself as Sevilla (Dawson), who, as we shortly discover, is Continue reading