A Week In Film #413: Digging in

Noah title screen
Boring ‘biblical epic’ from Darren Aronofsky, with Russell Crowe a very angry maritime zoo keeper.

Rob The Mob title screen
Rob The Mob
Full of brio and glee, a based-on-true-events crime comic drama from director Raymond De Felitta and writer Jonathan Fernandez, about a clueless Bonnie and Clyde from Queens who worked a standover gig on Gotti mob businesses until everything caught up with them. A strong cast (Andy Garcia(!), Ray Romano, Frank Whaley etc) but a slightly meandering structure, though fine central performances from Michael Pitt and (in particular) Nina Arianda (her from Goliath) raise it above average. Definitely more fun than The Wannabe</>, a more earnest and reverential take on the same people and story.

The Asphalt Jungle title screen
The Asphalt Jungle
John Huston’s classic 1950 heist noir, about a team of crooks planning and executing a caper in some grim, unnamed city in the Midwest. Great cast – Sam Jaffe, Sterling Hayden, James Whitmore, Anthony Caruso, Louis Calhern – and great visuals (Harold Rosson in charge of cinematography).

Moneyball title screen
Absorbing drama from Bennett Miller (who did the similarly cold Capote and Foxcatcher) about the intersection of sport and commerce, as represented by the ‘sabermetric’ approach to identifying cost-effective players to hire used by baseball team general manager Billy Bean (Brad Pitt) at the Oakland Athletics in the early 2000s. Nice performances (Pitt, Jonah Hill, Chris Pratt, Casey Bond, Philip Seymour Hoffman), interesting story.

Premium Rush title screen
Premium Rush
Ultimately unsatisfying high concept action/thriller about a bike courier in New York, race against time, yadda yadda yada. With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, from writer-director David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, Panic Room).

Hard Rain title screen
Hard Rain
More like it: TV journeyman Michael Salomon directs silly set pieces solidly and with fun, as slacker security guard Christian Slater and philosophical thief Morgan Freeman face off in a Midwestern town that has been evacuated and flooded.

Mulholland Falls title screen
Mulholland Falls
A squad of brassknuckled LA cops keep the town Mob-free in the early 1950s; but shit comes to pass. Not stupendously deep, but some nice bits from Lee Tamahori and his cast (Nick Nolte, Chazz Palminteri, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Connelly, Michael Madsen, John Malkovich, Treat Williams, Chris Penn, Titus Welliver, William Petersen). Andrew McCarthy is atrocious, though!

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