American Heist [MOVIE REVIEW #TIFF14]

film, Toronto Adventures

Friends of mine get a block of tickets for TIFF every year and are just awesome enough to take the bf and I to a screening or two. On Saturday we attended a screening American Heist at the Scotiabank Theatre. I don’t usually write film reviews, but I feel inclined to rate this film. I always thought that films at TIFF have to be amazing; with the best of the best stories, plots, writing, and acting. Apparently I was wrong.

american-heist-poster2c-001

American Heist is the combination of every gangster/bank-robbing film you have ever seen. Every cliche can be found in this film, along with a terrible script and sub-par acting. The film begins with Frankie (Adrien Brody) getting out of jail after completing a 10-year-stint. He dances his way out of the prison wearing a leather jacket that covers up his tattoo of Frank Sinatra, and a yellow-gold chain around his neck. His moves are as awkward as the two thugs waiting to pick him up (one being Akon). After a night celebrating his freedom in a strip club filled with cocaine, he’s brought to a warehouse and is slapped around by another thug (Tory Kittles).

Earlier on we meet Frankie’s brother Jimmy/James (Hayden hottie Christensen), a mechanic trying to get loans from the bank to open up his own shop and turn his life around. Jimmy got into trouble because of Frankie, went to jail for a bit, and completely cut ties with his brother. Frankie and the thugs he works for need Jimmy to help them rob a bank, since he can make bombs and drive like no one else. Basically it’s these thugs against the banks, trying to take back America or whatever. Some twist of fate (a broken car) brings Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend into the mix, who just happens to be a police dispatcher. Emily is played by Jordana Brewster, and even though she is a decent actress, the cheesiness of her lines takes away all of the character’s credibility. 

The story is a good idea but not executed well. The poor acting and cheesy lines screw up any chance of the movie making sense or holding onto the viewer’s attention. The word “bro” is significantly over-used and highly distracting. On top of that Frankie and Jimmy have the same conversation at least three times, there are tonnes of unanswered questions, and I think there must’ve been some budget issues or editing issues because there are a fews scenes that don’t make sense.

What’s my rating?

Untitled

What was the best film you saw at TIFF?

Talk soon,
Vanessa

 

Books on Film — A Love Affair [#TIFF #SERIES]

Book Reviews, film, Just for Fun, Toronto Adventures, Uncategorized

I was recently told about a series from Tiff — Books on Film. Now in its third season, I am really shocked that I didn’t know about it. I love books, I love film, and since my trip to Tiff for Tim Burton’s exhibit, I’ve been in love with Tiff. Now that this series has been brought to my attention I’m happy to share it with all of you book and film lovers out there!

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“Books on Film brings together book and film lovers to examine great cinema that began as outstanding literature. Host Eleanor Wachtel of CBC’s Writers and Company welcomes filmmakers, authors and experts to discuss the art of adaptation and the sometimes challenging passage from page to screen.”

Guests and films include:

February 11— Hilton Als (author and New Yorker theatre critic) on The Innocents

March 4 — Richard Russo (Pulitzer Prize–winning author) on Nobody’s Fool

April 8 — Lisa Cortés (music and film producer, driving force behind success of Def Jam Records) on Precious

May 6 — Christopher Hampton (award-winning screenwriter and playwright) on Atonement (which he adapted to screen)

June 3 — Ted Kotcheff (filmmaker and executive producer of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) on The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

June 24 — Deepa Mehta (Canadian filmmaker) on Midnight’s Children

 

The Books on Film Series launches Monday February 11th — seems to me like this would make the perfect Valentine’s day gift for your book-loving girlfriend or film-fanatic boyfriend. Or maybe it’s just a great excuse to see some wonderful films, learn about the books they came from, and spend an evening downtown with a loved one.

Subscriptions to the series are available for $153 for TIFF Members or $180 for non-members (prices include tax). Based on availability, single tickets may be released closer to the event.

I’m really hoping to check out the Richard Russo event — his memoir has been on my To-Read list for way too long! I need to get a copy of Nobody’s Fool A.S.A.P.

Which film or guest are you hoping to see?

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

**Books on Film description, pricing, and guest and film list taken from the Tiff website **

“It’s Torono, they don’t pronounce the t” – Argo

Just for Fun, Toronto Adventures

Yesterday I experienced Tiff for the first time. Of course it’s nearing the end of the festival so there were no stars in sight but it was an awesome day nonetheless.

“Argofckyourself”

We (the bf, Chicago friends, and myself) watched Argo and End of Watch – as you can see in the picture above. Argo was amazing! My heart raced throughout the entire film and in spite of the serious content it made me laugh a lot, I loved the lines that had to do with Toronto or Canada. The best part about the film is that it’s based on real events – a classified mission that was declassified mere years ago. End of Watch was completely different but just as funny and entertaining, although I did have a tough time enjoying the camera shots in the beginning of the film.

 

 

End of Watch will be in theatres soon and I recommend that you check out BOTH films! I also recommend checking out a few films at Tiff next year. Watching a film at the beautiful Elgin theatre, surrounded by movie lovers is an unreal experience. The audience claps, they cheer, and they scream “RRRRrrrrrr” when the movie piracy commercial comes on. It feels like your apart of something, it feels like you’re all there for the same reason. It’s nice to be apart of the film community, even just for a night or two.

Films are a great way to tell stories, although not as much is left up to the imagination, it’s still a great way to SHOW a story, to connect with people, to take them away from their world for a few hours and teach them something new.

Long live good films, good books, good music, and all of the wonderful people who create them. 

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

"It's Torono, they don't pronounce the t" – Argo

Just for Fun, Toronto Adventures

Yesterday I experienced Tiff for the first time. Of course it’s nearing the end of the festival so there were no stars in sight but it was an awesome day nonetheless.

“Argofckyourself”

We (the bf, Chicago friends, and myself) watched Argo and End of Watch – as you can see in the picture above. Argo was amazing! My heart raced throughout the entire film and in spite of the serious content it made me laugh a lot, I loved the lines that had to do with Toronto or Canada. The best part about the film is that it’s based on real events – a classified mission that was declassified mere years ago. End of Watch was completely different but just as funny and entertaining, although I did have a tough time enjoying the camera shots in the beginning of the film.

 

 

End of Watch will be in theatres soon and I recommend that you check out BOTH films! I also recommend checking out a few films at Tiff next year. Watching a film at the beautiful Elgin theatre, surrounded by movie lovers is an unreal experience. The audience claps, they cheer, and they scream “RRRRrrrrrr” when the movie piracy commercial comes on. It feels like your apart of something, it feels like you’re all there for the same reason. It’s nice to be apart of the film community, even just for a night or two.

Films are a great way to tell stories, although not as much is left up to the imagination, it’s still a great way to SHOW a story, to connect with people, to take them away from their world for a few hours and teach them something new.

Long live good films, good books, good music, and all of the wonderful people who create them. 

Love Always
Vanessa Xo