This weekend we saw three movies about elaborate heists, all of which went wrong for one reason or another, and yet turned out well enough in the end. Quality was all over the place. As a former second story man and life long student of con games, well... Educational, these weren't.
"The Perfect Score." Acting award: Scarlett Johansson, who is just amazing. One of these days I will see her in a movie that I actually LIKE. Not that this one was awful, it was just by the numbers, with occasional bits of idiocy.
"Catch That Kid." Acting award: Kristen Stewart, 13 year old surfer chick who seems REALLY likely to grow up to be the next Jennifer Garner, if not more (always assuming the fashion of the day presents her with roles worth having). Otherwise... even more obviously by the numbers, even more idiocy.
"The Big Bounce." Acting award: Morgan Freeman, who can make ANYTHING work, with special mention of Sara Foster, who is both amazingly beautiful AND competent. Lots of talent in the cast, but... Elmore Leonard writes stories with great dialogue featuring hard cases whose most likable feature is their bravado and flash, Rupert of Henzau types. Luke Wilson fits this profile like a tuxedo on an ape. And then there is the dialoge... Leonard's novels tend to be adapted to the screen by people who don't understand them. The story goes that John Travolta, a Leonard fan, had to fight line by line to get the insipid garbage out, and Leonard's original dialogue back in, when they were filming "Get Shorty". Travolta knew what he was doing. Caper wise... the poor and stupid robbing the rich and stupider; anything is possible.
While I am being critical of caper and con movies, I was recently reminded of the grossly over-rated "The Usual Suspects", which always leads me to the even more grossly over-rated "The Spanish Prisoner". "Suspects" is fun to watch, if you enjoy that sort of thing (and I usually do), but its reputation hinges on the Big Surprise at the end, which is so broken and hokey and unbelievable that I always wonder what the critics were smoking. As a student of con games, I just found it offensive. All of this goes twice (except the "fun to watch" bit) for "Prisoner".