Tag Archives: bank robbery

The Perfect Host (2010)

You can’t kill me. I’m having a dinner party!”

DVD trailers sometimes appear to be selected with the idea of common tastes, so with that thought in mind, I wondered what to expect when I painstakingly made my way through the cheesy trailers on the DVD The Perfect Host. I couldn’t remember how The Perfect Host had found its way onto my netflix list. This is the first full-length feature from Aussie writer/director Nick Tomnay, so I know I didn’t select the film due to the director, and neither did the film feature any star whose work I follow.  I probably put the film in the netflix queue simply because it’s a crime film from an Aussie director, and I can’t resist those. So… as I watched the trailers for a handful of cheap and possibly gory thrillers, I began to wonder what was in store for me with The Perfect Host. The film’s tagline, by the way, is Dinner Parties are a dying art….

The film begins with a wounded man, John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) hobbling away from the scene of the crime. Taylor, a heavily tattooed career criminal, is haunted by bad luck. Fate derails his plans for escape and without any money or identification, he decides to try a little home invasion and use the home of some innocent bystander as a hiding place just until the next day. So he starts knocking at the doors of upper-middle class Hollywood Hills homes playing the victim in distress. But hey, this is California! Most people aren’t going to fall for that.

After one door is slammed in his face, John can’t believe his luck when he’s allowed into the beautiful, elegant  home of a quirky, effete middle-aged bachelor Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce). Warwick is busily cooking a meal for some friends who are expected at 8. After John learns that one of them is a prosecuting attorney, he decides that it’s time to take over the house and hold Warwick hostage until morning. And that’s when everything goes wrong….

By necessity this is going to be a short review because to write too much more will reveal this film’s delightful plot. While The Perfect Host appears to take the viewer down some fairly familiar paths of genre, this film is not what you expect at all. Obviously writer/director Nick Tomnay is very familiar with some of the genre’s clichés, and he subverts them with great and darkly comic results here.

David Hyde Pierce has to be seen to be believed and after watching the film, I’m still not entirely sure about this character. Nathaniel Parker plays a tenacious detective and Helen Reddy plays Cathy Knight, Warwick’s nosy neighbour.

Anyway, check out this film–I loved it, and here’s the site: www.theperfecthostmovie.com

2 Comments

Filed under Australia, Crime

Sultanes del Sur (2007)

Love, loyalty and compassion are for the weak.”

With every heist film, you know there’s a moment when something is going to go wrong. With a techno-heist, a film in which high-tech knowledge is essential to the robbery, the possibilities of exactly when and where things will go wrong are endless. But if the heist itself goes smoothly, then the viewer knows that the deal is going to go belly-up sometime between the robbery and the divvying up of the loot.  Perhaps it will be a double-cross. Perhaps it will be some tiny detail, but something somewhere along the way will go wrong. The question is…will the operation be recoverable?

Sultanes del Sur (Sultans of the South) is a riveting Mexican heist film that starts with a smoothly run bank robbery. The gang leader, Leo (Jordi Molla) begins the heist while the rest of the gang Monica Silvari (Ana de la Reguera), Carlos (Tony Dalton who also wrote the script) and Leserio Dominguez (Silverio Palacios) take their positions. It’s all very well thought-out, very well run, and Leo, who’s just a mite too cocky, seems to have all the bases covered.

The heist goes smoothly and the next thing you know, the four thieves are on a plane to Argentina where they intend to change the 12 million dollars loot back into pesos. So far so good….

Leo is clearly in charge here, and it’s when the thieves get on the plane that things begin to seem not quite right. For a start, Leo is keeping a tight mouth about all the plans. Leo and his girl, Penelope Cruz looks-a-like, Monica fly first class while Carlos and Leserio fly coach. And then there’s history between Carlos and Monica, but now she’s Leo’s girl. But is she?

It’s in Argentina when things begin to go horribly wrong….

Sultanes del Sur has a couple of violent scenes–not too terrible but a couple of lingering close-ups I could have done without. There were also a few chase scenes and I am not a fan of this sort of filler, but the story kept me glued to the screen. Yes, the film follows the formula, but it wasn’t predictable. The gang members run into some truly evil characters and are out of their depth fast. This very effectively cut the lark aspect out of the caper and turned the film into something much darker.

A couple of words of some of the shots: in one scene, Leo, Carlos, Leserio and Monica face the hoods who are supposed to exchange the money. The camera then switches angles and it’s the same scene and same characters but from a different angle and a different shot. This was a great shot. Another excellent shot occurs as the plane takes off from Mexico.

The very last scenes in which “all” is revealed was the weakest point of the film as too much info was parlayed in a few quick flashbacks, but overall this was an entertaining crime film, suitably bleak, suitably dark, and once again, long may the Mexican Renaissance in cinema last.

From director Alejandro Lozano

1 Comment

Filed under Mexican