The Great Train RobberyDirected by Michael Crichton, and based on his novel of the same name, The Great Train Robbery is a heist film set in Victorian-Era London. The film centres on Edward Pierce (Sean Connery), a master thief who also happens to be a member of upper class society. For his latest heist, Pierce plans to do the impossible and steal gold from a moving train. In order to pull off the heist he must enlist the aid of Robert Agar (Donald Sutherland), a safecracker, and Miram (Lesley Anne-Down), an actress who is also Pierce’s mistress. As far as heist films go, The Great Train Robbery is an enjoyable romp. It plays up the laughs at the beginning, but cranks up the tension by time the last act hits. The scenes with Connery on the roof of the train really are quite thrilling, especially when you consider how close he is to the bridges the train is passing under. Connery is clearly channeling his Bond swagger for the film. The number of double entendres in the first half of the film is just ridiculous. Fortunately the film does not take itself too seriously. Connery and Sutherland have great chemistry which helps to keep you interested in how they go about setting up the heist. It would have been nice if Lesley Anne-Down had been more than just be the love interest/temptress, but given that the film is set in 1854, it is understandable that her options as a female would be limited. While The Great Train Robbery may not be the most memorable heist film, it has enough action and comedy to make it a fun ride for a few hours.
The Great Train Robbery is part of our "The Must See List" series. The film was recommended by Andrew
The MuppetsIn an odd way, watching The Muppets reminds me of the fashion industry. Every few years, something that was popular years ago is brought back and repackaged as something cool simply because it was in vogue years ago. However, once you get past the shining new packaging, it quickly becomes apparent that the new designer bellbottoms are the same bellbottoms your parents wore. Unfortunately, you are now paying more. Although a decent film, the unanimous love that The Muppets received from bloggers upon its release is a bit perplexing. The film is indeed an enjoyable 90 minutes, but there was very little in this version that really set it apart from the classic Muppet films of the 70’s and 80’s. If anything, Jason Segel’s adaptation feels more like it is geared to 20 to 30 year-olds rather than creating a new generation of younger fans. This is most noticeable when looking at the various cameos in the film. There was a time when a Muppet film felt important because you had big name stars like Steve Martin, Richard Prior, John Cleese, Joan Rivers and Liza Minnelli making cameos. While there are a few really inspired cameos in this version, several of them would hardly be considered household names outside of a niche group. Further proof of this are the musical numbers written by Bret McKenzie, they feel like they could easily fit into a Flight of the Conchords episode...not that this is a bad thing. Though I cannot fathom how “Life’s a Happy Song”, by far the best number in the film, did not get nominated in the best song category at this year’s Academy Awards. Regardless, it was nice to see that Segel’s script kept the self-reflective tone of the original The Muppet Show and subsequent films. Segel also wisely lets the Muppets take centre-stage in the film, as he and Amy Adams are just there to keep the plot moving forward. Despite my slight disappointment with the film, mainly due to my expectation being raised, The Muppets does offers an enjoyable, although forgettable, time.