The Bank Job
dir. Roger Donaldson
Opens Fri March 7
As the title suggests, The Bank Job is exactly that—a caper flick about a ragtag bunch of knuckleheads who knock off a London bank at the urging of a shady government organization. Turns out that a certain British royal was caught on film graphically partaking in a tropical ménage à trois (don't worry, it's not Prince Charles) and the photos are hidden away in a safety deposit box. Cue the scrappy, loveable gang of robbers who must retrieve the photos—while simultaneously outsmarting hoards of porno-making thugs, crooked cops, black nationalists, and the British government itself.
Led by the always-reliable Jason Statham, the gang is the typical hodgepodge of well-meaning but bumbling good-guy criminals, while the bad guys (from shady government officials to a pornographer with a kidney stone) are soulless and evil. If a bank robbery based on a true story isn't enough for you, the film is peppered with plenty of gratuitous nudity, torture, and more than a few sets of scary British chompers. Throw in some double-crossing, triple-crossing, and the ultimate super duper dog-dare quadruple-crossing, and you have a solid bank heist flick. Truth in advertising. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
dir. Bharat Nalluri
Opens Fri March 7
The title Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is reminiscent of having high tea with your ancient spinster aunt as she fondly recalls when Eustace Tilley drank champagne out of her shoe right before she lost her fortune in the crash of '29. But unlike your real aunt who gets all weepy after her second glass of cherry cordial, Miss Pettigrew hitches up her knickers and delivers a fun, fluffy romantic comedy.
In 1939 London, jobs are hard to come by, so when the prim and proper Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) gets unfairly fired from her governess job, she uses a dash of trickery to land a social secretary position with a flighty American actress named Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). The whirlwind of Delysia's romantic life, nightclub-singing career, and high-fashion lifestyle sweeps up the plain Miss Pettigrew—and soon she's sashaying about in art deco duds and guzzling gin rickeys with the best of them. In news that won't shock you: Love and hijinks are in the cards for both women.
Ultimately, Miss Pettigrew is an entirely forgettable yet totally entertaining film. You're not going to remember much about it an hour afterward, but you'll love it nonetheless—much like chats with your batty old aunt. COURTNEY FERGUSON
dir. Piotr Uklanski
Opens Fri March 7
Clinton St. Theater
Val "Puffy Face" Kilmer plays a bloated corpse in Summer Love, "the first Polish western." Congrats, Poles! You've got a western now! Whether it's one that's worth watching is up for debate.
The first feature by artist Piotr Uklanski, Summer Love channels Sergio Leone and film school wankery in equal measure. Karel Roden plays the Stranger, a badass who comes into a shitty town carrying the corpse of the Wanted Man (Kilmer, whose actual film work might be questionable, but who's really good at playing a bloated corpse). Once there, the Stranger meets the town's useless Sheriff (Boguslaw Linda) and the town's only Woman (Katarzyna Figura). There's sex, violence, and dialogue that's slurred by both alcohol and Polish accents; soon, this dour, grim, and hollow attempt at a spaghetti western has the Stranger on the run and the Woman delivering ham-fisted monologues. Also: about 80 billion close-ups of Val Kilmer's slack face.
There are scattered moments of coolness: At one point, Roden sears shut his gushing head wound by tapping gunpowder onto the mess and lighting it on fire, and Jacek Petrycki's cinematography can be sharp and bold. But for the most part, this is just silly, labored stuff, like an art installation brought to halting, forced life. There's plenty of pretense, and no doubt some nobly intended allegory, and by the time it's half over, you'll wish you'd stayed home and just rewatched The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. ERIK HENRIKSEN