Year 7, Day 254 - 9/11/15 - Movie #2,146
BEFORE: We're less than one week from Labor Day, it's technically not even fall, and I have to start thinking about Christmas and the end of the year. I've been clear about the fact that I want to end this year with "Star Wars: Episode 7", and that means keeping the last slot of the year open, but I've really been keeping TWO slots open at the end of this year's chain, for "Star Wars" and for "Interstellar". Makes sense, right? Two films about space, two very different films about space, but in both cases I don't want to learn too much about the plot before watching them.
I've allowed myself to read reviews of "Interstellar", but nothing that looked too spoiler-filled. And somehow I got it into my head that Max Von Sydow appears in "Interstellar", which would make linking to "Star Wars" a breeze - only now that I've checked the cast list on IMDB and Wikipedia, he doesn't seem to be in that film. What gave me that idea in the first place? The good news is that I've been assuming that some station would run "Interstellar" before December, and in fact Epix is going to run it next week, so there's time for me to make a correction.
I was going to end the year with "The Family Stone" (a film about a Christmas gathering), then "Failure to Launch" following the Sarah Jessica Parker link, then "Interstellar", following the McConnaughey link, then "Star Wars". Moving "Interstellar" will be quite easy, though I can't do it in time to put it with these three Michael Caine films coming up, I can just move it (and "Failure to Launch") forward to join my upcoming McConnaughey week, so that will now be 9 films instead of 7. The number of films left to watch in 2015 stays the same, and I preserve the wordplay of watching "Failure to Launch" right before a film about astronauts. Hey, that's what I find hilarious.
But the problem now is that there will be no direct link to the "Star Wars" film (and "The Family Stone" similarly connects to nothing now). And I've passed on many, many opportunities. I could have gone from "The Exorcist", with the Max von Sydow connection, but that film's square in the middle of horror season - and I can only have one intro and one outro for October. I could have linked from Adam Driver in "This Is Where I Leave You" or Oscar Isaac in "Inside Llewyn Davis" (coming up in late Sept.) or even Domhnall Gleeson, appearing in "About Time", which got moved to February. Dammit, dammit, dammit, all of these decisions were made thinking I had a link to "Star Wars" in the bag.
Simon Pegg? Harrison Ford? Andy Serkis in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"? Jeez, why doesn't Mark Hamill make more movies, that would really help me out. Lupita Nyong'o in "12 Years a Slave"? No, I'm planning on watching that next week. I've lived with this list for so long and got so used to the order of what's coming up that I'd really hate to tear it all apart again. I just have to hope that by the time the new "Star Wars" film comes out, I'll be so happy to watch it that I won't care about directly linking to it.
Today, Demi Moore carries over from "Disclosure".
THE PLOT: A soon-to-retire caretaker convinces an American executive to help him steal a handful of diamonds from their employer, the London Diamond Corporation.
AFTER: This film ran on PBS a few months ago, and I admit I'd never heard of it before. But it really helped me out, providing a link out of "Disclosure" after I ran out of Michael Douglas films - and Dennis Miller just has not been in that many movies. And this allows me to start a week of mostly crime-themed films, with an initial focus on Michael Caine.
There's an interesting tie-in here with "Disclosure", even though they're set in different years, there are mentions made of the "glass ceiling" which prevents women from rising above a certain level in companies, whether they're tech companies in Seattle in 1994, or diamond trading companies in London in 1960. And in last night's film, that made Demi Moore's character get involved in a complex "sexual-harassment to cover up a production problem" scheme (umm, I think?) and tonight it gets her involved with a janitor who wants to steal a few diamonds from a place that has so many of them that they'd never even notice.
And like "Disclosure", the film is set in a very specific time period, technologically speaking. Right after they invented closed-circuit cameras, which allowed one security guard to sit at a desk all night watching monitors, rather than paying for a team of security guards to patrol the vault corridor. (And why is there a "vault corridor" in the first place, couldn't they just build the vault a little closer to the offices, or vice versa?)
Anyway, Caine's character works out a plan based on the timing of the cameras - a flawless plan, leading to the title, which of course also could refer to diamonds in general. So all he needs is a partner to get him the other half of the vault combination, and then he can retire on a handful of diamonds. Only that's not what happens at all.
British people are brought up a certain way, and for the most part, they never seem to lose their cool. Which makes for a great diamond thief, but a terrible executive, I think. If you're going to do a deal with the Russians, who are a very emotional people, you may have to show some fire. They might even want to think about getting a little bit mad when someone steals their diamonds, but no, that's what insurance is for. No reason to get upset, because that would make them seem more vulnerable or lesser somehow.
As heist films go, this seems to be a relatively boring one, not flashy like "The Italian Job" or "Ocean's Eleven". There are no car chases, no explosions, no shoot-outs with the law - and I admit that as a result, I fell asleep about 30 minutes in and had to force myself awake a few hours later to finish the film. But my question then goes back to films like "Bad Words" - is there a reason for the law-breaker to be doing what he's doing? There is a reason here, and it seems to be a good one, so that helps this film score a little bit higher.
Also starring Michael Caine (last seen in "Now You See Me"), Joss Ackland (last seen in "The Mighty Ducks"), Lambert Wilson (last seen in "Julia"), Nathaniel Parker, Nicholas Jones (last seen in "The Iron Lady"), Constantine Gregory, Derren Nesbitt, Natalie Dormer (last seen in "Captain America: The First Avenger").
RATING: 5 out of 10 greyhounds