At the Movies: Man on a Ledge, Albert Nobbs

I wanted to see “The Grey” but there were no screenings here, so you’ll have to settle for a man on a ledge and a woman pretending she’s a man.

Man on a Ledge

Here’s a movie that tries so hard to be an audience-pleasing heist flick but everything about it is so preposterous that you kinda wish the filmmakers   had been pushed off a ledge. Or maybe just the script. It’s not so bad that people should die over it.

Sam Worthington stars as Nick Cassidy, an ex-cop convicted of stealing a rare jewel from businessman David Englander (Ed Harris).

Nick decides to clear his name by escaping from prison, planning an elaborate break-in at Englander’s fortress-like office building with his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Jamie’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), stealing the rare jewel from  Englander’s impregnable safe and exposing his lie to the world.

Oh, and to make the theft go smoothly, Nick is going to climb out on the ledge of a high-rise hotel room across the street to hold everyone’s attention while Joey and Angie do the dirty work. It’s such simple plan, what could possibly go wrong?

This movie is stupid in so many ways. How did Nick get the plans for Englander’s office and safe, not to mention the equipment to break in? How is it that a cop’s brother, not to mention the brother’s girlfriend, just happen to be expert thieves? It’s all so ridiculous.

But here’s the best bit — I don’t normally like to spoil major plot points unless the movie is so bad that it deserves it, so Major Spoilers Ahead — when Joey and Angie break into the safe, the jewel isn’t there! They take off and Englander arrives, sees valuables scattered about, then goes over to a special, secret safe-within-the-safe where he has to do the fingerprint and retinal scan to open it. Safely inside is his precious jewel. He then takes the jewel out of the special secret safe and puts it in his pocket. 

When he took that diamond out of the impregnable safe and put it in his pocket it was all I could do to not stand up in the darkened theater and shout: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DON’T TAKE THE DIAMOND OUT OF THE SAFE! IT’S SAFE THERE! ARE YOU AN IDIOT? THIS IS GOING TO BITE YOU IN THE ASS BY THE END OF THE FILM, I GUARANTEE IT!

I won’t spoil the ending by telling you that I was right, but since you’re probably smarter that whoever wrote this script, you’ve probably already figured it out.

The film has more problems, if it even matters at this point. The rest of the cast is all clichés, from the Annoying TV Newslady, to the Hippie in the Crowd, to the Bad Cops working for Englander (including one you’d never suspect!), to the Damaged Police Negotiator who gets sucked into Nick’s story and is redeemed.

It seems like I always get sucked into watching one really bad movie in January — at least “Man on a Ledge” was better than “Country Strong.”

 Albert Nobbs

This week’s 2011 Oscar-bait movie that’s just now making its way to St. Louis is “Albert Nobbs.” It’s a quaint, odd film that should appeal to people who feel “Downton Abbey” would be better if it just had more gender bending.

Set in 19th century Ireland, Glenn Close stars as the title character — a woman pretending to be a man in order to work as a waiter in a fine hotel. Albert is a hard worker but very quiet and reserved. No doubt some find him peculiar. If they only knew his, err..her, secret.

Albert has been working at the hotel for several years and has accumulated quite a nest egg, which she hopes to use to open a tobacconist shop. Albert finds a kindred spirit in Hubert (Janet McTeer), another woman caught up in a similar charade. When she learns Hubert has a wife and a nice domestic life, Albert begins thinking about more than just being a shop owner.

Albert decides he wants to marry Helen (Mia Wasikowska), a young maid at the hotel. Helen’s not interested, but boyfriend Joe (Aaron Johnson) encourages her to go out with Albert and to try and get whatever they can from this odd, fragile man.

Based on a short story by George Moore and directed by Rodrigo Garcia, “Albert Nobbs” is — like its title character — a strange little film. It has a great eye for period detail and an excellent cast. Close and especially McTeer deserve their recent Oscar nominations.

Kudos also go to the award-nominated makeup department. There have been many films about women disguised as men and vice versa, but Close pulls it off better than most.

It’s an interesting story and well told but I was a little put off by how naive or just plain clueless Albert seemed to be. Did Albert really think Helen wouldn’t mind that she would be marrying a woman? When was she going to tell her? Before this imaginary wedding or after?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s