Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Thurday Movie Picks: Con Artists

Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks. 

I do love a good con-man film. Usually a con-man is a hated character in a film unless they are swindling 'bad guys' out of their money or something more valuable. 

Catch Me If You Can 
I first saw this film at the cinema as my friend had a massive crush on Leonardo DiCaprio, in fact she still does. At the time I just liked the film, enjoyed it for what it was but over time, knowledge and learning under my belt, this film is actually brilliant. It's a biopic of sorts as Frank Abagnale is a real person and he really did fly around the world pretending to be a pilot with a commercial airline. It's a sad story but after a while, Frank just wants to escape the charade he's kept up. He's technically a con-man but he's also humanised so you can understand some of his actions. The film also has the best opening credits.

Brothers Bloom
I loved Rian Johnson's first film, Brick, that I thought I'd have a look at his 'con-man film'. It's a slow paced film after the first half when it gets rather complicated with a few false ends but the first half was great fun. The Brothers, Bloom and Stephen are con-men through and through, complete with a small crew. But Bloom wants out so its all about the final score.  A great cast and some great looking locations, the script is a tad predictable but does exactly what it says on the tin.

I hated this film the first time I saw it mostly because I hated Jennifer Love Hewitt, but upon second viewing, its actually very entertaining. It's another, con artist duo, doing 'the last con' together. This time its a mother-daughter team who swindle wealthy men out of their money. With sunshine, fake Russian accents, an obvious love story and Sigourney Weaver doing comedy, as I said its entertaining.


  1. Catch Me If You Can is great! I haven't watched it in a while, might have to give it a go soon. Great picks!

  2. I really enjoyed The Brothers Bloom and nearly picked it myself. I've never sat and given Catch Me if You Can a full proper watch, seeing it only in bits and pieces. I suspect it will show up a lot today. Haven't seen Heartbreakers, but it sounds like fun.

  3. Wonderful trio. Catch Me is such a fun ride, great period detail, a super story at its center marvelously played by Tom and Leo, terrific support by all but especially Walken and love the title sequence. It's both fun and sets the tone of the film perfectly.

    I wasn't mad for The Brothers Bloom but it was pleasant enough and I loved Rachel Weisz in it.

    I never even thought about Heartbreakers but it's so perfect for this week! Sigourney is obviously having so much fun with her role and she and Love Hewitt work well together. About JLH I'm not the biggest fan either, though I was a faithful Party of Five viewer and thought she was fine there, but she does jump right into the spirit of things in this and I found her well cast. It also had an incredible supporting cast, Ray Liotta, Gene Hackman and Anne Bancroft, considering the fluffiness of the story.

    This theme can go in so many directions it was great fun just weeding through the possibilities. These are what I came up with.

    The Grifters (1990)-Roy Dillon, a small time conman is torn between his
    loyalty to his ice cold mother and his slightly less ruthless girlfriend, both
    far more adroit grifters then he. A fascinating examination of a group of
    unsavory people with a staggeringly great performance from Anjelica Huston as
    one hard opportunistic woman, a true Medea.

    The Music Man (1962)-Traveling conman Harold Hill blows into River City
    expecting to fleece the townsfolk by forming a band and selling their children
    instruments that don't exist. Everything goes smoothly until he meets Marion
    the Librarian. Sprightly and colorful with great music.

    Bedtime Story (1964)-Lawrence Jameson (David Niven) lives in a castle on the French Riviera
    seducing wealthy women and persuading them through charm and other methods out
    of large quantities of their fortunes. Everything is going swimmingly until
    rival Freddy Benson (Marlon Brando) appears on the scene. The two eventually
    meet and engage in a bet. The first to successfully bilk $25,000 out of the
    pocket of Janet Walker (a very lovely Shirley Jones), the daughter of a wealthy
    business man, will win the title of king of the flim-flam men. When Freddy
    pretends to be paralyzed, supposedly the result of a sad love story, in order to
    garner Janet’s attention and sympathy Jameson turns up as his rival's putative
    psychiatrist and the game is on! Breezy comedy was the basis for the Steve
    Martin/Michael Caine starrer Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

    Honorable Mention-The Hoax (2006)-I remember so well the outcry this caused when it was happening as it occurred almost concurrently with Watergate and the two together showed the two sides of journalism. Based on a huge scandal of the 70's. Novelist Clifford Irving tells his publishing company that he has partnered with the reclusive Howard Hughes and has been authorized to write his autobiography. Amid much
    fanfare and a great deal of money the book is published. The catch-the entire project is a con job. The film tells Irving's version of the events.

  4. Good call on Brothers Bloom! I didn't think of that one when I should've. Catch Me if You Can is popular today. Great picks!

  5. I enjoyed all 3 films. The first one is right on the money(sorry) catching (again, sorry about the puns) the feel of the 60's. I haven't the Brothers Bloom is a long time but I thought it was better than I initially thought it would be and I really enjoyed the last flick. It is one film that I don't mind Ray Liotta. It's fun

  6. Thank you! It's always great to go back to rewatch :)

  7. Catch Me If You Can is a favourite - definitely seek it out and watch it all.

  8. I always think of Brothers Bloom as a con man film, but its also a heist film and about the brothers.

  9. Heartbreakers is just one of those movies to find is on and then you get sucked into watching but its just fun.

  10. i've been dying to see The Grifters, kind of a John Cusack fan. I also wanted to read it too. Bedtime Story sounds great! But am I right in thinking it has a similar plot to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels?

  11. Bedtime Story is the basis for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

  12. Heartbreakers is highly entertaining, and I totally didn't even think about it for this. Love Catch Me If You Can. That movie is next level entertainment.

  13. I love Brick and wanted to really like The Brothers Bloom. For some reason to me it feels very artificial, I don't know how to describe it. Maybe like the way a stage play can feel artificial because the background is not natural so what is happening in front doesn't mesh with the background and as a result the script and the acting exaggerates to overcompensate it.

  14. I think I get what you mean, in terms of plays. I think Rian Johnson was getting to know his own style with Brothers Bloom.

  15. I was trying to think of con man movies, trying to fill that third spot. There are con man characters but I just went blank for movies until I remembered the mother-daughter duo!