06th Jun2015

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (Film)

by timbaros

FH-0638In 1983, beer magnate Freddy Heineken was kidnapped right in front of his Amsterdam home. Kidnapping Freddy Heineken is about this event, and the six men who committed the crime.

Cor (Jim Sturgess) and his fellow pals are down on their luck, with a failed business, no money, with wives and girlfriends, and children on the way. They need money, so they hatch a plan; kidnap one of the wealthiest men in their city – Freddy Heineken. But before they do this, they need to get their hands on some real money in order to successfully (and professionally) kidnap Heineken, so they rob a bank, and pull it off.

Now with their newly found resources, they minutely plan the kidnapping, renting a warehouse on the edge of town, buying equipment and vehicles, and spending weeks training for the actual kidnapping. Then the day comes – and they snatch Heineken (played by Anthony Hopkins) and his driver Ab (David Dencik) right in front of Heneiken’s luxurious brownstone. Heineken and Ab are held in the warehouse for days and days on end, and a ransom of 35 million Dutch guilders (about $20 million) is asked for their safe return. Cor and co-ringleader (and Cor’s brother-in-law) Willem (Sam Worthington) are confident they will pull this off. Jan (Ryan Kwanten), meanwhile, is less so and has second thoughts on their dirty scheme. Weeks and weeks go by and the ransom is not paid, and tension among the group gets worse, but eventually the men get their money, and the hostages are found by the police. Weeks later, all men involved are arrested.

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken is based on the 1987 book of the same name by Peter R. de Vries. It’s a compelling, dramatically told story, directed by Daniel Alfredson, that’s fast-paced and quickly edited. And all the performances are very good, especially Sturgess as the ringleader, and Thomas Cocquerel as Martin ‘Brakes’ Erkamps, the youngest of the gang. Hopkins, always good, doesn’t have much to do, he’s a prisoner in a small room, taunting his captors, waiting and waiting. At a short 95 minutes, Kidnapping Freddy Heineken provides a lot of action in the short period of time.

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06th Jun2015

Foxcatcher (DVD)

by timbaros

o-FOXCATCHER-facebookJohn du Pont was a multi-millionaire, a scion of the very wealthy American family that made their fortune in chemicals. He also died in prison 2012 while serving time for murdering a famous Olympic athlete.

Foxcatcher tells the riveting story of du Pont and his involvement in the sport of wrestling in the late 1980’s. It’s also a tale of how one man with so much money can buy whatever he wants. And du Pont pretty much buys Mark Schultz, an Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler in Athens in 1984. Du Pont Schultz (played by Channing Tatum) away from his post Olympic miserable life and places him on his amazing estate called Valley Forge in the hopes of transforming him back into a world class athlete. Du Pont lures Schultz by offering him practically whatever he wants, including his own lodge on the estate as well as a newly-built state of the art wrestling auditorium. And Du Pont tells Schultz that he’s in charge. But there’s something more that seems to be taking place between Du Pont and Schultz. There is not only a business relationship between them, but Du Pont seems to have had a homoerotic fixation with Schultz. And while there are no explicit homosexual scenes in the film, Du Pont’s fascination with Schulz and with the sport of wrestling is homoerotic and at the same time very creepy. It becomes more so when Du Pont starts sharing cocaine with Schulz and even has him speak the opening remarks at an important speech in front of politicians and wealthy people.

But things turn sour when all of a sudden Du Pont says he’s not happy with Schulz’s way of coaching as he catches all of the wrestlers taking a morning off, and he slaps Schultz in front of the men. It’s an action that sets off something in Schultz in which he (probably) realizes that Du Pont sees their relationship as something more. It gets more complicated when Du Pont brings in (at any cost) Schulz’s brother David, who was also an Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler. Du Pont has David coach the team, while Mark goes through the motions, trying to stay out of Du Pont’s way but at the same time focusing on his training. His goal is to get to the next Olympics – Seoul – and he does, but things don’t turn out the way Du Pont had in mind. And it all leads to a devastating conclusion.

Foxcatcher is the name the du Pont’s gave to their racing horses. It’s also an appropriate name for this film – what was the Fox trying to catch. Is du Pont the fox who was trying to catch something with his sudden and strange interest in wrestling? The lure of money was all that was needed for him to catch Mark Schultz, who was down on his luck living in a small apartment on the top of a garage years after his Olympic win. David Schultz had a happy life with his wife and two kids, but it was also the lure of money that got him to go work for Du Pont, a job that cost him his life at the hands of Du Pont.

Foxcatcher is an excellent movie. It’s also excellent because of the performances of it’s three leading men. Tatum has never been better. His Mark Schultz is vulnerable, bold, athletic, infantile yet very masculine – Tatum pretty much carries the whole movie. Ruffalo gives David Schultz a face – a family man who heeded the call to coach a world class team which included his younger brother. And Ruffalo does a very good job in the role. The performance, however, that everyone is talking about is Steven Carrell as Jon du Pont. Carrell, unrecognizable, wears a prosthetic nose to match the large nose that du Pont had. Everything about Carrell’s performance is all Jon du Pont – even down to his gait. Carrell, the star comedic movies such as Anchorman, Date Night, Knocked Up, among others, is completely amazing. And it’s a transformation that needs to be seen to be believed. It is, unfortunately, Carrell’s performance that is getting all the attention, but in my opinion Foxcatcher is Tatum’s movie. He’s the actual star of the film as he’s in most of the film. Foxcatcher begins with him and ends with him, and throughout his performance is consistent, solid, and amazing. Tatum deserves the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Best Actor nominations as much as Carrell does, yet Tatum’s not been nominated. Ruffalo performance is gentle, simple, low key, the kind of performances that Ruffalo always gives, successfully.

Director Bennett Miller (Moneyball) and writers E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman have crafted a film that succeeds on every level. It’s directed and shot tight, the story never gets dull, and it’s intensity builds up to shattering conclusion. Miller has directed three actors who all come from different cinematic backgrounds into one film where they all excel in ways they have never done before. Foxcatcher is one of the best films of the year.

Foxcatcher is now at on DVD – buy it below.



Foxcatcher [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

Director: Bennett Miller
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

508
New From: £1.87 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.01 GBP In Stock

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