As I fill the gaps from blockbuster to
blockbuster, I was intrigued to catch up with the caper “Confidence”
before it rolled out of theaters, so since it is a slow week here
that night was tonight.
Sure, it looks like “The Grifters”, but
“Confidence” features a better overall cast and stands out from the
caper pack in its own right. Edward Burns headlines as Jake Vig,
career con man. When the film opens, he is explaining to the
audience what has gone wrong for him over the previous three weeks.
See, apparently Jake ripped off local heavy Winston King (Dustin
Hoffman) by making a score on a man affiliated with “The King”, so
Winston offs one of Jake’s crew and to settle things, Jake makes The
King an offer--a makeup score for The King that will earn back his
money and then some...and, make a very rich man out of Jake and his
band of thieves.
But, being a summer alternative means that
you are seeing this film for style, not substance, and “Confidence”
delivers the goods here. A good-looking, cool cast that likes to
say the f-word a lot is just what the doctor ordered, so besides
Burns and Hoffman, we get Donal Logue (lots of films, but most
notably as the star of “The Tao of Steve”), Luis Guzman, Andy Garcia
and Paul Giamatti. We also get good-looking people for no good
reason in the form of Morris Chestnut (ladies DO love Mr. Chestnut)
and Rachel Weisz. The production’s pace is very good and the score
is excellent; the lighting is fantastic and the color scheme is
The story, however, is weak. The setup of
“Confidence”--the whole “Here’s the ending, and the hero is dead,
and we’re going to show you what got him in this position”--just
feels more and more played out as the years go on. The triple- and
quadruple-crossing schemes that populate these movies mean that for
the seasoned moviegoer, you sit around waiting to see who will get
crossed next. The ending for this film just doesn’t deliver, mostly
because the blind, deaf six-year-old sitting next to me called it
out after minute four of the film’s running time. And, good-looking
leads means you should have a sex scene or two for me to ogle, and
“Confidence” doesn’t even score there, teasing us with a silhouetted
fade-out of some body doubles hitting the hay. Blah.
My friend Michael “I Stole Your Cube” Nolan
reminded me recently that I need to make you aware of the importance
of my ratings and the tie-in to whether or not you should see a film
in a theater or at home, so let me say this about “Confidence”--it
is enjoyable, and it does have strong qualities, but much like “The
Grifters”, “Ocean’s Eleven”,
“The Score” or other heist/caper films
of late, it is better viewed in the comfort of your own home.
Nothing about the film’s qualities is better on the big screen, and
it is a strong Sally’s-coming-over-and-I-need-a-date-flick rental so
you should probably save it for that.
In the meantime, you can get out there and
see “Reloaded” one more time.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard