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Movie Review:The Italian Job

Story: One of the nice things about these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer is when you want to see a mediocre film that has been in release for a while there is no problem in finding it at a local theater. Like our NYC humidity, it goes on and on and does not seem to leave the theater until those refreshing breezes of September.

And that brings me to director F. Gary Gray's The Italian Job (a remake of the 1969 film with Michael Caine). This film has all the prerequisites that would include it in the long list of films we now know as capers. You blend a bunch of lovable thieving lugs together, get a plan, execute the heist and bask in your ill-gotten gains. This time the element of revenge is thrown in the mix which seems to justify their thieving natures.

Other than the moral element (which never enters the caper dialogue) it has charm, easy to watch locations (Venice, the Alps - however briefly) and the theater was delightfully chilly. When I was a kid, the movie theaters advertised in big bold letters that they had air conditioning inside which was all that movie go-ers of yore needed for summer afternoon entertainment. It worked for me yesterday as well.

Acting: There's something about Mark Wahlberg (and it is certainly not his acting) that I like. So, even though he is becoming the remake King (Planet of the Apes and The Truth About Charlie) I like to watch him. Charlize Theron (who has played this part before) is easy on the eyes and the rest of the motley crew of lugs were all more than adequate. The most bothersome was Edward Norton as the bad thief. He apparently was not happy making this film and he walks through this role with a pained expression in his eyes.

Predilection: I like caper films.

Critters: Two guard dogs.

Food: Food did not fit into this caper plan. There was an important dinner scene, but I do not recall any food eaten.

Visual Art: The European vistas at the beginning of the film was landscape enough for me.

Blatant Product Placement: Pepsi and those MINI cars.

Soundtrack: Very loud and sometimes foot tapping.

Opening Titles: Clever use of titles over the diagram of the 'plan' for the heist.

Theater Audience: About a dozen other seekers of summer entertainment and chilly temperatures.

Sappy Factor: 2

Predictability Level: Very high.

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: The finale went on too long.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be just fine. For some other Mark Wahlberg films, how about the awful Rock Star and Planet of the Apes? For some better choices, try: The Perfect Storm, The Yards, Three Kings. Basketball Diaries, Renaissance Man and my favorite Boogie Nights.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: A summery 5