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Forget sawed-off shotguns and black leather, there's only one way to turn Brad Pitt into Evil Brad Pitt: a goatee.
"KILLING THEM SOFTLY" (R)
BRAD PITT, RAY LIOTTA, RICHARD JENKINS, JAMES GANDOLFINI
What a disappointment.
With a talented cast, one that's almost a "Who's Who" of mob movies, this tale of an ill-conceived card-game heist falls flat.
Though it purports to show how easily the criminal status quo can be upset, it's a heavy-handed, overly violent and ploddingly told tale of two dumb hold-up guys and the hit men dispatched to dispatch them.
The idea isn't a bad one: What happens when some dumb criminals hit a card game full of connected mob guys?
You'd expect something better than the dull and dreary arrival of the smart hitter (Brad Pitt) and a burned-out one (James Gandolfini.)
Pitt manages some interesting moments as the hired killer with an odd philosophy and techniques to match. But it's not enough to save this surprisingly lightweight effort.
Especially annoying is the way director Andrew Dominik overdoes the artsy/funky high contrast shots and discordant music. He also bombards the viewer with never-ceasing news clips about 2008's real-world financial collapse--footage that is supposed to mirror the fictional criminal interruption that ensues from the card game heist.
Like too many recent films, this thing doesn't go anywhere, doesn't say anything and doesn't share anything new or interesting about this world of thugs and killers.
Pitt and Gandolfini manage a few nice moments together, and Richard Jenkins is solid as a mob lawyer.
But it's all for naught.
Rated R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language, drug use. 97 min. [MC, PV, RA]
"THE COLLECTION" (R)
JOSH STEWART, EMMA FITZPATRICK, CHRISTOPHER McDONALD
Really, something this sick for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas?
On second thought, there's never a time when a torture-porn film like this is welcome or worthwhile.
It exists mainly to find ways to torture and maim, making you wonder who actually enjoys this sort of stuff.
The tale's sad twist: a young man who manages to escape the nut who "collects" people is kidnapped from a hospital and forced to attempt to rescue a girl from a booby-trapped warehouse, where bodies get ripped asunder. Ho Ho Ho!
Just don't go.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language and brief nudity. 82 min. [MC, RF]