TAGGED AS: Certified Fresh
This week at the movies, we’ve got an efficient enforcer (Killing Them Softly, starring Brad Pitt and Richard Jenkins) and a methodical madman (The Collection starring Emma Fitzpatrick and Josh Stewart). What do the critics have to say?
The economic collapse of 2008 didn’t just deep six Wall Street — it put the squeeze on the underground economy as well. That’s the theme of Killing Them Softly, a twisty crime thriller that critics say is sharply written and visually striking, though it occasionally pushes its big ideas too hard. After a couple of incompetent crooks steal from a mafia-sanctioned poker game, the family sends Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to rub them out. However, the mafia’s corporation-like structure makes Jackie’s task more complicated at nearly every turn. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Killing Them Softly doesn’t always match its outsized ambitions, but it’s still a thoughtful, visceral foray into gangland built around Pitt’s magnetic performance. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Pitt’s best-reviewed movies.)
The Collection is a sequel to the 2009 frightfest The Collector, and critics say it’s an improvement — it’s a sleek, twisted, and well acted, though it intermittently gets bogged down in predictability and gratuitous bloodiness. Thinking she’s going to a party, Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) is taken to a mysterious location, only to wind up in the clutches of the murderous Collector. In order to retrieve her, a rescue squad turns to Arkin (Josh Stewart), the only one to ever escape the Collector’s clutches. The pundits say The Collection will please gorehounds with its grisly inventiveness, but others are likely to blanch at its over-the-top violence.
Beware Of Mr. Baker, a documentary about Cream’s irascible drummer, is at 100 percent.
Dragon, starring Donnie Yen as a family man who uses his martial arts skills to take on the mafia, is at 91 percent.
California Solo, starring Robert Carlyle as an aging rocker in the midst of a personal crisis, is at 80 percent.
Parked, starring Colm Meaney in a drama about a man living in his car who befriends a spirited younger man, is at 75 percent.
Walk Away Renee, a documentary/fiction hybrid about a man’s cross-country trek with his mentally ill mother, is at 71 percent.
King Kelly, a comedy about an aspiring webcam celebrity who gets embroiled in a botched drug deal, is at 67 percent.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as marauding cyborgs intent on world domination, is at 55 percent.
Back to 1942, a historical drama about a deadly famine in World War II-era China, is at 33 percent.
Ex-Girlfriends, starring Jennifer Carpenter in a dramedy about an aspiring writer who hopes to win back his old flame, is at 29 percent.
The Mystical Laws, a sci-fi anime about a resistance faction fighting a demagogic attempt for world domination, is at 20 percent.
Addicted To Fame, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Anna Nicole Smith‘s final film, is at 17 percent.