Jane Fonda talks about holding her own with Fey and Bateman in “This is Where I Leave You”

JAne“At my age,” Jane Fonda says, “it gets hard to find a role that’s fun and sexy and a little bit outrageous.”
Which is exactly what she found in “This is Where I Leave You.” Playing the shares-too-much matriarch of a non-observant Jewish family who insists her adult kids sit Shiva with her in mourning for seven days after her husband/their father dies, Fonda “finds the grace notes in a character that might easily have become another shrill “Monster-in-Law,” Variety notes.
That’s another way of saying that the Oscar winner still has her comic chops, still can land laughs in the middle of a cast that includes comic all-stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Dax Shepard and Kathryn Hahn. And that at 76, she coyly says, alluding to a comic plot twist in the film, “There are a few NEW things to try in this one. Uh huh.Oh yes.”
We caught up Fonda at the Toronto Film Festival.
Q: So what’s this movie saying about the state of the American family?
Fonda: “What is says is that there can be a lot of dysfunction, and that every family could stand a little — a LOT — of healing. I think audiences can identify with, to a little degree, the strangeness and hurt that comes up in this film. People keep coming up to me telling me about the family members who fall within the ‘types’ we play in the film.”
Q: Are families more mixed-up now, or are we just talking about all our problems and familial complaints more?
Fonda: “Oh, we have NAMES for things now, like ‘dysfunction’ and ‘narcissism’, words most of us didn’t know decades ago. Too much information! We know what to CALL someone we see acting differently. I think this stuff has always been around.”
Q: Your character, Hilary Altman, is the matriarch here, the psychologist mother who wrote a tell-all book about her kids, which they (Fey, Bateman, Driver and Corey Stoll) still hold against her. Is any of what’s wrong with them Hilary’s fault?
Fonda pauses, gives this some thought: “Somebody, like Hilary, who has porous boundaries, probably has issues when it comes to parenting that would have impacted her children.
“But none of the kids are MASSIVELY dysfunctional. The cops haven’t been called. They just have troubles with intimacy and things like that. REAL dysfunction, for me, is having a house full of addicts. I guess she’d have to take the hit, a little bit.”
Fonda laughs.
“Could have been a lot worse. I guess I’m getting defensive for poor, old Hilary. She probably did OK. But I identify with her and where she probably messed up. If you ask my children, they’d almost certainly say that I tended to reveal too much about them in my own books. But unlike Hilary, in my defense, I gave the books to my children before I published them so that they could remove anything they would find offensive. Hilary would NEVER have done that.
Q: OK, mothers are never supposed to play favorites, but you have one-on-one scenes with a lot of funny people playing your kids. Who was your favorite?
Fonda: “Jason is a consummate pro…Very easy to work with, because when you look into his eyes he takes you into exactly the place you need to be in the scene.
“I kind of fell in love with Adam Driver, I have to admit. I’m old enough to be his grandmother, but I wish I could date him. He’s a doll.
“But Tina Fey is a genius. The funniest riffs in the movie came out of her head right there on the spot. She’s just got one of those brains, and what I found out over the course of making ‘This is Where I Leave You’ is you either have that brain, or you don’t. You can hone an existing talent, but comic improvisation isn’t just something you can do. I did try. And when the movie was over, I got Ben Schwartz, who played ‘Boner,’ the rabbi, to let me do some work at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade with him. Me and five guys, and while I got through it and did OK, I hope, it’s plainly not my forte. I can improvise drama, but comedy is a whole different thing.
“That will help me, I think, with my new project, this Netflix series, ‘Grace and Frankie,’ that will air second quarter of next year. Lily Tomlin and I co-star in it, and even though we’ve been friends since ‘Nine to Five,’ this is the first time I’ve had any type of improv background to bring to the party. With Lily, you need that just to keep up!”

About these ads
Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Box Office: “No Good Deed” opens well, “Dolphin 2″ OK, “Drop” solid, “Atlas Shrugged” bombs

box“No Good Deed” earned poor reviews and lacked the novelty of Beyonce co-starring, which had explained Idris Elba’s hit “Obsessed” a few years ago. But Idris and Tariji P. Henson and a lot of awful, graphic violence-against-women footage sold this poorly timed thriller to $24.5 million worth of Americans.

“A Dolphin Tale 2″ recycled the first film’s story arc and managed only a fraction of that film’s opening weekend. Over $16, not bad, though.

“The Drop,” opening in limited release, had a solid per screen average and cracked the Top Six.

The poor box office take of the first two “Atlas Shrugged” movies make one wonder why these even get a theatrical release. Film them, with their starring cast of committed, mostly-no-name Hollywood conservatives, and broadcast them on Fox News over a slow holiday weekend.

“Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt” opened on few theaters and drew fewer viewers, not even making the top 25.

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Terry Gilliam conjures more magic on a budget with “Zero Theorem”

gillTerry Gilliam’s track record as a director is very much a mixed bag, in terms of box office or critical success. But the director of “Brazil” and 12 Monkeys” and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” is often compared to the great innovators and visual stylists of the medium — Kubrick and Welles, Burton and Ridley Scott.
The screenwriter of his latest, “The Zero Theorem,” got to see why first hand. “Theorem” is an odd, futuristic dystopia about a computer programmer with the Biblical name Qohen (Christoph Waltz), tormented by his boss, Joby (David Thewlis) and assigned to computer-model a theorem that might explain the meaning of life. And writer Pat Rushin had a single line in his script — “Joby’s house, party.” What Gilliam did with that stunned college professor turned screenwriter Pat Rushin.
“Gilliam rents this huge $8 million house that was for sale, and empty,” Rushin says. “Budget-wise, he’d have to spend a lot of money to furnish that as a set.”
Gilliam never has “A lot of money.” Not any more.
“His idea was to make it a ‘moving out’ party. Joby’s moving, so all Gilliam had to show was moving boxes. That’s the background. Boxes and boxes.”
Gilliam chuckles.
“You do things like that because you’re forced to,” Gilliam says. “You don’t have the money, but it always turns out more interesting or surprising than what you would have had if we’d just had normal furniture that a set dresser had rounded up.”
Rushin’s simple “party” became “a themed costume party,” Rushin continues. The theme? “A-FREAK-a. And Qohen is the only one not in costume.”
Everybody else at the party seems a bit too self-involved to notice the tormented non-costumed “hero.”
“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great it everybody stood around looking at their iPhones and iPads, not paying attention to anybody else actually in the room with them?'” Gilliam explains.
Rushin shakes his head in amazement. He was on the Bucharest, Romania, set for that scene, Bucharest being home to many a mini-budget epic.
“I thought, ‘That’s cool. I write ‘a party,’ but Terry Gilliam? He THROWS a party!'”
Gilliam shrugs off such flights of low-budget fancy. It’s how he worked as house animator on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” and how he’s made his films since the days of “The Fisher King,” Twelve Monkeys” and “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen” — when he had lots more money to play around with.
“In some ways, that’s how I enjoy working these days. Instead of having unlimited funding to do whatever I want, I have to think around that.”
“Zero Theorem” has been called the final third of his “Brazil Trilogy,” but not by Gilliam. It’s easily labeled a “dystopia,” with its nightmarish vision of the visually over-loaded workplace and world of the future.
“For me, it’s a utopia! It’s the world we’re all living in now, right? And we’re all in LOVE with that world.”
Critics love to use the phrase “eye candy” when talking about it, like so many of his other films. Gilliam settles on an artist whose visual style helps him see the movie he wants to make, in this case, anachronic collage creator Neo Rauch, whose collision of colors, textures and media spoke to him. His impersonation of Rauch sets the visual tone.
“I hope it’s more than candy. Always. Maybe some vegetables, a little protein, as well. But I understand what they’re talking about.”
As he closes in on 74, Gilliam embraces the “maverick” label he’s worn for decades. One way you earn that is by being stubborn, battling studios, producers and very bad luck to get a movie made. The unluckiest director in the movies had “Brazil” taken from him by his studio, had “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” wrecked, in mid-production, by an unhealthy star and bad Spanish weather and lost his “Doctor Parnassus” star in mid-production, when Heath Ledger overdosed.
The maverick, closing in on his 74th birthday, remains undaunted. Take his ill-fated riff on “Don Quixote.” When Tim Burton was told his planned “Believe It Or Not” creator Robert Ripley bio-pic with Jim Carrey would be too expensive to make, he just moved on.
“After putting all that time into it, I’d already made it in my mind,” Burton said at the time. Not good enough for Gilliam.
“No, unlike Tim Burton, I’m stupid,” Gilliam jokes. “Plainly, he’s a shrewder man than I am.”
So whatever happens with “Zero Theorem,” “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” is back on, Spanish weather be damned.
“At the moment, I’ve got my two leads. And it’s just a question of the producer and their agents coming to an agreement.”

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Box Office: “No Good Deed” opens well, “Dolphin” floats, “Guardians” clears $300

boxThe biggest box office news is that “Guardians of the Galaxy” finally cleared $300 million, a week after the summer ended. It is the biggest US hit of the year, now.

Not that it won this weekend. Oh no, the Idris Elba beats up, chokes and kills women thriller “No Good Deed” did over $8 on Friday, which means it will fall short of his “Obsessed” success ($27 million opening) but should make in the $22-24 range, unless audiences come to their senses on Saturday. Bad movie, bad reviews, bad timing for the release, too.

“Dolphin Tale 2″ earned mixed-to-decent reviews, but being a repeat of the first film, it is probably not clearing $17 this weekend. Been there, seen that.

“Atlas Shrugged 3″ is doing even worse than the first two Ayn Rand adaptations of this libertarian’s wet dream novel — barely even in the top 20.

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: There’s no right time for “No Good Deed”

deed

Screen Gems celebrates Violence Against Women Awareness Week with “No Good Deed,” a brutal thriller about, you guessed it, a “malignant narcissist” committing all sorts of violence against women.

The team behind “Obsessed” serves up Idris Elba as an escaped convict savagely menacing Taraji P. Henson and assorted other females in assaults so savage you’d think they happened in a casino elevator.

Screen Gems canceled preview showings of this, protecting a “plot twist,” they said. No, they were hoping the violence here would not take people out of the movie and into the evening news and sports talk radio, much the way the NFL is hoping images and a news story just go away.

And unlike Disney, which postponed a comic thriller which featured a bomb on a plane as a plot element 13 years ago, they’re just trotting this blood-stained melodrama out there and hoping we don’t notice.

Would “No Good Deed” have anything worth talking about without the Ray Rice sucker punch tie-in? Barely.

Elba plays Colin, serving time for manslaughter in Tennessee where the parole board has the good sense to not let him go. He escapes, and after checking in with an old flame (Kate Del Castillo) stumbles to Terry’s door in a wealthy suburb of Atlanta.

It’s a rainy night, and his disarming charm takes a while to work on Terry (Hanson). She has two tiny kids, a husband out of town and a suspicious nature. But his baritone and sleepy eyes do their magic, his cover story (he really did have a wreck in the rain) seems logical.

But once he’s inside the house, it’s just a matter of time before mayhem ensues. Who knew an 84 minute movie could seem this much longer?

Leslie Bibb plays the absurdly flirtatious neighbor-pal, whose come ons are porn-video obvious. And every so often, something hilariously coincidental changes the subject of awkward conversations — a child cries, a tree crashes through the window.

Elba’s a good actor, letting us see Colin size Terry up, reason out her situation, his eyes revealing cunning in one instant, future-tense guilt in the next.

“I ain’t got nothing to lose,” he declares, until his British grammar kicks in. “You stand…to lose ALL!”

Henson does as well as can be expected, playing a fiercely protective mom whose temper apparently takes precedence over her fear, mouthing insults like she’s arguing with her husband, but at a huge, muscular stranger with a gun.

The erotic touches, Terry’s coy attention to appearance after the audience has seen Colin as a man of violence, are a joke. And the sexualized extreme close-ups just underline how tin-eared “No Good Deed” would be, even without that security camera footage of a jock belting a woman as context.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, menace, terror, and for language

Cast: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Bibb, Kate Del Castillo

Credits: Directed by Sam Miller, screenplay by Aimee Lagos. A Screen Gems release.

Running time

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: “Take Me to the River” revisits Memphis soul

bobbyThere have been earlier and better movies about “The Memphis Sound,” with the documentary “Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story” being among the best.

And there have been recent and better music documentaries built around the idea of giving music legends another recording session and a final moment in the sun — “Twenty Feet from Stardom” set the standard for those.

So “Take Me to the River,” a broader and shallower recreation of that magical era in rhythm & blues and soul, doesn’t cover new ground. The history isn’t extensively explored, which leaves us with the novelty of having a lot of rappers share studio time with the likes of Bobby Rush and William Bell, Mavis Staples and Bobby Blue Bland.

The rappers — from Lil P-Nut to Snoop Dogg — create new rap breaks for classic songs, which the legends sing and the rappers pitch in on — Snoop Dogg joining Bell for “I Forgot to Be Your Lover,” the late Bobby Blue Bland wheeled in to cover “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” with the aid of rapper Yo Gotti.

It works, even when the film’s narrator, “Hustle & Flow” actor-who-once-played-a-singer Terrence Howard, who has real (guitar) musical chops, underwhelms with his singing voice on one number, and Bland plainly was twenty-five years past his prime.

Director and music producer Martin Shore stages these sessions in assorted historic Memphis studio spaces, or recreations of the places where Stax, America, Sun and Hi records were recorded in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and the artists breaking out of there were Booker T. and the MGs’ (Booker plays on the first track), Isaac “Shaft” Hayes and others.

The musical smorgasbord includes white blues harmonica cat Charlie Musselwhite and Talking Heads R&B fan Jerry Harrison, sitting in, inventing, collaborating as they “make some noise and have fun while we’re doin’ it.”

The most valuable thing about the film, implied in the shared narration by Terrence Howard and director Martin Shore, is capturing these legends one more time before it’s too late. Bland has a lovely moment of teaching rapping savant Lil P-Nut how to properly sing a Ray Charles number, and guitarist Charlie “Skip” Pitts, who played on everything from “Duke of Earl” to Wilson Pickett records to the famous “wah wah” guitar of Hayes’ “Shaft, gets his due. Both died before the film was released.

But the whole affair is more celebratory than organized — way too many scenes of people meeting and hugging — and comes off like a well-intentioned vanity project with a few too many vanities to serve.

2half-star6

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic material, language and smoking

Cast: Bobby Blue Bland, Mavis Staples, Snoop Dogg, Terrence Howard, Booker T. Jones, Jerry Harrison, Yo Gotti

Credits: Directed by Martin Shore. An Abramorama release.

Running time: 1:

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: “Dolphin Tale 2″

dolphin2You might have thought “Dolphin Tale,” the sleeper hit kids’ film of a few falls back, was a complete, compact and uplifting story that didn’t really need a second act.
And if so, you were on the money.
A fictionalized account of the true story of Winter, a badly-injured dolphin, rescued by the Clearwater (Florida) Aquarium, and how a prosthetic tail was fabricated for her allowing her to swim and survive and inspire veterans, cancer survivors and accident victims of all ages with her pluck, “Dolphin Tale” covered all the bases.
So “Dolphin Tale 2″ feels, in its best moments, like little more than “Winter’s Greatest Hits.” The dolphin is in trouble again, the embattled aquarium faces the threat of losing custody of the dolphins it is rehabilitating, and Morgan Freeman shows up in the third act to complain about how tiny a baby dolphin they’re caring for is.
“I pulled anchovies off PIZZAS that were bigger than that!”
Actor-director Charles Martin Smith built his follow-up story around Winter losing her companion dolphin. Aquariums are required to pair up these very social animals as a provision of keeping them. Winter, losing her pal, seems depressed.
The Clearwater Aquarium, spruced up, well-financed and successful now that Winter has become a star attraction, has to find her a friend, a distressed dolphin that isn’t able to return to the wild. Sawyer, her human pal (Nathan Gamble), is so worried about this crisis that he may pass up the chance to attend a sea school where bright, aspiring marine biologists can get a taste of what the profession will be like.
Whatever else these films are, Smith, star of “Never Cry Wolf,” gets the righteous work of such aquariums right. Harry Connick Jr., the no-nonsense aquarium director and father of Sawyer’s gal-pal Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff), refuses to bend the mission to save Winter.
“Rescue. Rehab. Release.”
The government guidelines may be inconvenient (Smith plays the inspector who lays down the law), but the adults don’t question their necessity.
And the rescue and release scenes go to great pains to show how this delicate work is handled, how labor intensive it is and how rewarding it can be to return a dolphin or injured sea turtle to the wild.
But the life around the aquarium, with its cranky pelican (friend to the injured turtle) strains to be amusing. Smith peoples the film with the same cast, including Kris Kristofferson as Hazel’s grandpa and Tom Nowicki as the aquarium’s benefactor. There just isn’t enough for them all to do. Freeman gets the few funny lines, which are all the same.
“I’ve got jars of peanut butter older’n you!”
Still, seeing what Winter can mean to a disabled child, the educational side of the story and the adorable animals make this every bit as child-friendly as the original. And if it’s more about “teachable moments” than fun ones, at least “Dolphin Tale 2″ will hold the interest of its youngest viewers while it teaches, which is all any parent can hope for from a kids’ film.
2stars1
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild thematic elements
Cast: Nathan Gamble, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Freeman, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Kris Kristofferson, Charles Martin Smith
Credits: Written and directed by Charles Martin Smith. A Warner Brothers release.
Running time: 1:44

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: Depression is comically skin deep in “The Skeleton Twins”

skeletonIt’s the phone call no one wants to answer. A relative has been hospitalized. He tried to kill himself.
Most inconveniently, when Maggie answers the phone she has to discard the fatal fistful of pills she was about to pop. She has to go deal with brother Milo.
That’s the curtain raiser on “The Skeleton Twins,” a brittle and bruised comedy that manages to find something funny in a damaged, estranged brother and sister who can’t see that if they stop leaning on one another, they’ll both fall down. Again.
Maggie (Kristen Wiig) hasn’t had much to do with Milo (Bill Hader) in years. But his “To whom it may concern, see you later!” note has the L.A. hospital insisting that she bring him home to Nyack. Plainly, she is put out. And just as plainly she’s in no shape to prop up somebody else thinking of ending it all.
This Craig Johnson film starts tripping us up, right from the first. Maggie answers the phone with a furious “I’m on the National ‘Do Not Call’ Registry!” Whatever gay cliche failed-actor Milo was playing out, his sister seems to have it together. She has a house. She’s married to an ever-upbeat, outdoorsy park service employee (Luke Wilson) in their corner of upstate New York. They’re trying to have a child.
Well, her husband is. That’s our first clue about her passion for pills. Then, there’s the mania for self-improvement classes — scuba is the latest. What she does in those classes — hooking up for heated sex with the younger instructor (Boyd Holbrook), with a sad, helpless fatalism — defines her. She’s unworthy, living a lie, trapped.
Milo uses his return to their hometown to confront or rekindle a part of his past, with Rich (Ty Burrell). Bringing their self-absorbed mom (Joanna Gleason, very good) in just completes the picture.
They used to be “the gruesome twosome,” “The Skeleton Twins.” They loved their dad, and each other, playing dress-up, watching bad ’80s romances and lip-syncing to Jefferson Starship.
Now, their fights draw blood and no one around them can predict their mood-swings. They seem to have avoided each other simply because they know each other too well.
“Some of us have our secrets, and some of us have our reasons.”
Former “Saturday Night Live” castmates Wiig and Hader tumble into siblingdom with comfortable ease, which gives their characters — variations on caricatures they’ve played elsewhere — weight. She’s the funny, mercurial “ugly duckling” overcompensating with promiscuity. He’s the (toned-down, here) flamboyantly gay man who isn’t quite managing a life out of the closet.
Wilson, Glee son and Burrell are also a bit on-the-nose, in terms of casting.
So the surprises in Johnson’s film come from the jarring shifts in tone, as abrupt as any manic depressive mood swing, from giddy nostalgia to brutally blunt confrontations over missteps and traumas.
“Skeleton Twins” may not be a wholly fleshed-out character study, and nobody here takes a flying leap out of his or her comfort zone. But the timing of this tale of depression, suicide and how vulnerable we all are to our past, our demons and our shortcomings, is enough to recommend this engagingly melancholy comedy.
 2half-star6
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexuality and drug use
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Ty Burrell, Luke Wilson, Joanna Gleason, Boyd Holbrook
Credits: Directed by Craig Johnson, written by Mark Heyman and Craig Johnson. A Roadside Attractions release.
Running

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

“No Good Deed” — how BAD is it?

deedScreen Gems, which tends to cower rather than preview most of its releases, is being unusually Screen Gems-ish about “No Good Deed,” a thriller with Idris Elba as the possible home invader and Taraji P. Henson as a woman he terrorizes.

Screen Gems would not show it well in advance. They only scheduled screenings of it on Wed. night, tonight.

This AM, I get notice that they have suddenly and abruptly canceled those. Nationwide, they claim.

“Plot twist protection” they give as their excuse. No studio EVER does that. Maybe an email to critics asking us not to give this or that away (“Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” was one time that happened).

Damaged goods that won’t be helped by reviewers reporting that is far more likely. They never hide a movie they’re proud of. UPDATE: They have even canceled the Thursday night paid showings of this that Fandango was advertising Tuesday and Wed. Man.

This is a bush league move by Screen Gems. They’ve marked their film (again) as cursed before it even opens. Considering how rarely they preview their product, thus staining every film they release as crap before anybody’s seen it, you’d think they’d catch on.

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: “The Drop”

drop
They also serve who pour and observe.
That’s Bob Saganowski’s modus operandi. He’s bartender-for-life at Cousin Marv’s on the cruel side of Brooklyn, a 30something loner living in the house his late parents bought and, from the looks of it, furnished in the 1970s.
Bob notices things, which we gather is a pretty solid survival strategy for this corner of Brooklyn. There’s menace in the air, from Marv, from the customers, from any out-of-the-ordinary encounter on the street, from the guys we see casing the bar, to the cop (John Ortiz) who shows up to investigate the robbery those thugs carry out.
Bob noticed one of the masked gunmen was wearing an old watch that no longer worked. That detail is going to get a lot of people into a lot of trouble.
Because Cousin Marv’s is a “drop,” a place where low-rent bookies and dealers leave bundles of cash for the crime bosses who control them, part of a rotating circuit of bars where scary guys deposit envelopes so that scarier guys can come, after hours, and collect them. You rob a “drop,” the world’s about to drop on your head.
“The Drop” is a simmering thriller from the writer who gave us “Mystic River” and “Gone, Baby Gone,” a tale heavy with the weight of violence we know is coming. Eventually.
Tom Hardy, an actor with violent characters in his past, gives Bob the potential for mayhem. But on the surface, this guy his boss calls a “sphinx” is a pussycat. He rescues a brutalized puppy from a trash can, convinces Nadia (Noomi Rapace) to keep the dog until the weekend while he thinks it over, and then keeps his word to this total stranger. He picks up this pit bull, nurses it to health and uses it to talk Nadia with the short temper and frightened eyes into teaching him to take care of it.
Dennis Lehane’s short story, “Animal Rescue,” has a touch of “Rocky” about it on the big screen, a big galoot softened by a pet and the woman who seems to come with that pet. But even though this is a world we recognize, there’s nothing sentimental about its depiction. Everybody knows everybody else and the locals all know what the cops never figured out, who killed this guy nicknamed “Glory Days” ten years before.
Bob has a limited view of the world. But he’s not stupid. When “Cousin Marv” (James Gandolfini) cusses about the “Russians” who muscle him around and now own his bar, Bob corrects him.
“Chechen.”
The Chechens expect Marv and Bob to recover their stolen money. Fat chance they’re up to that. Everybody here may act “Hard,” but these guys don’t seem to have that in them. Bob looks tough, but has something of the born victim about him, which the wild-eyed creep (Matthias Schoenaerts) who comes looking for the dog he abused picks up on.
“People like me come along when you’re not looking.”
Besides, Bob has already told the cop too much. And like Bob, the cop watches and listens. He’s seen Bob in the local Catholic Church. Often.
“How come you don’t take communion?”
“The Drop” contains one last, great mob movie turn by James Gandolfini, giving him several rich scenes including a great monologue about disappointment with the past and a future that’s closing in around him.
Rapace finally has a Hollywood, English-speaking role to match her Swedish “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” and Ortiz gets to play a cop with layers — a flirt, a rule-bender but not as slow on the uptake as he seems.
Lehane, as is his habit, kind of telegraphs the payoff. Casting Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “Warrior”) feeds into that.
But the big Londoner is utterly hidden behind a Brooklyn accent, playing a man whose shyness is both a physical and an emotional defense mechanism. He may notice the scars on Nadia’s neck, but he won’t ask about them.
“It’s your business, not mine.”
The thrilling tension of “The Drop” is that sooner or later, somebody’s going to make it his business. And we brace for it, all through the movie, knowing there will be hell to pay.

3half-star

MPAA Rating: R for some strong violence and pervasive language.
Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, John Ortiz
Credits: Directed by Michaël R. Roskam, written by Denis Lehane, based on his short story. A Fox Searchlight release.
Running time: 144

Posted in previews, profiles and movie news, Reviews | Leave a comment