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Movie News & Reviews
Opening this weekend
Pitt, Gandolfini and Liotta star in crime drama ‘Killing Them Softly’
Article published on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012
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Photo by MELINDA SUE GORDON/COGAN’S PRODUCTIONS
Brad Pitt stars as Jackie Cogan in “Killing Them Softly.”
A number of new movies will hit theaters this week, including the following films opening in wide release:

Killing Them Softly
Genre: Crime drama
Cast: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Sam Rockwell, Richard Jenkins, Bella Heathcote, Vincent Curatola, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn and Linara Washington
Director: Andrew Dominik
Rated: R

A longtime hanger-on in the wiseguy world, Johnny Amato (Vincent Curatola) has come up with a slick plan to roll a mob-protected card game.

To complete the actual theft, Johnny turns to Frankie (Scoot McNairy), a jittery young crook who is fresh out of jail and flat broke, and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), a gleefully seedy Australian junkie whose latest criminal enterprise involves dog theft. Presidential politics and America’s financial crisis are all over the news, but it’s little more than background noise to these three guys who are angling to make a quick score in a broken-down city. The conspirators feel assured of success, certain as they are that the mob’s suspicions will immediately fall on the game’s regular dealer, Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta).

But only a fool believes in a foolproof plan. With more bluster than brains, Frankie and Russell manage to pull off the robbery and escape without being recognized. But while Frankie, Russell and Johnny are busy congratulating themselves, the mob is taking steps to nip any problems in the bud by bringing in the seasoned enforcer Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to investigate the heist and restore the status quo. Punishment must be exacted, but even more a message must be sent, to customers and would-be thieves alike: nothing and no one will be allowed to capsize the local criminal economy.

Jackie brings his customary professionalism to the assignment, only to find himself navigating frustrating complications, including a finicky client that communicates through a buttoned-up middle-manager (Richard Jenkins), and a trusted colleague (James Gandolfini) who has turned surprisingly unpredictable. In the end, it is up to Jackie – unflappable, efficient and thoroughly versed in the vagaries of killing – to get the job done right.

The Collection
Genre: Horror
Cast: Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick and Christopher McDonald
Director: Marcus Dunstan
Rated: R

When Elena’s (Emma Fitzpatrick) friends take her to a secret party at an undisclosed location, she never imagined she would become the latest victim of The Collector, a psychopathic killer.

The Collector kidnaps and transports her to an abandoned hotel he’s transformed into his own private maze of torture and death. Upon learning of his daughter’s disappearance, Elena’s wealthy father (Christopher McDonald) hires a group of mercenaries to retrieve her from the vicious grips of The Collector. These mercenaries coerce Arkin (Josh Stewart), the only man to have escaped the wrath of this heinous monster, to lead them through the gruesome labyrinth.

Now, Arkin finds himself fighting for his own life in order to save Elena.

The following will open in limited release. It may be several weeks before these films appear in local movie theaters.

Dragon
Genre: Action and adventure
Cast: Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tang Wei and Jimmy Wang Yu
Director: Peter Ho-Sun Chan
Rated: R

Liu Jin-xi (Yen) is a village craftsman whose quiet life is irrevocably shattered by the arrival of two notorious gangsters in the local general store.

When Liu single-handedly saves the shopkeeper's life, he comes under investigation by detective Xu Bai-jiu (Kaneshiro). Convinced that Liu's martial arts mastery belies a hidden history of training by one of the region's vicious clans, Xu doggedly pursues the shy hero – and draws the attention of China's criminal underworld in the process.

Silent Night
Genre: Horror and thriller
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Jamie King, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong, Lisa Marie and Brendan Fehr
Director: Steven C. Miller
Rated: R

In 1984, the slasher classic “Silent Night, Deadly Night” stunned audiences, was banned across America, and remains the most notorious Christmas movie in history.

Now, Santa is back, and he’s got a brand new bag of tricks. As their small Midwestern town prepares for its annual Christmas Eve parade, Sheriff (Malcolm McDowell) and his deputy (Jaime King) discover that a maniac in a Santa suit is murdering those he judges as “naughty.” Their sins? Porn, adultery, greed ... and he will make sure they rest in heavenly pieces.

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
Genre: Action and adventure
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski and Dolph Lundgren
Director: John Hyams
Rated: R

Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski and Dolph Lundgren star in “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning,” which ups the ante in the “Universal Soldier” series.

John (Adkins) wakes up from a coma after his wife and daughter were slaughtered in a brutal home invasion. Haunted by images of the attack, he vows to kill the man responsible, Luc Deveraux (Van Damme). While John tries to piece his reality back together, things get more complicated when he is pursued by a relentless UniSol (Arlovski). As John gets closer to Deveraux and the rouge army of genetically enhanced warriors led by back-from-the-dead leader Andrew Scott (Lundgren), John discovers more about himself and begins to call into question everything he believed to be true.
Article published on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012
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