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The November Man, Life Of Crime, The Congress

 
The November Man, Life Of Crime, The Congress

“The November Man”

Pierce Brosnan is a spy again but this time minus the gadgets & babes of his 007 days.

61 year old Pierce Brosnan’s still got the looks and ‘tude to pull off playing an ex-CIA spy who’s lured back to the game one more time in a mission that goes horribly, and very personally wrong. But Brosnan’s Peter Devereaux is not James Bond. He never wears a tux, never drinks a martini, never gets to show off the cool weapons and has to wait til the end to get the girl (Olga Kurylenko who was a Bond babe in “Quantum Of Solance”. This film is vintage Brosnan but brings nothing new to the spy game. It’s a been-there-done-that years- ago spy flick. It’s not for the kids. It’s very violent and there’s a rape scene.

If you like spy flicks, you could do worse. But you could do a whole lot better- as in Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last completed role in the intelligent “A Most Wanted Man”. This one can wait for Netflix.

2 stars



“Life Of Crime”

A crime caper from the late Elmore Leonard.

From the author who gave us “Out Of Sight”, this set in the 70’s twisty crime caper has a solid cast with Oscar nominee John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey ( Mos Def) as kidnappers who nab the wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a corrupt real estate developer (a bloated Tim Robbins) who’s having an affair with an even more corrupt Isla Fisher (who steals the movie). Will Forte is also a hoot as a “family friend” who’s out to seduce Aniston’s Mickey.

Jennifer Aniston is just meh and is the weak link in an otherwise strong cast. She’s overpowered by the much stronger personalities surrounding her.

Like “American Hustle”, the fashion & furnishings are spot on .

But director/screenwriter Daniel Schechter is no David O. Russell. It lacks the quick snap that made “American Hustle” so much fun.

2 stars



“The Congress”

An anti-tech very trippy movie starring Robin Wright as herself .

Ari Folman is one of the most creative writer/ directors out there. His Oscar-nominated animated “Waltz With Bashir” was amazing. This one gets an “A” for effort but it’s a little too creative for its own good.

Based on the book “The Futurological Congress”, Robin Wright stars as herself, except her career is in a tailspin (in real life, Wright is hotter than ever). This movie is the ultimate statement against motion capture and the ever encroaching technolization of Hollywood and society.

Robin Wright basically sells her soul to the Hollywood devil. Her final job, has Wright selling her digital likeness to the Miramount studio, as in Miramax/ Paramount. Danny Huston plays the head of the studio, who can now use Wright’s likeness any way he wants. The human Robin collects the substantial paycheck. Her computer chip and the people who control it do all the work.

Harvey Keital stars as her manipulative longtime agent. Sami Gayle (of “Blue Blood” fame) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (the kid in the completely depressing apocalyptic film “The Road”) play her kids. Her son suffers from Usher Syndrome, which robs victims of hearing and sight. Paul Giamatti is the doctor who treats him.

This is really two films. The second one begins midway through , 20 years later. That’s where the film goes animated and goes off course. The animation isn’t great , though Folman has a lot of fun with it, throwing in Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson and Yoko Ono. Jon Hamm (seen only in animation) plays a studio employee from the “Robin” department who falls in love with her.

Robin Wright is tremendous and so is the very provocative first half of the film. The second half is a disappointing psychedelic trip.

Let’s call this one creative but flawed. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind.

2 and a half stars



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