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Movie Review: A Time To Kill + Divergent + Take This Waltz

A Time To Kill (1996)
Two white trash thugs who seem like a parody of Bo and Luke Duke (Nicky Katt and Doug Hutchinson) attack a little girl and her enraged father Carl Lee (Samuel L. Jackson of ’Avengers’, ’The Negotiator’ and ’Jurassic Park’) shoots them dead with an assault rifle in the court house injuring a cop (Chris Cooper of ‘Lone Star’) in the process.

Now Carl Lee needs jerk lawyer Jake and his drunken pal (Oliver Platt) and mouthy law student (Sandra Bullock) to defend him as the DA Rufus (Kevin Spacey of ‘The Ref’, ‘Consenting Adults’ and ‘The Negotiator’) seeks the death penalty. Syrupy southern accents, sweat and boredom fill this adaptation of the novel by John Grisham. It is not clear at first what decade this is set in.

This isn’t unsettling, just a sour and bloody take on questionable material. Jake’s wife (Ashley Judd - ‘Double Jeopardy’ and ‘Missing’) whines and his elderly scraggy haired secretary whines also. Pathetic caricatures of poor people need mumbling prig Jake to save them. This is not bleak just screechy, tiresome, awkward, dull and chaotic. It tries desperately too hard but is emotionally non-committal just like the adaptations of ‘The Firm’, ‘The Pelican Brief’ and ‘Runaway Jury’.

Beastly people do stuff. DA Rufus has cussedness. Jake bangs on endlessly, dithers and purveys half truths, twisted information, inaccuracies and false inferences. This was not vitriolic, cathartic or a powerful denunciation just shrilly broadcast. Jake does self-persuasion to convince himself and others that he is a good man. The law student is perky and Jake is tempted by her book learning because of his brittle and grumpy whining harpy wife. There is bad decision making and perception as well as mute acceptance of such amidst general shallow drabness.

Kiefer and Donald Sutherland have zealous fervour. I was disenchanted by the constant sniping and unflattering allusions - this was just so po-faced and fractious. This is underpowered, lacking all spark and charisma and was defunct. This was squalid, insalubrious, grotty schlock and uncomfortably coruscating. Carl Lee indulges in secret image management. This was untenable and derisory and obfuscates even during a riot. Jake is beleaguered, dumb and too full of manpain. This was as bad as ‘Mallrats’ and ‘King Ralph’.

Best Lines:
“She didn’t die.”

“Our young uninformed law clerk.”

“Good god fearing Klan.”

“I need to live too.”

“We ain’t no team.”

“A fool with a cause.”

“I do not believe in forgiveness nor in rehabilitation.”

“Thought you were dead.”
“Well, I’m trying.”

“We stay away from women, rednecks and old men.”

“How’s that, uh, impotence thing Rufus?”

“You are them.”

“YES THEY DESERVED TO DIE AND I HOPE THEY BURN IN HELL!”

~
Divergent (2014)
Based on the novel by Veronica Roth, this is set in a post-apoc Chicago where five colour coordinated factions live. Also the factionless live in the gutter but nobody cares about them. Tris is a member of an Amish like faction but secretly longs to be a member of the Dauntless faction who are adrenaline junkies into tattoos, leather and nail polish. Tris doesn’t fit anywhere really despite choosing to join the Dauntless faction during her unsanitary looking choosing. Tris’ tool brother Caleb joins the evil Erudite faction led by Jeanie (Kate Winslet who is obviously pregnant). Tris’ mother (Ashley Judd of ‘Missing’ and ‘Double Jeopardy’) has a secret and her boring father (Tony Goldwyn of ‘Traces of Red’ and ‘Ghost’) is boring.

Tris makes it through Dauntless being taught by Four (Theo James of ‘Underworld: Awakening’), she befriends fellow Initiate Christina (Zoë Kravitz) and tough Dauntless member Tori (Maggie Q of ‘Nikita’). Tris climbs up things a lot, jumps on moving trains, ziplines over Chicago, wears black, gets beat up, gets a tattoo, wears massive amounts of eye makeup and after making it through the training from hell makes out with the hunk of salty goodness Four.

This was goodish with lots of hallucinations, Erudite plotting, mind control, sordid power plays and an unsubtle tale of a military wing of a false construct social hierarchy proving they aren’t the maddest faction after all. Things aren’t really ratcheted up enough but I enjoyed this.

Best Lines:
“We reject vanity.”

“The boy defected.”

“Faction before blood.”

“Let’s just say they built the fence for a reason.”

“Two dead stiffs.”

~
Take This Waltz (2011)
In this film written and directed by Sarah Polley (star of the 2004 ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remake) Margot (Michelle Williams) is married to Lou (Seth Rogen) but is tempted by Daniel who is a jerk who insults and stalks her. Margot carries out immoral acts ignoring and abandoning the baby talking Lou. How everyone affords their huge homes is never explained. This was ok mumblecore.

Daniel is a rickshaw driver and artiste. Margot contemplates and complements him because she feels deprived and this gives her leeway to have an emotional affair and act like she is 13. When it finally becomes a physical affair via synchronised swimming, Margot justifies herself despite hurting Lou and driving her alcoholic sister in law (Sarah Silverman) back to the booze. Margot seems to regret her choice after getting bored with cheap sex with Daniel. Margot goes looking for more fun. Daniel and Margot are awful people so you don't care for her at the end.

Best Lines:
“Everyone gather in the square for the public humiliation.”

“You’re infinitely hateable.”

“New things get old.”

“I should go.”
“So why don’t you?”

“I paint for myself and I pay for my rent through the hauling of a rickshaw through city streets like a modern day hobo.”

“Lady core.”

“I’m the embarrassment? Me?!?”
Tags: movie review, nikita
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