Archives for posts with tag: John Malkovich

The minute the tech millionaire lays eyes on the lady in the raincoat at the grocery store, you know it’s a setup. That’s bad for “Shattered” (2022) and bad for us. What’s left is wondering how it will play out, which could have perhaps been interesting with some clever writing and a plot twist or two. Instead, it’s a gory, Internet-era rip-off of “Misery.” Granted, Kathy Bates won an Oscar playing the demented captor of a successful author. Not here. The only Oscar murderous con-woman Lily Krug deserves is Oscar the Grouch, because her performance belongs in a garbage can.

An organized crime story isn’t truly epic unless it’s told in Italian with a New Jersey accent. At least it feels that way sometimes. That’s an observation, not a value judgement. And yet there are so many other geographic and/or ethnic storytelling styles. You’d think someone could deconstruct the mob genre, substitute Martin Scorsese’s sensibilities for, say, James Dickey’s, and produce something totally different but qualitatively familiar. So John Brandon writes a novel, writer/director/actor Clark Duke interprets it, and “Arkansas” (2020) proves me right. It’s the “what,” not the “who,” that matters most. That’s an observation. And a value judgement.

“Burn After Reading” (2008) is a not-very-good espionage movie with George Clooney. It’s kinda stupid, actually. But it does have a lot of people I like in it (Brad Pitt, the dude from the movie about the guy who plays the drum, Frances what’s-her-face, John Malkovich), and there are some characters that made me laugh. It wasn’t like I thought two hours of my life had been stolen. But when it was over, I was like: “What was up with that?” Then I reminded myself it was a Coen brothers movie, which means that probably nothing was up with anything.