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Weekend Preview: Slim Pickings Beyond Andrew Dominik's 'Killing Them Softly' -- Unless You're Into Jean-Claude Van Damme

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood November 30, 2012 at 5:39PM

This lackluster weekend for movie openings may leave you wanting to catch up on the Thanksgiving releases you missed. That said, Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly," an alternately engrossing and heavy-handed hitman drama starring Brad Pitt, is the strongest of the bunch. Beyond that, the options are disparate: a feminist take on Marilyn Monroe from HBO star Liz Garbus, "Love, Marilyn," wan horror title "The Collection," or Van Damme-Lundgren vehicle "Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning," which some critics find worth reckoning with (and some don't).
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Scoot McNairy in "Killing Them Softly"
Scoot McNairy in "Killing Them Softly"

This lackluster weekend for movie openings may leave you wanting to catch up on the Thanksgiving releases you missed. That said, Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly," an alternately engrossing and heavy-handed hitman drama starring Brad Pitt, is the strongest of the bunch. Beyond that, the options are disparate: a feminist take on Marilyn Monroe from HBO star Liz Garbus, "Love, Marilyn," wan horror title "The Collection," or Van Damme-Lundgren vehicle "Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning," which some critics find worth reckoning with (and some don't).

Check out reviews, details and trailers below.

"Killing Them Softly" Dir. Andrew Dominik, US | The Weinstein Company | 78% Fresh | Cast: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn | Movieline: "If gangsterism is just capitalism in a more raw form, then Jackie is the creature best suited for this world. He knows the rules and enforces them without prejudice, because it's just business and this is just a job. Killing Them Softly doesn't give that idea its intended sting." | Our Review.

"Love, Marilyn" Dir. Liz Garbus, US | HBO Documentary Films | 45% Metascore | Cast: Viola Davis, Paul Giamatti, Glenn Close, Lindsay Lohan, Elizabeth Banks | New York Post: "Slicker than most attempts to document Monroe's successes and tragic trajectory, but even her own words don't provide much more of an insight into what made this troubled icon tick."

"The Collection" Dir. Marcus Dunstan, US | LD Entertainment | 44% Rotten | Cast: Josh Stewart, Christopher McDonald, Navi Rawat | Hollywood Reporter: "Unfortunately, the Collector simply isn't a very interesting screen villain. Clad in a black mask that reveals only his eyes and mouth, he mainly communicates by heavy breathing. It makes one yearn for the perversely witty chatter of Jigsaw."

"Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning" Dir. John Hyams, US | 59% Metascore | Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins | Variety: "There's something perversely fascinating about helmer John Hyams' freewheeling yet deliberately paced mashup of noirish mystery, splatter-movie intensity, first-person-shooter vidgame and 'Apocalypse Now'-style surrealism."

This article is related to: Reviews, Andrew Dominik, Killing Them Softly, Brad Pitt, Liz Garbus, Weekend Preview


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.