James Keane

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Crazy Heart Review


Very Good
Like Tender Mercies, which won an Oscar for producer-costar Duvall, this film feels like the cherry on top of Jeff Bridges' fine career, giving him a terrific character who carries us through a fairly straightforward story of regret and redemption.

Bad Blake (Bridges) is a successful 57-year-old musician whose career and personal life have been derailed by alcoholism. Playing to bowling alleys and bars across New Mexico, he's interviewed by a journalist Jean (Gyllenhaal) and is surprised when a spark of attraction develops between them. His next stop is Phoenix, where he plays a gig with former band member Tommy Sweet (Farrell), who's now a mega-star but hasn't forgotten the debt he owes to Bad. The question is whether Bad can get himself together long enough to make either relationship work.

Continue reading: Crazy Heart Review

Assassination Tango Review


Weak
Robert Duvall directs and stars in Assassination Tango, and since his gray moustache and ponytail prevent him from playing a convincing hooker with a heart of gold, the seasoned veteran has chosen the next best role: a hitman with a tender soul and a connoisseur's taste for tango. By day his John Anderson is the owner of a chain of beauty salons, the loving boyfriend to Maggie (Kathy Baker), and devoted father figure to her ten-year-old daughter Jenny (Katherine Micheaux Miller). By night he's a killer-for hire who takes a cool, detached approach to his work. And by God if his character isn't a complete figment of the imagination.

Call me cynical, but when was the last time you heard - outside of the movies, that is - about an assassin with a taste for the finer things in life? It's become a hip cliché in recent years (due in large part to The Sopranos) to present cold-blooded criminals as quirky, cultured people who struggle with the same daily dilemmas (family obligations, work-related stress) as "normal" people. Yet Duvall, despite a feisty performance as a weathered killer who, left stranded in Argentina when an assignment is delayed, wiles away his days learning the particulars of Argentine tango, can do nothing to make John Anderson seem like anything more than a fictional creation.

Continue reading: Assassination Tango Review

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James Keane Movies

Crazy Heart Movie Review

Crazy Heart Movie Review

Like Tender Mercies, which won an Oscar for producer-costar Duvall, this film feels like the...

Assassination Tango Movie Review

Assassination Tango Movie Review

Robert Duvall directs and stars in Assassination Tango, and since his gray moustache and ponytail...

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