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Lee's Review: "Playing for Keeps" and "Killing Them Softly"

9:05 AM, Dec 14, 2012   |    comments
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(WLTX) - There's a lot more at the theatres than just hobbits, super-spies and vampires. But is it any good? Well, I'm happy to tell you.

In "Playing for Keeps" George Dryer used to be quite the Scottish football star. But a lot has changed since his days on the field. Now he can't even sell off his World Cup memorabilia to pay the rent. Perhaps a little humbling will be the first step to reconnecting with his family. His son's soccer team desperately needs a new coach who understands the game. What better opportunity could a former player ask for?

However, if he's going to make any progress, he'll need to do it pretty fast. His ex-wife (who he's still very much in love with) recently got engaged. And every time he appears to be making some headway on the domestic front, an attractive soccer mom comes along to defeat his efforts. One even has a business proposal that could force him to relocate.

I wouldn't call "Playing for Keeps" a life-changing movie. In fact, it's pretty forgettable. By staying true to the romantic comedy formula, they've gone and made something that will forever be confused with other films of the same variety. If you must see it, at least hold out for the DVD. No one should pay full price for such mediocrity.

On a more uplifting note, I was happily impressed with Brad Pitt's latest movie, "Killing Them Softly." This, however, may be more a matter of personal taste. People seldom enjoy a lot of dialogue in their mob movies. They pay to see people get whacked and, when the setup becomes extensive, they get frustrated. Such is the case with "Killing Them Softly."

It revolves around a high-stakes poker game operated by Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta). The game had previously been robbed and, on a drunken night, Markie confesses to being the mastermind of stealing from his own operation. While the guys laugh it off at the time, new plans are made to rob the game again because Markie will have set himself up to be the only suspect.

Once things become chaotic, it's up to Jackie Cogan to restore order (within this chaotic world). Jackie is a hitman who takes his job very seriously. He tells everyone no more than they need to know - but listens very intently. And, in case I haven't made it clear, there's a lot to listen to in "Killing Them Softly." It's a subtexters paradise! To all others, it will feel like an insurance seminar.

By Lee O. Smith, News19 Movie Reviewer

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