CORPORATE LINE: A remake of the critically acclaimed 1955 comedy, The Ladykillers. Tom Hanks stars as Goldthwait Higginson Dorr III, Ph.D., a charlatan professor who’s assembled a gang of ‘experts’ for the heist of the century. The thieves: experts in explosions, tunneling, and muscle, and the critical ‘inside man/’ The base of operations” the root cellar of an unsuspecting, church-going little old lady named Mrs. Munson (Irma P. Hall). The ruse: the five need a place to practice their church music. The problem: it quickly becomes evident that Dorr’s thieves lack the mental capacity to do the job. The bigger problem: they have all seriously underestimated their upstairs host.
THE GOOD: Tom Hanks is brilliant. Have we come to expect anything less? As the fast, double talking southern gentleman Hanks could con me out of my own pants. However, Irma P. Hall steals each scene from Hanks and everyone else who dares challenge her. Hall is the only reason to watch.
THE BAD : The script is way off key much like the gang would be had they tried to play their instruments. Depth of character is thrown out the window. Screen time for the actual caper is streamlined as a secondary part of the film. The interaction between characters is the focus, but for the exception of Hall, the chemistry is weak. The scipt offers no meat and is held up by endless clichés. Marlon Wayans is stuck playing a clichéd thug who can’t speak without swearing. The jock is dumb as a rock, the General played by Tzi Ma is the scary martial arts guy, and so on. Fargo broke clichés, changed the entire layout and the Ladykillers completely reverses that role.
DVD FEATURES: The Coens are MIA and again don’t offer any comment on the film—what is there deal anyway? There is a wasted featurette called “Danny Ferrington: The Man Behind The Band.” The only decent featurette is the “Slap Reel” which features Marlon Wayans getting slapped silly and another featurette where you can follow the screenplay as the film plays. Overall, a pretty weak set of featurettes.
FRANKLY: The Coen Brother’s humor is exciting as Goldthwait’s renditions of Edgar Allan Poe: “On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor, Shall be lifted- nevermore!” If you absolutely must see the movie the Raven will make sense—to bad the movie never truly does.
+ Charlie Craine
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