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Posts Tagged ‘Lili Taylor’

Clive Owen, Billy Crudup

Clive Owen, Billy Crudup

“BLOOD TIES” My rating: C (Opening March 21 at the Leawood)

127 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The crime drama “Blood Ties” has a hell of a pedigree.

The cast boasts of Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Mina Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan and Lili Taylor. Behind the camera is the French director Guillaume Canet, whose 2006 “Tell No One” was one of the most satisfying thrillers of recent years.

And yet the movie is a mutt.

Marion Cotillard

Marion Cotillard

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit extreme. “Blood Ties” is  competent. It’s just totally uninspired. There’s more oomph in five minutes of, say, “Goodfellas,” than in two hours of this effort.

The setup isn’t exactly original. Two brothers. One is a cop. The other is a crook.

Chris (Clive Owen) is finally released from prison after doing time for murder. He’s greeted at the gates by his sister (Lili Taylor) and younger brother Frank (Billy Crudup), an NYPD detective. They take Chris home for a reunion with their dying father (James Caan).

Chris claims he wants to go straight, but he has lots of baggage to deal with.  His ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard) is a call girl and periodic junkie. She has managed to raise their two kids, who are now young teens and virtual strangers to Chris. But she wants money, lots of it.

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Lili Tqylor...it's behind you!

Lili Taylor … it’s behind you!

“THE CONJURING” My rating: C+ 

112 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“The Conjuring” might have been subtitled “Exorcism’s Greatest Hits.”  When it comes to manifestations of demonic possession, the damn thing is practically encyclopedic.

Levitation. Foul odors. Disgusting vomit. Rotting ghost-corpses. Sleepwalking.  Doors that open and close when nobody’s around. An animated evil doll. Strange noises. Unexplained bruises.

No head-spinning, but there is a Hitchcock-ian bird attack.

It’s all quite silly but surprisingly effective, thanks to the taunt direction of James Wan (creator of the “Saw” series) and a cast of talented pros who keep our doubts at arm’s length.

“The Conjuring” is inspired by the ghostly experiences of husband-and-wife team of Ed and Lorraine Walker, who specialized in paranormal investigations. These real-life ghostbusters did on-site studies of hauntings publicized in the movies like “The Amityville Horror “ and “A Haunting in Connecticut.”

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