"I'll just get my gear."

Those Who Wish Me Dead

THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD is a movie I was highly anticipating ever since I first read it was in the works. When it finally came out as one of these pandemic same-day-on-HBO-Max releases and it turned out it wasn’t quite the A+ movie I was hoping for, it kind of entered and left my consciousness without much incident. But I did think it was a cool movie taken on its own terms, and worthy of documentation with a review. And then it started to seem better the more I wrote about it.

Reasons I had high hopes:

1. It’s directed and co-written by Taylor Sheridan, who previously directed WIND RIVER and wrote SICARIO, HELL OR HIGH WATER and WITHOUT REMORSE. I just really like his style of quasi-realistic, contemporary-western-ish crime/action with tough, broody characters and a heightened atmosphere of doom.

2. It stars Angelina Jolie, who we don’t see in too many movies these days, but who I believe has an advanced understanding of badass screen presence. I base this partly on WANTED, a ridiculous movie I don’t necessarily love, but that she really stood out in. I always remember reading that she took the script and crossed out a bunch of her dialogue that she didn’t feel she needed, and said that Clint Eastwood taught her to do that. That really seemed to work for her there.

3. Also because I read the cool-sounding premise: a national park fire fighter on lookout duty helps a kid escape from assassins during a forest fire. Is this gonna be pretentious FIRESTORM? Starring an Oscar-winning actress instead of an NFL player? I can dig that!

And honestly all of these factors are multiplied by the badassness of that title, which surely wouldn’t have been allowed if it wasn’t based on a book (by Michael Koryta, who I’m not familiar with). Otherwise I’m sure it would be called WHERE THERE’S SMOKE or THIRD DEGREE or something.

Jolie (CYBORG 2) plays Hannah Faber, a hotshot smokejumper who’s been a total mess since getting some wrong information about a fire, making a wrong call, and having to watch three kids and a colleague burn to death. People tell her it wasn’t her fault, but like any number of male action heroes she’s traumatized to the point of nightmares by this past failure, and now drinks and acts recklessly and some people worry about her. Unlike a male character, though, she’s allowed to cry about it and I believe cut herself? She doesn’t keep it all in.

But she’s introduced in the proud tradition of many a solid ‘80s or ‘90s programmer: wearing mirror shades and hanging out with the boys (one of them is Tory Kittles from DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE, but he’s not in it that much), rugged macho dudes who enjoy flipping each other shit, and all respect her. Next thing you know she’s drunkenly parasailing from the back of a pickup truck. Since this is trauma-based acting out like LETHAL WEAPON, and not just awesomeness-based, like TOP GUN, Sheriff Ethan Sawyer (Jon motherfuckin Bernthal in his third Sheridan movie), who is her ex-boyfriend on friendly terms, is concerned. And so must be her higher ups, who stick her on what is seen as a shitty post by herself in a forest lookout tower.

(It actually seems like kind of a cool job before the murderers show up. I’d be happy to go up there and try to write a book until I spot something to call in.)

The aforementioned kid is a teenaged boy named Connor (Finn Little, 2067) whose dad Owen (Jake Weber, VANISHING SON II and IV) is a forensic accountant who has uncovered some sort of major fraud. We see two cold-hearted pros, Jack (Aidan Gillen, 12 ROUNDS) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult, CLASH OF THE TITANS), eliminate Owen’s boss’s entire family with calm, collected savagery, so we know he’s not overreacting when he runs off with Connor and makes him hold onto a letter with everything he knows just in case something happens.

Sheridan excels at creating these kinds of villains who are clearly very knowledgeable and experienced in the ways of hunting humans, and unencumbered by empathy or morals. Jack is kind of the mentor/mastermind, and Patrick has some sort of military experience that he’s now applying to this related line of work. Because they treat it so much as a job it’s interesting to watch them problem solve – oh, you want to ambush the car right here? Okay, I’ll go up there with my sniper rifle…

And we can see that they’re tools of a larger, nefarious world we don’t need to know the details of. In fact, there seem to be many specifics they aren’t privy to either, though they know this job is a big deal when the boss actually travels to where they are to talk to them. There’s a big build up before they show who it is so I won’t name the actor (SPOILER okay I will, it’s ALEX CROSS himself) but I enjoyed the unexpected casting.

The movie is full of really well staged, brutal little suspense sequences, such as the car crash/shootout that leaves Owen dead and Connor escaping into the forest, where he runs into Hannah. She’s prickly but caring, just like we’d like to see from Angelina’s mentor Clint. As they face the various threats together she’s vary matter-of-fact and give-it-to-him-straight, up to and including bluntly stating that she let four people die. So they become survivor-of-horrible-tragedy buddies. Maybe my favorite thing in the movie is when Connor decides that this lady is a weirdo, but the type that will be okay with it if he teases her about it.

This is maybe too much of a coincidence, but Connor’s dad was the brother-in-law of Ethan, and was actually trying to bring him to Ethan and his wife Allison (Medina Senghore, ALIEN UPRISING), since they run a wildlife survival camp. These are characters we really like and fear for when the killers inevitably show up at their place and force Ethan to help them track their prey. Ethan has to go along with them while trying not only to not be killed but to keep them off the trail of the kid.

Meanwhile, Hannah – whose radio was blown out when the tower was struck by lightning – has to try to trek through the wilderness with the kid, facing natural threats including lightning and, of course, a forest fire, in addition to the increasingly desperate killers. There are clever action and survival beats involving the natural setting and established attributes of the watch tower. Hannah has an ax and – though her backstory really shouldn’t be necessary for this – cares much more about saving this kid than herself. So she is not to be fucked with. (She is fucked with, though, obviously.)

I’ve seen some complaints about skinny Angelina Jolie being able to handle so much physically. Okay, fair enough. But it’s not like she’s LARA CROFT or SALT beating up dudes (which I enjoy, don’t get me wrong). It’s closer to what they did with Emily Blunt’s character in SICARIO. She can’t overpower men and she gets knocked around horribly, so she’s gotta depend on strategy, will power and animal ferocity. And she’s got a McClane-ian ability to keep getting back up and power through the pain.

This just came down to timing and not me trying to have some kind of fire movie marathon, but I watched BACKDRAFT 1 the day after I watched this. The blu-ray had an old introduction by Ron Howard where he explained that back in ’91 they did tests for digital fire but the technology was in its infancy and didn’t look convincing enough so they came up with all those impressive pyrotechnical FX that his movie is known for. Having just seen THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD I knew that 30 years later digital fire still leaves much to be desired. I certainly don’t think that kills the movie, but it gives many important scenes an artificiality contrary to the real world feel Sheridan is so good at. That may be the main reason this ends up feeling like the most normal and slight movie he’s made so far.

But maybe it’s kind of fitting that it sorta went straight to HBO, because this is would be great for made-for-HBO. I’m a sucker for movies that follow a tried and true genre format but spice it up with a little extra craftsmanship, some odd personality and some narrative curveballs, and this is definitely that. I’ll go into it in the spoiler section below, but for those who wish to bail before I give away too much, let me just say that even if this didn’t live up to my hopes I think it’s a very solid actiony thriller that I’m realizing I appreciate more and more as I write about it. So if it sounds kind of cool to you I say give it a shot.

BIG ASS ENDING SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON

This movie has an interesting and I think impressive approach to triangulating between giving the audience what it roots for for the characters and making shit count. This is best exemplified by its treatment of Allison, Ethan’s wife. As soon as she was introduced and I realized she was pregnant, I thought “Oh, fuck.” I know the stereotype is that Hollywood is afraid to upset the audience by, you know, killing a kid or a dog or whatever, but you know very well that if we’re introduced to a loving wonderful happy wife that means she’s gonna die. It’s really upsetting to see Jack and Patrick bust into that cabin and torment her, figure out that she’s pregnant, reveal that they see this more as something they can use than something to have qualms about. And it’s so thrilling to see her fight back, using some of those survival skills we heard about, but even then I figured this would be the end for her. Going out with a bang, but going out nevertheless.

Nope. Actually she’s gonna get some shots in, get away, get on a horse and go try to save her husband.

And her husband, for that matter, seems like dead meat early on. Especially since it’s Bernthal in lovable mode, you gotta figure a cruel cinematic God is gonna take him away from us much too soon. I thought he was a goner in the driveway, and then definitely at the creek when he stood up to them. But he keeps staying alive, like LL Cool J in DEEP BLUE SEA. The unlikely survivor.

But it’s not all wish fulfillment. It really seems like they’re both gonna make it and one of them doesn’t quite and it’s very sad. But at least they got the dignity of lasting the whole movie and going through it together. Their lives didn’t end to drive the plot, as happens to so many characters in these types of stories. They are winners.

It also ends without sugar-coating the fact that yeah, we beat the bad guys and survived the fire, but this kid is now an orphan and doesn’t even know where the fuck he will be going or who will be responsible for him. All Hannah can do is promise to help him figure it out, but we get the idea that she really will. His life is gonna be extremely hard, but maybe he’ll have gained a cool weirdo aunt who he can confide in because he went through the shit with her. And maybe helping this kid try to continue his life after everything burned down will help her do the same for herself.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 at 1:26 pm and is filed under Action, Crime, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

40 Responses to “Those Who Wish Me Dead”

  1. I like the scenes with the kid and Jake Weber (gaining some much needed points with me after his awful accent on two seasons of HOMELAND), and Jolie is not playing up the mothering side to the kid which was refreshing. More indeed like a weird bad-ass aunt.

    I don’t know she has such a peachy job though, I’d have a problem having to go up and down a ladder to tend to nature’s calls.

  2. Since becoming a regular reader of this here websight, I make sure to go into movies with an open mind and look for the positive aspects about them, trying to latch onto the unique or interesting bits. So I will say that I loved Medina Senghore’s character. I, too, thought she was a goner, but next thing you know she’s a pregnant lady galloping away on a horse while brandishing a rifle. That lady kicks so much ass that I spent the rest of the runtime wishing she was the protagonist instead of just a C-plot. I hope this opens up doors for the actress.

    Unfortunately, though, I must say I basically hated the rest of the movie. Hated the characters, hated the dialogue, hated the plot. I have no idea why Jolie or Hoult would agree to be in this. The movie was hyped as kind of a ’90s blockbuster throwback, but I don’t think it lived up to the description. I hoped for a bit more man vs. nature stuff, but frankly the movie takes forever to get to the point where the actual marketed premise of the movie starts (Jolie and the kid in the woods on the run), and runs out of time before developing any of the interesting bits, or figuring out good set pieces with the environment. (I thought the lightning would come back and somehow be used as a weapon against the bad guys. That would’ve been fun.)

    I’m starting to realize I’m not a Taylor Sheridan fan. I thought I was– Hell or High Water was one of my favorites of whatever year that was– but I haven’t really enjoyed any of this other stuff. No, not even Sicario, which I know everyone else loved.

  3. This was 100% NOT on my list until you had to go and mention that it was A Taylor Sheridan Joint. Now I’m gonna have to see this at some point, dammit. (It’s already gone from HBO Max, unfortunately.)

  4. As soon as the pregnant woman jerry rigged a flamethrower to kick ass, grabbed a gun and galloped away on a horse I was like “Vern will enjoy this”

  5. For a long time I thought it was going to be a plot point that she wore a wig. That she had received some horrific burns in the last fire, or something like that. But nope. Didn’t really fit the character to be vain about something like that. I think Hannah’s the kind of person who cuts her own hair. Something short and practical.

    No one who’s seen Jake Weber in HELL ON WHEELS, would trust that guy with a kid!

  6. I have this one sitting on my DVR (it went straight to pay TV over here) , but it amuses me that the German title is THEY WANT ME DEAD. No translation, just this title. It’s like someone said “Keep it English, but make it simpler”.

  7. [i]I have no idea why Jolie or Hoult would agree to be in this.[/i]

    I don’t know about Hoult, but I read an interview with Jolie awhile ago where she said she only really makes movies for her kids anymore.

    I figured her kids were 16-17 and watching a lot of shitty action movies on cable so…

  8. And once again:

    Vern’s site uses regular-ass html!

    One of these days, it’ll sink in…

  9. Just watched it and I have to say it is competent and watchable with some moments of greatness, but all in all a bit forgetable. I enjoyed it though.

    Living in a place that is surrounded by a huge woodland area, I pray every summer (especially in the last few years, when he had some horrifying heatwaves) that we won’t get a fire. So far everything worked out well. We do have a bunch of those watchtowers. There is one nearby, that is pretty much open to the public (minus the office part) and I love to spend some time there once in a while when I need some goddamn peace and quiet with an awesome view. But sadly this workplace is in heavy demand and mostly given to pensioners, who obviously have enough time to sit all day on their ass and look for smoke.

  10. I agree that the actual premise of this movie was pretty undernourished, partly by none of the fire effects being particularly immersive and but mostly by just not doing enough with it. The fact that Jolie is a ridiculously elite parachuting firefighter doesn’t really have much to do with the way the story plays out. Her expertise only comes in handy in that one part where she’s like “Don’t go that way. Fire that way. Fire bad.” Which I’m pretty sure a layman could have figured out. She could have been a park ranger or even just a moderately experienced hiker and basically nothing would have changed. I thought it was funny that this and FIRESTORM make the exact same boneheaded narrative choice: Use up a ton of storytelling real estate at the beginning to establish a crew of hard-partying smokejumpers who love each other like family and then have them totally disappear from the movie after a half hour. I’m surprised Scott Glenn didn’t pop up as the turncoat arsonist at the end. One of these days they’re gonna make a smokejumpers movie that’s about, like, smokejumping.

    What saved the movie for me are the bad guys. One thing about me is I love goons. I write the kind of stories that require a lot of goons, and I am constantly looking out for new angles on goonery. I thought “midlevel functionaries who are bitter about all the messes they have to clean up because of the decisions made by the out-of-touch executives at the multinational congolmerate they work for but what are they gonna do? Quit? In this economy?” was a fun angle.

    On a related note, I read an article on Jezebel about how weird this movie. “Like OMG she gets struck by LIGHTNING can you believe it? Who gets struck by lightning lol” Man, the past couple decades of focus group-addled script-by-committee franchise pablum have drastically lowered the standards for weirdness in our society if this borderline generic action-thriller with a couple off-beat elements is what passes for weird nowadays. I wouldn’t even call it quirky, let alone weird. Replace the Oscar-winning movie star with an actress from L.A. LAW and it could be a TV movie from the late 80s.

  11. I believe that article actually called it “bonkers.” Like, in the headline. That was the entire part of the article.

    Words just simply have no meaning anymore.

  12. Can we talk about the FX for a moment? The way people kept talking about them, I expected some SPAWN shit, but they not just actually looked pretty good (Except for the big run-from-the-fire at the end, none of that looked too unrealistic and even that one was well done), apparently lots of it was even done for real, with a fake forest that was built for this movie and burnt down under professional supervision. I have seen more than one filmed fire that looked more fake than it should, so I do believe them. But I do agree that nothing in there is BACKDRAFT mindblowing.

  13. *entire point of the article

  14. Majestyk, you got me curious enough to read that review, and it’s indeed a deeply bizarre experience. Nothing particularly weird or crazy happens in THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, but the whole review is the writer (poorly) recounting some of the basic and honestly pretty traditional plot beats like it’s the MIAMI CONNECTION or something. Very strange.

  15. The writer also clearly did not understand the film’s most basic plot points. The kid’s dad was not investigating a mob boss. Tyler Perry was not playing a mob boss. (There is no mob boss. I have no idea where she got the idea there was a mob boss in this story.) The assassins are not brothers. She seems to think that the movie explicitly not telling you what (no doubt extremely boring) forensic accounting evidence was in the folder because any actual imbecile could tell you that it doesn’t fucking matter in the slightest was, like, a huge plot hole. I’m sure she complained that Tarantino fucked up by not showing us what was in the suitcase in PULP FICTION, too. It’s like, yeah, any movie can seem like a crazy dadaist descent into madness if you don’t pay attention to it. You just look up from your phone every ten minutes after missing several scenes of connective tissue and say, “Wow, I don’t understand what’s going on. Oh well. I am very smart and also hilarious so IT MUST BE THE MOVIE’S FAULT.”

    I honestly do not trust the opinion of anyone who gets paid to write on the internet. Their brains have been corrupted.

  16. While researching the review (I always have to look up character names and stuff) I got very confused by Wikipedia seeming to think the killers are brothers and worried that I missed something. I determined that maybe they were brothers in the book but not specified in the movie. Anyway now I have to find this review.

  17. I Can't Stop Thinking About the Bonkers Angelina Jolie Firefighter Movie

    In Those Who Wish Me Dead, Hollywood’s latest piece of auteur thriller cinema, Angelina Jolie portrays an existentially depressed smokejumper—a particular type of firefighter specializing in first-response to wildfires—who is deemed too traumatized by an incident in which she witnessed three people die to continue…

    The worst part is that the commenters all smell blood in the water and pile on. HA HA SO CRAZY SHE GETS BLISTERS

    What?

  18. “But then Deputy Sheriff Shane figures it out and also, there’s a long scene in which his wife, who is both pregnant and a survivalist, has to fight off the assassins? I cannot believe I am writing this?”

    Oh well, at least she says she liked it. It’s better than when people write reviews like that and say the movie is horrible. But maybe she’ll do that if she ever encounters an actual “bonkers” movie.

  19. Survivalists can’t get pregnant, Vern. That’s just science.

  20. Was she popping blisters with a knife when the kid showed up? If so I should remove that line about her maybe being a cutter. I wasn’t sure what was going on there.

  21. Another part that gets me is “the firefighting action slash movie-long assassin chase turns into a weird trauma buddy comedy between Angelina Jolie and the tween,” as if that’s some sort of wacky swerve, like the movie changes genres like it’s ADAPTATION or BONE TOMAHAWK or something. Any action movie where two characters are teamed up is going to include moments where they bond, and probably more than 50 per cent of the time they’re bonding over their trauma. That’s the most normal convention in the world. It’d be wackier and more noteworthy if it didn’t happen.

    As for calling it a ‘comedy,’ I guess she’s reacting to some of the brief moments of levity? The kind that almost every single movie ever created has? Very odd stuff.

  22. “And then at the end, get this…there’s a big like fight or whatever and then the GOOD GUY kills the BAD GUY! I mean…wow. Just wow. I can’t even. Who comes up with this stuff, am I right?”

  23. Somewhere in the rambling morass of that article lies a kernel of truth: This movie suffers from one of the many modern malaises infecting screenplays: The ” Let’s throw everything and see what sticks” syndrome.

    You want to make a movie where Angelina Jolie rescues a boy and takes on his 2 scumbag pursuers in the wake of a raging forest fire…DO THAT

    You want to make a movie where Jolie’s PTSD-sufferer needs to get her shit together in time to help her team combat a raging forest fire…DO THAT

    Hell, kick Jolie out of the film altogether and make it about a Sheriff who comes to the rescue of a young boy pursued by 2 scumbags but in a surprising twist, it’s his pregnant wife who turns out to be the real bad-ass…DO THAT (part of me wishes we’d got this version)

    But no. They ended up doing all 3 and it’s a royal mess. And this is from the director of the excellent WIND RIVER???

    BTW, any film that criminally wastes Jon Bernthal is already on very shaky footing with me.

  24. “I don’t know about Hoult, but I read an interview with Jolie awhile ago where she said she only really makes movies for her kids anymore.

    I figured her kids were 16-17 and watching a lot of shitty action movies on cable so…”

    Poor Hoult, from FURY ROAD, X-MEN, a TOLKIEN biopic and TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG to this. The nose bleed he got from the precipitous drop in quality must have been horrendous. Hope the check made up for it.

    As for Jolie, if she is making movies for her kids, it’s a pity that WANTED and SALT didn’t get a lot more rotation at home on Movie Night.

  25. Come on, let’s not pretend that playing one of the two main bad guys in a mix of survival movie and action thriller from an acclaimed writer/director starring Angelina Jolie (and depending when he was cast, already a few more other cool actors) doesn’t sound like a fun gig (that most likely also paid well). It’s not like he was doing a SyFy original movie or one of those kids movies with a wisecracking CGI version of an old cartoon character.

  26. Oh, I’m sure this must have been a fun gig. Just like I’m guessing stuck in sweltering heat in a dessert filming FURY ROAD may not have been so much fun. But as to whether he’s gonna remember this sub-par TV Movie where his sole standout scene is punching Jolie repeatedly in the face or being part of the biggest, baddest and wildest action movie hatched in the 21st century (if you’ll forgive the hyperbole) when he’s kicking back on a rocking chair with a couple of grandkids playing at his feet is another thing.

  27. Yeah, this is a perfectly fine use of Hoult. Not something he needs to regret or be embarrassed by, and I doubt the idea he should regret or be embarrassed by it has ever crossed his mind, during or since. Also, I agree with Majestyk that he Gillen are highlights.

  28. Old bastards like us shouldn’t make fun of positive newcomers. Some day they just might have a successful movie sight where we’re desperately trying to tell everybody that we were around when Bruce Willis had hair…

  29. “where we’re desperately trying to tell everybody that we were around when Bruce Willis had hair…” or gave half a shit

  30. I in no way suggested Hoult would be or needed to be embarrassed. The perceived quality drop in his filmic choices is seen from my very subjective view as the audience. I’d make the same remark about Tom Hardy going from FURY ROAD to CAPONE. I doubt any actor is truly embarrassed about their choices as long as a substantial check clears.

  31. You’re telling me you think he did CAPONE for the money? That’s like the Tom Hardyest role ever invented. Also, he always says he had a horrible time making FURY ROAD, even though he now realizes it’s a masterpiece. I’m sure he had more fun waddling around mumbling and sucking on a carrot like he was born to do.

  32. I’ve never understood all the lobbying for Hardy to become the next Bond. But when you think about it, he could be the logic step from Craig’s neurotic problem solver to full a blown psycho killer.

  33. “You’re telling me you think he did CAPONE for the money? ”

    No, I’m saying from my very unique and very subjective POV, CAPONE is an embarrassment. From Hardy’s POV, though, it must have been a walk in the park as opposed to being stuck in a moving vehicle in the middle of a desert in the scorching heat and an antagonistic Theron.

    But Christ, Mumblecore Hardy needs to be banished forever. It was barely tolerable in THE REVENANT and by the time CAPONE rolled by, it was excruciating. I mean, INCEPTION and THIS MEANS WAR clearly demonstrate he can speak like a suave charmer, so affecting a talking style that sounds like there’s five medium sized pebbles stuck in your mouth is annoying as hell.

  34. pegs, count me as one of those who NEVER envisioned Hardy as Bond. Taking the 2 examples I listed, INCEPTION and THIS MEANS WAR and maybe one of the Kray brothers in LEGEND, is the closest Hardy has come to mimicking a suave Bond-ian persona, and even then, he’s a better fit as a Bond villain. Ditto Michael Fassbender. There’s an edge to these guys, and while the Craig era has given us a tougher, harder and more ruthless Bond, I’m with you that Hardy is an easier sell as a Bond gone totally unhinged.

    Cavill for Bond! Fuck yeah!

  35. Sorry, no one can be the greatest symbol of pop culture from two countries at the same time. Cavill has to choose between Supe and Jimmy!

  36. I love Cavill as Supes it’s just sad they’re in films which have gone down as the most divisive in the history of comic book movies. We still look back with wistful fondness at the Reeve era in spite of not all the films being good, but I fear in 10 years, when people discuss Cavill’s turn as the Man Of Steel, “Neck Snap”, “Martha” and “Moustache” will be dominating the conversation.

  37. Asking Tom Hardy not to mumble is like asking James Brown not to dance. Sure, he does other stuff well too, but why chain him to the earth when he was born to fly through space?

  38. I quite enjoyed this as a solid, mid-budget, three-star suspense thriller with a quality cast.

    KayKay: Cavill would be decent no doubt for Bond, but I want either Dan Stevens in ‘The Guest’ mode, or Dev Patel with his tongue halfway in his cheek.

    Vern: have you seen the Fear Street trilogy that’s released on Netflix these last three Fridays? Damn good fun all of them.

  39. Beans – only watched the first one so far, but plan to review once I have time to see all three. There’s a sudden avalanche of shit to watch while I’m already behind on ’91.

  40. Thomas Caniglia

    July 19th, 2021 at 7:27 am

    It may be basic of me, or a hang up, or I am a few steps behind the current mindset curve for moviewatchin’, but when an actor is as big a public phenomenon as Angelina Jolie, they seem like products and I lose interest in their movies. It’s like when Madonna wanted to make things like Swept Away. Everything they do seems like a showcase or a vanity project. When Angelina Jolie is in a movie I imagine the “What Just Happened/Devil’s Candy” style behind the scenes zany tale of rascally producers and their quirky clients that got the movie made. Maleficent was an exception for me because she was playing a creature of fantasy in a fantasy land, but in general Angelina Jolie playing a normal put-upon person or a kung fu masterspy are just not attractions for me.

    Capone is very fresh in my mind because I just watched it the first time a couple of weeks ago. I liked it as a performance piece. It was fun watching Hardy walk around and comically react to everything with surprised confusion. Storywise it was a mess, but think that was deliberate. I wish he’d gone with a different voice because he sounded very cartooney, but a great performance in a weird movie overall.

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