Hmm ... I was hoping not to have to delve into the vault for my second review, but honestly ... I'd rather treat my hemorrhoids with a wasabi poultice than sit through New in Town. J. K. Simmons can offset a multitude of cinematic sins, but he's no match for Renee Zellweger, who strikes me as a poor man's Jennifer Tilly. No thank you. Taken? Maybe, but when I read about the film being "elevated" by Neeson's presence, I worry. For every Schindler, there's an Aslan on his curriculum vitae. Did he "elevate" Gangs of New York? Not appreciably. K-19: The Windowmaker? The Haunting? Phantom Menace? OK, I'll give you that last one ... he was the best thing about it, but that's like saying wasabi is the best horseradish product I've ever used to try to relieve my hemorrhoids.
Of course, by not writing about Taken, I'm missing out on the one-word review: Left. Fame eludes me for another week.
So, to the vault it is. I caught The Hard Word (2002) on IFC not too long ago, and I liked it well enough. It's one of those half decent movies you go around acting like you loved and then say to people, "You never saw The Hard Word? You have to see it. It's like a Guy Ritchie movie almost, but without Jason Statham." But it does have a guy: Guy Pearce, trying to recover from the disappointments of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Time Machine after the great and yet overrated Memento.
If you like heist movies and people speaking unintelligibly, you'll probably like The Hard Word. If you liked Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, you'll probably like The Hard Word. What? You never saw Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead? You have to see it. It's like Ocean's 11 but with Andy Garcia. Uh, wait a minute...
Anyhow, Pearce is good as usual (as always when he's in that "indie" niche he occupies so effectively). Rachel Griffiths is quite engaging as the bleached femme fatale. Check out if you get the chance ... the price is right.