The immediate post-Thanksgiving release schedule seems like the studios figure we’re all going to be too busy running around doing whatever holiday things need doing. Films going wide in the next few weeks are sparse and/or decidedly off-beat, until The Hobbit comes along to usher in the Christmas onslaught. And besides, the Twilights and Skyfalls are still stomping around, so why not try to counter-program a bit?
And if anything is counter-programming, it’s releasing a horror film at the happiest time of the year. But here comes The Collection, a sequel to the 2009 film The Collector that made all of $10 million. Sure, that was more than double its budget, but hardly the kind of windfall that would seem to justify another installment, and one that cost as much as the first film made altogether. Hey, maybe they just turned around and put the profits back into another film, hoping to make enough to pay for the third film in three years. And on and on in some kind of cinematic Sisyphean effort, always grossing just enough to have to make one more film, hoping to one day finally earn enough to stop. There are plenty of conjugations of “collect” left for them to turn into titles, so I say go for it.
Killing Them Softly is a different animal. Director Andrew Dominik has two well-regarded films under his belt (Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which some would argue is an outright masterpiece), and Brad Pitt isn’t a name to sneeze at. I have to give Pitt a ton of credit; the guy isn’t afraid to stray outside the safety of the big budget blockbusters (he starred in Jesse James), and doesn’t seem content to just keep playing the same pretty characters over and over again. Aside from Pitt, Softly also has Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini, finally giving us that GoodFellas/Sopranos crossover we’ve all been waiting for. But seriously, that’s a hell of a cast, and if nothing else, they’ll be intense. I have to admit I’m not as fluent with Dominik’s work as I should be — I have some online friends who are near acolytes for Jesse James, and I really should correct not having seen it soon — but this one definitely has me intrigued.
And just think of the all the adverbs there are to replace Softly for all the sequels!