“The Hot Spot / Killing Me Softly” on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory, August 13th!

Shout! Factory is releasing two sexy thrillers on Blu-ray for the first time! The double feature of The Hot Spot / Killing Me Softly will be in stores August 13.

Experience film noir like never before when a lowlife drifter (Don Johnson, Django Unchained), who sells used cars in a Texas burg, robs the local bank and gets involved with two sultry women: one bad, one innocent. Based on Charles Williams’ 1952 novel Hell Hath No Fury and directed by Dennis Hopper, this steamy noir also stars Barry Corbin, Charles Martin Smith, Jack Nance, Jennifer Connelly, Jerry Hardin, Leon Rippy, Virginia Madsen and William Sadler. Rated R.

From the very moment that Alice (Heather Graham, The Hangover) locks eyes with Adam (Joseph Fiennes, American Horror Story), a mysterious stranger, she is catapulted into a whirlwind of intense erotic desire and adventure, risking everything just to be with him. But when secrets from Adam’s past begin to surface, Alice finds herself in a bizarre and potentially lethal situation she can’t escape. Acclaimed director Kaige Chen directs this contemporary suspense thriller, now on blu-ray for the first time. Unrated and uncut.

DVD Review "Killing Them Softly"

Actors: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn
Directors: Andrew Dominik
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
Run Time: 97 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

“Killing Them Softly” is adapted from George V. Higgins’ 1974 novel “Cogan’s Trade”. It is a hitman movie that is disguised under a film about the economic crash. Brad Pitt doesn’t arrive on the screen until around 25 minutes in but he gives a very strong performance along with Scoot McNairy. You may know Scoot from 2010’s “Monsters” and last year’s “Argo”. The film also co-stars Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, and Sam Shepard.

For the film, Brad Pitt was reunited with director Andrew Dominik after “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”, a film that no one saw. I wasn’t blown away from the film as a whole but I like certain things about it. Besides the acting, I liked it’s gritty feel, the robbery scene was well shot and the slow-mo assassination scene was very neat. I would say watch it for the performances but the film itself isn’t sharp enough to keep your attention.  I would call it a one-timer and in a year I would have forgotten this film every existed.

Official Premise: Adapted from George V. Higgins’ novel and set in New Orleans, Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is an enforcer for the Mob. When a high-stakes Mob protected card game is heisted by some small time crooks Cogan is called in to track them down and restore order to the local criminal economy.

The special features are disappointing to say the least.  There are only four deleted scenes that add up to less than ten minutes. Lastly there is a “Making of Killing Me Softly” featurette but it only runs five minutes, which is way to shot to give a behind-the-scenes look.  The DVD release also doesn’t come with any digital copies like the Blu-ray release.  I would have hoped for at least an Ultraviolet digital streaming copy to be included.

Scoot McNairy chats about roles in "Argo", "Killing Them Softly" & "Promised Land"

2012 has been a busy year Scoot McNairy co-starring in three major films including “Argo”, “Killing Them Softly” and “Promised Land”. Scoot broke out last in 2010 with his role in Gareth Edwards’ “Monsters” (brilliant film BTW). Media Mikes took out some time to chat with Scoot to chat about 2012 and what he has planned for 2013.

Mike Gencarelli: You got to work with Brad Pitt in “Killing Them Softly” and Ben Affleck in “Argo” and Matt Damon in “Promised Land”, how was it going up against these actors?
Scoot McNairy: Not sure what it means to go up against these actors. I feel more like its an opportunity to work WITH these actors. I have watched ALOT of films over the last 20 years and some I watch over and over again. Most of these films in the past that I really loved have had Matt or Ben or Brad in them. So I was just really excited to be working with these guys based on the films that I had seen them in over the years. It was a great experience on all three of the films. I’m just really looking forward to working with them all again in the future.

MG: Your role in “Argo” as Joe Stafford was quite intenseand emotional; tell us about working on this film?
SMN: “Argo” was such a great experience. Working with everyone on that film down to the crew and the cast because you really felt like everyone really wanted to be there and were very happy to be on that job. Ben is an incredible filmmaker not just with “Argo” but his other two films as well. As far as the emotional aspects or the intensity, I think it was an emotional and intense time so we were all just trying to capture that and i think Ben did a great job at doing that.

MG: Out of the three roles, what was your most challenging and how did you prepare?
SMN: Well “Promised Land” was a role that felt very close to home for me being that I spent a lot of my childhood on a farm in Paris Texas. So that was really drawing from what I knew.
“Killing them Softly” was most challenging just based on I felt as though I had a lot riding on that film. I was a big fan of Andrew’s (Dominik) last two films, so I just wanted to focus on the work and be on point for Andrew. It was a lot of preparation during that film that I have blocked out of my head. As well we filmed that almost two and a half years ago now.

MG: After a high-profile 2012 year, what do you have planned for 2013?
SMN: I really looking forward to seeing Steve McQueen’s film “Twelve Years a Slave”. I had a wonderful time working with him. I’m also got a few others shooting this year called called “The Rover” and another film called “Frank”. They should be out end of 2013 or beginning of 2014.

Film Review “Killing Them Softly”

Starring: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins and James Gandolfini
Directed by: Andrew Dominik
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 37 mins
The Weinstein Company

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I’m sure it sounded like a great idea. You do a movie about the mob, throw in the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression then cast top notch actors like Brad Pitt and Ray Liotta. But you forgot to check the script. What do you do, hot shot? WHAT DO YOU DO?

It’s several weeks before the 2008 Presidential Election and the economy is bad for everyone. Even the petty thieves are down on their luck. Two of them – Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) – are about to try to change it. They’ve learned from their friend Squirrel (Vincent Curatola, probably best known as “The Sopranos” Johnny Sack) about a high stakes card game being hosted by local hood Markie Trattman (Liotta). It seems that some time ago Trattman arranged for one of his games to be robbed. The guys figure if it gets robbed again those inconvenienced will assume Trattman was up to his old shenanigans and he’ll be the one held responsible. They’re right. But they’re also wrong.

Visually interesting with some fine performances, “Killing Them Softly” suffers from a script that can best be described as Quentin Tarantino meets Kevin Smith. All of the fancy overlapping dialogue is there, with just a bit of raunch thrown in to make it interesting. Sometimes. The three top names seem committed to the story, though. Pitt is fun to watch as Jackie, a hit man brought in to correct the current situation. With his hair slicked back and goatee he bears more than a slight resemblance to the late Robert Goulet. If he can sing I may have just found his next project. As the mob lawyer trying to have things done under budget (he insists that any hit man flying in fly coach) Jenkins is his usual dry self. As a fellow hit man dealing with marital problems Gandolfini runs the gambit of emotions.

Writer/director Dominik previously gave us “Chopper” (where we first met a bad-ass Eric Bana) and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (which also starred Pitt). With the exception of some fine visual effects he takes a step back here.