John Hawkes

‘Life of Crime’ is a fun but lesser Elmore Leonard adaptation

Ordell Robbie (Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def) and Louis Gara (John Hawkes) get much more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer (Tim Robbins). As it turns out, Frank Dawson has no intentions of paying the ransom for the well-being of his wife, Mickey (Jennifer Aniston). He had been seeking a way to leave his wife of many years for his mistress (Isla Fisher), and fortunately Ordell and Louis took care of the messiness of actually leaving Mickey for him by kidnapping her.

Eastbound and Down Ep. 4.07 “Chapter 28” ‘celebrates’ a Kenny Powers Christmas

From the beginning, Eastbound and Down’s always been a show that operates on two narrative levels. The first of these is obvious: it’s the story of a man discovering the value of family, the baseball player finally rounding third and returning home. The second isn’t as easy to parse out in later seasons, but was quite prevalent in season one: Kenny Powers is the epitome of American’s obsession with the vapid, a satire of our culture’s addiction to celebrity and how one man gets lost in it – a materialization of all things material, so to speak. “Chapter 28” is a perfect marriage of these two ideas, taking on Famous Kenny and American Christmas in one fell swoop – not only delivering another outstanding episode in the series, but an important penultimate episode that narrows the focus heading into the final chapter.

TIFF 2013: ‘Life of Crime’ a fine addition to canon of Elmore Leonard adaptations

With the timing of a well-orchestrated heist, the latest screen adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel closes this year’s Toronto Film Festival. Given his recent passing and the well-deserved plaudits from various luminaries of pen and screen, his rap sheet has been celebrated over the past few weeks. Based on Leonard’s novel The Switch, writer and director Daniel Schechter has managed to embezzle a fine addition to the long list of lean Leonard works. Although it doesn’t quite hit the jackpot, it does manage to purloin some fine criminal characters and a gutsy group of belly laughs to boot.

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