Killing Them Softly

(R) ★★★☆☆

This stimulating black comedy from Kiwi director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) is a good one. Brad Pitt stars as hit man Jackie Cogan. The story takes place in 2008, and much of the dialogue in the film concerns the financial difficulties experienced by contract killers. It begins with the robbery of a high-stakes poker game, which sets off a flurry of violent events. While much of the story is familiar, it’s a taut, beautifully shot, pungent film that’s worth the time.

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Mercies, Whammies, Presidents


Mercies, Whammies, Presidents

By Jarret Keene

I’ve been petty about something and need to come clean. I intentionally ignored Vegas singer/guitarist Brendan Scholz’s new one-man acoustic project, Mercy Music, for this reason: Scholz essentially sidelined his band Deadhand to make time for his new tunes. Since Deadhand is my favorite rock outfit, I didn’t want to encourage him. I can’t deny it anymore: Mercy Music is a sonic blessing. I love it.