Thursday, April 9, 2015

Once is plenty: Kriv Stenders' been-there done-that KILL ME THREE TIMES hits theaters. Duck.

I love Simon Pegg (shown at center on poster, left) and will see him in just about anything. Now, I feel I have. A movie that recycles nearly every trope we've previously viewed in the way of Tarantino-ish, black-comedy thrillers, without adding even a whiff of something new, KILL ME THREE TIMES is a film that has no reason to exist. Other than that, it's a barrel of ugly, bloody fun. I suspect your enjoyment will depend on how many movies you have so far seen in your lifetime. A few too many and you'll be clock-watching often.

As written by newcomer James McFarland and directed by Kriv Stenders (at right) , the movie, shot in some lovely, sun-drenched, seaside locations in Western Australia, has comic noir written all over it -- with plot twists and turns so plenteous (though not particularly clever) that, after awhile, you'll yawn instead of gasp. But again, it you are a relative newcomer to comic noir thrillers, you may be very well sit up and take notice, thinking, "Wow -- this is cool!" At the very least you'll be watching a smart and attractive cast being put through their paces with professionalism and some nice cinematography (by Geoffrey Simpson).

But there is an obviousness about all of this that soon rankles. And the movie glorifies violence and blood without much else on its mind -- especially humor (what's here is pretty tired, even as delivered by the usually effective Mr. Pegg), wit or satire.

The budget must have been pretty "mini," too, as we see only characters who are absolutely necessary to the plot. No one else appears to even exist in the little seaside town. This makes the movie both fake in appearance and feeling, and since most of its characters are utterly venal and nasty (those who are not are simply stupid), you won't mind seeing most of them dead before the film has run its course.

These would include a local dentist (Sullivan Stapleton, two photos above) and his assistant/wife (Teresa Palmer, just above); Alice Braga (below, as their very unlucky patient, who seems to have connections to all the remaining folk in town); her creep of a husband (Callen Mulvey)...

...and her lover, played by yet another of the Hemsworth family, older brother Luke (below), who proves every bit as memorable a hunk of eye-candy as his younger siblings (if a bit shorter); and a local cop who's venal and nasty, too (Bryan Brown).

These folk diddle, dither, kill, maim and screw each other -- physically and figuratively -- until there's little left to do or see. Whether it's all your cup of tea is anybody's guess. I found it an almost shocking waste of time, while a compatriot of mine, whose opinions I value, told me he thought it was quite fun (he's much younger than I, however, and so has seen far fewer films).

From Magnolia's Magnet division and running, thank god, only 90 minutes, Kill Me Three Times -- after a spell on VOD -- opens tomorrow, Friday, April 10, in sixteen cities across the country, including New York (at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema) and Los Angeles (Landmark's NuArt). You can view all currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters listed, by clicking here.

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