Scott Marks noon, March 5
After a contract killing goes wrong, a hitman hired on spec takes a 14-year-old virgin as his “retainer.” This is director William Friedkin’s second film with playwright Tracy Letts; their first pairing, Bug, turned out to be an effective gut-wrencher that never once felt like canned-theatre. You’ll need a Rival® electric opener to get through this stagebound potboiler. When it comes to upping the stimuli, cutting edge provocateurs Friedkin & Letts hit us with an inaugural close-up of Gina Gershon’s pubic mound. Stage nudity may still pack a wallop, but full-frontal on film? Surprising? Really? More innovation: Juno Temple is introduced by cribbing Elia Kazan’s signature image — a child bride sucking her thumb in a crib — from the 56-year-old Baby Doll. The rest is nonendearing unseemliness buffeted by endless profanity unimaginatively strung together. Mitigating circumstance: a fearless performance in Magic Mike followed by a charming, Zippo-flicking sociopath named Joe makes 2012 the year of the McConaughey. With Thomas Haden Church and Emile Hirsch, the latter once again doing a dead-on Sean Penn impersonation.
— Scott Marks