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Maybe because writer Ellroy was so busy slumming and sleazing the material, the film never gains much plot speed or the absorbing grip of last year’s The Lincoln Lawyer. Too many scenes are sagging mood-sponges, despite strong dialogue (as when trophy-wife Wright mentions her old husband: “He’s taking a six-hour nap. I’m taking a five-hour vodka”). Harrelson is highly credible as this toxic urban dog, but Dave Brown is never much more than a loser.


Oscar pix picks. These are my favorites and my guesses for the Oscars contest beaming our way Sunday night.

Picture (my fave: Moneyball; will win: The Artist); Director (my faves: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris and Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; will win: Allen or Hazanavicius); Actor (my faves: Brad Pitt, Moneyball, and Jean Dujardin, The Artist; will win: George Clooney, The Descendants); Actress (my fave: Viola Davis, The Help; will win: Davis or Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady); Supporting Actor (my fave and likely the winner: Christopher Plummer, Beginners); Supporting Actress (my fave: Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs; will win: Bérénice Bejo, The Artist).

Reviewed in the movie capsules: Act of Valor, Father’s Day, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Perfect Sense.

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