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Click for full sized poster

Mr. Brooks

Starring Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Danielle Panabaker
Screenplay by Bruce A. Evans & Raynold Gideon
Directed by Bruce A. Evans
link to official website

Every four years or so we see a film in April or May that pretty much sets the bar for everything else to follow, usually meaning that it will be the last week in December before we see anything as good. We summarize films like these as follows:

IN SHORT: Best of the Year (so far). [Rated R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, nudity and language. 120 minutes]

Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is a man wrapped too tight. Some sort of high powered job with an office with a view. Deep inside, though, is a little voice" -- let's call him Marshall (William Hurt) -- gently teasing and pushing all the nasty impulses just begging to get out and provide physical release. Similar to orgasm but without the mess. It isn't that his physical needs aren't met at home by lovely wife Emma (Marg Helgenberger) or that his emotional needs aren't sated by said wife and a college aged daughter, Jane (Danielle Panabaker). It isn't that he doesn't try to control his problems. He's been keeping them in check, talking of his "addiction" at AA meetings. Alcohol isn't the problem, though it would probably be a good substitute if he could drink himself into oblivion all night. No, on his down time Mr. Brooks takes his glasses off a la Superman, though his costume is black from head to toe and includes leather gloves and a very sharp knife.

Mr. Brooks like to hunt. Humans. He is very good at what he does. He's managed, utilizing AA meetings, to hold off for two years. Two very, very long years.

The press has named him "the thumbprint killer" from his signature trademark of pressing the victim's thumb into an ink pad and leaving the at the crime scene. We gather from our viewing that the number of kills attributed to him by said press isn't even close to reality. It is enough that there is a full time police detective, Tracy Atwood (Demi Moore) on the case. That is, while the detective isn't ensnared in a nasty divorce action by a husband, a greedy and soon to be ex- Jesse Vialo (Jason Lewis) and his lawyer (Reiko Aylesworth) who wants a substantial hunk of her $60 millions inheritance. As the story develops we will learn that Mr. Brooks considers Ms. Atwood a sympathetic adversary and decides to . . . uh, no, we've said too much. But it doesn't go where you think it does. <vbg>

One evening Mr. Brooks goes out "to work" and gets sloppy. He is seen, and subsequently tracked down by . . . call him "Mr. Smith" (Dane Cook). Frankly, Smith thinks tracking and hunting would be fun. He wants lessons. Brooks takes Smith on. He doesn't really have a choice, but he does have a plan. That's all you need to know.

Seriously. We sat through Mr. Brooks in a theater with a projectionist that either didn't know what he/she/it was doing or had lousy equipment or a combination of both and endured two hours of sound levels dropping out or booming in or reel starts and ends clashing and, you know what? This film is so good we didn't go nuts when audience members started pulling out their cell phones to call their friends to tell them how lousy the movie (meaning the projection) was. We scheduled a second showing but had to miss it because we got, literally, sicker than a dog.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Mr. Brooks, he would have paid . . .

$10.00

We'd pay real money for this movie. It's that good.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.