Friday is movie day on the Takeaway. Today, in keeping with our week-long theme of love and death, we look at a film from each end of the spectrum: "Killing Them Softly" stars Brad Pitt, and "Anna Karenina" (going into wide release today) stars Keira Knightly.
In addition to hosting the podcast, Rafer is film critic for Newsday and Kristen is a culture producer for The Takeaway.
"I had high hopes for this movie, because this was directed by Andrew Dominik. Pitt and Dominik worked on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, one of my favorite films," Rafer says. But this movie? "It turns out to be a big metaphor for the financial crisis in America, and it was very heavy handed," he says. "It really took away from the entertainment value for me."
Kristen agreed. "This movie felt like watching C-Span," she says.
Anna Karenina, though, they both enjoyed immensely.
"This is a slightly different telling in that it all looks like it's on a stage, the walls fall away, the props move around them, you actually see their motions in a way that they look so choreographed it's almost like dance, and I thought initially when I first heard about it that it would be incredibly irritating," Kristen says. "But it's so beautiful, it's so well done, and it actually highlights the issue of the story, which is she's always on stage, and she can never live a full life, because she's being judged by the other aristocrats."
Rafer agrees completely. "This movie really took me by surprise," he says. "It also works as a really typical, lush adaptation of a literary novel that you might expect. It works on both levels, and I really loved it."