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Local critics slice up 'Hitchcock,' split on 'Killing Them Softly'

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"Hitchcock," a semi-fictional behind-the-scenes look at the making of "Psycho" starring Anthony Hopkins in the title role, and the Brad Pitt mob thriller "Killing Them Softly" are two of the major releases opening wide in theaters this week.

Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press rips "Hitchcock" mercilessly, calling it a "lie-opic" instead of a "biopic," saying the "making of 'Psycho'" didn't happen exactly as the film suggests.

While he's tough on Hopkins' portrayal of Hitchcock, Hewitt is far more complimentary of Helen Mirren as the director's wife and unsung creative partner, as well as Scarlett Johansson as "Psycho" star Janet Leigh.

Colin Covert of the Star Tribune shows "Hitchcock" a little more compassion, but says the film doesn't probe "the dark emotional issues motivating a merchant of menace."

Like Hewitt, Covert takes shots at Hopkins' performance, saying "his acting is superficial impersonation."

Here's my interview with Mirren about playing Reville.

See the trailer for "Hitchcock" below.

"Killing Them Softly" fares much better with the local critics.

Kristin Tillotson of the Star Tribune says the ultra-violent film -- about an enforcer (Pitt) who hunts down thieves who ripped off a group of mobsters at a poker game -- "is a visual treat with fine performances, but pounds home its points with a relentless lack of subtlety."

Hewitt praises director Andrew Dominik in his Pioneer Press review saying "Killing Them Softly" is a "muscular, confident piece of filmmaking" and "feels alive and pulsing and full of energy."

Eric Henderson of said both "Killing Them Softly" and "Hitchcock" are disappointing, and clearly was most underwhelmed by the latter.

Taking aim at "Silence of the Lambs" Oscar winner Hopkins, Henderson says, "'Hitchcock' comes off as nothing more than a tacky excuse to seat the portly Master of Suspense in front of a heaping plate of fava beans and a nice chianti."

See the trailer for "Killing Them Softly" below.

Bring Me The News news curator Tim Lammers is also a nationally-syndicated movie journalist whose work appears on more than 50 TV affiliate web sites in the U.S. Tim has interviewed more than 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career, and locally, he reviews films on "KARE 11 News at 11" and WCCO Radio. Tim's work is also featured on his website,

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