Life of Crime ★★★
This entertaining 1970s-set crime caper shares characters with Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, as both films were adapted from Elmore Leonard novels (The Switch and Rum Punch, respectively). Written on spec and directed by fan Daniel Schechter, the blandly retitled Life of Crime boasts the author as exec producer, although he died before its release. When you see a lithe Yasiin Bey (the artist formerly known as Mos Def) bickering with fellow small-time ex-con John Hawkes, you’re actually seeing youthful versions of the characters played by Samuel L Jackson and Robert De Niro in the Tarantino movie. Jennifer Aniston shines as the kidnapped socialite wife of philandering tycoon Tim Robbins, who inconveniently doesn’t want her back. Enjoying the Crimplene look of that tacky era, albeit predominantly staged indoors, the film catches some of Leonard’s freewheeling style, and Isla Fisher, Will Forte and Sons of Anarchy’s Mark Boone Junior boost a subtle and supple cast.
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