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The Ladykillers
DVD disk
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Perpetually Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks stars as the leader of a gang of somewhat dim-witted thieves who have a plan to empty out the coffers of the local casino by digging a tunnel under an old lady’s house who believes them to be musicians who are only jamming in her basement. All kinds of funny craziness ensues in this Coen Brothers’ produced and directed film.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I honestly was not looking forward to this film, because although Hanks is an extremely gifted actor and he’s appeared in some awesome movies over the years, I've become a little jaded by him of late, particularly as he's become somewhat overexposed over the past few years. That said, he did play his role as the very wordy Professor G.H. Dorr very well and fit in nicely with the other cast members. My absolute favorite actor here, on the other hand, was Marlon Wayans, not only because he is the best-looking Wayans brother in my view, but also because he was the funniest in this film as he made me laugh out loud a couple of times. No one else made me laugh, and that says a lot right there. The other roles are played by some good character actors, in particular the lovable Irma P. Hall who plays their sweet landlady who always seems to spoil their sinister intentions perfectly. Seeing George Wallace as the Sheriff was also a plus. The guy rocks.

The film is a remake of the 1955 English version starring Alec Guinness in the Hanks role but you don’t need to have seen the original version to appreciate this modern one. It is a well-written and entertaining piece of work with plenty of light-hearted and fun moments to spice it up. Not too long, under two hours is always a plus for me, and not too slow, and so the major complaint I had was that this film seemed “typical” of other farcical robbery films we have all seen and been bored with before, as well as Hanks speaking in such eloquent and wordy sentences making me dizzy at times. The film reminded me of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS a bit, especially the way Hanks spoke which was reminiscent of Peter Ustinov’s manner of speaking. The other major component in this movie was the Gospel music, which I enjoy but don’t exactly play at my pad either. It was a big part of the film, and it added a special touch that was cool, and yeah, it reminded me of another Coen brothers’ flick, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU, which also heavily featured Southern music.
THE EXTRAS
“The Slap Reel” Outtakes: Less than two minutes long but without question the best feature on this DVD. Hilarious, starring Marlon Wayans and the wonderfully funny Irma P. Hall as “the slapper”.

“The Gospel of the Ladykillers” Deleted Music Scenes: The rousing Gospel songs “Shine on Me” and “Trouble of this World” are sung in their entirety by the Abbot Kinney Lighthouse Choir. About 8 minutes long, and cool performances if you like Gospel music.

“Danny Ferrington: The Man Behind the Band” Featurette: Hanks talks here for a minute, as well as the Coen Brothers, but mostly we hear guitar master Danny Ferrington discuss how he made the old, Renaissance-type instruments that are part of Hanks’ makeshift band in the film. Ferrington talks about who he made guitars for in real life, mostly major Nashville stars, Johnny Cash included, but also about one of my favorite musicians for whom he also made a custom guitar, Kurt Cobain. Apparently it was Cobain’s dream guitar and Ferrington speaks highly of Kurt. He has also made guitars for one of the Beatles. A ten-minute featurette that will especially please guitar aficionados.

“The Ladykillers ScriptScanner” – enhanced computer feature: With this feature, for which you need a PC, one can read the Coens’ script while following along with the film. You can click on any line of dialogue to immediately interact with that scene.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
How many movies starring Tom Hanks do you know that aren't any good? My sentiments exactly. This film isn't the best of its genre, but unless you dislike robbery capers, Tom Hanks and gospel music, it's an easy enough watch. The extras are decent as well, and despite not cluttering itself with goodies, provide enough bits for fans. Depending on your own tastes vis-a-vis the Coen Bros' films, rent it or buy it today.
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