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Love Ranch 

Directed by Taylor Hackford (eOne)

Helen Mirren is a versatile actor, adept at assuming the form and character of very different women, but viewers are dropped into the lives and work of her character, Grace, and husband Charlie Bontempo (Joe Pesci). The couple run a legalized brothel in Reno, Nevada. The film could’ve and should’ve started with its ending, with the surviving and victorious protagonist looking back on how it all went down. That way, details about how and why Grace and Charlie chose this life and pursuit could’ve been provided and the movie could’ve avoided a tacked-on ending and boring linearity. There are passing and easily forgotten references to the characters’ backstories, especially Charlie’s. Pesci’s performance amounts to a repeat of past roles with the volume turned down. And, playing Argentinian boxer, Bruza, Sergio Peris-Mencheta’s material limits him to an overwrought stereotype, the fading pugilist and Latin lover to Mirren’s character.
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