Sadly, the final moments fail to provide the cathartic release the setup promises.
VIOLET & DAISY
⋆⋆½ out of four stars
Rated: Not rated, but has scenes of bloody gun violence. • Theater: Regal Eagan.
This quirky indie has a terrific opening, as two young women dressed as nuns deliver boxes of Righteous Pizza before opening fire on an apartment full of unsuspecting lowlife targets. All while “Angel of the Morning” plays on the soundtrack.
Despite a solid effort by Alexis Bledel (Violet) and Saoirse Ronan (Daisy) as teenage assassins, it’s all a bit downhill from there, as the film bounces bewilderingly between genres: crime, black comedy, kinky-teen manga, fantasy, David Lynchian art-house and tearjerker.
Writer/director Geoffrey Fletcher (who wrote the screenplay for “Precious,” which I loved) gets a nuanced, low-key performance from James Gandolfini as a rub-out target, but it’s a thankless role shot entirely in a “Blue Velvet”-style apartment.
Our deadpan young antiheroes are as likable as freelance killers are likely to get. Ronan in particular, with her icy sad eyes and naive-saint mien, casts a spell.
The script might have pushed harder, and included more incident and less of the rote psychologizing that bogs things down in the final reel.
GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY
⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rated: Not rated.
Theater: Trylon Microcinema, 7 & 9 p.m. Mon.-Tue., 7 p.m. Wed., 3258 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls., 612-424-5468 or take-up.org.)
Fans of ’90s alt-soul star Jeff Buckley already know the sad story line told in this biopic. The folk-star absentee father (Tim Buckley) dies young, and so does the son, who — just before his death — becomes an even more revered singer than his dad. Brooding “Gossip Girl” hunk Penn Badgley delivers a pivotal performance as the younger Buckley, coming off with just enough pretentiousness and attitude.
The film’s barely-there plot centers around a 1991 tribute concert to Tim in New York where Jeff reluctantly performed (inadvertently sparking his own career as a result). You feel the music here better than in many similar biopics, with Tim’s recordings used intermittently alongside flashbacks that star Ben Rosenfield as the shadowy ’60s folkie, who turned more experimental and jazzy over the course of nine albums.