"The Weekend Rent" offers quick-hit suggestions of what to watch at home to get psyched for new releases in theaters, on Fridays. Click on the titles to see how you can watch the movie right now.
The widest new release in theaters this weekend is Killing Them Softly, which stars Brad Pitt as professional hit man/mob enforcer who investigates a heist that takes place at a high-stakes, mob-protected poker game. The poster features Pitt looking formidable with a shotgun in hand, and it got us thinking about how good the 48-year-old actor is when he plays bad.
A trio of roles early in Pitt's career established him as a go-to guy to play dangerous types. In his breakout role as J.D. in Thelma & Louise, Pitt charmed the pants off newbie outlaw Geena Davis only to rob her blind after helping her get her groove back. Pitt's character Early Grayce in Kalifornia was even more dangerous—a white-trash serial killer able to charm his way into a ride from a educated couple played by David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes. Pitt might not have been much of a threat as the stoner roommate in True Romance, but it didn't take much for him to cough up the whereabouts of Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette).
The next few times that Pitt played edgy characters on-screen things got a little fantastical. As the vampire Louis in the adaption of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, Pitt plays a sensitive soul who is basically fang-raped by Lestat (Tom Cruise) and thrust into a life of living in the shadows as blood drinkers with their vampire daughter, Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). In Terry Gilliam's sci-fi film 12 Monkeys, Pitt plays the bath-salts crazy mental patient Jeffrey Goines—a man the time-travelling Bruce Willis discovers is the founder of the radical animal-rights group the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, which is responsible for the viral epidemic that decimated the planet. Then, in Fight Club, Pitt plays Tyler Durden—an anti-consumerism soap salesman who organizes the titular underground matches in which oridinary Joes beat the stuffing out of each other to release some tension. But is Tyler a real person or the guy office drones wish they could be?
In Guy Ritchie's Snatch, Pitt's Mickey O'Neil—a brutal bare-knuckle boxing champ who repeatedly refuses to take a fall despite being paid to do so—is anything but a figment of someone's imagination. Pitt then cleaned up to play smooth criminal Rusty Ryan, the best friend of Danny Ocean (George Clooney), in Ocean's Eleven and its two sequels.
This brings us to one of Pitt's meatiest roles as Lieutenant Aldo Raine in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Pitt is on the right side of the law as the head of a WWII 1st Special Service Force, but he recruits eight Jewish-American soldiers for a mission behind enemy lines during which he tells each of them to bring him the scalps of 100 Nazis and to take no prisoners. The Basterds and the "Bear Jew" (Eli Roth) become so feared that even Hitler interviews his soldiers about the threat. If Pitt can capture half of the fire he had as Aldo carving swastikas into the foreheads of Nazis, Killing Them Softly will not go quietly out of theaters.
All of the movies listed above are available on DVD, Blu-ray and/or VOD services. Killing Them Softly is now playing in theaters everywhere.