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AnnaLynne McCord puts a comic spin on the femme fatale in '68 Kill'

AnnaLynne McCord puts a comic spin on the femme fatale in '68 Kill'
AnnaLynne McCord as Liza in the film "68 Kill." (IFC Midnight)

Femmes don't get much more fatale than Liza, the sexy, shameless criminal AnnaLynne McCord plays in writer-director Trent Haaga's comic noir "68 Kill." As shrewd as she is mean, Liza's such an extreme character that she throws Haaga's movie out of balance. Whenever she's not on the screen, the energy flags.

In this twisty, twisted film (adapted from a Bryan Smith novel), Matthew Gray Gubler stars as Chip, a perpetually disheveled blue-collar schmo who one day learns that his girlfriend Liza doesn't just like to play rough in bed, but is also a murderous psychopath, who's roped him into a plan to kill and rob their landlord.

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Chip tries to shake her off, but at each turn he runs into yet another domineering gal with loose morals, who uses him for sex and criminal muscle. "68 Kill" isn't meant to be realistic. It's perched halfway between pulp fantasy and escalating nightmare.

The story suffers diminishing returns as it unwinds with increasing violence and absurdity. Or maybe it's just that "68 Kill" puts the best material upfront, in the half hour or so that Chip spends discovering he's been sleeping with a super-villain.

Regardless, this movie deserves to find an audience among the grindhouse-minded. Those who pick through every motion picture searching for the "problematic" will want to steer clear of "68 Kill." But fans of wicked women may have a new cult favorite.

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"68 Kill"

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood

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