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Costner film really slays 'em

March 15, 2007|Sheigh Crabtree | Special to The Times

Las Vegas — KEVIN COSTNER may be trying to reinvent himself as a darker, edgier leading man but when he introduced costar Demi Moore before unspooling "Mr. Brooks," his new serial killer thriller, he sounded more like a host on a plastic surgery reality show.

"With the way she looks, she's gonna be making movies a lot longer," the actor said, as the 44-year-old Moore glided across the stage to the delight of hundreds of theater owners Tuesday night at the Paris Hotel & Casino here.

Good looks aside, never mind the talent of its stars, "Mr. Brooks" is one gory movie. It follows the blond all-American everyman -- who runs, get this, a wildly successful box factory -- as he wrestles with a bloodthirsty alter-ego played by William Hurt, who spends much of the movie intoning blood lusts from the back seat of a Volvo while Moore dukes it out as a rich heiress who prefers bagging killers to Bulgari sapphires.

Clearly, some of these conceits, including the killer's lavish dissection chamber -- outfitted with sexy track lighting secreted away in a pottery shed -- were a little tough for the audience to swallow. In fact, if there were a giant thought-bubble above the throng gathered after the screening, it would have read: "What the

"It's really surprising ... ," said Linda Zurich, a fiftysomething multiplex owner from upstate New York. "I know it's way too bloody and edgy for most of my contemporaries and that will make it tricky to book. I'd say it would probably play better in urban areas, but I'm not sure if [Costner] attracts a sophisticated crowd."

At an after-party, a sixtysomething couple, owners of a small circuit in Washington state, said the movie had them rethinking their yard. "I've got a shed out back where I do some pottery. I think now my wife wants to monitor my daily activities," the man joked. "Yeah," his wife said, "but only from a video surveillance system."

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