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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2008
Despite a,at times,somewhat wayward script we both enjoyed this film.It certainly helps that it has such a good cast,but it also has a good sense of time and place and recreates the late '40's early '50's very convincingly.Jared Leto and Salma Hayek are the real stars of the film as the murderous couple who prey on women through the Lonely Hearts ads.Hayek is frighteningly real as the possessive Martha and Leto is equally convincing as the sleazily weak yet violent Ray.She is driven to murder through a form of twisted love,he more because he is afraid of her and because he wants the money.Travolta and Gandolfini are almost as good,Travolta especially as the tormented detective haunted by his wife's suicide.
Good direction too.There were a couple of times where I was second-guessing the outcome of a scene,expecting the usual,lazy,cliche,only to be confounded.But it is the script that stops this being great rather than good.Although it is clever and interesting it tries at times for too much.Having said that,it's a better script than most and I'd recommend this film to anyone who's looking for something a little more emotionally engaging than your average Hollywood by the numbers thriller.It's got a good script,interesting characters who're given enough time to develop,and is nicely shot with a good eye for detail.I would add,though,that it is not for the weak of heart because several scenes are genuinely disturbing,although not gratuitously.If you enjoyed Zodiac I think you'll enjoy this.
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The pursuit of two grifters by a rugged but damaged cop contains plenty of old Hollywood themes, but Lonely Hearts adds a grim realism to the process. The cops look like cops used to (big and bad and gray and old) with James Gandolfini setting the tone. They may not have the modern neon CSI but they follow "clews". Their prey are brilliantly played by Jared Leto as the oily confidence trickster preying on lonely women, and Selma Hayek as his possessive and psychotic lover. Taking a lover along when gulling a woman may seem to be a case of "three's a crowd" but Selma has a solution. The sadness of the lonely women, the sudden and thoughtless brutality of the killings, the strange logic of the killers and the dogged Inspector Javert give the film a sad quality that seems very much of its era.
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This 2006 release is based on the true story of the notorious "Lonely Hearts Killers" of the 1940s, Martha Beck [Selma Hayek] and Raymond Fernandez [Jared Leto]. Detective Elmer C. Robinson [John Travolta] is a tough ’old school’ 1930’s cop whose wife has committed suicide leaving her 12 year old son in the care of husband. When he gets called to investigate a suicide he can’t get the thought out of his head that something is not right. So begins this Film Noir made in that 1930’s –40’s ‘Phillip Marlowe’ style. Robinson soon finds himself on the trail of Fernandez, a schemer who swindles lonely women out of their war pensions and savings. Along the way he meets Martha and the bodies begin to mount.
The film is engrossing and entertains but the real Martha was ‘heavy sett’ so the film has taken liberties and tends to skip over the bizarre relationship between the killers. There are also a number of minor detail changes in the way the featured murders were carried out. –presumably to gain the 15 rating [lose a *]. Other than that, it is pschycologically chilling, but isn’t ‘sexy’ as the banner proclaims.
The acting is good, as is the sound and picture quality but extras are limited. The disc offers Play, scene selection, trailer, future releases and set up [basically 5.1, 2.0 and subtitles on/off]. A deserving **** rating if your looking for a story that’s easy to follow and follows the Raymond chandler mould.
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VINE VOICEon 12 October 2011
This stylish film noir had everything with more grit that usual. The plot, faintly gruesome followed fairly standard detective murder fiction but it was done well. The femme fatale (actually as well as metaphorically) was seriously glamorous and seriously fatal. I'd never come across Salma Hayek before but she brought in overtones of Linda Fiorentino and The Last Seduction [DVD]. Her partner in crime was played by Jared Leto who has come a long way from My So Called Life [DVD].

John Travolta turned in a good but not amazing performance as the lead detective, surrounded by a good team. The supporting roles; his son, his lover, were well done too.

The unfolding of the plot, apparently based on a true story, was convincingly delivered. Overall both the main plot and the detailing were very well done. It's a great film.
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This is a star studded cast of a remake of a previous film. Much of the story is true except the role of the murderess is played by Selma Hayek, not an obese older woman. John Travolta, plays Elmer Robinson, the lead detective based in Long Island. His partner, Charles Hilterbrandt, played by James Gandolfini. Raymond Martin Fernandz played by Jared Leto, and Scott Caan plays the smart a**** junior detective. It was directed by Todd Robinson, the grandson of the lead detective, Elmer.

Why, this escaped the theatre so soon in 2097 is a mystery to me. This is a film of the early 1950's. A couple are preying on lonely women, stealing their money, and then murdering the women, trying to make it look like suicide. They might have succeeded if not for Elmer Robinson's great intuit, and the killing if a policeman in the mid-west. This is a good detective film Travolta and Gandolfini have good chemistry. Travolta has an interesting personal story that plays into this film, well. However, it is Jared Leto and Selma Hayek who steal the film. They are riveting when they are in the screen. Well done.

Recommended. prisrob 08-04-14
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on 9 May 2016
This is a very mainstream film
Dont even start to compare to the masterpiece THE HONEYMOON KILLERS
The actress playing MARTHA BECK is totally miscast
All in all a very dismal film with no redeeming features whatsoever
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Travolta and Gandolfini are brilliant in this atmospheric, true-crime thriller set in post-war America. It's vaguely reminiscent of LA Confidential but turns out, despite some moments of blood-soaked violence, to be telling a less bitter tale. LA Confidential was always going to end in tears: Lonely Hearts has at its core a story of a detective trying to make sense of his wife's ghastly suicide; trying to forgive himself, and trying to make amends. And that's only the sub-plot!

The major theme of Lonely Hearts is the rampage of a couple of grifters gone bad. They escalate from conning to murder and go on a spree which feels like the 1940's version of Natural Born Killers. I couldn't fault any of the lead actors in their gritty, naturalistic, occasionally shocking performances. Travolta was brilliant (watch his jaw muscles flexing while he doesn't say a word), and the scenes between him and Gandolfini were worth paying proper money for. The script us superb, even though some of the cop shop dialogue gets a bit mumbly and lost in the hubbub.

This should have been a huge hit at the cinemas. It's gem to watch on DVD. Thoroughly recommended. (Sexually explicit, BTW, so don't watch it with your granny...)
9/10

Worth watching if you liked:
Natural Born Killers [DVD] [1994]
L.A. Confidential - Special Edition [DVD] [1997]
Pulp Fiction (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1994]
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on 18 December 2012
Never known a film to evoke 40s America so totally - a feast of old cars, fashions and styles. Also manages to replicate the sort of hard-boiled, true crimes-style cop B-movies of the time. Kind of violent and dark, but solid entertainment.
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on 11 June 2016
Having recently watched the TV mini series The People V's OJ Simpson and reminding myself just how good John Travolta is, I decided to dig out Lonely Hearts from my collection as I have only seen it once since its release in 2007. Another reason for this was to try and forget the recent load of crap JT was in, Criminal Activities. But that's another story! On a more positive note his other straight to DVD/Bluray releases, The Forger and I am Wrath are half decent. Sorry I digress so I'll get on with the Lonely Hearts review.

Based on a true story, the film follows a pair of murdering psychopaths Martha and Fernandez (Jared Leto and Salma Hayek) who target older rich woman in the lonely hearts columns in the news paper, preying on the wealthy to get rich and commit cold blooded murder. They leave a trail of bodies across America but things take a very twisted turn for the worst when Martha (Hayek), posing as his sister, starts to have deeply disturbing feelings for her man as he works his way through the old bag's, convincing them he is in love with them.

Detectives Robinson (JT) and Hidlebrandt (James Gandolfini) are on the case picking up trail as the bodies start piling up.

The movie is very dark and at times uncomfortable to watch for all the right reasons because it makes no apologies for being exactly what it is: A very disturbing and twisted thriller. The performances are all very good showcasing just how much chemistry Travolta and Gandolfini (RIP) had. And the performances that Leto and Heyek give are very convincing and creepy.

So, all said and done you are left with something to think about after watching Lonely Hearts and being more than satisfied with this very solid movie but I could not decide wheather to award it 3 stars or 4 as there is not really anything to fault with the finished product. It's got to be a very bright 4 shining stars because of how effective the film is and how brave it dared to be because in the wrong hands it could have very distasteful.

The movie has a bit of a Clint Eastwood feel too with how the dark subject matter was dealt with. A bit like Eastwood's Oscar worthy Changeling.
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on 8 June 2012
This is the latest (as far as I know) film treatment of the true life "Lonely Hearts Killers" Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck, who in the America of the 1940s killed up to twenty single women in order to get their hands on their money, only to end up in the electric chair for their pains. The first version of the story was made in 1970 - "The Honeymoon Killers", with Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoller as the delightful pair of murderers.
In the first version of the story, we see the activities of the pair only through their eyes. In this film we have the story seen both through the eyes of the killers (this time played by Jared Leto and Salma Hayek as Ray and Martha) and of the police who track them - principally homicide dicks Elmer Robinson (John Travolta) and Charles Hilderbrandt (James Gandolfini).
The recreation of the period atmosphere is faultless, a hard trick to pull off successfully but done this time note-perfectly. Not just the costumes and hardware were bang-on, but that indefinable sense of being there at the time was conveyed as well (see "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion", which I've reviewed elsewhere, and shockingly bad films like "1941", for how NOT to do it). The four principal actors acquit themselves perfectly, especially Salma Hayek, who does the black widow role to perfection - what a femme fatale she would have made back in the heyday of such films in the 1940s!
My only gripe is that the producers seem to have felt it necessary to introduce the very contemporary method of dealing with the interior lives of the protagonists, especially the cops. We see the strained personal life of Robinson, which explains why Travolta plays him like a ticking bomb, ready to go off at the slightest touch, and we have the obligatory rivalry of the other cops, all foul-mouthed invective and two-fisted jockeying for position as if they can't function any other way (if they were like this in real life, nothing would ever get done). The trouble with this is that it introduces a contemporary, post-"Hill Street Blues" feel to an otherwise well-conveyed period piece, and also uses up time that would have been better employed in showing how the cops got onto the trail of the murderers in the first pace - much of their detection goes unseen, and we never really see how it is that they first find out who the killers were, clues being just served up as necessary to keep the plot moving.
Still, these are minor criticisms. It's a great, gripping and unswervingly grim thriller that deserves to be seen by anyone with a taste for the "Black Dahlia" style of film and subject.
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