I saw Mr. Brooks a short while ago and I was surprised. Why surprise, you ask? Well, let's do a quick overview:
Writer / Director Bruce A. Evans
Pros: Screenplay of Stand By Me. Cons: Every other movie he's been affiliated with (Cutthroat Island, Jungle 2 Jungle, Kuffs, Assassins, etc.)
Leading Man Kevin Costner
Pros: Actually a pretty decent director Cons: He's not directing. And, generally, he's made out of cardboard.
Pros: Off the top of my head, the only thing I like that she's been in is a bikini. Wa-oh! Cons: That was 15 years ago.
Pros: N/A Cons: He's Dane Cook. Dane frigging Cook.
The only thing that made me think, "Oh this could be all right," was William Hurt, who is awesome in everything. I only went to see the movie because of other positive pre-reviews that I had read.
They were not wrong.
The two most surprising things to me in this movie are the performances by Costner and Cook. Costner is famous for his inability to act anything other than laconic, and Cook is famous for being a complete and utter jackass. This movie requires much more than that from both of them, and they both do extraordinarily well. I would not be surprised to see a nomination for Costner for acting this year, and those are words I never thought I would say. Demi Moore is also pretty good and William Hurt is amazing.
Good acting will only get you so far, though - you need good direction and a good script to read. In almost all ways, this is a great script, with great direction and I'm not using that word lightly. . The pacing is great. Dialogue: great. Story, action, suspense, mood, execution of ideas, lighting, art and set direction: all great. I'm trying to think about one part of the movie that I don't think was great, and I can't. There isn't a single part of it that I would classify as "bad". The only thing, and this is a stretch, the only thing is that if you don't like a well thought out thriller, then this isn't the movie for you. Yes, the worst thing about this is the ever-so-mild inaccessibility of the genre.
I recommend putting this on your list and seeing it.