Blood and Wine [1996]

You can feel the gears grinding, trying to turn this attempt at film noir into something sleek and insinuating, instead of the labored near miss it turns out to be. Jack Nicholson is a Florida wine merchant whose business isn't as good as he has his unhappy wife (Judy Davis) believe. He's also consistently at odds with his churlish stepson (Stephen Dorff). Meanwhile, Nicholson is plotting to steal an expensive diamond necklace and dump his wife, aided by his mistress (Jennifer Lopez) and a sleazy safecracker (Michael Caine). It's the kind of thing James M. Cain used to toss off effortlessly, but in director Bob Rafelson's hands the strain shows at every seam as crime and romantic treachery put all of the characters on a violent collision course. --Marshall Fine

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