Cold in July

After panicking and shooting a burglar who’s broken into his Texas house, Richard (Michael C. Hall) deals with the fallout—including the vengeful threats of the dead man’s dangerous father, Russel (Sam Shepard). Dour and angry, Cold in July grinds along until Don Johnson shows up midway through, playing a private eye named “Jim Bob Luke” who drives a red convertible with longhorn steer horns mounted to the grill. Soon enough, the three forge an awkward alliance to get to the bottom of a shadowy conspiracy. Johnson brings a welcome, easy levity to the otherwise grim proceedings, but neither the pulp-noir script (by Nick Damici and Jim Mickle, adapting Joe R. Lansdale’s novel) nor Mickle’s self-conscious direction ever gel for long enough for the film to find a voice. by Erik Henriksen
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Jim Mickle
Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw, Michael C. Hall