toms ‘The Bag Man’Somebody tell

‘The Bag Man’

Somebody tell John Cusack to stay out of motels and hotels. In 1408, he played a guy who checks into a haunted room, and all hell breaks loose.

In The Bag Man, it’s a fleabag motor inn with No. 13 on the door. You can tell it’s not exactly the Four Seasons by the on again/o toms ff again neon sign, and by the guy in the wheelchair behind th toms e office counter: It’s Crispin Glover, who can make “I need an imprint of your credit card” sound like a statement of utter madness.

Until the moment when Robert De Niro punches actress Celesta Hodge in the face, The Bag Man was looking mildly diverting a pastiche of Lynch and Tarantino, with a nod to Psycho and a lot of noir. Cusack has the title role, a cool killer hired by the sinister, silver haired De Niro character. It’s one of the latter actor’s hand me the paycheck jobs, requiring him to pummel blonds, soliloquize about trust, and say the words tropisms and stimuli. He is paying Cusack’s Jack to pick up a bag and hole up in this motel and whatever Jack does, do not look inside the bag.

Of course, there is a femme fatale first seen in streetwalker couture, accessorized with blue wig and red spiked heels. She is played by the very tall Rebecca Da Costa, who is from Brazil and was a model and delivers her lines in tall, Brazilian, model y ways.

A Russian dwarf, a pimp with an eyepatch, and a pair of local law enforcem toms ent o toms fficers show up not all at once, but all brandishing weapons and smelling of menace.

The Bag Man is a first feature by David Grovic, who directs and also cowrote the screenplay, which has a provenance that goes back to the actor James Russo and the Swiss Jungian psychologist Marie Louise von Franz. Von Franz’s connection may or may not explain why the movie references Hermann Hesse, or why De Niro says “tropisms.”

toms ‘The Bag Man’ isn’t a total dr

‘The Bag Man’ isn’t a total drag

“The Bag Man”, which exp toms ands into additional theaters on March 7, may not be a movie you’re familiar with, but the big name talent involved is extremely recognizable. John Cusack takes the lead as a career criminal named Jack who sent to retrieve a mystery bag, that he cannot look in under any circumstances, and then lay low at a sketchy motel while he waits for his employer, a mob type named Dragna to come and collect it. And just who did they tap to take on the role of cruel and violent Dragna, the king of mafia roles of course, Robert De Niro.

Related: toms Rebeeca Da Costa interview

Things go wrong for Jack almost from the word go. After getting shot trying to collect the bag he’s in no mood to suffer fools, but no sooner does he arrive at the indicated motel than he runs into complications with the nosey owner (played with a Southern twang by Crispin Glover), and not sooner does he settle himself in his room than he finds himself hiding a woman (Rebecca Da Costa), who with a blue wig and two less than gentlemanly dudes she wants to evade seems to be a down on her luck hooker, but who turns out to be much more than meets the eye.

John Cusack seems t toms o have a thing for making movies that take place in seedy middle of nowhere motels that are strewn with dark twists and violence, but hey, “Identity” worked well, and “The Bag Man” isn’t too shabby. toms The tension, both in the plot, and between Cusack and DeCosta keeps the film moving along and fascinating, but if it stumbles it is in trying too hard to be a suspenseful and twisty noirish thriller.

For her part, De Costa nails reinventing the idea of the femme fatale, Cusack is as effective as always and it need not be said that De Niro knows what he’s doing in this capacity, but the plot and the dialogue at times feel too slavish to the concept. It seems the filmmakers were determined to deliver enough surprises and gritty crime movie moments, but fell prey to the risk inherent in anything that is high style and high genre: Going over the line of genre tropes to the realm of cliche, and at turns it feels as if “The Bag Man” crosses that line.

By the time the big reveal roles around most viewers will find that their suspicions which have been kicking around for some while are proven correct, so the climax is less a surprise and more validation. Still those in the mood for suspense, crime, grit and some thrills could do much worse than “The Bag Man”.

toms ‘The Bachelor’ Ben breaks a he

‘The Bachelor’ Ben breaks a heart after hometown dates

PHOTOS: The Bachelor Ben Flajnik

But first, the hometown visits. Each woman Lindzi, Nicki, Kacie and crazy Courtney said they are falling for, or are in love with, our boy Ben.

Courtney in Scottsdale, Ariz.: Says Ben in his confessional before they get to her house: “My relationship with Courtney has been interesting. She has always kind of been the one that has caught my eye.”

Courtney’s dad Rick Robertson, mom Sherry and Courtney’s sister all sit on the patio to share a meal. Rick toasts Ben and welcomes him. Courtney announces to everyone that Ben is “smart and funny and I really feel like I’m falling for him. . I like/love him.”

Says Sherry to the cameras, “I’d be very surprised if she is in love with him. . I’m not sold on it yet.”

Ben and Courtney’s dad have a chat by the pool. “I always tell young people: Marriage is life’s greatest gamble and there’s only a 50% chance of winning. I have to ask you, are you ready to make that bet?” Rick says to Ben.

Replies Ben, “I’m ready to be in a serious, committed relationship.”

Courtney chats with her mom. “I feel ready for the next chapter of my life,” she tells her mom. “He makes me feel so special. I’ve never had that. I’m falling for him. If he keeps it up, I’ll be ready to say yes if he proposes.”

Says Sherry later to the camer toms as: “I like him and I think she loves him. So that’s good enough for me.”

After the meeting, Courtney takes Ben out for a picnic in a park, a place where she has always wanted to get married and hey, look, it’s set up for a wedding! “I’m thinking to myself, it’s nice here,” confesses Ben. “How far are we going to take this?”

Courtney pulls a bow tie out of her bag and hands it to Ben, along with a notebook in which he can write his vows. Suddenly a guy appears to preside over the fake marriage. Ben reads his vows to Courtney: “You are strong, kind and beautiful . real and honest.”

Coos Courtney, “Ben. I’m looking for love, real love, passionate, consuming, can’t live without each other love . When I look at you from across the room, I know your happiness is the key to mine. . Ben, I want to love you and treat you right, every day and every night. . I hope you know I’m 100% ready for marriage. Um . I’m so happy I found you. . Um, I want you to know I’m in love with you.”

Says Courtney to the cameras, “We are not Mr. and Mrs. Flajnik yet, but it feels pretty good to try it on for size.”

Lindzi in Ocala, Fla.: This is a Ralph Lauren ad date on a sunny stretch of lush countryside.

Down to earth Lindzi says she could ride before she could walk, so Ben better be ready to have horses be part of their lives. Plus, Ben’s only the second guy Lindzi has ever brought home. “I hope today is the last day I ever have to bring a new guy home,” she says to the cameras.

Lindzi rides up to meet Ben and they have a pleasant picnic under a tree. “I could love this woman,” says Ben in his confessional. “It’s super sexy to see Lindzi on a horse. . She makes me feel good. ”

They meet Lindzi’s smiling parents, Harry and Margy Cox. As they all sit on wicker furniture in the pasture and drink Chardonnay, it turns out Lindzi’s parents got married in San Francisco’s City Hall, where Ben and Lindzi had their first date.

Harry then says it’s tradition to do some racing, so Ben and Linzi take on Harry and Margy in a carriage race. Later, Margy tells Lindzi she really likes Ben. And, as they sit by the fire, having s’mores and drinking more wine, Lindzi’s dad proposes a toast to Ben and says, “We’d be honored to have you as our son in law!”

Kacie B. in Clarksville, Tenn.: Kacie B. greets Ben at her high school with a marching band toms . She’s twirling her baton. “Oh my God,” says Ben. She races over and jumps on him. “I’m so glad to see you,” she gushes. She tells him they’re standing on a football field named after her grandfather. They sit on the bleachers and have a glass of wine. “You’re beaming,” Ben tells her. “You seem like you’re ready,” he says.

Kacie B. reveals that her dad is a federal probation officer and he doesn’t drink. “I’m thinking to myself, oh, that’s great,” says Ben. “I’m a winemaker and my business is booze. Strike one.”

Dad Denny, mom Martha and sister Alison sit down with Kacie and Ben for dinner. All seems fine, but Kacie takes her sister aside to have a heart to heart. Kacie says s toms he knows Mom and Dad “are very skeptical,” but she thinks they should trust her.

Ben and Dad sit down for a serious chat. “Don’t rush into anything,” Denny tells Ben.

“I admit to you, one of my fears is that I don’t make the right decision in the end,” says Ben.

“If Kacie is not the one, I would hope that would be communicated to her very soon to keep her from getting hurt more,” cautions Denny.

He chats with Kacie’s mom, who tells him, “I would be disappointed if you chose to live together before being married.”

Kacie tells her dad, “I have fallen in love with him,” to which her dad replies, “The other three girls have they fallen in love with him, too?

Says Kacie, “If h toms e asked me to marry him, I would say yes.”

Says Dad: “If he was to ask me if he could marry you, I would say no. I would like to have y’all take your time and get to know each other better.”

Kacie B. comes away from the visit “worried. All of a sudden, everything is going wrong, and I don’t know if I can fix it.”