Rated 4.0

Bernie: Jack Black gets back together with his The School of Rock director Richard Linklater, and casting Black in this film was a masterstroke. As Bernie Tiede, the real-life convicted killer of Marjorie Nugent in Carthage, Texas, Black delivers a performance to be remembered. For an actor who has a tendency to overdo it, it’s good to see him reign it in and do something with depth and nuance. Linklater comes at the story from a risky angle. It’s no secret that much of the town loved Bernie Tiede, and some even believed he didn’t commit a murder that he confessed to. The movie almost comes off as an argument that this fellow wasn’t such a bad guy after all, even if he did shoot an old woman (played awesomely by Shirley MacLaine) in the back four times and stuff her in a garage freezer. This is a triumph for Black and Linklater, proof that these guys should just keep making movies together. Both men have done their best work when they team up, and I certainly hope this isn’t the last time they share a set. Also stars Matthew McConaughey as Texas District Attorney Danny Buck, the man who would put Tiede behind bars.