Much of the liveliness of Capote (2005) derived from the built-in fascination of following Truman Capote from Manhattan high society to rural Kansas while he wrote his true-crime thriller In Cold Blood. This feature by writer-director Douglas McGrath, made around the same time as Capote but only released this year, covers the same subject with a provocatively different tone, starting out as a flip comedy and making more of an issue of Capote’s homosexuality. Its putative source is Truman Capote (1997), George Plimpton’s nonbook of gossipy quotes, and much of the story seems invented, especially the tragic relationship between Capote (Toby Jones) and Perry Smith (Daniel Craig, excellent). More ambitious than Capote yet wildly uneven, this finally has too many competing agendas, though it certainly held my interest. With Peter Bogdanovich (as Bennett Cerf), Sandra Bullock (as Harper Lee), Jeff Daniels, Sigourney Weaver, and Hope Davis. R, 110 min.

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