Seven Psychopaths (2012)

The most ridiculous of the poster options.

The most ridiculous of the poster options.

Directed by: Martin McDonagh (I absolutely loved In Bruges, and kinda feel like watching that again right away now)

Written by: McDonagh again.

Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, and a bunch of other sorta names in smaller parts.  Check them tags.

What it’s about: a wanna-be screenwriter ends up finding inspiration in the actions of his best friend

B-Movie Alternate Title: Se7en Adaptations

Movie Mash Up: In Bruges + Adaptation

What I liked: Well Colin Farrell has been knocking it out of the park for years, and he continues that record here.  Walken is sometimes the best part of a shitty movie, and in this case, he’s one of many parts, but so delightful to watch.  Sam Rockwell can be hit or miss, and for the most part here, he’s hittin’.  There are so many great actors in the cast, some getting the briefest of screen time, but wonderful to see nonetheless.  Loved the writing, especially the heavy-on-the-meta story line.

What I disliked: Unlike Adaptation, there wasn’t much of a “letting the viewer figure it out for themselves” aspect to the meta-ness, which is fine, but it just seemed a bit ham-fisted at points.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Yes and no, so I guess that means no.  It isn’t a movie for every audience, especially if that person did not enjoy In Bruges.

Rating: 4 / 5

Goddamn I would have loved to been on this set.

Goddamn I would have loved to been on this set.

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Iron Man 2 (2010)

Alright, so I did a whole nice write-up yesterday for the first Iron Man movie, and well, this one is more of the same.  It’s not The Dark Knight sequel to Batman Begins, it’s more like what Batman Forever was to Batman, if that makes sense.  It probably doesn’t since I just casually omitted Batman Returns, but Forever had sooo much Batcrap shoved into it that the movie actually shat out a sequel.

I just wanna sit back and appreciate that thing that I just wrote.  Man, I hope I didn’t subconsciously steal it from someone, because it is such a perfect description of Batman & Robin.  You can LIKE this review or G+ it or RT it or whatever.  I don’t even want to write anymore.

Alright, fine.  So Iron Man 2 brings back almost the exact same cast and creative team as the original movie, minus the unlikable Terrence Howard (replaced with the awesome Don Cheadle) and bringing in Justin Theroux as the screenplay writer.  At this point The Avengers movie release date was (I think) set in stone and there were preparations and things shoved into the story that seemed to be less about just Iron Man, and more about pumping up the Avengers plotline.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it gives the whole movie more of an episodic feel.  Like, you can’t have “The Body” episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” without “I Was Made to Love You” which I had to research (and I actually dug that episode too) to remember it took place directly before “The Body”.

I feel like I’m getting all Pitchfork-y with this review, making allusions to other things that seem quite brilliant in my head and maybe seems assholeish when someone else reads it.  Anyways, the film also brings in Mickey Rourke as the main villain Whiplash, Sam Rockwell as Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) main business rival, Justin Hammer, and Scarlett Johansson as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent – and future Avenger- Natalya Romanov or y’know, Black Widow.  There’s also a lovely little appearance by John Slattery as Tony’s dad in archival footage, and the whole Stark family thing reminds me so much of “The Venture Bros.”

So there are parts I like about Iron Man 2 because they remind me of other things, and it’s a competently enough made movie, but not nearly as great as the first movie.

3.5 / 5

The Sitter (2011)

I generally like Jonah Hill, but I have no idea what he was thinking making this movie.  Seriously, there’s at least two other babysitting movies out there (off the top of my head) that pretty much set the standard for what this movie is all about.  Oh, a babysitter (Jonah Hill) has wacky crazy misadventures when looking after three kids.  Yeah, I already saw that movie, 25 goddamn years ago, and it was great.  Adventures in Babysitting starring the amazing Elisabeth Shue.  Find that, watch that instead, it’s much more entertaining than this R-rated version of it.

2 / 5

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

When the budget for your movie is around $163 million, there is going to be a lot expected out of box office returns.  While a $174 million dollar return is nothing to sneeze at, it’s not exactly what the numerous big time producers expected from Cowboys & Aliens and I think I have narrowed down where they went wrong.  If you’re going to have a movie starring Olivia Wilde and have her naked at some point but not show it, well that is going to turn off a lot of your potential audience.  Hell, even straight women want to see Olivia Wilde naked.

Directed by Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau, Cowboys & Aliens is all about an amnesiac cowboy named Jake (Daniel Craig) and putting together the mystery behind how he found himself out in the country with a weird bracelet on his wrist.  Jake goes to the nearest town, stirs shit up and finds himself at odds with the local rich cattleman, Woodrow Dollarhyde (Harrison Ford).  Then even more shit happens and Dollarhyde’s son Percy (Paul Dano) is abducted by aliens and a mission is launched to rescue Percy and all the missing townspeople.  Olivia Wilde is the mysterious Ella, who may be more than she appears which is a pretty phenomenal thing in and of itself.

It’s a textbook high concept popcorn movie, based on a graphic novel.  It is everything that a summer blockbuster should be, but a bit grittier than something stupid like Independence Day or Armageddon with high quality actors.  I enjoyed it, though while the concept is fairly unique, it’s an altogether predictable picture.  Definitely worth a watch.

3.5 / 5

Frost/Nixon (2008)

It’s a testament to the acting quality inherent in Frost/Nixon that a movie essentially about a series of interviews has the feel of a high stakes, big money boxing match and is gripping and entertaining.  As with most historical events, I only had the gist of the circumstances surrounding President Richard Nixon’s resigning from office.  Well, by the gist I mean decades of jokes about Watergate and the demonization of Nixon’s time in office in numerous pop culture mediums.  So I went into Frost/Nixon with an understanding of the subject matter, but no background knowledge.

Now yesterday I wrote about Enter the Void (Editor’s note: that review is upcoming) and how long the two and a half hour running time of that movie actually felt.  Frost/Nixon clocks in at two hours and I swear it was only an hour long.  I wanted more, but I was also completely satisfied with everything about the movie.  I may never watch it again, but the acting performances alone make it enough for me to recommend to anyone.  Michael Sheen adds yet another impersonation to his cinematic arsenal by reprising his stage performance of David Frost, and Frank Langella, well that guy has enough acting chops that he shouldn’t be in shit like The Box.

Ron Howard skillfully adapts the play to the screen and it’s of the highest quality, that’s pretty much all you need to know.  Recommended for everyone, because it’s not just a political or history lesson, it’s also a pretty interesting story about the only human being to ever resign as President of the United States of America.

5 / 5