Saturday, October 20, 2012

Seven Psychopaths

Now, see here all you folk who think I am unnecessarily rough on movies that score well on the tomatometer- Seven Psychopaths is one percentage point higher than that mess The Master, and this will be a very, very, very good review. So relax.  I loved this movie- saw it with about 12 other people at one of the first showings. EVERYONE laughed. Some people (to my dismay) talked back to the screen. But that's a good sign usually. Take a dog napper, a serial killer, a couple of crazy people, a cute dog and a whole lot of graphic carnage (to the point of cartoonish feeling) and mix it with a snappy little script and familiarly fun actors, and voila!, a great little violent movie. It was so gruesome in parts that the audience gasped and laughed. No kidding. Me, too. Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken- do you need to know more? Colin Farrell is a screenwriter, too- even that feels like a suspension of belief of some sort. Why a movie this violent and bloody and full of knives and guns should be so funny, well, I don't know. Maybe a psychologist could explain that. I'm not a horror film fan- at all. I can't even sit still for Dexter. BUT I'd go see this one again. Don't go if you hate blood and much worse- because it is very visual. Otherwise- have a great time!

The Master

Oh dear goddess of the never ending film- did you really need to add another one to the world? And yet, you did.  Never has such a good cast been put in such a disaster- well, okay, maybe I exaggerate. This tedious mess got an 85% on the tomatometer- because it is pretentious and talky and has a director with a reputation for great movies. It shows you how pretentious and talky some reviewers are. This is not a great movie, and because it is heavy handed, it isn't even a good movie. A movie with 85% on the tomatometer (, and a cast that is well known, should make MILLIONS of dollars, but word of mouth and social media can kill a bad film and it looks like this one has been shelved by the people who have spread the word. It is supposed to be a movie based on Scientology- that's how it got people to the theater to begin with. Don't go. Wait for it on cable or something.  Ugh.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Argo does something that is almost impossible- it makes a nail biter out of an incident where the viewer knows the outcome. The setting is the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, when Carter was slogging through a relatively miserable presidency. Iranian militants stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and (unlike the muderous folk today) took every one in it hostage. Initially top secret, 6 people escaped to the Canadian embassy.  That led to the messy problem of how to get them out of Iran and back home-from a country where Americans are reviled and easily lynched by the populace at large. Of course, since they GET home, we know it is all going to be okay before we even sit down. That alone makes it worth seeing.  The CIA helps the Canadian government. I'd tell you more, but that would be everything and you wouldn't need to see it! Point to be taken- this is BASED on a true story. As usual in Hollywood, it isn't what exactly happened. You'll have to do your own research for that!

Friday, October 5, 2012


I'm not sure WHO thinks this is a family film, but I heartily disagree and I'll let the dog out of the bag and tell you right now that I cried (genuine tears) twice in this stop-motion animated movie. Why? Shhh- because the kid's dog get killed by a car. Of course, using Frankensteinian science (lightning bolts just like the original movie), he resurrects his beloved dog. And in the end, you'll cry again. If you have ever loved a pet, well, even in stop-animation it is tough to watch a beloved pet die. Then there are tons of scary images in 3D- rats, dinosaurs, creepy kids. So, think twice before bringing the tiny set. They can go see Nemo. That said, Danny Elfman did the music, Tim Burton did the story, and that ought to tell you what to expect. If you have seen the classics horror films, you will recognize the lisp of Boris Karloff, the smirk of Peter Lorre, and the monsters from such wonders as Godzilla and Gremlins.  Even the poodle gets in a little Elsa Lanchester. It was fun to see the homage to the original Frankenstein with Karloff.  It was a very touching film, very sweet, with adorably clueless parents and a kind and loving child. As an adult, it is certainly worth seeing. For kids- well, it depends on how sensitive your child is.  The stop animation is great- and the 3D is almost seamless.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


It is 2044, the world looks like crap because it ALWAYS does in futuristic films. The premise is that time travel has finally arrived- criminals from the future are rounded up, sent back in time travel to 2044 to a specific location where a looper await. The Looper blasts them immediately, hauls them off to a firepit somewhere and then gets paid. The criminal comes complete with silver ingots taped to their body and that is the payment for the Looper. Trouble is, at some point, the final victim arrives and has gold ingots taped to their back. This means the Looper is done, and retires for 30 years on his bounty, and then one day, he is sent back to  the past to be murdered himself. Why? Well, who knows. Some evil guy is in the future and he is ending the loopers loops early. And the word gets out. Oh, I'll quit now. But it was AWESOME. I've seen Die Hard more than I've seen any other movie. BRUUUUUCE! It's all sort of mundane until BRUUUUCE arrives and starts shooting. Like most science fiction movies, there must be a suspension of truth in your mind. Forget what you know about what can and cannot be done. Just sit back and watch BRUUUCE! Endings almost NEVER surprise me, but you know what?- this one really ended the way most movies should- with a surprise and a bang. I have got to say the ending alone added another star.  I'd highly suggest you read a summary somewhere that does not include the ending, mostly so you understand the premise. Maybe this was enough. Don't spoil the ending for yourself!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is a film version of the YA epistolary novel of the same name written by Stephen Chbosky. In fact, Chbosky is so protective of his material that he directs the film also. The wallflower in question is a high school freshman named Charlie, who writes "letters" to an anonymous friend that are narrated in the film and explain some of the events. Without them, the film would be hard to follow. The cast is stellar- with Emma Watson really proving she was absolutely the best actor in the Harry Potter series for a reason.  Charlie fears his freshman year until he falls into a group of quirky seniors. It's the early 1990's and the dialogue and jokes and music are faithful to the age. It has a complex enough plot to keep you interested in all of them- and if it has a cop out ending, well, remember that it was a YA novel and YA novels love to bring in all sorts of issues that evidently must interest adolescents. It was very well written, very poignant and very funny in spots. Some of the dialogue is actually hilarious. I would say that a cynic would say "too predictable". But in a way, almost all movies are predictable. It's the content that counts and this movie is very, very good.