Archive for the ‘Colin Farrell’ Category

MOVIE: Seven Psychopaths (2012)

March 14, 2013

70241756Words cannot even begin to express how much I thoroughly, incredibly, delightfully enjoyed this insanely bananas movie.

A few years ago, a reader here recommended the film In Bruges to me, a quirky little comedy about two hit men (one played by anti-Boyfriend Colin Farrell) hiding out in a small town in Belgium while the hoopla over their accidental shooting of [redacted for spoilers] dies down.

Written and directed by Martin McDonaugh, In Bruges is a strange, strangely brilliant movie, with sharp, witty dialogue and a surprising amount of authentic emotion.  It made my #2 spot in my Top Ten Favorite (Good) Movies of 2008 list, and I’ve watched it several times since and loved it all the more every time.

Seven Psychopaths, McDonaugh’s second feature-length picture, follows in similarly-shaped footsteps.  It’s also about a group of guy friends going through something truly weird together, and it’s got a similar kind of empathetic undercurrent to it (not as rich as in Bruges, but there nonetheless), even while it’s also loaded to the hilt with comic-style, exaggerated violence (warning! head explodes!).

The story is about Marty Faranan (Farrell again — and while I hate to say this, I’m really starting to like that guy), a wanna-be scriptwriter living in Los Angeles who has been working hard on his first screenplay for months, yet still only has a concept and a title.  Seven Psychopaths, he’s going to call it, and it’s going to be about. . . seven psychopaths.

Marty’s best friend, Billy (the ever-delightful Sam Rockwell), decides to help Marty out by putting an ad in the paper asking for psychopaths who have interesting stories to give him a call.  THANKS, BILLY!

Meanwhile, Billy and HIS friend Hans (Christopher Walken and his usual brand of semi-contained strangeness) have been working on a money-making scheme in which they kidnap dogs and then “pretend” to find them, collecting reward money.  All is going well until they kidnap the wrong dog — the dog of a notorious gangster, played by Woody Harrelson (cue lots of over-pronunciation of the “t” in “Shih Tzu”).

And just when you think this movie cannot get any more ridiculous or any more ridiculously well-cast, who should walk in the front door but Tom Waits?  Carrying a bunny rabbit, no less!   Honestly, if someone had told me this movie was going to involve Tom Waits and a bunny rabbit, I would’ve been first in line on ticket day.  That’s all it would’ve taken.  THAT IS ALL.

Seven Psychopaths is maybe a little too clever at times — it really likes to pile on the movie archetypes and the meta, with meta on top of meta on top of a picture within a picture.  But the characters are so fun, their relationships so zingy, and their banter so marvelous, the  overdoing-of-things at times just never seemed to get in the way for me.  This movie is flawed, without a doubt, but it’s also an absolute blast.  Highly recommended, and I can’t wait to see what McDonaugh does next!

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Comedy, Action
Cast:  Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Abbie Cornish, Tom Waits, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Pitt, Gabourey Sidibe,

MOVIE: Horrible Bosses (2011)

July 22, 2011

Horrible Bosses = Horrible Movie.

(Shortest movie review ever? It’s really all you need to know, trust me!)

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre: Comedy, Crap
Cast:  Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Julie Bowen, Donald Sutherland, Lindsay Sloane

MOVIES: Crazy Heart (2009) and Blue Valentine (2010)

January 28, 2011

A few weeks ago, I went and saw the movie Blue Valentine by myself in the theater.  It’s a great film, just like everybody’s saying it is (though, personally, I thought Ryan Gosling was in way over his head), but man, it bummed me out so completely, so to the core, I couldn’t even write a review of it.   I kept trying and I kept failing.  And so, I’ve finally given up.  This is the only review you’re going to get from me:   Blue Valentine is devastatingly sad.

(But hey, Ebert’s review of that film is so spot-on, in my opinion, it’s really the only one you need.  His line, “Dean thinks marriage is the station; Cindy thought it was the train” is the most  spot-on and thoughtful summation of any movie I have ever read. Damn that Ebe — he’s still got it.)

I mention Blue Valentine because this film made me think of it again the other night.  You see, Crazy Heart is also a movie about a failed relationship that made me feel tremendously sad.  But it was a different kind of sadness, in part because while it doesn’t have what anybody would call a “happy” ending, it ends with a sense of hopeful futures for both characters.  It might take some time, but you know they’re going to be okay.

As you’re probably aware, Crazy Heart is the story of a country singer, Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges, who won an Oscar last year for this role) who started his career with tremendous success but has been going downhill pretty much ever since.  When we meet him, he’s in his 50’s, grizzled and grayed, and he hasn’t written a new song in years.  He’s been making the rounds of pathetic, filthy bars in small towns, mostly drinking his way through life while cursing the success of the kid he once mentored, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), another country star whose career has recently exploded.  Blake feels Sweet hasn’t been grateful enough for the boost he once gave him, and he’s been harboring a grudge, rooted in shame and jealousy, for a very long time.

When Blake heads to another small town for another lame performance, though, he meets a music reporter, Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who wants to interview him for the local newspaper, in the hopes a big story about the once-legendary Bad Blake will finally get her the recognition she wants as a serious music writer.

Blake agrees to the interview, in part because he’s flattered such a pretty girl knows who he is and is excited to talk to him, and he and Jean have several encounters over the next few days while she asks him questions and he mostly doesn’t answer them.  Then one night, after a show, they end up sleeping together, and it’s pretty much all over for both of them — somewhere between the questions and bed, they’ve fallen in love.

The problem is that Jean has a young son and Blake is an alcoholic with a big chip on his shoulder, something Jean struggles to tolerate around her boy.  Though they fight for months to keep the relationship going, when Blake gets drunk while watching her son and then loses  him in a shopping center, it’s all over.  Jean kicks him out, and he slinks away, devastated and humiliated — and finally hitting the rock bottom he so sorely needs.

The movie ends about a year after their break-up, and while I won’t tell you the details of what happens, in the final scene, the two meet at a concert and update each other on their lives.  It’s immediately, painfully clear that Blake still loves her while she’s mostly moved on, and their facial expressions and body language in this scene were almost unbearable to watch.  The weight of that loss for Blake, coupled with the complexity of loving someone deeply who is clearly happier without you is just — oof.  It’s just oof, I tell you.

Yet, though we end knowing they aren’t going to be moving forward together, those last minutes of the film also make it clear they’re both definitely going to be moving forward.  And that’s where the sadness of the circumstances becomes more bittersweet than agonizing.

All in all, this is a beautiful, moving film, with great music, powerful acting, and really wonderful cinematography.  I highly, highly recommend it.   Brace yourself for a bit of a bummer, though, and whatever you do, don’t double-feature it with Blue Valentine unless you have a very, very strong heart.

[Netflix Crazy Heart | Buy it | Prequeue Blue Valentine]

Blue Valentine:
Genre: Drama
Cast:  Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams

Crazy Heart:
Genre:  Drama
Cast:  Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Tom Bower

MOVIE: In Bruges (2008)

July 15, 2008

You know how yesterday I posted a movie review of The Ruins that was about 12 words long? I was really tempted to do that with this movie as well, because “I loved it! I loved it! I loved it! I loved it!” really seemed to get my opinion across quite succinctly.

But I figured you guys might stage a coup if I started making ALL my movie reviews that short. Although, come to think of it, maybe you’d actually be relieved, considering how insanely verbose I can get at times. I mean, really, how ridiculous would it be if my review of this TERRIFIC FILM were shorter than my review of, say, Phantasm? The fact this will probably end up being the case pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this web site.  Which is, in a nutshell: THAT IT IS AWESOME.

Not that I’m biased or anything. . .

This fantastic, clever, and extremely bizarre movie is one of the most thoroughly entertaining films I’ve seen this year. So, allow me to begin by thanking heartily the reader who recommended it to me: YAY, THANK YOU! In Bruges had been on my to-watch list for a while, but I hadn’t been all that eager to pick it up (primarily because I’m not much of a Colin Farrell fan, hence his status as the UnBoyfriend), until she told me it reminded her of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  That made me cock my head slightly and reconsider its low placement in my Netflix queue.  Got the flick the next weekend, and the rest, as they say, itten zee history.

The film opens with two Irish hitmen, Ray and Ken (Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, respectively) being sent to hide out in Bruges, Belgium after Ray accidentally kills an extra person during his first assigned hit.  I’d punctuate that with a “Whoops!” except that the accidental death of that extra person, whose identity I will not share with you, is utterly devastating both to us, the viewers, and to Ray himself.

Ken, his mentor of sorts, is taking things a bit more in stride and is actually kind of excited to be in Bruges — as it turns out, it’s a lovely old place with a lot of beautiful architecture and interesting things to see. Ray, on the other hand, is far  less happy to have been exiled to Belgium, and, when it comes to tourism, is more prone to exchanges like this one:

Ken: [at base of large tower, motioning to stairs that go to top] Coming up?

Ray: What’s up there?

Ken: The view!

Ray: The view of what? Down here? I can see that DOWN HERE!

As Ken spends his time tourist-ing around, Ray gets mixed up with a girl. And a midget.  And then Ralph Fiennes shows up and, well, I think it’s better for you if I don’t say much more than that.  In all honesty, I think one of the reasons I was so blown away by this movie was because I had absolutely no idea what it was about, which meant I didn’t know what was coming until it was far, far too late to get out of the way.

I’m sure there are things that could be criticized or picked apart in this film.  One of them might be that the ending, plot-wise anyway, is a bit on the predictable side.  But I didn’t really mind that aspect of things, because I was too busy loving the part of the ending that DID surprise me, which was the return of a painting we’d seen earlier in the film, this time brought to life in a way that both made me gasp with pleasure and chuckle at the wild confusion Ray must be experiencing in that wholly bizarre moment.

I also think it’s better for you if I don’t say much more about THAT. But pay attention when Ray and Ken go to the museum and look at a painting together. You’ll see what I mean when you get to the end of the film. Wonderful — I love it when things like that happen in movies.  Feels literary, somehow.

All in all, a charming, engaging, moving, funny, sweet, goofy flick, and one I feel certain will end up on my Favorite Movies Seen in 2008 list this December. By the way, I’m madly in love with Brendan Gleeson — is that weird?

Highly recommended!

The end!

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Thriller, Comedy
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes, Eric Godon

MOVIE: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

March 17, 2008

Many, many years ago, I read the novel on which this movie is based. I’d picked it up at a bookstore one day because the title had given me a chuckle. Not the part of the title in which it is told to us that it’s about Jesse James getting assassinated (a couple of weeks ago, by the way, a friend of mine asked me what this movie was “about,” and I was all, “Um, did you just ask me what a movie entitled ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’ was ABOUT?”). But instead the whole title itself, which is so reminiscent of those old — oh hell, what are those things called? Not dime novels, which came later, but the little books they used to write about Western heroes back in the 1800’s? The ones about the Earps, Doc Holliday, and, of course, Jesse James.

It’s been years now since I read Hansen’s novel, and though I remember really enjoying it, I don’t remember anything else about it. When I heard it was being made into a movie with Brad Pitt as Jesse and Sam Shepard as his brother Frank, though, my reaction was one of unbridled glee. First of all, we need more Westerns. And second, Brad may be just ridiculously gorgeous, but he is also, without a doubt, a truly talented actor with an extremely wide range. I could see Brad doing James pretty easily. And what’s more, I really WANTED to see Brad doing James.

Unfortunately, as a film, I have to say this one fell a bit flat for me. Part of the problem with this movie is that it tries to get too arty for its own good. I started out loving the gorgeous scenery — the pause when the train comes around and you see its lights glowing through the trees, the sweeping prairie shots, etc. But once it started moving towards (and then past) the 120 minute mark, I confess I got a bit impatient. Westerns are often full of rambling slow moments of sweeping scenery — consider the ubiquitous tumbleweed shot — it’s one of their trademarks, really. But in a GOOD Western, the scenery should feel more like an extension of the cowboy himself, rather than an attempt on the part of the director to win an award for cinematography. Here, it just felt too heavy-handedly like the latter. To me, anyway.

And as for Brad Pitt’s Jesse James, he takes a quintessential American hero/anti-hero and turns him into. . . yaaaaawn, I’m sorry, were you saying something? I nodded off there for a second.

Know what I mean?

I appreciated that, for once, a movie about Jesse James made the attempt to demonstrate that he was, in fact, a really bad guy (compare to, for example, unBoyfriend Colin Farrell’s James in American Outlaws). Pitt’s James is clearly violent, lugging around some pretty intense mental and emotional demons (take the scene in the barn with the kid, for example). But his attempt to do “troubled and intense” mostly seemed to involve sitting around looking stony-faced, and it just didn’t do much for me, I’m afraid.

Casey Affleck, on the other hand, is just plain genius as Robert Ford. About twenty minutes into this film, it occurred to me that what I was watching was actually Single White Female with dudes on horseback — it really is the same story. It’s the tale of a young man totally infatuated with the person he thinks lives the perfect, most ideal life imaginable. Infatuated to the point of obsession. But it’s not that Bob wants to be partners with Jesse James, or even to earn his respect, really. It’s that he wants to BE Jesse James. The more he comes to realize the only person who can be Jesse James is Jesse James, the more he starts to turn ye olde stalker message of “If I can’t have you, nobody can” into “If I can’t BE you, nobody can.” And it’s all kinda downhill from there for both parties.

As with Gone Baby Gone, Affleck brings an truly fascinating balance of innocence and toughness to his part. Even knowing, as we all do from the title, that Bob is going to kill his childhood hero by the end of the movie, we can’t help but feel sorry from him from the moment he enters the screen. He’s a sad, pathetic little wannabe, desperate to be taken seriously. But he doesn’t have the intelligence and strength to actually obtain greatness. So, he does what so many pathetic little wannabes do to try to become famous — he assassinates someone bigger than he is. And down in history he goes.

The last thirty minutes or so of this movie, focusing purely on the two Ford brothers (Bob’s brother Charley is played by Sam Rockwell, by the way), is one of the best parts of the entire film, in my opinion. It follows Bob and Charley’s respective regrets and downfalls as they first try to capitalize on the murder by turning it into a stage play, thinking they’ll be heroes for having brought down one of the notorious bandits ever, and finally realize they are even less respected than ever before (didn’t help, of course, that Bob shot Jesse in the back). This was a part of the story we don’t often see, and it was a part I found both intriguing and moving.

In any case, despite my minor complaints, I think this is a movie well worth seeing. I think it could’ve benefitted from stronger editing and better pacing, though. And, sorry to say it, someone other than Pitt in the title role. Nevertheless, Western fans will find much to enjoy here, and so will anyone interested in the history of an American legend.

(By the way, best version of that Jesse James song at the end of the film in the bar? The one by The Pogues.)

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Western
Cast: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Paul Schneider, Mary Louise Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Jeremy Renner