2012 was a ho-hum year for "serious" cinema. As proof, the Oscar race has narrowed to films like the chipper Argo and dreary Zero Dark Thirty — a chase so routine that the alternative is a Steven Spielberg period piece as wholesome and agreeable as enriched bread. But it was also a banner year for the films that we'll still want to watch in 2022: Ambitious over-reachers (Cloud Atlas, The Master, Les Miserables), loony passion projects (Killer Joe, Magic Mike, The Paperboy), and perfect popcorn flicks (Step Up 4, The Expendables 2, Premium Rush).
That last category is frequently left off top ten lists, but it deserves our applause. When studios get tired of risking $250 million on a single blockbuster (and audiences get tired of paying $14 just to keep up with water cooler conversation), mid-priced modest hits like Looper will be our collective salvation — and help build the next generation of filmmakers and stars. The films that made my Top Ten did so because they were bold, memorable and flawless (or at least two of the three). But of course, if critics can judge art, we should take our own creative risks. And so I've written my remarks in haiku.
If there's a case to be made that turning one's dark, twisted fantasies into plays and movies is good for the soul, Martin McDonagh is Exhibit A. The platinum-haired Irishman has given the world some breathtakingly black comedy, such as his 2003 play about a child serial killer The Pillowman and, as of Friday, the slightly lighter Seven Psychopaths. But if he's nursing a tortured soul, there was very little evidence of it when I interviewed him at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. more »
While I hate to quibble over the details, Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths really contains only six of the nutjobs promised promised in the title — unless you want to count the main character, Marty (Colin Farrell). Marty, an Irish screenwriter living in Los Angeles who likes to drink but wouldn't say he has a drinking problem (though others might disagree) and considers himself an observer of the increasingly and often hilariously crazy events that unfold in the film.
Over the weekend, I heard Peter Sagal, the host of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me cite a study by Japanese scientists that determined that workers who watch kittens and other cute baby animals on the Internet are "more focused and productive the rest of the day." So, in the interest of strengthening the coffers of corporations everywhere, I think you should take the next half hour off and watch these very funny — I mean, cute — Seven Psychopaths parody trailers, PsychoCats, that feature cats instead of the cast, which includes Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits. The deservedly anticipated film by Martin McDonagh opens on Friday. more »
With a little over a week before Martin McDonagh's slam-bang Seven Psychopaths opens in theaters, the fun is just starting. I caught the film at the Toronto International Film Festival and it's as much fun as this Red Band behind-the-scenes trailer suggests. Check out the verbal hijinks between Sam Rockwell and Colin Farrell that concludes with the former telling the latter: "I want to jump inside your pants."
One of my favorite movies to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival was Seven Psychopaths, which was written and directed by Irish playwright-turned-filmmaker Martin McDonagh. Beginning in the mid-1990s, McDonagh caused quite a stir in New York's theater world with his funny, macabre plays, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Behanding in Spokane and The Pillowman. And in 2008, he turned heads in the film world with his debut feature, In Bruges, which he also wrote and directed. (If you haven't seen that film, you should before CBS Films releases Seven Psychopaths on Oct. 12. It's a dark comic gem with genuine emotional depth about two hit men who go on the lam when a job goes wrong. more »
There are few things more satisfying in this world than hearing Christopher Walken say the word "fuck." Yes, his now-classic Saturday Night Live declaration of "I've got a fever and the prescription is more cowbell" is one of them, but let's stay focused here. Walken and his co-star Colin Farrell let their filth flags fly in the Red Band trailer below for In Bruges director Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths. more »