Seven Psychopaths Movie Review

A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.
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Seven Psychopaths is a difficult movie to describe – the premise convoluted. Basically the movie is about a guy writing a movie about psychopaths while being surrounded by psychopaths. However, it is not quite as simple as that.

Without ruining the plot, all I can say is that this is one weird movie, but I mean that in a good way. Have you ever seen Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch? Firstly, watch these movies! Secondly, the point that I was trying to make: Seven Psychopaths has a similar feel to them despite not sharing the same writer or director. Lock, Stock and Snatch were directed by the amazingly weird and brilliant Guy Ritchie, while Seven Psychopaths was written and directed by Martin McDonagh.

Now back to trying to describe this movie.

Seven Psychopaths brings a number of things to the table:

  • An multi-layered story
  • Incredible actors
  • Intentional hilarity where hilarity is not expected
  • Brilliant writing and dialogue

The only thing holding this movie back from a 5-star rating in my opinion is its absurdity (which, absurdly, is also the movie’s greatest strength). Some scenes will leave your head spinning at the insanity but you won’t spend long worrying about the room spinning around you because you will be too busy laughing at the many anti-clichés throughout the movie.

Yes, I just invented a word.

There may be a fancy theatre term for it, but when I refer to an anti-cliche, I am referring to a situation that is extremely cliche initially but then plays out entirely differently than you would expect. This movie is full of them and they are delightful.

Noticed how I still haven’t said much about the story? There’s a two-fold reason for that: spoilers and complexity. I will simply say this: Seven Psychopaths is very meta (Google it), bizarre, fun and self-aware. You will be entertained.

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Looper Movie Review

Looper Movie Review with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.
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Looper is as close to perfection as a movie can get. This will certainly be one of the most one-sided movie reviews I have ever written. Spoilers are included in a separate section at the bottom with fair warning.

Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, is an extremely well-rounded sci-fi/action/drama movie that takes place in the future. What impressed me the most about Looper, was how director/writer Rian Johnson was able to incorporate time travel in a way that is easy-to-follow. I have seen many movies fail at this in the past; either trying to explain how it works and failing miserably, or ignoring how it works completely leaving enormous plot holes. Instead, the movie is “self-aware” with the actors acknowledging that time travel is complex, spending some time explaining the basics of the premise and then moving on.

Amazingly, Looper manages to avoid almost every sci-fi cliché in the book, adding to its self-awareness. One thing that I would consider a common cliché is assuming too much of the future. If there is one thing we look back and laugh at, it is old sci-fi movies that assumed that we would be all living in hover cities with flying cars, or things of that nature. Looper portrays a much more realistic future with a number of advancements but nothing completely out to lunch. Of course, sci-fi purists may actually think this is a problem, perhaps to them the more far-fetched the future the better, however I most certainly prefer writers that don’t take every liberty available to them.

The plot was highly unique and thoroughly enthralling, however it was the acting and the character development that was the biggest draw. Instead of the movie revolving entirely around a single character or two, Looper introduces a number of characters that are followed throughout the movie. Flawless acting helps sell these well-developed characters and bring the movie together like few others. Emily Blunt’s performance stood out in particular, despite a smaller role than Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Bruce Willis was probably the weakest acting piece but his style served a pivotal role for his character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, on the other hand, shattered my expectations of him. It is now clear to me that he will be a strong A-list actor that we can expect to see much more often.

In summary, the movie was flawless. See this movie.

It there anything after the credits? No, there are no extra scenes at the end of Looper.

** Warning: Spoilers below**

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There is one thing that is throwing me for a loop (hahaha, I’m soooo funny): the movie very delicately touched on how time travel works and explained everything well, except for at the very end. How is it possible that Joe is trying to kill Cid because someone turned him bad in the future and yet it was Joe himself that killed said. Hard to explain, but I’ll try again:

How would Joe not know that he was the one that killed Cid’s mother causing him to turn into the future killer that he is?

I welcome any theories in the comments below.

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Moon Movie Review | Sam Rockwell & Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey stars in Moon | Movie Review Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.
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I must tread carefully here because the entire Premise of Moon is essentially a spoiler. So instead I will focus on what makes the movie so great and avoid discussing the plot.

“So what exactly is this movie about and why have I never heard of it?”

The movie is about a man that is serving a 3 year contract on the moon collecting energy to send back to earth. Sam experiences the loneliness of space and the psychological toll it can place on a person. Of course, that is only half of the premise but I cannot speak to the rest of the plot. Just watch it, OK?

The movie is clearly not a Hollywood blockbuster (made most obvious by the imaginary marketing budget the movie had) but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. The movie is shot beautifully and has reasonable computer graphics where they are used. The plot is unique and the acting and dialogue make it one of the best movies that I had never heard of.

Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell and provides one of this best performances. However, it is Kevin Spacey, playing the voice of GERTY, Sam’s lunar helper, that originally captured my attention. Kevin Spacey has a small role compared to Sam but was cast perfectly for the role of a monotone and creepy robot. Sam is essentially the only character in the entire movie, putting the entire movie at the mercy of his individual performance. Needless to say, he is a great actor with depth.

That is all I have to say about the movie at this point. There are many interesting discussions to be had about the plot so when you’re done watching it let’s discuss it. I’ll be here. Waiting.

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The Ides of March Movie Review

the-ides-of-march-movie-review An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.

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The Ides of March finds a great balance between illustrating what goes on behind a political campaign while focusing on the emotional war between political players and campaign staff. It was particularly refreshing to see that the movie avoided the typical “Hollywood” take with a much more realistic approach to the story – avoiding focusing on the presidential race.

Despite lacking Hollywood flair, The Ides of March was still interesting and engaging with its share of intensity and a phenomenal cast (Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman) that made every scene memorable. The movie’s pace was great, which I was originally a concern of mine seeing as many heavy movies tend to drag at points. The dialogue was great, which was to be expected and in my books, dialogue-driven movies are king. If you are looking for epic action and explosions, look elsewhere.

The Ides of March is about the politics of politics.

The movie’s biggest success is in destroying what little respect we might have left for politicians. The underlying theme was trust – trusting the campaign, the message –  and how you shouldn’t always believe what you see. Overall, it was a highly satisfying movie that would review a perfect score from me were it not for a particularly disappointing ending (read below for more details).

*Warning spoilers below*

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My only complaint about the virtually flawless movie was how abrupt, unexpected and unfulfilling the ending was. Ryan Gosling (Stephen in the movie) was left preparing to address the media. He was clearly struggling with the message that he was now representing – integrity – which he now felt that he lacked. However, the ending was left completely open as the movie ended before he was able to respond. Did he decide he could no longer be a part of the campaign that was all a big lie? Did he sell his soul and give up his morals to join the heartless politicians?

Although I understand that some people may enjoy open-endings, I certainly do not. It always feels like a cop-out to me, as if they were not sure how to end the movie so they leave it to the audience to fill in the blanks. If I wanted to fill in the blanks with my own imagination, I would sit at home and close my eyes to write my own story.

What do you think? Satisfying ending? Any indications which way it was “supposed” to end? Let me know in the comments below.

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Contagion Movie Review 2011

contagion-movie-review-matt-damon A thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.

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Contagion is a very unique movie for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is shot with elements of both a documentary and a typical Hollywood drama. Unfortunately the style does not lend to a particularly compelling presentation. I was left feeling that the movie was neither personal enough nor informative enough. There appeared to be a lack of focus regarding what exactly the movie was supposed to be.

This is not to say the movie was not interesting, because it was. The movie was successful in taking the audience through what it would be like to be involved in the middle of a massive disease outbreak. It was certainly interesting to see what society would have gone through with outbreaks in the past, before we had become effective at curbing these disasters.

Matt Damon’s character was hard to read and his performance was not up to his usual standard. The movie also failed to develop a connection between other main characters and the audience which took away from the personal elements as the movie progressed.

Overall the movie missed the mark, but the concept was unique and intriguing and still worth a watch, if only as a rental.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-movie-review An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

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Despite being a movie fanatic, I often find myself being very cynical with certain movie ideas. Although I had not seen any of the original Planet of the Apes franchise, the concept always seemed very cheesy to me. It seemed like a concept that they would not be able to get by with today. As such, I did not have high expectations for the movie but I must say, I was blown out of the water. The realistic modern take on the concept made the story believable and engaging in ways that the original franchise likely did not.

To put it into perspective, you may remember a time when comics, cartoons and movies were almost entirely held in fantasy. There were many loopholes in logic but it was “okay” because it was pure fantasy. In cinema today there is a much greater emphasis on realism – even when the movie is based in fantasy. Personally, I love it.

I think the best examples of this are the original Batman movies (everything before Batman: Begins & The Dark Knight). Most people would agree that those original movies were quite cheesy and lacked the serious and realistic focus of the new iterations by Christopher Nolan. In his take on the Batman franchise, characters are well-developed and their back-stories explained well. Nolan focused less on the superhero aspect of the movie and more on the story itself and it pays off big time. It is always effective to increase believability for an audience – we can believe in a Bruce Wayne, someone who has access to a lot of resources – it’s a lot harder to believe in Superman. But that’s enough about Batman.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes combines these somewhat indescribable characteristics that make it a very compelling movie. They pulled off a “smart animal movie” in a way I did not think possible. You will feel sorrow, anger and happiness – for an ape. So watch the movie and enjoy.

P.s. stick around at the end of the movie – there is a surprise ending that is sure to please.