Seven Psychopaths (2012) dir: Martin McDonagh

This is writer/director Martin McDonagh’s follow up to ‘In Bruges’ (which I quite enjoyed – hell I even visited Bruges this year only to find myself swamped by tourists – yeah I know I was also a tourist – stayed for about 2 hours before jumping on a train to the beautiful Gent). Anyway. This film very much goes for the chatty dialogue extreme violence combo of Tarantino – and although it doesn’t reach the heights of Tarantino at his best (it sometimes feels a bit contrived) it definitely has a good try.

Colin Farrell is Marty, a Hollywood screenwriter who has a great title for a movie: Seven Psychopaths. Unfortunately that is it. Great title followed by 99 blank pages. His mate Billy (Sam Rockwell) decides to help him out and, amongst other things, puts an ad in the local paper for psychopaths to come on over and tell Marty their story. Billy also has a sideline business with Hans (Christopher Walken) in which they steal pet dogs, and then return them to the grateful owner in exchange for the cash reward. Things go pear-shaped really quickly when they steal the Shih Tzu belonging to Charlie (Woody Harrelson), who is definitely of the psychopathic type – and local gangster – who will stop at nothing to get his dog back.

I’m not really doing the story much justice here as there is shitloads going on and any more info would be a spoiler – I’d avoid reading reviews – suffice it to say there are twists and turns, and given that Marty is a screenwriter, self referential discussions on gangster type movies: such as why women are so badly written in these types of films (like this film), stories within stories and films within films. There is so much that is enjoyable in this movie that it didn’t really matter that occasionally it kind of disappeared up its own arse. And with such a great cast including Gabourey Sidibe, Tom Waits, Zeljko Ivanek (who should have got more screen time – you’ll probably recognize him instantly as that bloke from…) and a really great section with Harry Dean Stanton, there are surprises and laugh out loud moments. Definitely check Seven Psychopaths out.

Oh yes. Don’t suddenly leap out of the cinema (or hit stop on your DVD etc) as soon as the credits roll. You don’t have to wait long for one ‘uh-oh’ hanging story thread to be tied up.

Moon (2009) dir: Duncan Jones

This film has been on my list to see for a while so when I suddenly had the opportunity to see it I was there!

Directed and co-written by Duncan Jones (with Nathan Parker), a philosopher whose graduation thesis was titled ‘How to Kill Your Computer Friend: An Investigation of the Mind/Body Problem and How It Relates to the Hypothetical Creation of a Thinking Machine’ – I knew this was going to be an intriguing story.

And I love sci-fi.

Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a man who works for a large mining corporation, and with the breakdown of his marriage has decided to take a 3 year contract – an assignment to live and work alone on the Moon supervising an automated mining operation. As his time there comes to an end he begins to have some very unusual experiences.

I really liked the film alot, aspects of it reminded me a little of Doug Trumball’s ‘Silent Running’ (1972) – (that’s a great film check it out on DVD!) – and it’s good to see a British sci-fi movie for a change – it has an intelligent story and some great production values, the moonbase is interestingly designed and the sfx are generally good. Kevin Spacey voices the HAL like AI and Sam Rockwell does a great job as the whole film revolves around him (sorry but I can’t say how without ruining the story for you – avoid reviews before seeing the film – they’re bound to shove in some plot spoilers).

If you’re a huge sci-fi fan then the plot won’t be a complete surprise to you but you’ll still care enough to want to find out what happens and how it’ll end. If you’re not into sci-fi, don’t be put off, the human aspect of the story will carry you through.

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