Tag Archives: Colin Farrell

[Review] – Seven Psychopaths

24 Oct

Title: Seven Psychopaths
Year: 2012
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Gabourey Sidibe, Kevin Corrigan, Zeljko Ivanek, Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Harry Dean Stanton
MPAA Rating: R, strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use
Runtime: 110 min
IMDb Rating: 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Metacritic: 66

Martin McDonagh is (inarguably, really) one of the very best living playwrights we have today. The Irishman is the author of the Leenane Trilogy as well as the Aran Islands Trilogy of plays, not to mention The Pillowman and A Behanding in Spokane, and four of his works have received Tony Award nominations for Best Play. Then in 2005 he made Six Shooter, a 27-minute short film starring Brendan Gleeson that won him an Oscar for Best Live Action Short which he would use as a launching pad for In Bruges, his first feature-length effort that would come in 2008 and that would see him reunite with Mr. Gleeson.

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[Trailer] – Seven Psychopaths

14 Aug

If I had to make a list of the ten movies left this year that I’m most highly anticipating, Seven Psychopaths would surely rank among them. Thankfully it’s only a couple of months until we get to see it, and it’s just gotten a trailer which you can watch after the cut.

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[Review] – Total Recall

9 Aug

Title: Total Recall
Year: 2012
Director: Len Wiseman
Writers: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback, based on a screen story by Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Jon Povil and Mr. Wimmer, inspired by a short story by Philip K. Dick
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy
MPAA Rating: PG-13, intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language
Runtime: 118 min
IMDb Rating: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Metacritic: 44

The original Total Recall movie, the one from 1990 that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and was directed by Paul Verhoeven, was a huge commercial hit and stands as one of the seminal science-fiction movies of the past few decades. The new Total Recall, the one we’re getting now in 2012 that stars Colin Farrell and is directed by Len Wiseman, will have to be lucky to get back its production budget, and will be forgotten by the time the year ends. That’s just the truth of the matter; yes, there are a couple of slick action set pieces, but what really made the original so great, the humor and the fully dimensional characters and that awesome plot, is just nowhere to be found here.

Now, to be fair to this one, this one isn’t a reboot of the 1990 movie as much as it is just another interpretation of “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”, the 1966 Philip K. Dick short story that serves as inspiration for both of these films. So yeah, there are differences between the two movies, so you could make the point that you can’t compare them fairly because of that, but, I mean, even if this was a super faithful adaptation of the Paul Verhoeven film, it wouldn’t stand a chance.

It sucks, by the way, that this film didn’t turn out nicely. I mean, the trailer looked slick but it also got me thinking that this one was just trying too hard to be a sci-fi blockbuster, but I still wanted this one to succeed because I think big-budget sci-fi films are awesome when they’re done right, and because I really liked some of the people involved with this one. I mean, Colin Farrell may not be the best actor in the world for the most part, but not only do I really like the guy, but I’ve seen him be absolutely stellar in Martin McDonagh‘s brilliant In Bruges, and even if that’s been his only truly impeccable performance, one of his other good ones was in Minority Report, which was also based on a Philip K. Dick story. And then there’s the fact that Bryan Cranston plays the villain here, and I can always get behind more Bryan Cranston on our screens.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this Total Recall is just absolutely horrible, I’m just saying that it could have been far, far better, and that I personally wouldn’t recommend it. Now, I do, however, think that if for some unthinkable reason you haven’t seen the original Total Recall, then this one might actually work for you. It might work because you won’t really know exactly what you’re missing, you might think the twists these one throws at you are cool even though they are absolutely nothing compared to the super intricate mind games and plotting the one that came over two decades ago presented you with. This may somewhat work as a sci-fi movie, it just doesn’t work as one with that title it has.

The film is set at the end of the century, after a global chemical war has split the world into two superpowers, the United Federation of Britain and The Colony. The character Mr. Farrell plays, Douglas Quaid, is a factory worker in The Colony who’s tired with his monotonous life (which seems impossible since his wife is played by Kate Beckinsale) and goes to Rekall, a company that implants whatever memories you wish into your brain so that your life seems a bit cooler. As you might imagine, the second Quaid makes that decision, to have the memories of secret spy implanted onto his brain, things start going horribly wrong for him.

So the film goes off from there, and one good thing you can say about it is that at least it never stops going, it’s just action-y stuff from then on. Though, of course, it’s PG-13 action that’s sort of safe for kids, and not the R-rated spectacle that was the original; again, if you haven’t seen the 1990 film then chances are you’ll have a much better time with this one. But we follow Mr. Farrell along anyways, as he starts realizing that everything he thinks he knows about himself is a lie, that all of his life has been implanted on his brain, and that’s he right in the middle of a struggle between a totalitarian movement and the resistance.

It also looks pretty slick. The hover cars are as awesome as ever because that’s just a sci-fi staple that you can’t go wrong with, and director Len Wiseman (who’s married to Ms. Beckinsale in real-life, the lucky bastard) and his crew make the world look like you would expect it to. It just sucks that the characters are so busy falling and shooting and driving like crazy in it, and we don’t really get any kind of real development among them. Don’t get me wrong, I love the action sequences in sci-fi movies as much as the next guy, but they’re so much better when the stakes are higher, when you have a human connection to these characters so that the big set pieces actually matter.

This new Total Recall is a far cry from the 1990 one. It doesn’t have a trip to Mars, it doesn’t have Ah-nuld, and it doesn’t have an emotional impact like the original did. So, no, this remake or reboot or whatever you want to call it is not necessary in the slightest. I appreciated the attempt, though, I think sci-fi movies with a budget like this one should be made, and I think the attempt was honorable because there were some really neat ideas here. It’s just a pity that they weren’t really explored at all.

Grade: C+

[Trailer] – Epic

26 Jun

20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios have just released their first trailer for their 2013 effort Epic, which you can watch after the cut.

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[Trailer] – Total Recall

1 Apr

 

We had gotten a thirty-three-second teaser for the trailer of Total Recall, the upcoming remake of the classic 1990 sci-fi flick, and now we’ve finally gotten our first look at the full-length trailer, which you can watch above.

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London Boulevard

15 Dec

Title: London Boulevard
Year: 2011
Director: William Monahan
Writer: William Monahan, based on the novel by Ken Bruen
Starring: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, David Thewlis, Anna Friel, Ray Winstone, Ben Chaplin, Stephen Graham, Eddie Marsan, Ophelia Lovibond
MPAA Rating: R, strong violence, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
Runtime: 103 min
IMDb Rating: 6.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%

William Monahan won the Oscar for his adaptation of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, which of course turned out the to be the Martin Scorsese masterpiece that was The Departed. He adapts a novel this time around for his directorial debut, London Boulevard, a rather stylish gangster film. And I thought there was quite a bit of stuff to recommend in this film, it’s obviously not The Departed, not by a long shot, but the sharp dialogue is all there, and Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley make for a pretty damn great pair of lovers, and Ray Winstone for a damn great foe to them.

This is actually a really confident first at-bat from Mr. Monahan, so much so that it may veer off into cocky territory at times, but the reality is that he delivers a film with a definite style and he makes it a smart one, too. The one thing is that, and this is why I say that the confidence came out as cockiness at times, Mr. Monahan at times kind of tried to stick too many subplots into this one, and in a hundred-minute movie there’s no time or space to really tend to all of the ones he tried to provide, which meant some of them were dealt in a really unimpressive fashion and the other ones fell into generic places. It would have been much better for him to stick to the main story and follow that one through.

That’s pretty much what I think about London Boulevard, it has too many ideas going on at the same time and a huge amount of talented actors ready to be used by Mr. Monahan so it just kind of crumbles because it wanted too much. Which is obviously still far better than failing because you didn’t set out to achieve much, the cast is still great and the premise is certainly interesting, it just didn’t really know how to play with all the toys it was given.

We’re in London here, a gritty kind of London, where we meet Mitchel, Mr. Farrell’s character, a just-released con who wants to go straight now but that has the local crime boss played by Mr. Winstone trying to recruit him and get him to join his organization where a friend of his already works as an enforcer. All the while he gets hired as a security for Charlotte, a famous actress who wants the paparazzi to leave her alone after her marriage has ended publicly. So yeah, you have those two strands working together, with the crime bosses and the pesky paparazzi being the two bad guys while the relationship between the characters of Mr. Farrell and Ms. Knightley starts evolving.

Were London Boulevard to stick to just that, I think it would have been a really good film. But instead we also have Mitchell trying to avenge the murder of a friend while he also deals with his alcoholic sister (played really well by the lovely Anna Friel) and he we have yet another obstacle in the shape of Charlotte’s best friend (a role David Thewlis rocks). So, you see, we have so much stuff going on on the side that we can’t really delve into the main stuff, and what happens is that the relationship between Mitchel and Charlotte is underdeveloped, and when this film tries to be a stylish, dark crime thriller such as Drive (the year’s best film to date) it can’t help but fail.

Again, it’s certainly commendable to see a first-time director take on both the impact that crime and celebrity can have on one and how tight both of those grips can prove to be, but it was just too much to chew for an inexperienced director it seems. Of course it will seem as though Mitchel and Charlotte are kind of destined to be together and then the film will be about how they can manage to achieve that when the world around them seems to be throwing obstacle after obstacle to make that impossible. And there are so many obstacles that normally this wouldn’t work for me, but Mr. Farrell is great at showing a man with some scars hidden inside, and Ms. Knightley is perfect at looking hauntingly frail, together they make for a broken couple that together may be fixed again, and you can’t help but root for them.

It’s a real pity that a film with such great actors, such stunning cinematography and a promising premise falls apart because the story just couldn’t find its way, something that I can’t quite grasp because the writing came from Mr. Monahan. Maybe he was just so excited to get to direct for the first time that he wanted to give himself too many things to play with once he got on that chair. I really didn’t get why this film failed to be exceptional, I mean it was good (far better than what that 33% over on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest, I believe) and it had some genius performances, especially by David Thewlis and Ray Winstone, but it just couldn’t gel for me to really fall in love with it, there were too many genres and situations and play, and while I loved one or two of them, the feeling didn’t necessarily expand to the rest.

Grade: B

Fright Night

12 Sep

Title: Fright Night
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Craig Gillespie
Writer: Marti Noxon, based on the story by Tom Holland, based on the original film and screenplay by Mr. Holland
Starring: 
Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette
MPAA Rating: 
R, bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references
Runtime: 
106 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
6.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 
75%

At first I didn’t know what to really think about Fright Night, I certainly wasn’t of the opinion that the 1985 needed any sort of remake or rehash, but then I saw the trailer and it actually looked like this movie could be a really good time. And so I went to see the actual film with an open mind and I found myself really liking it. I just thought it was super smart in how it approached it being a remake, I thought it had some very funny moments, and I thought the gory stuff in it was just stylishly done in the greatest of ways, not to mention it had in Anton Yelchin, one of my personal favorite young actors, a very good lead to carry it through, and in Colin Farrell and David Tennant it had two supporting players who really knocked it out of the park here.

Really, as vampire movies go, this one truly is a very good one, and part of how good it actually is comes from how self-aware it is about itself, it really made fun of itself at times in way that didn’t feel gratuitous at all but that just really nicely added to the overall effect of the style it wanted to have. Another thing this film gets awesomely right is the use of its location, Las Vegas. Not the Las Vegas strip, mind you, with the neon lights and buzzing casinos, but instead a suburban housing development in the desert, just a lot houses and streets surrounded by nothing but desert, just a great image of an isolated suburban oasis in the middle of nowhere. That setting works so well because it looks like a perfectly normal sort of place, but also one in which some really crazy things could very well happen and, if they did, one that’s so isolated from everything else that the rest of the world probably wouldn’t notice.

And that’s, you know, kind of exactly what happens here. Our main character here is Charley Brewster, played by Mr. Yelchin, a high school teen who lives next door to Jerry, the character of Mr. Farrell, a single guy, handsome and charming and rather mysterious, too. Since my generation has been exposed to vampires like crazy as of late, thanks to Twilight and True Blood and some other less-famous (though many times better) attempts to get our vampiremania going, Charley and his friend Ed, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, are sensitive to the signs of a vampire. Charley however isn’t aware of them as Ed is, as he’s busy dating a girl who’s probably ‘cooler’ than he is in his school’s social ladder, and Charley’s mother doesn’t see anything off either about her new neighbor, being too busy admiring how handsome the guy is.

As a hardcore Whovian it was great to see David Tennant in this one, as Peter Vincent, this sort of Criss Angel guy who has a headlining act at a Vegas casino and claims to be an expert at vampires, and he’s awesome in the role, just adding a lot of fun to the whole movie experience. The one person who actually makes more out of his role than Mr. Tennant is Mr. Farrell himself, who you just can tell had a ball at playing Jerry, and he really rocks this role of a monster who has learned that the best way to get his victims to like him and thus get close to them is to play it like an ordinary guy, to be just way flat, when inside it’s all a game of manipulation. The stuff Mr. Farrell brings to the role is tremendous, his delivery of lines combined with just the way he looks at the other characters is pretty fantastic.

I won’t go too much into the plot, there are some things that are just too cool for me to spoil here. I’ll just tell you that it’s a very well-crafted film, the production design is really great, the prosthetic make-up looked terrific, the art direction was done by Randy Moore, who did The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and it was top-notch, and the cinematography by veteran Javier Aguirresarobe, who has worked on the likes of The Road, The Others and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, really did make the most out of the locations and environments here. And then there are the script and direction, both of which I really thought worked well here. The screenplay was written by Marti Noxon, who knows her vampires from years as a veteran writer on the staff of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and really knows how to mix in the fun with the scares. And the direction was in the hands of Craig Gillespie, who did the terrific Lars and the Real Girl and the recently-cancelled United States of Tara over at Showtime (Toni Collette, the lead on that show, plays Charley’s mother here), and he does some very good stuff here, really knowing how to craft the shocks and the action in this one.

I really recommend Fright Night whole-heartedly, it was just pure fun to be had at the theater. The performances are all really good, if you’re a Whovian you’ll have to watch it if only to see David Tennant in such a big and fun role, and Colin Farrell adds to his collection of crazy characters he’s played this year after his turn in Horrible Bosses by giving the film’s standout performance as Jerry. As for the 3D of it all, well, I’m obviously a big detractor of the technology, mostly because it makes everything too dark, and considering this film had a lot to do with scenes during nighttimes and in dimly lit rooms it suffered because of that, and I still recommend to seek this one out in regular 2D, but at the very least all the stuff this one throws out at you, mostly blood and some other icky stuff for shock purposes, isn’t that distracting and is at times proper witty, so yeah, it made some of the great shots Mr. Gillespie came up with look a bit messy, but it could have been worse. And even if this was a remake we didn’t really need, it was still incredibly fun, and considering the remake/reboot/prequel/sequel/threequel/fourquel movie world we live in, that’s more than good enough.

Grade: B+