Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Seven Psychopaths
Martin McDonagh’s follow-up to the awesome In Bruges is a strange, bloody meta-comedy packed with dark laughs and great performances. McDonagh is pulling an Adaptation-style trick here by having Colin Farrell playing McDonagh’s on-screen avatar Marty, a screenwriter struggling to write his latest script, titled Seven Psychopaths. Sam Rockwell plays Marty’s best friend, a total nut who, in a bid to help his pal out, puts out an ad in the paper asking psychos to show on Marty’s doorstep to provide inspiration for the screenplay. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, as things quickly spiral out of control and the movie sort of turns itself inside-out, becoming an exercise in genre along the way. Christopher Walken knocks his role out of the park here, and supporting turns from the likes of Tom Waits and Woody Harrelson also make for a good time. Because of its self-examination, the movie is a bit disjointed and weird, but I had a damn good time with it. If you liked Adaptation and In Bruges, then you’ll probably like the marriage of those ideas and thems in Seven Psychopaths.
4 out of 5

Silver Linings Playbook
This family dramedy about dealing with bipolar disorder is an odd contender for the 2013 Best Picture Oscar, and while it’s not a bad film, it really wasn’t my cup of tea. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both put in very good performances, but there were a lot of problematic elements in the film, and I had a hard time enjoying myself as I watched it. What’s more, the final act, which involves a dance competition, felt kind of forced and didn’t work for me at all. What can I say? I just wasn’t keen on this movie, but I recognize that it’s a well-made, well-acted film overall. If I were to rewatch Silver Linings Playbook, it would be for Jennifer Lawrence’s performance above all else.
3.25 out of 5

Life of Pi
An overly schmaltzy CGI-fest of a movie that shoots itself in the foot by presenting a terrific middle hour, but bookending that hour with club-you-over-the-head morals and a central message that left me incensed. Everything that takes place between the sinking of the ship full of zoo animals and Pi finding his way back to land after spending months at sea with a Bengal tiger is great cinema. Even though the tiger is CGI, it’s completely believable, and the odyssey that Pi and his unlikely companion embark upon is fantastical, gorgeously depicted, and full of adventure. Unfortunately, the movie has a framing narrative wherein the adult Pi tells his story to a novelist…and in doing so, removes all tension that he might die from the film. We know that Pi survives the events of the story, and that means that anytime he’s caught in a storm or has a close call with the tiger, it doesn’t matter: we’ve already been told that he lives through it. The movie then closes with the characters LITERALLY EXPLAINING, WORD FOR WORD, EVERY METAPHOR IN THE FILM, ending with the message that you should believe in god because it’s more comforting than believing in the truth. Lame! The greatest tragedy here is that Life of Pi shows loads of potential, but bungles things completely.
2.75 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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