REVIEW: SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS

CAST

Colin Farrell (Fright Night)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Woody Harrelson (Rampart)
Christopher Walken (True Romance)
Tom Waits (Bram Stoker’s Dracula)
Abbie Cornish (Robcop)
Olga Kurylenko (Momentum)
Željko Ivanek (Heroes)
Linda Bright Clay (Before The Border)
Harry Dean Stanton (Avengers Assemble)
Amanda Warren (Mother!)
James Hébert (Westworld)
Kevin Corrigan (The Departed)
Gabourey Sidibe (Grimsby)
Michael Pitt (Ghost In The Shell)
Michael Stuhlbarg (The Post)
Helena Mattsson (Guns, Girls and Gambling)

Christopher Walken and Bonny in Seven Psychopaths (2012)Marty is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay, Seven Psychopaths. Marty’s best friend, Billy, makes a living by kidnapping dogs and collecting the owners’ rewards for their safe return. Billy’s partner-in-crime is Hans, a religious man with a cancer-stricken wife, Myra.Marty writes a story for another psychopath, the “Quaker”, who stalks his daughter’s killer for decades, driving the killer to suicide. Billy suggests Marty use the “Jack of Diamonds” killer, perpetrator of a recent double murder, as one of the psychopaths. Billy places an advertisement in the newspaper inviting psychopaths to call and share their stories for Marty to use in his script. A man named Zachariah Rigby approaches Marty and shares his story, with the condition that the movie include a message to his partner in crime.Woody Harrelson and Olga Kurylenko in Seven Psychopaths (2012)Billy and Hans steal a Shih Tzu named Bonny, unaware that it is the beloved pet of Charlie Costello, an unpredictable and violent gangster. Charlie’s thugs, led by Paulo, discover Hans’ connection to the kidnapping. They threaten to kill Marty and Hans, but the Jack of Diamonds killer arrives and kills the thugs. Charlie traces Myra to the cancer ward and kills her after she refuses to tell him anything. Billy goes to Costello’s house to meet his girlfriend, Angela, who is also Charlie’s girlfriend. After Billy reveals to her that he kidnapped Bonny, she calls Charlie to tell him. Billy, after finding out that Charlie killed Myra, shoots Angela in retaliation. Charlie arrives at Billy’s address and discovers many packs of playing cards with the jack of diamonds missing, and realizes Billy is the “Jack of Diamonds” killer. Marty, Billy, and Hans leave the city with Bonny. Hans reveals that he was the Quaker. Marty wrote his story after hearing it from a drunken Billy. The trio drive into the desert and set up camp. Billy suggests Seven Psychopaths end with a shootout between the psychopaths and Charlie’s forces.Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Colin Farrell in Seven Psychopaths (2012)Marty and Hans see a headline saying that Billy is wanted in connection with the Jack of Diamonds killings. Marty confronts Billy, who reveals that he assumed the Jack of Diamonds persona to give Marty inspiration. Marty tells Billy they must go home. Meanwhile, Hans has a vision of Myra in which she is in a “grey place,” leading Hans to question his belief in the afterlife. He ignores Marty’s reassurances that his vision was a peyote-induced hallucination. Billy sets the car on fire, stranding the trio, and calls Charlie, telling him their location. Billy claims he impersonated Myra, causing Hans to leave. Billy, with Bonny in tow, anxiously waits for Charlie to arrive, intending to have a climactic shootout. Charlie arrives alone, without a weapon apart from a flare gun. An enraged Billy shoots Charlie, feeling cheated out of a shootout. Marty drives away with Charlie, intending to take him to a hospital, while Billy realizes the flare gun’s purpose and fires it. Hans finds Charlie’s thugs awaiting the flare signal. The large group catches the attention of the police, who draw closer. Hans pretends to draw a weapon, causing Paulo to shoot him in front of the police. Before dying, Hans says “It isn’t grey at all”.Woody Harrelson in Seven Psychopaths (2012)The thugs head towards the signal, with police in pursuit, and encounter Marty and Charlie, who reveals that he only suffered a flesh wound. With backup, Charlie returns to Billy’s location. After a shootout, Charlie and Billy have a stand-off, respectively holding Marty and Bonny hostage. Charlie releases Marty and shoots Billy just as the police arrive. Charlie and Paulo are arrested, but Bonny stays at the dying Billy’s side. Marty visits the scene of Hans’s death, and finds a tape recorder with suggestions for Seven Psychopaths. Marty, having adopted Bonny, finishes the screenplay. Some time later, after the Seven Psychopaths movie is shown in theater, Marty receives a call from Zachariah, who intends to kill him for forgetting to leave a message as promised. On hearing Marty’s weary and resigned acceptance, Zachariah realizes that Marty’s experiences have left him a changed man, and decides to spare him.Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths (2012)If you see this movie you need to see it for the acting and a fun way to spend 110 minutes. If you are looking for a movie that makes some kind of a statement or makes you really think about your life, then don’t see this movie, you will be disappointed.

REVIEW: HUGO

CAST

Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Ben Kinglsey (Iron Man 3)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Ray Winstone (Elfie Hopkins)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Helen McCrory (The Woman In Black 2)
Jude Law (Spy)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Men In Black 3)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Frances de la Tour (The Lady In The Van)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
Michael Pitt (Murder By Numbers)

In 1931, 12-year-old Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in Paris with his father (Jude Law), a widowed, but kind clockmaker who also works at a museum. One day his father finds a broken automaton, a mechanical man designed to write with a pen, at the museum, and he and Hugo try to repair it, his father documenting the automaton in a notebook. When his father is killed by a fire at the museum, Hugo is forced to live with his resentful, alcoholic uncle Claude (Ray Winstone), and made to learn how to maintain the clocks at the railway station of Gare Montparnasse. When Claude goes missing for several days, Hugo continues to maintain the clocks, fearing that he would be sent away as an orphan by the vindictive Station Inspector Gustave (Sacha Baron Cohen) if Claude’s absence is discovered. Hugo attempts to repair the automaton with stolen parts, believing it contains a message from his father, but the machine still requires a heart-shaped key that his father could not find.Hugo is caught when stealing from the toy store owner Georges (Ben Kingsley), who looks through his father’s notebook and threatens to destroy it. Hugo encounters Georges’ goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) who offers to help get the notebook back. Hugo learns Georges has forbidden Isabelle from going to the cinema, and introduces the medium to her as his father had done for him. As their friendship grows, he shows her the automaton, and is surprised when Isabelle inadvertently reveals she wears the key as a necklace given to her by Georges. When started, the machine draws out a scene that Hugo recognizes from his father’s description of the film A Trip to the Moon. Isabelle identifies the signature, that of a “Georges Méliès”, as her godfather. She sneaks Hugo into her home, where they find a hidden cache of more imaginative drawings of Méliès, but are caught by Georges, who banishes Hugo from his home.Hugo and Isabelle go to the Film Academy Library and find a book about the history of cinema that praises Méliès’ contributions. They meet the book’s author, René Tabard (Michael Stuhlbarg), a film expert who is surprised to hear that Méliès may still be alive, as he had disappeared after World War I along with nearly all copies of his films. Excited at the chance to meet him, René agrees to meet Isabelle and Hugo at Georges’ home to show his copy of A Trip to the Moon, hoping it will invigorate Georges. On the scheduled night, Georges’ wife Jeanne (Helen McCrory) tries to turn them away, but René compliments Jeanne as Jeanne d’Alcy, an actress in many of Méliès’ films, and she allows them to continue. As the film plays, Georges wakes up at the sight, and Jeanne finally convinces him to cherish his accomplishments rather than regret his lost dream. Georges recounts that as a stage magician, he had been fascinated by motion pictures and used the medium to create imaginative works through his Star Film Company, but was forced into bankruptcy following the War, closing his studio and selling his films to be turned into raw materials. He laments that even an automaton he made that he donated to a museum was lost. Hugo recognizes this is the same automaton he has, and races to the station to retrieve it. He is caught by Gustave, who has learned that Claude’s body was found some time ago, and threatens to take Hugo to the orphanage. Georges arrives and tells Gustave that he will now see to Hugo, adopting him as his son.Some time later, Georges is named a professor at the Film Academy, and is paid tribute through a showcase of his films recovered by René. Hugo joins in with his new family as they celebrate, while Isabelle starts to write down Hugo’s story.Martin Scorcese’s Hugo is one of the best cinematic experience, I’ve had in years.  The visual effects, cinematography, art direction, just technically superb. Finally a smart, awe-aspiring family film, which are really rare nowadays. A definite surprise coming from legendary director, Martin Scorcese, who’s known for movies with a lot of swears, violence, drugs and other adult-themed subjects.

REVIEW: GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)

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CAST

Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Takeshi Kitano (Boiling Point)
Michael Pitt (Hannibal)
Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones)
Chin Han (The Dark Knight)
Juliette Binoche (The 33)
Peter Ferdinando (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Lasarus Ratuere (Mabo)
Anamaria Marinca (Fury)
Michael Wincott (The Crow)
Daniel Henshall (Okja)
Rila Fukushima (Arrow)
Joseph Naufahu (Game of Thrones)

In the near future, the vast majority of humans are augmented with cybernetics, enhancing various traits like vision, strength, and intelligence. Hanka Robotics, the world’s leading developer of augmentative technology, establishes a secret project to develop a mechanical body, or “shell”, that can integrate a human brain rather than an AI. Mira Killian, a young woman who is the sole survivor of the cyberterrorist attack which killed her parents, is chosen as the test subject after her body is apparently damaged beyond repair. Over the objections of her designer, Dr. Ouelet, Hanka CEO Cutter decides to use Killian as a counter-terrorism operative.A year later, Killian has attained the rank of Major in the anti-terrorist bureau Section 9, working alongside operatives Batou and Togusa under Chief Daisuke Aramaki. The team successfully thwarts a terrorist attack on a Hanka business conference, and Killian destroys a rogue mechanical geisha after it murders a hostage. Killian, who has been experiencing hallucinations that Ouelet dismisses as glitches, is becoming increasingly bothered by how little she remembers about her past. After learning that the geisha was hacked by an unknown entity, known only as Kuze, Killian breaks protocol and “dives” into its AI for answers. The entity attempts a counter-hack, and Batou is forced to disconnect her. Using the information she was able to gather, the two trace the hacker to a Yakuza nightclub, where they are lured into a trap. The resulting explosion destroys Batou’s eyes, and leaves Killian’s body severely damaged. Cutter is enraged by Killian’s actions, and threatens to have Section 9 shut down unless Aramaki keeps her in line.Kuze tracks down Section 9’s Hanka consultant, Dr. Dahlin, and kills her. The team links her murder to the deaths of other senior company researchers, and realize that Dr. Ouelet is the next target. Kuze takes control of two sanitation workers and sends them to kill Ouelet. Batou, now with cybernetic eyes, kills one of them while the repaired Killian subdues the other. During interrogation, Kuze briefly speaks through the surviving worker before compelling him to commit suicide. Togusa traces the hack to a secret location, where the team discovers a large number of humans mentally linked together as a makeshift signal network. Killian is captured, and Kuze reveals that he is a failed Hanka test subject from the same project that created Killian, otherwise known as 2571. He urges her to question her own memories before freeing her and escaping.Killian confronts Ouelet, who admits there were 98 test subjects before Killian but she was the only one to survive the process and that her memories are fake implanted ones. Cutter has decided that Killian is too much of a liability, and orders Ouelet to euthanize her after she returns to Hanka Robotics. Instead, Ouelet gives Killian an address and helps her escape. Cutter kills Ouelet, but blames Killian, saying that she has gone rogue. He subsequently informs Aramaki and the team that Killian must be terminated by any means necessary.Killian follows the address to an apartment occupied by a widowed mother, who reveals that her daughter, Motoko Kusanagi, ran away from home a year ago and was arrested, before taking her own life while in custody. Unable to process her emotions, Killian leaves and contacts Aramaki, who intentionally allows Cutter to eavesdrop on their conversation. Batou, Togusa, and Aramaki each eliminate Cutter’s men trying to ambush them, while Killian follows her memories to the hideaway where Motoko was last seen. There, she and Kuze meet, and recall their past lives as anti-augmentation radicals who were abducted by Hanka for use as test subjects.Cutter deploys a “spider-tank” to kill them, and Kuze nearly dies before Killian is able to tear off the tank’s motor, losing her left arm in the process. Mortally wounded, Kuze offers to merge his “ghost” with Killian’s before a Hanka sniper kills him. Batou and the team rescue Killian, while Aramaki executes Cutter with Killian’s consent. The next day, Killian, now repaired and embracing her true identity as Motoko, reconnects with her mother before returning to work with Section 9.I came into this movie not knowing anything about it, besides the fact that it was an adaption. I was absolutely blown away. The look, the story, the acting, all spectacular. I enjoyed every second. I felt every emotion. I was amazed by every visual. I walked away from the film in awe.

REVIEW: MURDER BY NUMBERS

CAST

Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Ben Chaplin (Cinderella)
Ryan Gosling (Drive)
Michael Pitt (The Dreamers)
Agnes Bruckner (Blood and Chocolate)
R. D. Call (Waterworld)
Chris Penn (After The Sunset)
Tom Verica (Red Dragon)

Nick Offerman (Sing)
Jim Jansen (Death Becomes Her)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)

Richard Haywood (Gosling) and Justin Pendleton (Pitt) are high school classmates; Richard is wealthy and popular, while Justin is a brilliant introvert. After months of planning a “perfect crime”, they abduct a woman at random, strangle her, and plant evidence implicating Richard’s marijuana dealer, janitor Ray Feathers (Chris Penn). Detective Cassie Mayweather (Bullock) and her new partner, Sam Kennedy (Chaplin) investigate. Cassie sleeps with Sam early on—as she has with previous partners—but won’t let him see her chest, and curtly sends him home afterward.

Footprints at the crime scene lead to Richard, and vomit nearby implicates Justin. Both have alibis, and deny knowing each other, but Cassie is convinced that Richard is the murderer and Justin is involved. Sam criticizes her refusal to consider other suspects, as most of the physical evidence points away from the two boys. Cassie’s boss, Captain Rod Cody (R. D. Call), and her cuckolded ex, Assistant D.A. Al Swanson (Tom Verica), fearing Richard’s influential parents, take Cassie off the case. Sam, following the (planted) evidence, tracks down Ray. When Ray is found dead, apparently a suicide (actually killed by Richard), the woman’s murder appears solved; but Sam decides that Cassie may be right, and continues the investigation.

Justin, who has a crush on classmate Lisa Mills (Agnes Bruckner), works up the courage to ask her out. A jealous Richard seduces Lisa, then gives Justin a video clip of the two having sex. Justin is enraged, but regains control, knowing Sam is still watching them. Cassie begins receiving calls from her ex-husband, Carl Hudson, who went to prison for stabbing her in the chest 17 times. His parole hearing is coming up, and he wants her to speak on his behalf. Cassie confides to Sam that although she became a cop to prove to herself that she wasn’t a victim, she is terrified at the prospect of seeing Carl again. She also confesses that Richard reminds her of Carl—which is why she is convinced of Richard’s guilt, and obsessed with proving it.

Sam and Cassie bring Richard and Justin in for separate interrogations, trying to induce each to implicate the other, but neither will talk, and both are released. At the victim’s home, Cassie determines how the boys carried out the abduction and altered the physical evidence. Justin and Richard, knowing that Cassie is closing in on them, flee to an abandoned house, where Richard produces two pistols and proposes a mutual suicide. On the count of three, Justin shoots (into the air), but Richard does not. Justin demands to see Richard’s gun—which is unloaded. As a furious Justin is about to shoot Richard, Cassie arrives. Richard grabs Justin’s gun and shoots at Cassie, wounding Justin instead. Cassie gives chase and tackles Richard on a rickety balcony jutting out over a cliff. As Richard strangles Cassie, the balcony gives way and Richard falls to his death. Justin grabs Cassie, who is hanging on the edge of the balcony, and pulls her back into the house.

Cassie assures Justin that she will intercede on his behalf, since he was an innocent dupe, manipulated by the ruthless Richard. Then she notices a mark on her neck caused by Richard’s large ring, and realizes that the dead woman’s neck did not have a similar mark. Confronted with the evidence, Justin confesses that he strangled the victim to prove his “courage” to Richard. In the closing scene, Cassie faces her fears and enters the courtroom to testify at Carl’s parole hearing. The bailiff calls her to the stand by her legal name: Jessica Marie Hudson.

Schroeder does not build his film visually. It has a conventional TV movie feel to it and, despite being well played, Pitt’s nerdy all-knowing geek is a bit too formulaic. But the film holds you nevertheless. Schroeder displays a storyteller’s gift for how things should develop, And as the cock-of-the-walk arrogant yet vulnerable rich kid killer Ryan Gosling is the real McCoy. He can convey charm and menace in equal measure and often in the same moment and confirms his status as one of the best actors in movies.

REVIEW: WONDERLAND

CAST
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Lisa Kudrow (Bad Neighbours)
Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns)
Dylan McDermott (The Practice)
Michael Pitt (The Dreamers)
Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four)
Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer)
Natasha Gregson Wagner (Urban Legend)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Christina Applegate (The Sweetest Thing)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Paris Hilton (Bottoms Up)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Carl Ciarfalio (The Fantastic Four)
John Holmes and Dawn Schiller
The underage girlfriend of John Holmes, Dawn Schiller, is on the streets and picked up by a holy roller after Holmes leaves Schiller in a hotel room. Schiller eventually calls Holmes to come and get her. Holmes arrives at the apartment, and they have sex and snort cocaine in the bathroom. The next morning, while in a motel room, Dawn sees a newscast that states four people were murdered at a rowhouse on Wonderland Avenue, the same one she had earlier been at with Holmes. The story eventually moves on to two city detectives investigating the crime, Sam Nico and Louis Cruz, and their contact with Holmes. Another officer, Billy Ward, intervenes in the investigation.
David Lind’s story
The next major character introduced is David Lind. He hears of his friends’ murders at Wonderland and soon discovers his girlfriend was there. While at the crime scene, he is picked up by Nico and Cruz. Through Lind’s story (told in flashbacks), we are introduced to some of the people who partied at Wonderland. These people, known as the Wonderland Gang, included Ron Launius and his wife Susan, Billy Deverell, Lind’s 22-year-old girlfriend Barbara Richardson, and Joy Miller. Ron has a fondness for antique guns and frequently shows them off. When he learns that Holmes knows notorious gangster Eddie Nash, he gives Holmes a pair of stolen antique guns to take to Nash, so that Nash can fence them and the Wonderland Gang can split the loot. (Nash had befriended Holmes because of Holmes’ notoriety as the porn film phenomenon Johnny Wadd.) Holmes takes the guns to Nash, but Nash says the guns are too rare to be sold, as they would be recognized right away and everyone involved would be apprehended. Rather than return the guns to Holmes, Nash keeps them for himself. Attempting to get back in the gang’s good graces, Holmes suggests robbing Nash’s home. Ron Launius is reluctant to go along with the robbery at first, but after Holmes gives him a rundown of what’s there, he is eager to participate. Holmes volunteers to draw them a map to plan the robbery, since he has visited Nash’s house frequently. Holmes then visits Nash to buy drugs, and on the way out leaves the kitchen door unlocked to give the Wonderland gang easy access.

The Robbery of Eddie Nash
The next morning, Ron Launius, Lind, and Deverell carry out the robbery, while wheel-man Tracy McCourt waits outside in a car, serving as lookout. Neither Holmes nor any of the women is present when the robbery occurs. The Wonderland Gang gains access through the unlocked kitchen door and robs Nash at gunpoint. Lind accidentally fires his gun, wounding Nash’s bodyguard, Greg Diles. The gang hurls racial epithets at Nash and Diles and walks away with over one million dollars in cash, jewels, and drugs. They bring their loot back to the Wonderland apartment to divide everything up. Holmes is unhappy with the cut he is given, even though he did not take part in the robbery and he’s in debt to the gang.
Nash discovers Holmes was involved in the robbery, he has Holmes beaten and finds Holmes’ little black book. He tells Holmes he will kill every person listed in the book, starting with Holmes’ mother, if Holmes does not give up the men who robbed Nash.

July 1, 1981
The retaliation for the robbery is swift and fatal. On July 1, 1981, a group of Nash’s henchmen (including Holmes), led by Diles, gains access to the apartment at Wonderland Avenue. Ron Launius, Deverell, Richardson, and Miller are all brutally beaten to death with striated lead pipes. Diles compels Holmes to deliver blows to Launius. Susan Launius is beaten but survives, and is questioned by Nico and Cruz in her hospital bed. She tells them (in a near comatose state) that she does not remember anything, only shadows. Lind is not present during the attacks
The film is skillfully directed and paced and captures the frenetic world of the drug fiends in their element. The fact that Holmes is a porn star is almost irrelevant. That story was told in “Boogie Nights”. This is a story of a transitional and forgettable era.