Cinema City Film Quiz #87

[30 December 2012]

Winning Team:
Many Hans Make Dark Knight Work

Genre – Crime thriller

Runners Up:
Hans Free
Genre – Psychological thriller in which Hans Zimmer’s music kills people when they are on hold on premium phone lines
Hans Zimmer Frame
Genre – Once proud man finds strength writing music after losing the ability to walk

ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of the dog in 1943’s Lassie Come Home? [bonus point if you can name the breed of the dog]
LASSIE [Rough collie]
2. What genre does Tombstone predominantly belong to?
3. What colour is the Mask’s iconic suit, in the 1994 film of the same name?
4. What is the subtitle to Terminator 2?
5. How does Mr. Miyagi refer to Daniel LaRusso throughout The Karate Kid?
6. Who directed True Lies?
7. Who are the three top billed actors in 1987’s Innerspace? (one point per correct answer)
8. Pretty Woman is set in which US city?
9. Of the many celebrities Forrest Gump meets, who is the first?
10. What did Robert Zemeckis direct before Back To The Future?

ROUND II: Filming [Hans Zimmer Special]
1. Which of the following actors did not star in Rain Man? Tom Cruise? Dustin Hoffman? Gene Hackman? **4000th question asked!**
2. Who directed the Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy? Michael Bay? Gore Verbinski? Jon Turteltaub? [bonus point for naming the director of On Stranger Tides]
3. Who played the role of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator? Richard Harris? Oliver Reed? Joaquin Phoenix?
4. At the 82nd Academy Awards (2010) Hans Zimmer was nominated for an Oscar for his score for which film? The Dark Knight? Angels & Demons? Sherlock Holmes?
5. What colour is Captain Algren’s armour (originally worn by Hirotaro) in The Last Samurai? Black? Red? Blue?
6. Which of the following films was not scored by Hans Zimmer? Look Who’s Talking? Cool Runnings? Thunderbirds?
7. What is the name of the town in Rango? Mud? Dust? Dirt?
8. What type of car do Thelma & Louise drive in the film of the same name? 1967 Chevrolet Impala? 1966 Ford Thunderbird? 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor?
9. According to the posters for Inception, what was the title given to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character? The Point Man? The Forger? The Shade?
10. Whilst filming The Dark Knight the set for the batcave was damaged by fire and quickly written out of the script. True or False?

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. What type of animals are Chance, Shadow and Sassy in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey? (one point per correct answer)
2. Which film was the first collaboration between director Christopher Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister?
3. Point Of No Return, starring Bridget Fonda, was a remake of which Luc Besson film?
4. What is the full title of Dr. Strangelove?
5. The following quote is from which film “Don’t be alarmed, ladies and gentlemen. Those chains are made of chrome steel”?
6. Rick Deckard is the lead character in which film?
7. The following is the poster tagline for which film “The man, the music, the madness, the murder, the motion picture”?
8. David Lynch was approached to direct The Elephant Man by the movie’s producer (who was impressed by Eraserhead). The producer then insisted his name be kept out of all marketing and promotion, to ensure the public wouldn’t think the film was a comedy. Who was the producer?
9. Michael Rennie, best known for playing Klaatu in The Day The Earth Stood Still was born in which country?
10. How old was James Cagney when he appeared in 1949’s White Heat?

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. Which of Laurie’s friends is the first to be murdered in Halloween? Annie? Lynda? Lindsey?
2. What was the name of the actress who played Holly in Die Hard and Die Hard 2? Kristin Minter? Bonnie Bedelia? Catherine O’Hara? [bonus point if you can identify her actual last name]
3. Long Zheng Hu Dou is the Mandarin title for which Bruce Lee film? The Big Boss? Game Of Death? Enter The Dragon?
4. What is the name of the lead character in The Hustler? Eddie Felson? Bert Gordon? Charlie Burns? [bonus point for naming the actor who portrayed him]
EDDIE FELSON [Paul Newman]
5. What action during a parade for Valerius Gratus leads to Ben-Hur’s condemnation to the galleys? His dog runs in the street? A tile falls from his roof? His mother sneezes as Gratus passes?
6. “The stuff that dreams are made of” is on the AFI list of top 100 movie quotations. Which film is it from? Casablanca? The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre? The Maltese Falcon?
7. Who directed 1958’s Touch Of Evil? Orson Welles? John Ford? Howard Hawks?
8. What is the name of Dean Martin’s character in Rio Bravo? Buddy? Dude? Bro?
9. Which year was A Streetcar Named Desire released? 1949? 1950? 1951?
10. The script for John Carpenter’s The Thing was written by Burt Lancaster’s son, Bill. True or False?

Screenshots: Citizen Kane / The General / Seven Samurai
Poster: Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan
Actor: Laurence Olivier


The Journey Of A Lifetime

Ang Lee

Suraj Sharma
Irrfan Khan
Rafe Spall
Adil Hussain

In 2001 I was working in a bookshop and several of my colleagues were raving about this new novel about a boy in a boat with a tiger. As with most acclaimed contemporary fiction, I was largely uninterested. So little over a decade later they finally got round to releasing a cinematic adaptation and despite my apathy for the book, as a critic, I was intrigued but far from excited and compelled to see what I believed to be a story about a boy in a boat with a tiger. On the surface, that’s all the story is, a tale of survival and natural hardship. In actual fact, it’s a delightfully layered analysis of a young man’s evolving relationship with God, the nature of faith, an allegory for coping with suffering and a discovery of self… but there’s also a tiger.

The film opens with the introduction to Pi Patel [Khan], an Indian immigrant living in Canada and an unnamed writer [Spall], who has travelled to Pi’s home in search of a good story for his next novel. Pi slowly begins to relate his very long and tempestuous journey to North America, starting with his birth. His parents, Santosh [Hussain] and Gita [Tabu], run a zoo in Pondicherry and subsequently, Pi has always grown up surrounded by animals and the wonder of the natural world. Curiously enough, Pi was named after Piscine Molitor, a Parisian swimming pool but as the word piscine sounds like pissing, he is continually bullied in school. It’s only in his second year that he successfully reinvents himself as the mathematical symbol, Pi. As Pi grows up, he is heavily influenced by his mother’s religious beliefs and his father’s disdain for all religion. This produces a confusion in the boy that is quickly remedied when he adopts several major religions: Hinduism, Catholicism and Islamism. Of all the animals in the zoo, Pi takes an interest in the young Bengal tiger, which due to a clerical error, is named Richard Parker. When his father catches Pi trying to feed the tiger, he teaches him a scarring lesson: wild animals do not have souls. When you look into their eyes, you see your own emotions reflected back. When Pi [Sharma] turns 16, his father proposes moving their animals to Canada, to ensure his family’s survival. Reluctantly, Pi finds himself on the freighter travelling across one of the largest oceans to a new life. Partway across the pacific, a mighty storm ravages the ship and Pi manages to escape on a lifeboat with a small contingent of animals. All of whom die bar the tiger, Richard Parker.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most visually vibrant releases of the year. Upon first viewing the trailer, I thought the whole movie looked a little too pristine and polished, giving off that unnaturally smooth CGI look that populated another novel adaptation, The Lovely Bones. Thankfully, the entire thing is an absolute marvel to behold with some of the most credible computer generated characters ever to grace the screen. Additionally, I wrote off the pacing, assuming the majority of this story would be lengthy and arduous but in fact the shipwrecking incident takes place a considerable way in and much like Cast Away or The Old Man And The Sea, keeping the central focus on a sole character with little-to-nothing to cut away to has been executed with incredible precision and skill. This largely comes down to a combination of a very clever and compelling screenplay and spectacular performances. I say performances namely because, unlike many computer-generated characters, Richard Parker is an absolutely credible wonder. And I don’t simply mean visually; I can’t remember a single scene where I wasn’t gripped by a primal fear that at any moment the wild animal before me would simply snap and tear Pi to shreds. Then there’s Pi himself. From what I understand, Suraj Sharma had little to no previous acting experience but his quirky eccentricities, defiant human spirit and wracked faith are portrayed so exceptionally that it rivals the peak of several well-known actor’s prowess.

But this film is so much more than a story about a boy and a tiger in a boat, it’s a story about a child’s relationship with God and how it evolves through suffering to a man’s relationship with God. Curiously enough, most viewers appear to have had the same reaction to this release, one of an overwhelming emotional nature. For those without faith, they see a compelling tale of man’s domination over nature, his ability to overcome obstacles and conquer tragedy by crafting simple tools, keeping his mind active and taking responsibility for wildlife. For those with religious beliefs, this is a story of the power of faith, of the intervention of God and the trials and tribulations we must endure to really know ourselves and deepen our holdings with a higher power. Then you have a strange minority group, shared by two dramatically different individuals: those who are happy in their religion, without doubt or conflict (not so much the big twelve, more the really fundamentalist groups) and the strictly atheist, those who believe in no form of god, science or even people; and for those people, this is just a boring story about a boy and a tiger in a boat. However, the truly fascinating element isn’t what you see in the film but how you interpret the story. But I’ll expand on that in my highlighted scene below.

As far as negative aspects go, it’s quite difficult to really highlight any. I wasn’t blown away by this release but I certainly appreciated the intricacies and depth of the story-telling – having said that, this was all present in the book, so the film’s major keystone was pretty much already in place. The visuals, score, acting and directorial helming were all brilliantly achieved and will be deservedly heralded as such. At the end of the day, this movie’s success on a personal level is going to come down to preferences; specifically, do you like parables? If not, you’ll probably be bored or indifferent. If you do, then this will be a transportive and thoroughly captivating piece – it’s all a matter of opinion and perspective.

Release Date:
20th December 2012

The Scene To Look Out For:
**This whole paragraph is just a mess of spoilers, so don’t read if you have yet to see the film**
Once discovered and recuperating in hospital, Pi tells the story we have just witnessed to the freighter’s insurance agents. The only problem is they cannot and will not believe his fantastical tale, so demand a simpler one. Pi then recounts a different story, one which has several similarities but is laced with brutal reality, cannibalism and murder. The older Pi explains that both stories start with the sinking of the ship, the death of his family, a great deal of personal suffering and then he’s rescued, the question is which story the writer prefers. When the writer explains that the story with the tiger is the better story, Pi replies, “So it is with God.” And it’s this underlying statement about interpretation of traumatic events is what makes this story an emotional parable. Do you see this as a fanciful story about a boy sharing a boat with a wild animal or a boy fighting the guilt of his primal nature which comes out in order to help him survive the ordeal?

Notable Characters:
The supporting cast were pretty fantastic, no matter how brief or how long they were on-screen. However, to highlight anyone other than Sharma and the CGI tiger seems strangely antagonistic and pointless. The relationship is spectacular and its conclusion is utterly, utterly heart-breaking but for completely unexpected reasons. What else can I say?

Highlighted Quote:
“Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested”

In A Few Words:
Life Of Pi is a beautiful visual tale layered with deep, rich analytical undertones. As such this is going to divide audiences between those who enjoy that kind of storytelling and those who despise it”

Total Score:


Cinema City Film Quiz #86

[16 December 2012]

Winning Team:
Fairy Light Club

Genre – We’re not allowed to talk about it

Runners Up:
Turd On A Wire
Genre – No genre.. just a piece of crap
As Long As You’ve Got Your Elf
Genre – NHS takeover of the Shire
Citizen Candy Kane
Genre – Seasonal masterpiece

ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. White Christmas is a song from which seasonal film?
WHITE CHRISTMAS [bonus point for Holiday Inn]
2. What is The Polar Express in the film of the same name?
3. Who played the lead role in It’s A Wonderful Life?
4. Scrooged is an adaptation of which Charles Dickens novella?
5. Kevin McCallister is the lead character in which film series?
6. Eastern Promises is set in which city? [bonus point for the baby’s name, as given by Anna]
LONDON [Christine]
7. Will Ferrell and James Caan play father and son in which Christmas movie? [bonus point for naming the film’s director]
ELF [Jon Favreau]
8. Which Batman film is set at Christmas?
9. What is the name of the superhero toy that Jamie wants for Christmas, in Jingle All The Way?
10. The Muppet Christmas Carol was released in which year?

ROUND II: Filming [Goldie Hawn Special]
1. Which of the following is the only film which stars Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell? Overboard? Romancing The Stone? Out Of Africa?
2. Which actor plays the role of Dr. Ernest Menville in Death Becomes Her? Michael Douglas? Burt Reynolds? Bruce Willis?
3. Goldie Hawn starred alongside Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in which sporting film? Major League? Wildcats? White Men Can’t Jump?
4. Which of the following is not a member of the eponymous First Wives Club? Meryl Streep? Diane Keaton? Bette Middler?
5. What was Goldie Hawn’s first film role? There’s A Girl In My Soup? Dollar? Cactus Flower?
6. What is the title character’s first name in Private Benjamin? June? Julie? Judy?
7. Goldie Hawn appeared in only one western, what was the title? Lovers And Liars? Town And Country? The Duchess And The Dirtwater Fox?
8. 1978’s Foul Play is an homage to the work of which director? John Huston? Frank Capra? Alfred Hitchcock?
9. Which of the following was the poster tagline for Bird On A Wire? He’s every woman’s dream and one woman’s nightmare? There’s only one way these two are going to get along? Ninety minutes, six bullets, no choice?
10. The house used in HouseSitter was just an elaborate set and was torn down after the movie. True or False?

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. The following is the poster tagline for which Danny Boyle film “Five saints, two boys and millions of pounds”?
2. An Affair To Remember plays a large part in the story of which 1993 romantic comedy.. that happens to take place at Christmas?
3. Jim Carrey, Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Tambor starred in which Ron Howard film?
4. What is the name of Billy’s pet gremlin in Gremlins?
5. What is written on the title card at the start of Ghostbusters 2?
6. In Rare Exports, Rauno and his friends herd what type of animals?
7. The director’s cut of Lethal Weapon is how many minutes longer than the theatrical release?
8. How many reindeer does Scott Calvin have in The Santa Clause?
9. What film was released 1947 and then remade in 1955, 1959, 1973 and 1994 under the same title?
10. The following songs are from which film: Jack’s Obsession, What’s This and Town Meeting?

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. Which of the following actors do not portray one of Sam’s bosses in Brazil? Ian Holm? Ian Richardson? Jim Broadbent?
2. What is Gay Perry’s ringtone in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang? I Will Survive? Walk On By? Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag?
3. Which of the following is not one of Brad’s brothers in Four Christmases? Denver? Dallas? Detroit?
4. In Die Hard 2, what is John McClane’s response to “You’re the wrong guy, in the wrong place, at the wrong time”? Sounds like my headstone? Story of my life? Family motto?
5. What was Richard Curtis’ directorial debut? Bridget Jones’ Diary? Love, Actually? Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason?
6. How do the aboriginal tribes refer to Arthur Burns in The Proposition? The dog man? The wild beast? The untamed wolf?
7. In Eyes Wide Shut, Bill Harford’s Venetian mask is made up of which two colours? Black/Red? White/Gold? Blue/Silver?
8. 2046 is narratively connected to two other Kar-wai Wong films, which of the following is not one of them? As Tears Go By? Days Of Being Wild? In The Mood For Love?
9. Who directed L.A. Confidential? Curtis Hanson? Brian De Palma? Richard Donner?
10. Ray is the only In Bruges character seen killing other people. True or False?

Screenshots: A Christmas Story / Deck The Halls / The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Poster: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Actor: Charlie Chaplin


From The Smallest Beginnings Come The Greatest Legends

Peter Jackson

Ian McKellen
Martin Freeman
Richard Armitage

Before proceeding with this review, a few items need to be highlighted. First of all, I had low to no expectations for this film. I was never a fan of the book and thought the idea of spreading a simple 300 page story out over three instalments was horribly indulgent, gratuitous and unnecessary. Furthermore, I’m not a fan of 3D (as regular readers will know) but always welcome new industry changes, so was curious to see what the 48 frames per second would produce.

The film opens with Bilbo Baggins [Ian Holm] reflecting on his adventures on his 111th birthday. The first thing he establishes is a brief history of the dwarf king, Thror and his kingdom in the mountain, Erebor. The mountain metropolis is extremely prosperous until the dragon Smaug appears, desolates the neighbouring town of men and sacks the mountain keep. Thror’s grandson, Thorin [Armitage] leads his people to safety but after men and elves refuse to risk their lives in assistance, he grows bitter and his people become nomadic. As he begins to pen his thoughts, we witness Bilbo’s [Freeman] first encounter (since childhood) with the wandering wizard, Gandalf the Grey [McKellen]. The back-and-forth sets up the wily nature of the wizard and the bumpkin life of a hobbit quite nicely before Bilbo retreats into his house and Gandalf makes an unseen mark in dwarfish on his front door. That evening, Bilbo is visited by twelve loud and rambunctious dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield. Gandalf has in his possession an indecipherable map and a key to a side-entrance into Erebor. As he has been charged to find a fourteenth member of the company of dwarves, he has selected Bilbo. After a great deal of deliberation, feasting and singing, Bilbo eventually agrees to join the quest. On their way to the Lonely Mountain, the group are set upon by orcs, speak with wizards, witness giants fight one another, outwit trolls, take council with elves and enter a goblin city in the mountains. On top of all that, Bilbo gets briefly separated from the company and comes across a ghoulish creature and a small golden ring in his possession.

This really is a character driven film and the screen is constantly brimming with new monsters and creatures demanding your attention from start to finish. Having said that, they seem to fall into two distinct categories: completely forgettable and timelessly spectacular. Other than the various Lord Of The Rings cameos, Bilbo, Thorin, Gandalf, Dwalin [Graham McTavish], Bailn [Ken Stott] and Bofur [James Nesbitt] come to mind. Fans of the book may be surprised, not only by the additional characters but the additional developments, such as the whole Azog the Defiler [Manu Bennett] storyline and the inclusion of Radagast the Brown [Sylvester McCoy] both of which can be found littered in Tolkien’s work. Their inclusion is highly gratuitous, as mentioned earlier, but add to the story as a whole and flesh out what is at best a very simplistic tale. Was this necessary? Of course not, The Hobbit could be presented in one film, two if you really want to include absolutely everything but three seems extremely uncalled for. Having said that, I’m looking forward to each instalment, so maybe more is better. Who knows?

With the cameos, familiar settings, returning production crew and notable directorial traits, Middle Earth nostalgia really grabs you from the get-go. The Hobbit is certainly much lighter affair than Lord Of The Rings but still imbued with fantastical elements and that adventurous spirit that really immerses you in a mystical world. This is of course cemented by the return of Howard Shore and his instantly transportive score. The returning elements are a welcome nod but the new themes of the dwarves and goblins are thundering, powerful and most importantly, memorable. The two books differ dramatically in content and tone, so I don’t see why audiences would be surprised that the films follow the same pattern? Personally, I think the two trilogies will go hand-in-hand, scorned by purists, held in high regard by fans, heralded by the public and secured as the only follow-up trilogy to experience any success whatsoever.

An Unexpected Journey is, naturally, far from perfect. First things first, one should not complain about the length of a Peter Jackson film any more than one should criticise Stanley Kubrick for using classical music rather than a bespoke score. These are merely directorial traits and if you’re going to watch a Tolkien adaptation, you should train your arse and bladder to handle the extended running times and drawn out pacing. Something you can moan about is Jackson’s understanding of physics. His most notable faux pas was throughout the entirety of King Kong (which I still love), wherein Ann Darrow would have been mangled to pieces had she been hurled about so thoroughly. There’s no difference here, fights trundle on well but every now-and-then you have to stop and ponder what you’re looking at exactly.. and who (all the dwarves look alike). Then some epically cinematic moment occurs whereby the company plummet down a gulley only to conveniently bounce off rock and stone on their wooden bridge-cum-surfboard to land with relative ease. Either that or the giant’s legs business.. bloody hell, talk about truly perilous ‘there’s no way we can survive this’ situations. Yes, I realise I’m berating the implausible physics in a world populated by dwarves, elves and dragons. No, I don’t care about the hypocrisy in that.

Then there are the technical aspects of the film. The most controversial decision above casting, running time and even the number of instalments is Peter Jackson’s opting to film in 3D at 48fps. For those who are not familiar with the terminology, the majority of films since 1927 have been shot at 24 frames per second; this essentially means the camera is taking twenty four pictures every second. Things like the news, documentaries and sporting events are shot at a higher frame rate, to capture all the fast-moving details and allow the editor to slow down certain shots. This has long been considered unsuitable for film as it makes everything look hyper-realistic and fake, as if the cast are merely walking about on a set, rather than through an enchanted forest or whatever. When shooting in 3D, however, a lot of this detail, brightness and sharpness is lost in the process and the human eye needs a good second or two to adjust to the image in order to process it, which means fast-paced editing is out of the question – a few reasons why 3D can fuck right off. So, in a way, 48 frames per second actually manages to compensate for this defect. Unfortunately, all the visual effects (namely the rabbit sled and the wargs) are unable to compete with the higher frame rate so what we end up with are reasonable effects that are on par with those seen in The Lord Of The Rings but as that was released a decade ago, we really expect much more. Do I think 48fps will become the industry standard? Possibly but I doubt it. Does it deserve to be? No. But, like all different technological cinematic undertakings, in the right hands they produce interesting effects.

All in all, An Unexpected Journey is a wondrous opening for this trilogy and a real return to form for Jackson. Everything felt nostalgic and reminiscent of one of the biggest cinematic trilogies ever released, while still bringing something fresh and new. Essentially, this is everything I imagine a Lord Of The Rings fan would want and something George Lucas has been trying to capture for decades.

Release Date:
14th December 2012

The Scene To Look Out For:
As I’ve stated above, the dwarf’s musical theme is fittingly stoic and resonant of mines, caves, darkness and pride. So, hearing Armitage and the cast singing the Misty Mountains piece was simply delightful. Short, I know but every time the theme returned I couldn’t help but sing the words in my mind. The only comparison I can give is that of the Skyrim theme, which instantly brings me back to that fictional realm, just as Jackson’s work has guaranteed its place in the hearts and minds of millions of cinemagoers worldwide.

Notable Characters:
Much like The Lord Of The Rings, this is very much an ensemble undertaking and highlighting a specific individual Is often tricky (I’ve been saying that a lot lately). However, whether due to the script or the performances, both Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman conjure fantastic performances that, to my mind, rival any presence in the preceding trilogy.

Highlighted Quote:
“I know you doubt me. I know you always have. And I do think of Bag End, that’s where I belong, that’s home. And you don’t have a home, it was taken from you. But I will help you get it back.. if I can”

In A Few Words:
“A glorious opening to a potentially marvellous trilogy, let down only by mediocre visual effects and a questionable technological undertaking”

Total Score:



Don’t Mess With The Dog

Martin McDonagh

Colin Farrell
Sam Rockwell
Christopher Walken
Woody Harrelson

I love Martin McDonagh. He’s probably the best living playwright and certainly an exceptional filmmaking talent. Which is why it utterly pains me to say that Seven Psychopaths, while often comical and enjoyable, is a bit of a self-indulgent meta mess.

The plot revolves around alcoholic screenwriter Marty Faranan [Farrell] and his inability to find inspiration for his new script entitled Seven Psychopaths. His eccentric best friend, Billy Bickle [Rockwell], tries to help out in his own way by taking out an advert in a newspaper, asking all ‘psychopaths’ to call his number and tell their story which may feature in a new movie. All this suddenly takes a backseat as Billy and his partner Hans Kieslowski [Walken] come under fire for stealing the dog of deranged, highly emotional gangster, Charlie Costello [Harrelson]. Everything escalates for Marty who has absolutely no way to process anything that’s happening around him and a complete inability to deal with the scenarios he’s all too familiar writing about, in the real world. Despite the ridiculousness of everything that’s going on, Marty endeavours to add all these elements to his upcoming movie.

It happens to a lot of writers. They get so bogged down and pressured after a big hit that they want to tell a dramatically different story, rather than remaking the same one over and over. Something unique. Something ridiculous. Something they love. As I’m guilty of this myself, I tend to really enjoy these kinds of films; they give you an insight into the writer’s mindset and really explore them as a person. Having said that, it’s still really really fucking self-indulgent and bar Inception it rarely works out. Seven Psychopaths is no different. The story could essentially be an exaggerated biopic of Martin McDonagh’s time in Hollywood after the success of In Bruges. But beneath the madness, the sporadic narrative and awkward pacing, lies a series of very amusing mini-sketch treatments and some terrific acting. If anything, the film is worth seeing for that alone. Sam Rockwell is always a pleasure to watch but here he really revels in the delusions of the seemingly common man. Woody Harrelson also appears to enjoy himself as an unhinged distant relative of his character in Zombieland and Christopher Walken is essentially just playing a slightly crazier version of himself, which is always a delight to behold. Even Colin Farrell manages to deliver a surprisingly enigmatic performance as the alcoholic and emotionally unavailable Marty. The supporting cast are relegated to a scene or two but are afforded the kind of memorable resonance one usually associates with a Tarantino flick. Again, one could argue that McDonagh’s female characters are absurd and completely unused but he openly draws attention to this writing defect in the script. Having committed the same sin, it sounds clever but it’s just a self deprecating Irishman’s way of drawing your to attention his flaws before you’re able to, thus taking the edge off the venom. Doesn’t change the fact he can’t write for women.

As stated above, the intricate little scenes and stand-alone writing pieces are very well crafted and the sprawling variation is thoroughly entertaining. Specifically, the analytical view of contemporary Hollywood action clichés and tropes (made all the more hilarious as the film was preceded by trailers for Jack Reacher and Bullet To The Head) while both condemning and wholly indulging in them as an inevitability or occupational hazard. The diversity of the plots, cast, locations and production design are all neatly anchored by a very commendable directorial style. All of which is elegantly strung together by Carter Burwell’s relatively understated but perfectly suited score. But all these positive elements pale in comparison to the glaring issues the script presents. Being a self referential, inwardly analytical piece, it very quickly appeals to a very specific demographic. Writers will enjoy the obscure developments, stuttering progression and haphazard scenarios with utter glee but overall, the story suffers. One could argue that when setting out to create a film of this nature, the audience should expect a hectic plot, akin to Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, that the film itself should not be chastised for what it is but despite being incredibly well written and masterly crafted, you cannot deny that the film is still a fucking mess.

Is this film worth watching? Of course it is – McDonagh and his brother are two of the finer independent filmmakers working today – but this is still a bit of a bump in the road of a very solid career. I appreciate people have probably only seen In Bruges and possibly even Six Shooter but if you’ve seen any of his plays, especially The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Release Date:
7th December 2012

The Scene To Look Out For:
The brief opening conversation between Michael Stuhlbarg and Michael Pitt – two extraordinarily talented actors – was very reminiscent of a Sergio Leone/Quentin Tarantino –esque build, told through simple conversation. This scene highlights the source of McDonagh’s real power: dialogue. Quick, witty, engrossing and sets the sucker punch tone of the entire movie.

Notable Characters:
Films like this are real collaborative affairs and it’s very difficult to isolate one individual from a brilliant ensemble but the subtle evolution of Sam Rockwell’s character is simultaneously engaging, endearing and curiously obvious without wandering into the realms of tedious. But as I’ve said before, everyone in this film, from the smallest role to the leads, deliver something distinct and impressive.

Highlighted Quote:
“His rabbit gets away of course. You can’t kill animals.. just women”

In A Few Words:
“An unfortunate departure from the lofty heights of McDonagh’s usual brilliance but still a gloriously executed comedy – albeit a little desultory”

Total Score:


Cinema City Film Quiz #85

[02 December 2012]

Winning Team:
The Meaning Of Life Of Pies

Genre – An expose of the increasing girth of Monty Python members

Runners Up:
Weasley Rider
Genre – The Weasley brothers go on a drug-filled odyssey on motorbikes, looking for America
A Hard Day’s Nightgarden
Genre – Iggle Piggle and Upsey Daisy are chased through swinging London by teens
We Weren’t Born In The Sixties, So We DO Remember It
Genre – Documentary with wankers like Ferne Cotton remonising about the 60’s

ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of the private detective in the Shaft series?
2. What colour is Shrek?
3. In which film did Charlton Heston play Moses?
4. What does Carl use to move his house, in Up?
5. Cinderella Man, LA Confidential and Robin Hood all starred which actor?
6. The T-Birds is made up of how many members, in Grease? (Danny, Kenickie, Doody, Putzie, Sonny)
7. Ethan Hunt is the main character in which film series?
8. In Aladdin, Jafar’s staff depicts the head of which animal?
9. How many people survive the alien infestation on the Nostromo, in Alien?
ONE (not including the cat)
10. What is the name given to the trio of popular girls, in Mean Girls?

ROUND II: Filming [60s Films Special]
1. What was the title of the 1998 remake of Psycho? Psycho Killer? Psychotic? Psycho?
2. What is the name of the male Dalmatian in One Hundred And One Dalmatians? Bingo? Pongo? Rango?
3. Who played the eponymous character in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? James Stewart? John Wayne? Lee Marvin?
4. How many prisoners does Bartlett plan on breaking out in The Great Escape? 250? 300? 350?
5. Which of the following Pink Panther movies did not star Peter Sellers? Revenge Of The Pink Panther? Trail Of The Pink Panther? Curse Of The Pink Panther?
6. How many children make up the Von Trapp family, in The Sound Of Music? Six? Seven? Eight?
7. Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes are the lead characters in which film? The Good, The Bad & The Ugly? A Fistful Of Dollars? For A Few Dollars More?
8. The following quote is from which film, “I think you’re the most attractive of all my parent’s friends”? Mary Poppins? The Graduate? Lolita?
9. What are the creatures in Night Of The Living Dead referred to as? Walkers? Zombies? Ghouls?
10. To date, Midnight Cowboy remains Jon Voight’s biggest box office success. True or False?

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. In Dog Day Afternoon, Sonny arrives to discover the daily cash pickup has been. How much cash is left in the bank?
2. What was George Clooney’s first voice acting role?
3. The Bodyguard was released in which year?
4. To date, Christopher Nolan has directed eight films. Of those, how many has he produced?
5. Which two actors play the James and Mollie in the Look Who’s Talking series? (one point per correct answer)
6. Major Archie Gates, Sergeant 1st Class Troy Barlow and Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin are the lead characters in which 1999 film?
7. Richard Kind and Dana Hill voiced which famous cartoon duo in 1992?
8. The Great Outdoors is a 1988 comedy starring which two actors in the lead roles? (one point per correct answer)
9. The following is the poster tagline from which film: “The new hero from the creators of Jaws and Star Wars”?
10. What is the name of Marty McFly’s home town in Back To The Future?

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. In Rain Man, Charlie remember Ray from his childhood when he sings which Beatles song? I saw her standing there? Paperback writer? Ticket to ride?
2. What is the fourth animal to come out of the game, in Jumanji? Lion? Monkeys? Mosquitoes? [bonus point for the number on the dice]
LION (bats, mosquitoes, monkeys, lion) [5]
3. Which of the following was not directed by Renny Harlin? Die Hard 2? Cliffhanger? Dante’s Peak?
4. What was the image on the original theatrical poster for Rocky? Rocky at the top of the Museum steps? Rocky and Adrian walking hand in hand? A beaten-faced Rocky draped in a US flag?
5. What was the title of the tenth Carry On film? Carry On Cleo? Carry On Doctor? Carry On Henry?
6. Jaws is set in which ocean? Atlantic? Pacific? Southern?
7. Which film won the Oscar for best picture in 1974? Cabaret? The Godfather: Part II? The Sting?
8. Frankenstein was released in 1931. Bride Of Frankenstein was released how many years later? Four? Five? Six? [bonus point for naming the city Boris Karloff was born in]
FOUR [London]
9. Billy Pilgrim is the lead character in which 1972 film? Slaugherhouse-Five? Deliverance? Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes?
10. Sergio Leone was originally approached to direct The Godfather but turned it down as it “wasn’t interesting enough”. True or False?

Screenshots: Animal House / Vertigo / Mrs. Doubtfire
Poster: The Colour Purple
Actor: Veronica Lake