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Snippet Reviews: “Argo” and “Seven Psychopaths”

Short takes on the big Oscar hopefuls of the weekend…

Ben Affleck’s third directorial endeavor, Argo, is based on true events depicting the CIA’s rescue mission of six American hostages amidst the 1979 Iranian revolution. On its way to being a solid lock for a Best Picture nomination, Argo attempts to balance both the nail-biting suspense of espionage drama with softer, often comedic tones in order to give the film a more human element. While I feel this results in delivering a more entertaining and accessible movie, it seemed to detract from the serious, life-threatening ambiance that made Steven Spielberg’s much darker and gripping terrorist drama, Munich, more effective. Still, there is little to dislike about Argo, as it is one of the most entertaining films of 2012 and is certain to end up on a lot of top ten lists in the end. (***½)

Martin McDonagh’s follow-up to In Bruges (2008), Seven Psychopaths is a highly entertaining, often hilarious tale of a struggling screenwriter (Colin Farrell) who gets mixed up with the mob after his delinquent friends (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) kidnap an eccentric gangster’s (Woody Harrelson) precious Shih Tzu. If you go into Seven Psychopaths with the sole intention to be entertained, then you will be pleasantly surprised at the way it delivers. You shouldn’t go in to the film anticipating the cerebral depth of Pulp Fiction – or even In Bruges for that matter – but what you can expect are the same type of quirky characters, gratuitous violence, and brash comedy that makes Seven Psychopaths a breath of fresh air in the middle of an awards season filled with heavy dramas. (***)

What do you think?

AC Fan

Written by Mark Johnson

Lover of all things film and Oscar. Fantasy sports’ equivalent of George Steinbrenner. Your very own Han Solo, making friends all over the movie-loving galaxy in spite of himself. When he’s not ranking just about everything or dominating boardgames, Mark is breaking down the Oscar race 24/7 with Rain Man-like stats and knowledge. In his downtime, you can find him commiserating with other Northeast Ohio sports fans because a hero isn’t complete without a little heartbreak. If Game of Thrones, Lost, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Survivor are your style, then congratulations, you have something in common with this inglourious basterd.

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