Tag Archives: woody harrelson

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

25 Nov

Personal loss, justice, and forgiveness are central themes to the new film from Martin McDonaghThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriA tragic crime has occurred in this small rural town, and the seemingly apathetic job from law enforcement leaves Mildred (Frances McDormand) no choice but to buy out a series of billboards that specifically call out the local Sheriff Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) for his lackadaisical approach. Of course, news travels fast in a small town like Ebbing, and soon the billboards are even being featured on late night news. This spawns a public rivalry of sorts between Willoughby and Mildred, one that soon spirals out of control and quickly consumes a colorful assortment of Ebbing citizens.

Martin McDonagh’s long awaited follow-up to Seven Psychopaths (2012) doesn’t quite hit the same absurdist notes its predecessor did, but it does supply us with an engaging story delivered through an awkward mix of tragic comedy and melodrama. McDonagh is a writer and director who takes great pleasure in manipulating his audiences; one minute we are feeling intimately sorry for a character, the next – they are blowing their own brains out. It’s in the same storytelling vein as someone like Tarantino or Kevin Smith, but delivered with such black comedic undertones that it both welcomely and uncomfortably upsets the narrative flow.  The emotional shapeshifting of a film like this provides us with a plot that is truly unpredictable while being a lot of gaudy fun.

Most of the characters we meet in Three Billboards are variations on well known tropes, with Mildred being the strong exception. McDormand is the obvious standout here, and her jaded ferocity shines through in every scene. Her son Robbie (Lucas Hedges) is also wonderfully bleak, providing Hedges with another notable role under his young acting belt.

Things really become complicated in the film’s hasty last act. McDonagh is an accomplished writer, and though his characters never quite earn the moral sympathy we should be giving them, the story all comes together in a satisfying, singular way.

Bottom Line: Tonally inconsistent but always entertaining, McDonagh’s latest delivers his signature affinity for black comedy in an emotionally challenging but deeply uncomfortable manner. 

Rating: 7/10 

Film Recipie: A Serious Man + In Bruges + Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead 


Now You See Me (2013)

2 Jun

Like any good magic trick, Now You See Me takes things one step at a time, building interests and expectations until the final reveal. The film starts with three twenty-somethings and Woody Harrelson robbing millions from a bank and outsmarting our nations FBI by playing magic tricks. Sounds campy right? What follows is a cat-and-mouse game between the magicians, Mark Ruffalo, and a mysterious third party lead by Morgan Freeman. Sure, it’s as outrageous as it’s premise may seem, but it’s a fun movie and I was kept well-entertained. Also worth mentioning is the outstanding cast who fill the movie with an overflow of witty banter and coolness – by now, what else can we expect from Jesse Eisenberg in a tux?

6/10 stars

similar to: The PrestigeThe Italian JobOceans Eleven,

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

1 Nov

Seven Psychopaths is a great mix of thriller and (mostly) sarcastic, dark comedy.

There are actually only 3 real psychopaths in this film and a handful of fictitious ones.  Seven Psychopaths gets its name from the fictitious film that Hollywood writer Marty (played by Colin Farrel) is working on.  Yes, this is another film that revolves around a screen writer and his impending writer’s block. When Marty is having trouble, his best friend Billy (played by Sam Rockwell) tries to rely on real-life events to give him some inspiration. Things go haywire when the couple gets involved with a high-valued shi-tzu  it kidnaped and it’s owner Charlie (Woody Harlleson) wants some revenge.

Though the plot is absolutely outrageous, Seven Psychopaths is a hell of a good time.    Sam Rockwell is particularly hilarious, especially when contrasted against the ruthlessness of  Woody Harlleson’s character.

Martin McDonagh wrote and directed this film, and  like his previous crime-thriller In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths showcases his clever and witty writing style. With it’s many one-liners and random mix of characters, (Think something along the lines of dark Wes Anderson/Terry Gilliam flick) Seven Psychopaths is one of the most offensively random films I have ever seen, but it also manages to be a lot of fun.

Rating 7/10