Movies, Reviews, Showbiz

Movie Preview: Seven Psychopaths Review | Jamie Tuohy

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Wednesday night (November 28th) saw the Dublin premiere of Colin Farrell’s latest movie Seven Psychopaths and while the Irish actor didn’t make it to his hometown’s premiere, Sam Rockwell brought a touch of Hollywood to Dublin’s Savoy cinema. As the theatre filled with Irish celebs, including mega-star, Brendan Gleeson, I sat down to preview this film, which proved to be both a hard-hitting crime drama and a satirical comedy that poked fun at its own genre…

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Tom Waits, Seven Psychopaths immediately sounds like a stellar movie with a superlative cast of Hollywood heavyweights. Then you learn that the movie is complex tale about a borderline (read as Irish) alcoholic screenwriter, Marty (Farrell, obviously) who is suffering from writer’s block, as he tries to pen his next screenplay. Enter stage left: some dog kidnappers, Hans and Billy (Walken and Rockwell, respectively). Then throw Woody Harrelson into the mix, as a pseudo-Mafia don-type nutcase, named Charlie. Oh and don’t forget his dog named Bonnie who gets kidnapped by Hans and Billy. Then get Farrell mixed up in the action. Keeping up? It all sounds very messy and very inaccessible. And this is something which, on paper, shouldn’t work, but in truth, it all comes together very smoothly and effectively. And it’s all very metatheatrical, darling. Like a camp Tarantino flick. Let me explain the sheer brilliance.

The reason this movie works so well is because of its postmodern take on the classic crime genre. While it pays homage to the necessary gruesome gore of traditional crime flicks, what gives Seven Psychopaths its edge is its almost-blitzing satirical take on its own genre. The violence and psychopathy is closely accompanied by comedy and hilarity, not only offering momentary relief, but lampooning old clichés – most notably the crime genre itself.

Set in Los Angeles, the movie centres on Farrell’s character, Marty, a screenwriter, who is struggling to write his next screenplay, managing only to come up with the movie’s title – Seven Psychopaths. He dreams of finishing the script, but lacks both the drive and focus to complete his work. While Farrell may be the movie’s main character, he is rather bland and underdeveloped and acts more as a plot function to portray the story of the film’s other characters. But this is no accident, as the movie becomes inescapably Meta and self-referential. It’s not Marty’s story, he is the screenwriter and rather appropriately, he tries to takes a backseat as the movie’s action unfolds.

Marty’s best friend, Billy (Rockwell), alongside Hans (Walken) runs a mildly successful dog kidnapping business, whereby they steal people’s dogs, only to return them days later for a cash reward. It’s all very innocent, until they steal the beloved Shi Tzu, Bonnie, of crime-boss, Charlie (Harrelson). As Farrell searches for inspiration for his latest screenplay, he not only meets with a real-life psychopath, Zachariah (Waits), but becomes involved in Billy and Hans’ gruesome scheme and his search for seven psychopaths to fill his movie roles appears to be a lot closer to home than he would like to believe.

When Billy, Hans and Marty read the inscription on Bonnie’s collar ““Return to Charles Castello or you will fucking die”, it becomes clear that this time, they have stolen the wrong dog and they do what anyone would do in a similar situation – escape to the desert, with the dog, to help Marty finish his movie and ultimately anticipate a Wild Western-style final shootout.

McDonagh has written and directed an incredibly clever film, which gets funnier and funnier as it gets more bloody and tragic. Heads explode, cars blow up, people are set on fire and Rockwell delivers a hilarious leprechaun-style Irish voice, mimicking Marty’s Irish brogue, as he eats marshmallows by the campfire, while firing out ideas for his friend’s screenplay. It sounds inexplicably random and sometimes it is, but it flows so seamlessly and effortlessly, which is largely down to McDonagh’s impeccable script and direction, but also down to the hilarious deliveries of Rockwell and Walken.

If Rockwell is the movie’s shining comedic star, then Walken is its too cool for school, loveable tough guy. Of course, McDonagh writes him as a devout Christian and this apparent dichotomy or duality within his character simply becomes a mirror of the plot’s split genre – a tie between crime and comedic satire.

When it becomes an existentialist moral film about heaven and hell, it’s reigned back in, as Seven Pscyhopaths offers us dark humour, bloody hilarity and superb timing and as Marty says in the film, “do you know what that is? It’s just fucking great. Fucking great.”

Seven Psychopaths hits Irish cinemas on December 5th – GO AND SEE IT!

5/5

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Movies, Reviews, Showbiz

“The Sapphires” Irish Premiere | Jamie Tuohy

On Tuesday night (Oct. 16), I headed along to the Savoy cinema for the Irish premiere of Chris O’Dowd’s latest movie, The Sapphires. The man himself was in attendance and appeared on the appropriately-hued blue carpet alongside his gorgeous wife, TV presenter Dawn Porter.

Joining O’Dowd for the Irish premiere were his co-stars in the movie, Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Mailman, Miranda Tapsell and Shari Shebbens. Brian O’Driscoll and Amy Huberman also made an appearance and Mauboy treated the waiting public to a selection of songs from the film’s soundtrack and O’Dowd joined in for some suspicious singing and good-humoured finger clicking.

The Sapphires, which is a true story and set in 1968, tells the story of how four Aboriginal girls overcame the prejudices held against them and seized the opportunity to perform for the troops fighting in Vietnam.

At a local singing competition, the talent of three sisters, Gail, Julie and Cynthia is recognised by Dave (O’Dowd) and after recruiting their reluctant cousin Kay; they subsequently form a band called The Sapphires, which O’Dowd manages.

As Australia’s answer to The Supremes, the girls’ first gig is to entertain the soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War and each sister’s personal journey is told beautifully and poignantly in this wonderful film.

O’Dowd shines as the cheeky Irish chancer with a heart, but Miranda Tapsell, who plays the part of Cynthia, steals the show with her humorous and blindingly positive outlook on life, despite being in the middle of a warzone. One particular profanity-ridden line had the theatre in convulsions last night, as her hilarity punctuates the film and serves as a nice counterbalance to The Sapphires’ more tender and emotionally evocative moments.

O’Dowd described the movie as “similar to The Commitments in that there is singing in it”, but explained that “it’s not as funny, and deliberately so. There is much darker stuff going on.”

The Sapphires is released on 7th November and it’s a definite must-see! 

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Movies, Music, Showbiz, Television

Celebrity Accent Changes | Jamie Tuohy

Everyone remembers Tom Cruise’s AWFUL attempt at an Irish accent in Far and Away. His potato-wielding, leprechaun accent was truly horrendous and sadly he isn’t the only star to annihilate the Irish tones.  Of course, actors and actresses will be required to change their accent to suit the dialect of their character’s origins and therefore, in pop culture, there are a host of good, bad and downright strange accent impressions floating around. Here are some of the best and worst, and also, I’ve decided to take a look at some stars who have randomly changed their accent to suit their image, or in some cases, to cling onto their dwindling relevance.

The Good:

Hugh Laurie

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As Dr. Gregory House, in the TV show House, Hugh Laurie’s American accent is impeccable. It’s not surprising that most people are shocked to learn that Laurie is British, hailing from Oxford, and found fame alongside Stephen Fry in Blackadder and Fry and Laurie.

Ed Westwick

As the smooth-talking Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl, British actor Ed Westwick has mastered the Upper-East Side lingo and managed to pull off a seriously impressive New York accent.

Cate Blanchett

Portraying the life and death of tragic Irish journalist, Veronica Guerin, Cate Blanchett delivered a poignant and convincing performance and her mastery of the Irish accent was spot-on!

The Bad

Tom Cruise:

No words. That accent was extremely FAR and a long way AWAY from Ireland.

Mischa Barton

Considering Mischa Barton was born in Britain, one would expect her impression of her mother tongue to be slightly better than the disastrous effort she put forth in St. Trinians. As JJ French, she scarcely even  tried to mimic British tones.

Brad Pitt

And once again, we have a case of the destruction of an Irish accent on the big screen. Brad’s imitation of the Irish brogue was bad enough in The Devil’s Own to last us a lifetime. Why he decided to break it out again in Snatch, I’ll never know. Accents, as Pitt has admitted, aren’t his strong point. Too true Brad, too true!

The Suspicious:

Nadine Coyle

“I’m from Derry. Date of birth: 15/6/85, making me a Gemini and … what date of birth did I say there?” Remember that? Nadine Coyle’s infamous lie on the Irish Popstars show is testament to the old adage of “every cloud has a silver lining.” Since becoming 1/5 of Girls Aloud, Nadine has become a bigger star than she ever could have as part of Six. She now resides in LA and consequently, has adopted a hilarious transatlantic accent, comprising of a strong Derry tone and strange Californian inflections.

Madonna

Give me strength. Madge, you were born in Detroit. Where are you going with the London accent? Get a grip, woman!

Victoria Beckham

VB has undergone a metamorphosis in recent years, swapping the champagne, WAG lifestyle, for a sophisticated career as a fashion designer and world-renowned style icon. Long gone are the days of her ‘zig-ah-zig-ahh-ing’, as Victoria has lost her Essex twang and traded it in for a more fashion-friendly accent.

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Books, Movies, Reviews, Showbiz

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Movie Review | Jamie Tuohy

A coming-of-age drama about an awkward teenager who struggles with self-confidence before finally being accepted into an eccentric circle of friends sounds like a typically clichéd teenage movie. However, The Perks of Being a Wallflower far exceeds its general outline, just as its central character’s timorous disposition transcends the realms of everyday teenage angst.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the movie adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s first novel of the same name. Chbosky has also written the screenplay for the film and the proficiency and poignancy of the script is both admirable and touching in equal measure. The movie encompasses the entire emotional trajectory of teenage life, beginning in moody isolation and progressing to relieved acceptance, before dwindling into desperate depression and emerging as a happy camper once again.

However, don’t let its roller-coaster-like tendency scare you into thinking this is another clichéd teen-flick, because Wallflower is punctuated with deeply moving, important and personal events, from child-abuse and death, to internalised homophobia.

Set in 1991, Wallflower tells the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman) – a gifted, but tormented 16-year-old freshman who has just started high-school and survives by writing letters to an imaginary friend, while consoling himself with the fact that he only has “1,305 days left.” At a football game, the anxious and awkward Charlie meets with Patrick (Ezra Miller), who introduces him to his step-sister Sam, played by Emma Watson, who clearly managed to get a transfer from Hogwarts. Soon the three friends become inseparable and the shy and timid Charlie is introduced to Patrick’s and Sam’s friends and ironically becomes the centre of attention amongst the group.

However, from the opening of Wallflower, we are made aware, through subtle and implicit references that there is a dark underpinning to Charlie’s anxiety. This is achieved through flashbacks to his aunt’s death, references to his best friend who committed suicide and foreboding lines such as “I think I’m getting bad again.” With his new group of friends, Charlie is inducted into the “island of misfit toys” and therein experiments with drugs and alcohol. However, his introverted disposition hints at something greater and more worrying than an abashed personality. It speaks to a deep-rooted psychological issues and one of my only criticisms of the film come from its exposition of Charlie’s problems. Without revealing too much about the film, the resolution to Charlie’s case is ever-so-slightly too fleeting and wishy-washy for my liking, but I tended to overlook that because Lerman’s performance was subtle and brilliant, his delivery impeccable and his thoughtful depiction of character was spot on.

I’ve got to admit, not having read the book (which, subsequently, has been ordered on Amazon), I went to see Wallflower primarily to see how Emma Watson was adjusting to life sans Harry et Ron and as she organises her life around The Smiths and other brilliantly chosen soundtracks, as schoolgirl Sam, she doesn’t miss a single beat. Fittingly, Sam is struggling to escape her reputation as a coquettish young girl, just as Watson tries to escape typecasting. Both are equally successful. Personally, Lerman is front and centre as the star of this production with his subtle and attentive delivery, but Watson isn’t far behind with her beguiling beauty and punchy personality. Hermione Granger who?

Completing the trio is Ezra Miller as Patrick, the gay step-brother to Watson’s Sam, who happens to be secretly dating the college jock. Though camp, brash and impossibly confident, Patrick’s sensitive and vulnerable side is touched upon in a key scene from the film. In the spirit of antithesis, Patrick offers a counterbalance to Charlie’s character, but in the aforementioned scene, Miller subtly portrays him to reveal a young boy who is; at times, exposed and lonely.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower treads very close to near-perfection, albeit in a very formulaic way, however, there are slight downfalls to Chbosky’s screenplay. The minor characters are severely underdeveloped and at times, totally glossed over. Charlie’s English teacher, Bill Anderson (Paul Rudd) discovers Charlie’s potential as a writer, but the movie fails to sufficiently develop Rudd’s character – perhaps a reflection on the fact that Mr Anderson is failing to recognise his own dreams of becoming a writer and settling for a relatively unfulfilling life as an English teacher.

The film is characterised by all the metonyms of teenage life – experimentation, awkward school dances and feelings of desolation and elation, and even though it may not be a trailblazing or pioneering film, what it does do is tell a familiar story in an honest, yet subtle manner. Logan Lerman anchors the film as he expertly manoeuvres and portrays the oftentimes strange, worrying and infinite changes of the teenage heart. A must-see!

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Cheryl set for The Hangover 3? | Jamie Tuohy

Following her cameo alongside Cameron Diaz in What to Expect When You’re Expecting (WTEWYE), it is widely speculated that Cheryl Cole will play a small role in the upcoming third instalment of The Hangover movie.

It has been reported that the Under the Sun singer could be signing on the dotted line to appear in new flick, having impressed producers with her cameo in WTEWYE.

The reports are initiated by Zach Galifianakis, who starred in the first two films, when in an interview with FHM magazine, he said,

“I have heard the rumours about her making a cameo and there seems to be something to them,” he said in an interview with FHM magazine in the US. “But I don’t know if anything’s signed yet.”

If Cheryl does play a part in The Hangover 3, she will be sharing the big screen with Heather Graham and Mike Tyson, both of whom have signed up for cameos, following their roles in the previous films.

Filming for The Hangover 3 has already begun in Los Angeles and it is set for release in May 2013. Here’s hoping our Chezza makes an appearance!

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Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana back together | Jamie Tuohy

Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana have rekindled their romance after filming The Words, a movie in which they play a married couple.

Following their brief frisson back in March, the couple have reignited their relationship after Bradley was seen leaving Zoe’s house in the early hours of Saturday morning, before meeting her again later that evening for a cinema date.

The couple looked relaxed and comfortable with each other after they emerged from the cinema after watching The Master – a movie about the founder of Scientology, L.Ron Hubbard.

Bradley and Zoe has a short-lived romance back in March, after meeting on the set of The Words, but broke up after only three months together. However, it was declared that nothing was ever serious with the pair, but following their most recent rendez-vous, it looks like Bradley and Zoe have discovered some long-lost feelings for each other!

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Justin Timberlake bids adieu to single life with Vegas stag do | Jamie Tuohy

Justin Timberlake has been busy putting an end to his bachelor days, as he flew 20 male friends to Las Vegas for one last time before he bids adieu to his single days.

According to reports, Timberlake, who is due to marry actress Jessica Biel later this month flew 20 of his closest friends to Sin City, where they “took over the dance floor” at the exclusive Tryst nightclub at the Wynn hotel.

The group apparently partied into the small hours and consumed copious amounts of liquor, including Justin’s own brand of tequila, 901 Tequila.

The singer and actor, who proposed to Biel in the mountains of Wyoming in December of last year, was also seen dining at the Sinatra Restaurant, before heading to Surrender nightclub.

The group were dressed in retro suits for the stag do and staff at both clubs said Justin was polite and friendly, but stayed in the VIP section for the entire night.

Jessica and Justin, who have been on and off more times than a kettle are due to get married later this year, but following his Vegas bachelor party, it’s widely speculated that the impending nuptials are closer than we think.

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