Seven Psychopaths, the follow-up by writer/ director Martin McDonagh to his cult hit In Bruges, has some clever moments, but doesn’t quite work as a whole. Colin Farrell plays a screenwriter struggling with writer’s block over his new screenplay, to be titled Seven Psychopaths. Meanwhile, his best friend (Sam Rockwell) is running a dognapping scheme where he and his partner (Christopher Walken) kidnap dogs, then return them a few days later to collect the reward. Things get complicated when they kidnap the dog of a vicious mobster (Woody Harrelson). There’s some funny digressions on the nature of storytelling and movie violence, but it doesn’t cohere in a way a superior “meta” film like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang does. Seven Psychopaths is also a little in love with its own ugliness at times (a flaw it shares with In Bruges). On the positive side, the film gives Walken his best role in years. It’s not a stretch for him, but it gives him enough to do that it reminds viewers why he is one of the best tough guys in cinema history. A low-key confrontation in a waiting room between Walken and Harrelson is a masterpiece of quiet menace.
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With the night of ghosts and goblins coming up, here are a handful of horror films that are not very well known ... but are worth getting to know, because they are quite effective. I think they would make perfect Halloween night viewing.
Burn, Witch, Burn...
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**1/2 stars (out of four) Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train is a melodramatic thriller that should mostly hold viewers’ attention. Emily Blunt plays Rachel, an alcoholic still reeling from her divorce and her inability to have children. Compounding her distress is the fact that her husband married his mistress (Rebecca Ferguson) and had a child with her. Every morning on...