Filmmaker Martin McDonagh's latest movie is crazy. Literally. This is Seven Psychopaths we're talking about, a movie that's about a number of insane murderers (but not quite as many as the title suggests), all who seem to be circling around a screenwriter played by Colin Farrell. The cast of psychopaths includes the likes of Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits, and you might start to think that Farrell's screenwriter, who's actually named Marty, might be a little close to home for the Irish director.
"I do think about movies in the same way as Colin's character says he does," McDonagh tells CityBeat. "In the same way, I'm always aiming for something a little bit more about love and peace than guns and death, even though there is a lot of guns and death in my stuff."
Though McDonagh and his brother, John Michael, who made last year's The Guard, have plenty of blood and guts in their films, McDonagh's background as an award-winning playwright means the heart of his movies is found in the characters, despite the fact that they're often flawed, unhappy and violent. His first feature, In Bruges, helped turn Farrell's career around, and the second, despite being populated by crazy, murderous individuals doing crazy, murderous things, is still more about the characters than the violence.
It's that kind of writing that helped McDonagh pull together such a beautiful cast of crazies.
"They were my first choices, my dream choices," he says. "I didn't think I'd ever be able to get Christopher or Tom Waits or Harry Dean Stanton, even. But it's like I was working with family or with a repertory company in a way. That's why the first day of shooting wasn't terrifying, even though I was walking up to these brilliant actors and trying to tell them what to do. It was an awful lot of fun on set, too."
Seven Psychopaths opens on Friday, Oct. 12, at AMC Mission Valley, AMC La Jolla and UA Horton Plaza, among other local theaters.Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.
3, 2, 1... Frankie Go Boom: Chris O'Dowd has been a hot property since the success of Bridesmaids. Here he plays Bruce, who has embarrassed and filmed his younger brother Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) since they were kids. Now Bruce is cleaned up and out of rehab, and Frankie is ready to get his revenge. Um, it's a comedy.
Argo: Ben Affleck directs and stars in this take on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, and believe it or not, it's gonna be a Best Picture contender.
Atlas Shrugged: Part Two: Paul Ryan porn, the sequel.
Decoding Deepak: This look at Deepak Chopra was made by his own son, Gotham, who chronicled a year of his dad's life.
Excuse Me for Living: Suicidal Dan (Tom Pelphrey) is trying to clean up and date his psychiatrist's daughter, which gives the good doctor leverage when he orders Dan to lead a men's group for seniors. The movie also stars old guys like Christopher Lloyd, Robert Vaughn and Jerry Stiller.
Here Comes the Boom: High-school biology teacher Kevin James becomes an MMA cage fighter in order to keep his school's extracurricular activities afloat.
Keep the Lights On: A New York filmmaker watches as a one-night stand with a closeted lawyer turns into a dysfunctional relationship.
Liberal Arts: Josh Radnor wrote, directed and stars in this picture about a 30-something who falls for an undergrad (Elizabeth Olsen) when he returns to his alma mater.
The Paperboy: Lee Daniels' follow-up to Precious is a seamy, seedy take on Peter Dexter's novel. Zac Efron falls for older woman Nicole Kidman, who's working with his older brother, intrepid reporter Matthew McConaughey, to get her convicted-murderer boyfriend out of jail.
Sinister: Novelist Ethan Hawke stumbles upon footage that explains how a family was murdered in the very house in which he's working—which, of course, puts him in serious danger, too.
Smiley: San Diego's own YouTube star Michael Gallagher's Internet serial-killer feature is playing on the big screen. Support the home team at AMC Mission Valley.
The Thieves: Korean thriller about a group of expert thieves going after a massive diamond worth more than $20 million that's stashed deep in a casino. Of course, if they get it out, the only thing they have to worry about is each other.
One Time Only
Intentio and Happy Beach: This double-bill of surfing movies is presented by Better Weather at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Sure, Mickey Rooney's performance as the upstairs neighbor is nothing more than a racist caricature. But ain't Audrey Hepburn grand as Holly Golightly? Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Rear Window: That other James Stewart- Alfred Hitchcock collaboration. He's a photojournalist laid up with a broken leg who thinks he might have spied his neighbor committing a murder. Screens at noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
Freaks: Tod Browning's sideshow horror film is still unsettling, more than 80 years later. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. Free.
Wait Until Dark: Audrey Hepburn plays a woman who recently became blind, which makes the thuggish home invasion she's about to endure even more of a bummer. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Sat, Oct. 13, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Repulsion: The Polanski series continues. Catherine Deneuve goes kinda nuts when her sister goes on vacation. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2: The first iteration of this found-footage double feature was shot in San Diego. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Grave Encounters 2: The sequel to the Vicious Brothers' original gets meta. A film student decides that the found-footage horror film of the first one is real and then goes to the same psychiatric hospital to find the original filmmaker. Scary shit ensues at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12 and 13, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Amarcord: Fellini's semi-autographical tale of nostalgia continues the Ken Cinema's 100th-anniversary celebration at noon, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13 and 14.
Il Pranzo di Ferragosto (Mid-August Lunch): A lazy middle-aged Italian agrees to start caring for older folks in exchange for not being evicted. Presented outdoors by the San Diego Italian Film Festival at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Amici Park in Little Italy.
Sabotage: Hitchcocktober continues with this tale of a Scotland Yard detective desperately trying to stop a bomber from blowing up London. Screens at 7 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
American Graffiti: George Lucas' nice slice of Americana. If you have a classic car, drive it to Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.
The First 70: This documentary, about 70 California state parks slated to be closed due to budget cuts, will screen at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at the Green Flash tasting room in Mira Mesa, so at least you can drown your tears.
Somewhere: Sofia Coppola's odd look at fame stars Stephen Dorff as a reluctant movie star who has to reexamine his life when his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning) stays for an extended visit. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Notorious: More Hitchcock. Ingrid Bergman is Alicia Huberman, who's approached by Devlin (Cary Grant), an American agent who asks her to spy on a group of Nazis in South America. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
The Thing From Another World: John Carpenter would eventually remake this into The Thing, though this 1950s version—which tapped into Americans' fear of communism—is pretty good itself. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Out of the Shadows: For some reason, this film series isn't naming this entry, a 1949 noir starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles which won the Grand Prix at Cannes. So I will. It's The Third Man, and it's damn good. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Scripps Miramar Ranch Library.
Donnie Darko: For many of us, this timebending psycho-trip was the first place we were introduced to Jake Gyllenhaal. It's a terrific movie, screening at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
English Vinglish: An Indian housewife starts studying English at a fast-paced school after having an embarrassing experience ordering in an American restaurant.
Butter: This political satire pits a good-hearted, young, black girl against a conservative, will-do-anything-to-win, white lady. In Iowa.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel: This documentary about the influential legendary fashion editor was co-directed by Vreeland's grandson's husband.
Flight of the Butterflies: It turns out Monarch butterflies are much like SDSU students—every year, thousands of them head to Mexico. This IMAX film captures their beautiful trip. The butterflies, that is.
Frankenweenie: Tim Burton hasn't made a film that's been an original idea in years, so it sort of makes sense that he'd remake one of his own movies.
OMG—Oh My God!: Bollywood comedy about an antiques dealer who loses faith after his shop is destroyed by a tornado.
The Other Dream Team: Doc about the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, which came in third against the likes of Jordan, Barkley and Pippen.
Taken 2: Remember all those dudes Liam Neeson killed in the thoroughly violent Taken? At least one of them has a family member out for a little payback.
V/H/S: This found-footage horror flick is about thieves who break into a house and watch a bunch of found-footage horror flicks on VHS. Yeah, that can't end well. Ends Oct. 11 at the Ken Cinema.
Hotel Transylvania: You won't be surprised to hear that this new animated film involves vampires. And 3-D.
Looper: Director Rian Johnson (Brick, Brothers Bloom) teams once again with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for this time-twister; JGL is a hit man whose future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to be rubbed out.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: This adaptation of the beloved young-adult novel has made plenty of old adults feel for their youth.
Pitch Perfect: Anna Kendrick is the new girl at college who finds her place by joining a bad-ass all-girl vocal group.
Soloman Kane: A vicious, 16th-century guy finds redemption when he's instructed by one of Satan's minions to kill the really bad guys who are trying to take over England. You know they must be bad if Satan thinks so, right?
Won't Back Down: Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal are two angry moms who, um, won't back down after taking on the bureaucracy that makes the school their kids attend so crappy.
End of Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are L.A. cops targeted by a Mexican cartel after a routine traffic stop.
Dredd 3D: Karl Urban straps on the helmet and cruises the streets of MegaCityOne as judge, jury and executioner in the latest adaptation of the popular U.K. comic book.
The House at the End of the Street: Jennifer Lawrence and her mother, Elisabeth Shue, move next door to a house where there'd been a brutal murder. When Lawrence makes friends with the sole surviving family member, things get dangerous.
The Master: The new one from Paul Thomas Anderson looks at the relationship between drifter Joaquin Phoenix and emerging religious figure/cult leader Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It is intelligent, artistic, cerebral, and challenging.
Trouble with the Curve: Aging baseball scout Clint Eastwood would have much more success if he'd stop talking to chairs.
The Mistress: This romantic comedy is the latest entry in Horton Plaza's Filipino film series.
Arbitrage: Richard Gere is a hedge-fund billionaire who makes some serious mistakes while trying to stay rich.
Barfi!: This Bollywood romantic comedy is about a speech- and hearing-impaired boy who runs into the love of his life years after her parents rejected him because he wasn't normal enough for their daughter.
Finding Nemo 3D: All those fish are going to look great in 3-D.
Resident Evil: Retribution: Lots of actors whose characters died in the first four episodes, like Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr, are back for this one—which seems appropriate, since the movies are all about zombies.
Sleepwalk with Me: This American Life regular Mike Birbiglia teams up with Ira Glass on this story of his serious sleep disorder. Ends Sept. 27 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Last Ounce of Courage: A small-town mayor tries to bring religion back to the community after his son dies in action, only to be challenged by those rascals at the ACLU and that pesky separation of church and state.
Samsara: Shot in 70-millimeter film on several different continents over half a decade, this is the latest from the folks responsible for Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka.
Lawless: The new film from John Hillcoat, about three brothers (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke) running moonshine during Prohibition, looks great but feels long and somewhat lifeless.
The Possession: A young girl buys a cool-looking box at a yard sale, only to find out it hosts an evil spirit. Not the bargain she was looking for.
2016: Obama's America: A right-wing doc designed to terrify the faithful.
Robot & Frank: In the not-too-distant future, an elderly jewel thief (Frank Langella) gets a robot butler as a gift.
The Expendables 2: Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme join the aging-action-star party, along with Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, Willis, Li and the Governator.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green: Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton can't have a kid. That is, until there's a knock on the door and an odd little boy who apparently grew in their garden tells them that he's theirs.
Searching for Sugar Man: When two South Africans try to learn how an obscure American singer-songwriter from the '70s died, they get more than they bargained for. Despite that sounding like a feature, it's a pretty damn good documentary. Ends Oct. 11 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
The Bourne Legacy: Jeremy Renner takes over the franchise, which is now directed by Tony Gilroy, the guy who wrote all of the other Bourne movies and directed Michael Clayton.
The Campaign: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis spar over a North Carolina congressional seat.
Hope Springs: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones turn to Steve Carell to put some zip back into their marriage.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days: If it feels like they release one of these every summer, that's because that they release one of these every summer.
Total Recall: Less a remake of Arnie's 1990 flick than a new adaptation of Phillip K. Dick's short story. Colin Farrell plays Quaid, a man who starts to believe that everything he remembers might not be real. Kate Beckinsale is in the Sharon Stone role; Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston also star.
The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy concludes.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: This Sundance success, about a little girl living in Louisiana after an apocalyptic environmental disaster, is beautiful and beguiling.
Ice Age: Continental Drift: So cold.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Apparently, he does whatever a spider can. In 3-D, too.
Deep Sea: This IMAX undersea film was made by Del Mar's Howard and Michele Hall and is narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Ted: Mark Wahlberg's girlfriend gives him an ultimatum: It's either her or his walking, talking, foul-mouthed teddy bear, voiced by Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, who also wrote and directed.
Moonrise Kingdom: Set on an island off the coast of New England in 1965, this new one about two 12-year-olds who fall in love and run away from the dysfunctional adults in their lives will be adored by those who worship at the altar of Wes Anderson.
Madagascar 3: Apparently kids still fall for this. Parents, too.
Flying Monsters 3D: No, it's not a crappy studio blockbuster—this one is all about dinosaurs and was written and directed by Richard Attenborough, using Avatar-like technology, and plays the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
The Intouchables: French blockbuster sensation about an aging Caucasian paraplegic who hires a poor young black man to be his caretaker.
The Avengers: It set box-office records for the biggest opening weekend ever, and for good reason. Joss Whedon's take on the Marvel franchise is well-written, superbly edited, funny and enormously entertaining.
To the Arctic 3-D: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 2. Meryl Streep narrates this new IMAX movie about a mama polar bear and her two cubs.
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity: Liam Neeson narrates this IMAX film, screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.