Short Cuts (1993)

Short Cuts
Director: Robert Altman
Writer: Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt
Based on: short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon, Zane Cassidy, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Anne Archer, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Lili Taylor, Robert Downey Jr., Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits, Frances McDormand, Peter Gallagher, Huey Lewis, Annie Ross, Lori Singer, Lyle Lovett, Buck Henry,
Seen on: 20.10.2018
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Plot:
Nine intersecting stories of people in Los Angeles during the Medfly epidemic: Ann (Andie MacDowell) and Howard’s (Bruce Davidson) child (Zane Cassidy) was in an accident just before his coma. Police man Gene (Tim Robbins) cheats on his wife Sherri (Madeline Stowe). Lois (Jennifer Jason Leigh) works for a sex hotline, much to the dislike of her husband Jerry (Chris Penn). Doreen (Lily Tomlin) and Earl (Tom Waits) have a good marriage, at least as long as Earl is sober. Honey (Lily Taylor) and Bill (Robert Downey Jr.) are housesitting. Stormy (Peter Gallagher) is struggling with his divorce from Betty (Frances McDormand). Zoe tries to connect with her mother Tess (Annie Ross). Claire (Anne Archer) and her husband Stuart (Fred Ward) are invited to dinner by Marian (Julianne Moore) and Ralph (Matthew Modine). Stuart, Gordon (Buck Henry) and Vern (Huey Lewis) are looking forward to a long-planned fishing trip.

Short Cuts was really painful: a film filled with unlikeable men who behave like assholes and somehow we are supposed to think think that’s funny and/or interesting? No, thank you and I mean that in the harshest possible sense.

The film poster showing a fractured red heart in front of a white background.
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Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Seven Psychopaths
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Linda Bright Clay, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Pitt, Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrigan, Zeljko Ivanek, Gabourey Sidibe

Plot:
Marty (Colin Farrell) is trying to write a screenplay. He has a title – Seven Psychopaths – and a rough idea for a first psychopath. But apart from a drinking problem, he doesn’t have much else. His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) tries to help, but is mostly caught up with the dognapping business he runs with Hans (Christopher Walken). But when Marty’s girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish) kicks him out and Billy naps the beloved Shi-Tzu of the crazy Charlie (Woody Harrelson), everything unravels pretty quickly.

The marketing for this film is completely off. And when I say completely off, they decided to take away the movie’s selling point to make it look like a pretty standard action comedy. But it’s not – instead it’s an exercise in meta – and I loved it.

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Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

Wristcutters: A Love Story is movie by Goran Dukic, based on a short story by Etgar Keret, starring Patrick Fugit, Shea Whigham, Shannyn Sossamon, Leslie Bibb, Abraham Benrubi, John Hawkes, Will Arnett and Tom Waits.

Plot:
After the break-up with his girlfriend Desiree (Leslie Bibb), Zia (Patrick Fugit) kills himself. But his death is not the end – instead he ends up in a kind of half-world afterlife, where all the suicides come together. His afterlife is dull, probably even duller than his actual life and not even his friendship with Eugene (Shea Whigham), a rather crazy Russian singer, can change that. But then Zia hears that Desiree committed suicide herself. Since that means, she has to be somewhere in the same afterlife, he convinces Eugene to go on a road trip to look for her. Along the way, they pick up Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon) who is looking for the People in Charge because they made a mistake with her.

Wristcutters is a movie that just floats along. It’s pleasant, it moves you, it’s nice, but it never makes you excited (apart from when Will Arnett shows up because he’s great). It’s a good watch, but I don’t think I’ll be thinking of it very often.

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The Book of Eli (2010)

The Book of Eli is the latest film by The Hughes Brothers, starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon and Tom Waits.

Plot:
Eli (Denzel Washington) is travelling west through a post-apocalyptic landscape. He is on his own, but well able to take care of himself (which he demonstrates by slaughtering first a cat and then a group of hijackers). He comes to a small town that is run by Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who is looking to expand his power base and is searching a special book that is supposed to enable him to do just that: The bible.

Holy crap [no pun intended]. I knew that I was in for a bumpy ride with this film, but Gary Oldman made me want to watch anyway. Now I wish I hadn’t… There were some very nice shots in the film, but that’s about all the good that comes from it.

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is the newest movie by Terry Gilliam, starring Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, Lily Cole, Peter Stormare, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Andrew Garfield.

Plot:
Doctor Parnassus (Christopher) has a travelling “circus” which he operates together with his best friend Percy (Verne Troyer), his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) and Anton (Andrew Garfield). Unfortunately things aren’t going too well. A long time back, Parnassus made a deal with the devil (Tom Waits) and promised his daughter to him on her 16th birthday, which is fast coming up. That’s when they stumble upon Tony (Heath Ledger/Johnny Depp/Jude Law/Colin Farrell) who is hiding something but quickly turns their whole word upside down.

Ideas! Ideas! Ideas! Terry Gilliam must have gotten them wholesale some time ago… While the movie isn’ t perfect, it lives from the stunning visuals, from the multitude of ideas and the great performances.

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