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I’ve seen two films in the past few days, neither of which I would have gone to if I had read the reviews. The first one (below) I saw because of a recommendation by a friend (ML) who knows film and theater and is a pretty reliable judge of what’s worthy. The second one appeared in our Sunday morning Cinema Club where we don’t know ahead of time what we’re going to see.

Both films are good; the second one is excellent. I’m not sure how to review them as neither of them ‘sound’ enticing. I kind of just want to suggest you put them on a ‘to see’ list, after noting the two titles.

But I’ll take a shot at saying something about each one for those of you who need to know more.

Seven Psychopaths ****

Psychopaths as comedians?  Yup.

Well I’m not sure they see themselves that way, and the story is a bit convoluted and sometimes not easy to follow but has to do with a guy who is writing a script for a film which he has tentatively titled “Seven Psychopaths,” tho he has no idea of anything beyond the title.

I won’t try to tell you what happens, but there are terrific performances by  an outstanding cast, particularly Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, and Sam Rockewell. Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlberg and Abbie Cornish round out the cast of weirdos in this comedy/drama written and directed by Martin McDonagh.

There is a lot of violence and other unpleasantness, but somehow it all works, and as I left the theater, I found myself muttering, “It’s brilliant, I think.”

(Seven Psychopaths is in theaters now, at least in DC).

The Sessions *****

The one page handout we received walking into the Avalon Theatre Sunday morning told us the following:

“Based on on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined – at age 38 – to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.”

We all raised our eyebrows upon reading that and wondered what was wrong with the folks who chose this film.

Ninety-Five minutes later we knew the choice was a terrific one, and although the explicit sexual scenes were a bit strong for a Sunday morning, the film was wonderful.

John Hawkes as Mark will no doubt be on everyone’s list for awards this year, and Helen Hunt and William Macy are good too. Writer and Director Ben Lewin also deserves to be amongst those nominated for awards.

You’re gonna have to take my word on this one.

(The Sessions opens nationwide on Friday, and in the DC area will be at Landmark’s Bethesda Row and E Street Cinemas.)


PS-Has anyone see Argo, and if so, is it as good as the ‘hype’ seems to indicate?