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At the movies with Covo & Ayotte: “Seven Psychopaths” and “Argo”

By Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. | 13 de octubre de 2012

Film critics Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. bring you the truth about Hollywood’s current offerings every week. Look for their reviews online whenever you need to know more about the latest films. This week, Covo covers “ Seven Psychopaths ” which opens Oct. 12 and Ayotte covers “ ARGO ” which also opens nationwide Oct. 12.  Next week the two movie critics will be covering standard fare and also the gems coming out of the Austin Film Festival – stay tuned for great coverage of the newest Indies.Worth mentioning: “Here Comes the Boom” with Kevin James and Salma Hayek looks promising as great family fare this weekend.

San Antonio.- Film critics Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. bring you the truth about Hollywood’s current offerings every week. Look for their reviews online whenever you need to know more about the latest films. This week, Covo covers “Seven Psychopaths” which opens Oct. 12 and Ayotte covers “ARGOwhich also opens nationwide Oct. 12.  Next week the two movie critics will be covering standard fare and also the gems coming out of the Austin Film Festival – stay tuned for great coverage of the newest Indies.Worth mentioning: “Here Comes the Boom” with Kevin James and Salma Hayek looks promising as great family fare this weekend.

By Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. 
angela.covo@gmail.com and dennisayottejr@gmail.com

Covo’s take: “Seven Psychopaths” Three Stars

Full disclosure – as I walked out of the film, someone handed me a souvenir – a copy of the hat Rockwell gets to wear in the film – and I love it.

If you are a Christopher Walken fan (and who isn’t?) and a film buff, I think it’s safe to say you will love this film. That’s not to say this film is for everyone – there’s lots of bad language and the story is a bit esoteric, but it definitely works for me.

How audiences will react to the tale of a struggling screenwriter, Marty, very well played by Colin Farrell, with an unlikely set of crazy buddies in an equally unlikely set of circumstances is a coin toss. The very dark comedy moves along smoothly and the terrific performances by Walken, Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and even the Shih-Tzu made me want to rate the film even higher.

From left, Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell (with Bonny the dognapped Shih Tzu ) star in the dark comedy "Seven Psychopaths."(CBS Films)

But the audience will have to make allowances for the sometimes jagged story line and the craziness that builds as the tension mounts while the humor gets darker and darker. I found the film creative and absolutely hilarious. My guest was sometimes bored and found the film a little too crass to fully enjoy – he too is an avid Walken fan- so it’s safe to say this very original flick won’t strike the same chord in every viewer.

But all that aside, scene by scene the story truly does get zanier – and screenwriter/director Martin McDonough set the bar high by writing a movie about writing a movie with some of the best banter I’ve seen and heard in ages.

All I can add is that the movie was so well written and directed, that I laughed all the way through – and even the sad parts were well-placed.

If you like dry wit and dark humor and appreciate the uber-talents of Walken, this is a must-see film. If you’re on the fence about black comedy, perhaps this is not the film for you. I can tell you this: I plan to see it again.

This one is definitely not for kids – the film is rated R and runs just under two hours.

Ayotte’s take: “Argo” Five Stars

Films based on a true story are always sketchy because you never how far from the truth Hollywood might stray. In the case of “ARGO” the original true story is intact without overindulging the facts. 

I wasn’t alive in 1979 when the crisis in Iran occurred, but from what I could discern from my research (and Covo, my cohort who remembers) it’s on point. 

For the youngsters out there or the historically challenged, like me, in 1979 protestors in Iran stormed the U.S. Embassy and took 52 Americans hostage. The hostages were imprisoned for 444 days and the event came to be called the Iran Hostage Crisis. Many Iranians were angry because we gave the former Iranian Shah (a shah is like royalty) asylum in the United States in the midst of the Iranian Revolution. 

The Iranians didn’t like this and Americans in the US Embassy in Iran paid the price.

In “ARGO” the story, however, is focused on six Americans who were able to escape the U.S. Embassy as the takeover started and were hiding out in the Canadian Ambassador’s home. The six spent more than two months in hiding while the U.S. devised a plan, known as the “Canadian Caper,” to get them to safety.

The CIA partnered with Canada in an elaborate plan devised Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck in the film. Mendez orchestrated the detailed plan and enlisted the help of veteran Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers, played by John Goodman.

In the story, Mendez and Chambers also created Studio 6 and brought Lester Siegel on board, played by Alan Arkin. Arkin’s character is hilarious and reminds you of somebody’s grumpy grandfather with the mouth of a sailor. The trio of Affleck, Goodman and Arkin has fantastic chemistry and they practically carry the entire film off by themselves.

Bryan Cranston, best known as Walter White from Breaking Bad, also delivers a great performance as Jack O’Donnell. O’Donnell is Mendez’s superior and takes up for his guy when things reach the breaking point. If you don’t know who Cranston is, you will after this film—he’s money.

This film is highly anticipated and, for the most part, lives up to the hype. There are times where the film feels slow, but I think the pace reflects the drama – and seems to be exactly what Affleck was going for when he directed the film.

“ARGO” reveals a little bit of history and American ingenuity and has an amazing balance of suspense while keeping true to the story. Covo agrees  -- she says the film is “taut, tightly-written and true” and we rate this film a C&A “Instant Classic.” Consider it a must see this weekend.

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