Here Comes the Boom HH
Starring Kevin James as a tubby science teacher who becomes a mixed martial arts sensation. The filmmakers embrace the fact that they're essentially doing a live-action cartoon. Co-writer James and director Frank Coraci assemble a likable gang of oddballs that make it kind of work. The real flaws are the stabs at genuine moments -- such as the romance as James wins the heart of Salma Hayek. The supporting cast includes Henry Winkler as the music teacher faced with budget cuts and former UFC champ Bas Rutten as James' trainer. PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor and language.
Seven Psychopaths HH1/2
Irish playwright Martin McDonagh has mangled together a comic, self-aware revenge flick that's half Guy Ritchie, half Charlie Kaufman. It's manic and messy, and McDonagh (In Bruges) doesn't yet have the visual command for a tale as this. But it's also filled with deranged wit and unpredictable genre deconstruction. Colin Farrell plays Marty, a hard-drinking screenwriter in Los Angeles. He has his movie title -- Seven Psychopaths -- but little else. He gets sucked into the hijinks of his friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), whose dog-napping scheme turns bloody when Billy and his friend Hans (Christopher Walken) swipe the Shih Tzu of a pooch-loving gangster (Woody Harrelson). The cast, which also includes a bunny-cradling Tom Waits, is great, but Rockwell is exceptional. R for strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language,
The title refers not so much to the nearly perpetual state of inebriation that a young husband and wife put themselves in but rather to the way the wife finds her existence truly shattered when she tries to get sober. Smashed avoids the sort of histrionics that can be staples of the genre. But director James Ponsoldt's film, from a script he co-wrote with Susan Burke, is understated to a fault. Smashed feels too short, and ends on an unsatisfying note. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), in her heaviest dramatic role yet, plays a first-grade teacher who finds her marriage and work in jeopardy when she tries to stop drinking. Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad is underwritten in his role as her hard-partying husband. R for alcohol abuse, language, some sexual content and brief drug use.