#BigRonFilmReviews: Reblogged

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Swingers (1996)

The film that launched the Favreau-Vaughn bromance. (Well… on screen at least). Even after watching this i’m not sure if this was a rewatch or not, either way I enjoyed it.

Outwardly this is a film about aspiring actors doing and the LA Bar scene. Inwardly its about John Favreau recovering from a break up and going on a journey of sorts and growing as a person.

Vaughn is probably setting the high watermark for his schtick. Fast talking, obnoxious, amusing and strangely charming. Favreau is doing his droopy dog, kinda cynical, kinda amusing straight man thing…. and it really works. The two have genuine chemistry. They’re fun to watch, probably not to hang out with (well Vaughn anyway).

It’s a little dated now but it holds up. Everyone is ‘Baby’ or a ‘Skank’ and everything good is ‘Money’. Some of the singles stuff is enjoyable and rings true - all that “what about now? Is she looking at me now?” and playing the two day delay game. We all know people that have done it, we may have done 2000s equivalents ourselves - you have to wait at least half an hour before you reply to that text man!

There is a nice Reservoir Dogs pastiche a lovely Jaws reference, lots of awkward humour and a sentimental heart underpinning this. I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

“Trent, the beautiful babies don’t work the midnight to six shift on a Wednesday. This is like the skank shift.”

"Vegas baby Vegas!"

“Any scotch will do, as long as it’s not a blend, of course. Single malt, Glen Livet, Glen Galley, perhaps, any Glen”.

“Baby, that was money! Tell me that wasn’t money”.

"Baby you are so money and you don’t even know it!"

“Haven’t you seen Boyz N The Hood? Now one of us is going to get shot”.

“Don’t tell me we didn’t make it. We made it! We are here. And everything that is past is prologued to this”.

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The Tooth Fairy (2010)

It’s the The Rock in a Frock movie!

The Rock is a Minor League Hockey player (nicknamed The Tooth Fairy for bashing people on the Field). When he “borrows” the tooth money from under his Girlfriend’s daughters pillow he is given an unlikely punishment: Spend a two weeks as a Tooth Fairy. A bit like Santa ClausE but with teeth.

Absolute nonsense, complete steaming pile, kinda enjoyed watching it.

Stephen Merchant is enjoyable as a dry witted busybody Admin Fairy, Billy Crystal, Seth MacFarlane pop up and add some comedy value.

I like kind of like The Rock and he’s in full ham mode here. He goes through a predictable growth arc and becomes a better person. There’s mishaps and slapstick and bits of innuendo that provided a wry smile.

Surprisingly positive on a shitty movie I guess.

"You can’t handle the Tooth!"

“Listen, lower your expectations!”

“Fairy fight!”

“Does this Tu-tu make my butt look big?”

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Gone Girl (2014)

Twisted Brilliance. Review here

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The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

I didn’t enjoy this when I first saw it c2002. In fact prior to The Grand Budapest Hotel I didn’t really get the Wes Anderson thing at all. So here I am again giving it another try.

The story centres around Gene Hackman (Royal) trying to rebuild relationships with his strange, estranged children (The Tenenbaums). Thats kind of it. Hackman is a bit of chancer, his kids are all equally talented and weird in their own way, neurotic, paranoid, aloof, secretive etc etc. Thats kind of it plotwise.

It’s pure Wes Anderson, 100% quirky, abstract and colourful. Beautifully crafted, everything in the shot is there for a reason. He using all his usual tricks, storyboards, narration and having seen all his films now I recognise similar looking characters to his other movies in the background and floating around.

So I guess i’m saying it’s good to look at but is it funny? Kind of. In a wry smile observational kind of a way but at no point do I recall actually laughing. Perhaps that’s what Anderson is going for.

I certainly enjoyed it more this time but I doubt there will be a third watch. I don’t do scores but I guess if pressed this has moved from a 4 to maybe a 6.

“Yes, I know, you’re in love with Richie. Which is sick and gross”.

“Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin’ the cemetery?”

“I don’t think you’re an asshole, Royal. I just think you’re kind of a son of a bitch”.

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Lost Highway (1997)

A standard David Lynch film……. which is to say this isn’t a standard film at all. Odd, weird, strange episodes featuring abstract characters interspersed with overly long silences, unexpected close ups from random angles and long sequences of jazz.

The similarities to Blue Velvet and Mullholland Drive are obvious, LA set, foppish man, mysterious sensual heroin and the odd Psychopath.

As with other Lynch stuff I don’t fully understand it, he’s far cleverer than I am, the guy is an Auteur but it’s the challenge of his movies that draws me too them - I just can’t watch them too often (I don’t think anyone should - you’d go mad).

There seem to be two overlapping stories linked together by Patricia Arquette and it explores themes of reality, mental illness, adultery and murder with that Lynchian voyeuristic edge and the whole thing could just all be a bloody Dallas-esque dream.

The kind of unconventional, mind blowing stuff you’d expect from David Lynch really.

"Someone broke in and taped us while we slept! Isn’t that enough?"

"We’ve met before haven’t we?".

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Robot & Frank (2012)

If, like me you’ve this on your watchlist for ages but didn’t get around to it…. don’t delay, get it watched. This is great.

Review here

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I Don’t Know How She Does It (2011)

Or to give it a couple of it’s alternate titles:

"I don’t know why you’re watching this movie?"

or

"Sex in the City minus the rudeness that makes it even barely watchable".

Yeah I mean it’s bad, terrible in fact. Set in a faux documentary meets annoying narration style we follow Sarah Jessica Parker a working Mother operating in a Man’s world as she tries to juggle everything in her life. That’s it really.

Not very funny and heavy on feminism - I mean as a world society do we still need to campaign for equal rights for women? Perhaps we do, I am of Male so what do I know.

Just woeful, I mean as if places that specifically deal with Lice exist?

"I have Lice!"

"Mammogram!"

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The Love Punch (2014)

Divorced couple Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson lose everything in a pension scam and go to great lengths to get it all back. This is a rekindled romance cleverly disguised as a caper movie.

I went into this with very low expectations expecting something fairly dramatic but this leans far more to the farcical.

This is good actors with good chemistry playing silly buggers, dressing up in skuba gear, kidnapping Americans and tearing past Parisienne landmarks in a tongue-in-cheek car chase. In fact it reminded of Mr Bean in places.

Ridiculous movie but Thompson and Pierce are on form and there’s some great cynicism and sarcasm to go with the slapstack.

One to switch your brain off and enjoy.

"Never put anything into your mouth that hasn’t been boiled!"

"Kidnap? Stealing a Diamond? Gatecrashing a wedding?"

"Egg mayo. Anyone hungry?"

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Watching The Equalizer (review here) the other day reminded me how much of an awesome badass Denzel is.

What a guy.

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Loved it!

Maps to the Stars (2014)

Review here

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What If (2014)

"What if….. When Harry Potter met Sally" for 2014.

Review here.

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Frank (2014)

The idea of watching 90 mins of Frank Sidebottom filled me with dread. I therefore avoided this in the theatre and had to pluck up significant courage to put this on at all. I’m pleasantly surprised - mainly because it’s got nothing to do with Sidebottom at all!

Aspiring songwriter and regular tweeter Domnhall Gleeson stumbles his way into avant garde rockgroup “Soronprfbs”. A crazy group fronted by Michael Fassbender - a man that wears a Frank Sidebottom hat at all times, as in ALL the time. 

This dances about a bit and takes a few strange directions, some of which are a little dark. They go off to Island to make an Album, fuck about, act pretentiously and in the case of Gleeson grow both a beard and as a person and an artist before a significant meltdown.

Films about the Music industry are often great, Almost Famous for example is a personal favourite and this is yet more proof of that theory. Apparently inspired by the careers of Captain Beefheart and Daniel Johnston (artists i’m not familiar with). It’s a weird and quirky story and I had fun with it. I like the addition of tweet and Youtube based narration and the music wasn’t…. awful.

It addresses the head thing head on, once via Scoot McNairy in a just roll with it kinda way and once through Fassbender - I ended up forgetting he had a head on at all.

This is definitely a performance piece. Hugh Grant Jr…. I mean Domnhall Gleeson is great in….. well… a bumblingly loveable Hugh Grant role. Fassbender is equally great and manages to deliver both Fassbender presence and performance despite seldom showing his face. No mean feat. Maggie Gylenhaal has some smashing lines, really cynical, really offensive and matter of fact - the kind of stuff I always like.

An enjoyable film.

"Fuck I wanna be Frank!"

"How does he clean his teeth?"

"Stay away from my fucking Theramin!"

"What goes on inside that head…. inside that head?"

"I assumed you were mentally ill".

"CUNT!"

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The Guest (2014)

Oh wow. Now i’m not sure if this is post movie hyperbole (having seen some mediocred stuff recently) but this was Faaaaantastic.

A mysterious stranger enters the life of a grieving family claiming to be a comrade to their fallen son. After curing several of their respective ills the old adage that if something is too good to be true it probably isn’t rears it’s ugly head…. and some.

This movie changes tone and direction several times and keeps very high standards throughout. At one point I thought we might be going down the supernatural route but it goes another way.. in fact it doesn’t really explain itself at all and in one particular Kitchen pretty much tells you it would take to long to explain it… so don’t ask. Thats a good quality and the sign of a filmaker’s confidence that there was enough going on for you not to care.

This movie has some great action - when he hits people in a bar brawl you really feel the force of it, far more than in silly films like Expendables. It’s also darkly funny, there’s a piece of advice Dan Stevens gives the young boy that will probably be my favourite line from any film this year….

Which brings me on to this guy Dan Stevens. From Downton Abbey apparently? I had no idea who he was until Friday’s Empire Podcast but I may just have a new favourite actor. This guys is awesome. Part Robert Patrick in Terminator 2, part Patrick Bateman part Satan. He manages to pull of  charismatic mix of charming, funny, brooding and disconcerting all at the same time and man can he stare! He delivers his lines with considered, malevolent diction that just made me smile even at the most violent of moments.

It’s kind of Batshit crazy and the Halloween James Bond Hall of mirrors was just about fulfilling but I could have watched this charming sociopath all afternoon.

Very impressed.

"What the fuck?"

I’m a soldier, man. I like guns.”

"My name is David".

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#BigRonFilmReviews Film of the Month for September 2014.

Pride (review here) is probably a more important film but The Guest kinda had everything I want from a movie.

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The Equalizer (2014)
Apart from the obvious spelling mistake this is a lot of fun.
By day Denzel works in B&Q. By night he’s somekind of “Muhammed I’m hard Bruce Lee” Ninja. An avenging Angel that fights like Jason Bourne and sets boobytraps like somekind of evil Kevin McCallister! This guy is baaaaadass.
Denzel is a good guy, a guy with OCD that helps people but has a viscous vengeance streak. A figure haunted by the ghosts of an unspecified past who is compelled to help street walker Chloe Grace-Moretz. In doing so (quite spectacularly) he incurs the wrath of the Russian Mob (again! come on hollywood something new here please?) and their Winston Wolfe-esque fixer, an equally badass Marton Csokas and a mini war of sorts ensues.
This is a violent popcorn moviemaking at it’s best. It’s stylish and predictable with caricatures and stereotypes galore but I couldn’t help but like it. Denzel is always good and it’s the same here, he’s also interesting, they keep his backstory vague, we don’t know where he comes from and why he’s so bloody tough! It’s very much on for a sequel that I would definitely watch.
There’s some great action and Denzel gets pretty creative with the power tools in the payoff ending. I think without Taken and the recent Liam Neeson movie success this movie doesn’t exist, it’s in the same wheelhouse but I preferred it, by quite some distance actually.
A lot better than the grainy TV thing I vaguely remember not being allowed to stay up and watch in the 1980s.
If you like this type of film, you will like this.
“I hit it on something stupid”.
“I am offering you a chance to do the right thing. Take it”.
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The Equalizer (2014)

Apart from the obvious spelling mistake this is a lot of fun.

By day Denzel works in B&Q. By night he’s somekind of “Muhammed I’m hard Bruce Lee” Ninja. An avenging Angel that fights like Jason Bourne and sets boobytraps like somekind of evil Kevin McCallister! This guy is baaaaadass.

Denzel is a good guy, a guy with OCD that helps people but has a viscous vengeance streak. A figure haunted by the ghosts of an unspecified past who is compelled to help street walker Chloe Grace-Moretz. In doing so (quite spectacularly) he incurs the wrath of the Russian Mob (again! come on hollywood something new here please?) and their Winston Wolfe-esque fixer, an equally badass Marton Csokas and a mini war of sorts ensues.

This is a violent popcorn moviemaking at it’s best. It’s stylish and predictable with caricatures and stereotypes galore but I couldn’t help but like it. Denzel is always good and it’s the same here, he’s also interesting, they keep his backstory vague, we don’t know where he comes from and why he’s so bloody tough! It’s very much on for a sequel that I would definitely watch.

There’s some great action and Denzel gets pretty creative with the power tools in the payoff ending. I think without Taken and the recent Liam Neeson movie success this movie doesn’t exist, it’s in the same wheelhouse but I preferred it, by quite some distance actually.

A lot better than the grainy TV thing I vaguely remember not being allowed to stay up and watch in the 1980s.

If you like this type of film, you will like this.

I hit it on something stupid”.

I am offering you a chance to do the right thing. Take it”.

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