#BigRonFilmReviews

An Expansion of the famous #BigRonFilmReviews twitter hashtag - because 140 characters is seldom enough.
My Hyperbole is my own, later to be contradicted and refuted.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Rewatch - maybe a bit spoilery
Now the plot really starts to accelerate Voldemort is back and everybody knows it, Dumbledore is injured, Harry is going on special missions and Ron has made the Quidditch team.
With this one you start to get some real backstory via the pensieve, it’s really interesting to see a young Voldemort at school, manipulating people, hurting people and learning about dark magic and the series builds slowly across the films to the inevitable conclusion.
Running alongside the darker plot you have the light hearted teenage angst stuff again, feelings and snogging - Ron gets a girlfriend, Harry longs for Ginny and Hermoine admits her feelings for Ron - all very well handled. 
As ever it’s great to hang out in a world of love potions, butter beer, giant spiders and vanishing cabinets along with the wonderful characters, good set pieces, action and drama.
The burning of The Burrow and changing the dynamic of the crucial scene from the book is bloody annoying but if you can disassociate the two media this is still a really good film.
“Oh, no one. Bit of a tosser, really”.
“Excuse me, I have to go vomit”
“Where’s my Won-Won? Has he been asking for me?”
"He’s been poisoned you daft Dimbo!".
“Avada Kedavra!”
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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Rewatch
This is where the series really starts to get moving. Voldermort is back but nobody believes, characters are dying, the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts and Harry’s fame is taking a turn towards notoriety…..
This is the first one I went to see twice in the cinema. 
It was around this point I started to see the parallels with WW2, the Muggles being Jews, Voldemort being Hitler, The Death Eaters being the Nazis and Order of the Phoenix being the the Resistance or the Allies.
It’s also the movie where the ties between Harry and Voldemort are explored through his scar and the prophecy and spoiler Dumbledore and Voldemort duel. At the risk of being a fanboy said duel is brilliant and the cgi has come a hell of a long way from that fucking flying car.
Yeah I mean this one is awesome and might just be my favourite of the entire series.
“He’s back!”
“You may not like him, Minister, but you can’t deny: Dumbledore’s got style”.
“Sorry, Professor, but I must not tell lies”.
“The prophecy said neither one can live while the other one survives”.
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Transcendence (2014)
A fairly ambitions directorial debut from long time Christopher Nolan wingman Wally Pfister.
Various brainboxes are developing super computers that can save the world, or perhaps take the world over….  Johnny Depp is the foremost brainbox. When he is taken out by Kate Mara’s terrorist group for the sake of humanity Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany ‘upload’ him into his supercomputer - My trailer based Skynet observation a few months ago was pretty accurate.
A complex Man playing God/Science vs Nature morality tale with a Love Story underpinning it. It has a lot going for it but overall left me underwhelmed.
This is shiny and slick with some beautiful cinematography - especially some of the shots involving water. The religious imagery is bountiful. There’s resurrection, omniscient entities, multiple Lazarus moments and the whole thing is often bathed in a celestial white light.
It’s lovely to see Depp playing a non pirate but Rebecca Hall doesn’t really convince or engage as the conflicted Widow. Paul Bettany is always a welcome sight and there’s good support from Murphy, Mara and Freeman.
A little baggy and occasionally slow but I think Pfister does enough here to show he will be a force to be reckonned with in coming years. A decent start.
"In a short time, its analytic power will become greater than the collective intelligence of every person born in the history of the world. Some scientists refer to this as the Singularity. I call it Transcendence”
"I found a way back".
"Shut it down!"
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This week’s Harry Potter rewatchathon….

Will be interrupted by a Transcendence review tomorrow

bigronfilmreviews:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Just your average tale of Magic, Dragons, Gillyweed, Quidditch, Death Eaters and reincarnation. Probably one of the less significant in terms of overall plot progression (baring the actual return of Voldemort and the first death in the series of course) but a (fairly) true representation of the fantastic book.
Some lovely set pieces and a lovely mix of magic and teenage angst as our heroes discover the opposite sex etc.
The performances aren’t bad - let’s be honest the main three weren’t the best actors in the beginning but there are signs of improvement here, the support of the stellar supporting cast remains wonderful.
A worthy addition to the Potter universe.
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Rewatch.
Filmwise huge strides forward, plotwise a bit of a placeholder.
The acting has come on leaps and bounds, the effects are much improved (transformation scene aside) and they made some changes to Hogwarts.
Like the books the movies are getting darker and more grown up and I think this is the point where it becomes more accessible to non fanboy adults. The addition of David Thewlis and Gary Oldman to bolster the already excellent cast of the likes of Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith coupled with significant improvement for Radcliffe, Watson and Grint makes for far more enjoyable experience.
"I was your Rat!".
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Rewatch.
Plotwise this is far superior to the first movie. Expanding the lore of Rowling’s world, less childish and with a genuine sense of peril. This is the movie where Harry Potter starts to standout, displaying special skills, skills that only dark wizards generally have…. suspicions of a special bond with Voldemort begin.
Sounds promising huh? Unfortunately. This also contains the car scene. Sigh. There are Adverts with better effects and the Womping Willow isn’t too clever either.
For me this the worst of all the movies. Clumsily made, horribly written, with only a minor improvement from the child actors. Were it not for Potter being such a Worldwide phenomenon this franchise could easily have gone the way of an Eragorn or a Golden Compass. 
Fortunately the underlying strength of the books and a swift shift away from Chris Columbus saw a significant upturn in quality. In many ways it’s a shame this movie isn’t up to scratch, it’s a solid book that gives you a glimpse of darker future through Tom Riddle’s diary.
“You’ll pay for that one Malfoy! Eat slugs!”.
“Voldemort is my past, present, and future”
“No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood!”.
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Rewatch.
Bizarrely the second worst film of the series but equally the movie that drove me to read the series.
Its just a little bit flimsy with some unimpressive cgi. Childish in tone but in fairness a good adaptation of the first book which is little more than a pamphlet. The child acting is occasionally difficult to look at, especially Emma Watson (who interestingly has gone on to become the strongest of the three).
Lots of exposition and character development here, who is who? What can they do? Who might be significant later? 
The grand finale is not too grand but all in all a lovely introduction to JK Rowling’s world of Wizards, Warlocks, Wands and people that must not be named. Every series has to start somewhere and this one just about does enough.
“I was most unfortunate in my youth to come across a vomit-flavored one, and since then I’m afraid I’ve lost my liking for them”.
“Mm, alas, earwax”.
“Dry up Dursley, you great prune!”.
“It’s Levi-OOOOH-sa not LevioSAR”.
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The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Rewtach.
A story of love and honour on the Anglo-French Colonial Wars.
Three native Americans escort a General’s daughters through beautiful landscape set to haunting panpipe score.
I’m a big fan of an action period piece, Robin Hood, Dances with Wolves, Braveheart etc and this one probably shouldn’t work but It really does.
Day-Lewis is so good you forget he’s not really very native American and boy does he look the business running through a battlefield with long flowing locks
This film has a couple of cracking ambushes that result in some brilliant action, I do love a good sword, musket and tomahawk battle, especially with added Indian war cries.
The Pompous English with their stuff upper lips and oppressive disciplina is well handled and the Magua story arc is a really interesting one. He is the real representative of Native Americans in this movie, wronged by English Tyranny and confused by subsequent surrender and custom. The bad guy, bit also in many ways a righteous good guy in the piece.
It’s an action movie bit also a commentary on the evil of the white man and colonisation and it remains a bloody good watch.
"I do not call myself subject to much at all"
"You speak poison with two tongues".
"The French haven’t the nature for war. Their Gallic laziness combines with their Latinate voluptuousness with the result that they would rather eat and make love with their faces than fight".
"Miss Monroe. They’re not strangers, and they’ll stay as they lay".
"Magua understands that the white man is a dog to his women. When they are tired, he puts down his tomahawk to feed their laziness".
"You’ll just have to forgo the pleasure of hanging me".
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Inglorious Basterds (2009)
A first rewatch of Quentin Tarantino rewriting WWII history. As per he’s turned this into 70s blaxploitation funk style caper and this time I really enjoyed it.
That said it’s far from his best work, its slow, often baggy and frequently self indulgent. Now, I appreciate a master craftsman like QT has earned the right to indulge himself but with a little more editing this could have been a lot better.
The interplay is splendid and the characters is super, some of the situations and conversations are hilarious plus I simply ‘bought in’ to a great degree.
Christophe Waltz is, as ever a galvanizing watch. He has an ability, a presence that holds me on edge and seems to do the same to his co-stars. Pitt is in full ham mode, channeling a kind of comedy Marlon Brando from the Godfather.
Long, silly, funny, historically inaccurate and a decent watch but not up there with his other works.
"We ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business; we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin".
"Once the Basterds heard of him, he never got there"
"The Bear Jew".
"Why do you have a Walther pointed at my testicles?"
"Got us a German here that wants to die for his country. Obliiige him"
"Fightin’ in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you’re fightin’ in a basement!
 #BigRonFilmReviews

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Caught this trail whilst waiting for Noah last night…… Sorry Marky Mark but this looks appalling. I think i’ll wait for DVD or maybe even TV….

Noah (2014)
Or Lord of the Noah: Return of The Rocklords as it might have been titled.
Here we have Darren Aronofsky’s vision of the bible story. It took some effort getting into see this, really not my bag but having forced myself into the theatre I pretty much enjoyed it. Pretty much.
The representation of Noah as a a fallible man suffering the torment of a crisis of faith is absolutely spot on. Do we need rockmonsters? Probably not. Did we need übercockney Ray Winston as the personification of Darkness and Evil to contrast the light? Possibly not.
Its a crazy portrayal of a miraculous story (sorry i’m not sure story is the right term but i’ll persist). I guess the important thing is that the message of the tale is not lost, far from it, so I guess the artistic license (ab)used is acceptable. I mean what do I want humble retelling? Hardly.
The creation sequence is excellent, the eco message obvious and apparently this is how I like my bible stories but i’m unlikely to ever revisit.
"He’s going to destroy the Earth".
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
A Captain America take on a kind of Enemy of the State meets Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy movie with the usual sass, style and banging about we expect from these modern Marvel productions. And I really enjoyed it.
The plot is engaging, the espionage stuff works and they’ve done really well continuity-wise, especially considering it’s a sequel set 70 years after the first. That said the twists are fairly obvious and Toby Jones feels a little shoehorned in.
Plenty of stuff to enjoy, they beat the 95 year old Cap drum well and look out for the excellent Mission Impossible moment that made me smile.
Chris Evans makes a good cap, Scarlet Johansson has more to do than in previous movies and and being ScarJo is rather brilliant. Anthony Mackie’s Falcon is a nice addition and Robert Redford continues the Marvel tradition of never trust a bloke in a suit.
When it does descend into smashy, bangy, runny, jumpy stuff its big its bold and explosion heavy (which I understand the kids dig) and I wasn’t as bored as I have been with that kind of thing - Zack Snyder take note.
I like the superhero stuff and this is up there with the best of the stuff we’ve seen before. (well not the Dark Knight Rises that of course stands alone),
“I do what he does. Only slower”
“Well, all the guys in my barbershop quartet are dead. So no, not really.”
“Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?”
"On your left".
"When do we start?"
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The French Connection (1971)
Ticking a box on my Film watching CV.
This is a movie of awesome pursuits - whether thats an outrageous real life law breaking car chase, kiss chase on the tube or Santa chasing a drug dealer with a knife.
We follow a couple of abrasive cops around a Soulful, 70s, Disco New York as they shakedown and beat up jive-talking cats selling drugs and undercover an International Smuggling operation. A bit like that Starsky and Hutch remake with Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller, only serious.
This is fairly dated looking but it’s still enjoyable (I should perhaps refer to it as classic instead). The infamous car chase is good fun although how Hackman didn’t kill himself i’ll never know - I believe he was doing that driving in real traffic and they filmed it without permission.
Hackman’s driven cop in a silly hat is a good guy to follow and all in all this is a damn good movie.
"You wanna play "hide the salami" with his old lady".
"Whats happening baby?"
"Where do you want it?"
"They locked me up with my own cuffs!"
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Kill Your Darlings (2014)
Gah! I feel the same way about this as I did The Bling Ring. Well made, decent enough performances but I hated everyone in it and therefore really struggled with the movie.
Harry Potter heads off to Columbia University where he hooks up with the beat poets and the pretentious jazzy world of smoking in baths, half hanging yourself in pants, taking philosophy and challenging conformity.
At the heart of it is an interesting killing, accidental or murder and a story about love, manipulation and discovery but it’s told by odious characters I just hated.
Not for me ta.
"No thank you. I don’t do the Canabis"
"We are exploring the avenues of Alan’s mind".
"Yes. It’s called the day…. Amanda came…"
"I am not a Virgin. I have done it with four guys already".
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