#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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Million Dollar Arm (2014)
Or as this could be called ‘Slumdog Million Dollar Jerry Maguire Arm’.
The true story of J.B Bernstein.  A struggling playboy sports agent that via the process of a talent contest takes two young Indian boys to MLB tryouts in America. Transforming himself from a bit of a dick into a benevolent Father figure along the way.
This is a money vs people piece with an alternate family dynamic and Crocodile Dundee style double fish out of water antics.
This follows the tried and trusted Disney sports movie formula but it’s smart, sassy and sweet with a fulfilling ending.
I’m not familiar with Mad Men so this is my first real exposure to John Hamm. He’s fine, amusing in places and carries the story well enough. 
Nothing groundbreaking here but an enjoyable watch and an interesting true story.
"Hey. How fast do they pitch in cricket?"
“It looks like an insane asylum opened up and all the inmates were allowed to play”
“We have to pay money!”
“That was about a 43”
“Been there! Brutal”.
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Starred Up

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Starred Up


Directed by David Mackenzie Written by Jonathan Asser, Starring Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend

Synopsis - A troubled and explosively violent teenager is transferred to adult prison where he finally meets his match - a man who also happens to be his…

bigronfilmreviews:

Starred Up (2014)
Oh my, the 2014 Ronnies has a new front runner. This is great.
Set entirely in one prison, we follow Jack O’Connell, a violent young offender as he integrates following his promotion to the big boy prison his Father helps run.
Now, I haven’t been to prison (you’ll be glad to read) but I can imagine it being very much like this. Decrepit, gritty, grimy and dangerous with excessive use of the word cunt. Probably not one to watch with your Nan this.
Good Prison dramas already exist but the addition of the Father-Son dynamic to the more standard themes of bent screws, drugs and explosive violence really works. Add to that Rupert Friend’s progressive rehabilitation group you and you have a really a hell of a movie. The way the rehab group plays out could be perceived as a non non event but for me its shocking commentary on our broken system.
My love for Ben Mendelsohn just grows and grows, he’s imperious as the institutionalised Father trying to love his son in his own special way. He even gets jealous when his son starts to make his own way without him. Jack O’Connell popped up in 300 Rise of an Empire a few weeks ago and was decent enough but his performance here is something else, on this evidence he’s certainly going places. Both characters manage to show a balanced combination of both immense strength and also naivety at the same time, impressive stuff.
Our anti hero is a Chav, a wrong’un, a product of broken Britain but the beauty of this film is that every know and again it gives you half a glimmer of hope, a hint that it might just turn out ok. This usually centres around his support group and is extremely well handled.
This is Film4 movie making at it’s best dark, challenging and realistic with a touch of gallows humour.
Absolutely loved it.
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Starred Up is available in the US now. Get your eyes and ears out guys because this movie is IMMENSE.
Rust and Bone (2014)
Just your run of the mill emotional French drama about love, people, bad parenting, relationships, an amputee fuckbuddy and a Killer Whale accident with some bare knuckle boxing a thrown in for good measure.
This movie is fantastically French. People get naked and urinate in front of eachother (wouldn’t happen in England!). There is a tension and passion to the performances and conversations that conveys a sense of impending doom. It’s enthralling but also draining to watch, I loved it.
Both leads are outstanding, the pain and anguish of the post accident Marion Cotillard is just heartbreaking and this Matthias Schoenaertes guy? Love him, fantastic again. Loved him in Bullhead and thought he was good in Blood Ties. He’s a brooding hulk of a man, menacing yet charming, charismatic and funny. I just hope he doesn’t end up playing ‘European Stereotype Gangster’ in the next shitty buddy cop movie that comes along.
There’s some beautiful shots in here, light work, water work and fantastic amputee filming - I couldn’t see a trace of legs anywhere.
Some great scenes and some shocking moments. A really interesting premise and a galvanising watch.
Recommended.
"A whore can’t train Killer Whales?"
"What did you do with my legs?"
"Where’s your pushchair?"
"I must run"
"You want to know if it still works, so keys screw!"
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Flicksation Episode 80 is Available and the Best Show of its Generation

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On Episode 80 we talked Michael Fassbender’s paper mache head in Frank, Tom Hardy’s real good looking dog in The Drop, Jack O’Connell’s hand sanitizer bath in Starred Up and Jesse Eisenberg’s bad party etiquette in Night Moves.



Robert and I touched on our trip to…

Plastic (2014)
Blimey. It’s a bit early for Turkey!
When a group of credit card scammers and fraudsters rip off the wrong fella they end up having to raise £5m to get themselves out of the shit.
As crims they’re fairly slick but Alfie Allen has a habit of messing things up and things go from bad to worse very quickly.
Very poor, crude dialogue that even the fantastic Will Poulter couldn’t rescue - although he does have his moments. Every other word is a poorly used swear, and I like swearing, I really do.
This is a caper movie that lacks any class or tension (mainly because I hated every character). And as for some of the disguises? Goodness me, the amateur dramatic club at your local town hall could do better.
This. Was shite.

"Do you want me to come back round there and fuck your face?"

“My Sister’s 15 you fucking paedo!”

“I’m a dancer, not a hooker!”

“Maybe he’s just got a really big cock”

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The Guest (2014)

Dan Stevens is amazing. This is right up there in my films of the year (so far). Review here

Pride (2014)
I had a funny feeling this would be great and it didn’t disappoint.
This is the 1984 tale of a group of gay activists and the support they offered to the Welsh Miners during their year long strike. A brilliant triumph of the human spirit story.
It was good as expected but not as out an out funny as I thought. From the trailer I thought it would be a riotous, perhaps bawdy comedy-drama but it’s far more clever. This has emotional heft and is full of bittersweet notes. Like all the best humour it also carries a message. This movie educates and addresses issues such as homophobia, coming out, AIDS and the politics of the time whilst also knocking out lesbian and dildo gags.
There’s a lot of lovely understated performances in here, Andrew Scott is fantastic, some if the pain, anguish and frustration he’s able to put across with a mere look is very impressive. Imelda Staunton is scene stealingly good you have to love Bill Nighy and Paddy Consodine. It’s the law.
It’s cheesy and sentimental in places but it’s entirely forgivable and who doesn’t like McNulty from The Wire doing a full on Dirty Dancing era Patrick Swayze? I certainly do.
Highly recommended.
"Dai. Your gays have arrived!"
"What I was told about lesbians can’t be true. You’re all vegetarians?”
"I’m in Wales. And i’m Gay!".
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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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Snowpiercer (2014)

Loved it. Review here

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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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

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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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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