bigronfilmreviews

Mississippi Grind (2015)

The great Ben Mendelsohn is a small town Gambler. A Cardhound with a Dirty shirt and a Wallet that goes from full to empty in seconds. Things aren’t going his way but when he meets the handsome and the charming charismaball Ryan Reynolds they team up on a road trip to New Orleans deciding to hit, and clean out hit every Gambling joint on the Mississippi as they go. What could go wrong for these new firm friends?

We’ve all seen high roller films like 21 and seen the glitzy glamorous side of things in Casino and Oceans Eleven. This is Gambling from the Schlubby angle. Normal guys with addiction problems that make appalling decisions. Their plight is a pathetic rollercoaster determined entirely by fate - they make decisions based on whether the next Bloke that walls out of the toilet has glasses on or not, when Mendelsohn wins and each way bet he isn’t happy that he has won, he’s upset he didn’t maximise his win.

I really enjoyed this, the on off chemistry between our two leads jumps from the screen. Mendelsohn is one of my favourite actors working today and his character in particular is doomed, this film checks out on a reasonable high for him but his future is entirely hopeless. Reynolds on he other hand might see the light at the end of the tunnel…. but probably not.

A good movie with a superb Blues soundtrack.

“Do you know how to get a sweet, little, old lady to yell Go fuck yourself?”

“Woodford!”

“Peru. I’m off to Peru!”

Straw Dogs (2011)

City Boy Film Writer James Marsden & his Country Gal Wife Kate Bosworth head back to her home town in Bumfucknowehere Louisiana. It is a small community for the small minded and incomers are hardly welcomed. When Marsden hires Bosworth’s old boyfriend Alexander Skarsgård to fix a barn roof he exposes them to inbred nutjobs for home the old flame still burns.

This is reasonable yet completely unnecessary rehashing of Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 classic. It transposes to the deep south rather nicely and like the original is a nasty little film but comes across slightly less grimy and grotty due to it’s more colourful palette and better looking cast.

All the nasty parts are still there, the particularly disconcerting and confusing moment remains disconcerting and confusing and there is some lovely foreshadowing.

Not bad, Skarsgård makes for a very interesting bad guy, I like this guy a lot and more an more each time I see him. I predict a big breakout role for him before too long.

“That’s a little Redneck wisdom for ya”.

“I didn’t kill your fucking Cat!”

“Those straw dogs were practically licking my body outside”.

“See there Mr. Sumner, you ain’t the only one with a trophy wife. Only difference is, mine’s for third place”.

“Well, generally cats don’t hang themselves”.

“Get your daddy’s gun and shoot anyone that’s not me”.

The Love Witch (2017)

Scarred by her previous labours in love Elaine becomes a Witch and takes control of her love life but once she has the Men hooked she quickly becomes bored of them and disposes of them… accordingly.

So this is the strangest film i’ve seen in some time. What we have here is a pastiche horror piece with comments to make about feminism, sex and desire. It’s like Bewitched the 1960s tv show with a few more penises and a tad more shagging and murder.

It is a fascinating watch. It goes for it’s genre style and sticks to it’s guns. It feels 60s or even earlier, the decor the clothing, the hairstyles etc are all throwback but it’s clearly set in modern times. The acting is intentionally woody and the dialogue is intentionally chewy but you just kind of go with it.

An odd little film. Not bad.

“Burn the Witch! "Burn the Witch! "Burn the Witch! "Burn the Witch!”

“I give the rainbow to you, right now!”

“You can make love to me now”.

“Have you ever seen one containing urine?”

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The #BigRonFilmReviews spirit animal award

for 2015 goes to

Domnhall Gleeson

This guy is on a hell of streak. Three of his four 2015 films made my top 20 for the year and Ex Machina made my list last year. He was excellent in all of them.

Well done Dom!

Ray (2004)

Truly wonderful Bluesy Jazz biopic of Ray Charles and his battle with disability, racism, addiction, death, exploitation and the search for ‘his’ sound. An absolute star turn from Jamie Foxx.

The film portrays a troubled yet brilliant life, coping with a harsh but loving childhood, turbulent behaviour and the rigours of touring. Ray treads a similar path to Johnny Cash and even Elvis with the substance abuse and megalomania.

As you’d expect the music is fantastic, I had no idea how much Ray Charles I knew and loved, the hatred oozing from one of the “Hit the Road Jack” renditions is just splendid.

Great movie and yet more proof that you can’t beat a good biopic.

“So that’s how it is, huh? You keep me high while they talk the business?”

“This ain’t no weed, Ray. And we ain’t snorting no bitch. This is boy! Boy’ll make your ass null and void”.

“Remember you going blind but you ain’t stupid”.

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Straw Dogs (1971)

Challenging flick, not one for the fainthearted.

A dark thriller, maybe even horror set in a sinister 70s England with an extremely young Dustin Hoffman and Susan George.

There’s a feeling of impending doom from the off and something disconcerting about every single character (including Hoffman and George). It felt like it might turn into something akin to the Wicker man or maybe Deliverance at any moment. Some truly awful scenes, the victims reaction in one being particularly upsetting, conflicted and very hard to watch.

Hanged Cats, random fruit throwing and all culminates in a fairly horrible shootout-bloodbath.

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10

#BigRonFilmReviews Top 100 Movies of all time

10-1

I’m finally there.

This was hard work. I collated a list of about 130 movies in Excel (yep) and moved it around for approximately 3 days until I ended up with a final list. 

I’ve ended up with a movie from each from Tarantino, Scorsese, Coppola, The Coens, Nolan, PTA and two from David Fincher. People may question the addition of Kevin Smith and Bryan Singer but as ever these are movies ranked according to an inexplicable, personal enjoyment algorithm. If you disagree do your fucking own. (Smiley face).

1) Pulp Fiction. It had to be really. I’m very happy with this being my all time favourite movie (so far). QT perfects the formula he created with Reservoir Dogs. Wonderful characters in amusing situations chomping through fabulous dialogue. A movie I simply do not tire of rewatching. Review here.

2) The Godfather Parts 1 and 2. And here we do not see The Godfather part 3. The first two Godfather movies are simply put. Masterpieces. A deeply intense look at the inner workings of a Mafia family with (at least) three stellar performances from three Titanic Hollywood Stars. Just Epic and beautiful whilst viscously violent and horrifying at the same time. Review here.

3) Fight Club. David Fincher’s cerebral, darkly comical commentary on consumerism and masculinity. A strange and very cool film with plenty of surprises. Love it, love it, love it! Review here.

4) Goodfellas. 

“You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”. 

What a film. Review here.

5) Clerks. A super low budget movie set solely in and around a convenience store in New Jersey. Very little happens other than the two eponymous store Clerks shooting the shit talking about sex and Star Wars. I mean what more do you want? Review here.

6) Se7en. A slow burn Police Procedural with a very dark heart. Pitt and Morgan are trying to track down the serial killer who is in turn trying to send a message to society by mirroring the seven deadly sins. Awesome. “Whats in the Booooooox?” Review here.

7) The Usual Suspects. A surprising crime thriller with a übersupermega twist that absolutely blew me away. “Hand me the fucking keys, you cocksucker, what the fuck?” Review here.

8) Boogie Nights. All of Paul Thomas Andersson’s work is pretty special but this 70s porn industry tale is essentially a masterpiece. Perfect levels of humour, drama and sadness with a absolutely killer soundtrack to boot. Review here.

9) The Big Lebowski. Another of those films where not a great deal actually happens. There is a case of mistaken identity and a pissy rug. There is a kinda-kidnapping, some bowling, a few white russians and a fair amount of weed but because of the superb characters and wonderful dialogue it is just….. brilliant. Review here.

10) The Dark Knight Trilogy. Best Trilogy ever? Cor, could be man. I rewatched these recently and completely reordered my ranking of the three movies. Batman Begins is superb. This is how I want my Batman, flawed, brutal and dark. Aces. My Batman Reviews here.

The full list is available here.

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Coming Sunday to #BigRonFilmReviews:
The Fast and The Furious….. Week
……..Yes week! All Seven of the bastards!!!

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Dark Knight Trilogy rewatch part III - and for such a great trilogy a rare occurrence, a re-review (original review here).

More of the same really. Great plot, amazing action, superb effects, brilliant performances.

Bale remains a solid Batman (annoying voice aside) but for me this movie is all about Bane. This the third part of a three day trilogy rewatch so I can compare this performance very closely to that of Heath Ledger’s for the Joker… slightly blasphemous to do so but I now think they are much closer than I originally may have. They are very different performances but both brilliant. Hardy transmits an aura of indestructible menace and malevolence that is made all the more harrowing by that crazy high-pitched voice.  

I was also far more impressed with Anne Hathaway, she delivers conflicted hero/villain really well and is a vast improvement on the campy Halle Berry or Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman stuff. 

Stellar casting even the small roles, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine for example are have just minutes of screen time and that’s before you start noticing Quinn from Dexter, Jamie from Blue Bloods, Richard from Lost and Carcetti from The Wire.

On rewatch I now think this is the weakest of the three movies but being the weakest movie in this trilogy makes for a hell of a movie - I mean this was in the 2012 Top Ten Ronnies list after all.

Watch this Trilogy and watch it in order in a short space of time for added enjoyment.

“When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die”.

“You think this can last? There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us”.

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