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The Honeymoon Killers (1970)
The Honeymoon Killers (1970)
1970 | Classics, Drama, Mystery
9.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Favorite

"I guess I’m a sucker for black and white. This 1970 independent classic is from writer/director Leonard Kastle, who took over after Martin Scorsese was let go. Shirley Stoler is funny and heartbreaking as the homicidal, jealous companion of scam artist Tony Lo Bianco. Based on a true story, it held particular interest for me because the killers at one point decide to retire to suburban Valley Stream, Long Island, the town where I primarily grew up and directed my first film, Trees Lounge. I once worked with Tony on an episode of the TV series Homicide and excitedly told him he had one of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies. After sizing me up for a few seconds, he replied, “Well, that would have to be the Honeymoon Killers, and the line of course is, ‘Valley Stream. Valley Stream. What a joke!’”"

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Love, Simon (2018)
Love, Simon (2018)
2018 | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Such a heartwarming film
I really loved the book, and I’m so pleased to say that the film is just as good. Which if you know me, happens very rarely!

There are some slight differences to the book but nothing drastic, and all of the characters are in keeping with the book counterparts. Nick Robinson is brilliant and so sweet as Simon, but the rest of his friends and cats too are so relatable. Even the annoying Martin. And Tony Hale is a riot as the principal, and brings in a lot of the laughs.

This is a truly heartwarming, sweet and sometimes funny tale of love and a coming of age/coming out story. It’s a romantic story that manages to steer clear of the cheesy romantic cliches and this makes it all the better to watch. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t in tears by the end.
  
22 Bullets (2013)
22 Bullets (2013)
2013 | Action, International, Drama
8
6.8 (4 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Story: 22 Bullets starts when retired Mafia godfather Charly Mattei (Reno) is ambushed by multiply gun man who riddle his body with bullets, 22 in his body and somehow, he survives the attack. The man behind the attack Tony Zacchia (Merad) wants the job finished so he can take the control he wants over the business, while detective Marie Goldman (Fois) has her own scores to settle with Mafia who were behind her husband’s and fellow cops’ death.

Charly brings his trusted friends back together to go into a full-blown war with Tony which see the bodies piling up, until he can get his hands-on Tony himself.

Characters – Charly Mattei is the retired Mafia godfather that walked away from the business with strict rules on how it will continue, he gets left for dead by the new boss who wants to play by his own rules. Now the bear has been poked he will seek revenge on everyone who tried to eliminate him, no matter how many bodies get left in his way, he knows this is the only way to keep his family safe. Tony Zacchia has taken over the business, he doesn’t want to play by the same rules though, he needs to take care of Charly before changing the rules and after that attempts fails, he starts to throw waves of men as Charly to finish the job. Martin is the closest friend to Charly, he will help make the connections to who else was involved in the assassination attempt. Marie Goldman is a cop that lost her husband to the Mafia, she has wanted to take them down for years now and this will be her best chance after she get put in the middle of the blood war.

Performances – Jean Reno is fantastic in the leading role of the film, he brings back the type of performance we saw in Leon where he is the cold-hearted killer with the heart of gold. Kad Merad, Jean-Pierre Darroussin are both good in the supporting role, though it can be easy to mix the two up. Marina Fios is good as the detective trying to get to the bottom of everything with her own tragic back past.

Story – The story here follows a former Mafia Godfather that goes on a revenge mission against the new godfather after he failed to have his assassinated bring France into a battle for power between the two leading sides in the war. This does play out like a revenge thriller with plenty of bullets, we have seen this done most recently with John Wick and this follows the same tone and body numbers you would be seeing in this one. The added side story of the cop wanting to final takedown the person who killed her husband adds to everything making this feel like a three-way war between the sides. The does play out how you would imagine which is great to see and the story doesn’t hold back either.

Action/Crime – The action is brutal when it comes to the bullet wound, even if certain moments can become overkill when it comes to the bullets flying. The crime world shown gives us an insight into the world in and out of the world with people wanting out or control.

Settings – The film is set in Marseille which shows us a new type of city for a crime film to take place in, we have all the locations you would imagine for a Mafia film.

Scene of the Movie – Dinner meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sometimes overkill.

Final Thoughts – This is an enjoyable action revenge thriller, that puts Jean Reno front and centre on a bloody rampage, one well worth watching for the action fans.

Overall: Enjoyable Action Film.
  
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Toy Story 4 (2019)
2019 | Animation, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Funny, Heartwarming, And Beautifully Animated
Toy Story 4 is a 2019 CG/comedy movie directed by Josh Cooley and based on screenplay written by Andrew Stanton, and Stephany Folsom; along with John Lasseter, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, and Martin Hynes. It was produced by Picard Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Keanu Reeves.


Woody (Tom Hanks) and the other toys are happy in their new life after Andy donates his toys to Bonnie; but Woody worries Bonnie will feel overwhelmed at school when she starts kindergarten. Woody sneaks into her backpack and recovers her arts and crafts supplies when a classmate throws them away. She uses the supplies, including a spork Woody grabbed to create a handmade toy she names "Forky" (Tony Hale). And when Bonnie and her family go on a road trip, Forky jumps out of the window setting off a chain of events that will change the group forever.


This movie was funny, stunningly animated, and emotionally touching. They really were shooting to impress with the amount of detail they had in this movie, from the glossy porcelain shine of Bopeep, to the fur on the cat, to all the other toys little details. I liked how the action was very character driven and how the storytelling was really well done. The character growth/arc for Bopeep was one of my favorites and I really enjoyed the cast of new characters and how they were incorporated as well like, Keanu Reeves and Key and Peele. This was such a great movie and it got me choked up at the end of the movie and I couldn't find anything to really complain about but then I read an article that made me question how I felt about it and what I saw. I'll see if I can add the link to it at the end of my review. It ultimately made me drop my rating by a point, I almost gave this movie a 9, but I give it a 8/10. But I do give it my "Must See Seal Of Approval".


Here is the link to the article: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/theres-a-problem-with-toy-story-4-opinion/1100-6468073/
  
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Nick Beaty (70 KP) rated The Irishman (2019) in Movies

Jan 26, 2020 (Updated Jan 26, 2020)  
The Irishman (2019)
The Irishman (2019)
2019 | Biography, Crime, Drama
De Niro is the best he has been in a long time...
First off any movie that has Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese connected to it has me from the get go.

De Niro is the best he has been in a long time as mob hitman Frank Sheeran, Joe Pesci is excellent in a much more reserved role as Russell Bufalino and Al Pacino is superb as the loud and brash Jimmy Hoffa. All the buzz is around the three lead actors, as all have been nominated for Oscars. Although for me Stephen Graham more than holds his own alongside these legends, as the cocky and destructive 'Tony Pro'. Some of the best scenes are with him and Pacino not seeing eye to eye on various occasions.

Personally I felt it wasn't as Scorsese as I expected, it didn't have the same narrative or feel as say Goodfellas or Casino, I'm not saying that is a bad thing as it's still a very good movie, it's just not on their level in my opinion.

There has been a lot of talk about the 3 hour 29 minutes running time. I personally don't understand all the fuss, as there have been many classic, award winning movies even longer than this. Gone with the Wind took home the Oscar in 1940 and ran a whopping 3h 58m. Ben Hur won best picture in 1960 at 3h 32m and more recently Titanic in 1998 was slightly less at 3h 14m.

I also feel the need to mention a couple of scenes that felt very reminiscent of one of my favourite movies Pulp Fiction. The opening sequence when the words 'I heard you paint houses' flash on the screen felt very Tarantino and the whole car scene with Jesse Plemons & Louis Cancelmi talking about the fish, was very Jule's & Vincent like. I'm not sure if that is just me or whether other people agree.

Overall I get that it is a long movie and people have very busy lives but if you get the chance you really should watch it, just to see these big screen legends at work and doing what they do best.
  
Official Secrets (2019)
Official Secrets (2019)
2019 | Biography, Drama, Thriller
Cracking British all star cast (1 more)
Reminds you just how crazy politics was in 2003
The best little UK film you've never seen
A film about whistle-blowing against the backdrop of the Iraq War of 2003 doesn't sound like a very appealing watch, but "Official Secrets" defies all those fears. It's a cracking little UK movie.

Two years after 9/11, and the West has its sights set on Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Tony Blair and George "Dubya" Bush (together with that behind-the-scenes pit-bull Don Cheney - as featured in "Vice") are determined to persuade the United Nations that WMD - Weapons of Mass Destruction - are in place, whether they are or not. London is threatened with being a nuclear wasteland within 45 minutes. Of course, while certain areas of the press (including the leadership of "The Guardian") support the war, the majority of the British people think this is total b*llocks! Two journalists - the irascible and volatile Ed Vulliamy (Rhys Ifans) and the head-down but relentless Martin Bright (Matt Smith) - are determined to uncover the truth behind the two government's machinations.

Enter Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), an interpreter at GCHQ in Cheltenham who, when brought into a loop of the dirty government dealing, takes great exception to it. Unfortunately, she has signed the Official Secret's Act, a document incompatible with a conscience, and with a Kurdish husband Yasar (Adam Bakri) seeking British residence, she is in no position to throw stones.

Can Katharine's legal team, led by human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson (Ralph Fiennes), keep her away from a long prison sentence?

We've seen lots of fictional movies about the little guy up against the immovable mass and sunglass-wearing creepiness of the state: Will Smith's excellent "Enemy of the State" is a great example. Here the frisson in the script by Gregory Bernstein, Sara Bernstein and director Gavin Hood, based on the book by Marsha and Thomas Mitchell, is that it is all based on fact, brought brilliantly to life with interspersed news footage.

It's easy to forget, with nearly 20 years having passed, just how completely f****d up the world was after 9/11. Sabre-rattling became a US obsession, and the news-reel shots of Bush and Blair trying to justify their actions is really quite vomit-inducing.

Keira Knightley gives one of her best performances in years as the rather naive every-woman for appreciates she's digging a hole but has only dawning realisation as to how deep it goes.

But the supporting cast is also outstanding with Smith and Ifans being enormously entertaining as the journos, supported by their supportive boss - Downton's Matthew Goode. Ralph Fiennes delivers a typically underplayed and powerful performance as the legal beagle. Other well known faces popping up include Tamsin Greig and W1A's Monica Dolan.

How gripped you will be will depend on your memory! Mine is officially useless... so the denouement when it came was a surprise to me! But this is a little British film that really packs a punch. Extremely watchable and with a star cast, this ones a keeper. Highly recommended.

(For the full graphical review, check out One Mann's Movies here - https://bob-the-movie-man.com/2020/03/12/one-manns-movies-dvd-review-official-secrets-2019/ Thanks).
  
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
2019 | Action, Sci-Fi
A nice "palate cleanser" after Endgame
After the richness - both in emotion and spectacle - of the previous entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (that would be the epic that is AVENGERS: ENDGAME), SPIDERMAN: FAR FROM HOME is a palate cleanser.

And that is a smart move by the honchos at Marvel. It brings us back into this Universe acknowledging - and playing homage to - the previous film - but also points us to the future as we fondly remember, but don't dwell on, the past. This Spidey-film takes the titular web-slinger on a roadtrip to Europe where he teams up with Mysterio to fight the Elementals as Peter Parker grapples with the legacy of Tony Stark and a blossoming relationship with MJ.

And...it's a darn fine film. Director Jon Watts and writers Chis McKenna and Erik Sommers craft a light, fun action flick that leans heavily on the personality and charm of Peter Parker/Spiderman and this succeeds tremendously thanks to the continued strong performance of Tom Holland. He has grown into this role and has now fully embraced it a makes it his own. This is the 5th film that Holland has played Spiderman and he is fully in control of the character and is a joyous character to watch.

Ably joining in is Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio - another hero who just might be another strong mentor-like presence for Parker. A fine actor of interesting dimensions, Gyllenhaal understands the type of film that he is in and adapts his performance (and presence) accordingly. Jacob Batalon returns as Peter's friend Ned, and he is everything we've come to expect from Ned. The same can be said for Jon Favreau's Happy Hogan and Marisa Tomei's Aunt May - both are welcome, warming, presences that help everyone feel good.

The biggest surprise for me is Zendaya's performance as MJ - I really enjoyed it - and that's a surprise. It is one of those nuanced-type performances (in a Superhero film - of all things) that will make me re-assess my thinking about her as a performer. I thought she was that good.

Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders reprise their roles as Nick Fury and Maria Hill and they are solid while Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove provide broad comic relief as the two teachers who are chaperones of these high school kids (remember they are high school aged in this film - they'll have to graduate into college for the next one, their age is beginning to show). I've read/heard some negative comments on how "out of place" the 2 teachers were in style to the rest of this film (and the MCU in general) and I couldn't disagree more. I thought they brought just the right size of comedy to what is a light film.

And, make no mistake, this is a light film (which is why I call it a "palate cleanser" after Endgame) and that's just fine. The stakes are an excuse to spend time with this characters - and to dazzle with some interesting special effects that I thought were very well done.

If you're into Spiderman - or the Marvel Cinematic Universe - you'll like this film.

Letter Grade: B+

7 1/2 stars (out of 10) - and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
  
Ghost Stories (2018)
Ghost Stories (2018)
2018 | Drama, Horror
In that sleep of death, what dreams may come.
“Ghost Stories” is based on the spooky London West-End stage play by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman who both write and direct the film version. I didn’t know this until the end credits, but began to wonder in the final act where the action suddenly becomes very “stagey” in nature. The screenplay was always bound to be both bizarre and intriguing, since Dyson has been a past contributor to TV’s “League of Gentlemen” and other equally surreal programmes and Nyman has been a major collaborator with the stage-illusionist Derren Brown.

Nyman himself plays TV paranormal debunker Professor Goodman who receives a surprise message from a respected colleague, long thought dead, who on his death bed wants Goodman to investigate the three cases from his career that he was never able to debunk. The first concerns Tony Matthews (Paul Whitehouse, “The Death of Stalin“) as a night watchman at a spooky old asylum; the second concerns Simon Rifkind (Alex Lawther, young Turing in “The Imitation Game“) as a freaked-out young man with a forest breakdown; and Mike Priddle (Martin Freeman, “Black Panther“) as a rich broker with parenting issues. As Goodman investigates each case weirder and weirder things start to happen: is this his mind playing tricks as his faith is rocked, or is there something more sinister going on?

The primary issue I have with this film is its portmanteau nature, harking back to similar films like “The Twilight Zone: the Movie”. Having three segments, loosely linked together, feels like a clunky device for a feature film…. (“Why are there three cases to investigate? Well, two would have made the film too short, and four would have made it too long!”).

That being said, the overall story arc and the drawing together of the strands for the unexpected (although not terribly original) conclusion, is intriguing.

The film looks and feels like a British-made horror film, which is both a compliment and a criticism. Who doesn’t like the jump-scares and the vague tackiness of a Hammer horror? But if you care to compare the production values on show here versus “A Quiet Place“, there is no comparison. The location-shot scenes (which are most of the scenes) seem to be very poorly lit: and that’s the non-spooky ones where you are supposed to see what’s going on!

The cast seem to be well-suited to their roles, with Paul Whitehouse in particular being impressive as the ‘on the make’ Matthews, who always feels like being on the knife-edge of violent outburst. I particularly liked Alex Lawther who does “spooked” extremely well! The script also seems to be well-tuned to the characters, with a number of laugh-out-loud lines. “****ing O2” exclaims Simon as he waves his mobile in the air… something the marketing department at the telecoms giant must have loved!

The critics seem to have been overtly positive about this film, which I can’t quite match. Apart from one or two scenes towards the end, all of the jump scares were pretty well signposted in advance. But it’s still as fun as a slightly tacky ghost house ride at the fairground, if you like that sort of thing, and is certainly a much more interesting and better watch in my book than some recent and much higher budget horror films like “It“.