Jan 13th – Movie Monday

This week at Fraggle Towers we’ve managed 3 movies, having Netflix is a big plus!

Our first movie was The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci & which everyone and his dog has been talking about and reviewing, so there’s no need for me to blather on much. We really enjoyed it. Firstly, even though I’m sure it must have been mentioned somewhere but I missed it, this movie is based on a true story with real people, Jimmy Hoffa, Frank Sheeran, Russell Buffalino et al were real mobsters and if you want a spoiler just check out the wiki page bio on Frank Sheeran, the whole movie plot is there.

The movie is beautifully shot on 35mm film except for the digital de-aging process which had to be shot digitally to apply the FX. Much has been said regarding the efficacy of the de-aging CGI, and yes we noticed that you can’t really make a 76yr old man move like a guy in his mid 30’s, but it didn’t matter to us. The acting chops of Pacino, De Niro and Pesci made up for it and transcended the technological bits. The scenes between these three were so good. A particular favourite is when Pesci and DeNiro are in a breakfast diner together, and Pesci is giving DeNiro a job to do that is going to hurt him emotionally, DeNiro had me crying just watching the sadness come over his face, even his pores can act!

The music score is really well curated with both original and existing music tracks and the score written by Robbie Robertson who has worked with Scorsese on 10 or so movies. The movie, Pesci & Pacino were nominated in some of the categories at the Golden Globes, though DeNiro wasn’t, a travesty IMHO, and won nothing, which is assumed because the movie industry is miffed about Netflix who financed the movie. The Oscar nominations come out today, so it will be interesting to see what happens then. Update Well the nominations are out now, and once again DeNiro is sidelined yet Pesci and Pacino are up for best supporters.

Phils Grim Movie night has diverged into Phils Retro movie night as he wants to re-watch some of his old faves, so on Thursday we did My Cousin Vinny (1992) directed by Jonathan Lynn and starring Joes Pesci again as Vinny, and the incomparable Marisa Tomei as Mona Lisa Vito. We were remembering this as being really funny, and it didn’t disappoint on the rewatch. The basic premise is that Joe Pesci plays an inexperienced lawyer who has to try and save his nephew played by Ralph Macchio from getting the death penalty for a murder he didn’t commit. Marisa Tomei is Pesci’s girlfriend and really the star of the movie, winning the oscar for best supporting actress that year. The wardrobe department had a blast and dressed her in some great dresses and hot mama clothing. Phil was particularly enamoured of a floral skin-tight backless jumpsuit πŸ™‚ The courtroom scenes are where the humour is at its best, with Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster as was) doing a class act as the judge and Lane Smith as the prosecution lawyer hamming it up grandly. Funny as it was, the movie is well thought of in the legal fraternity as being accurate in depicting court room procedure, and Judge Joseph Fletcher Jr wrote a treatise Β “Ten Things Every Trial Lawyer Could Learn From Vincent La Guardia Gambini”. Not surprising really considering the director has a law degree!

Lastly the Saturday night Marvel movie was Thor:Ragnarok directed by Taika Waititi, currently getting big licks for Jojo Rabbit (which we will be doing at some point). Starring the quite gorgeous Chris Hemsworth as Thor with a stellar cast including Cate Blanchett having great fun as Hela, Odins (Anthony Hopkins) evil firstborn, Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as Loki, Mark Ruffalo doing his Hulk thing and Tessa Thompson joining the MCU as a kick ass Valkyrie. Waititi gives Hulk a more rounded character, he has a script instead of a smash it up direction, and there’s a good comedy spark between Hulk and Thor which is fun to watch. Good performances by Jeff Goldblum having way too much fun, Idris Elba (diction needs work) and a cameo by Benedict Cumberbatch in his role as Dr.Strange. Waititi himself does a  motion-capture performance for the character Korg and also for Surtur the fire demon. As always, at least until he died, Stan Lee shows up in a cameo as the guy who cuts Thors hair!

The CGI and special effects are spectacular and the charcters of Thor, Loki and Bruce Banner/Hulk are developed more so than in previous Marvel movies. The inspired inclusion of Led Zeppelins ‘Immigrant Song’ as the soundtrack for the climactic battle section was really well cool too.

All in all a great fun romp, with spectacle and also some pathos. Waititi did a grand job with a lightness of touch missing in some of the previous Thor movies.

24 Comments

  1. OK< fully agree with the first two, both excellent films!
    As for Thor thingamajig, I will bow to your knowledge. πŸ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.
    Can you send me a link to the Bamburgh post I missed? That blog has just dropped off my reader, and I need to re-follow. No idea why that happened!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love love LOVE My Cousin Vinny!! All the youts in that movie make me feel young. πŸ˜‰
    Thor:Ragnorok was probably one of the longest movies of my life… I felt like it was trying too hard to get the more light hearted feel of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and didn’t quite make it. I just couldn’t do it… Although, I would, at any time, do Jeff Golblum in that glam look he had going on. 😘😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha it’s 3 hours long not days! 🀣 we did it in 2 halves on consecutive nights and that worked well. I’d forgotten about the Manchester movie, will see if Netflix have it here. The Irishman is really worth seeing for the de Niro Pesci and Pacino, they are old now, yet brought their A game to this, wonderful to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pass the pop-corn! It sounds like you and Phil have been having a great time. πŸ˜€
    I saw a snippet of that digital de-aging process (the Irishman). It was pretty amazing, not just that they did it, but that they wove it into the story so well. Have a great new week. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We really enjoyed “The Irishman.” De Niro always does a great job. Having lived in some of these areas, I could so relate to the culture! Family stories, too, have a few mobsters in them, such as my aunts drinking at Capone’s speakeasies in the 30s and saying he was a right fine gentleman!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great reviews, Fraggle. At the risk of incurring the wrath of all, though, I have to say we gave up on the Irishman. Yes, it is well-made and the anti-aging process amazing (can I have some, please?). But it struck me as being the same as ‘Goodfellas’ or ‘Godfatyher’ – and certainly not as good as the latter. Another movie about amoral, violent, psychopaths who, frankly, should be taken out of society.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m really liking your reviews, I have them all sitting on my server, now all I have to do is watch them and they will all be promoted up the list after reading your review. I think I have seen My Cousin Vinny in the past, but as I cant remember for sure then its worth a watch again πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Irishman is so good. Stellar screenplay, great performances, and top notch direction. As for My Cousin Vinny, it has been sooo long since I’ve seen it. That might be a great Retro revisit! As for Thor: Ragnarok…sigh. In a way I think it is a lot of fun with some really good laughs. But it feels a bit disconnected from the other movies in terms of how it represents its characters. I dunno. Maybe I’m being an old fuddy-duddy. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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