Thursday, 21 June 2018

Flicky Flicks Round 4

Oh hey, how's it going? Yes, amazingly we are back again! Not only that but it only took us three months this time (as opposed to a year with the last round), although it looks as though we've lost Dave (Grumpy McUnt) in that time who, despite keenly nominating a film for this round, completely failed to even watch any of them never mind write any reviews! Never mind good sir, we understand. Even Chip, the de facto leader of Flicky Flicks didn't manage to get half of his reviews written either.

Nevertheless, puffing along like an asthmatic bulldog though we may be, we have now (for the most part) finished the latest round which was, as chosen by Pinbot who was once again victorious, based on the films of Sigourney Weaver. These covered a wide range of genres as well as decades and were also of varying quality, but here are the films we plumped for. As always, the winner will be ceremoniously revealed (by way of tootles) at the end of the exhaustive post!

Alien (1979)
Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

Nominated By: Neptune King of the Sea Running Time: 117 Minutes

When the crew of the cargo ship Nostromo are woken from stasis by 'Mother', their huge ship's computer, they are forced to investigate the planet the caught its attention. It appears rocky and barren but is transmitting a signal. The subsequent investigation ends when a crab-like creatures attaches itself to a crew member and, unknown to the crew, implants a larval alien creature which is soon hunting the rest of the crew as it grows ever larger and more lethal...

Pinbot: I think the reason I still imagine the future as clunky and a bit grubby is because of this and Star Wars. Historically, I’m a little more familiar with the movie's sequel 'Aliens' as the action movie premise of it is easier and dare I say it, more enjoyable to watch. Shame on me, as the original is still a cracking movie: a masterful blend of sci-fi and horror with a great pace. The cast put in superb performances as the doomed crew of the Nostromo. They seem like real people, workmen sent to do a job that goes horribly wrong. Weaver, of course excels as Ripley, the role that would make her a star and her character to become one of cinema’s greatest female protagonists. The titular xenomorph itself is used sparingly, and often only seen in the shadows, adding to the terror and of course nicely hiding the fact that it’s a bloke called Bolaji wearing a black rubber suit. Tense, claustrophobic and very entertaining, this still made me jump and want to hide behind a cushion all over again. Sadly, seeing this so soon after Alien: Covenant, just shows how far the franchise with Ridley Scott at the helm has fallen... Jones the Space Cat out of Ten

Randar: I think I actually saw the second film in this series before the original, so it was perhaps a little less shocking to me when I did see it, but it's still impossible to forget this film once you've seen it and it's hard to not be nearly as captivated on repeat viewings, even though you know what's coming. The scenes on the planet are still full of atmosphere and suspense (turn around, run away!), as are the later scenes on the Nostromo as the crew hunt the squawky little alien runt, and of course that infamous chest-burster scene will never fail to make me wince. I don't actually like horror films generally, although being sci-fi/horror immediately makes it more appealing than normal horror, but it's also so well made for its time. This is helped by a superb cast who all do a great job too. Probably the best performance, and the one that is best remembered (John Hurt's exploding chest notwithstanding) is of course Ms. Weaver's - it was only her second film but served, understandably, as her breakout performance while also propelling Ripley onto various 'tough chick' lists for decades to come. What made it all the more impressive is that neither Weaver nor Ripley appear remotely tough, but both rose to meet the challenge of extraordinary circumstances. A great character and a classic film... 9/10

Liam: I wasn’t as gripped as I remember being about alien, all these years later. Age can be a bitch. I felt it was shot well, and other than some dodgy rubber aliens and milk spluttering scenes, it’s still holds up pretty well. I’m a fan in terms of stage design and the lighting is great. I love H.R. Giger’s elements, I just wished for more. A rather slow-paced film that built suspense well with some very tense scenes adding to the dread of not knowing what they were up against. Sigourney Weaver was excellent throughout... 8/10

Watched by Chip and Neptune King of the Sea but no reviews...

Ghostbusters (1984)
Director: Ivan Reitman Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, William Atherton

Nominated By: Grumpy McUnt Running Time: 105 Minutes

When spooky apparitions start appearing in New York City, a trio of parapsychologists - Peter Venkman (Murray), Raymond Stantz (Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Ramis) - form the not-very-scientific-sounding Ghostbusters, dedicated to investigating and eliminating paranormal activity. As their encounters increase in both number and severity, however, they start to wonder if there might be a larger force at work - a theory which is soon put to the test thanks to a meddling lawyer who is determined to shut them down.

Pinbot: One of the first non-Disney-cartoon films I watched at the cinema. I saw it at the Sheffield ABC (long since demolished and now a Premier Inn) for some kid’s birthday and I remember not enjoying it at all and wanting it to end so I could go home. It was too scary for my young mind (I’ve always been a wuss!), though oddly I played the Spectrum game of the movie for hours and the classic Ray Parker Jr theme was on heavy rotation from my Now 4 compilation album (record 2, side 2, track 1). Despite it being a classic movie of my generation, I seriously don’t think I’ve seen it more than a couple of times over the years. Maybe 11 year old me, has been blocking it out. Well thank you Flicky Flicks, because it was certainly time to put that right and I really enjoyed it. The humour that went over my head as a wee boy hit home this time and I laughed many times. The cast work really well together, with Bill Murray stealing the show, though Weaver is great as possessed cellist Dana Barrett (I certainly enjoyed her goth look!). It is sharply written, with great dialogue, brilliantly directed and the special effects that terrified me so much as a youngster may now be cheesy and so 80s, but have so much character and charm. Unlike the crying man-babies of the internet, I really want to watch the 2016 remake now... Ecto-1 out of Ten

Chip (viewing beverage: merlot): The first movie I ever owned on VHS, and has aged surprisingly well. Unlike the trashfire of Ghostbusters 2, everyone is completely on form here. It's just a joy... 8 focused, non-terminal, repeating phantasms out of 10

Randar: I'm not totally sure how I feel about Ghostbusters to be really honest. The horrifying reboot made my life worse than it had been beforehand just from seeing the trailer, but I even seem to have a slightly alarming lack of enthusiasm for the original. I mean, it's obviously an 80's great - an all time great most likely - and I enjoyed it a lot when I was younger, but at the same time, I've not really felt any compulsion to watch it again for donkey's years and hadn't, in fact, right up until this round of Flicky Flicks. Seeing it again now, it's still very enjoyable but I kind of feel the same way as before - I guess I can recognise its qualities without necessarily being a big fan. All the main players in it are great though, Sigourney included - we haven't often seen her in such a seductive role and she's pretty good at it - and it still holds up well today, from its comedy to the likeable characters, and of course that corking theme tune. The story was always a bit silly but who cares when it's so much fun? ... 8/10

Liam: Ghostbusters was one of my favourite films as a kid. I still feel complete love for it. It's just such a great ridiculous story, great comedy, great music, great style, great cast. It's just great. It makes me happy that my Girlfriend's 7yr old recommended it to me, "Ben, you need to see Ghostbusters. Not that new one"... 8/10 (10 for nostaglia)

Watched by Neptune King of the Sea but no review...

Dave (1993)
Director: Ivan Reitman Starring: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley, Charles Grodin

Nominated By: Randar Running Time: 110 Minutes

When unscrupulous President Bill Mitchell (Kline) is unexpectedly incapacitated, his Chief of Staff Bob Alexanda (Langella) hires Dave Kovic (also Kline) to cover for him, but while they may look very much alike, Dave is the polar opposite of the real President. He is kind, considerate, and even wants to help people, so it isn't long before he finds himself at odds with the ambitious ex-senator who recruited him. Meanwhile, Dave has to convince the White House staff that he's the real deal, including the First Lady (Weaver), not to mention the rest of the country...

Pinbot: I have a hankering for a feelgood comedy every so often and this one fits the bill perfectly. The whole idea of a lookalike assuming the place of the president is of course silly, but it is after all, only a movie. Plus having the President of the US actually wanting to do good and make the world a better place is very refreshing in the dark timeline we seem to be living through at the moment. The leads are on top form here and have a genuine onscreen chemistry. Kline does amazingly well being essentially two characters - often one impersonating the other. Weaver is nicely salty early in the film, but her transition to a more warm and caring sharing First Lady is nicely done and pretty seamless. However, I think Frank Langella steals the show as Bob Alexander, the manipulative and short-fused Chief of Staff. Let’s face it, he is exactly what we all think politicians are like behind closed doors. In these more cynical times, I doubt this would have been made in its current form. It is too naive, too subtle. It would have been a painfully on-the-nose satire or god help us, an agonising Adam Sandler style fish out of water farce. Thankfully however, it is a brilliantly entertaining, rather understated comedy with a nice undertone of darkness. Dave would get my vote... A sweater vest and tie out of Ten

Randar: This was, unsurprisingly, my nomination. It's one of my all-time favourites and is already the recipient of a highly favourable review here at Red Parsley. I had actually watched it for what must be the billionth time shortly before we chose films for this round of FF but it's never a hardship to watch what has become one of my 'default films' (if I can't decide what to watch, I just watch this!). It might be a bit corny and depressingly unrealistic (depressing in that our American friends will likely never get a president this nice) but it's so full of memorable moments and irresistible charm that it really doesn't matter. Kevin Kline is the star of the show, of course. He is superb as both President Mitchell and his naively optimistic lookalike Dave Kovic, but my focus was on Weaver for this viewing and she comes out brightly as well. She doesn't get a huge amount to do but she has a big presence whenever she's on screen as the bitter First Lady who so despises her sleazy husband but is gradually thawed by Dave's exuberance, and the film wouldn't be the same without her. I'm sure few love this film as much as me but I can honestly say I've never met anyone who doesn't at least like it. Well, not until killjoy Chip here cast his ice-cold eyes of judgement over it, obviously... 9/10

Liam: A charming Kevin Kline playing his part fantastically as the stand in US president. Some strong supporting roles with Sigourney making a good first lady, who actually falls for Dave and his do-good ways. Certainly far fetched in ideas but a heart warming feel-good film... 8/10

Watched by Chip and Neptune King of the Sea but no reviews...

Heartbreakers (2001)
Director: David Mirkin Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, Gene Hackman, Anne Bancroft, Jeffrey Jones, Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis, Nora Dunn

Nominated By: Pinbot Running Time: 122 Minutes

Max and Paige Connors (Weaver and Hewitt) are making a killing as a mother-daughter con artist team, with the alluring ways of the former quickly pulling in any rich bachelors she sets her crosshairs on before her busty, flirty daughter provokes them into betraying their recently undertaken marriage vows. Simply pretend to be heartbroken, sue for divorce, collect the payout, and start all over again with the next poor sap. Surely they couldn't ruin such a good thing by actually falling for someone for real?

Pinbot: This was my choice and I knew it was a gamble. I loved this movie back in the day, but I think that might have been due to Jennifer Love Hewitt's tiny outfits. They are certainly still impressive, but the the film hasn't aged very well at all. It felt overlong and badly paced with moments of slow tedium and yet full-on over-the-top farcical comedy which just became annoying and so tiring. Sigourney can certainly do comedy, but here she just felt like she was trying too hard and in fact all of the cast felt like caricatures rather than actual people. It was just missing piped in canned laughter and applause. I'm sure Jason Lee was wondering what on earth he was doing in it at all. Like dial-up internet and Limp Bizkit, it is best left back in the early 2000s... A personal fire device out of Ten

Neptune King of the Sea: No offence but this is one of the most worst films I have seen on Flicky Flicks, it's not even the fault of the actors. The script is lousy, it's painful to watch (took me 3 attempts), and it just Ill-advised on every level. As I have said the actors try and whilst it seems promising to begin with by the time you get to halfway through you just want putting out of your misey. In short I never want to cross it's fucking path again. Watch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels instead if you're after a con film, it's in a different class. Shite

Randar: This is one of those films that I've been aware of ever since it was released but I've never really had any desire to watch it at any stage. This is mainly due to its premise - mother seduces and marries wealthy man, daughter tempts him into cheating, both share substantial divorce settlement - which I suspected I would find somewhat annoying. As it turned out, I did, but not as much as I had expected. Ray Liotta is their first target and it works like a dream. Next up they decide to go for Gene Hackman's chain-smoking tobacco tycoon and I almost found myself willing them on, mainly so I wouldn't have to watch the shuffling, coughing oaf any more. I'm a big Hackman fan too, so I guess it's a testament to his talents that he can make himself so unappealing on screen! Suffice to say, their plan goes astray when he kicks it unexpectedly, but also when bitchy Paige (Hewitt) falls for a guy for real - Jason Lee's laid back bar owner who's lucky enough to actually have an appealing character in a film otherwise devoid of them. Of course, Liotta also returns hoping to win back Weaver's cold seductress, and he's in full-on Henry Hill mode while he does it (his mannerisms, I mean, not mob-related tomfoolery). All the stars put in good turns but, although Weaver was supposed to be the focus, the biggest highlight of the film for me was Jennifer Love Hewitt's boobs. In my defence, this is the first film of hers I've seen (somehow) so I haven't really been exposed to her busty jiggling before, and I can see the appeal! Overall though, the film is... okay I guess. Nothing special, not really memorable (except for aforementioned charms), but not quite as painful as I'd feared either... 5/10

Liam: I've seen worse films in this genre, but a pretty forgettable film. Written I imagine for date nights and Valentine’s Day cinema visits. Love tale for the ladies and cleavage to keep their partners content for the most part. Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character (I don’t even know what her name was), made her so unattractive, even in her many fantastic (at first), tiny dresses. Weaver should’ve held a flame thrower... 5/10

Watched by Chip but no review...

Imaginary Heroes (2004)
Director: Dan Harris Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Emile Hirsch, Jeff Daniels, Michelle Williams, Deirdre O'Connell, Ryan Donowho, Kip Pardue

Nominated By: Liam Running Time: 111 Minutes

Matt Travis (Pardue) seems to have everything going for him - he's popular, good looking, and a skilled athlete - so his sudden suicide comes as a huge shock to his family and school. His mother Sandy (Weaver) and father Ben (Daniels) deal with their grief separately, choosing to smother it in weed and booze respectively. Matt's younger and less-accomplished brother Tim (Hirsch), for so long overshadowed by his successful sibling, is seemingly content to carry on as he was before but surely things won't be the same?

Pinbot: I knew nothing about this going in and well, it wasn’t exactly the feel-good hit of the summer! I usually watch movies for pure escapism and was worried that considering the themes explored in this movie, I would find it too uncomfortable. Thankfully there was some good dark humour and dialogue along the way which lightened the film's overall tone. The cast works well with Weaver giving a great performance as the mother of this dysfunctional family and Daniels playing against type as a pretty unlikable guy. It felt a little slow in places, but it kept my interest until the end. It was intelligent, surprisingly funny and more than a little scary... More wacky-baccy out of Ten

Randar: Much like Geoff's choice in the first round of Flicky Flicks, I hadn't even heard of this one prior to him choosing it, and having read up on it a little before watching it, I wasn't really sure if it sounded like my cup of tea. I even started it while not really paying complete attention to it if I'm honest, but the abrupt suicide of who seemed like being a main character quickly brought me around. I could certainly sympathise with his situation - depression can affect us all sooner or later, and not just those suffering from it either. The three leads put in great performances too, as their characters deal with the fallout in their own ways, and I genuinely had no idea which direction the story was going in so my attention certainly didn't wane again. I think certain aspects of the film weren't handled quite as well as they could've been but overall this one was a pleasant surprise. It's not the kind of film I would watch over and over but I'm glad I've seen it once... 7/10

Liam: Heavy. This really left an impact on me after watching it, maybe some of the subject matter was close to home in some cases, or maybe it was just very well done. Great cast, great story links that made you judge certain characters before you even knew the full story. It was hard hitting and until the rest of you have seen it I wont say any more about the plot. For me, and not because I picked the film, the best of the bunch for Sigourney as an actress. The best film? Who's to say... 8/10

Watched by Chip and Neptune King of the Sea but no reviews...

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Director: Drew Goddard Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford

Nominated By: Chip Running Time: 95 Minutes

A bunch of hottie college students decide to go and spend their weekend in an old deserted cabin in the middle of a spooky forest in the middle of nowhere. Since nothing could possibly go wrong with this plan, they are all excited with the prospect of spending their weekend drinking and shagging. But then, astoundingly, something goes wrong when they trigger a scary zombie onslaught. Strangely, their tomfoolery is being monitored from an underground facility by some apparently uncaring scientist types...

Pinbot: I find Joss Whedon’s dialogue a little tiring to be honest, every single character he writes spouts out quip after quip, like Robert Downey Junior on caffeine, with every line feeling like a carefully rehearsed one liner. In this though, it sort of made contextual sense and I actually began to enjoy it. It was a decent twist on the hoary old spooky cabin in the woods trope, deconstructing it with some dark humour by mocking and yet enjoying all of the clichés we all know to death from a hundred classic slasher films. The cast was good, with some nice chemistry and I was surprised I didn't actually hate any of them. It was fine, perfectly entertaining without being a classic. Oh yeah Sigourney is in it. Blink and you miss her... Wacky-baccy out of Ten

Randar: Bah! A horror film. I've never been the biggest fan of these, specially the teenies-go-off-partying-and-get-picked-off-one-by-one type. Which this one is, by the way. As you probably all knew to begin with since it was rather popular. I must admit having now seen it - it wasn't quite what I had in mind. Well, the second half wasn't anyway, but did that make it more enjoyable? No, not really. Some ridiculous story about sating the blood lust of an apocalyptic subterranean god just made the deaths even more meaningless than they already were and the many 'creative' and 'humorous' deaths in the chaos of the last act just made me roll my eyes more than anything else. Plus, as others have said, Sigourney is in the film for about two nanoseconds so it hardly counts as a Sigourney film to begin with. It was nice to see the always-splendid Richard Jenkins but there was little else of interest to me here. Just because a horror film remains popular years later, it still doesn't mean I'll enjoy it, apparently. Lesson learned... 3/10

Neptune King of the Sea: A Sigourney Weaver film by the most tenuous of threads she appears right at the end of the film and is in it that briefly it's hard to see what she actually adds to the film! The film really surprised me initially it feels like a cross between the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead 2 but as the film progresses it morphs into an amazing and original sci-fi/horror story, it honestly could have been a twilight zone episode. TBH none of the acting stands out to me, it's just all competent - everyone plays their part well and it serves a purpose, the twisting storyline is what impresses. Surpisingly thought provoking fun and unusual film... 6/10

Liam: Sigourney was in this film for about 4 minutes. I timed it. It’s a modern horror film, with some original twists and plot line ideas. I guess. Not particularly any good though in my opinion, and I certainly cant get back that time I spent watching it... 5 choices how to die out of 10

Watched by Chip but no review again. It was his nomination too!

Winner: Whether you're a fan of Ms. Weaver of not (and some certainly aren't including our own Chip - probably why he chose a film she barely features in!), I think I can safely say this round was a little more coherent than the last. There was a wide range in the quality of the films selected too, notably thanks to Pinbot who must've grown tired of winning and decided to give someone else a chance. That person, as it happens, was me! Indeed, as would be completely obvious to anyone who has ever basked in its splendour (i.e. seen it), the winning film of this round was my own nomination - the astounding awesome Dave (tootle tootle)! The next round will therefore be based on a theme I chose, and that, at least partially in an attempt to lure Grumpy McUnt back, would be boxing films (for he is indeed a boxing fan). See you again, then, once they have all been watched and reviewed!

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