Rodent's Reviews

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Sorry for the double post but I forgot to mention before and if I edit the post you might miss it. But I finally got round to watching the original version of True Grit and I kind of agree with what you said, it's enjoyable because it's more colourful and charming as you'd expect from a John Wayne film, just seemed a lot less realistic and a whole lot more jolly to me where as the newer version is gritter, more realistic and the characters much more interesting for me, so I'd give it the nod over the original, both are great though.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Out of interest how are you choosing your 5 Christmas flicks Rodent? Are you going with films you like or is it just whatever happens to be on TV?

I got the idea because Scrooged was on telly but I'm going with my current faves... I've got two more lined up for definite but not sure what my last one will be.

Glad you liked the original True Grit Daniel... really good Wayne film. Def my favourite of his.
Originally Posted by doubledenim
Garbage bag people fighting hippy love babies.

Bots gotta be bottin'

Part Of Rodent's 5 Christmas Movie Marathon

Review #171 (3rd Of 5): Home Alone

One Christmas, while they're all gathering ready to go on holiday in the morning, 8 year old Kevin and the rest of his family come to loggerheads, and Kevin is banished to the third floor bedroom as a bedtime punishment... and in his anger, he makes a wish that they'd all just disappear. He's bullied by his older siblings and feels he is put on by his parents and never listened to...

... and the whole family sleeps in the following day, so they panic and rush out to catch their airplane to their holiday destination... forgetting that Kevin was in the third floor bedroom.

Kevin wakes up to find the house deserted and at first thinks it's a joke but realises his wish came true, they all disappeared... but danger lurks around the corner as Kevin realises that two burglars are eyeing up the empty houses on his block and his home is next.
It's time for Kev to pull himself out from hiding under the bed...

... and become the man of the house.

What an incredibly OTT and original movie.
I remember watching the movie as a kid and thinking it was one of the best things I'd ever seen.
Watching it these days though, it has aged slightly, and isn't quite as funny as it was when I was 8 years old...

... still though, it's a thoroughly entertaining romp about life lessons, cartoonish stunts, lots of slapstick and some really very subtle adult humour and cleverly put together comedy on behalf of some of the adult cast.

The screenplay is also wonderfully pieced together. The premise of leaving a child behind might seem completely impossible but the way the movie delivers the plot and screenplay makes it actually work brilliantly.

There are some cheesie and doughy scenes toward the end after the main actiony scenes but they're kept to a minimum.
Still though, the movie is actually really well balanced in terms of tone from one scene to the next.

The acting is really good as well.
Macaulay Culkin as Kevin... now, not only is this the film that catapulted Culkin into the limelight, it's also his best role to date. He's funny, carries the more perilous scenes well and seems to have had a great time during production.
Joe Pesci is a real surprise though... his comedic timing is perfect and really shines as the leader of the two baddies. Some of his one liners are hilarious too.

Daniel Stern is the stand out role for me though as Pesci's partner. He's immensly funny and gives the impression that every take was different. The guy really stands out among the main cast.

Back up comes from Roberts Blossom, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, Devin Ratray and a very young Kieran Culkin (brother of Macaulay).

The action and slapstick scenes though are what the movie really makes the most of.
They're highly inventive, incredible cringeworthy (in a good way) and are full of gratuitously painful and sadistic humour.
It's also highly comicbook as well though the film doesn't try to be serious with it all, which makes it work even better.


All in all, an absolute Christmas classic... even though it's not really a 'Festive' movie exactly.
Not as funny as I remember it being and will appeal to younger kids more, but it's still capable of raising a few smiles in an older audience with the playful element of the humour and occasional doughy scene at the end.

My rating: 87%

Home Alone like you said is not strictly a festive film, but it's definitely something that you have to watch around the Christmas period, the same can be said I suppose of The Wizard of Oz which I watch without fail every year.

Glad you liked the original True Grit Daniel... really good Wayne film. Def my favourite of his.
I wouldn't say that it's my favourite of his, he's very good but his more serious role in The Searchers is brilliant then there's my personal favourite Rio Bravo which I think is a brilliant film, one of my favourite Westerns that has a pretty feel good film, I think you might like it.

I've seen both of them. Decent movies... it's an odd one really, Wayne is a Marmite thing, you either love him or hate him... I find his movies watchable but I'm not a huge fane.
True Grit is one of the few of his I could watch over and over. The rest don't really have much appeal to me.

My Dad is a massive fan though.

I've seen both of them. Decent movies... it's an odd one really, Wayne is a Marmite thing, you either love him or hate him... I find his movies watchable but I'm not a huge fane.
True Grit is one of the few of his I could watch over and over. The rest don't really have much appeal to me.

My Dad is a massive fan though.
Fair enough, I'm a massive fan of Westerns - I'd maybe put OUATIWT, Dollars Trilogy, Unforgiven, Searchers, Rio Bravo etc. in at least my top 50 - so I think that greatly affects my opinion of him, in terms of enjoyment though I ended up loving Rio Bravo more than I thought I would, I don't know what it is about it I just thought it all came together incredibly well.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Ah Home Alone, now there's a Christmas film! My absolute favourite. Seen it countless times since I was a kid but still get a kick out of it everytime I watch it. And I agree that Pesci and Stern put in great performances.

Part Of Rodent's 5 Christmas Movie Marathon

Review #172 (4th Of 5): Elf

Buddy is an elf with a difference. When he was a baby, he crawled into Santa's toy sack and was taken to the North Pole by mistake. Not knowing where Buddy came from, Santa leaves the baby in the capable hands of Papa Elf.
Raised as an Elf, buddy is slow compared to real Elves and struggles with life but never gives up and has the spirit and tenacity of the Elf way.

When he's told about his past, Buddy heads to New York to find his real family... cue lots of fish out of water comedy and life lessons for everyone who comes into contact with him.

What an incredibly heart warming and funny tale. Elf delivers almost every type of humour, even crude humour in bucketloads and yet manages to stay kid friendly at the same time.

What makes the movie special is the sheer shamelessness of the writing. It's highly fantasy to start with, and then delivers some really touching, knowingly sappy and mawkish plot elements and laces the whole thing with immensly funny slapstick, one liners, fish out of water misunderstandings and some really lovely set pieces too.
The writers seemed to have captured a genuinely olde world apple pie style of mawkishness too which gives a lovely air of originality as well.

There are a couple of faults. Particularly the sappy elements of the film, which sounds like a contradiction from me but... some of the sappy plot points don't work brilliantly and feel a bit forced from time to time.
Still though, the ones that do work, work wonderfully.

The acting is fantastic.
Will Ferrell, in his best role by far outside of Ron Burgundy, is the perfect man for the job. His natural ability to play dumb yet brilliantly in his own world is a wonder to watch.
James Caan is also a perfect choice for Ferrell's real father. His stoney faced Scrooge is played off of Will fantastically.

Zooey Deschandel is also great as Ferrell's love interest. She's more of a everyman for the story but carries the humour and sappy tones really well.

Back up comes from Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Bob Newhart and... Ed Asner plays a brilliant Santa Claus.

There's also a nice hit of action and peril at the end too when Santa crashes in Central Park.
It adds a nice lift at the end and gives something more exciting for the viewer too.


All in all, it's hard to believe it's been almost 10 years since Elf was released, but it's an absolute must see Christmas movie.
It hit that mark almost immediately too, it's that well made.
A Modern Classic.

My rating: 91%

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Was wondering/hoping if Elf would be one of those you would choose. By far my favourite Christmas film of the 21st century. Though that's perhaps not saying much considering some of the dross that's been around - Four Christmases, Fred Claus etc

Do you already know the fifth film you're going with?

Yup, I know which one, but it's been that long since I saw it, and I've only seen it once, I'll have to try to remember what happened

Part Of Rodent's 5 Christmas Movie Marathon

Review #173 (5th Of 5): The Grinch
(aka: Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas)

The Grinch is a creature who lives just outside the city of Whoville... he hates everyone and everything in Whoville, especially the way the residents of the city gleefully celebrate Christmas.

When 8 year old Cindy Lou notices that most of the people are missing the point of Christmas and becomes aware of The Grinch's upsetting past, she nominates The Grinch to be this year's main participant in the Christmas celebrations.
But when The Grinch is insulted by the Mayor, he throws a tantrum and tries his best to spoil the Festivities...

... but his tantrum doesn't work and The Grinch starts work on a new plan... to literally steal Christmas while the populous sleeps.

Dr Seuss' fantastic tale is brought to the screen with much coloufulness and great set pieces... there's even a handful of decent actors making the best of it all too...

... and it's all for the kids too. Which is where the problems are.

The story itself will appeal to all ages, but the movie based on said story is a bit of a hit and miss affair.
Adults will probably find themselves looking at their watches during the running time.
It's very slapstick and filled with tons of colourful sparkle and funny sight gags that kids will love to giggle at, but there's very little for an adult who has grown up with Seuss' original stories.

As it is though, it's actually a pretty decent attempt at recreating the twisted world most people are familiar with. It looks fantastic and the overall use of the rewritten story shines through quite well.
I will say, there are one or two more adult jokes in the mix, but not many.

The acting is about the best of it all.
Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou is spot on as the innocent and wide eyed little girl who tries her best to change the world around her.

Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Jeremy Howard give backup, with Bryce Dallas Howard in a cameo... and Anthony Hopkins makes a show as The Narrator.

Jim Carrey however, obviously, stands out as The Grinch. He's almost unrecognisable, and for Carrey doing his usual bonkers thang that's quite an achievement. Think of it as a cross between The Mask, Ace Ventura and his acting in Liar Liar and you're getting close.

The action and choreography are utilised with gusto though, especially when Carrey gets going. There's tons of slapstick and lots of colourful flash and bang but again, it's all really for the kids and will leave any adults reaching for the door.
The overall effects are also top notch though, especially the makeup and prosthetic work.
It's very Seuss-esk and has an originality about it too.


All in all, it should have been more orientated toward all ages, especially with older generations having actually grown up with it...
Still though, it's lots of lighthearted slapstick fun with the very occassional adult joke or darker theme... and is very stylish in the look and sets.
Carrey is also on top form, and any movie with Carrey on top form is worth a look.

My rating: 78%

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Sorry mate had completely missed you rounding out your Christmas marathon. I really need to watch The Grinch again sometime. I had it in my mind that it was pretty poor but then a year or two ago I caught a large chunk of it, 50% or so and found it really good fun. Meant to watch the whole thing at some point this year but didn't get round to it

Review #174: Ghost

Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen are a couple in love. They've just bought a new apartment and Sam is doing well as a Banker.
When what appears to be a routine mugging ends in Sam being shot and killed, Molly's life is turned upside down.

But Sam has refused to go into the light that has come for him and he begins to follow Molly around from the afterlife.
But while Sam is hanging around watching the people he cares about mourn him, he realises a dangerous and disturbing truth that lead to his death...

... and Sam must do everything in his power, with the help of a street psychic, to make sure Molly doesn't suffer the same fate.

For a film that appealed mainly to 1980s teeny boppers and housewives who wanted to see the main cast's romance scenes, Ghost is an immensely original fantasy, highly exciting and often disturbing and also a very touching film.

The main thing about the movie is the incredibly well written screenplay and script. Even the outlandish premise is very believeable and holds itself together really well, expecially with the talent on show.

The overall handling of the subject matter is something that everyone will associate with too. A Ghost, following his loved ones around and the emotions and anger, upset and feeling of love and connection is brilliantly played out in the script. It also does it without being too gushy or mawkish as well.
The scenes in the first two acts between Swayze, Moore and Goldberg are very well pieced together.

The film also holds humour well too. It manages to balance all the above seriousness with a mild undertone of comedy, mainly from Goldberg and Swayze's relationship, but there are one or two other hits of humour that are slightly darker when Sam (Swayze) starts discovering new powers.

There are a couple of gratuitously sappy and mawkish scenes in the running time though which may put some people off... one of them is really sappy, though the other one is sappy, but it's handled extremely well, especially after the fantastic build up that leads to said scenes.

The acting is also at its best.
Patrick Swayze, obviously is a stand out role in the film, being the title character, but it's also Swayze's best role. He's incredibly engaging, full of charisma and sorrow at the same time and holds the screen wonderfully. You can really see his emotions when needed too.
Demi Moore is also great as Molly. Not her best acting ever, but she's still seriously on top form. She's utilised sparingly throughout the film until the third act but whenever she's on screen, she's very believeable as the grieving widow.
Whoopi Goldberg is also immensly good as street psychic Oda Mae Brown. She's more of the everyman and comedy relief for the story. If anything, along with Swayze, it's Goldberg's best role. She carries the serious parts really well and never fails to raise a smile when needed. Her chemistry with Swayze is also immensly good.

Tony Goldwyn is an underrated piece of acting though. I won't say much about his part in the story for anyone who hasn't seen the film, but he's very good indeed.

The action and effects though are stunning when used.
Sam discovering new things leads to the action scenes at the end really, but it's the build up and character connection to the audience that make the more highly charged scenes more exciting.

The music and soundtrack is also heart poundingly touching at times too.


All in all, it won't appeal to everyone due to a handful of gooey scenes through the running time that are obviously designed to appeal to a girly audience, which is a shame because the other 99% of the film is incredibly touching, upliftingly exciting and full of heart.
It also has a handful of more disturbing storytelling and special effects too.
A very good film indeed, a must see.

My rating: 98%