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General Musings

Holiday Movies: 11 Days, 8 Films

Dave’s film catch up…

I have recently returned to work today after 11 wonderful days off.  Got to spend some special family time with my beautiful girls, had a rare night out and a trip back to Scotland to see my family.

It also gave me the chance to catch up on some of the lengthy list of films that I hadn’t gotten around to watching yet.  Managed to clock up an impressive 8 films in 11 days 🙂


The Boys Night In

The wife was out, the child asleep.  The Blu Rays and Netflix were at my mercy…


2 Guns (Baltasar Kormakur, 2013)

I have wanted to see this from the first moment I saw the trailer, it is totally my kind of film and Mark Wahlberg is second only to Nicolas Cage as my favourite actor.  Sadly, Kelly doesn’t share this opinion, in fact I think it is safe to say that she pretty much hates him, so seeing this at the cinema was out.  I bought it on blu ray but couldn’t convince her to watch it.  Then we moved and it went in a box for 3 months.  Finally, a Dave night and it there was really no other place to start.

The plot is simple.  Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are 2 petty criminals who are unaware that they are both undercover agents.  They end up on the run and working together against corrupt government agencies and a Mexican drug cartel.

It is great fun from start to finish.  My first ever Snooty Ushers blog was about how the buddy movie has changed over the years (check it out here) however this harks back to the classics of the 90s.  Fast, fun and action packed this is a film I am sure I will visit again and again.

Washington and Wahlberg are great together.  Washington is the smooth charmer who could talk his way out of any situation, where as Wahlberg has a ball as the cocky hot head.  Ably supported by Bill Paxton as a slimy CIA agent and the wonderful Edward James Olmos (I have met him you know, used my phone once) as cartel head.

The action is marshalled nicely by Kormakur, the action scenes are crisp and the film flows really nicely.  After this and Contraband, he has the makings of a real top director.

I waited a long time to watch this and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Expendables 3 (Patrick Hughes, 2014)

My plan had been to watch a film then move on to Match of The Day.  However 2 Guns finished and Match of The Day was still 29 minutes away.  I missed this in the cinema by choice because of the 12A rating, not that I was that bothered about the blood and gore, more to do with the masses of wee fannies that would have gone to see this.

The Expendables are back for round 3 and this time while on a mission to rescue and old friend, Barney (Stallone) and his team come across Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) a former Expendable gone rogue.  After a member of the team is wounded, Barney disbands the expendables and recruits a new, younger group to go after the dangerous Stonebanks.

Now this has come in for some flack for two main reasons, one being the rating and the other is the fact that it focuses too much on the youngsters rather that the originals.  Neither of these things bothered me.  I didn’t miss the blood and gore at all, there was more than enough mayhem for my liking.  The young team was in it just enough and proved the point that older is better…

These films are just great fun.  The cast is obviously having the time of there lives.  Mel Gibson brings some real menace to Stonebanks, Wesley Snipes reminds everybody how good he can be as one of the original expendables and Harrison Ford replaces Bruce Willis and as his character says…”I have had this much fun in years” and it shows.

On the negative side, Terry Crews is sidelined early, some of the young team are a bit wooden and Antonio Banderas is just plain irritating as a manic sharpshooter and feels like he has wandered in from a different film.

I really enjoyed this, it did everything I wanted it to and rounded of my evenings viewing perfectly (I fell asleep during the second game on Match of The Day)

Watch with The Wife

It is normally a nightmare for us to pick a film, so after we returned from Scotland, we picked a selection and brought them downstairs, limiting our choices…


Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (Declan Lowney, 2013)

I was initially surprised that Kelly even entertained this.  This is another film that has been on my list for ages, but with the missus never having seen any of Partridge’s back catalogue, I have never really pushed it.

Alan Partridge finds himself as the negotiator when  his radio station North Norfolk Digital is taken hostage by a former DJ with a grudge.  The result… comedy gold.

A wonderful, comic treat even for Kelly with no prior knowledge of the character.  Coogan is right at home as his best comic creation, with his put upon assistant Lynne and mental Geordie friend Michael along for the ride.  This is one to treasure again and again.


Oblivion (Joseph Kosinski,2013)

The year 2077 and the human race have evacuated Earth after a long war with an alien race.  Using Earths’ resources to power the colony on Saturns’ moon, Tech 49 Jack Harper and his team-mate Vika are left behind to monitor and repair the machinery.  All is not well, the aliens are still on earth and are getting more aggressive and Jack is bothered by visions of a past that can’t be possible.

This looks beautiful, the landscapes are breathtaking and the tech blends seamlessly with it, the idea is a great one and is quite an original take on the alien invasion idea.  Cruise is his charming, likeable self and the music is stunning.  It is a good film and no mistake, it just isn’t a great one.  It is quite long and while I would never say that it was boring, it certainly has a few pacing issues.

Overall I enjoyed this and appreciate the technical achievement and the originality, just could have been a bit leaner and the (very) end was a misstep if I was being kind and a soppy mess if I wasn’t


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (John Madden, 2012)

Showing on Channel 4 last weekend, we had wanted to see this for a while amidst several testimonials of how great it was. We sat down on the last night of our holiday expecting a delightful treat…didn’t quite work out that way.

A group of pensioners, all facing different challenges in life, relocate to what they think is a luxurious hotel in India to live out the retirement.  When they get there, things aren’t quite what they were expecting…

Now, this sports a wonderful cast; Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson.  It is well acted, written and directed.  I just didn’t love, hate it, find it that funny or charming.  It was just average.

There are some great moments in there Tom Wilkinsons’ Graham recounting his memories of a lost love is genuinely moving as is Maggie Smiths’ Muriel coming to terms with her casual racism and recounting her wasted life.  Dev Patel is an energetic presence and shows that he can hold his own among these acting legends.  On the other hand, Penelope Wilton is beyond irritating and Bill Nighy, whom I love, is just annoyingly wet as her put upon husband.

It was ok and passed an evening, but just don’t really see what the fuss was about.  Nowhere near as charming as it thinks it is.

Late Night Dave

Following the stresses of the house move, I couldn’t keep my eyes open beyond 10 o’clock for about 2 weeks, but I was on holiday and after the wife had gone to bed, it was time to catch up on a few things.


Hercules (Brett Ratner, 2014)

If ever there was an actor born to play a character, then Dwayne Johnson was born to play Hercules. The demi-god, the son of Zeus.  The trailer was packed with footage of Hercules taking on legendary beasts and fierce lions…

The truth is, in this version, Hercules is the leader of a gang of mercenaries and plays on the tales of his labours to build his legend.  He and his team are hired by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to train the Thracian army to taking on a bloodthirsty warlord.  Hercules, tortured by visions of the death of his wife and children, agrees, but all is not what it seems.

Okay, so this is a Brett Ratner film, so you know what you are getting and it normally isn’t great, this is no different, Ratner is a very limited director and while the action scenes are ok, I wonder what they would have been like in the hands of a more accomplished helmer.  What elevates this from the mundane is Dwayne Johnson, he not only looks god like but has enough charisma to match any god or titan.  He is not alone, Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell are on top form as his friends and fellow mercenaries.

While the ending is fluffed a little, it was still great fun.


Contraband (Balthasar Kormakur, 2012)

A remake of an Icelandic film, Mark Wahlberg stars a Chris Farrady, a reformed smuggler who is looking settle down and look after his wife and 2 small children.  However, after he learns that his brother-in-law is still smuggling and is in trouble with a local gangster, he is forced back to his old ways to protect his family.

This is a solid heist movie.  Wahlberg makes a great everyman hero, as he always does.  Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi are a welcome addition to any film, but Ribisi in particular is great here, playing an utterly despicable gangster.

Kormakur keeps things ticking over nicely.  There is a theft of a painting featuring Diego Luna’s crazy thief which is a bit stupid but other than that, this is a slick, solid film.


R.I.P.D (Robert Schwentke, 2013)

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, this is the story of the cops who police the afterlife.  Ryan Reynolds plays a cop who along with his partner steal some gold from a crime scene.  After an attack of conscience Reynolds decides to come clean, but is killed by his partner before he can.  He then finds his self instead of in heaven or hell, as part of the R.I.P.D and partnered with Jeff Bridges eccentric law man.

This is a great idea, an ok comic and an utterly terrible film.  On every level this is an utter mess, ropey CGI, clunky plot, terribly paced.  Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon should all hang their heads for  being involved in such drivel.  Avoid like the plague.


Well, thank you for staying with me until this point.  A pretty successful week of viewing, R.I.P.D aside, 2 Guns was certainly the best of the bunch.

Thanks for reading folks x

About Snooty Usher Dave

Favourite Film : Ghostbusters (1984) Worst Film: Left Behind (2014) Guilty Pleasure: Pitch Perfect (2012) 40 year old family man from Hamilton, Scotland. I have settled in Gateshead with my wife and 2 beautiful daughters. Worked as a Cinema Manager (or glorified usher) for 14 years, now I run a chicken shop. Love Sport especially Football and Tennis. Love comic books, especially DC and particularly Superman. I own 58 Nicolas Cage films.



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