The Nice Guys (2016)

the-nice-guys-2016-movie-review-poster(I’m on vacation right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

Have you ever seen a movie trailer for the first time and get the feeling that you know it’s going to be brilliant? Like, no fear of disappointment or anything because you know you’re going to love it? That’s what happened to me and my husband in January this year. We were at the cinema to see Spotlight, and after having a bit of a movie/blog hiatus over Christmas all of the trailers were a surprise to me. Cue a 70’s looking Ryan Gosling wrapping fabric around his knuckles, punching through a window, and then gripping his wrist, bleeding everywhere, followed by Russell Crowe accepting $30 to beat up a little girl’s friend, and I was practically dancing in my seat.

Of course, like every other movie I’ve been looking forward to this year, it got released in the cinemas during my wedding/honeymoon weeks, which meant I missed it.

There was a game I used to play on the Xbox 360 called L.A. Noire, it’s possibly still one of my favourites games of all time. You play as an LAPD Officer called Phelps, trailing Los Angeles for clues and interviewing witnesses to solve cases. That’s just what The Nice Guys is like, only it’s side-splittingly hilarious at the same time. In The Nice Guys, Holland March (Ryan Gosling) has been hired by a worried mother whose daughter, a porn star by the name of Misty Mountains, has been missing for days. She was last sighted 2 days ago by her mother herself. The only issue here? Misty died in a car accident 4 days ago…

Holland’s search puts him in the line of fire of Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), who has been paid to stop Holland from nosing around. And so our pair meet, which as you can probably tell from the movie poster, ends badly (and painfully) for Holland. If I had any doubts about the chemistry these guys might share on-screen, they were fizzled out by their performance at the Oscars earlier this year. They bounce off each other so well!

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I’ve been so used to watching Ryan Gosling play a tough guy (Drive, The Place Beyond The Pines, Only God Forgives) that this completely threw me off balance. I’m really not joking when I say he screams like a girl, and it didn’t matter how many times it happened, I laughed till I cried. He’s just a bit of a doofus, but a very good detective at the same time, which means when he does slip up and does something stupid, it comes without warning. His character Holland also has a young teenage daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice) who is constantly trying to help. Characters like Holly normally get in the way and get annoying, but in some cases, she actually saves the day, and she’s a delight to watch.

It was just so much fun to watch, and I’ll be watching it again and again over the years, I’m sure. If there were only one movie this year that deserves a sequel, it’s this, because I could watch Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe work together solving cases for hours on end. In fact, I don’t even know why I’m scoring this a 9/10, I can’t think of a fault to pick at, but I hate giving out full marks!

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Blind Spot Series: Gladiator (2000)

gladiator-2000-movie-review-blind-spot-seriesDirector: Ridley Scott

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Runtime: 155 Minutes

Main Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, David Schofield, John Shrapnel, Tomas Arana

Plot: Maximus was a strong and loved Roman general, so much so that the aging Emperor Marcus Aurelius chooses him to be his heir over his own son, Commodus. A power struggle breaks out and Maximus’ family are slaughtered, leaving Maximus himself captured and put into the Gladiator games. Now fuelled by vengeance, Maximus sets his sights on rising up the ranks and avenge his wife and son.

My Thoughts: My timing couldn’t be more perfect with my Blind Spot choices lately. I’d chosen The Matrix as my choice last month right when a Keanu Reeves obsession hit, and I was over the moon to realise my June pick was Gladiator when I’ve been spending as much time as possible playing Assassins Creed: Odyssey. One thing I hadn’t realised was how long the movie was, IMDB says it’s just over 2 and a half hours but I think I had some kind of special edition because my copy was just a few minutes shy of 3 hours! Why are all these famously amazing movies so darn long?!

Anyway, I’ll get straight to the point. I did enjoy Gladiator, in fact, I got really into it for the last hour or so, but it took me a long while to actually get invested. Call me uncultured (I wouldn’t argue with you) but Maximus’ story was just so similar to Spartacus’, and that’s a story I know in great detail thanks to the Starz! TV Show, which I know came later but cut me some slack.

Once I’d convinced myself to empty my thoughts and just enjoy the movie for what it was, I had a blast. I loved how Maximus managed to get the other gladiators to work together as one unit, and his rivalry with Commodus was intense. I also now know where the line “Are you not entertained?!”. I think where similar movies go all in for the action and choreographed fight scenes, Gladiator delivers some of the best dialogue I’ve heard in a movie. You can sense when someone’s about to dish out a killer speech, and those are the best moments.

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Best Bit: The scene where Commodus is praising this ‘Gladiator’ and asks him his name will be the moment that I always remember the movie for. “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Worst Bit: I get that the focus of the movie is the hatred between Maximus and Commodus, but with such a long runtime I would have liked some of the side characters to have got a little more limelight.

Fun Trivia: The wounds on Russell Crowe’s face after the opening battle scene are real, caused when his horse startled and backed him into tree branches. The stitches in his cheek are clearly visible when he is telling Commodus he intends to return home.

My Rating: In true gladiator games style, I give it 4 thumbs up!

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blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.