Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Review: Stand Up Guys

World of Blackout Catch-up Review

Stand Up Guys Poster

Stand Up Guys
Cert: 15 / 95 mins / Dir. Fisher Stevens

Every so often, when I rent a movie, I can tell in the first five minutes why it wasn't on at my local cinema. And it's not because they've only got five screens down there. Stand Up Guys has a soundtrack with a leaning towards Tarantino, and dearly wishes it had the script to match. Starring as two 'retired' gangsters, Pacino and Walken sleepwalk their way through a bumbling, plodding script, but at least Chris has the decency to occasionally look embarrassed at some of the lines he has to read. Things pick up at the half-hour point where Alan Arkin appears; his parts of the script are no better, but he looks like he's having more fun delivering them.

Alas it's all for nought, as the main thread of the plot (Walken's plan now that Pacino's out of prison) keeps half-arsedly floating to the surface until it can't be ignored. That aspect of the film is actually quite well executed when it's given prominence, and there's definitely the potential for this to have been a lot more introspective and thoughtful, but it's overshadowed by the film trying too hard to be a quirky black comedy (and with both Pacino and Walken, you've seen that trick so often that there's nothing new here). At times it comes across like a US version of Get Lucky. Yeah.

Oh, and if you've sound-mixed your "noisy bar" scene properly, you shouldn't be able to hear people's footsteps over the 'thumping' music, let alone the banknotes being counted off a wad by Christopher Walken. The best thing about the entire film is the gilt-framed picture of Billy Dee Williams holding a Colt-45 in that same scene.

Stand Up Guys was already on shaky ground, but it loses another point for having the sheer fucking audacity to rip-off the "chew gum / kick ass" line from They Live.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Well, the trailer shows some of the laughs, some of the poignancy, but none of the grinding tedium.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Not nearly enough.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Not by a long shot.

Buy, pay to rent, or wait until it's on for free?
This can wait till it's on the telly.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
More than likely.

Will I watch it again?
Less than likely.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
No, but there is a boot-shot. Which is more insulting, somehow.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
If the gangsters they steal the car from are so dangerous, how come they haven't noticed their car's even been stolen for the next five hours and why don't the police trace the plates and/or report the car still at large and why doesn't anyone notice a stolen fucking JCB digging a grave at 4am? Or am I not supposed to be asking questions about the actual mechanics of the actual events in the actual film?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a 'catch-up' review. I watched this film at home, not at the cinema. I saw the trailer for this at the cinema, and I would have seen the film there too, but they didn't/couldn't show it. So now iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster get to reap the rewards of my local's advance-advertising, and I'm sure they're delighted. Now you may say "oh come on, they can't show everything down there", and that would be a valid point if they didn't do things like running Taken 2 for six weeks. Was it that successful? No, I don't think so. Twilight? Batman? Les Mes? Sure, go for it; if they're pulling the punters in then keep making that money. But Taken 2? I ask you. Anyway, this is essentially a DVD review, but still of a new(ish) film. There. I'm glad that's sorted.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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