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(This is NOT an official poster. It's just a place holder that I made for the review.)

“Frankie Go Boom”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Last week I got to attend a cast and crew screening of the upcoming indie film, Frankie Go Boom, and are you all in for a treat! This is a Secret Stash exclusive! After checking with writer/director Jordan Roberts and the producers, I’m pleased to announce that this is officially the first review of Frankie Go Boom anywhere! Remember you read it here first! I’ve always wanted to say that, and now it’s actually true! Okay, let’s get this show on the road. Now, when I went into this movie I had absolutely zero expectations. I had no idea what it was about, and having not seen a trailer… There isn’t one yet, by the way. Yeah, I told you, you were the first to know! I really didn’t know what to expect, and I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised. The one thing I did know going in, was the cast. I’ve always enjoyed Lizzy Caplan on the big and small screen, but I became a huge fan of Chris O’Dowd’s a few years ago after seeing The Boat That Rocked/Pirate Radio. That alone got me into the theatre, and I’m guessing that’s why I didn’t even bother to ask what the movie was about before seeing it that night. But lucky for you, your old friend Darby took some notes, and is ready to give you the 4-1-1.

Frankie Go Boom is about two brothers, the youngest Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) who is continuously being tortured and humiliated throughout his life by his older brother, Bruce (Chris O’Dowd), all the while being caught on tape as the subject matter of Bruce’s “movies.” I use the air quotes because Bruce’s movies are nothing more than glorified home videos of his constant mistreatment and torment of poor Frankie. From Super 8 cameras to HD cellphones, the advancements of modern home video equipment over the years don’t really seem to be helping Frank deter Bruce from making anymore of his movies anytime soon. And as I’m sure you can all guess by now, it was only a matter of time before one of Bruce’s “movies” found its way to the internet. Fortunately for Frankie, only a few million people got to see Bruce’s latest little opus which captured one of the worst days of Frank’s adult life, his wedding day. After that, Frank decides to do the only logical thing, he gets himself a trailer and moves out to the middle of Death Valley, miles away from society, and more importantly his family. Of course he realizes that it’s only a matter of time before they pull him back in, which is why he leaves notes to himself reminding him just how awful they can be. What’s that they say about all best laid plans? Sure enough, Frank gets lured back home, and it’s while he’s attending Bruce’s AA graduation that he runs into… Well actually she runs into him. Never the less, Frankie meets Lassie (Lizzy Caplin), who is not a dog by the way. Lassie just happens to be her name. It’s not clear if it’s in reference to the Scottish term for young lady, or the famous Border Collie, but I kind of love the fact that they don’t even address it. I think it’s hilarious that there’s not even one attempt to explain why her name is Lassie.

I think this is where I’m going to stop the play-by-play story breakdown. I don’t really want to give too much more away, and trust me this is only the tip of the iceberg, but I will however give you just one last little nugget. Mostly because I know it’s already floating around out there on the old interwebs, but also because it has to be said, Ron Perlman gives a show-stopping performance in this movie! He plays Bruce’s former prison roommate Phil, or as he/she is now known, Phyllis. I’ve gotta tell ya, seeing Ron Perlman in drag is not something you can actually prepare yourself for, especially when Mr. Perlman is sitting right next to you! I’m not kidding! Sitting right to my right, Hellboy himself, Mr. Ron Perlman! Trust me, after you see the movie you’ll understand just how weird of a life experience that was for me.
Let’s just say that someone finally makes Scott Bakula look like an attractive woman. Oh, boy.


I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed this movie! I’ve been trying to think of a movie I could compare it to, that might help you get a better idea of the film’s overall tone, but it’s really hard because the movie is unique unto itself. It’s very much an independent movie, but it has this underlying mainstream appeal that I think will ultimately help it find a bigger audience once it comes out. But, if I had to compare it to something, I would have to say Clay Pigeons, which was one of my favorite movies from the late 90’s indie film movement. It stars Vince Vaughn, Joaquin Phoenix, and Janeane Garofalo. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend NetFlixing it. As for Frankie Go Boom, the humor and pace of the movie is dead-on, and there’s a nice grittiness to it that seems to really set it apart from other movies being released these days. If you’re planning on attending this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival, I highly recommend seeking this one out! I have a feeling it’s going to be the talk of the festival. I for one will gladly be seeing it again, and I think it’s safe to say that I already have a favorite movie on my list for 2012. I’m really hoping that when Frankie Go Boom comes out, that it will go BOOM in a really big way!

Rating:


****I WILL POST A TRAILER AS SOON AS ONE IS MADE AVAILABLE****

“Pirate Radio/The Boat That Rocked”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Hands down, the feel good movie of the year! Before Howard Stern, and even before Wolfman Jack, a band of rogue deejays rocked the airwaves. In 1966, at the height of the British Invasion, rock and roll was only allowed to be played on British radio stations for barely two hours a week. The only way people in the U.K. could listen to rock or pop music was by tuning into pirate radio stations broadcasting from boats just off the coast of Britain in the North Sea. In Pirate Radio, previously released as The Boat That Rocked, earlier this year in the U.K., writer/director Richard Curtis tells a fictional story based on the true events of Britain’s rock and roll revolution. Broadcasting live 24/7 from an old tanker turned makeshift radio station, anchored just outside British jurisdiction, is a band of misfit deejays known as Radio Rock.

The story begins when Young Carl is sent by his mother to the ship known as Radio Rock, to spend time with his godfather Quentin, the owner of the radio station, who is played by the always brilliant Bill Nighy. It’s very much a coming of age story, and I think the British equivalent to Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous. Once on board, Young Carl meets the motley crew of deejays. There’s The Count, the flagship American deejay that is constantly pushing the envelope and crossing the line, masterfully portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. There’s the always charismatic, and at times narcissistic Doctor Dave, played by the extremely funny Nick Frost. Another familiar face is that of Flight of the Concords’ manager Brian, actor Rhys Darby, who plays the self proclaimed funny man Angus “the nut” Nutsford. Even though all the faces may not be familiar, this is truly an all-star cast. Each performance is so masterfully executed that you can’t help but feel the authenticity of this film. However, I think one of the most unsung heroes of this film is Ike Hamilton, who plays Harold, the ship’s booth technician. If you watch Ike’s performance throughout the film, I guarantee that you will be totally blown away. Every little nuance that he brings to the character of Harold just radiates brilliantly off the screen. If you’re reading this after you have already seen the film, I highly recommend seeing it again for Ike’s performance alone. But, if you’re anything like me you’ll already want to see this movie again regardless.

The other side of this story is that of the British government and their efforts to stop the pirate radio ships from broadcasting. This task is helmed by Sir Alistair Dormandy, played by Kenneth Branagh, and his new assistant Mr. Twatt. I’m not kidding, his last name is Twatt. And, yes Richard Curtis takes full advantage of it. Twatt is played by Coupling‘s Jack Davenport. Now, don’t worry. The political stuff doesn’t weigh down the story at all. Mostly because it’s not an overpowering plotline and it also lends itself to some of the film’s funnier scenes. I dare you not to laugh or at least snicker every time Dormandy says, “Twatt.”

Richard Curtis has, as always, done a masterful job telling this story. His unique vision, and heart warming style of storytelling, makes Pirate Radio/The Boat That Rocked a must see film. Every part of this film oozes 1966. The wardrobe is fantastic, the soundtrack is to die for, and even the look of the film itself sets the tone. It’s almost as if the film was shot and processed in 1966. Adding to the film’s authenticity, the bulk of the movie was shot onboard an actual ship, just off the south coast of England. Richard Curtis’ first cut of the film had a running time that was just over three hours. The final cut of The Boat That Rocked had a two hours and fifteen minute running time, where as the final cut for Pirate Radio has a one hour and fifty-six minute running time. I’ve seen the U.K. version of the film and enjoy both cuts, but I have to say this film is so enjoyable that I wouldn’t mind sitting though the three hour cut at some point. Most of the missing scenes from the first cut of the film appear on the U.K. DVD release of The Boat That Rocked. (U.K. DVD review will be posted soon) The two major scenes that were cut from The Boat That Rocked for the U.S. release of Pirate Radio consists of a visit to the Radio Rock ship from a large group of contest winners, and the other is the unseen stag party in London. The scenes aren’t necessarily needed, but this movie is so, as I said before, enjoyable that I don’t think you could ever get enough of these characters.

I realize this review is quickly becoming a mini-novel, but I think I would be crucified if I didn’t at least talk about the music in the film. As you would imagine, this movie is chock-full of classic rock from the likes of The Who, The Kinks, The Turtles, and so many more. Both the U.K. release, and the U.S. release of the soundtrack feature a two disc edition with 36 tracks to take you back. Also, the opening credit graphics are fantastic! The use of the radio tuner dial transitioning from scene to scene, as The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night” blares, instantly sucks you into the world of the movie. But, I think one of my favorite things was the use of the album covers in the end credits. It not only instills you with a fantastic sense of the history of rock and roll, but it also makes you want to listen to some great albums you might not have listened to in awhile. The bottom line here should be obvious at this point, but needless to say I highly recommend this movie no matter which version you see.

Rating:

5 Little People