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"Son of Rambow"

Directed by Garth Jennings.
Written by Garth Jennings.
Starring Bill Milner and Will Poulter.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  5/8/08


It is really interesting to follow a film's progress; "Son of Rambow" premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival last January, and I tried to see it then but it was sold out for all five or six of its showings.  The buzz even then, a whopping 16 months ago, was impressive, so I'm surprised that this film is just now being released wide to the masses, because after finally seeing it last night, the praise is well-deserved.

Even though "Be Kind Rewind" was actually done after "Son of Rambow", "Son of Rambow" will feel familiar because it's got the same energy behind it, thanks to old-school filmmaking with the film's two main stars.  It's roughly 198X, and we've got Will (Bill Milner), a goody two shoes who lives with his mom, sister and one-thousand-year-old grandmother somewhere in England.  One day, while sitting outside of his classroom skipping a documentary--he's not allowed to watch TV or movies even at school, thanks to his rule-driven household--he meets Lee (Will Poulter), a troublemaker extraordinaire who is a big movie fan, a fan of maybe nothing more than Sylvester Stallone's "First Blood."  When Lee makes a copy of the film and Will watches the gory action flick one day, he comes up with a new life goal: he will co-write and star in "Son of Rambow", a little film that will star Will as Rambo and Lee as Colonel Trautman, Rambo's only friend in the world.  It is this twosome's friendship both in front of and behind the camera that makes "Son of Rambow" such a joy to watch--sure, it's about making the in-movie flick, but it's also about camaraderie, blood brothers, and visiting French exchange students named Didier.


Garth Jennings's last film was "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", which didn't do so well at the box office or critically but it gave Jennings the chance to express his artistic side.  "Son of Rambow" is based partly on Jennings's childhood experience making short films; paired with two fantastic performances by Milner and Poulter--the latter of whom has GOT to be fielding offers for good scripts right now--"Son of Rambow" is great, never overwhelming so, just great, with no really strong flaws against it.  Right up until the end, where you get to see the boys' finished film in full, I was very happy sitting through this movie, and there are some great belly laughs built into this movie throughout its running time.

"Son of Rambow" also got my juices flowing again to finally finish making "Gratuitous 2: Ridiculous", and even though I know that it won't happen, it's just damn fun to go out there and be silly for the camera.  What the hell am I doing in sales???

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09