Robert Ottone

Staff Writer

A natural bon vivant in love with cigars, finery and luxurious booze, SelfieRob aims to make light of the world around him while living the party boy lifestyle. From the Hamptons to NYC and beyond, SelfieRob lives life to the fullest.

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"I Am Chris Farley" Will Move Fans But Avoids Exploring the Comedian's Demons Review

I’ve only got a few heroes, and over 90 percent of them are dead from suicides or drug overdoses: Ian Curtis. John Belushi. Spalding Gray. and Chris Farley. I’ve always been a sucker for Farley. He seemed to have a darkness just under the surface, perhaps more than Belushi. I totally get what it’s like to be the “funny fat guy.” I’ve been that my entire life. I know what it’s like to have those insecurities. Those worries. To always want to impress or make others laugh or be happy. I get that. I get all of that.

Maybe that’s why while watching I Am Chris Farley, I got kinda’ emotional. At a handful of points during this incredible documentary (produced by Spike, the “dude’s channel” of record), there were moments of pure emotion watching guys like David Spade, Adam Sandler and countless others talk about this force of nature, this brilliant performer, and the light he brought into their lives.

Sep
01
2015
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"Fists Of Legend", Or At Least Redbox Review

Fists of Legend is Korea’s answer to all those awesome Chinese martial arts epics. While much more grounded in reality than those wire-fu masterworks, this “epic swirl of masculine psychodrama” (easily the funniest box-quote I’ve ever seen) takes a more street-level approach to the world of MMA, not unlike Keanu Reeves’ Man of Tai Chi.

The story of high school friends who grow up to become rivals in their respective martial arts, Fists of Legend almost feels like a Street Fighter meets Karate Kid-esque flick without any of the saccharine sweetness of something like Karate Kid. It’s a solid little kung-fu flick, without the oftentimes absurdity found in Chinese epics. There’s no goofy character mugging for the camera. There’s no overwrought love story. It’s just the story of three fighters who excelled in martial arts trying to deal with the boredom of their everyday lives.

Aug
08
2014
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In Branson, You End Up Spending A Lot Of Time With "Strangers" Review

Apparently five years in the making, We Always Lie To Strangers is the story of a remote Ozark Mountains town that plays host to hundreds of music festivals and generates a ton of money in tourism revenue. What is often a funny and genuinely fascinating story is a tad overlong, especially once you get the basic framework of the narrative after the first half hour or so. Stretching the story out over 100 minutes seems like plodding, though I will admit that even though you get the basic gist right off the bat, the doc is still worth watching.

Jul
25
2014
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This "Bird" Still Rattles Cages Review

I’m lucky here at JustPressPlay, I only get the best comedies to review, it seems. Blazing Saddles, The Birdcage, both are incredible and two of the funniest flicks ever. I was obsessed with The Birdcage as a kid, thought it was amazing, with brilliant performances and even better giggles to be had.

All these years later and the movie holds up. It’s still a remarkably funny and witty film about the restructuring of family and relationships. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane play a gay couple who, after their son reveals that he’s engaged to a right-wing politician’s daughter, are faced with the reality of hiding who they truly are in order to protect their son’s love. The politician and his wife are played by Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest, who are both also outstanding.

Jul
22
2014
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Plastic Yellow Band - "Breathe Air" Rocks Out In A Serious Way Review

Plastic Yellow Band has been compared to artists like Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay and John Lennon. While those are certainly apt comparisons, I have to admit that I dig lead singer Gerald Jennings’ voice a lot more than the guy from Coldplay who just broke up with Pepper Potts.

Tracks like “Lonely Place” off the album Breathe Air is beautiful, driving and melodic. The kind of track you’d see over a commercial for Ford or something. It’s a nice, slick track, perfect for hanging out around a firepit and drinking some beer. That’s the vibe I got off it.

Jul
10
2014
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This One Makes Some Sparks Ignite Review

Rubbing sticks and stones together, makin’ sparks ignite and the thought of lovin’ you’s got me so excited …

Those are lyrics to Afternoon Delight, the song from which this film draws its title. While the song is a goofy take on what it’s like to get it on in the afternoon, the film is a look at love and relationships, post-marriage and kids. Kathryn Hahn plays Rachel, who, through sessions with her shrink (played by Jane Lynch) that her marriage and sex life are completely off. Something’s wrong and she can’t quite figure out what it is. She has a loving husband (played by Josh Radnor, an actor I loathe) and a cute little kid, but she just isn’t happy.

Jun
24
2014
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EdTang & The Chops - "EdTang" Takes A Turn For The Grunge Review

The self-titled EP by EdTang & The Chops isn’t dissimilar from their previous release, which had one of the most absurd names ever, Goodbye, Zen5, Sushi Dinner. That album was just fantastic, but this time around, the guys seem to have an even more folksy sound going on. If you’re into grungy-sounding folk-rock, you’re in luck.

“When Death Should Find Us” is a strong single, with lead singer EdTang’s gritty vocals driving it. I could listen to this guy every night, honestly. I can’t imagine a better voice for my generation than EdTang. He’s got soul, but more importantly, he’s got that grit that reminds me of Mike Ness without the obnoxiousness. He’s smoother than Ness, in fact. “When Death Should Find Us” has a kind-of Rembrandts meets Blues Traveler quality to it, which I like a lot.

Jun
23
2014
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A Movie That Lives "In Fear" Of Going Anywhere Review

So this movie stars one of the people from Agents of SHIELD, a show I hate, and a brunette I’ve never seen before in my life as a young couple on their way to a music festival who end up caught in some kind of forest maze, tracked by a psychopath who preys upon their fears. Or something. This whole movie is over if someone has a GPS.

I tried desperately to get into this movie, especially with the high praise on the box, but honestly, it was weak. With the exception of Alice Englert’s shrieking and overacting, there are no cues that would indicate that this movie is meant to be scary. If there was some kind of supernatural element or world-building that happened over the course of the film’s 80+ minutes, we’d all be better off. There is none. Just two semi-obnoxious folks stuck in their car while a nutjob is on the loose. Iain De Caestecker plays the guy in this equation. He’s basically a bargain-basement Johnny Lee Miller. Only boring.

Jun
23
2014
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Keith Allan Mitchell - Keith Allan Mitchell's 'Clumsy World' is Also Very Simple Review

Keith Alan Mitchell’s voice is layered and beautiful. His album, This Clumsy World has some genuine moments of brilliance, but if you’re looking for a super-complicated and multi-instrumental affair, look elsewhere. Mitchell’s a dude with a guitar. That’s really all you need to know.

Compared to The Head The Heart as well as Tom Petty, Mitchell is in good company. While I totally get the comparisons, I found Mitchell more closely connected to Mike Edwards of Jesus Jones. I know that might be a random reference, but while listening to Mitchell, that was the first thing that popped in my head. The music is, of course, wildly different, but vocally, Mitchell and Edwards have a similar tone. It’s remarkable.

Jun
16
2014
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Still "Blazing" After All These Years Review

What can I possibly tell you about Blazing Saddles that you don’t already know as a movie fan? Unless you’re one of those people who puts Spaceballs and Robin Hood Men In Tights at the top of your comedy list. In that case, I’d tell you to replace your funny bone and get serious about life by watching the greatest comedy of all-time, Blazing Saddles.

By coming out the same year as Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles is a perfect counterpoint to highlighting the mastery of Mel Brooks over the comedic film medium. While many folks will often highlight Young Frankenstein or The Producers as Brooks’ greatest achievement, I’ve always been a Blazing Saddles guy. I’ve mentioned my love of Saddles in the past, most often in other comedy reviews. Overall, I’m just a Brooks fan, but there’s something about the sheer audacity and absurdity of Blazing Saddles that nabs me every single time. It’s not the inherent racism of the narrative, either, it’s most-often the little things sprinkled throughout that grab me:

Jun
04
2014
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"Bob Newhart"'s Still Got It Review

Shout! Factory has released a comprehensive and outstanding collection of the hilarious Bob Newhart Show. I grew up with Bob Newhart. Not like I knew him or anything, I mean, I grew up watching both this show and Newhart, a pseudo-companion series, which has the greatest series finale of all-time.

For those unfamiliar with The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart plays Dr. Bob Hartley, a successful psychiatrist in Chicago, who, along with his gorgeous wife (Pleshette) has run-ins with the folks in their apartment building, as well as his patients. You’d think a show with such a simple and somewhat formulaic premise would wear thin after a while, but it never does. The Bob Newhart Show is a brilliant piece of comedic television, anchored by the sublimely reserved Newhart himself. I’ve always been floored by Newhart’s abilities, both on-stage and on television (or in film), he’s probably the closest we’ll ever come to a modern-day Jack Benny.

Jun
03
2014
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"Nutjitsu" Finds a Way to Improve Upon "Pac-Man" Review

How do you improve upon the design brilliance of Pac-Man? Well, Pac-Man Battle Royale was probably the perfect evolution of the original maze masterpiece, however; a challenger has appeared. Nutjitsu, from the brilliant minds at NinjaBee, the developers of such personal favorites as Band of Bugs, Outpost Kaloki X and the Keflings series is a perfect balance of Bomberman and Pac-Man with a light sprinkling of Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine.

I’ll be honest, when I heard that NinjaBee was developing a maze title for the Xbox One as part of the ID@Xbox program, I was a little disappointed. Their games are typically larger and deeper than anything a simple maze title would call for. Upon release of the game, I was pleasantly surprised to find a fascinatingly deep title with plenty of strategy required to tackle the various levels and difficulties.

May
17
2014
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The "Son" Also Rises Review

I’m a big DC Universe guy. I’m of the opinion that the comic book gateway drugs are X-Men and Spider-Man, when you’re a kid. When you become an adult, you put away childish things and start paying attention to real comics. The DC lineup of comics. I think this is an important concept to keep in mind as Damian Wayne, the titular son of Batman, is as much a response to Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass, originally a Marvel comic. While watching Son of Batman on Blu-ray, I kept noticing connective tissue to the more violent and lithe Hit-Girl. It was fascinating.

May
08
2014
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Decent Production Value Will Not Be "Appearing" Review

In addition to being JustPressPlay’s resident martial arts movie maven, I might also be the site’s proven authority on possession films. The genre that basically starts and stops with The Exorcist. There are addendums in there, stuff like The Rite, The Possession, etc. There are notably few films that take what The Exorcist established and move the genre forward. The Appearing isn’t one of those. It even riffs on the opening of Jaws with a bunch of kids around a bonfire. One of those kids is Quinton Aaron from The Blind Side, an actor far too talented to be in a straight-to-video horror flick that also stars Dean Cain.

May
06
2014
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Cranston Brings The Cool To "Cold" Review

“Hey honey, look, Breaking Bad is in this,” says every single person who walks passed this movie on store shelves or at Redbox. Breaking Bad, of course, refers to Bryan Cranston. He’s Breaking Bad. Always will be. Even when he fights Godzilla, it’s going to be “Hey honey, let’s go see Godzilla, Breaking Bad is in it. It’s gotta’ be good.”

Topo (played by Cranston) is a career criminal who happens to be close to blind. He stumbles upon Chloe, played by Alice Eve, who I think is an actress that just barely made the cut when it comes to looks. A lot of it has to do with her being in her underwear in Star Trek Into Darkness, for sure, but she’s very toothy and has a well-worn look about her. That’s a thing.

May
06
2014
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"The Lost Empire" Should Really Remain Lost Review

What the hell is The Lost Empire? If you guessed a “cheesy, boob-filled knockoff of Big Trouble in Little China with a horrendous soundtrack, bad acting and terrible direction,” you’d be right!  

Possibly the single-worst movie I’ve had to review since starting at JustPressPlay (with the exception of that Snoop Dogg/Wiz Khalifa movie), The Lost Empire stars Melanie Vincz, Raven De La Croix and other “special” ladies who are essentially warrior amazon-types. They’re up against the Tall Man himself, Angus Scrimm (who I can’t believe is in this movie).

May
05
2014
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"Young Detective" Recalls Its Older, Smarter Ancestor Review

The Washington Post, on the back of the Blu-ray states that this is the 7th-century Chinese version of Sherlock Holmes. This is a pretty astute observation, as the movie both visually and tonally conjures references to both Guy Ritchie’s film starring Robert Downey Jr. and the character of Holmes himself, as a detective using alternative means to solve crimes.

Apr
30
2014
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"Masquerade" Certainly Knows The Importance Of Presentation Review

I’m apparently JustPressPlay’s martial arts critic. I seem to get tons of martial arts epics to review, both on blu ray and dvd. I’m not complaining, certainly, I enjoy a good bout of ass-kickery every now and then.

Byung-hun Lee is the dude who played Storm Shadow in the GI Joe movies. He’s solid in those and he’s solid here, unsurprisingly. The film has some hints of political intrigue like the kind found in the great Devil’s Double, however; as its a martial arts drama, it’s difficult to rationalize the reality of the situation with the absurdity of the action.

Apr
30
2014
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These Hills Are Alive With Some Weird Animation Review

Sean Connery is a strange dude. Not a particularly bright one, either, apparently. The guy is notorious for not understanding The Matrix, Lord of the Rings and surely many other feature films. That said, he’s still a solid performer, even though he’s mostly retired from the public eye at this point. I never imagined that Connery would have appeared in an animated feature about preservation like Guardian of the Highlands, but then again, he usually surprises folks.

Connery’s voice work is oddly sleepy. This is a guy known for fire and boisterous performances, so, where’s the fire, Sir Sean? I guess, seeing as how he’s getting up there in years, he’s clearly taking a step back from riling up some of that old Alan Quartermain-esque rage.

Apr
30
2014
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"Laverne & Shirley" Go Out With A Bang Review

“Schlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated.” I almost pity folks who haven’t seen Laverne & Shirley. Truly, I do. While the seventh season of the series might not be as sharp as previous seasons, it doesn’t change the fact that Penny Marshall (arguably one of the greatest female filmmakers of all-time) and Cindy Williams, at the time, were two of the greatest comedic talents on television.

The seventh (and second-to-final) season of the show doesn’t really take the characters into any drastic new territory that we haven’t seen established for them previously. They’re still ridiculous. Hilarious. They’re still best friends, though there are moments where they can’t stand each other. It’s an honest look at the notion of friendship, but interpreted through the often-cheesy sitcom lens.

Apr
27
2014
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