Blog: Phil’s 2020 Academy Awards RESULTS!

Blog: Phil’s 2020 Academy Awards RESULTS!

A Blog Other Cr*p

So it’s that time again… the 2020 version of the Academy Awards are on us!  And as it traditional here is my list of predictions with the actual results from the 2020 Awards!

Reminder: I’ve picked the films I think WILL Win and that I think SHOULD Win! (WILL win’s count only for predictions, blanks indicate I’ve not seen enough films to decide who Should Win!)

So how did I do?  Find out below! 

 


Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
1917 – Will Win
Marriage Story
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood – Should Win
Parasite
Joker

Best Director

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Philips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917 – Will Win
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Parasite, Bong Joon Ho – Should Win

 

Leading Actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renee Zellweger, Judy – Will Win

Leading Actor

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – Will AND Should Win! 
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

 

Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johannson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women – Will Win! 
Margot Robbie, Bombshell – Should Win

Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Win AND Should Win! 

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out – Should Win
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Will Win 
Parasite

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman – Will AND Should Win 
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
The Two Popes

Live Action Short Film

Brotherhood
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window – Will Win (Guess!) 
Saria
A Sister

 

Animated Short Film

Dcera
Hair Love
Kitbull
Memorable – Will Win (Guess!) 
Sister

Original Score

Joker – Will Win and Should Win! 
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

 

Best International Feature Film Award

Corpus Christi
Honeyland
Les Miserables
Pain and Glory
Parasite – Will and Should Win!

 

Sound Mixing

Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
Joker
1917 – Will and Should Win
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

 

Costume Design

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit – Will Win
Joker
Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Should Win

Documentary Short

In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone
Life Overtakes Me
St Louis Superman – Will Win (Guess!) 
Walk Run Cha-Cha

 

Documentary Feature

American Factory – Win Will AND Should Win 
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama
Honeyland

Achievements in Production Design

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
1917
Once Upon a Time in HollywoodWill And Should Win
Parasite

Achievements in Film Editing

Ford v Ferrari – Will Win And Should Win
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Parasite

 

Achievements in Cinematography

The Irishman
Joker
The Lighthouse
1917 – Will Win AND Should Win! 
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Achievements in Visual Effects

1917 – Will Win
Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman – Should Win! 
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

 

Achievements in Make-up and Hairstyling

Bombshell – Will Win
Joker – Should Win
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
1917

Best Animated Feature Film

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Will Win AND Should Win
I Lost My Body
Klaus
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

 

Best Original Song

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away, Toy Story – Will Win
I’m Gonna Love Me Again, Rocketman – Should Win
I’m Standing With You, Breakthrough
Into the Unknown, Frozen II
Stand Up, Harriet

Total:  14/24

 


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Ross & Phil Talk Movies Present: The 2020 Boyask Awards for Action In Movies

Ross & Phil Talk Movies Present: The 2020 Boyask Awards for Action In Movies

A Blog

‘The Boyasks’ (named for our very own Action obsessed Ross Boyask) pick up on what the Academy, BAFTA’s and Globes miss out… acknowledging the performance, craft and skill of action & stunt performers and cinema. Last year Mission Impossible: Fallout swept the board in at the 1st Annual Boyask Action Awards, with Tom Cruise & Loren Janes entering the Hall of Fame.

This year Ross breaks the rules, doesn’t nominate in a category and try to nominate Dolomite for almost everything. We also, on reflection, decide that 2019 wasn’t a GREAT year for action films.

 

You can listen to the full podcast here

 

Winners Highlighted in GREEN

 

(Criteria: Films released in the UK between 1st Jan and the 31st December 2019)



Best Action Sequence
Rambo: Last Blood – Finale 

Angel Has Fallen – Truck Chase
6 Underground – Apartment Escape

 

Best Fight Scene
Avengement – Finale
Avengers: End Game – Cap v Cap
John Wick 3 – John Vs Raid Guys

 

Best Stunt Sequence
None. We REALLy couldn’t come up with one.

 

Standout Action Performer of 2019
Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Mark Dacascos – John Wick 3
Jessica Roth – Happy Death Day 2U

 

‘Holy Shit’ Moment of the Year
Shazam – The Family
Dolemite Is My Name
Rambo: Last Blood – Decapitated Head

Special Mention: John Wick 3 Knife Fight (Phil)

 

 

Comeback of The Year
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 

Best Blockbuster Film
Joker
Shazam
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 

Best DTV Film
Dolemite Is My Name
Triple Threat 
Avengement

 

Hall Of Fame – Class Of 2020
Jeff Imada (Phil)
Al Leong (Phil)
Vic Armstrong (Ross)

 


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Birds Of Prey (2020): Review by Grosse Point Geek

Birds Of Prey (2020): Review by Grosse Point Geek

A Blog Grosse Point Geek The Blogs

Plot in a nutshell: Newly dumped by the Joker, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) finds herself pursued by every criminal and low life in Gotham that she has ever wronged. One of these is Roman Sionis  AKA Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) who promises not to kill Harley if she retrieves a special diamond containing the numbers of a former mafia don’s bank accounts.

 

What Worked? Margot Robbie is absolutely fantastic as Quinn and proves just as fun, unhinged and wild eyed here as she was in Suicide Squad. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is also very good as Huntress as is Jurnee Smolett-Bell as the ass kicking Black Canary and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya – a Gotham Detective with a penchant for spouting one liners straight out of bad 80’s cop shows. Its also seriously action packed, with loads of bone crushing fights and wince inducing violence. The script, by Christina Hodson is well written with plenty of one liners and profanities plus Cathy Yan’s direction is sure-fire and confident.

 

What could have been better?: Ewan McGregor is somewhat miscast as Roman Sionis and is far too OTT and pantomime-ish to be effective enough as a truly memorable villain.

 

Review Summary: After the divisive Batman V Superman and the utter debacle of Justice League, it seems that DC have finally got their house in order and delivered another very good standalone entry in their loosely linked expanded universe. One can only hope that the forthcoming Wonder Woman 1984 and next years The Suicide Squad will keep their excellent run of form going strong. I have to say that they are still nowhere near challenging the mighty MCU but on the strength of this film, plus last years Joker and Aquaman one must concede that DC are certainly more plausible contenders than they used to be.

 

See at Cinema? – Yes

 

Buy On DVD/Blu Ray? – Yes

 

 


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Blog: Phil’s 2020 Academy Awards Predictions!

Blog: Phil’s 2020 Academy Awards Predictions!

A Blog

So it’s that time again… the 2020 version of the Academy Awards are on us!  And as it traditional here is my list of predictions – no doubt missing the mark by a country mile as usual.

I’ve picked the films I think WILL Win and that I think SHOULD Win! (WILL win’s count only for predictions, blanks indicate I’ve not seen enough films to decide who Should Win!)

Starting at the top…


Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
1917 – Will Win
Marriage Story
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood – Should Win
Parasite
Joker

Best Director

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Philips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917 – Will Win
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Parasite, Bong Joon Ho – Should Win

 

Leading Actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renee Zellweger, Judy – Will Win

Leading Actor

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – Will AND Should Win! 
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johannson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women – Will Win! 
Margot Robbie, Bombshell – Should Win

Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Win AND Should Win! 

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out – Should Win
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Will Win 
Parasite

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman – Will AND Should Win 
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
The Two Popes

Live Action Short Film

Brotherhood
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window – Will Win (Guess!) 
Saria
A Sister

 

Animated Short Film

Dcera
Hair Love
Kitbull
Memorable – Will Win (Guess!) 
Sister

Original Score

Joker – Will Win and Should Win! 
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

 

Best International Feature Film Award

Corpus Christi
Honeyland
Les Miserables
Pain and Glory
Parasite – Will and Should Win!

Sound Mixing

Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
Joker
1917 – Will and Should Win
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

 

Costume Design

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit – Will Win
Joker
Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Should Win

Documentary Short

In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone
Life Overtakes Me
St Louis Superman – Will Win (Guess!) 
Walk Run Cha-Cha

 

Documentary Feature

American Factory – Win Will AND Should Win 
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama
Honeyland

Achievements in Production Design

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
1917
Once Upon a Time in HollywoodWill And Should Win
Parasite

Achievements in Film Editing

Ford v Ferrari – Will Win And Should Win
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Parasite

 

Achievements in Cinematography

The Irishman
Joker
The Lighthouse
1917 – Will Win AND Should Win! 
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Achievements in Visual Effects

1917 – Will Win
Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman – Should Win! 
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

 

Achievements in Make-up and Hairstyling

Bombshell – Will Win
Joker – Should Win
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
1917

Best Animated Feature Film

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Will Win AND Should Win
I Lost My Body
Klaus
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

Best Original Song

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away, Toy Story – Will Win
I’m Gonna Love Me Again, Rocketman – Should Win
I’m Standing With You, Breakthrough
Into the Unknown, Frozen II
Stand Up, Harriet

 How did I do?  Check back on Monday 10th Feb! 

 


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Grosse Point Geek’s Wrap Up Of 2019 (and 2020 preview)

Grosse Point Geek’s Wrap Up Of 2019 (and 2020 preview)

2019: In Review A Blog Year In Review

As we approach the end of 2019 I have to say that on the whole it’s been a fairly good year for films. Stars Wars had a great send off with JJ Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker, the Infinity Stones story arc which had been the backbone of the MCU since 2008 ended spectacularly with the outstanding Avengers Endgame, DC finally got their house in order and delivered an absolute humdinger with Joker  – which is now the first and only R rated movie to pass the $1 Billion mark at the worldwide box office.

 

There was utter lunacy to be enjoyed in Hobbs and Shaw which was really great fun, John Wick Chapter 3 delivered some top notch action and proved to be the best entry in the franchise so far, a very funny and rather endearing love story played out  in Long Shot and good old Sylvester Stallone returned for the fifth time as Rambo in a film so violent it may well have offended just about every single critic on the planet– not that he cared, it did big bucks at the box office and we film geeks lapped up every brilliant blood drenched minute of it – (the sound of Mexican drug gangs running for the hills in terror can still be heard).

 

We also witnessed the continued rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime  -it has to be said though that with the notable exception of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, these still haven’t quite mastered their film output but series wise they can’t be touched – The likes of the Expanse, The Man In The High Castle, The Crown and Jack Ryan were all excellent.

 

Finally there were some top notch performances from the likes of Adam Driver (Marriage Story and Star Wars) Daniel Craig (Knives Out) Mahershala Ali (Green Book) Brad Pitt (Once Upon a time in Hollywood) Matt Damon (Le Mans 66) and of course Joaquin Phoenix who was astounding in Joker

 

Naturally and as per bloody usual there were also some serious let-downs and downright dogs,  – Alita Battle Angel was staggeringly awful, Godzilla King Of The Monsters was beyond crap, X-Men Dark Phoenix proved to be even worse than we feared, Blinded By The Light was so appallingly bad and badly acted that I almost walked out of the screening, The Lion King remake didn’t work at all  and was nothing more than a shot for shot remake of the original , then there was Dumbo which failed to recreate any of the magic that made Disney’s original such a classic, Neil Marshall’s pointless Hellboy reboot showed promise in its design work and story but ultimately turned out to be an utter turd of a film, and whilst it had its good points, the highly anticipated Terminator Dark Fate proved to be nothing more than a complete re-tread of everything we had already seen before in this franchise.

 

Anyway, enough ranting  – here are my 2019 top ten best, top ten worst, top 15 honouree mentions, top 15 best performances and finally the films I’m most excited to see in 2020.

 

Top Ten Best films:

  1. Avengers: Endgame
  2. Green Book
  3. The Irishman
  4. Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
  5. Joker
  6. John Wick Chapter 3
  7. Le Mans 66
  8. Knives Out
  9. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  10. Rambo: The Last Blood (yes I know  – I’m on my way to hell for including this one!)

 

Top Ten Worst films

  1. Alita Battle Angel (pointless, boring, dull, piss poor)
  2. Hellboy (awful)
  3. Godzilla King Of The Monsters (definitely left a Michael Bay-alike stench in the nostrils – total crap and badly acted to boot)
  4. Blinded By The Light (the mere thought of this film makes me angry)
  5. The Lion King (cynical audience rip off)
  6. X-Men Dark Phoenix (damp squib – how did they screw this one up?)
  7. The Silence (terrible copy of a Quiet Place)
  8. Shazam (despite everyone really liking this one I absolutely HATED IT!)
  9. The Prodigy (forgettable rubbish)
  10. Glass (garbage sequel to Unbreakable and Split – I’m now beginning to seriously dislike M. Night Shyalaman)

 

 

Top fifteen Honouree Mentions:

  1. Long Shot
  2. Hobbs and Shaw
  3. Ad Astra
  4. Hustlers
  5. Angel Has Fallen
  6. The Mule
  7. It Chapter 2
  8. The Man who killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
  9. Zombieland 2
  10. Last Christmas
  11. Captain Marvel
  12. Bumblebee
  13. Fighting with My Family
  14. Rocketman
  15. Marriage Story

 

 

Top 15 best performances:

  1. Joaquin Phoenix  – Joker
  2. Adam Driver – Marriage Story and Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker
  3. Scarlett Johansson  – Marriage Story
  4. Joe Pesci  – The Irishman
  5. Jennifer Lopez  – Hustlers
  6. Seth Rogen – Long Shot
  7. Mahershala Ali – Green Book
  8. Viggo Mortensen – Green Book
  9. Robert Downey Jr – Avengers Endgame
  10. Matt Damon – Le Mans 66
  11. Brad Pitt – Once Upon a time in Hollywood
  12. Daisy Ridley  – Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker
  13. Sam Elliott – The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot
  14. Daniel Craig – Knives Out
  15. Clint Eastwood  -The Mule

 

 

Most Anticipated Films of 2020:

  1. Tenet
  2. 1917
  3. Top Gun: Maverick
  4. Fast and Furious 9
  5. Black Widow
  6. The Eternals
  7. Bill and Ted Face The Music
  8. Ghostbusters : Afterlife
  9. Army Of The Dead
  10. No Time To Die
  11. Wonder Woman 1984
  12. JoJo Rabbit
  13. Dune
  14. The Gentlemen
  15. Bloodshot

 

Finally will someone at Warner Bros. please please please please release the Snyder cut of Justice League! You know it exists, we know it exists, Snyder has given us proof it exists, Momoa, Affleck and Gal Gadot have seen it and said its great, you and sodding Joss Whedon short changed us with whatever the hell that version was you released last year – we are pissed off, motivated, and we demand to see it NOW!

 

Right that’s it for another year, many thanks to all the fans of Phil’s Quick Capsule Reviews for sticking with us (whoever you are) , also a big shout out to my dear friend Phil Hobden, without whom I would have no one to win arguments with about films and who does such a sterling job of keeping this great website going all year round.

 

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year

 

My name is Will Strong and I’ve Been Grosse Pointe Geek – may the Force be with you all.

 


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Phil’s Best To Worst: Star Wars Movies! (Updated with The Rise Of Skywalker)

Phil’s Best To Worst: Star Wars Movies! (Updated with The Rise Of Skywalker)

A Blog

Listed from best to Attack Of The Clones, Phil, of Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, breaks down a film related subject in order of his own personal enjoyment.  This time out: Star Wars Films!

 

The Rules: So I’ve excluded the throwaway 80’s Ewok kids films here as well as the Christmas special as it’s far from cannon.  So just the main 12 Star Wars films and the feature length Clone Wars movie.

——

 

BEST: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Empire Strikes Back is a franchise high point for many reasons but MOSTLY as it’s the Star Wars film Lucas had least to do with, instead putting the film into the hands of Kasdan.  It shows – more mature, darker and edgier it still boasts one of cinemas best twist endings and adds depth to the cut out characters from Star Wars.  Essential.

 

——

2. Star Wars: A New Hope

Groundbreaking, epic and genre defining space sagas don’t get much better than this. A lean plot, some edge of your seat action sequences and THAT ending make Star Wars a simply outstanding film.

——

3. Star Wars: The Return Of The Jedi

I love Return of The Jedi.  Growing up it’s the Star Wars film I watched the most (it certainly has the best action of any Star Wars films).  Years on the excitement still holds but there are shadows of the failings of the prequels here also (Ewok’s for some but mostly the convoluted plotting, the fact everyone knows or is related to the Skywalkers and the weak dialogue).  Still the final space battle and the lightsabre duel stand out as the franchises two best moments

——

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Yup that hit the spot.  Rogue One, a war story, a story of hope and overcoming overwhelming odds.  And thats just the making of it.  Yet it works.  It works SO well in fact that it’s jumped to No4 on this list.

 

——

5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

Delivering a new style of Star Wars film, The Last Jedi makes some bold choices (and some silly ones) to take Star Wars in a fresh new direction that will finally allow it to move past it’s Skywalker focus story and firmly land the legacy on the shoulders of some new characters. It doesn’t all work but when it does it’s some of them most spectacular Star Wars yet!

——

6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens  

After the much maligned prequels, the first Star Wars film to be Lucas free felt very much like a homage as it retooled A New Hope’s story and gave us a “Best of” compilation.  That said it was well done, set up an array of exciting new characters and gave us well hell of a twist when you know what happens to you know who.  Not as good as we wanted it to be but a massive step up from the prequels.

 

——

7. Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker 

Look The Rise Of Skywalker is a mess for sure, the whole trilogy lacking a cohesive drawn out narrative from the start and this for sure plays out as a massive negative here as JJ struggles to pull it all together.  It also is hampered by Carrie Fisher’s death, something that causes narrative issues.  BUT these points aside it’s a good film – spectacular action sequences, solid twists and turns and some great character work by the core cast.

——

8. Solo : A Star Wars Story 

Solo is good.  It’s just a victim of the production issues that plagued it from the start.  The cast are mostly superb (Clarke isn’t sadly) but the film runs out of steam as it tries to hit every Solo touch point referenced in previous Star Wars films.  Good but could have been better

 

——

9. Star Wars: The Revenge Of The Sith

The best of a very bad bunch, Sith at least had a darkness to it that the franchise had avoided previously.  It’s still shouldered with terrible acting, a plot that steps on the original trilogy more than it ever needed to and some terrible FX work BUT it’s not Attack of The Clones.

 

——

10. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2005)

From little acorns big Oak Trees grow and that’s very much the case here.  See the Star Wars: the Clone Wars animated film has nuggets of promise that would later be fulfilled by the excellent TV show but the feature length pilot instead gets itself weighed down in trying to please too many people and ends up being a bit of a mess.

 

——

11. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 

Deeply flawed, badly plotted and criminally dull at times this film is saved by some excellent visuals (although dated FX), the pod race and the final duel between Jedi & Sith.  It overplays it’s hand throughout however and the Jedi prove to be rather dull as leading characters.  Less said about Jake Lloyd the better.

 

——

WORST: Star Wars: Attack of The Clones 

A real low for the series and one of the worst sequels ever made, Attack of The Clones gets almost nothing right.  If A terrible story that makes no sense, a boring end battle where CGI things shoot CGI things and the blowing of one of Star Wars most talked about moments (The Clone Wars!!!) weren’t enough you also have one of the most wooden central performances ever (helped by some of the worst dialogue ever).  It’s a bad film. And one to be avoided.

 

 


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Star Wars: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

Star Wars: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

A Blog Other Cr*p

Plot in a nutshell

Sometime after the events of The Last Jedi, the Resistance are still battling the First Order and Rey (Daisy Ridley) is training to be a Jedi under the watchful eye of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher),  meanwhile a terrifying message is detected coming out of the depths of space  – the evil Emperor Palpatine is alive and threatening to destroy all who oppose him  – its now a race against time to find his whereabouts before he can unleash a vast armada of planet killing ships and bring about the return of the Sith.

 

What worked?

In my view – a lot.

To begin with the story is superb, a rollicking good old fashioned space adventure, spanning lots of different locations, throwing in various McGuffins with some really interesting twists and unexpected turns.

As always with Star Wars, the action scenes deliver in spades, light sabre duels, blaster fights, space battles and endless escapism which had me whooping for joy.

Once again, the acting is also excellent  –  Adam Driver as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is extremely good and has now become one of the film industry’s most talented actors working today.

I also have to say that Daisy Ridley was brilliant as Rey, effortlessly showing how she has come on leaps and bounds from her rather wide eyed performance in The Force Awakens, the girl absolutely gives it her all here and along with Adam Driver totally anchors the whole film. The ever charismatic Oscar Isaac is great as Poe Dameron, even managing to channel his inner Han Solo with some cheeky one liners and knowing smirks. Finally there is the return of the magnificent Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine  -the stuff of nightmares, seriously evil, and completely beyond redemption  – the guy owns this role so completely that when he’s on screen you just cant take your eyes off him – to say he is incredible in this role would be the understatement of the millennium.

 

What could have been better?

Despite how good the plot was I have to say that it was at times a bit too densely packed and there were some ‘Basil Exposition’ moments that caused me to roll my eyes on several occasions.

The whole thing also seemed somewhat too focussed on Poe, Rey and Kylo which meant that some characters remained underdeveloped or didn’t get enough screen time – for example Billy Dee Williams comes back as Lando Calrissian but isn’t nearly in the film enough, then there is the excellent Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico who finds herself side-lined here in an almost afterthought of an appearance – a decision which seemed to be paying lip service to the hammering she had off the idiotic troll fanboys for The Last Jedi. Lastly, even though he’s on screen for most of the film, John Boyega as Finn isn’t really allowed to shine much at all and is very overshadowed by Ridley, Driver and Isaac – which is a shame as he is a great actor and was very central to the plots of the last two films.

 

Review summary

Very well directed by JJ Abrams, winning performances from Ridley, Driver, Isaac and McDiarmid , cracking action, lots of throwbacks to the original trilogy and an interesting plot with lots of unexpected twists and reveals -Rise Of Skywalker is a fantastic thrill ride that had me completely fixated for its nearly 140 minute running time, yes there are flaws, but to be honest I was so caught up in the whole thing that it really didn’t matter. Wonderful stuff, I loved it.

 

 


Review epilogue

As the Skywalker story comes to a close I thought id share with you some of my thoughts on this incredible film franchise. As most who know me (long suffering girlfriend, long suffering family, the eternally exasperated Phil Hobden etc) will be aware that I have been a dedicated Star Wars fan for nigh on 42 years. For me its always been about the films themselves, I’ve never cared for the expanded universe, the books, the games etc plus I really don’t take any notice of the highbrow critics or rabidly moronic fanboys who still cant see what Star Wars is all about.

For me Star Wars is simply a wonderful fairy story  -one based on all the classic tales our parents read us when we were little –   theres a castle, a hero, a princess, a wise old wizard and a man dressed in black –and  that’s all a fairy story needs to be.

Star Wars represents everything incredible in this world and in life itself-  the ability to rise above your standing, that mastering a skill isn’t ever easy and takes lots of hard work, that failure is the best lesson of all because it teaches us to always try harder,  that those who are older and wiser are in fact pretty much right about everything (even if they are 900 years old) that heroes can be flawed, villains can be redeemed and most important of all –  good will always triumph over evil.

Thankyou George Lucas and may the force be with you – always.


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Terminator Dark Fate (2019):  Review by Grosse Point Geek

Terminator Dark Fate (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

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Plot In a Nutshell: Forget everything you already have seen in the previous three sequels (Rise of The Machines, Salvation and Genysys), Dark Fate is a direct sequel to Terminator 2 Judgement Day and thus completely reboots the franchise. Linda Hamilton is back as Sarah Connor, as is Arnie in another reincarnation of the T800, plus James Cameron returns in a principal producer capacity and contributes heavily to the story.

As we saw in T2 Skynet is no more however in the near future its been replaced by another AI program gone mad called Legion, which attacks humanity by setting off a nuclear war, the surviving  humans fight back, Legion then sends an advanced terminator (known as a Rev 9) back in time to kill the leader of the resistance (Natalia Reyes), who in turn send back a heroic warrior (Mackenzie Davis) to serve as said future leader’s protector.

What worked? The action is excellent  – in fact its the best its been since T2 – an opening freeway battle is expertly handled by director Tim Miller (Deadpool) as is a breathtaking  aerial set piece featuring two huge planes and alot of firepower.

Linda Hamilton is once again brilliant as Sarah Connor,  Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes are superb plus Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a very good and pleasingly understated performance as a T800 who has become almost human after spending years in the present timeline. Finally the effects are pretty impressive too  – particularly those used to create the Rev 9 terminator who is even more unstoppable than Robert Patrick’s T1000 from T2.

 

What could have been better? In a word – The Plot. With the notable exception of the fourth film (Salvation – flawed but still pretty good) the Terminator series at its base level has always just been about two characters coming back in time from a nuclear ravaged future to kill/protect a person of extreme significance to the survival of the human race – with a few twists here and there.

This same story has now been done FIVE times over and its wearing pretty bloody thin. As a good friend of mine is known to say “same shit – rehashed” – and rehashed Terminator Dark Fate most certainly is. Yes there is a couple of twists (one fairly shocking) but so what?- At its heart the film is nothing more than everything we have seen before and the result is that it doesn’t move the Terminator story on one inch more. Yes i agree its a helluva lot better than the godawful Genysys – which was absolutely piss poor, but on reflection i found that it was marginally better than Rise Of The Machines and overall only managed to be on about a level par with Salvation.   

 

So what next for this franchise?  – well I for one want to see the future war actually happen, i want to know what is in store for Sarah, i want to see how Natalia Reyes character becomes the leader of the resistance, how the human race fights back, how they get their weapons, what battles they fight etc etc  -what i DON’T want is the same old sodding time travel plot  told over and over again  as it has been done to death! I also certainly don’t want to have my intelligence insulted any more by the likes of James (slowest film maker in the universe) Cameron braying on about how he is going to bring something fresh to the table when all he and director Tim Miller have done is serve up the SAME DAMN STORY AGAIN! 

Finally can someone please have a word with dear old Arnold Schwarzenegger? The man is an absolute legend, we all love him to death but theres no denying that the Austrian Oak is looking seriously past his prime and now needs to hang up the shotgun and let this franchise move on without him  –  just saying.

 

Review Summary: Certainly not at all the worst of the franchise – not by a long long way – in fact i have to admit that on the whole it IS a pretty good film, the action is superb, its well acted and its never ever less than enjoyable, indeed if there is another sequel i will of course go and see it. However  – its glaringly not even close to the brilliance of the first and second films plus the plot is nothing more than a complete and utter redo/rehash/total copy of everything we have already seen before  – and if anyone says otherwise (i.e James Cameron) then they are lying their heads off.

 

See at The Cinema? – Yes

Buy On Blu Ray? Yes

Pray the next sequel has a different plot? Get on your knees now

Author: Grosse Point Geek 

 

 


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Rambo: Last Blood (2019): Review by Grosse Pointe Geek

Rambo: Last Blood (2019): Review by Grosse Pointe Geek

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Plot In a Nutshell: 10 years after returning home from Burma, Ex Green Beret John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone)  looks to have finally  found peace running his deceased fathers horse ranch in Arizona and looking after his teenage niece. However things take a turn for the worse when said niece goes looking for her long lost father in Mexico and ends up being kidnapped by a notorious sex trafficking cartel – naturally Rambo heads off to save her  – cue explosions, guns, knives, arrows, claw hammers, buckets of blood and a very large number of dead Mexican gangsters who frankly should have stayed at home – or at least wished they had.

 

What worked: The action is brilliant  – particularly the final 20 minutes which simply has to be seen to be believed.  Its also one of the most violent blood drenched films i have ever watched in my life….and thank God for it  – Stallone promised us a hard R action fest and has delivered in spades  – speaking of which the big man is awesome once again as Rambo, chewing the scenery with gusto and proving that at 73 he can still kick ass with the best of them.

 

What could have been better: It could have done with being 10 minutes longer and maybe had one more action scene plus the script is a bit clunky. Its also not a film for the faint of heart (pardon the pun), nor what what one would call a date movie  plus it has mostly been made to appeal to certain niche fans who grew up happily watching these types of films  – i.e 40 – 50 year old adolescents (people like me).

 

Review Summary: A proper old school action packed slice of mayhem and ultra violence  –  Stallone is a legend, obviously knows his audience well, has happily stuck two fingers up to the critics and the politically correct brigade and made a film for all us proper Rambo fans who have loved this character since he blasted into our consciousness 37 years ago in First Blood.

 

What a film  – see it now.

 

Author: Grosse Pointe Geek 

 


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