‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five. This time out: Zombie Films!
Close but no cigar: Night of The Living Dead, Return Of The Living Dead, Zombie Flesh Eaters
5 -Dawn Of The Dead (2004) Zack Snider remakes a classic and makes an a film almost as good. Great set pieces, excellent effects and fast zombies that really work. Just an excellent film.
4 -Day of The Dead
Day of The Dead is brutal. From it’s gut ripping effects to it’s post-apocalyptic nialistic world stripped of hope this is one of the most oppressive horror films ever made. And it’s brilliant.
3 – Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
Romeo made a stone clod classic in Dawn Of the Dead. The fact that it exists in so many versions means you probably have never seen the whole film. Romero’s cut, An extended cut. The Fuci cut. This aside Dawn is the grandfather of modern Zombie films and set the pace for all the imitators that followed.
2 – Shaun Of The Dead
Comedy horrors often fall flat. Good low budget comedy horrors are rare as hens teeth. Yet. Shaun of The Dead works. Not just as a comedy but as, more importantly, a Zombie film. It’s brutal and funny.
1 – 28 Days Later Raw, stripped back and brutal, 28 Day’s Later isn’t technically a Zombie film according to Danny Boyle but it really it. Introduced us to fast zombies/infected and proved that once again humans are more dangerous than the undead. Unparalleled.
Each month we take a look at a TV show that DEMANDS to be Binge Watched. This time out: Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
Why? It’s the Aaron Sorkin show you’d probably never heard or (or at least if you have never watched). It was cancelled after just one season and now sits in the bowls of TV history as a “What Could Have Been”. So did it deserve to fail? Hell no. Matthew Perry’s first show after Friends ended (and Sorkin’s follow up to the West Wing) it’s full of itself, over confident and at times over bearing. But it’s also bloody amazing. Ignore the reviews that say things like “A comedy show about a sketch-comedy show where humor is in very short supply” Studio 60 is the Sorkin show that critics seemed to rally against. But actually it’s full of charm, humour and well drawn characters. In fact it’s so good that, like Firefly and other one season wonders, it really deserved a second run.
How Many Episodes? 22 Episodes (1 Season)
Best Moment? To be fair it’s once again Sorkin’s writing that win’s the day here.
Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five. This time out: Bad But Good Movies. For me this are films the term “So Bad They Are Good” were coined for.
Close but no cigar: Trolls 2, Almost Every Friday 13th from Part 5 onwards, Howard the Duck, Most of JCVD’s later films
5 – Grease 2 It’s no Grease that much is for sure, but you know what? I still find myself signing along to the songs every now and then (yes I own the soundtrack!) and whilst the film lacks the charm of JT it almost makes up for it with a pre-nose job Michelle Pfeiffer and a pre Rex Manning Maxwell Caulfield. It misses in almost every scene yet wins on charm and likability.
4 – Masters Of The Universe Yes I know it has so little to do with the source material it’s even laughable that it’s called Masters Of The Universe but this low budget Cannon classic was a massive part of my childhood. It’s sci-fi with guns, swords and flying things. It’s actually brilliant.
3 – Anaconda Jon Voight. The leer. (If you ever saw Film whatever it was with Barry Norman around the time this came out the running joke of the Leer was amazing). The terrible effects. The fact it got a mainstream cinema release. Anaconda was a film years ahead of its time (see Sharknado!).
2 – Tank Girl Tank Girl was a rock ‘n roll cluster fuck of a film. It was disjointed, had a 5 min song and dance routine in the middle and almost killed the careers of everyone in it. Yet… in it’s own way it almost perfectly encapsulated the manic low brow source material and was the first (and I think last) film to reduce me to tears on the floor of a cinema.
1 – Showgirls
I bloody love Showgirls. Not for the smut but just for how god damn terrible it is. The script, the acting, THIS scene (see below – the most amazingly bad sex scene ever) it just oozes horribleness. Yet few films have made me smile or caused me so much (unintentional) joy. Showgirls is the best spoof ever. Simple as that.
In a new semi-regular feature each week Phil takes a lookout a different movie related Top Five… this time out: Low Budget Films.
Yup sub $300k movie making at it’s finest. And bloodiest. It’s no surprise that it’s horror that tends to shine in this budget level, with scares and blood taking the place of cast and effects. Here are my top 5 low budget films.
Close but no cigar:El Mariachi, Cube, Brick, Bad Taste, Paranormal Activity, Halloween
5 – The Evil Dead Sam Rami followed in The Texas Chainsaw’s shoes , delivering one of the most famous ‘video nasties’ on the 80’s with The Evil Dead, a movie whose characters and legacy still carries on today. See the original uncut version for the full on Evil Dead experience.
4 – Night of The Living Dead Romero launched a genre with Night of The Living Dead, tacked race politics and scared the bejesus out of people. Night was years ahead of its time and spawned two equally impressive sequels. Today it stands as a key influencer on modern TV and movies.
3 – Clerks Love him or hate him (and mostly hate with his latest few films), Kevin Smith pulled a blinder with Clerks – a mostly one location comedy with memorable dialogue and even more memorable characters. Made with credit cards, luck and a degree of bullshit Clerks still stands up today as a damn funny, raw movie.
2 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre Whilst it has dated badly, the original TCM was and still is somewhat of a phenomenon. Banned in the UK for over twenty years, Chainsaw broke new ground in horror filmmaking with it’s raw handheld style, a style that would influence films like Evil Dead and Blair Witch years later.
1 – Blair Witch Project Like TCM before it, the directors of Blair Witch would never top their debut film, a film which for a long time was the most profitable movie ever made (overtaken latterly by Paranormal Activity). It launched a sub genre (the found footage film) and showed what you could do with no money but a great idea, presented alongside a one of cinemas best marketing campaigns. Like it or hate it, it changed filmmaking.
Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five. This time out: Movie Trilogies
For most a sequel is an unwanted thing. And rightly so, after all most can be let downs and for every Godfather 2 there is an Independence Day Resurrection. However their are also some great sequels and in fact some great threequels out their. This week I take a look at the best movie trilogies (and no the Matrix is NOT included).
Close But No Cigar:Bourne Trilogy, The Indiana Jones Trilogy, Evil Dead, The Godfather Trilogy, Die Hard, Mad Max
5. Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring,The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
It’s no mean feat, adapting a multi-tome epic source novel over nearly 5 years with a cast and crew almostly permanently relocated to New Zealand by a director best known for low budget shlock films. But man did Peter Jackson pull it off. Epic does not even come CLOSE to describing the Rings trilogy (and the multiple endings of Return Of The King for that matter) but even now, over 10 years after it all finished, they still stand out as some of the best films of the last few decades.
4. Back To The Future Trilogy
There may be technically better films out their for sure, but the story of Marty McFly which spans over a hundred years, is everything that is right with how blockbuster films should be. It defined a career for Michael J Fox, allowed my fascination with Elisabeth Shue to continue and gave us the iconic Doc Brown. “What the hell’s a gigawatt?”. Indeed.
3. Aliens Trilogy (Alien, Aliens, Alien 3)
It’s a testament to just how good the first two films are that you almost ignore the fact that Part 3 is considered by most to be a disappointment. Thing is… it’s not. In fact Alien 3 is probably my second favourite of the whole trilogy (just under Aliens and just above Alien). Okay yes I’m mad but still! The key point here is just how good the first two films are, with both rating as best of their genre (Sci-fi and Sci-Fi Action). And trust me… whilst it’s FX’s are dated, try alien 3 Directors cut again. You MAY be pleasantly surprised.
2. Toy Story
Toy Story not only defined a genre, it also redefined how animation was done for ever. It’s groundbreaking and things would never be the same again. Yet at it’s heart of every one of the films is a great story, expertly told and brilliantly voiced. Pretty much perfect.
1. Star Wars (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi)
The trilogy that defined my childhood, that ignited my love with film and that left me playing in my room with 3″ plastic toys for years to come. Ageless (in it’s original form, not the horrid CGI remasters), this is epic storytelling, grandstanding action and odd plot twists at their best. Iconic.