Superfly (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Superfly (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Superfly 2018 is a hot mess of a film.  A remake of the cult 1972 blaxploitation film Super Fly, the film tells a familiar story of a Cocaine kingpin realising that it’s time to get out of the game after surviving a violent attack from a crazed rival.  What the film lacks is the insatiable cool of the 1972 original.  That down and dirty blaxploitation attitude is more than just a few guys using the N word a lot – which is very much the approach taken here. There’s a few nice bits and Jackson does his best but overall this film lacks that special something to make it more than a time passer.

Best Bit: Trevor Jackson does his best

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try:  Super Fly (1972), Jackie Brown, Shaft 

 


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Here Alone (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review

Here Alone (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Here Alone is a tense post apocalyptic thriller with some seriously dark twists and turns that manages to side step its obvious budget limitations for some incurably tense and atmospheric moments.  Yes it’s a bit overlong and repetitive but it mostly manages to be predictable and that goes a long way to helping you overlook some of the weaker elements.  Well worth checking out.

Best Bit: Into the house

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: 28 Days Later, The Walking Dead, Maggie

 


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The Grinch (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Grinch (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
From its pre-credit Minion short film to its typically cute Illumination studios animation, you know almost immediately that The Grinch will place you in steady, safe hands. That’s not a bad thing – the film is not overlong, enjoyable and funny,  you just know from the off that there’s going to be no Pixar style revolution here.  To be fair it’s probably not even an evolution.  But it was worth watching, my daughter loved it and pretty much that’s all you could ask for right?

Best Bit: Fred

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Secret Life Of Pets, Despicable Me, The Minions Movie

 


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The Shield (2002-8) – A Quick Capsule TV Review

The Shield (2002-8) – A Quick Capsule TV Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Shield is arguably in my top two TV shows of all time.  From Michael Chiklis’ uncompromising central performance to Shawn Ryan’s on-point writing and show running to it’s gritty handheld photography… The Shield was unlike anything else on TV in the early 2000’s.  Even The Sopranos was far more polished & glossy in its execution.  Over 88 episodes the show took in subjects from abuse, racism, betrayal and child sex rings as it dug unto the underbelly of both crime and the law in downtown LA without compromise and without shying away.  Even 10 years on from when Vic walked away from his Strike Team the show has lost none of its power.  This is a show that starts with Vic killing a fellow cop and and ends with him turning on his friends.  Truly essential.

Best Bit: Lem & the grenade

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire

 


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Kick Ass 2 – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Kick Ass 2 – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

The Review: First let me say this. I wasn’t a massive fan of Kick Ass. I didn’t hate it but much like Scott Pilgrim, Sin City & Watchman I found it to be more style than substance. Too aware of it’s own geek cool and not afraid to point it out at every moment.

Yes Mortez was great, no I didn’t care she said ‘Cunt’ at the tender age of 11 and yes the action was brutal, but nothing I hadn’t seen a million times before. I liked the central idea of an everybody becoming a superhero but overall I walked out think “that was okay” and haven’t revisited the film since.\

With this in mind I pretty much stayed away from the hype and promotion for KickAss 2, fully aware that I’d probably see the film but didn’t need that geek cool to be rammed down my throat once again.

With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy but when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes. Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad.

Looking at the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes this morning I was shock to see this film sitting at a paltry 28%. That’s less than the critically mauled Lone Ranger. Especially surprising as I thought, overall, this was a much more enjoyable film that the original Kick Ass, less concerned about looking cool, shocking for shock’s sake and shouting ‘I Was Based on a Really Cool Comic Book Don’t You Know’ and more about just interesting characters in even more interesting situations.

In fact, as much as I loved Iron Man 3, for me Kick Ass 2 is the best superhero film of 2013. Cool in it’s own way, with people I actually cared about. Okay so apparently it’s toned down from the comic (I’m not sure we really needed the gang rape of a main character) but as I’m not a fan of the source material that doesn’t really bother me. In fact more over the fact that it doesn’t just set out to shock is for me what stands out about it’s predecessor.

Kick Ass 2 also has some strong action sequences, not least a Good Guys Vs Bad Guys battle that looses the now standard CGI monsters vs Monsters stick of the studio Marvel films and goes with something a little… different. And is FAR more entertaining because of it. Hit Girl vs Mother Russia is for sure the fight of the year to date.

On the subject of Hit Girl, Props go to Chloe Grace Mortez who once again shines and shows that, as long as she doesn’t go all Lohan, she has an amazing and probably award winning career in front of her. Also a massive shout out for Jim Carey who delivers the best performance of his twilight career, even if he was too much of an arse to promote the film (even though his winging actually created even more publicity of the movie… ). Mintz-Plasse is also great as the self titled Mother Fucker, even if he does just deliver the TradeMarked Mintz-Plasse performance.

With assured but not overly showy direction, some social commentary about what it is to fit in, a host of solid action sequences and characters you actually care for, Kick Ass 2 is that rare beast of both a sequel that ends up being more enjoyable that the original and a superhero film that didn’t feel the need to collapse into a CGI want fest.

In short: Fuck the critics, fuck the source material. Just go make up your own mind. You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

Rating:

 


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Scream (1996) – A Quick Capsule Review

Scream (1996) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Wes Craven’s Scream remains surprisingly effective 22 years on.  A post-modern slasher film that (much like Tarantino was doing in the gangster film) referenced the very films that predated it.  It’s a film that plays by and yet subverts the rules of its genre.  This may have led to horror eventually eating itself with Scream clones (including certain Scream sequels) but what Craven does here is first rate.  Okay so it could have had a bit more gore for my liking but still it’s an effective slasher film with an iconic villain and some real scares.

Best Bit: “Do you like Scary Movies? ”

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Scream 2, From Dusk Till Dawn

 


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Platoon (1986) – A Classic Quick Capsule Review

Platoon (1986) – A Classic Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Oliver Stone’s Platoon still has a lot to say about the horrors of war and the ripping away of innocence.  That power still remains at the core of this thirty year old film.  But overall it hasn’t aged as well as you’d hope.  The performances are still great (Berenger is nuts and this is still a career high for Sheen) but the budget strains, especially at the end as the Vietcong assault the compound.  In a world of Saving Private Ryan it just feels a bit tame.  So overall – still worth a watch.

Best Bit: the cast

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Saving Private Ryan, Good Morning Vietnam, Full metal jacket 

 


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Beast Of The Southern Wild (2012) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Beast Of The Southern Wild (2012) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review
Beast Of The Southern Wild is truly one of the best debut films I have ever seen.  Stunning, poetic & beautiful this almost impossible to describe coming of age fantasy drama shows a true talent in the making both behind the camera and in front (Quvenzhane Wallis is truly amazing).  This is a film that deserves to be seen… if not always understood.

Best Bit: Quvenzhane Wallis

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Buy

If you liked this try: Moonrise Kingdom, Pans Labyrinth,  Life Of Pi

Rating:

 


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Mandy (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Mandy (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
If you had to describe Mandy in one word it would be… mental.  Nic Cage going full Nic Cage.  Demented bikers,  Manson family nutters, Hand forging weapons, bundles of Gore. It’s an LSD trip of a movie. It’s also, quite possibly, one of the best film of 2018.  Okay so it makes little sense and at tow hours long is almost too much to watch in one go but films like this just don’t get made anymore… it’s a grindhouse horror that felt like it was made in the 70’s and would have been on the video nasty list.

Best Bit: Cage screaming on a toilet.  Insane.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Mother!, Hereditary, The Devils Rejects 

 


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Halloween (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Halloween (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Halloween 2018 is a film of three halves.  The first part sets up the premise nicely – that Michael went to jail after the original and that the sequels (and the family link to Strode) didn’t exist.  Not a bad thing.  It’s a creepy and effective set up.  It’s the middle part where the film looses it’s way a bit, falling into the trappings of the film’s it’s trying to ignore.  Thankfully it pulls it back with an uber creepy last section which ties together the strings nicely and ends up leaving the film with a neat ending… should it wish to walk away.  Overall it’s well worth seeing and one of the better Halloween movies.

Best Bit: The house

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: Halloween, Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

 


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