Stand By Me (1986) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Stand By Me (1986) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
It’s been a while but rewatching Stand By Me there was one thing that struck me now more than ever – River Phoenix, Jerry O’Connell , Will Wheaton and Corey Feldman genuinely couldn’t not have given better performances.   They ARE their roles and it’s not surprising that arguable at least three of the cast have never really bettered their work here.  The film is still fantastic and remains one of King’s best adaptions, showing once again that his short stories are often ‘easier’ to adapt than his weightier tomes.   In 2019 Stand By Me still remains and essential watch.

Best Bit: The Junk yard

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Shawshank Redemption, IT (2017), Mystery 

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28 Days Later (2002) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween’ Quick Capsule Review

28 Days Later (2002) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween’ Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Tense, scary and raw 28 Day’s Later for me is one of the best horror films ever made.  Even 17 years later it remains one of the most unsettling films ever made.  Danny Boyle, coming off a run that included Trainspotting and The Beach once again showed that he is a director not bound by genre.  Handheld, shot on low fi digital video and with a limited budget, Boyle creates a film that feels as real as it get that adds visceral gore, an epic score and a compelling twist on the then very worn Zombie film.  Add to that career making performances by Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris & Christopher Eccleston as well as an impressive debut by writer Alex Garland and you have a near perfect storm.  Essential viewing.

Best Bit: ‘Hello’

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: 28 Weeks Later, Trainspotting, Dawn Of The Dead

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Serenity (2005) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Serenity (2005) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
One of the best sci-fi films in recent memory, Serenity (based on the superb but brief TV show Firefly) is an action packed, superbly crafted ride that delivers you so much more than blockbusters with 3 times the budget. It’s also not afraid to throw in a few surprises… not least killing one of the casts most loved characters. Almost 15 years on it holds up surprisingly well.  In short I adore this world and we are all worse off that we’ve never been back.   As Mal would say… Shiny!

Best Bit: The Bar

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Pitch Black

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The Rock (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

The Rock (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Oddly I wasn’t a fan of The Rock when I first saw it. But twenty years later (yes really) I’m truly amazing just how much this film blew me away.  It’s by far the best Michael Bay film (with Bad Boys a close second) with a killer performance by both Connery and Cage and for sure it’s one of the best action films of the 90’s… which is some praise if you look at a decade full of great action films.  From the car chase to the initial arrival on Alcatraz, from the Indiana Jones styled mine cart escape to Cage’s OTT venting it’s just a joy.  The Rock is essential and a welcome addition to the Hall of Fame.

Best Bit: Car Chase

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Bad Boys, Armageddon, Transformers 

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RoboCop (1987) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

RoboCop (1987) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Entering the SciFi wing of the Hall Of fame comes RoboCop – the 1987 Paul Verhoeven directed part action part satire that tackles crime, media and violence with a sardonic tone and a dark sense of humour.  Over 30 years later it’s surprising just how well RoboCop holds up (and conversely just how forgettable the recent remake is).  And even scarier… it feels very much like this could be modern day Trump America.  Weller does a great job with the obvious and considerable restrictions that the RoboCop role put upon him but he nails it.  However it’s the film villains that shine the most – from Ronny Cox as corporate bully Dick Jones to Kurtwood Smith as the psychotic Clarence Boddicker they chew up the scenery and give the film some really hateful villains.  But beyond that it’s a film full of iconic moments – Ed-209, the suit itself, the uber-violence and the infinitely quotable one liners.   In short – A must watch.

Best Bit: ED 209 goes rogue.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: RoboCop 2, The Terminator, Total Recall 

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Gremlins (1984) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Gremlins (1984) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Gremlins is a stone cold classic for sure but unlike a lot of beloved 80’s films it truly holds up today.  Okay so the technology has moved on and its setting is about as 80’s as you can get BUT it’s themes, hi-jinx and boldness helps this film still feel pretty timeless.  The thing that makes gremlins really work is underneath its cute exterior hides a brilliantly dark mean street.  Fathers trapped down chimneys, deadly stair lifts and lethal snow plows… it’s everything a Christmas movie should be and more.  And your kids WILL like it.  Essential.

Best Bit: The Bar

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Small Soldiers, Critters 

 

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Love Actually (2003) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Love Actually (2003) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
How do you rate a ‘great’ film?  Is it one that is made by a great director, that delivers epic storytelling but likely you’ll only watch a few times?  or is it one that, despite of its flaws, becomes a family staple year on year, watched without fail? Well it can truly be both.  But Love Actually certainly fits the later category – a locked on Christmas essential as key to the festive season as mince pies and a Christmas tree.  Yup Love Actually has a few issues but the charm, heart and love given out in those two and a quarter hours means that you just don’t care.  Truly a great feel good movie and truly one that deserves it’s standing as one of the best Festive treats you can watch.

Best Bit: The proposal/airport finale

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Notting Hill, Four Wedding & A Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary

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The Thing (1982) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

The Thing (1982) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Thing is a nailed on sci-fi horror classic. Even some 36 years since the film was released (to a critically drubbing no less), the film holds up brilliantly.  In fact other than a few moments the film is almost timeless, feeling like it could’ve been made yesterday.  I guess the only thing that stops it feeling like a 2000’s movie is the restraint showed by Carpenter as a director and the cast.  It’s subtlety from start to end, with ambiguous moments leaving the audience to think about what they are seeing.  Carpenter saves his money shots for when they count and when they come man do they deliver.  The 2000’s reboot did everything wrong that this film did right.  In short The Thing is essential.

Best Bit: The blood test

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Escape From New York, Halloween, Big Trouble In Little China

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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
From Dusk Till Dawn remains one of the most nuts films of the 90’s and possibly marked the last great film by both directors Quentin Tarantino and  Robert Rodriguez.  Yes really I went there.  Starting as a typical Tarantino, it’s not until they hit the Titty Twister bar that the film takes a surprising twist. Well not that surprising as the trailer gave it away but still bloody good fun.  Cameos by Tom Savini, Fred Williamson, Greg Nicotero sit along side a career making turn by George Clooney and a ‘What the fuck am I doing here’ look of Harvey Keitel.  Greta script,. superb action and a crotch gun.  What’s not to love.

Best Bit: ‘Everybody be cool.  You be cool.’

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Desperado, Pulp Fiction, Lost Boys

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A Few Good Men (1992) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

A Few Good Men (1992) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Few 90’s films remain as quotable, re-watchable and enjoyable as the Aaron Sokrin/Rob Reiner team up A Few Good Men.  From it’s AAA rated cast (Nicholson, Cruise, Moore, Pollack, Bacon) to it’s sparkling script, A Few Good Men just breezes past.  But let’s be honest it’s the showdowns between a grandstanding on stop form Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise that steal the show. Everytime they are on screen together they hold your attention as in teh background Sorkin’s screenplay carries all the heavy lifting.  A near perfect combination of direction, script and performance.  

Best Bit: “I Want The Truth”

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Social Network, The Firm, A Time To Kill


 

 

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