The Hummingbird Project (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Hummingbird Project (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
If a drama thriller film about high-frequency trading and ultra-low latency direct market access sounds a bit… boring… well don’t worry it isn’t.  Mostly. The Hummingbird Project is a well acted, well put together thriller that has a dark black comedic vein running through a film that, at times, seems a little Social Network lite.  Yes it’s longer than it needs to be and at times can drag a bit but it’s a solid, entertaining story that more than passes the time.

Best Bit: FBI chase!

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Social Network, Steve Jobs, The Boiler Room

 


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The Lion King (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Lion King (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Disney remake train continues and next up is the oddest of the bunch so far – an animated remake of an animated classic.  Okay I say classic but in truth I’ve never seen the original The Lion King.  Yes.  I know.  But that aside it seemed like an odd choice… especially as for the most part I’m assured its near shot for shot remake.  So… was it worth it?  Well yes.  As a film in its own right the 2019 Lion King is a technical marvel that honestly leaves you jaw dropped to the floor.  It updates a few jokes, has a cracking voice cast (I could have done with Beyonce to be honest) and overall entertained the hell out of me.  This will get a new generation of fans for Disney and the Lion King story and shows that The house of the mouse is a true box office king.

Best Bit: Hakuna Matata

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: The Lion King (1994), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016)

 


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The Bad Batch (2017) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Bad Batch (2017) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Bad Batch is crazy.  From insane Keanu Reaves extended cameos, to crazy Jim Carrey appliances to just its central premise, long run time and trippy middle section… it just makes no sense.  It’s Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone meets Mad Max meets The Hills Have Eyes meets pretty much anything nuts you can think of.  Its also not amazing and far from essential but it’s also not THAT bad. In fact it passed the time quite well even if there are probably a 100 better things to watch.  Watch it for the eclectic cast, for the best audition to direct a Mad Max movie you have ever seen or just because you have a two hour train ride with time to kill.

Best Bit: Legs. Arms. Lunch.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: Max Max: Fury Road, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Drifter 

 


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The Defiant Ones (2017) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Defiant Ones (2017) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I’ve been a huge fan of Dr Dre and his music for a long time.  Whether as an artist (The Chronic) or as a producer (see Eminem and MANY others) I’ve held him and his talent in high regard.  His partnership with Jimmy Iovine is at the heart of this HBO documentary which looks at their rise across the 80’s/90’s and eventually to the largest purchase of a company that Apple has ever made.  It’s fascinating stuff – from the those they have produced to the trials and tribulations, Rap wars and signings, falling outs and controversy that have happened along the way.  It’s essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest into the history of modern music.

Best Bit: The whose who at Iovine’s wedding

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, Straight Outta Compton, Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

 


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High-Rise (2015) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

High-Rise (2015) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
High Rise is based on an “unfilmable” book by  J.G. Ballard and directed by sometimes hit sometimes miss British director Ben Wheatley.  Based on this combination, it was most likely that this was either going to be one of the best films ever made or an epic failure. Truth is it falls somewhere between the two, with at times a foot in both camps.  Often at the same time.  Visually stunning and well performed, ultimately the film for whatever reason just didn’t connect with me.  The ultra violence wasn’t frequent enough, the oddness not odd enough and the boundaries just not pushed as much as you’d expect.  Some will love it however.  Sadly I wasn’t one of them…

Best Bit: Jeremy Irons is bat shit crazy

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Kill List, Sightseers, A Field In England, Crash

 


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Tucked (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Tucked (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Tucked is a raw, emotionally charged yet highly charming and engaging story of friendship and love. It’s also bloody short, at just under 82 minutes long. Such a refreshing thing in this day and age of 2 hour plus films as standard. Derren Nesbitt & Rizzle Kicks singer Jordan Stephens are simply superb as the two lead characters thrust together into friendship.  It’s their chemistry that sells this low key independent British drama and neither put a foot wrong.  Director Jamie Patterson keeps the story moving and never lets it get maudlin and the writing is on point. A possible Top 10 of the year so far…

Best Bit: Derren Nesbitt &  Jordan Stephens Chemistry

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Ru Paul’s Drag Race, I Am Devine, Hurricane Bianca 

 


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Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I first heard about Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers on the Joe Rogan podcast. Yup it sounded far fetched but he at least had the courage of his convictions.  The show was entertaining.  It made the documentary with checking out. Don’t. Amateur, childish and poorly made this is a budget student film put together with all the flair of a corpse documenting his own funeral.  By far one of the worst films I’ve switched off this year.

Best Bit: That I watched on Netflix. Didnt pay. Winner.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid

If You Liked this Try: Independence Day, Alien Autopsy, Invaders From Mars

 


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Shazam (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Shazam (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Shazam is the best modern (post Nolan) DCEU film to date.  Okay so other than Wonder Woman that’s still a pretty low bar but regardless Shazam is a genuinely funny, genuinely charming and probably top 10 of the year film with loads to entertain kids and adults of all ages.  Of course it’s the cast that make this work and Zachary Levi especially nails the titular character, with Mark Strong once again laying it down thick and fast as the villain.  Okay so the last thirty minute plus smash-em-crash-em goes on too long (the film really shines in the smaller moments) but it, and you, are having so much fun you can pretty much forgive it. Shazam delivers.  See DC CAN make a good film.

Best Bit: Testing powers

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: Wonder Woman, Deadpool, Aquaman 

 


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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Week: Full Tilt Boogie (1997) – A Quick Capsule Review

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Week: Full Tilt Boogie (1997) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Full Tilt Boogie charts the making of From Dusk ‘Till Dawn but goes beyond the usual ‘chuck it on a BluRay’ extra that’s typical of this genre and instead delivers a fun, insightful and often controversial behind the scenes film that is surprisingly honest. From Juliet Lewis doing Karaoke to a rather bizarre interview with Harvey Keitel, from Grips to assistants complaining about catering and working hours… it’s pretty warts and all but also highlights just WHY people would want to do this job.  It’s a fascinating look behind the curtain of filmmaking and an essential one for anybody interested in the craft!

Best Bit: Unions!

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys, From Dusk Till Dawn, Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker Apocalypse, 

 


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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Week: The Hateful Eight (2016) – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Week: The Hateful Eight (2016) – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s (Not So) Quick Capsule Review:
The Hateful Eight is a tough film to watch.  Not just because of the violence but because it’s like watching your child grow up and at every step knowing when they could be great they just aren’t no matter how hard they try.  Tarantino’s eight film (we know this because he tells us at the start) is another Western (yes apparently Django was a Southern but outside of QT’s fevered ego to everyone else it was a Western) but probably for the most part has more in common with Reservoir Dogs than his recent output.

There were moments I loved this film, even more dubious moments  like the odd 4th floor breaking narration which I found was quite clever and an interesting stylistic choice.  The music and cinematography (in Panavison 70mm as we are told once again in the opening credits) are top draw, with Tarantino once again managing to draw out some amazing performances from what could be his best cast yet.  The OTT effects work by long time collaborators Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero are as good as you would expect and It was generally very well written and it was pretty funny at times.

Yet I didnt love it.  At times I was bored.  At times I checked my watch. At times I just wanted the film to get to the point, which when you look at the story in the round is probably his simplest narrative yet. But all that said, and lets be honest baggy and undisciplined story telling is what we have come to expect from a man who managed to drag out a 90 minute action film across two near three hour movies, this film has two major issues for me that are utterly unforgivable:  The violence towards women is nothing short of hateful and I never want to hear the word Nigger in ANY film ever, let alone a Tarantino film. I cringed by the time I’d heard it the 15th time. By the 100th I just wanted to stop watching.   I know Tarantino probably ISN’T a racist, misogamist pig. But he makes it pretty hard to believe.   It’s a shame because there are moments that made me believe this film was possible his fourth best film.  The flowing dialogue, the simple story, the swerves and twists – all Tarantino at his best.  At at 95 mins, with some language and violence control it could well have been.  And this film NEEDED to be 95 minutes for every time there was a lingering shot of something that went on for MUCH longer than it needed to I kept thinking how that was another minute I wouldn’t ever get back, and another minute that could have been spent on the story.

Oh and just fuck off with the 8th Film by credit (which it isn’t by the way). Nobody but you and Bob/ Harvey care.  This is a film you have to see.  It’s Tarantino after all and that fact still (just) demands it.   But man prepare for some mixed emotions along the way.

Best Bit: Violence!

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill

 


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