Detainment (2019)- A Quick Capsule Review

Detainment (2019)- A Quick Capsule Review

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Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Detainment, a true story based on the actual interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger murder case, is a hard watch.  In a story that should contain no shades of grey, Detainment gives a voice to the young killers that details the events that changed parenting for many for ever.  In short it creates those shades of grey you probably never wanted to think about.  It’s shocking for sure – to hear details of what was done to the two year old James and the film certainly has a view on which killer led the events.  It’s well acted, well directed and a worthy Oscar nominated short film.

Best Bit: The boys performances

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Serial, Making A Murderer, The Staircase

 


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Hunter Killer (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Hunter Killer (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

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Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Hunter Killer is a whole bundle of dumb.  It’s also (for the most part) a whole bundle of fun as well. Yup you won’t learn anything new, and for sure no new ground was broken here (it also sports some of the naffist CGI you’ve seen since the 90’s)  but it’s a fun, silly ride…  even if the run time is more than a touch too long.   Look it’s a direct to DVD film that crept into the cinema and you’ll forget it almost immediately but this is yet another greta Butler beer and curry movie!

Best Bit: The fact Butler keeps a straight face

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down, Crimson Tide

 


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Phil’s Top 5… Billion Dollar Films that are, actually, rubbish

Phil’s Top 5… Billion Dollar Films that are, actually, rubbish

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Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: Billion Dollar Films that are rubbish

 

Close but no cigar: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest , Transformers: Dark of the Moon 

 

5 – Minions
I get it.  I loved Despicable Me as well. But Minions just wasn’t funny. I get WHY this made so much but REALLY???

 

4 – Titanic
It’s aged badly but was it really ever that good?  No.  One of the most successful films of all time is badly written, overwrought and sooooo long.  Also I just didn’t care. I was more upset that the boat got hurt…

 

3 – Avatar
Oh god.  It’s just so overblown and overlong.  It also reintroduced the 3D craze.  The sequels are incoming.  Some 12 + years after the originals.  Can’t. Wait.

 

2 – Pirates Of The Caribbean – On Stranger Tides
The weakest of all the Pirates films (yup I know – some low bar there) is also one of it’s most successful.

 

1 – Transformers: Age Of Extinction
Oh god.  This made so much money and is just so bad.  Really.  It’s fucking terrible.

 

 

 

 

 

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Skyscraper (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Skyscraper (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

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Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Skyscraper is probably the first time I’ve felt let down by a film starring Dwayne Johnson. Don’t get me wrong – he’s fine in it and the film could be far worse – but much like this years The Meg, the lean towards Chinese audiences (Box office… MONEY!!!!) seems rather forced.  And whilst The Meg (just) got away with it, here it feels all very cynical and by the numbers.  It’s also silly on a level that I haven’t seen in some time but is so unaware of itself it just comes off as a bit stupid.  With it’s tongue planted in cheek they MAY have pulled it off but in a film when even Dwayne Johnson seems bored you know it’s going to be a struggle.

Best Bit: Getting into the tower

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Towering Inferno, Rampage, The Fate Of The Furious, Die Hard

 

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Extinction (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Extinction (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

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Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Extinction is a somewhat odd beast.  It’s frustrating, a little dull and yet at it’s core has a pretty clever central idea that’s never quite realised.  The cast are fine and the direction solid but at every corner you can’t help but notice that the films imagination often quickly hits the limit of it’s budget, often leaving it feeling cheap and unfinished. It’s worth noting that Extinction was dumped onto Netflix by Universal who bailed on the films cinematic release.  So not the worst Netflix ‘original’ but also not the best.

Best Bit: The central idea

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: Cloverfield Paradox, Annihilation, Mudbound  

 

 

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Blog: All Things Film – Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) Reviewed (Advanced Screening)

Blog: All Things Film – Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) Reviewed (Advanced Screening)

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Writer/director Richard Linklater can be a very acquired taste. To some he’s the epitaph of teenage revolt, revel and ruminations; a clever vox pop of youth in any given setting and their trials and social tribulations are woven carefully into the subtext.

Or, as in the case of Everybody Wants Some!!, Linklater can be infuriatingly annoying and unmask what we all fear to be true; that he’s a chancer riding on the success of Slacker and later Oscar-bait such as Boyhood.

There’s no point in telling you about two things. First up is the story. There isn’t one, save to say, a boy named Jake arrives at college in 1980 a weekend before his classes start and mixes into a clique of mostly bearded, tight-jean wearing misogynists. Second, I cannot remember any of the characters exclusively as they sort of all meld into one giant unpleasant vomit ball of sexism.

The opening scene would no doubt do Michael Bay proud. Linklater passing no opportunities up to shoot at great length the bottoms of the freshman teenage girls. it’s all under the guise, of course, of the leering boys in the car as they examine the talent before heading off to a party. Jake, the closest we get to a protagonist (simply because he’s new, and very charming) becomes the centre of attention – and will eventually attract a meaningful relationship to Beverley, who’s treated with slightly more dignity by the camerawork.

What results is a two-hour borefest of extremely lame jokes (actually, they’re more observations) and when the ‘dudes’ aren’t stereotyping themselves as future revenge porn stars with their trite and dull dialogue, they’re attempting to dance at the innumerable nightclubs we find ourselves in.

The entire affair is a colossal bore. It’s pretty much the worst of Kevin Smith meets the worst of Linklater himself. My attention drifted away to other things at a few points in the film, and at about the halfway mark I decided that the film had nothing to say, and nowhere left to go. This revelation proved to be something of an overstatement. It treads the same ground as the unnecessary final twenty minutes of Boyhood, and attempts to throw in some quirky characters along the way. These characters come across as desperate. The entire movie flat-lines early on. I’m here to tell you that the resuscitation not only doesn’t work, but an attempt never even bothers happening.

I guess – on a positive note – you could argue that the eighties soundtrack is well put together. Sure, no problem there. But that’s hardly a dizzying feat when clearly all your budget has been stoking those particular fires.

There were a good dozen people laughing regularly throughout the movie at the ‘jokes’. I failed to find any of them funny, as the characters are so atrociously drawn (though no doubt fairly accurate) and are very hard to like given their extremely chauvinistic attitudes. I felt sorry for the women in the movie.

I felt even more sorry for any future audience who may find themselves sitting in front of the damn thing.

 

Author: Andrew Mackay

 

To hear more on this review (and others like it) make sure you download our very own show, The Film Podcast! 

Blog: All Things Film – Friend Request (2016)  Reviewed

Blog: All Things Film – Friend Request (2016) Reviewed

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I suppose it was inevitable that last year’s Unfriended may spawn some copycat thriller/horror movies. Now that I’ve delved (albeit not too deep) I discover that Friend Request could well have been made before Unfriended and has been sitting on the distribution shelf for a while.

It’s not hard to see why. Friend Request does for horror, what any idiotic teen slasher movies does for ingenuity: i.e., not very much. Sure, it’s set around the whole world of Facebook and a few young, dumb pretty teens getting offed one by one by a malevolent spirit who’s recently committed suicide. The popular girl, Laura, is befriended by Miriam, who’s a total goth loner. Laura’s acceptance of Miriam’s friend request makes her day, and she sets about stalking her until the inevitable mid-point twist of her hanging herself and setting her feet on fire.

If Friend Request sounds a bit like 2000’s Gossip, starring Lena Headey, then you’d not be far off. There’s a university campus/gossip-y thing going on there, which quickly descends into Fatal Attraction (I’m sure the writers were thinking of Glenn Close for the Miriam character) and then, all-out stupidity and any number of recent shite like The Conjuring or Insidious more than fits the bill.

Yet again, we sit back and suffer one dimensional characters making the most idiotic decisions in horror movies. For once I’d like to see a set of teenagers with a pulse and a brain who don’t operate as if they’re aware that they are in a horror film. Creaky, darkened corridors with torches and repeated call outs of “Josh! Are you there?! This ain’t funny, dude?!” are starting to wear really thin.

And so, to the aggravating bugbear. Do teenagers life their lives *constantly* on FaceBook? I found myself shaking my head in utter disaffection more than once, thinking “For God’s sake, stop checking your phone!”. Sure enough, the blonde bimbo who gets killed (I think third) actually advises Laura to just cancel her account and log off. She can’t, you see, as the spirit world is keeping her in check in much the same way we saw in Unfriended.

How about this, Laura: why not throw your laptop in an incinerator? I doubt she’d do that though because, according to recent news stories, even prohibiting these infantile morons from texting during a movie is considered against their human rights; an arbitration of their civil entitlements akin to lopping off a limb.

Ahhh, it’d all be so woefully dull and ironic if it weren’t so maddeningly lame-brained and inconsequential. The film is far from being able to cause offense. Unless, of course, you’re a witch with a black mirror from five hundred years ago; apparently, the netherworld had a clause in its spirit-bothering contract; “thou shalt only haunt those on social media”. This is just utter pish.

 

Author: Andrew Mackay

 

To hear more on this review (and others like it) make sure you download our very own show, The Film Podcast! 

Blog: All Things Film – Eye in the Sky (2016)  Reviewed

Blog: All Things Film – Eye in the Sky (2016) Reviewed

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Uncategorized

Really, this should be re-titled “Good Kill 2” as it’s basically the exact same film that starred Ethan Hawke undergoing some severe traumatic interludes as he’s manning the trigger on the drone that’s going to wipe out a bunch of Brown people. Here, the action is set in Nairobi where a group of terrorists are busy strapping suicide vests to themselves and recording videos.

A curious thought struck me during the film; as Helen Mirren’s hard-nosed colonel is watching this event unfurl on her screen, it appears that these terrorists are really slow in getting ready to go out. It allows enough time for Jeremy Northam, Monica Dolan and Alan Rickman at Whitehall to ponder the various outcomes of dumping a drone and wiping out the targets and assesing the damage of the perimeter.

Thankfully, Barkhad Abdi is on the ground to release a tiny little bug drone to fly into the compound and view the events from inside. Not so much Eye in the Sky, then, as Fly on the Wall – or rather a beam on the ceiling. Director Gavin Hood manages to skilfully interleave the debate of whether or not to strike when a little girl selling bed settles herself just behind the brick wall of the target area. She’s dressed in red, presumably because the guidebook on modern existentialism makes frequent nods to Spielberg and demands that all innocent targets dress in red. But, perhaps that’s just so us Westerners don’t confuse one cannon fodder child from another.

It gets quite tense toward the third act when the decision ultimately seals everyone’s fate. There’s the typical western trope in that another level of innocence enters the scene once it’s too late.

Another worthy note here is just how strangely funny the entire movie is. It seems no-one wants to take responsibility for the actual attack and an inordinate amount of time is wasted faffing around when everyone has to call the next higher up to ultimately pass the buck on to someone else. is it ‘haha’ funny? Not especially. I think the humour comes from the likes of Rickman and Northam playing the higher echelons of political society having to wrestle with the decisions they are ultimately doling out to someone else; we can easily envisage these characters in real life, and imagine David Cameron having to call Donal Trump in less than a year’s time in precisely the same situation. Only, of course, should he be calling President trump, I’m sure the resultant film would only be half as long as Eye in the Sky, and certainly contain more innocent casualties.

If this all seems needlessly misanthropic, then that’s just as well. Hood makes no attempt to mask his opinion on the whole affair. The film segues neatly into a heart-tugging “told you so” sort of epilogue which ultimately damages the movie’s incredible journey to the decision. It’s not needed. Andrew Niccol did much the same thing in Good Kill, but with far less fist.

And so, is Eye in the Sky one for you to catch? Like the characters in this film, I’ll pass the buck to you to decide – but if you enjoyed Good Kill, and don’t mind another finger-waving slap in the face, then this is worth catching.

 

Author: Andrew Mackay

 

To hear more on this review (and others like it) make sure you download our very own show, The Film Podcast!