Cube (1997) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Cube (1997) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Cube was a break out 90’s hit that did a superb job at making the most of a very small budget, one location and a small cast.  Think Clerk’s with deadly traps.  It predated and influenced Saw and came around the time of break out low budget films like Blair Witch.  The 90’s was a really fun decade. However nostalgia aside, Cube has also aged less well than either of those films.  The effects and central concept still hold up but some of the acting can be pretty ropey at times and a slew of less regarded sequels and imitators has somewhat dampened its impact.  This all said it’s still a solid watch and shows what innovation can be done at a lower budget level.

Best Bit: Oh bugger.

Worth a Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: The Blair Witch Project, Saw, Clerks

 


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The Devil’s Advocate (1997) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween ‘ Quick Capsule Review

The Devil’s Advocate (1997) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween ‘ Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Devil’s Advocate is about as subtle as being hit by a brick, in the face, in the middle of a global sporting event whilst its broadcast live on TV with a brass band playing naked in the background.  From Al Pacino dialling up to 11 (and then further) to Taylor Hackford’s direction which leaves nothing unsaid it’s not the kind of film you look for nuance in.  This all said I bloody love it.  Reeves is good, Theron excellent but this is Pacino’s film and he relishes being unleashed as the film get’s crazier and crazier. Pacino really is having a bundle of fun and it shows.  It hold’s up well some 22 years later and despite clocking in at just under two and a half hours the film flies by.  Well worth a rewatch.

Best Bit: Pacino’s 20 minute end monologue

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Constantine, Primal Fear, Dick Tracy

 


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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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Spoiler Alert: Primal Fear (1996)

Spoiler Alert: Primal Fear (1996)

Other Cr*p

In this regular feature we go places few others dare… by spoiling the twist from some great (and not so great) films. So if you haven’t seen the film in question… don’t look!

No really.  Don’t.

 


 

Aaron was faking all the time. He never had split personality, and he acted as a mentally Ill person in order to avoid execution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Full Monty (1997) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

The Full Monty (1997) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Full Monty oddly is a film that has gotten better with age.  Worthy of its reputation as a top notch working class Northern comedy, it’s appeal still endures on stage and screen and it’s a credit to the quality of the martial on display here that it launched or cemented the careers of so many actors.  It also packs a lot in from an love story, sexual awakenings, martial strife and much more. One of the best British films of the 90’s.

Best Bit: The Final Routine

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Brassed Off, Billy Elliot, Four Weddings & A Funeral

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

Con Air (1997) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Con Air (1997) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:

Con Air is 20 today.  So I decided it would be a good idea to take a look at one of my favourite 90’s films. 

The first thing you notice re-watching Con Air is that for an action film it features very little action.  Seriously other than a shoot out, the “Put The Bunny Back in the box” fight and the excellent bone yard scene it’s not the most action packed of action films. That said… it’s still a cracking film that’s aged (and continues to age) very well indeed…

Simon West, a former assistant editor with the BBC and commercials director made his directorial debut under the guidance of producer super star Jerry Bruckheimer (in the days when he made more than terrible Pirate films) working alone after the death of his partner Don Simpson the previous year.  Side note: Simpson apparently hated the idea and relinquished all ties to the film when he and Bruckheimer split prior to his death.  To put this in context the summer tent pole movies of the Simpson/ Bruckheimer partnership had been on a role after The Rock, Bad Boys & Crimson Tide launching along the way directors like Michael Bay and cementing the late Tony Scott as one of the best action movie directors in the business. But things had soured between the producing pair and Bruckheimer was going it alone.  In short: Con Air and West had a LOT to live up to.
And for me at least, It did. With an all star ensemble cast include Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Danny Trejo , Colm Meaney, Ving Rhames and Steve Buscemi, the film was released on June 6th 1997 in the USA.  With a on fire Cage (in his new guise as action man) in the lead as Cameron Poe, a newly paroled ex Ranger who is caught on a prisoner transport plane as its taken over by some of the worst criminals in America (who would have thought that plan would have gone wrong) the film delivers killer one liners, a top notch musical score and some very assured direction to make this one of the best action films of the decade.

It’s just great unpretentious fun where every action beat isn’t edited to an inch of it’s life and the film is allowed to breathe between set pieces. It’s measured and even it’s OTT ending (which admitably does jump the shark a bit in Vegas) isn’t totally unbelievable.  But like a lot of the films around this era (See Armageddon the follow year) it’s the cast that make it shine.  Malkovich especially is great in the villain role and every member of the cast delivers a memorable performance.  It just works.  It even received awards kudos for the accompanying LeAnn Rimes warbling country track “Who Do I Live”.

Its not all good.  Whilst reviews were generally okay some were savage.  Cusack apparently hates the film refusing to be interviewed about it and Ving Rhames confesses to having never seen it.  On top on that Malkovich hated the fact the script was being rewritten on a daily basis and the film saw FX specialist Phil Swatz killed on set.

Problems aside, the film took $223million USD worldwide (on a $75million USD Budget) so was a hit and has been a cult favourite with it’s stature growing as the years have gone on.  I personally prefer it to The Rock and Armageddon and it gets played at least once a year in my house.

Shortly after Con Air the hyper quick editing and explosion driven direction that now make most big budget blockbusters almost unwatchable started to set in.  The ensemble action movie (after the following years Armageddon)  would take a hiatus until The Expendables franchise launched years later (which ironically West would end up directing the 2nd film) and whilst Bruckheimer would go on to have commercial success with Disney and the Pirates films, director West would never manage to out do his work here, with disappointments like Lara Croft Tomb Raider, The Generals Daughter and Stolen.

In short: If you fancy a slice of unpretentious 90’s action fun full of silly one liners, OTT charecters and Steve Buscemi’s most insane character yet you can do FAR worse than Con Air.

 

Best Bit: Is that my car…

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Rock, The Expendables 3, Armageddon

IMDB Rating: 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Chasing Amy (1997)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Chasing Amy (1997)

Other Cr*p

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons WHY it deserves your time!

The Plot: Holden and Banky are comic book artists. Everything’s going good for them until they meet Alyssa, also a comic book artist. Holden falls for her, but his hopes are crushed when he finds out she’s gay.

#1: Can you think of ANY other film that remakes the injury compression scene with Jaws with sex injuries? 

#2: It’s Kevin Smiths most Mature film
Okay yes so thats not saying much but still this was probably Kevin Smith’s most intellectual and well made work.

#3: Silent Bob
Yup Silent Bob, Smiths alter ago, smashes it out of the park with what is whats of the films best scenes.

#4: The Cast…
Yup Smith always had an eye for talent and here is no different.  Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Joey Lauren Adams – they all shine.  It reminded you of just how good Afflect could be in-between a period of pretty poor films.  (Gigi I’m looking at you…)

#5: It’s REALLY funny.  And Rude. And Funny.
Smith, before poop monsters and his obsession with himself got in the way, used to write really funny films.  This is no different.  Chasing Amy is really funny.  

 

The Trailer

 

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Shooting Fish (1997)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Shooting Fish (1997)

Other Cr*p Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons WHY it deserves your time!

The Plot: In their mid-twenties, Dylan (Dan Futterman) and Jez (Stuart Townsend) are two orphans who are over qualified and under employed. Dylan is a fast talking Yank. Jez is a tongue-tied technical genius with a bad haircut.  Tired of the “rich get richer” syndrome, they decide to exploit it. Their aim is to make a million pounds each and London is their oyster. They use every coupon, enter every free prize draw, and scam anyone who can afford it. But into their lives comes Georgia (Kate Beckinsale) who has her own mission, just as driving, just as inventive, but far more altruistic. She needs money – a lot of money…and in Jex and Dylan she’s struck gold!

 

#1:  It’s the One Of the best British films you’ve never seen
Seriously.  It’s funny, smart and well written and was a real gem of the booming Film4 generation of British films (before Film4 went American and overblown).

 

#2: It introduced the world to Kate Beckinsale 
Okay so it wasn’t her first film but it certainly was the film that started her trajectory to becoming one of the UK’s biggest female actresses.

 

#3: It’s got a great soundtrack!
Taking on the music of the day and following very much in the footsteps of Transpotting, Shooting Fish featured a soundtrack mixture of Brit pop and 60’s classics.  I still play it today!

 

#4: It also launched the career of director Stefan Schwartz
Who I hear you say?  Quite.  But since Shooting Fish Schwartz has worked on some of the best thing on TV – Luther, House, Walking Dead, The Bridge, Dexter, Spooks and Hustle

 

#5: It’s charming
Genuine charm is something rare in films but Shooting Fish and it’s young cast have it in spades. It’s also short, snappy and doesn’t hang around.

 

The Trailer

Phil Hobden