Don’t Breathe (2016) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween’ Quick Capsule Review

Don’t Breathe (2016) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween’ Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Don’t Breathe is actually really rather good.  A paired back, tense (and at times) brutal home invasion film with a difference, it’s limited budget, limited locations and stand out cast put this up there as one of 2016’s best horrors.  And whilst you may or may not like the Blumhouse style filming on display here (Blumhouse are not directly involved with the film – this one’s from Rami’s Ghost House pictures), his influence on the genre as a whole shines here – simple premise, low budget, small cast, tense and brutal.  This new wave of horror films are delivering both commercially and critically.   A must see.

Best Bit: Basement

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Green Room, The Purge, The People Under The Stairs

 


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VHS Massacre (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review

VHS Massacre (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
VHS Massacre is a fascinating look at the decline of physical media through the eyes of independent cinema and filmmakers.  With some great interviews (Lloyd Kaufman is money as always) the film pitches a hopeful future where collectors and enthusiasts keep physical media alive – be it VHS or more recent variants.  If you grew up with VHS, with Troma or ever watched a no budget film then this is essential viewing.

Best Bit: I’ve seen that!  

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape, American Grindhouse, Not Quite Hollywood

 


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Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
This is strange.  A trilogy of animated films that, for the most part, are probably more consistent than almost ANY other trilogy of movies I’ve ever seen.  Seriously.  Okay so it’s far from high art of the heady heights of Toy Story but man Kung Fu Panda 3 knocks it out the park once again.  Great voice cast, stunning animation and a sense of fun & adventure often missing from these types of films, this was a pleasant surprise and highly recommended.

Best Bit: Jack Black

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2, Toy Story Trilogy

 


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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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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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The Secret Life Of Pets (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

The Secret Life Of Pets (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Secret Life of Pets is basically Toy Story without Pixar.   That’s not a bad thing of course but it does feel like somewhat of a retread of the much better Pixar classic.  It’s charming, funny and (occasionally) smart.  It’s also not as funny as it should have been, not as clever as you want it to be and not as charming as it thinks it is… which is a shame as the film has bucket loads of potential. Ultimately the kids will love it, adults with find it witty and it will make money.  Hopefully of the sequel they can develop the bits that worked best into a what could be a comedy gem.

Best Bit: When the owners leave…

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Toy Story, Despicable Me 2, Toy Story 3

 


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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)  – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Rogue One stands up REALLY well.  Also watched in order (before A New Hope) it ties together the story really well!  For me it’s now officially the 4th best Star Wars film.  Action packed with great, memorable characters, ample surprises and a convincing, driving narrative, this Star Wars story delivers on the promise despite extensive reshoots and rewrites at the latter end of production.  The effects are everything you’d hope for and the battles at times breathtaking.  Okay so not everything works well (see a few certain effects that break the uncanny valley) BUT this is by far the best blockbuster of 2016.  A must see.

Best Bit: WAR!

Worth A Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: A New Hope

 


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Grimsby (2016)-  A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Grimsby (2016)- A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Critically Sacha Baron Cohen’s worst performing film to date, Grimsby in general however seems to have connected far better with the fans.  Why?  Well because its’ actually pretty funny.  Okay so it doesn’t hit the heights of Borat or Bruno, but there is a hell of a lot to like here as Baron Cohen pushes beyond the levels of decency in what could feature at least two of the most gross out sequences ever put in a comedy film.  Oddly behind its knob gags and The Sun level humour there’s actually quite an interesting ideas about where you come from and the meaning of family at play here, something that most critics missed (that said it’s easy to do under the weight of penis related jokes).  So occasionally clever than it thinks, frequently low brow but smashed the Kermode six laugh test with ease.

Best Bit: Elephants.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Borat, The Dictator, Bruno

 


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Straight Outta Compton (2015) –  A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Straight Outta Compton (2015) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Biopics are hard to pull off, especially when the subject (s) are both well known and still living.  But give a good director a good story and an oscar nominated script (criminally the only nominations or this film) and you end up with Straight Outta Compton – a quality look at the rise of N.W.A and rap music in America in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Dre, Cube, E and Snoop are all represented here and whilst the film has taken some flack for leaving some of the rougher edges out, it’s still pretty hard hitting at times. Racism, AIDS, betrayal, drugs and money – it’s all on display alongside some of the best music of the decade.  A must see.

Best Bit: F–k The Police

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: 8 Mile; Boyz In The Hood

 


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Ghostbusters (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Ghostbusters (2016) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Okay so this isn’t the disaster the early marketing suggested it could be but it’s also FAR away from the 4 star reviews it’s been getting. I think, ultimately, I just don’t get Paul Feig films – The Heat, Bridesmaids and Spy especially did NOTHING for me and here, again, whilst the cast all do okay (standout being Kate McKinnon) you just can’t help but feel there’s nothing new here once the role reversal gimmick wears off. You are left with a reboot I didn’t really want, of a film that didn’t need it, and a director that goes out of his way to remind you just how good the original film really was.

Best Bit: Hemsworth

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Heat, Bridesmaids,  Spy

 


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