Solo: A Star Wars Story – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I liked Solo.  It has issues for sure but overall it’s a thumbs up.  But it’s production issues (fired directors, massive reshoots, more reshoots) do shine through the film, especially the first and last act.  The pacing and tone suffer the most with the original directors comic stylings not sitting at ease with Howard’s more pedestrian direction.  BUT these issues can almost be forgotten when you have performances as spirited and fun as Glover and Ehrenreich who do excellently with such iconic roles, leaving you wanting much more from them.  Harrelson makes a good addition to the Star Wars universe but sadly Emilia Clarke once again fails to shine away from Game Of Thrones.  So not quite a disaster, Solo is a worthy if lesser entry to the Star Wars cannon.

Best Bit: Meet Lando

Worth a Watch:  Just

If You Liked this Try: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars Rebels

 


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White Boy Rick (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

White Boy Rick (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
White Boy Rick is based on a true story of a drug dealing gun totting 15 year old, dragged deep into a world of crime by the FBI.  It’s solid stuff – with Matthew McConaughey delivering yet another strong performance.  But for all it’s grit and dirt it’s the very workman like delivery that lets the film down.  In more solid hands this could have been a really interesting film but as it is it’s more diverting than essential.

Best Bit: Getting close with the girl

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Black Mass, American Gangster, New Jack City

 


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Outlaw King (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Outlaw King (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
It’s not often a single sequence can save a film from being a total bore but Outlaw King’s big battle just about manages to leave you with something memorable to walk away with in the latest Netflix original. That said it’s quite a long slog to get there.  Problem is we’ve seen all this before – Braveheart did it much better and all the TV shows and films that followed too. Also – let’s be honest… the acting here is iffy at best and whilst Pugh and Pine do their best, there’s some pretty stinky acting on display here.  So ultimately this is yet another Netflix original that fails to set world alight.

Best Bit: The final battle

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid

If You Liked this Try: Braveheart, Kingdom Of Heaven, Rob Roy

 


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Widows (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Widows (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Widows, based on a British TV series, is a good idea that’s a but pedestrian in its execution.  It’s not bad by any stretch with some solid central performances and a few nice turns but ultimately it’s a pretty simple story that’s told over run time that’s too long and a pace that’s far too slow.  This isn’t a film about a heist, it’s about soul searching and coming together and I guess it achieves that but I wanted more from this concept and more from the script to give me women I could believe would actually pull this off (and that I care if they do).  Diverting but not essential.

Best Bit: The heist

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Town, Dead Presidents, Set It Off

 


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A Prayer Before Dawn (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

A Prayer Before Dawn (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
A Prayer Before Dawn is a hard film to watch.  Violence, rape, drugs, brutal beatings… it certainly doesn’t leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling afterwards.  However that may be… it’s still a powerful, affecting watch that, based on a true story, hammers home the dangers of undertaking criminal deeds in foreign countries. Its unflinching and exhausting, with a charged and powerful performance from Peaky Blinders actor Joe Cole and tight, if a touch repetitive, direction.  This isn’t Ong Bak and it makes the borstals of Scum seem appealing.

Best Bit: In the ring

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Scum, Michael Inside, Peaky Blinders

 


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Endgame Week: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Endgame Week: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Avengers: Infinity War is over ten years in the making. Thats a lot to live up to then.  So the big question… does it deliver on those exceptionally insane expectations? Well yes.  Just.  Look any film that has a run time of two and a half hours and brings over 30 established characters to the screen is going to feel at times rushed and overstuffed.  But surprisingly the pacing here is one of it’s strong points and the characters the film does focus on works well (see Capt, Stark, Strange, Guardians) .  That does mean some characters are left on the back burner but you can’t have it all.  Also Thanos ends up being one of THE great comic book movie villains.  You believe in him as a character and he’s painted with a few shades of grey.  Brolin also doesn’t play him shouty shouty which makes him fee more real.   The biggest issue the film has is lack of surprise.  Outside the opening sequence, little happens that you don’t expect (with the exception of one sequence featuring the return of an old foe).  Characters fight and do what they do with very little consequence. And whilst I appreciate this was always meant to feel like the first of two films, the ending left me a bit hollow feeling like the inevitable big death will take place in the next film.  I was frustrated that I’m going to have to wait a year to get resolution – a resolution that will undo what was a powerful end of Infinity War.   So overall this is a top notch Marvel film for sure but one that isn’t quite the 5 star epic that mainstream reviewers have painted it as.

Best Bit: Soul Stone

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: The Avengers Assemble, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians Of The Galaxy 

 


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Free Solo (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Free Solo (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I hardly breathed during Free Solo, it’s that tense.  And that isn’t hyperbole.  I had to stop the film twice to get my breathing back on track.  A truly incredible, once in a life time feat of human endeavour sits at the heart of Free Solo but it’s more than just the act (albeit the climb itself is just breathtakingly tense, even if you know the outcome) , it’s the intimate look and access given to the filmmakers and presented to us, the audience, that allows you to buy into this incredible journey. A now Oscar winning National geographic film, directed By Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, allows you to feel part of this endeavour and feel every fall, trips lip and hang. The personal toll and ultimate feeling to achievement. In short:  Tense, beautiful and stunning.

Best Bit: The final climb

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Man On Wire, Meru, Touching the Void

 


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Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Bad Times at the El Royale takes me back to the 90’s.  The split narrative, title cards, cool retro vibe… it’s what back in the day would have been branded as a Wanna Be Tarantino film (it even has a Briefcase style McGuffin in the cine film canister). Years down the line a bit ‘Tarantino’ has become a byword for a film that feels long and a touch bloated.  Which I guess probably fits even better… yup Bad Times is cool, yup bad Times has some great ideas and yup Bad Times is well acted but Bat Times is also too long, a bit too meandering and, ultimately, a really simple narrative that could have easily been 40 minutes shorter.  So fun often but not always, essential no.  So like most recent Tarantino into films then…

Best Bit: The room rescue

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Hateful Eight, Reservoir Dogs, Things To Do In Denver When You Are Dead

 


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The Old Man & The Gun (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Old Man & The Gun (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Old Man & the Gun tells a fascinating story… just not in a fascinating way.  It’s not like the cast don’t deliver – they do and are by far the best thing about the film.  But the direction and pace are so slow that even for a lean ninety minute run time the film feels slow.  Redford is fun and for sure enjoying the (mostly) true life story of Forrest Tucker but there needed to be much more to this to make it essential.

Best Bit: Redford

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Mule, White Boy Rick, A Simple Plan 

 


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The Last Movie Star (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Last Movie Star (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Last Movie Star is a fitting send off for the legend that is Burt Reynolds.  An intimate look at a fading legend, Reynolds reminds us once again just what a great actor he could be given the right material.  The film hammers it points home with come clever use of classic Reynolds footage but never feels heavy handed and his relationship with Ariel Winters character is genuinely touching.  It may not be for everyone but as a life long Burt fan I couldn’t think of a better good bye than this.

Best Bit: Reynolds being Reynolds

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Cannonball Run, Smokey & The Bandit, Boogie Nights 

 


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