Dolemite Is My Name (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Dolemite Is My Name (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
It’s been a while but after nearly 20+ years without making an essential film, Eddie Murphy makes the come back of come backs with a truly standout performance in the excellent Dolemite Is My Name.  Telling the true to life (ish) story of Rudy Ray Moore, Murphy is back at his sweary best but never forgets to make his subject someone you really care about.  Honestly this is probably his best performance since Coming To America and he’s obviously relishing every second. The film? Equally excellent and for sure one of 2019’s best films.

Best Bit: Eddie Murphy

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: Coming To America, Dolemite, Coffy 

 


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Uncut Gems (2020) – A Quick Capsule Review

Uncut Gems (2020) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Uncut Gems is not an easy film to watch.  It’s exhausting – a two hour plus film that runs at 100 metre sprint pace… a wall of sound and noise, of shouting and aggression, of violence and people.  But it’s a bloody good one.  Sandler delivers a performance that reminds you that not only can he act (and is far better than the dross Netflix has him starring in) but in fact given the right material he could hold his own with anyone.  in fact, as the story unfolds, Sandler creates a character you oddly sympathise with him even though he is as far from likeable as you can get. It’s pretty criminal that he was snubbed at the Oscars (as was the film and directors the Safdie’s).  Outside Sandler the film is still just as good – from its direction to its support cast and phenomenal score.  Sure Uncut Gems won’t be for everyone but if you want a film that pushes your sense to the limit, that’s unlike anything I’ve seen in years then Uncut Gem is for you.

Best Bit: THAT ending

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: The King Of New York, Good Time, Punch Drunk Love

 


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The Gentleman (2020) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Gentleman (2020) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Okay so Guy Richie returning to familiar ground isn’t always a guarantee of success (See Revolver) but after years of playing in someone else’s sandpit, the British director’s return to the genre he helped revive, feels long overdue and very much welcome. The Gentleman won’t be for everyone – it drops it’s fair amount of C-bombs & violence alongside a cast that are dialing up the Ham to factor 15 – but for fans of the directors earlier works this is a rare treat.  What Richie has crafted here is an old school 18 rated UK crime film released in the cinema (something quite rare these days) with suave, swagger and style where the cast look like they are having the time of their lives (even if Matthew McConaughey is outclassing them all playing it dead straight). The Gentleman is funny when it needs to be, sharp when it wants to be and menacing when you least expect it. In short: I bloody loved it.  Special note to Hugh Grant who obviously is having the time of his life.

Best Bit:McConaughey playing it like he’s in an Oscar contender.

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: Snatch, RocknRolla, Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels 

 


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World’s Greatest Dad (2009) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

World’s Greatest Dad (2009) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Damn. There’s nothing like watching a career best performance to make you REALLY realise how you are going to miss someone.  It’s hard to watch a Robin Williams film now with no degree of post death hyperbole or cushioned, romantic, teary eyes critical love.  The sadness of his passing make sit almost impossible.  Yet beyond all this, his performance here is nothing short of excellent. Touching, heart breaking and fragile, Williams gives a more nuanced performance that his more audience friendly roles he will be remembered for. Which is a shame as World’s Greatest Dad could well be his most intimate look into himself, into Robin Williams the flawed genius.  Watch for Williams but stay for the really rather exellant film he’s part of.

Best Bit: Robin Williams

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: God Bless America, Good Will Hunting, One Hour Photo

 

Rating:

 


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Kick Ass 2 – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Kick Ass 2 – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

The Review: First let me say this. I wasn’t a massive fan of Kick Ass. I didn’t hate it but much like Scott Pilgrim, Sin City & Watchman I found it to be more style than substance. Too aware of it’s own geek cool and not afraid to point it out at every moment.

Yes Mortez was great, no I didn’t care she said ‘Cunt’ at the tender age of 11 and yes the action was brutal, but nothing I hadn’t seen a million times before. I liked the central idea of an everybody becoming a superhero but overall I walked out think “that was okay” and haven’t revisited the film since.\

With this in mind I pretty much stayed away from the hype and promotion for KickAss 2, fully aware that I’d probably see the film but didn’t need that geek cool to be rammed down my throat once again.

With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy but when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes. Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad.

Looking at the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes this morning I was shock to see this film sitting at a paltry 28%. That’s less than the critically mauled Lone Ranger. Especially surprising as I thought, overall, this was a much more enjoyable film that the original Kick Ass, less concerned about looking cool, shocking for shock’s sake and shouting ‘I Was Based on a Really Cool Comic Book Don’t You Know’ and more about just interesting characters in even more interesting situations.

In fact, as much as I loved Iron Man 3, for me Kick Ass 2 is the best superhero film of 2013. Cool in it’s own way, with people I actually cared about. Okay so apparently it’s toned down from the comic (I’m not sure we really needed the gang rape of a main character) but as I’m not a fan of the source material that doesn’t really bother me. In fact more over the fact that it doesn’t just set out to shock is for me what stands out about it’s predecessor.

Kick Ass 2 also has some strong action sequences, not least a Good Guys Vs Bad Guys battle that looses the now standard CGI monsters vs Monsters stick of the studio Marvel films and goes with something a little… different. And is FAR more entertaining because of it. Hit Girl vs Mother Russia is for sure the fight of the year to date.

On the subject of Hit Girl, Props go to Chloe Grace Mortez who once again shines and shows that, as long as she doesn’t go all Lohan, she has an amazing and probably award winning career in front of her. Also a massive shout out for Jim Carey who delivers the best performance of his twilight career, even if he was too much of an arse to promote the film (even though his winging actually created even more publicity of the movie… ). Mintz-Plasse is also great as the self titled Mother Fucker, even if he does just deliver the TradeMarked Mintz-Plasse performance.

With assured but not overly showy direction, some social commentary about what it is to fit in, a host of solid action sequences and characters you actually care for, Kick Ass 2 is that rare beast of both a sequel that ends up being more enjoyable that the original and a superhero film that didn’t feel the need to collapse into a CGI want fest.

In short: Fuck the critics, fuck the source material. Just go make up your own mind. You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

Rating:

 


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Sharknado Week: Sharknado – A Quick Capsule Review

Sharknado Week: Sharknado – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Sharknado. Yes. Shark-bloody-nado. Hell I have ZERO idea what I can say about this film other than if you think the title sounds silly then this is a film you will hate with an extreme passion.  If like me the title sounds all manor of awesome, then there’s a lot to love in this knowingly cheesy, cheap as chips, barking mad Sharks in a tornado movie. For everyone else, I’d probably recommend avoiding this. Genius.  Mad genius.

Best Bit: Chainsaw + Shark = Fun

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Buy

If you liked this try: Ghost Shark (UR); Sand Shark  (UR); MegaShark vs Crockosaurus (UR)

Rating: 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

 

 

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The Bay – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

The Bay – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Bay is a real surprise.  Firstly it’s a big name director (Oscar winner Barry Levinson) doing something VERY different and secondly, probably even more relevant, it’s an original and engrossing found footage movie.  Shocks, scares and thrills aplenty here but also a good story that replies on more than jump shocks (that said it ha s a few classics) and cheap tricks.  Highly recommended.

Best Bit: The direction and concept

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Buy

If you liked this try: The Blair Witch Project (8/10); REC (8/10); Paranormal Activity (8/10)

 

Rating:

 

 

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Avengers Week: Thor The Dark World : A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Avengers Week: Thor The Dark World : A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

With Avengers: Infinity War opening this week, Phil’s Quick Capsule Review will be rerunning the reviews of some of our favourite Marvel Films!

The Review: For me the original Thor film was my second , least favourite Marvel adaptation after Captain America (sorry Capt.).  It wasn’t bad but it always felt like it was missing something special.  Now, two years later and bolstered by an appearance alongside his Avengers buddies, the Blonde, buff god returns in what is a far more well rounded and successful movie.

The Story: Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Firstly let’s get this out the way.  Thor 2 is actually really good.  Excellent in fact.  Of all the Avengers films, it’s probably the most ‘together ‘ .  It has a simple story, which moves at pace, with action and drama but keeping it tight enough to come in at under 2 hours.  It even manages to get around (at least MOSTLY get around) the standard CGI monster fighting CGI good guy trope that has hobbled the end of every Avengers film since Iron Man.

A large reason why the film works so well is the sublime decision to once again sit an unlikely candidate in the director’s chair.   Be it Jon Favreau for Iron Man or James Gunn for the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy, Marvel have a knack of picking the right man for the job.  This time out respected TV and Game Of Thrones director Alan Taylor brings a more even vision to the film, much more suited to the material than Kenneth Branagh, and obviously revels in having a larger that his usual budget to play with.   The action is clean and well shot, and best of all you can see every punch, every explosion and every insane flying spaceship moment.

Oh and talking of flying Spaceship moments… director Taylor is obviously a fan of 80’s cheese fest Flash Gordon, being that he borrows a considerable part of the films finale for the attack on Asgard.  Not that I’m complaining as the mix of sci-fi, Norse legend, super hero and action make for a pleasant change form the usual Earth bound Marvel world.

Hemsworth once again proves he is a man of considerable talent, delivering action alongside comedy and the occasional pathos.  Naturally Natalie Portman has little to do (as is the female role generally in a Marvel film) but she remains a welcome addition, as does the returning Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston (once again a stand out as Loki) and Anthony Hopkins (as his most gravelly).  Rene Russo even gets to kick arse, which is nice.  As for former Dr Who and professional grump Christopher Eccleston he does good with his limited bad guy role, but in reality with the added make up and FX it could have been anyone as Dark Elf leader Malekif.

In truth the film has little against it, other than maybe an element of familiarity, and ends up being one of the best blockbusters of the year.  Maybe not as good overall as Iron Man 3, but certainly more fun. For the most part.

So overall a good script, great characters and some snappy dialogue alongside standout action sequences and a fast pace mean that deservedly Thor The Dark World will be another hit for Marvel.  Truly a studio that cant seem to get it wrong.

Rating:

 

 

Logan – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Logan – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s (Not So) Quick Capsule Review:

Logan is a violent film.  If you are expecting the standard PG-13 rated X-Men franchise cartoon action and happy endings then this may not be for you.  Because what you have here is a full on R rated swear fest with some pretty hardcore claws through the face, arm ripping off, Wolverine action that comic book fans have been waiting for since the character first stepped onto the big screen.

A sequel of sorts to the whole X-Men universe but without ever needing to be propped up on the weight of the series mythology, Logan takes the ball that Deadpool threw out last year and runs with it.  Deadpool showed that there was a huge market for a more mature comic book adapation and whilst that film added humour to pepper it’s violence, Logan just goes all in on the blood and guts. That’s not to say the film has no laughs.  It does.  But usually they are dark humoured and surrounded by limbs being severed.

Logan is the Unforgiven of superhero films, a latter day John Wayne western that tracks the broken hero of old on one last quest.  It’s moody, it’s full of long drawn out moments and it’s unlike any comic book adaptation you have ever seen.  And this is it’s major strength.  It a world where these films are generic and cookie cutter, Logan takes the format and throws it away. Yeah it keeps elements of what we expect but for the most part the film remains grounded. It feels real.  Turns out director Mangold, who delivered the almost good 2013 Wolverine film, when unshackled from the grasp of the studio can deliver the film we’ve all been waiting for.

As with most X-Men films it manages to both feel part of a wider universe but also manages to have no real connection of any actual continuity, a fact that long time X-Men fans have come to accept (Fox are like the anti-marvel in this regard).  It goes without saying that Jackman, always a high point of the franchise, kills it here untethered  from the family friendly films of old.  He relishes every cuss word, every strike of his claw, every brutal kill.  Patrick Stewart is also commanding in a role that feels like a very natural progression for the character he’s played alongside Jackman for many years.  But it’s newcomer  Dafne Keen who manages to steal the show as X-23.  She’s completely believable in a role that sees here switch from cute kid to murderous rage filled killer.
It’s not all successful.  I’m still not sold on Merchant’s casting who brings his usual one note performance here and the film could easily loose 15+ minutes as several of the action scenes, whilst fun, are repetitive.  It may also been seen as a bit too bleak.

But… the film is good enough for these not to matter.  This is a brave film in a genre that sometimes fails to take enough chances.  It’s not afraid to give conclusions, to be brutal, to show the young X-23 in full on berserker mode.

Despite it’s few faults, the film does more than enough to warrant your attention.  It’s good.  Really good at times.  It’s finally the Wolverine movie we’ve wanted for over 15 years.

Best Bit: Beserker. 

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Unforgiven, The Searchers, Deadpool

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Blog: Straight Outta Compton – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: Straight Outta Compton – A Quick Capsule Review

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

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden