‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: From the director of 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene comes an equally impressive deep dive into Ridley Scott’s original Alien film. From Dan O’Bannon’s creation and inspirations through to a look at the creation of one of cinema’s most iconic scenes. It’s an impressive feat for sure but it is missing some key interviews – notable director Scott (whose mostly shown in archive footage) and star Weaver who is missing completely. That said the film is still pretty interesting both for fans of the films and filmmakers alike, but it does lack the laser focus that 78/52 brought.
Best Bit: Chest burster
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream
If You Liked this Try: 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, Alien, Alien: Covenant
Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the award nominated Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years, currently co-hosts Ross And Phil Talk Movies and is a writer/editor for his own blog Phil’s Quick Capsule Review…
Phil’s Quick look at what’s wetting his whistle for the upcoming year in films…
Well 2017 saw Marvel driver big and DC retain it’s patchy record. Horror stood out overall as most of the big Blockbusters fell short. 2018 has the promise to be even more mixed… so here’s the films I’m most looking forward to in 2017. And a few that I’d be happy to miss.
Most Excited: Avengers: Infinity War Like it or not this is the biggest film of the year and whilst I have reservations (Age Of Ultron wasn’t great and the trailer did little for this latest instalment did little for me) BUT Marvel have been building to this for over 10 years and with the talent involved both on screen and off this could be a once in a life time film. Or Justice League Mark 2. Time will tell.
2. Deadpool 2 The original Deadpool was brilliant and by all accounts if the trailer is anything to go by this could be as good if not better. Enter Cable to the X-Men universe and with all the returning faces from part one Deadpool could be the last great 18 rated film Fox makes if the merger with Disney goes ahead.
3. Black Panther Marvel bring a more unconventional Superhero tale to the screen, and with an excellent trailer and Marvel’s near flawless 2017 record this has the ability to be something quiet special indeed.
4. Bohemian Rhapsody Yes it’s had production issues and yes Singer isn’t a nice guy but with Dexter Fletcher taking over and with Queens backing this could be the film about the great Freddie Mercury that we have ALL been wait for.
5. The Incredibles 2 The Incredibles was, er, Incredible and this belated sequel looks like it could be another smash hit for Pixar. Lets just hope its more Toy Story 2 than Cars 2.
Bubbling Under: Tomb Raider (Good Trailer, great cast), Ant Man & The Wasp (Ant Man was great fun), The Predator (Shane Black + Predator = Hell Yes!), Mission Impossible 6 (These films tend to always be fun), The Happytime Murders (Brian Henson + Muppets = Heaven), The Purge: Island (LOVE the Purge Films), The Irishman (Scorsese teams with DeNiro & Pacino), Halloween (New sequel that ignores previous. With Carpenter’s blessing AND music)
Stinker Of The Year: Fifty Shades Freed Yes I’ve watched BOTH Fifty Shades movies. And yes BOTH have previously taken the WORST FILM of the year titles. Look this franchise has nothing. Poor acting, poor direction and poor writing topped off with S&M so softcore you could see harder on Babestation. Thankfully this will bring this torrid series to an end and hopefully the careers of all involved.
Also Dreading: Solo – A Star Wars Story (fired directors, Ron Howard, total reshoots – this could be the first Disney Star Wars flop), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Boring trailer and a sense of having done this before), Day of The Dead: Bloodline (please no), Ready Player One (Spielberg hasn’t made a truly interesting film for a while), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (X-Men films just don’t grab me anymore), Oceans 8 (Just WHY!), Scarface (Urban Scarface remake….a film NOBODY asked for), Pacific Rim: Uprising (God no)
So how did I do last year?
This is the time of the year when I look back at my picks of the good, the bad and the ugly from 2017 and see how close I was (or as it often is the case, how far!)…
For best: I tipped Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Star Wars The Last Jedi, War For The Planet Of The Apes, T2: Trainspotting and John Wick Chapter 2 as my most anticipated of 2017. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was good but eclipsed by both Spiderman Homecoming and Thor Ragnorok.War For The Planet Of The Apes was good but fell a bit short of the rave reviews it was given. T2: Trainspotting was one of my top 5 films of the year (and film of the year for almost half of 2017) whilst John Wick 2 was a bit shit. Star Wars The last Jedi meanwhile. As for the rest? Silence, Spiderman: Homecoming, Alien: Covenant and Baywatch were all either great or enjoyable.
As for the Stinkers? Transformers: The Last Knight was picked as the stinker of the year but eventually was pipped by Fifty Shades Darker. Both were appalling. Wonder Woman was actually mostly excellent, Blade Runner 2049 ended up as one of teh years best and Logan knocked it out the park. XXX: Return Of Xander Cage was dumb funbut The Mummy, Power Rangers and Cars 3 all were in the worst of the year.
Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five. This time out: The top 5 Summer Blockbusters 2017
(Baby Driveris excluded as it’s not a ‘blockbuster’ )
Close but no cigar:Atomic Blonde, Alien: Covenant, Wonder Woman, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
5 – Fast & Furious 8 For sure there were better films this Summer, but Fast 8 was damn good stupid fun.
4 – Dunkirk Nolan through structure and convention out the window and delivered what was one of the most interesting films of the year. Not his best but Dunkirk was clever and stood out form the crowd.
3 – War For The Planet Of The Apes The Apes Trilogy came to a satisfying end, even of the War of the title never really came as expected with the film ending up being far smaller and intimate than expected.
2 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Kurt Russell. In a Marvel film. With Groot. And Rocket. And Drax. And… what’s not to love??? 1 – Spiderman: Homecoming Marvel did what Sony couldn’t and delivered a reboot of Spiderman that made sense, was well cast and took a new approach on a familiar character. And they won the Summer with it.
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Life is okay. It’s not terrible by a long way and whilst it treads almost zero new ground (and oddly treads a lot of ground covered by Alien Covenant which was released a few months later) it’s certainly a fun ride. The cast is fun, the direction makes good use of the confined spaces and the story moves at pace. Yes it’s silly, yes there’s better films out this year but for a sub two hour time passer I QUITE enjoyed it.
Best Bit: Broken Hand!
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream
If You Liked this Try: Alien Covenant, Gravity, Arrival
So this is my semi-regularly updated of the BEST and WORST of 2017’s movies, as well as the best films I missed from last year and the Phil’s Quick Capsule Review Sharknado Award. All in my very humble opinion…
BEST Films Of 2017… So Far:
T2 Trainspotting (9/10)
OJ Made In America (9/10)
La La Land (8/10)
Honourable Mentions: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (8/10), Get Out (8/10), Silence (8/10), Hidden Figures (8/10), Fast & Furious 8 Aka Fate Of The Furious (7/10), Wonder Woman (7/10), The Founder (7/10), XXX: Return Of Xander Cage (7/10), Ghost In The Shell (7/10), Alien Covenant (7/10)
WORST Films Of 2017… So Far:
Fifty Shades Darker (2/10)
Assassins Creed (3/10)
Underworld Blood War (4/10)
Hacksaw Ridge (5/10)
Dis-Honourable Mentions: King Arthur Legend Of The Sword (5/10), Live By Night (5/10), Sing! (5/10)
The 2017 Sharknado Award for Films So Good (!) They Cant Be Rated:
2 Lava 2 Lantula
Great Films Of 2016 That I saw In 2017:
The Edge Of Seventeen, The Girl With All The Gifts, Train To Busan, Deepwater Horizon, Kubo & The Two Strings, Sing Street, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, 13th, I Daniel Blake
In our latest regular feature, coming out the first Friday of each month, Phil (of Phil’s Quick Capsule Review) breaks down a film related subject in order of his own personal enjoyment from Best To Worst. This time out: Alien Films! [divider]
Best: Aliens (The Directors Cut)
Aliens is not just a high water mark for the Alien franchise itself but it’s also a high watermark in sequels, action and science fiction films. Yes – its that good (in fact one of my top 5 films of all time). Especially in it’s extended edition (Sentry guns!). James Cameron has never been better (T2 was close) and delivers action & thrills alongside a memorable quotable script. A classic. (Side note it also gave us a piece of music that has been used in almost every action film trailer since…)
Alien is a tense science fiction survival horror with an award worthy central performance by Sigourney Weaver and career making direction from Ridley Scott. It’s aged well and still today, over 35 years after it was released stands up as one of the best films of its genre.
3. Alien 3: The Alternate Cut
Alien 3 is much and unfairly maligned as a film. This “Alternate Cut” (listed here as a separate film as that is pretty much what it is) restores some of David Fincher’s original vision for the film as well as taking away some of the less liked elements. The effects on this restored version aren’t great but what IS pretty stunning is how much better this film is that it’s studio messed with original.
4. Alien 3
Growing up I watched Alien 3 almost as much as I did Aliens. It’s gritty approach, limited technology and the way it tossed aside the more upbeat ending of Aliens appealed to me. Yes it’s flawed for sure and the studio enforced ending doesn’t work but it has moments that show just how great this could have been had the studio let Fincher do his thing.
5. Alien Covenant
Alien Covenant isn’t perfect. But it’s a far more enjoyable movie than Prometheus was, finally delivering us the Alien we wanted alongside a story that, whilst I don’t always like, at least mostly makes sense. Visually great but still full of dumb people doing dumb things, it ramps up the action and is never dull. Pulp Alien for sure but good pulp…
6. Alien: Resurrection
There’s a sharp drop off between Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection but it’s not a film without merit. The issue here come from the franchise bring back Weaver after her death in Alien 3. There were so many directions the film could have gone in but sadly it ends up as a much lesser retread of the three films previous. And don’t even get me started on the new born.
Great idea. Badly done. Prometheus is a mess of a film which offers a stupid script with stupid characters doing stupid things. It’s dull at times, makes no connection in production design to the previous films (the technology is well beyond Alien Resurrection which is set years ahead) and wastes what could have been an interesting film.
8. Alien Vs Predator 2: Requiem
Alien Vs Predator Requiem is bad. It’s just slightly less bad that the original. The main issues (other than story & cast) come from the filmmakers desire to shoot everything so dark that you cant see anything for the bulk of the movie. Totally forgettable, it’s a low point for the franchise.
Worst : Alien Vs Predator
You take the two most iconic creatures from cinema. Ignore the excellent games and comic books which offered far superior storylines and you deliver what is an utter mess of a film. Nonsensical, boring and badly made this film does nothing with it’s concept. One to avoid.
On their way to colonise a new world, the crew of the starship Covenant intercept a signal from a nearby planet and go to investigate. Upon arrival they discover a crashed Engineer spacecraft and the android David (Michael Fassbender) who has been marooned there since arriving some ten years previously. Soon things take a turn for the worst as one by one the crew become infected with an extraterrestrial virus that spawns the xenomorph aliens. With time running out its now down to the remaining survivors to escape before they too fall victim to their hellish surroundings.
When Prometheus was released in 2012 audiences found themselves split down the middle – some absolutely hated it, whilst others (like me) thought it was a well made but deeply flawed film that somewhat squandered its admittedly fascinating story line which ended up posing far more questions than it did answers. For example – why did the Engineers create humanity only to end up hating it? Why did they create the virus in the first place? Finally why on Earth did Ridley Scott edit the life out of the films finale which meant the whole thing ended on a staggeringly disappointing anticlimax?
These are answers that i hoped would be put right in this latest entry in the long running Alien franchise. Sadly this was not the case. Yes i will admit that some areas were covered. We do get to find out the origin of the Xenomorphs – however this is another let down, we also get to see the Engineers, but this is so fleeting that it ultimately proves to be pointless plus we dont get to see them again which infuriated the hell out of me.
What also struck me was that upon meeting David none of the Covenant crew seem to ask who the Engineers are, or what the mission of the Prometheus was in the first place – its almost as if Ridley Scott is deliberately avoiding the incredibly interesting story from the first film and just concentrating on the next chestburster scene or an appearance from one of the Aliens. This for me was totally the wrong way to go as its all been done many times over in all the previous Alien films , which sadly meant that there is never any sense of tension, shocks , or most importantly – originality.
In addition, whilst it is very well acted by the entire cast, we never get to really know anything about them. Whereas this worked well in Scott’s original Alien, it doesn’t here at all. Indeed the only characters with any real depth are the Androids Walter and David – both played by Michael Fassbender. Speaking of which it is he who is the films one saving grace – putting in a brilliant dual performance that is simply flawless in its execution – one has to say that Fassbender is rapidly becoming one of the greatest actors of his generation – one can only hope that he appears in the recently announced next chapter of this franchise.
I would also like to say how disappointed i am in Ridley Scott. At times he has made some truly astounding films – Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and The Martian were all absolutely brilliant – but there seems to be another side to him that means we get stuck with the likes of The Councillor, GI Jane, Exodus and Hannibal – all well made but staggeringly average efforts that appear to have been made by a director on autopilot – and this is what seems to have happened with Alien Covenant. What Scott needs to do is step off this franchise and let someone else have a a go as his heart clearly isnt in it anymore and there are too many Alien fans out there (me included) that deserve far better.
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Alien Covenant is the best Alien film since Alien 3. For many that may be damning with faint praise but actually I have always held (and still do) Alien 3 with high regard, and for sure it’s the Alien film I have watched the most. Covenant is also miles better than Prometheus, which again wasn’t hard, delivering a bloody, gore filled two hours that moves at pace and makes the most out of a concept and ideas we have seen done many times before. Fassbender steals the film as Michael and this time Scott remembers to deliver a story alongside the impressive visuals and production design. When the titular Alien finally arrives it’s worth the wait (although I’d still rather a man in a suit than the usual CGI) and even if the ending makes no sense film overall is satisfying and worthwhile addition to the franchise.
Phil’s Quick look at what’s wetting his whistle for the upcoming year in films…
Well 2016 was a bit… odd. With most of the big films not quite hitting the mark, especially comic books films. 2017 looks like more of the same – big budget super heroes, franchises, remakes and sequels. Here’s the films I’m most looking forward to in 2017.
Most Excited: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Marvel continues to do solid work, with Doctor Strange being a highlight of 2016. Also Guardians was, simply put, bloody terrific. Oh and have you seen THAT trailer. Baby Groot? Atomic Bomb? Yup. Sold.
2. Star Wars Episode 8 Lucasfilm in the hands of Disney have given us two very good Star Wars films in the shape of The Force Awakens and Rogue One. With the original cast (mostly) returning, more promised on the origins of Kylo Ren and Rey as well as a full return to the movies of Luke Skywalker… Episode 8 should be pretty special.
3. War For The Planet Of The Apes Rise was great. Dawn even better. And now War. Based on THAT trailer and a synopsis which promises the final showdown between ape and man (which should lead to the end of the world/Charlton Heston) this could be one of the best films of the year.
4. John Wick Chapter 2 John Wick was old school, martial arts awesomeness. John Wick 2 promises a LOT more of the same. I have my seat booked.
5. T2: Trainspotting Trainspotting remains one of the best films of the 90’s and one of the best British films ever. Whether T2 follows the source material of Porno or not is still to be seen but either way with the cast returning and Boyle back behind the camera this should deliver a great film.
Bubbling Under: Baywatch (Excellent Trailer),Lego Batman (It’s Lego. Batman. Done), Spiderman: Homecoming (this could go either way to be honest but I’m hoping…), Silence (Scorsese. I’m in), Alien: Covenant (come on it HAS to be better than Prometheus!), The Dark Tower (could be the King adaptation we’ve always waited for), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Original was amazing, same team).
Stinker Of The Year: Transformers: The Last Knight The previous 3 Transformers films have each rated in AT LEAST the bottom 3 of year they were released (some even rock bottom). Looking at the trailer for the fifth (yes FIFTH!) Michael Bay Transformers film does little to convince me that this will be anything but an utter mess. It’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel sure but come on there has to be ZERO chance of this being any good.
Also Dreading: Wonder Woman (The trailer is lacking, the film just doesn’t grab me), Blade Runner 2049 (Silly title, a sequel we just don’t need), Power Rangers (Urm not needed, not wanted), Logan (Want tone wrong but so far these films have just not worked), XXX: Return Of Xander Cage (Diesel is back. Nobody cares), Cars 3 (1 & 2 weren’t great) , The Mummy (Tom Cruise. A Mummy. I’ll pass).
So how did I do last year?
This is the time of the year when I look back at my picks of the good, the bad and the ugly from 2016 and see how close I was (or as it often is the case, how far!)…
For the best: I tipped Captain America Civil War, Creed, Finding Dory, Deadpool & London Has Fallen as my most anticipated of 2016. Somewhat of a mixed bag with Creed & Deadpool sitting close to my top 10 with Creed my film of the year for a few months near the start of 2016. Finding Dory was good but not good enough. London Has Fallen, well that ended up being one of the worst films of the year for me. As for Captain America Civil War? It promised a lot but fell short of the far superior Winter Solider from a few years back and Marvel’s very own Doctor Strange which was the best superhero film of the year.
As for the Stinkers? Point Break was terrible as expected and landed firmly in my bottom 5 for 2016. Batman Vs Superman was actually pretty fun (if flawed), The Hateful Eight overrated as I expected but there were worse films in 2016, Ghostbusters was forgettable, Warcraft was everything that’s wrong with game movie adaptations and the combination of sequels Divergent Allegiant & Independence Day Resurgence showed that both franchises have zero fun left in them and even less commercial appeal. Only Star Trek Beyond rose above the dross as a truly fun film (until the silly somewhat overblown ending).
2016 – in short, a terrible year for big movies – in fact i struggle to remember another time where the Hollywood studios produced so many blockbuster films as badly made, boring, and lacking in imagination as what we were subjected to over the last 12 months.
To begin with were subjected endless numbers of superhero films – one of which (Captain America: Civil War) was so contrived it was painful, then there were the dull and at times terrible sequels to long dead franchises (ID4:2 Jason Bourne, The Huntsman, Blair Witch), crap comedies (Bad Moms) iffy fantasies (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) shoddy remakes (Point Break) and yet another godawful game to film adaptation (Warcraft).
Mercifully there were some shining lights among the inky darkness – mostly for which we have to thank the many smaller budgeted productions, such as Room, The Nice Guys, Hell or High Water, Spotlight etc. These were the films that probably struggled to get made for years because the likes of Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich and the other sell outs were hoovering up all the money that the studios could throw at them, just so they could vomit their shoddy, franchise prolonging, zero imagination celluloid turds on Joe Public – bastards.
To be fair though not all the biggies were rubbish – Star Trek Beyond was pretty good, so was The Revenant, Deadpool was awesome, Creed rocked, London Has Fallen and Doctor Strange were great fun and Rogue One completely blew us all away to become one of the best entries in the Star Wars franchise since Return Of The Jedi.
So here it is then – my rundown of the best and worst of 2016 and a look at what I think will be worth seeing next year.
Top 10 best films of 2016
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Eddie The Eagle
Eye In The Sky
The Magnificent Seven
London Has Fallen (i’m gonna burn in hell for that one)
Top 15 Honorary mentions of 2016
Hell or High Water
The Nice Guys
A Street Cat Named Bob
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Purge: Election Year
Star Trek Beyond
The Siege Of Jadotville
Bridget Jones Baby
The Top Ten Performances of 2016
Brie Larson (Room)
Jacob Tremblay (Room)
Felicity Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
Benedict Cumberbach (Doctor Strange)
Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice)
Luke Treadaway (A Streetcat Named Bob)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Alan Rickman (Eye In The Sky)
The Top ten Best Action Scenes/on screen fights of 2016
That utterly incredible, pant wettingly brilliant last 20 minutes of Rogue One – ive seen it twice now and i still cant believe it.
The monumental, bullet riddled arse kicking that Gerard Butler and The SAS throw the terrorists in the climax to London has Fallen.
Will Smith (guns and all) vs the Meta-Human mutants – Suicide Squad (i hasten to add it was that films one saving grace)
Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman’s big face off against Doomsday in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
The edge of the seat finale to Eye In The Sky
Little Jack’s escape from the room – Room
The one take, no edit boxing match – Creed
Leonardo DiCaprio vs The Bear – The Revenant
The Chariot Race – Ben Hur
The big finale – Magnificent Seven
Grosse Pointe Geek’s 2016 Hero of The Year
Gareth Edwards – for finally giving us the Star Wars film we’ve all been waiting for with Rogue One – well done my son.
The Top Five Biggest Disappointments of 2016
X-Men: Apocalypse (someone needs to grab this franchise and give it a bloody good shake)
Suicide Squad (one of the best trailers of the year – just a shame it couldn’t translate into a better film – God this one had SO much potential!)
Bone Tomahawk (how in the hell a western featuring Kurt Russell as sheriff going up against a bunch of psychopathic cave men could end up so dull beggars belief)
10 Cloverfield Place (another brilliant trailer -and a complete sell out of an ending)
The Hateful Eight (undoubtedly well made but Tarantino disappeared up his own arse with this one)
The Top ten Worst Films of 2016
Independence Day: Resurgence (a message to Roland Emmerich – Dear Roland, i and every film geek on the planet sincerely hope that you and Dean Devlin rot in the pit of direct to dvd hell for the rest of your miserable careers – yours sincerely – The Film going public)
Warcraft (a CGI monstrosity and a complete steaming dung pile of a film)
Hardcore Henry (i hated this so much i thought i was going to need therapy)
Bad Moms (i’ve had more fun cleaning cat puke off the kitchen floor than i did watching this)
Allegiant (a franchise killer that deserved to be the gigantic flop that it was)
Point Break (pointless remake and an insult to the original -all i can say is that Patrick Swayze must be turning in his grave)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (good idea, utterly crap film)
Gods Of Egypt (so laughably bad i cant believe it got a cinema release)
Bastille Day (probably the most unoriginal and most torturous to watch “action” film i’ve ever had the displeasure to sit through)
Blair Witch (total pants – scariest movie of the decade my distended arse)
and finally..Will’s 2017 most anticipated films:
Star War Episode 8
Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 2
Kong: Skull Island
Manchester By The Sea
Ready Player One
Blade Runner 2049
War For The Planet Of The Apes
John Wick Chapter 2
Fate of The Furious (aka Fast 8)
So there we are – my round up of 2016, overall a pretty poor year – still never mind, Rogue One and the smaller films did alot to make up for it plus 2017 is looking very good indeed. As ever id like to thank anyone and everyone who read my reviews (whoever you are!) and visited this fantastic website, plus a big thanks to the illustrious Mr Phillip Hobden for continuing to let me vent my spleen upon the movie going world.
I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year
My name is Will Strong and I’ve been Grosse Pointe Geek.