The Rock (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

The Rock (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Oddly I wasn’t a fan of The Rock when I first saw it. But twenty years later (yes really) I’m truly amazing just how much this film blew me away.  It’s by far the best Michael Bay film (with Bad Boys a close second) with a killer performance by both Connery and Cage and for sure it’s one of the best action films of the 90’s… which is some praise if you look at a decade full of great action films.  From the car chase to the initial arrival on Alcatraz, from the Indiana Jones styled mine cart escape to Cage’s OTT venting it’s just a joy.  The Rock is essential and a welcome addition to the Hall of Fame.

Best Bit: Car Chase

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Bad Boys, Armageddon, Transformers 

Hall of Fame

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

Phil’s Top 5… Scathing film reviews

Phil’s Top 5… Scathing film reviews

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: Scathing film reviews!

 

 

 

5 – “I entered the theatre in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white moustache. (The film) is an entirely inappropriate length for what is essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls.”
Sex and the City 2, Lindy West, thestranger.com

 

4 –  “An explosion in a stupid factory”
A Good Day To Die Hard, Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro

 

3 – “What can you say about a sequel that Steve Guttenberg won’t even appear in?”
Police Academy 5, Leonard Maltin

 

2 –  “Armageddon got some astronomy right. For example, there is an asteroid in the movie, and asteroids do indeed exist.”
Armageddon, Phil Plait, the “Bad Astronomer”

 

1- “Eleven years and several progressively more dreadful movies after Signs, director M. Night Shyamalan would be lucky to get a gig directing traffic.”
After Earth, Lou Lumenick, New York Post

 

 

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

 

Geostorm – A Quick Capsule Review

Geostorm – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Geostorm is terrible by every conventional measure.  The script, acting, even the effects are pretty sub par.  It’s obvious yet overly complicated, heavy handed and silly.  YET I really enjoyed it. It’s great forgettable fun, that wont change the world for sure but then again not every film has to.  Butler is great fun, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia are taking a pay check and the rest of the cast totally forgettable.  Get in with a beer and a curry.

Best Bit: Butler is cheesy as hell. But great

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact 

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Independence Day: Resurgence – A Quick Capsule Review

Independence Day: Resurgence – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
They are back, 20 years after ID4 blew up the white house (and most of the world), Goldbum, Pullman, Spiner, a host of teens who look the same and those pesky aliens. But this time it’s bigger, bolder, with far more China references (hello Chinese £) and, sadly, much less interesting.  It’s not that Independence Day Resurgence is a bad film.. okay so maybe thats party of it… but it’s just that it represents everything that’s wrong with modern Summer films.  ID4 had impressive practicle effects, a charismatic cast and a neat idea. Resurgence has LOTS OF WEIGHTLESS CGI and shouty effects.  It’s also missing Will Smith which has a massive impact on the film, leaving the lesser Hemsworth, Will Smith light (very light) and a load of renter youths filling in the void.  Some will like it but for me it’s everything that’s wrong with blockbuster movies and continues a massive downward trend in interest for me.

Best Bit: Goldblum is fun

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream.  Maybe.

If You Liked this Try: Independence Day, Armageddon, V

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden