The Babadook – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

The Babadook – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
There’s little left to be said about The Babadook.  From All Things Film’s own Andrew Mackay’s glowing review to the heaps of 5 star reviews across the globe, it’s fair top say the film arrives with bucket loads of hype.  And you know what… for once it actually deserves it! Scary as hell, this old school horror film is so unsettling and oppressive that it will stay will for you for weeks to come. Needless to say this is a film that demands to be seen in teh best possible way – so turn off the lights, send teh kids to bed and get prepared to be scared shitless.

Best Bit: Direction.  One of the most assured feature debuts ever.

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Shining, The Others, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

 

 

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Avengers Week: Guardian’s Of The Galaxy – A Quick Capsule Review

Avengers Week: Guardian’s Of The Galaxy – A 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! 

 

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Okay let’s get this out the way early doors: this film is awesome.  In fact it’s probably top 2 or 3 of Marvel movies to date as well as being the most fun and enjoyable film of 2014.  Quite simply director James Gunn delivers in a film that most people had written off before the first frame was ever shot.  The characters connect (Rocket Racoon is simply genius), Chris Pratt stamps his mark as a leading man and the otherworld setting makes for a nice change from the usual Earth bound superhero movies.  The action works, it’s funny as hell and, quite frankly, if you heaven seen this you are missing out.  Big time.

Best Bit: Rocket Racoon

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars, The Avengers, Captain America Winter Solider

Rating:

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Filmsploitation’s FILMS TO WATCH For 2014 Part 1: Housebound, I Origins, Jodorowsky’s Dune,  Wolf Of Wall Street, Calvary (Edited)

Filmsploitation’s FILMS TO WATCH For 2014 Part 1: Housebound, I Origins, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Wolf Of Wall Street, Calvary (Edited)

Year In Review

The votes are in.  The long list has been reduced to just 9… and here they are, the Filmsploitation Podcast and All Things Film list of the FILMS TO WATCH for 2014.

(NB: Short term 12 was originally on this list but disqualified as it came out in 2013.  So due to multiple votes FOR I have added Wolf Of Wall Street onto the list)

In no particular order:

#1: Housebound
Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam – a well-intentioned blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. Kylie dismisses Miriam’s superstitions as nothing more than a distraction from a life occupied by boiled vegetables & small-town gossip. However, when she too becomes privy to unsettling whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she’s inherited her overactive imagination, or if the house is in fact possessed by a hostile spirit who’s less than happy about the new living arrangement.

 

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#2: I Origins
A molecular biologist and his laboratory partner uncover evidence that may fundamentally change society as we know it.

 

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#3: The Wolf Of Wall Street
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

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#4: Jodorowsky’s Dune
The story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel.

 

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#5: Calvary
After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

 

 

 

Next Time: The final 4 Films To Watch for 2014. 

Blog: Nightcrawler – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Any other year NightCrawler would easily have been my film of the year.   From a stunning central performance by Jake Gyllenhaal (and Russo for that matter) to some of the most stunning cinematography this year, Nightcrawler not only delivers on it’s promise but goes well beyond.  In the 70’s we had taxi Driver, in the 90’s Bad Lieutenant and now we have Nightcrawler. A must see.

Best Bit: Gyllenhaal

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Taxi Driver, Bad Lieutenant, Whiplash 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Phil’s 5 Best Films of 2014

Phil’s 5 Best Films of 2014

Quick Review Year In Review

So 2014 is almost over and it’s that time a year again where everyone reflects back on their best and worst films of the year. Having already covered off my worst films, next up (logically I guess)… I my pick of the BEST films of 2014.

Film of The Year: Wolf Of Wall Street
In Brief: From early on in 2014 this film stood head and shoulders above the rest for me.  Morally I can see why some people had an issue with it, but creatively this is a director back on form and actor whose never been better and a three hour film that flies by.  Brilliant.

 

2. Life Itself
In Brief:  Documentaries don’t get any better than this.  Heartbreaking, inspiring and beautiful all at once, Life Itself will grab you and not let go.

3. The Babadook
In Brief: The best independent film of the year,  The best horror film in a decade. Welcome to The Babadook then, a game changer in these days of torture porn and jump care horror.

4. Nightcrawler
In Brief:Any other year this would have been film of the year for me.  Probably one of the best performances of 2014, in a film that ends up deriving it’s crown as a modern day Taxi Driver.

5. Guardians Of The Galaxy
In Brief: Marvel does it again.  And Twice in one year with it’s other creative and commercial smash Captain America. Guardians is what a space epic should be.

Bubbling under:
Interstellar, Dallas Buyers Club, Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes, Starred Up, Captain America Winter Solider, The Guest, Cheap Thrills, Horns, Muppets Most Wanted, The Book Of Life

 

Blog: All Things Film – Andrew Mackay’s Best & Worst Films 2014

Blog: All Things Film – Andrew Mackay’s Best & Worst Films 2014

Quick Review

2014 has been truly hit-and-miss. I could well have copied this paragraph from last year with a quick find-and-replace. But just as we were marching into the middle of the decade thinking “Oh Christ, here we go – more Michael Bay, more Ice Cube, more nah nah nah…” along come at least two films that really did make me rethink my stance on the movie industry today (See my #1 and ‘3 on the best list). It’s not been a terrible year for movies. It’s been very good, on the whole – and I sincerely hope 2015 can fill these big boots!

WORST

5: The Came Together

Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler prove that former SNL players continue to suck at satire, as They Came Together aim for all the right targets and continually miss them. It’s akin to watching a small child with learning difficulties throw balls at a coconut shy, and standing back and feigning a smile at how well they had done – despite throwing the ball 180 degrees in the opposite direction and accidentally scoring an own goal. An insufferable, turgid and most unfunny piece of rancid shite.

4: Tammy

Sticking with the learning difficulty angle, Melissa McCarthy turned up as Tammy; an overweight, unpleasant and charmless oaf who manages to drag Susan Sarandon under her tyres for one of the year’s cosmic laugh-free zones. There’s nothing funny about someone who’s clearly one of society’s beat-upon plumpsters having the piss taken out of her for nearly 100 minutes. It’s soul-crushingly hateful stuff, and not in a good way, either.

3: The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Angriest man? I can see the poor sod who played him spinning in his grave. It’s a well known fact that Robin Williams took on roles simply to pay the rent. I guess one could argue that Williams’ response mid way through the year was perhaps a bit harsh, but if I’d viewed my performance in The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, then I’d empathise to a point. The bleedin’ obvious aside, this movie stinks to high heaven anyway – and it’s nothing to do with Robin Williams (it’s merely a shame) and/or Mila Kunis (again, merely a blip). It’s shittingly bad and, once again, less funnier than Cold in July.

2: Zombeavers

It’s no coincidence that the bottom five of 2014 are mostly all comedies, is it? Comedy is hard to get right. Comedy and horror, even more so. The beavers look like puppets, and the characters have about as much depth as puppets, too. I know, I know – that’s sort of the point. And yes, I am a Troma fan. Zombeavers sits awkwardly in a sort of dole office of being too good to be bad, and too bad to be anything other than second in my top ten worst list for 2014. They couldn’t even get the “hot jock” boyfriends hot-o-meter correct. I suppose there’s no saving grace about Zombeavers; if guys these fugly can get chicks those cute – well, maybe there’s hope for us all.

1: Tusk

Fuck Kevin Smith.

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BEST

5: Wolf of Wall Street

Originally getting a 7 out of 10 in my review from January, I did make the prediction that Wolf could be a stayer and rank among Scorsese’s best. It’s now nearly one year later, and I think I was right. I was right, also, to award it a seven; it’s not a perfect movie by any stretch; but what it is, though, is a shit-load of fun and as absorbing a story as the characters are impervious to humanity. A thoroughly loathsome bunch of feral, money-hunting wankers that would put The Riot Club to shame. As far as overindulgence and excess goes, we will all use Wolf of Wall Street as the barometer; both for the characters and storyline, and for Scorsese’s “have it all and eat it, too” barbarism.

4: Dallas Buyers Club

For a long, long stretch was sitting at my number one spot in the top ten until, of course, those films in my top three came about. An award-winning performance from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto (the latter being performance of the year, probably) and about a story that would help shape our attitude toward the AIDS epidemic. An absolutely wonderful film, rich in detail and disciplined in narrative and length, it is truly one of the best dramas in recent memory.

3: The Babadook

Jennifer Kent writes and directs her way in to what I had long since regarded as a genre that is impossible to win me over; horror. Seriously, after so much watered-down PG-13 ghost/doll/clanking doorway shite, I’d pretty much all but abandoned this pithy, lifeless genre. I suppose it’s no surprise to learn that if anyone was going to buck the trend it’d be an independent Aussie filmmaker. But there you go. Fundamentally, The Babadook is a semi-realistic drama about a woman who grows evermore scared of her weird son. The fact that it has a bad guy and some whacked-out, truly innovative elements in the third act all contribute to one of the best – and most unsettling – surprises of the year. The Babadook never puts a foot wrong, and manages to do so with the minimum of fuss. I love The Babadook.

2: John Wick

Is Keanu Reeves back? YEAH. I’m thinking he’s back. Well stone me if John Wick isn’t the baddest-est ass, action-packed, violent, kill-happy revenge thriller of the year. Perhaps even the decade. It’s the usual sort of stuff, but directed and played with such freneticism that you simply have to drop to your knees and worship at the Wick alter. Even if you’re not a fan of action, you’ll love this movie. I can’t wait to see it again – and it’s unlike me to espouse the awesomeness of a silly action film. So I’m just as shocked as you. Check out the soundtrack, too. It’s terrific.

1: Life Itself

Roger Ebert has played a huge part in my life as both a film critic and film maker. I often step back and think “what would Roger Ebert award my movie, out of four stars?”. Life Itself is the equivalent (for me) of a film maker making a documentary about someone you personally admire and love. In a sense, it feels as if the documentary was made for you. I’ve never cried at a film – ever – in my entire life; that’s still true today, but God damn it if Steve James’ masterful documentary Life Itself did not come close. It’s a film about life as Roger Ebert expertly and humorously clings on to his own; a film about love, as his wife Chaz makes his twilight months comfortable and keeps up a brave face, even past the inevitable – and then, it’s a film about friendship, as we delve in to his hate/love relationship with Gene Siskel, who died fifteen years earlier. Ebert awarded director Steve James’ Hoop Dreams (1994) the accolade of Best Film of the 1990s. He remarked that real-life throws plot points at you that you could never see coming, and that a truly gifted documentarian would seize on any opportunity that came their way. Siskel dying alone and unannounced really affected Ebert (one of the handful of facts I did not know till seeing Life Itself) and seeing Ebert doing precisely the opposite seals the friendship and, by virtue, the love(s) of his life.   In so many ways Life Itself is the best film of the millennium, and a more-than-fitting closing chapter in the life of a man I so admired.

 

Author: Andrew Mackay

Phil’s 5 Best TV Shows of 2014

Phil’s 5 Best TV Shows of 2014

Quick Review

So 2014 is almost over and it’s that time a year again where everyone reflects back on their best and worst films of the year. This year for the first time I look back on my 5 favourite TV shows of 2014…

TV Show of The Year: The Newsroom
In Brief: Generally unlike by the American HBO audience, Aaron Sorkin’s clever, well crafted and expertly performed TV show went out on a high.  Funny, charming and with a full realised cast, The Newsroom was always one of the best shows on TV.  Thankfully it didn’t drop the ball in it’s final run.

 

2. Game Of Thrones (Spoilers)
In Brief:  That was one hell of a season.  Joffrey died. Tyron killed his dad. The dragons started killing kids and the Battle of the Wall made you realise just how good TV could be.  Throw in the witty dialogue, great characters, spluttering of nudity and more violence than you can bash a stick with and you have one hell of a group breaking TV show.

3. The Flash & Arrow
In Brief: The Flash started well in it’s first season and has gotten better and better week by week.  Arrow started off not so good, but again has found it’s stride and improves ever week.  Whilst DC movies can’t seem to do anything right, DC TV is getting stronger and stronger.  These may not be better than say House Of Cards or True Detective but brain off entertainment doesn’t get better than this.

4. Sons of Anarchy
In Brief: Not it’s greatest season, but again a show that went out on a high, getting stronger and stronger as each episode went along.  It didn’t end well for everyone, as beloved character after beloved character fell, but in the end it served up an excellent story that has greatly elevated the careers of everyone involved.

5. Hannibal
In Brief: The year when Network TV pushed and then broke the boundaries, Hannibal is a show that just shouldn’t work.  But it does.  Oh god does it work. Great cast, great stories and effects that movies would struggle with, Hannibal did everything right and ended in on of the greatest TV episodes of the year.

Bubbling under:
Bates Motel, Orphan Black, Doctor Who, True Detective, Justified, New Girl, Walking Dead, 24 , House Of Cards,

 

Filmsploitation’s FILMS TO WATCH For 2014 Part 2: Obvious Child, Life Itself, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Paddington

Filmsploitation’s FILMS TO WATCH For 2014 Part 2: Obvious Child, Life Itself, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Paddington

Year In Review

The votes are in.  The long list has been reduced to just 9… and here they are, the Filmsploitation Podcast and All Things Film list of the FILMS TO WATCH for 2014.  In no particular order:

#6: Paddington
A young English boy befriends a talking bear he finds at a London train station. A live-action feature based on the series of popular children’s books by Michael Bond.

 

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#7: Life Itself
The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert.

 

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#8: How To Train Your Dragon 2

When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

 

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#9: Obvious Child
A twenty-something comedienne’s unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.

 

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – 2014 Roundup Best & Worst Of The Year!

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – 2014 Roundup Best & Worst Of The Year!

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

As the year comes to a close, it has to be said that on reflection, 2014 has been pretty damn good for films. The summer blockbuster season produced one of the best sequels for ages in Dawn of The Planet of The Apes, we bade a fond farewell to Middle Earth with the release of the final Hobbit film and Marvel managed to do it again with the one two punch of both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of The Galaxy. There was also the continued rise of some really exciting actors, specifically Richard Armitage (The Hobbit and Into the Storm) Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) and Matthew McConaughey (just about everything).

It wasn’t all plain sailing though – Michael Bay managed to take a stinking robot sized dump on us all with the appalling Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Renny Harlin proved that Die Hard 2 and Cliff-hanger were but distant memories by giving us the risible Legend Of Hercules, and shockwaves went round Hollywood with the untimely deaths of both Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams – both wonderful, talented actors who will be sorely missed.

So to business – now remember the following is only my opinion and doubtless a certain person (no names mentioned Hobden) will be in dire disagreement with me on most of it.

Read On.

 

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2014’s Top Ten Best Films (in no particular order):

  • The Wolf Of Wall Street – one of the most entertaining, profane and downright hilarious films since Pulp Fiction.
  • The Dallas Buyers Club – managed to be both heart-breaking and very funny with a brilliant academy award winning turn from Mathew McConaughey
  • Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes -really well made with amazing SFX, Andy Serkis’ astounding motion capture performance as lead ape Cesar and some exciting top notch action.
  • Captain America The Winter Soldier -incredibly entertaining and refreshingly different.
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy – utterly mental but so much good fun – damn clever too.
  • The Imitation Game – cracking film – If Cumberbatch doesn’t win an Oscar for this there’s simply no justice.
  • Fury -highly realistic, relentlessly exciting, and superbly acted – will stand the test of time as one of the best war movies ever made.
  • Interstellar -mind bending sci fi, outstanding SFX, great direction from Nolan and yet another amazing performance from McConaughey.
  • Gone Girl -great date movie, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike were fantastic in the lead roles, and there was the usual rock solid direction from David Fincher. A must see.
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies – certainly flawed and not as good as Return of The King, but still a cracking good movie, full to the brim with director Peter Jackson’s boundless imagination, epic battles and great acting (especially Richard Armitage as Thorin).

 

The Top Ten Honourable mentions

  • The Expendables 3 – daft as a brush, but absolutely huge fun, jam packed with fisticuffs, explosions and gunfights – plus Mel Gibson was a revelation as the villain.
  • Godzilla – Would have easily made the top ten best list if it hadn’t been for some very limp human characters and the criminal underuse of Brian Cranston. However it was exceptionally well directed by Blighty’s own Gareth Edwards and featured SFX and monster action that was frankly gobsmacking.
  • Maleficent – surprisingly lovely film, with real hidden depths and a wonderful performance from Angelina Jolie.
  • Pompeii – great action, good use of 3d that actually benefitted proceedings and a deliciously OTT Kiefer Sutherland as the chief Roman baddie.
  • Hercules – preposterous in just about every way you can think, but a rollicking good ride, featuring some top battles and good show from Dwayne Johnson.
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – Another fun film – Phil hated this, but I just couldn’t help liking it – hopefully there will be more.
  • 300: Rise Of An Empire – ridiculous prequel/equal/sequel to Zach Snyder’s 2006 original. Nary a shot was without a rippling torso, severed limb or a lot of shouting, and Gerard Butler was sorely missed – but despite this it managed to be extremely entertaining.
  • The Raid 2 – Another one that would have made the top ten best list – not quite as good as the first entry, a bit talky and at least 20 minutes too long, but the presence of the indestructible Iko Uwais, Gareth Evans sure handed direction and some bone crunching fight scenes made for a absolute corker of a film.
  • Lone Survivor – Peter Berg atones for Battleship, with the true story of four Special Forces commandos trapped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. Featuring brutal action, a welcome absence of jingoistic American flag waving and some great acting – especially from Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch.
  • Edge Of Tomorrow – Basically Groundhog Day meets Aliens –but Cruise gets his best role for a long time, plus it was really well written, and all the set pieces were excellent.

 

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The 4 Most Overrated of 2014

  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past – With Bryan Singer back directing, I expected to be blown away by this one – but instead of a welcome return to the awesomeness of X2 and X-Men 1st Class, what we got was at times a very entertaining film, that sadly let itself down all too often by miring the audience in overly talky dialogue and overblown exposition. Not only that but the ending made no sense at all.
  • 22 Jump Street : The first one was well written and funny, this admittedly was good in places – especially when Ice Cube was on the screen – but was I the only one who thought it was just a rehash of the original film?
  • Lucy – On release this was a massive box office hit – however I am still trying to fathom out as to why. Ok Scarlett Johansson was pretty good in the title role, but the story was basically a rip off of Limitless and by the end got so preposterous that it stretched even my usual levels of tolerance.
  • Snowpiercer – Despite having a good first 40 minutes plus a great title, cast and setting – this one turned out to be a right let down. Mainly due to the fact that what should have been a slam bang post apocalyptic actioner ,turned out to be a rather boring arty farty oddity that had woefully disappeared up its own orifice by the time the credits had rolled.

 

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The Top Five Worst of 2014

  1. Transformers: Age of Extinction – There are not enough words in the English language to describe the utter unmitigated hatred I have for this steaming pile of celluloid ordure. There is just no excuse for a summer blockbuster about Robots fighting each other to be nearly 3 hours long, deathly dull, mind numbingly boring, badly written and offensive. Without doubt the worst film of 2014 and quite possibly of the last 10 years too. Shameful.
  1. The Legend Of Hercules – Laughably pants, with a balsa wood infused “performance” from Kellan Lutz, crap fights; terrible direction from Renny Harlin and editing that appears to have been done with a blunt machete. Avoid like the plague.
  1. Non Stop – how on earth an action movie starring Liam Neeson of all people can be this bad is beyond me. Dire.
  1. 3 Days To Kill – Despite a spirited central performance from Kevin Costner , this meandering Taken wannabe failed miserably on every level to be even remotely engaging and provided more evidence (if any was needed) that McG is one of the most inept directors working today.
  1. The Amazing Spiderman 2 – Overly bloated sequel with an oddly dislikeable performance from Andrew Garfield as Spidey, Jamie Foxx’s awful pantomime villain, zero story and dull action scenes – which all in all made for one of poorest superhero movies for a very long time.


Next Time: My Preview of 2015

 
Author: Will Strong 

 

Blog: The Babadook – A Quick Capsule Review

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
There’s little left to be said about The Babadook.  From All Things Film’s own Andrew Mackay’s glowing review to the heaps of 5 star reviews across the globe, it’s fair top say the film arrives with bucket loads of hype.  And you know what… for once it actually deserves it! Scary as hell, this old school horror film is so unsettling and oppressive that it will stay will for you for weeks to come. Needless to say this is a film that demands to be seen.

Best Bit: Direction.  One of the most assured feature debuts ever.

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Shining, The Others, We Need To Talk About Kevin

 

Author: Phil Hobden