Anna And The Apocalypse (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Anna And The Apocalypse (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Anna And The Apocalypse is surprising for many reasons.  Firstly I had no idea it was a musical.  Secondly, as much as it tried to be a musical version of Shaun of The Dead it’s just not. Look it’s not a bad film it’s just very disjointed and by the end the limited budget really does start to show.  It’s got some great moments (the waking up musical number is well staged) but  for me the idea was better than the execution.  Just about worth a watch.

Best Bit: Dancing in the zoo

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Shaun of The Dead, Cockneys Vs Zombies, Zombieland

 


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Gremlins (1984) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Gremlins (1984) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Gremlins is a stone cold classic for sure but unlike a lot of beloved 80’s films it truly holds up today.  Okay so the technology has moved on and its setting is about as 80’s as you can get BUT it’s themes, hi-jinx and boldness helps this film still feel pretty timeless.  The thing that makes gremlins really work is underneath its cute exterior hides a brilliantly dark mean street.  Fathers trapped down chimneys, deadly stair lifts and lethal snow plows… it’s everything a Christmas movie should be and more.  And your kids WILL like it.  Essential.

Best Bit: The Bar

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Small Soldiers, Critters 

 

Hall of Fame

 


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Nativity 2 : Danger In the Manger – A Quick Capsule Review

Nativity 2 : Danger In the Manger – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Nativity 2 : Danger In the Manger is one to miss.  Yup even if you liked the first outing (I was NOT a fan) there’s little to enjoy in this seriously bloated and unfunny sequel.  In fact I offer up that with much tighter editing and a much shorter finale (god so much pointless singing) this film would have least had the fact it was short going for it but now, at just under two hours, it doesn’t even have that. My kid liked it but I feared even she was bored by the end.  Watch one of the many better Christmas movies instead.

Best Bit: Tennant is the best thing here by far

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid

If You Liked this Try: Nativity, Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?, Nativity Rocks

 


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Krampus (2015) – A Quick Capsule Review

Krampus (2015) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Krampus is the dark horror comedy you need during the festive period.  Yup for every family that’s ever argued or had in-laws over that, to be honest you just can’t stand, Krampus will take those moments and add a bucket load of weirdness to it.  It’s hard to describe Krampus – it’s part Home Alone, part Gremlins. But whatever it is it’s a whole load of fun. OTT, crazy and pretty trippy – If you like your Christmas films with a dash of bite then this is for you.

Best Bit: The loft

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Better Watch Out, Gremlins, Rare Exports, Home Alone,

 


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Love Actually (2003) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Love Actually (2003) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
How do you rate a ‘great’ film?  Is it one that is made by a great director, that delivers epic storytelling but likely you’ll only watch a few times?  or is it one that, despite of its flaws, becomes a family staple year on year, watched without fail? Well it can truly be both.  But Love Actually certainly fits the later category – a locked on Christmas essential as key to the festive season as mince pies and a Christmas tree.  Yup Love Actually has a few issues but the charm, heart and love given out in those two and a quarter hours means that you just don’t care.  Truly a great feel good movie and truly one that deserves it’s standing as one of the best Festive treats you can watch.

Best Bit: The proposal/airport finale

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Notting Hill, Four Wedding & A Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary

Hall of Fame

 


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The Christmas Chronicles (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Christmas Chronicles (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Netflix ‘original’s’ have had a hard time this year – Cloverfield, Annihilation and others have headed straight to the bottom of many people’s worst of the year (mine included).  So what hope does a little old Christmas film have.  In two words: Kurt Russell. Actually that’s not strictly fair – the film ALSO has bundles of charm and an unshakable 80’s vibe that leaves you with a massive smile on your face. Yup this is Adventures In Babysitting meets a live action Minions film meets pretty much every 80’s film along the way.  It’s silly, it’s crazy and it has Kurt Russell as a very modern day Santa.  Oh and possibly one of the cameos of the year.   The Christmas Chronicles is bloody great fun and will be a rewatched favourite for years to come!

Best Bit: Jailhouse rock.

Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: Adventures In Babysitting, The Minions, The Muppet Christmas Carol 

 


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Better Watch Out (2017) – A Quick Capsule Review

Better Watch Out (2017) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Better Watch Out is a real treat.  Released last year, it’s already hit many people’s best Christmas films list and I can see why – it’s clever, witty and OTT.  It also throws more than a few curve balls in along the way which really elevates it beyond the usual run of the mill Christmas horror films.  Levi Miller delivers a stunning central performance as the kid in lust with his babysitter and for a film tied very much to one location, it always manages to be inventive and surprising.  Better Watch Out is a must for horror fans (and fans of subversive Christmas films)

Best Bit: Oh so THAT’s the film

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Krampas, Jack Frost, The Babysitter, Home Alone

 


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Phil’s Top 5… Non- Traditional Christmas Movies!

Phil’s Top 5… Non- Traditional Christmas Movies!

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: Non-Tradtiotonal Christmas Movies!

Not EVERY Christmas film has to be about Santa or presents.  Some are set around that time or have a very tangential link. Here are 5 of my favourites!

Close but no cigar:  Batman Returns, In Bruges, Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

5 – Trading Places
Eddie Murphy at his best alongside the awesome Dan Akroyd and a cast to die for, Trading Places even some 30+ years later is nothing short of a near perfect comedy that has been much aped but never bettered.

4 – The Long Kiss Goodnight
It’s no surprise than 4 of the movies here (alongside Iron Man 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) are Shane Black films.  Not ONLY is he a great filmmaker/ writer but he also has more than a passing obsession with Christmas.  Whilst Kiss, Kiss is a better film I just adore the pithy dialogue and brutal action in the Long Kiss Goodnight.  Just a brilliant film.

3 – Lethal Weapon
Another Shane Black film, and another one of my favourite action films Lethal Weapon is a brutal, violent and dark thriller that explores some pretty tough themes.  It’s easy to forget what the series start at when you look back at the new TV show and the later films.

2 – Gremlins
What’s not to like?  Furry creatures who cant get wet or eat after midnight do just that and soon a town if overrun with evil, killer gremlins!  The film that started my multi-decade crush with Phoebe Cates!

1 – Die Hard
Simply put the best non-traditional Christmas film ever and one of (if not THE) greatest action ever made, Die Hard is a lean, mean and for it’s time groundbreaking film.  It also , for better or worse, gave us Bruce Willis.

 

 

Blog: This Years Christmas Viewing- A Quick Capsule Review (Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Gremlins, Get Santa, Love Actually, Trading Places)

Blog: This Years Christmas Viewing- A Quick Capsule Review (Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Gremlins, Get Santa, Love Actually, Trading Places)

Quick Review

So a Phil’s Quick Capsule Review round up of the films I watched this festive Christmas season…

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Die Hard
It’s been cloned, it’s been copied but it’s never been bettered. Die Hard is a nailed on classic.  And it just reminds you how far both the films and Willis as an actor/star have fallen in the 25+ years since this film came out.  From DeBonts stunning cinematography to McTiernan’s taught direction, from the script to the set pieces, the film still gives any modern day action film a run for it’s money.  Add to that Alan Rickman chewing up the scenery and a never better Willis and you have a film as good day as it ever was.

Best Bit: C4. Monitor. Bang.  Talk about using a nuclear bomb to Swat a fly.

IMDB Rating: 


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Die Hard 2
So Die Hard 2 holds up less well than Die Hard, the directing isn’t anywhere near as tight, the action a bit stilted and the photography feels like that generic early 90’s last 80’s action film that plagued the genre.  Yet… it’s damn good fun, Willis is comfortable in his role as the wise cracking McClane  and the support cast on top form.  So not the classic that Die Hard is but still a lot to enjoy.

Best Bit: Ice. Eye. Death.

IMDB Rating:

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Gremlins
From the twist mind of Joe Dante and it once meant something stamp of producer Steven Spielberg comes one of the most subversive “kids ” film ever made.  Not that it actually is a kids film.  Oh no it’s a lot better than that.  Death, murder, microwaved gremlins… Dante delivers a feast of horrors in what is still his best film. Everything about Gremlin’s works and whilst it’s over 30 years old now, it hasn’t aged bit (save for some of the background technology). Smart. Funny. And at time scary, Gremlins is the wicked fun.

Best Bit: Kitchen Scene

IMDB Rating: 

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Get Santa
So from the director that gave you Severance and Triangle comes this years more interesting take on Christmas. Totally successful?  No.  But not without a few laughs.  Mostly of the jokes about Warwick Davis looking like an Elf or Reindeers farting type. But you take them where you can get them I guess. Broadbent is having more fun that most (including the audience) and overall you are left with a sometime funny, never boring kids film.

Best Bit: Davis being confused for an elf.

IMDB Rating: 

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Love Actually
Okay so I have a massive soft spot for this slice of manipulative tosh.  Is Love Actually a great film?  By all standard measures probably not.  It’s far too on the nose, it makes little sense and it’s as subtle as a brick around the head.  BUT.  And this is a but BUT. I still love it.  It’s become a Christmas favourite, watched ever year without fail.  Why?  Because at it heart it’s a sweet, often funny, always charming story about love and people, a story that can melt even the hardest of hearts.  What’s not to love…

Best Bit: The ending.  Love is actually all-around after all

IMDB Rating: 

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Trading Places
(1983)
Another subservience Christmas film, a tale of rags to riches to rags.  Okay so 31 years on some of the humour certainly would pass now (not least a backed up Dan Aykroyd) , but Trading Places holds up rather well considering everything that has come after.  But then good jokes, winning performances and great central ideas are pretty time less.  Maybe both Aykroyd and Murphy should watch this again and remind themselves of when they used to be funny…

Best Bit: Whilst it’s Murphy film, Ackroyd gives a star turn here

IMDB Rating: 

 

 

Author: Phil Hobden