White Boy Rick (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

White Boy Rick (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
White Boy Rick is based on a true story of a drug dealing gun totting 15 year old, dragged deep into a world of crime by the FBI.  It’s solid stuff – with Matthew McConaughey delivering yet another strong performance.  But for all it’s grit and dirt it’s the very workman like delivery that lets the film down.  In more solid hands this could have been a really interesting film but as it is it’s more diverting than essential.

Best Bit: Getting close with the girl

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Black Mass, American Gangster, New Jack City

 


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Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Bad Times at the El Royale takes me back to the 90’s.  The split narrative, title cards, cool retro vibe… it’s what back in the day would have been branded as a Wanna Be Tarantino film (it even has a Briefcase style McGuffin in the cine film canister). Years down the line a bit ‘Tarantino’ has become a byword for a film that feels long and a touch bloated.  Which I guess probably fits even better… yup Bad Times is cool, yup bad Times has some great ideas and yup Bad Times is well acted but Bat Times is also too long, a bit too meandering and, ultimately, a really simple narrative that could have easily been 40 minutes shorter.  So fun often but not always, essential no.  So like most recent Tarantino into films then…

Best Bit: The room rescue

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Hateful Eight, Reservoir Dogs, Things To Do In Denver When You Are Dead

 


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Detainment (2019)- A Quick Capsule Review

Detainment (2019)- A Quick Capsule Review

Uncategorized

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Detainment, a true story based on the actual interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger murder case, is a hard watch.  In a story that should contain no shades of grey, Detainment gives a voice to the young killers that details the events that changed parenting for many for ever.  In short it creates those shades of grey you probably never wanted to think about.  It’s shocking for sure – to hear details of what was done to the two year old James and the film certainly has a view on which killer led the events.  It’s well acted, well directed and a worthy Oscar nominated short film.

Best Bit: The boys performances

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Serial, Making A Murderer, The Staircase

 


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The Old Man & The Gun (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Old Man & The Gun (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Old Man & the Gun tells a fascinating story… just not in a fascinating way.  It’s not like the cast don’t deliver – they do and are by far the best thing about the film.  But the direction and pace are so slow that even for a lean ninety minute run time the film feels slow.  Redford is fun and for sure enjoying the (mostly) true life story of Forrest Tucker but there needed to be much more to this to make it essential.

Best Bit: Redford

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Mule, White Boy Rick, A Simple Plan 

 


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Dragged Across Concrete (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Dragged Across Concrete (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Dragged Across Concrete is a long film.  Far longer than a crime genre movie really should be.  Thing is thought it almost works… the slow pace, the drawn out scenes, the long minutes of little happening… it all adds to the atmosphere the film sets out to create.  It’s a brave and confident move by the director. But at its heart is yet another hard boiled grizzled performance by Mel Gibson – who must now corner the market on this kinda thing- that really helps the film stick.  It’s not PC to say it but I’ve been enjoying Gibson’s come back over the past 5 years and here he even manages to force Vince Vaughn to step it up.  So over all Dragged Across Concrete is enjoyable but be prepared to spend almost 3 hours in it’s company.

Best Bit: The robbery

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Blood Father, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Daddy’s Home 2

 


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King of Thieves (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

King of Thieves (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
King of Thieves is a crushing bore.  Yup you read that right.  Boring.  It’s not the fault of the mostly entertaining cast, they were obviously as bored as I was.  Nope the fault here lies firmly with the direction of James Marsh who can’t decide if this is a serious real life crime drama (it is) or a knock about old timers Oceans 11.  From Soderbergh Oceans style music to a script littered with F-bombs King of Thieves does everything it can from actually trying to be a good film. And don’t get me wrong – this is my wheel house here.  I love crime & heist movies but King of Thieves is so plodding. so pedestrian and so laboured it could have easily been a cheap LifeTime TV drama.  Michael Caine does good but other than that this is a big fat miss.

Best Bit: Michael Caine

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid

If You Liked this Try: Oceans 11, Inside Man, The Italian Job 

 


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Review: Stand Up Guys (DVD/BR)

Review: Stand Up Guys (DVD/BR)

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Uncategorized

The Review: It’s a dream cast and a film I’ve been looking forward to for a while; three old gangster codgers hook up together for one last job-type of a movie. Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, reuniting – if nothing else – two of the principle players from Glengarry Glen Ross. Theoretically, this sounds promising; part mob flick, part comedy, part drama. I think. The advertising has been a bit confusing – and now, after having sat through it, I still don’t know what this is. And do not be fooled by the poster, either.

What I can reveal about it, however, is that it isn’t terribly good. Walken collects Pacino as he’s released from jail after 28 years to show him a good time (literally, courtesy of our own Brit-turned-Hollywood star Lucy Punch and her gaggle of Eastern European hookers) and innumerable trips to steak houses, bars and coffee huts. The thing is, Walken is on strict instructions to pop a cap in Pacino’s ass from mob boss Mark Margolis (in a stilted half-a-day cameo) – and it’s all quite bittersweet as they reminisce about “da good ol’ days” – culminating in an attempt to rescue the remaining member of their gang from an old folks home. Alan Arkin plays this character that they have to rescue. The old folks home has as much security as a KFC, and he simply could have wandered out of there any time he pleases.

Here’s the problem; the script is by first-timer Noah Haidle. Yeah, I never heard of him, either. Looking him up on the IMDb, he has two short films under his belt, and looks to be about 15 years old. Funnily enough, that’s precisely how the script unfurls on screen. The movie is lifeless and staid as a result, aided none by actor Fisher Steven’s pedestrian direction.

Is it any wonder that Pacino, Walken and Arkin look thoroughly bored? At times this felt like a sort of mess-around recce for another film. They’ve not got much to work with, and the film meanders trying to find purpose. Everyone looks as bored as I felt sitting through it. It’s a directionless vacuum of entertainment; no, not even the trademark “Walkinisms” register on screen. Arkin looks angry that he’s involved in this mess. The only player emerging unscathed is the cute Addison Timlin playing the down-to-earth waitress entertaining the old codgers in the wee small hours.

Sure, the film perks up in the final moments, but by then it’s too little, too late – and anyway, just as things get cooking, the film conveniently ends.

It’s a shame – this movie could have been a small, hidden belter.

I’ve no doubt it will go straight to video here on its eventual release. And how ironic and prescient would it be if it did so in April – around about the time the tax bill is due from the main players, obviously signing on the dotted line for this embarrassing yawn-fest to avoid the IRS for another tax year.

 

Reviewed By: Andrew MacKay

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