Best Film of 2017: Baby Driver

Best Film of 2017: Baby Driver

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Wow.  Having been often luke warm of some of Wrights films (Scott Pilgrim and Worlds End to name but two), Baby Driver arrived with the danger of a great trailer, loads of hype and Wright fans proclaiming it as up there with his best work.  And you know what… they are right.  One of the best films so far of 2017, Baby Driver delivers.  Performances, soundtrack, direction, script… the films a knock out.  In short what you have here is a True Romance for the 21st century and that’s about the highest compliment I can pay this film.  Total dynamite.

Best Bit: James & Elgort’s chemistry is electric

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: True Romance, Badlands, Hot Fuzz

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Worst Film of 2017: Fifty Shades Darker

Worst Film of 2017: Fifty Shades Darker

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
A film that makes the original 50 Shades look like Casablanca, Fifty Shades Darker decides to stick with the source material for mostly hilarious results.  This film is about as se– as a over 90’s Bingo night at Pontins and is delivered with all the sophistication and charm of, well, an over 90’s Bingo night at Pontins.  It’s terrible.  So bad that I’d advise you to watch anything else. Anything.

Best Bit: The Dire-log.  It’s brilliantly bad

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid

If You Liked this Try: Showgirls, 50 Shades Of Grey, a Cold shower (actual not a  film)

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Best Film of 2016: The Nice Guys

Best Film of 2016: The Nice Guys

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So most people would have seen a Shane Black film and probably never realised it.  A writer (and occasional bad joke teller is Arnie films) and then director, he’s not a house hold name.   But a few of us… well we’ve been all in from the start.  From lethal Weapon to The Last Boy Scout, Black’s films (as writer then latterly as a director) have uniformly been excellent, and often cornerstones to my teens.  SO I really look forward to Black’s films.  So with that much anticipation in mind I’m happy to report that  The Nice Guys does not disappoint and in fact as we stand today is probably the most enjoyable film I’ve seen in 2016 so far.  It’s bloody brilliant.  From script to direction, this film oozes cool, the kind cool that you can’t fake.  Add to that one of Russell Crowes best performances, Gosling on top form and an excellent support cast and you have a film that just delivers.

Best Bit: Gosling & Crowe

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try:  Lethal Weapon, Iron man 3, The Last Boy Scout

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Worst Film of 2016:  Point Break (2015)

Worst Film of 2016: Point Break (2015)

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The original Point Break is a top 5 film for me. So this remake was always going to struggle. But after 5 mins I thought “Actually this isn’t bad” Its a shame then that the film didn’t end there because quickly this film descends into a hollow, pointless mess. It lacks the heart and charm of the original as the Utah falls from one plot contrivance to another without ever actually having to do any police work. It’s lazy, piss poorly directed and when it does “homage” the original it just plain gets it wrong as it never once give you a moment to care. And man the Cgi on the last wave sequences are just monumentally horrid.

All in all if you want to watch a good Fast & Furious type film watch Fast & Furious. If you want to watch a good point break watch the original. If you want to watch a terrible and dull action film pick one of the hundreds made like this. Just don’t pick this as, apart from maybe two nice stunt sequences, this film has NOTHING to offer ANYONE.

Oh and casting note: When trying to replace an action known for his monotone delivery at least TRY to find someone who has even seen the word charisma written down, let alone manages to display a bit ever now and then. Right I’m off to watch the actual Point Break and remember why I gave a fuck so much.

Best Bit: The stunts

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid

If You Liked this Try: Point Break, Fast & Furious 5, XXX

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Best Film of 2015: Whiplash

Best Film of 2015: Whiplash

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
What a film.  Mark my words if not the film of the year Whiplash will certainly be up there on a very short list.  From top notch performances, some of the best use of editing and music I’ve seen in a long time and with a story and characters you buy into 100%, cinema doesn’t get any more enthralling than this.  Can’t recommend this enough.

Best Bit: JK Simmons

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Birdman, Nightcrawler, Boyhood

 

IMDB Rating:

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Worst Film of 2015: Fifty Shades Of Grey

Worst Film of 2015: Fifty Shades Of Grey

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Imagine a book written by someone who has only ever seen sex on bad TV.  Now imagine that the book gets turned into a film with all the sexiness of a very awkward orgy and you don’t even get close to this trash.   Yes Fifty Shades of Grey is terrible. But not in a Showgirls funny way.  In a god this is bad kinda way.

Best Bit: The Dire-log.  It’s brilliantly bad

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid

If You Liked this Try: Showgirls, Jade, Basic Instinct

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Best Film of 2014: The Wolf Of Wall Street

Best Film of 2014: The Wolf Of Wall Street

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
You can debate the merits of The Wolf Of Wall Street’s characters all you want but as a film it’s almost peerless.  Scorsese returns to the crime genre (and that of ‘unlikeable’ leads) and delivers BIG time with a film that is funny, painful and visually stunning  that delivers stand out performances from both DiCaprio & Hall and a career launching performance from Margot Robbie.  This is Scorsese’s best film since the 90’s for sure.  It’s flashy, contemporary and biting, feeling even more current in the decade of global crashes and failing banks.  in short it’s ended up being one of my favourite films of the last decade.

Best Bit: Ludes.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Wall Street, Goodfellas, Casino

Worst Film of 2014: Transformers Age Of Extinction

Worst Film of 2014: Transformers Age Of Extinction

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Wow.  If you thought, like me, that Michael Bay and the Transformers franchise couldn’t get any worse that it’s dire third entry, think again.  Welcome to Transformers Age Of Extinction , a film that plunges new depths of shite.

The story? Well to be honest I have no idea.  It’s about things. And noise. And stuff.  None of which I cared about.

So… I guess you want to know just why is it so bad?  Well other than the obvious (it’s Michael Bay), TransNearFourHours is a film that manages to get almost every single thing it does wrong.   It’s a film where product placement (Victoria Secret, Bud Light etc, etc,etc) takes priority over, well, everything else , a film where Transformium (yes Transformium) manages to reduce the once very cool idea of Talking Robots in disguise to Midichlorian levels of dumb, a film where statuary rape justification and underage sex jokes are perfectly fine and a film where a near 3 hour run time (thats longer than Goodfellas for the record) seems to exist just to fit in more shots of near underage girls in short shorts, Marky Mark saying “Whoa”… a lot or visual artists spunking CGI on the screen. In years to come THIS will be what interrogation experts use to break terrorists.

It’s destruction porn once again as director (nay movie pornographer) Michael Bay delivers his raison d’être to seemingly both visually and audibly rape you for near 3 hours with a that film leaches from one boring CGI action scene to, well, another boring CGI action scene, where you can see so little because of its over editing and where so much is thrown at you, you end up becoming so numb that tooth extraction or minor surgery could well be done without any addition form of additional anaesthetic.  Yup, what you end up with (other than a headache, a numb arse, a near £15 hole in your wallet if you were mad enough to pay to see this and the sense of loosing 3 hours of your life you will never reclaim) is probably the worst film of 2014.  Yup worse than Legend Of Hercules AND Need for Speed.  Put together.

In fact we could have our No1 contender for worst film of the decade.

Is it all bad?  No.  Few things are.  For example it lacks the casual and quite disturbing racism of part 2 (or was it part 3?  Or do I even care?), neither Rosie Huntington-Pouty or Megan Fox’s sulky face turn up and in my book any film that doesn’t feature Shia LaDouche instantly makes it a step up on any film that does.  But that’s where the good news ends… with its shoddy performances, a script with first draft level dialogue and a story that manages to fuck up the coolest Transformer ever created (Yes Grimlock, not that he’s even named in the film or even gets to speak), all you end up with is $200+ million dollars of the most inept filmmaking ever seen on the big screen.  And considering Bay’s track record that’s quite some achievement.

Boring. Forgettable. Stupid. If it managed to be just one of those it would be ten times better.  No what we get is loud, amoeba smart and such a horrible experience that it will haunt me every time I shut my eyes.

Yet it’s made hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts and has a fifth film already green lit (thankfully one Bay has said he WONT direct) … so, hey, what the hell do I know.  Maybe I just don’t get it.  Because, hell, enough people seem to.  Personally I like to think it was something else however…  something akin to a road crash where, despite the fact you know you shouldn’t, you go look anyway.    Yes that will be it.  Because near $1 billion of box office would otherwise mean the world is full of people so dumb that, we as a species, truly are screwed.

Transformium.  For fuck sake.

Best Bit: Prime riding Grimlock is pretty cool.  But it was also in the trailer so just watch that instead.

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: I downloaded a Chinese subtitled version.  Even then I felt ripped off.

If You Liked this Try Battleship.  Or Transformers 3.  You’ll love them.  For everyone else… watch ANYTHING else.  Literally ANYTHING.

 

Author: Phil Hobden

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.

 

[divider]

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.

 

[divider]

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.

 

[divider]

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 

 

Best Film of 2013: Rush

Best Film of 2013: Rush

Best & Worst Quick Review
The Review:
 In over 60 years of official competition, there have only ever been a handful of movies about what is one of the worlds most popular sports.  It’s not through lack of inherent drama – just the last few seasons of F1 alone we’ve seen a no hoper team come from being scrapped to winning the world title, a championship won on the last corner of the final race of the season and racers walk away from what should have been life ending crashes.  
But whether it be the subject matter often being almost too extraordinary or the fear that recreating the sport on screen could almost be as expensive as running a team for a year, in general cinema has steered clear of the sport.  So with RUSH arriving in cinemas, from Imagine Entertainment, Working Title Films and in the hands of director Ron Howard, have they achieved what few had dared challenge previous and created a heart pounding thrill ride of a movie or was the task too much for what is a modestly budgeted British film from a company best known for making Hugh Grant rom coms?RUSH tells the extraordinary story of the 1976 Formula 1 world championship, and the merciless 1970s rivalry between the cool, calm playboy Brit James Hunt and methodical, driven Austrian Niki Lauda. Starring Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, director and former Happy Days star Ron Howard has crated a film of such brilliance that, much like documentary Senna, it transcends interest of the sport it focus on and presents what is one of the best performed and most gripping stories of the year so far.  It helps that this truly was a fascinating year – from Lauda’s near fatal crash, to behind the scenes political manoeuvrings and some of the most fierce on track racing ever witnessed in the sport, a year if someone wrote it down without the facts to back it up you’d probably never believe it.But is this anything more than a love letter to the glory days of a sport now controlled by corporations and banks?
 Yes, in fact whilst the racing is expertly handled and form some of the films most intense moments, it’s the story of two men’s bitter rivalry (and friendship) that sit firmly at the heart of this story.  Hemsworth, who no doubt will set hearts a fluttering all bare chest  and flowing haired,  proves he more than a man with a large hammer and tights matching his charismatic subject matter James Hunt smile for smile.  At the same time not to be outdone Bruhl, whose credits mostly include European films few have seen other than a turn in QT’s Inglorious Basterds delivers a performance layered and emotionally grabbing that you just know he will rightfully end up with a trophy cabinet of awards come silly season next year.   The positives don’t stop there: From the lovingly recreated period detail (and not just the numerous F1 cars dragged out if retirement and museums to once again roar for the crowds), to the sense of danger at every turn, Howard and his team recreate the era almost perfectly and when the cars do race, the film pulls no punches.  Actual arial photography taken at the time, mixed seamlessly with some of the most innovative racing cinematography ever placed on screen, every gear change, every button push is a thing of beauty.  RUSH’s cinematography (by Anthony Dod Mantle) is genuinely a thing of beauty and does well to hide what is, by all accounts, a low budget by Hollywood terms.
 But don’t forget this ISNT a Hollywood movie.  It may be directed by Ron Howard but this is a Working Title film.  A British film.  Okay so at $40million USD it’s the biggest film working title have put together, but this is more British that Potter or Bond could ever hope to be.In short RUSH is a directorial triumph and probably Howard’s best movie for some years.Also special note should go to Peter Morgan, writer of The Queen and Frost/Nixon, for a excellent screenplay that allows the story to take shape through the characters whilst allowing the actors enough space to add their own flair to the film.  Is the film perfect? No.  It takes liberties with actual events, being more a story inspired by the truth rather than representing the truth and at times it’s both predictable and obviously when it strays from what is obviously the facts.  But these things rarely matter against the backdrop of a film that tells the story of one of sports best rivalries, presenting in what is probably the best film of the year so far.Like Senna, RUSH tells a story that transcends the sport that works as the backdrop, a story of dedication, desire, competition, death defying acts and men willing to give everything for the glory of success. In doing so it opens itself to a wider audience that it could have hoped and, when awards season comes, should hopefully see itself recognised accordingly. 

Reviewed By: Phil Hobden