Big Ass Spider: A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Big Ass Spider: A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Not often do you get a film that so brilliant ‘does what it says on the tin’ but welcome then to Big Ass Spider a film about… well I think you can guess.  So cheesy dialogue, poor FX, Lloyd Kaufman cameo, mostly TV cast… it’s all here.  But you know what? It’s bloody good fun despite all that. Or maybe because of? Regardless this is a fun way to spend 90 mins.  It’s won’t linger much past the end credits but that’s not always a bad thing.

Best Bit: The opening. Actually quite brilliant.

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Stream

If you liked this try: Snakes On A Plane (7/10); Sharknado (6/10); Megladon (4/10)

 

Rating: 

 

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Sharknado Week: Sharknado 5 Global Swarming – A Quick Capsule Review

Sharknado Week: Sharknado 5 Global Swarming – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Global Swarming… Yup it’s back and this time it’s travelling across the Globe. It’s as insane as you’d imagine and oddly the rather bad Katie Price cameo isn’t the worst acting in it (Tara Reid who once shone in American Pie is beyond phoning it in these days).  Yup each country has it’s own unique set of cameos as the film goes from one set piece to the next, in one country to the next, with zero logic or story effort.  But who cares when it’s this fun. And it IS fun, probably the fact the most fun since the second Sharkndao film all those years ago.  It wont convert new fans for sure but as a piece of forgettable fun the Sharknado films always deliver.

Best Bit: Sidney Opera house

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Sharknado, Lavalantula, Sharknado 2: The Second One

Sharknado Rating: 

 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

 

 

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Star Wars Week:  Star Wars A New Hope – A Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars Week: Star Wars A New Hope – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

With Solo: A Star Wars Story out this week it felt a good time to revisit our previous reviews for the Star Wars films… next up A New Hope. 

 

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Star Wars is a genre defining, once in a life time kinda film that not only changed a genre of films for good it showed that the true value in film laid beyond the movie itself openning up multiple untouched revenue streams that kept the franchise alive well beyond it’s original runs.  It’s a film that wears its influences on it’s sleeve, from pulp serials of the 30’s and 40’s like Flash Gordon to the World War two dog fights that influence it space combat action so heavily.  The script is hokey for sure but the effects have rarely been topped by CGI and the pace and editing are top notch.  Star Wars defined a generation and still continues to entertain and endure over 40 years later.

Best Bit: The death star assault

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star wars: Return Of The Jedi, Star Wars: Rogue One

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

Maze Runner: Death Cure – A Quick Capsule Review

Maze Runner: Death Cure – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Maze Runner franchise for me has been the best of the crop of the post Harry Potter young adult craze.  It was better written, better directed and visually more interesting than the Divergents and Hunger Games but sadly mostly went under the radar.  This belated sequel delivers once again closing, the trilogy off with a  strong visually impressive final chapter that resists the urge to split the story into multiple parts.  With the YA craze now past it feels right that the best of the bunch puts the final punctation on a sub genre that never lived up to expectations.

Best Bit: Assault the city

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: The Maze Runner,  Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Avengers Week: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 – A Quick Capsule Review

Avengers Week: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Filled with humour, action and heart, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is a most enjoyable follow up to the smash hit original that manages to build on that films successes whilst successfully expanding the universe, characters and wit on what came before.  It goes without saying that the cast are uniformly excellent (with former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista being a real stand out) and new comers such as Russell & Stallone just adding to the overall coolness.   It’s not perfect – the pacing of the final act and the inevitable fall into CGI things fighting CGI things let it down but there’s enough investment in the characters, warmth and humour (and man it’s a funny film, probably the funnest of the year so far) to allow you to overlook these.  So not as good as the original BUT still a success in it’s own right.

Best Bit: The opening

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Avengers, Ant Man

Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Avengers Week: Spider-Man Homecoming – A Quick Capsule Review

Avengers Week: Spider-Man Homecoming – 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:
Marvel’s Spider-man works.  Be it the excellent Tom Holland, one of the MCU’s best bad guys in Michael Keaton’s Vulture or even the appearances by Robert Downey Jnr & Jon Favreau as Iron Man & Happy, Marvel have finally nailed the web slinger.  Gone are the memories of the lack lustre “Amazing Spider-man” films or emo dancing of Spider-man 3, in is real heart and soul, a witty script and an actor who actually looks like he should be at school.  It even gets around the tricky last act with a few killer story developments. Time will tell how good this will be on second viewing but for now Marvel have done a top job.  Oh and REALLY stick around of the end credits… this one’s worth it

 

Best Bit: End titles

 

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

 

If You Liked this Try: Spider-man 2, The Amazing Spider-man, Captain America Civil War 

 

Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Avengers Week: Thor Ragnarok – A Quick Capsule Review

Avengers Week: Thor Ragnarok – 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:
Thor: Ragnarok does almost EVERYTHING right as Marvel finishes off 2017 with 3 out of 3 for it’s output this year (commercially and critically). Taika Waititi may have been an odd choice on paper to helm a multi million dollar Thor film, even after some smallish but well received independent movies but Marvel again proves it has an eye for talent as he delivers what is what of the most bat shit mental Marvel films yet.  Add in some great action, a laugh out loud script and Korg… you have what is one of the top draw Marvel films. Oh and the cast – Hiddleston, Blanchett, Urban,  Elba,  Hopkins. Goldblum and many more.  It’s such fun.  Thor: Ragnarok  demands to be seen on the big screen. 

Best Bit: Korg.  Hands down one of THE best Marvel film characters.  And THOSE cameos.

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: Guardians of The Galaxy, Doctor Strange, The Avengers

Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

The Breakfast Club – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

The Breakfast Club – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Its taken me over 30 years but I finally watched The Breakfast Club.  And i wasn’t disappointed.  It’s odd how certain films skip you by but despite rating similar themed coming of age film Ferris Bueller as one of my favourite films fo all time, I just never got around to The Breakfast Club.  The danger is out of time these films can loose their impact but The Breakfast Club doesn’t. Far from it, I could relate to the film and the characters and it maintains a mostly timeless quality.  Age hasn’t taken away the impact of these disparate characters and their journey through one morning of detention.  Superbly performed, expertly directed and endlessly charming –  a classic for sure and a worth entry into the Phil’s Quick Review hall of fame!

Best Bit: Actually watching it after all these years!

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Porky’s , Pretty In Pink

 

HOF

Rex Manning Day: Empire Records – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Rex Manning Day: Empire Records – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

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Phil’s (Not So) Quick Capsule Review:  Empire Records was a massive bomb on it’s original release.  Critically and commercially.  Roger Ebert hated it (that said he hated The Usual Suspects…), Variety labelled it as “Soundtrack in search for a movie”  and it grossed under £300k on it’s theatrical release.   Yet as the years go on so the cult around Empire Records continues to grow and grow.  From regular midnight screenings to the annual Rex Manning Day celebrations (8th April) more and more people have come around to the fact that Empire Records is, actually, pretty damn good.

The story, as such, is about an independent record store on the brink of a take over by a nasty big multi national chain called Music Town stuck with a eclectic team of broken teens and an ego manic musician reluctantly there to plug his new album.  In reality it’s coming of age story that kind of ends up being a 90’s Breakfast Club set in a Record Store rather than a detention.  But, like many a cult hit, this film is less about the story and more about the feels & the characters.  And that is something this film has in spades.

Backtrack.  I discovered Empire Records in a video shop in my home town of Lewes (Lewes Videos take a much deserved bow) thanks mostly to it’s excellent owner who had an ability to find little heard of classics and fill his shelves with them.  From 80’s actioners Action Jackson, Never To Young To Die and my love of Jackie Chan – without that shop I’d probably not be writing this review here.   See before the internet, before Facebook and Instagram a cult hit became a cult hit often from a knowledgeable video clerk pointing you in the direction of something a little special.  Yes the Tarantino stories of video shop life weren’t all exaggerations!  Sadly those days have now passed but I do wonder if this film came out now and had similar reception if it’s fandom would grow as much as it has or would it’s 30 score on Metacritic or sub 30% on Rotten Tomatoes consign it to some little seen Sky Movies channel at 4am in the morning?  

It was a film that initially felt ahead of it times whilst being a launch pad for the careers of at least 3 big stars (Zellweger, Tyler and Tunney).  And this is the key Empire Records continued success.  The cast are brilliant.   Be it Liv Tyler’s innocent but broken Harvard student Corey or Rene Zellweger’s s–ty Gina, Maxwell Caulfield egotist singer Rex Manning or Anthony LaPaglia heart of gold store manager Joe… Empire’s characters resonate hard. For sure it’s not the best acted or directed film of the 90’s. But it’s cast gave it heart and soul, making it relatable.

Oh and the soundtrack.  I’ve seen empire Records well over twenty times. But the soundtrack I’ve listened to hundreds.  And much like the films cast it’s full of oddballs, strangeness, 2nd tier hits and one hit wonders it’s soundtrack delivers an eclectic mix from Coyote Shivers to Edwin Collins.  Look beyond the official soundtrack album to Spotify playlists that have been created with music that didn’t make it to the CD and you’ll find even more quirky tracks covering Gwar, Dire Straights and many more.


I have to admit part of the original appeal for me was Liv Tyler.  Empire was Tyler’s third film (after the very good Heavy and the little seen Silent Fall) but I’m pretty sure I caught it after seeing her in Stealing beauty (a wonderful film in itself). I had a major crush so anything with Tyler in was a draw for me.  She still remains a very underrated actress, with film appearances fleeting after the early successes.

No commentary for this film could pass without reference to the wonderful creation that is Rex Manning.  Part Hoff part every one hit wonder clinging to his heyday singer that’s ever been, former teen star Maxwell Caulfield who himself has something of a high and low filled career (see the critically hated Grease 2) delivers a note perfect slimeball performance backed up by the so bad it’s brilliant ‘Say No More Mon Amour’ track.

Don’t get me wrong the film has flaws.  It’s random to the point of being totally undisciplined, certain characters (Mark) seem like they are in a different film and it’s no surprise that few of the male cast broke big down the line.  BUT no work of art, no movie is perfect and it’s flaws just make it that bit more real.

Even thought Empire Records flopped on it’s release, in the 20 plus years that have followed it’s cult has grown enough for it to get some much needed love back from the rights holders. A ‘Fan Edit’ a few years back was released  (I’m not a massive fan as it kills the pacing and makes certain sections drag longer than they should) and a US Region A BluRay Release.  Outside the official stuff, there’s Etsy shops galore with pins, name badges and posters and Rex Manning Day has become a thing.  No really. 

Empire Records was of it’s time.  And like many films I hold dear from my formative years, it’s one that stuck with me.  I’ve never shown it to anyone that didn’t love it.  I embrace it’s flaws.  I love it’s quirkiness and like Warren I too deep down just wanted Joe to give me a job.

Damn the man, Save The Empire! 

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

The Perfect Weapon – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

The Perfect Weapon – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Perfect Weapon is one of the best 90’s direct to video action films that you probably haven’t seen.   Starring genuine hard man Jeff Speakman and a host of “Oh It’s him ” cast members (Mako, James Hong, Professor Tanaka to name but three), it’s low of budget but high on well done action.  If you are a fan of late 80’s and early 90’s martial arts films (the likes that Cannon would’ve made) then The Perfect Weapon is a must watch!

Best Bit: Training Montage 

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: No Retreat No Surrender, China O’Brien, American Ninja 

 

 

HOF