‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Well that’s a disappointment. A Man Bites Dog meets Spinal Tap style documentary about Vampires sounded like a winner but sadly, whilst it has it’s bloody moments, the film completely forgot to add any laughs, instead wallowing in it’s own cleverness. There’s not much more to say… a comedy without laughs, a horror without scares, a film without interest… it’s all just a little bit too full of itself. Disappointing.
Best Bit: The Werewolf bit is as funny as it goes
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Borrow
If You Liked this Try: Man Bites Dog, Spinal Tap, Borat
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Paddington is a joy of a film. There’s no other way to describe it. A superbly realised kids film but with a humour and charm that will appeal to adults also. From it’s fully realised lead character to it’s excellent cast (Whishaw as the titular bear stands out) who all connect so strongly with the audience. Even without this, however, the filmmakers throw in enough goofy set pieces to make you laugh out loud. If I had ANY issues with the film it would be that maybe the FX don’t quite live up to the budget’s realities BUT this is a very small point in what is really a wonderful film. Both for kids AND adults.
Best Bit: Paddington settles in to the house!
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy
If You Liked this Try: Shaun The Sheep, The Boxtrolls, The Book of Life
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Kajaki is the best movie from 2014 that you haven’t seen. Scrub that it’s probably one of the best movies from 2104 period. Kajaki is as brutal and intimate a war movie as you are ever likely to experience. And trust me experience is the word… I watched Kajaki and at times forgot to breathe. The tension is palpable, the acting flawless and the direction outstanding. This is a must see.
Best Bit: Tension. In spades.
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy
If You Liked this Try: BlackHawk Down, Platoon, ’71
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
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: The Equalizer is a film Tony Scott would have made if he’d still ben alive. In fact if anything it feels like a prequel to Man On Fire. If this sounds like a great idea, then this is very much for you. A revenge film heavy on revenge, violence and creative ways to kill, this is Washington (and director Antoine Fuqua for that matter) on cruise mode. But he does ‘Cruise’ almost better than anyone and whilst he’s never stretched he’s certainly having fun. And that’s never a bad thing. In short: Bloody, violent if a bit over long.
Best Bit: Home depot finale
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Rent
If You Liked this Try: Commando, Man On Fire, Harry Brown
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Ant Man isn’t what you expect. For all those who (wrongly) complain that all the Marvel film are the same, here you have a heist movie come buddy comedy which (for the most part) separates itself from the wider Marvel universe and just sets about making itself a fun, entertaining film. Something it does in spades. The cast is great, with great rapport between Rudd and Douglas, the FX top notch and the script (by in part former project director Edgar Wright) is the right side of silly. Ant Man makes up for the slightly disappointing Age Of Ultron, and shows that given an interesting property Marvel can pretty much make anything work on screen.
Best Bit: Train Fight!
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream
If You Liked this Try: Iron Man, Captain america Winter Solider, Guardians Of The Galaxy
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Overall Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is very entertaining and very well made. But that’s kinda standard in a franchise that has set a very high bar previously. The good? The fact that for once the trailer doesn’t actually give that much away and what you think is a big moment spoiler actually happens pretty early on. Cruise is excellent as always, as is the support cast. The bad- one underwater sequence which undoes all the good work the plane sequence does in terms of stunts and FX and a horrible cartoon car crash which doesn’t work at all.
It drags a little by the end as the convoluted plot twists on itself but overall probably the third best MI film..
Best Bit: THAT Plane sequence
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream
If You Liked this Try: Mission Impossible 2, Mission Impossible 3, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: In this day and ace of CGI animation all looking the same, it’s easy to forget how much effort goes into making a film like The Boxtrolls. That effort doesn’t make it a good film however. For that you need top quality voice acting, a good director, innovative and exciting set pieces, a dark humour and a cracking script. Which is lucky because The Boxtrolls has all this in spades. Okay so it’s not as good as Coraline for me but that’s only because that film was so good. The Boxtrolls is a joy – just be weary at times it was far too much for my 5 year old daughter to take.
Best Bit: Kingsley is superb
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy
If You Liked this Try: Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Wallace & Gromit Curse Of The Warerabbit.
To celebrate today being Friday The 13th In what may be either a heroic or heroically dumb move, off the back of the rather excellent Crystal Lake Memories documentary, I have decided back in 2014 to rewatch EVERY Friday The 13th movie. From the original 1980’s classic to the franchise killing remake, I re-watched ever kill, every slash and every Jason death. So here it is – a complete look at the Jason Vorhees back catalogue…
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History Of Friday The 13th (2013)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: So the documentary that started it all: Crystal Lake Memories is an exhaustive (and exhausting clocking it at a nearly 400 min run time) look at the history of the Friday The 13th films – from it’s humble beginnings right through Freddy Vs Jason and the studio remake and is a must see for fans of the films. Brough to you by the same team that delivered the equally essential Nightmare Of Elm Street documentary Never Sleep Again no stone is left unturned. Best of all far from a fluff piece this digs into what worked, what didn’t work and what happened behind the scenes. Simply put this is both essential and fascinating.
Any cast of note? Almost everyone who has ever been in or involved with the films!
Friday The 13th (2009)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: So in hindsight the remake of Friday 13th is actually pretty good. Gone are the japery and silliness of the later Friday films, back comes the hardcore gore and nudity that was a hallmark of the series at it’s best. Plenty of gruesome kills, a story which nicely remakes three Friday’s for the price of one and a cast that can actually act, it’s directed with a sense of respect to the better instalments whilst delivering a few nice new moments. I liked it and, stood alongside the rest in the series, it comes across as very good indeed. Recommended.
Best Kill: Sleeping bag then on fire. Ouch.
Any cast of note? Danielle Panabaker, Nana Visitor
Freddy Vs Jason (2003)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Okay that’s better. Whilst most of the Friday films have aged badly, Freddy Vs Jason is still a prime cut in a butchers shop of (mostly)offal. Bride Of Chucky director Ronny Yu once again delivers on a quirky premise and gives fans something they have been waiting for since it was first muted back in The Final Friday. A knowing film with a strong idea its heart, the films full of crowd pleasing smackdowns, gross out blood and guts and nudity: everything you want from a Freddy or a Jason movie. Best of all it leaves you wanting more which, sadly, hasn’t yet arrived. So overall even though this isn’t strictly just a Friday The 13th movie it’s certainly one of the strongest in the series and for sure the one that delivers best all-round.
Best Kill: Freddy’s hand kills… er… Freddy.
Any cast of note? Robert England, Kelly Rowland, Monica Keena
Jason X (2001)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Yup Jason X is terrible. But it’s terrible in a knowing, fun and silly kind of way that the franchise has been seriously lacking up to this point. Just the idea of taking Jason and putting him on a space ship is insane BUT even with terrible 90’s CGI, a near total lack of nudity and gore and acting that is at best dubious the film is just such damn fun. From VR deaths, 80’s Friday The 13th homages to a Cyborg Jason this film just knows what it is and delivers on that, never trying to be anymore or less. And I kinda salute it for that… oh and did I mention CYBORG JASON??????
Best Kill: Face, Liquid Nitrogen, Desk.
Any cast of note? Kane Hodder. LexaDoig. David Cronenberg. Peter Mensah
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Oh dear. Look I totally understand that the Friday 13th movies were never grounded in reality. But seriously Part 9 really does stretch credibility to levels even I couldn’t get on board with. Supernatural nonsense, Jason’s heart being the key to his powers, transferring from one body to another… it just jumped the shark. And for a franchise that had last ended with the pretty dire Jason takes Manhattan that’s saying something. What’s worse is that the gore has been dialled down to almost PG13 levels means the film doesn’t even have that possible redeeming feature.
Best Kill: Freddy comes for Jason (okay technically not a kill but buy far the best bit of the film)
Any cast of note? Kane Hodder returns as Jason an in a cameo as himself. Steven Williams. Erin Gray.
Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhatten (1989)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: This was one was a bit of a slog. Which is a shame as I quite enjoyed Jason Takes Manhattan when I was a kid. Reanimated via electrical cable(yes really!), this film borders on PG-13 at times with virtually zero nudity or gore (and when there are FX they are pretty poor). Add to that a host of bad performances, an idea so totally dumb that you end up laughing at it more than being scared and you are left with one of the weaker Jason films. That said it earns an extra star for having the infamous man boxing Jason sequence…
Best Kill: Head knocked clean off.
Any cast of note? Kane Hodder returns as Jason. Also TV stalwart Peter Mark Richman.
Friday the 13th Part 7: New Blood (1988)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Sadly Jason returns once more (via telekinesis no less) and despite marking the first time behind the mask for the legendary Kane Hodder, Part 7 is a bit of a slog. It doesn’t help that it take almost 20 minutes for the first kill to take place, and when they do most are pretty uninspired by this point. Gone are the higher budget effects of Jason Lives as the franchise marks it’s decline into even cheaper produced tat. It has a few moments – the sleeping bag kill is ace, but the ending is bad even for these movies. All in all it’s one to miss.
Best Kill: Sleeping bag around tree!
Any cast of note? Kane Hodder makes his debut as Jason
Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Jason Lives picks up on the momentum of A New Beginning and runs with it – more kills, more violence but oddly less nudity. The MPAA strike again. It also starts the journey of the franchise being (relatively) grounded that ends with Jason being in Space. Tommy Jarvis returns (with Thom Mathews taking over the role) and this time manages to bring back the unstoppable killer with a bolt of lightning. Accidental of course, and from there its back to the usual routine of creative deaths. Jason Lives feels a little more high budget than some of the other entries and a bit more polished. All in all another fun entry.
Best Kill: Head into a toilet wall.
Any cast of note? Jennifer Cooke, Thom Mathews
Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Well this was a surprise. The legendarily bad Part 5 (the one where Jason isn’t actually Jason) is actually one of the stronger entries into the series so far. So yes the plot is total hokum, but this is the last Jason film before things start to go really mental (physic powers, resurrection, Space) and you know what it’s brutal, bloody and well paced with out the “God is anything going to happen” tedium of Parts 3 and 4. It also has a nice pay off at the end, a hint of where things could have gone, but sadly didn’t. So far from being rubbish, part 5 is actually a pleasant surprise. Who’d have thought…
Best Kill: Belt around face, tightened.
Any cast of note? Corey Feldman. Shaver Ross
Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Oh dear. Growing up this was always MY Friday The 13th film. The one that grabbed me, the one I thought I remembered. It had Tommy Jarvis, a young Feldman and a kick arse nail in the coffin for Jason. And years on those things remain. It’s just a shame that the rest of the film is so tepidly done. Yes much like the previous Friday The 13th sequels, it’s an hour and 10 mins of nothing happening (well some 15 rated nudity but little else) with a handful of kills interspersed. Sadly it ended up being quite a slog. So far from the 7/10 classic I remember, this has been the most disappointing Friday yet (at least in terms of expectation!). Oh and the legendarily bad Part 5 is looming.
Best Kill: Jason’s death at the hands of Tommy. Brutal.
Any cast of note? Corey Feldman, naturally. Crispin Glover (Marty McFly’s dad)
Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Part 3? In 3D? Don’t mind if I do. Problem is, when it’s all over, what you have is yet another retreat of the original movie, with little of new of note, zero nudity and some really toned down kills. I know the MPAA was pretty tough back in the early 80’s but even so it takes the film almost 50 minutes to get into gear and when it does the screaming cast and modernly good FX do little to hop dour attention. Okay so it’s fun looking at everything set up so that the 3D could be used to max effect and, back in it’s day, this was pretty innovative. But now? It’s just kinda funny. The weakest Friday yet…
Best Kill: Eye pop into screen. Ah… 80’s 3d!
Any cast of note? Betsey Palmer briefly returns again with reused Part 2 footage. Dana Kimmell did a few bits after.
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So Part 2 delivers slightly less gore (thank the MPAA for that), a slower pace (mostly the murders don’t start until after 45 minutes in) and a sack-headed Jason. But whilst it’s not as strong as the original, there’s still a lot to enjoy here. Jason get’s his machete for the first time, there’s a nice call back to the infamous part 1 jump scare ending and the film certainly starts to set the tone for what would follow in it’s relentless Jason as unstoppable killer trope. I also really liked the ending where Ginny pretends to be Mrs Voorhees, confusing Jason long enough for her to try and escape. Miner is a workman like director so the film overall is proficient rather than spectacular but still enjoyable none the less.
Best Kill: Machette + Head + Wheelchair
Any cast of note?Amy Steel is something of a cult favourite. Betsey Palmer briefly returns.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The original, and one of the lesser regarded films in the franchise (it didn’t, after all, even feature the iconic Jason as the killer), I was surprised at just how well the film held up some 34 years later. A nice quality HD transfer, some creative kills and some excellent early Tom Savini FX work, Friday The 13th plays more as a who done it that the slasher series it would later become. Yup the acting is variable and the fashion dated, but overall it’s a much stronger film that I remember.
Best Kill: Kevin Bacon of course! Arrow through the throat. Excellent!
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Big screen animation continues it’s ever upward spiral with the release of The Book Of Life, from producer Guillermo del Toro. A beautiful, fun film with stunning character design, a great cast (Ron Perlman, Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana), some nice rejigged music and, naturally this it’s a Mexican themed film, you have the obligatory (almost contractually so) cameos from Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin – it just feels right. The Book of Life is up there with The Boxtrolls as one of the best kids films of the year. Who needs Pixar, eh?
Best Bit: Visually one of the most unique animations ever.
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy
If You Liked this Try: The Boxtrolls, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Up