From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
From Dusk Till Dawn remains one of the most nuts films of the 90’s and possibly marked the last great film by both directors Quentin Tarantino and  Robert Rodriguez.  Yes really I went there.  Starting as a typical Tarantino, it’s not until they hit the Titty Twister bar that the film takes a surprising twist. Well not that surprising as the trailer gave it away but still bloody good fun.  Cameos by Tom Savini, Fred Williamson, Greg Nicotero sit along side a career making turn by George Clooney and a ‘What the fuck am I doing here’ look of Harvey Keitel.  Greta script,. superb action and a crotch gun.  What’s not to love.

Best Bit: ‘Everybody be cool.  You be cool.’

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Desperado, Pulp Fiction, Lost Boys

Hall of Fame


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Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #080 – Suburbicon

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #080 – Suburbicon

The Podcasts The Smoking Lamb Podcast

It’s The Smoking Lamb Movie Podcast. A weekly, no-holds-baa-aa-arred, and R-rated look at the world of movies.

On this episode: With Josh giving us a much needed break while he basks in the Sun, Mike and Steve take the helm, trying to steer the Lamb clean and true through the Sargasso Sea that is the current cinema releases. This week, they take a look at SUBURBICON, George Clooney’s adaptation of a Coen Brothers script and starring Matt Damon. With just the two participants this week, there’s no Address the Lamb but you will find a Top Five People Who’d Stab You in the Back, and Mike reports back on his homework The Man With Two Brains!

Check it out and BLEAT THE WORLD and don’t forget to follow up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#TheSmokingLamb #MoviePodcasts #Podcasts #FilmPodcast


Phil’s Top 5… Bruce Wayne’s

Phil’s Top 5… Bruce Wayne’s

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: the best Big (and small) screen Bruce Wayne’s…


Close but no cigar: Will Arnett, Val Kilmer, George Clooney


5 – Ben Affleck

Like the film or not, Affleck’s broken Bruce Wayne is a dark step for sure but one that works to establish this character now willing to go to the edge.


4 – Adam West

Play boy , raconteur and brimming with charisma West by far has the most fun with Wayne.


3 – Christian Bale

I like Bale’s version of Wayne.  He actually tries to give the character a different spin and plays up the arrogance you’d expect with a man of that wealth and power.


2 – Michael Keaton

Witness his opening scene in Batman.  The pen In the plant pot, the glass almost smashing.  The darkness under the eyes.  Keaton owned Bruce Wayne for me more than he did Batman.


1 – Kevin Conroy

The animated Bruce Wayne is near perfect.  Such charisma, all delivered with some skilful animation for sure but owned by the outstanding voice work.  The quintessential Bruce Wayne.



Blog: All Things Film – The Monuments Men Reviewed

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Uncategorized

On paper – on canvas – this should really have worked a lot better than it did. The Monuments Men tells the story of a group of Yankee art lovers who quickly throw themselves through basic military training so they can get the OK from Roosevelt to recover a bunch of historic artifacts – or monuments – that Hitler is claiming for himself. Then you look at the poster – Clooney, Damon, Goodman, Murray – they’re all there, in a sort of exciting Oceans Eleven re-teaming, but this time, set in WWII.

Holy shit – did it have to be so boring and confused? This is more like ‘Leatherheads’ Clooney than ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ Clooney. Could it be that he’s spreading himself too thin in writing, producing directing AND starring? I don’t know – I think the issue here is that there’s plainly not enough story and certainly not enough happening in these events based on a true story. Sure, it’s important to keep art alive and out of the hands of the ‘do-badding’. Let’s put it this way; if the Germans do try it again, and decide to add great cinematic artwork alongside the Madonna and Mona Lisa, then if the original 35mm print of The Monuments Men is one of the ‘valuables’, I think we can probably just sit that one out.

The real crux of the problem is that this film is a mess. A pious, preachy mess. Oceans Twelve this ain’t. But then again, it’s hardly the Dirty Dozen, either. It’s just sort of – nothing. It’s bit part with teams of players, and none of them are used to their fullest. Bill Murray and Bob Balaban on screen in any other movie would be a real hoot, I’m sure. Here, they’re sort of standing around looking funny with their squinted eyes and shrugged shoulders. When that isn’t happening, gramophone music underpins their cause and any humour is vacuumed from the film. Goodman is one of the few that emerges unscathed – and in trying to scathe that vast canvas, it would seem anyone would fail – least of all Clooney.

Protracted, long and drawn-out and overstated beyond belief – much like its source material, The Monuments Men is a worthy cause of a story well worth telling. But Clooney and co. (who’d have thunk it?) prove not to be the team to do it.


Author: Andrew Mackay

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire Reviews (Godzilla, 47 Ronin, Xmen and more!)

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

See below quick reviews of 11 films I have seen in the past couple of months… it’s Grosse Point Geek’s quick reviews!

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47 Ronin

Director: Carl Rinsch

Actors: Keanu Reeves

Dear God where to start with this one?? Delayed for ages, cost up to $225 million dollars to make, total flop on release. Combines SFX heavy fantasy with an (apparently) true story,  tries very hard to be Lord Of The Rings meets the Last Samurai – and fails miserably.  For a start Reeves is too old for the lead role and as a result  is massively out of his depth. The direction and production values are completely average with a story that drags on and on, there’s the occasional fight but they are so bloodless and standard that you just don’t care. A total  and utter waste of time and money.

* * * * * *


The Monuments Men

Director: George Clooney

Actors: George Clooney, Matt Damon,  Bill Murray

What should have been an action packed  cross between Oceans’ 11 and The Dirty Dozen turns out to be a right limp affair, that wastes a superb cast and an interesting story.

Well directed and acted but if Clooney had just gone for a straight out boys own adventure film, this would have been so much better. A wasted opportunity and very disappointing to boot.

Next time George, do better.

* * * * * *

X Men: Days Of Future Past

Director: Bryan Singer

Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

This one left me in a right pickle. On the positive side the story, direction, performances and writing are all excellent. However for long periods its just all talk and exposition. Fair enough  -the action sequences are great but there isn’t enough of them, the apocalyptic future setting is well staged – but again – there isn’t enough of it, the Quicksilver character is brilliant  – but maddeningly again  – there bloody well isn’t enough of him!

This had the potential to be as good if not better that X2 – but sadly wasnt  – overall the 4th best of the X franchise – worth seeing but prepare to be a bit bored in parts.

* * * * * *

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

Director: Harold Zwart

Actors: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Lena Heady

If I see another one of these sodding Young Adult film adaptations again I think I’ll scream! You know the drill –drippy teenage girl finds out something supernatural about herself, meets equally drippy, moody teenage boy who just so happens to be a warrior of some nature – blah! Blah! Blah!

Not completely boring, and granted there are a couple of good fight scenes but its 2 hours I’ll never get back  – recommended for rabid fans of the Twilight series only  – and if that’s you then don’t bother visiting this site ever again!

* * * * * *



Director: Boon Jong-Ho

Actors: Chris Evans, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton.

Apocalyptic actioner – very well directed with some great performances from Bell,  Evans and especially Swinton. However, when it should be hitting 1st gear, it frustratingly slows down and gets all weird and talky.

Shame really, as up until it slammed the brakes on, it was damn good.

* * * * * *

Warm Bodies

Director: Jonathan Levine

Actors: Nicholas Hoult, John Malkovich, Teresa Palmer

Cracking film, great fun, lots of heart and two smashing turns from both Hoult and Palmer. A must see for all fans of Shaun of The Dead and The Walking Dead. Highly recommended.

* * * * * *


A lonely Place To Die

Director: Julian Gilbey

Actors: Karel Roden, Sean Harris, Melissa George.

God-awful thriller – What I mistakenly assumed  would be a cross between The Descent, Cliffhanger and Wrong Turn  turned out to be an utterly pants film with zero tension and a preposterous plot……………..and will someone please tell Sean Harris that the persistently intense and moody acting he does every time, in every part I’ve ever seen him play  is wearing painfully bloody thin!

* * * * * *


Director: Wally Pfister

Actors: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany.

Flopped on release with both audiences and critics. Personally I thought it was ok  – nothing special though. Bettany and Hall are both excellent but Depp is miscast. Good SFX and Pfister’s direction shows flair but to be honest the story is nothing we haven’t seen before in the likes of Tron and Lawnmower Man.

* * * * * *


The Amazing Spiderman 2

Director: Marc Webb

Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx

This one annoyed the hell out of me. The first ASM was ok and had two great central performances  – however the sequel is nothing more than an overblown,  SFX heavy, bloated monstrosity. Garfield is annoyingly smug, Foxx is pointless and pantomime, there’s zero plot and the action is generic and boring. Safe to say I absolutely hated this film with a vengeance – avoid at all costs.

* * * * * *

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Director: Kim Jee Woon

Actors: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-Sung

Top film this. Korean action adventure from the director of The Last Stand. Packed with inventive set pieces, great production design and a mind blowing last 20 minutes  –  just about does everything right. Well worth a look

* * * * * *



Director: Gareth Evans

Actors: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

What this lacks in human characterisation, it makes up for in astounding SFX, incredible monster v monster action and stunning set pieces.

All memories of Emmerich’s 1998 disaster are mercifully banished by the genius that is Britain’s own Gareth Evans who brilliantly directs this cracking summer blockbuster.

Destined to be a classic and an absolute must see.


Author: Will Strong 


Grosse Point Geek: The Five Best Actors Working In Films Today

Grosse Point Geek: The Five Best Actors Working In Films Today

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

Since the dawn of motion pictures  one of the major factors that studios have relied upon to score a box office hit is the presence of a well known, popular, marquee actor. However, in latter years  former titans of the multiplex, such as Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford,  have seen their attraction wane significantly, and as a result  less well known performers are being used who not only don’t cost as much, but also bring a significant degree of quality to proceedings  as well.

Now there many superb actors out there but to list them all would take forever, so I have compiled a list  of what I think are 5 of the  best  working in films today.

All of them charismatic, natural performers,  unafraid to stretch themselves by taking on risky roles, always effortlessly seeming  to hold the audiences attention, and somehow bringing that little something to every film in which they appear.

* * * * *

MV5BMjEyMTEyOTQ0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzU3NTMzNw@@._V1_SY317_CR9,0,214,317_George Clooney

Initially appearing in nonsense such as One Fine Day and Batman and Robin, Clooney has consistently defied the odds by refusing to take on parts that solely rely on his looks and instead giving gritty performances in the likes of Syriana and  Michael Clayton. Along the way there have been some misfires – directorial efforts such as Leatherheads and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind were met with mixed reactions.

However by  choosing to work with talented filmmakers such as The Coen Brothers,  Alexander Payne and Jason Reitman, Clooney has managed to create a body of work that shows him as both a proper movie star and a talented performer.

Best Role: CIA Agent Bob Barnes in Syriana – a quiet, superbly understated performance that rightly won him a best supporting actor Oscar.

* * * * *

MV5BMTA2NjEyMTY4MTVeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDQ5NDAzNDc@._V1_SX214_CR0,0,214,317_Bryan Cranston

Utterly brilliant as meth dealing chemistry teacher Walter White in TV’s  Breaking Bad  – Cranston is now fast becoming one of the hardest working and most sought actors in films today.

Soon to be seen in Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot, he was the best thing about 2012’s Total Recall remake, very good as the tragic garage owner Shannon in Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011) and fantastically barbed as the acerbic CIA chief in Argo (2012). A natural actor with bucket loads of talent  – one gets the feeling that the best is yet to come from this guy.

Best Role: What else? – Walter White in (the never to bettered) Breaking Bad.

* * * * *

MV5BMTEwNjE0Njg2MTReQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDEyODM1ODc@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_Tom Hiddleston

The fan’s favourite after completely stealing The Avengers, Thor and its sequel, as the scheming Loki. He was also very good in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and is currently receiving great notices for his role as a vampire  Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. Superb in everything he’s been in – Hiddleston somehow manages to be an incredibly magnetic screen presence and if he keeps it up could end up going down as one of the best actors this country has ever produced. Currently shooting Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming Crimson Peak – surely a Loki spin off movie isn’t far away.

Best Role: Loki  (naturally)- delivering hilarious one liners, bitchy put downs or just effortlessly upstaging Hemsworth and Hopkins  -he made for one of the best screen baddies since Palpatine in Star Wars.

* * * * *

MV5BMTk0NjM2MTE5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODIxMzcyNw@@._V1_SX214_CR0,0,214,317_Michael Fassbender

First coming to prominence as  jailed IRA terrorist Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen’s Hunger (2008), this guy has consistently impressed in just about everything he’s been in since. Successfully managing to give strong performances in smaller films such as Fish Tank and Shame, he also managed to shine in big budget blockbusters like X-Men First Class (as the young Magneto) and Prometheus.

More recently he was nominated for an Oscar for his terrifying turn as the vicious slave owner Epps in 12 Years a Slave  and will soon to appearing again as Magneto in Bryan Singer’s mega budgeted X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Best Role: Now everyone cites Shame as the film that put him on the map – however for me it was as the android David, in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus where Fassbender impressed the most. Managing to be subtly cool and quietly funny,  he owns  every scene he is in. Ok the film divided audiences and critics alike (I lost track of the amount of heated texts Phil Hobden and I exchanged on this one) but without doubt he is the best thing in it by a mile.

* * * * *

MV5BMTg0MDc3ODUwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTk2NjY4Nw@@._V1_SX214_CR0,0,214,317_Matthew McConaughey

Currently riding high after his best actor win at the Oscars last month, and seemingly able to do no wrong – it certainly wasn’t always this way.  Initial promise shown in A Time To Kill, Contact and Amistad was soon squandered by appearances in low brow (but high grossing) rom coms such as Failure To Launch and How To Lose A guy in 10 Days.

This all changed spectacularly in 2011 when McConaughey staged what can only be described as the greatest movie career comeback in living memory.  Fondly known as the “McConaughnaissance” – out went the forgettable crappy  comedies of old and in came several of the most outstanding performances ever seen in modern cinema.

Unbelievably, in  just 3 years he’s starred in no less than 7 films, one highly acclaimed TV series (True Detective), and gone from being a likeable(ish) B list movie star to a bona fide brilliant actor that has Hollywood at his feet.

Indeed, he’s been so good of late, that its extremely hard to pick which one of his recent 7 roles he has impressed the most in.

He was terrifying in Killer Joe, as a murderous and somewhat perverted cop (I’ve not looked at chicken drumstick the same way since), stole all of his scenes in his extended cameo in The Wolf Of Wall Street, was hilarious as the egotistical leader of a troupe of male strippers in Magic Mike, and deservedly won the Academy Award for his frankly outstanding performance as an AIDS victim in the Dallas Buyers Club.

The problem with McConaughey is that he’s had such a good run of luck you worry where he goes from here –without doubt the big test will be Chris Nolan’s Interstellar (due later this year), which has major potential to be a total sci fi classic. All eyes will be on him and Nolan to see if they can deliver –  personally I wouldn’t bet against it.

 Autor: Will Strong


Feature: Ever Wondered What It Would Be Like To Attend A Star Studded Film Premier?

Feature: Ever Wondered What It Would Be Like To Attend A Star Studded Film Premier?


Ever wondered what it would be like to attend a star studded film premier?

Me too.


That’s why I jumped at the chance to attend the UK premier of The Monuments Men, a film about a group of men tasked with finding art and other precious objects stolen by the Nazis.  The film is Produced, Directed by and stars George Clooney, able support is in the forms of Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchette.

Knowing that I was going to be walking down the red carpet gave me second thoughts about my attire, a ripped pair of jeans and a polo shirt. I then decided to go smart, only to be reminded by my partner that it didn’t matter what I looked like, people wanted to see George Clooney not myself. Undaunted, I smartened myself up and headed up to London.


past Trafalgar Square you could already hear the screams coming from nearby Leicester Square; I then had to barge past a horde of paparazzi outside The National Portrait Gallery as some of the recovered works of art were on display and would later be visited by the stars of the film.


Rounding the corner into Leicester Square I was met by a throng of people all screaming for Matt Damon who had just arrived. Thousands of people were pushed up against the crash barriers all wanting a glimpse of their idols and maybe an autograph or selfie. I have walked through the square when there have been numerous premiers but never had I seen crowds on this scale.

Pushing through the crowd I arrived at my destination, a nearby hotel where my ticket was waiting at reception. Ticket now in hand, I dually set off to circumnavigate the perils of an overcrowded square and find my way in to The Odeon. Spotting lots of bouncers in hi vis jackets at the entrance to the gardens I headed their way and presented my ticket, this was to be the first of 6 times my ticket was checked in the space of 100 metres.

I walked behind an outside broadcast vehicle and the next thing I knew was that I was on the red carpet, cameras were flashing in front of me and I realised that I was a couple of feet away from Hugh Bonneville.


I continued to walk along the carpet, ushered along by the security until I was almost pushed into Matt Damon, iPhone in hand I managed to grab a couple of pictures before being pushed forward by security again.

In front of me, Jenni Falconer was interviewing John Goodman up on the stage, his voice booming out across the square, it was at this point that I spotted George Clooney being interviewed to my right, I walked over closer to get a better look, “take a picture and make it quick” his wall of security said, photo taken, I had my ticket checked again and I was then inside.

Walking through the foyer, I noticed someone out of the corner of my eye; it was Jean Dujardin just hanging around the foyer.  I went straight up to him and in my best GCSE French said “Excusez-moi Monsieur Dujardin, une photo s’il vous plaît?” he shrugged his shoulders and gave a slight nod. Happy with my French and with my photo I headed into the cinema to find my seat.


The cinema screen was showing all of the footage from outside and all of the interviews with the stars, I took this opportunity to wolf down the huge bag of complimentary popcorn and Lindt chocolates that were on each seat.

Thirty minutes later a troop of silhouettes were seen walking down the side of the cinema, the house lights went up and the stars of the film appeared on stage and thanked everyone for coming. There is a large round of applause for some of the surviving Monuments Men and women that are also in attendance tonight, Clooney’ speech is short and sweet and utterly charming, and with that he is done, he leads everyone off stage and back out of a side exit of the cinema.

The lights dim again and the curtain rises as I settle down to watch The Monuments Men.


(Back L-R) John Goodman, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, (front L-R) Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, real life Monument Man Harry Ettlinger, Dimitri Leonidas and Writer & Producer Grant Heslov

Visit the Telegraph to see the Red Carpet highlights video… 

Reporter: Matt Duddy

Review: The Monuments Men (Cinema)


The Review: The Monuments Men is the untold story of the men who protected and searched for stolen artwork and artefacts during the latter days of WWII. George Clooney plays Frank Stokes who is set the task by President Roosevelt to put a team of specialists together and go to German occupied France and Belgium to recover these valuable items. Needless to say, they are a rag tag bunch comprising of Matt Damon who is the curator of the Metropolitan Museum, architect Bill Murray, art critic Bob Balaban, sculptor John Goodman, painter Jean Dujardin and art historian Hugh Bonneville.

After having to go through basic training, the group are deployed across Europe, the majority of the time they are shouted at by senior officers who don’t care about protecting art, the rest of the time they seem to be chasing their tails apart from Matt Damon who goes to Paris where he meets Cate Blanchettes art curator who was employed by the Nazis to catalogue all of the stolen art and who may know its whereabouts.

Again Clooney proves that he is a solid director with this latest labour of love, it can almost be described as Oceans WWII as it focuses on a large cast of famous names stealing items from the rich and powerful albeit this time it’s the Nazis. The film itself is not without faults, the main one being trying to give each of the characters enough screen time to enable the audience to identify with them, some get too much (step forward Matt Damon and Cate Blanchette) and some are criminally underused (Bob Balaban and the always impressive John Goodman).

This is not the worst of it though, that is reserved for Cate Blanchette whose character is so wooden she could do with taking acting lessons from Keanu Reeves and Pinocchio. Blanchette phones the performance in and does not seem to be making any effort at all and it shows as each scene she is in seems to drag the film backwards.

The film is also disjointed in its narrative as it tries to balance the screen time for the characters as the months (and the viewing time) roll past. It is almost ninety minutes into the film that anything of real importance starts to happen.

In short, yes this is a worthy film as it sheds light on the role that The Monuments Men played in saving much of Europe’s art, however, like a school trip around an art gallery it soon becomes boring and forgettable.


Reviewed By: Matt Duddy

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Will Strong’s Preview Of 2014…

Will Strong’s Preview Of 2014…

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Quick Review

Every year Phil and Will look at what’s grabbing their attention for 2014.   Here’s Will Strong’s pick for the films to look out for in 2014…

    1. Hobbit –There and Back again (cant wait!)
    2. Godzilla (trailer looks amazing)
    3. X Men Days of Future Past (could be brilliant, could be X Men 2 good or could be meh)
    4. Interstellar (Nolan needs to deliver here but will be interesting)
    5. Pompeii (looks fun and its P WS Anderson!)
    6. Robocop (could be very good – trailer is excellent – however the original was so good I cant see this being better )
    7. Hercules The Thracian Wars
    8. Expendables 3 – Gibson, Banderas, Stallone, Arnie, Snipes etc etc  – nuff said!
    9. Fury – sounds like it could be awesome
    10. The Monuments Men – looks very good and lots of fun
    11. Captain America The Winter Soldier – im worried about this one – could be ok but the directors are very untested and are we experiencing too much Marvel output at the moment?
    12. Guardians Of The Galaxy – this will ether be Star Wars meets the Avengers or John Carter meets Dune
    13. Sabotage – looks very action packed plus Arnie is in it
    14. Edge Of Tomorrow – could be very good
    15. The Raid 2  – this could be awesome but how do you top the original?????


Gravity: A Quick Capsule Review

Gravity: A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Gravity is not a bad film.  The 5 stars reviews tell you that.  But at the same point it’s not the best film ever made.  It’s not even the best film of 2013.  Technically this film is brilliant.  Unlike anything I’ve ever seen, but strip the Imax 3D and technical tricks away, you are left with a pretty average drama film with stock characters and repetitive action.  It’s not a popular opinion for sure, but mark my words months on when this arrive son DVD this will be the most reviewed down film of the year.

Best Bit: The opening shot.  Breath taking.

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Imax 3D ONLY

IMDB Rating: 

If you liked this try: 2001 (8/10); Avatar (6/10); Prometheus (4/10)