So a Phil’s Quick Capsule Review round up of the films I watched this festive Christmas season…
It’s been cloned, it’s been copied but it’s never been bettered. Die Hard is a nailed on classic. And it just reminds you how far both the films and Willis as an actor/star have fallen in the 25+ years since this film came out. From DeBonts stunning cinematography to McTiernan’s taught direction, from the script to the set pieces, the film still gives any modern day action film a run for it’s money. Add to that Alan Rickman chewing up the scenery and a never better Willis and you have a film as good day as it ever was.
Best Bit: C4. Monitor. Bang. Talk about using a nuclear bomb to Swat a fly.
Die Hard 2
So Die Hard 2 holds up less well than Die Hard, the directing isn’t anywhere near as tight, the action a bit stilted and the photography feels like that generic early 90’s last 80’s action film that plagued the genre. Yet… it’s damn good fun, Willis is comfortable in his role as the wise cracking McClane and the support cast on top form. So not the classic that Die Hard is but still a lot to enjoy.
Best Bit: Ice. Eye. Death.
From the twist mind of Joe Dante and it once meant something stamp of producer Steven Spielberg comes one of the most subversive “kids ” film ever made. Not that it actually is a kids film. Oh no it’s a lot better than that. Death, murder, microwaved gremlins… Dante delivers a feast of horrors in what is still his best film. Everything about Gremlin’s works and whilst it’s over 30 years old now, it hasn’t aged bit (save for some of the background technology). Smart. Funny. And at time scary, Gremlins is the wicked fun.
Best Bit: Kitchen Scene
So from the director that gave you Severance and Triangle comes this years more interesting take on Christmas. Totally successful? No. But not without a few laughs. Mostly of the jokes about Warwick Davis looking like an Elf or Reindeers farting type. But you take them where you can get them I guess. Broadbent is having more fun that most (including the audience) and overall you are left with a sometime funny, never boring kids film.
Best Bit: Davis being confused for an elf.
Okay so I have a massive soft spot for this slice of manipulative tosh. Is Love Actually a great film? By all standard measures probably not. It’s far too on the nose, it makes little sense and it’s as subtle as a brick around the head. BUT. And this is a but BUT. I still love it. It’s become a Christmas favourite, watched ever year without fail. Why? Because at it heart it’s a sweet, often funny, always charming story about love and people, a story that can melt even the hardest of hearts. What’s not to love…
Best Bit: The ending. Love is actually all-around after all
Trading Places (1983)
Another subservience Christmas film, a tale of rags to riches to rags. Okay so 31 years on some of the humour certainly would pass now (not least a backed up Dan Aykroyd) , but Trading Places holds up rather well considering everything that has come after. But then good jokes, winning performances and great central ideas are pretty time less. Maybe both Aykroyd and Murphy should watch this again and remind themselves of when they used to be funny…
Best Bit: Whilst it’s Murphy film, Ackroyd gives a star turn here
Author: Phil Hobden