‘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: Life is okay. It’s not terrible by a long way and whilst it treads almost zero new ground (and oddly treads a lot of ground covered by Alien Covenant which was released a few months later) it’s certainly a fun ride. The cast is fun, the direction makes good use of the confined spaces and the story moves at pace. Yes it’s silly, yes there’s better films out this year but for a sub two hour time passer I QUITE enjoyed it.
Best Bit: Broken Hand!
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream
If You Liked this Try: Alien Covenant, Gravity, Arrival
So 2014 is almost over and it’s that time a year again where everyone reflects back on their best and worst films of the year. So we’ve covered our best and our worst films of 2014, so before we look at the films coming up in 2015 here’s my ‘Alternative’ End of Year Awards for 2015…
Alternate Film Of The Year… Sharknado 2
Surprise of The Year… Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… It didn’t suck!
Performance Of The Year… Jake Gyllenhaal, Night Crawler
Just Fuck Off and Die Award… Michael Bay
Trailer Of The Year Award… Mad Max Fury Road
The Emperors New Clothes Award… American Hustle.
That Came Out This Year… Damn. Totally Forgot Robocop Remake
They gave the Oscar to WHAT? Award for 2014… Best Cinematography for Gravity
The Poof That Award Shows Suck Award… NOTHING for Sons Of Anarchy at the Emmy Awards. Again.
The Poof That Award Shows DONT Suck Award… American Hustle didn’t win anything at the Oscars.
Best TV Show of 2014… The Newsroom
The will probably be the Worst Film of 2015 Award (Seen it but not released until next year)… He who Dares 2: Downing Street Down
Films That SHOULD have been on my 2013 List’s but I Hadn’t Seen… The Place Beyond The Pines & Sunshine On Leith Next time: Phil’s Look at 2015 and a look back at my 2014 predictions…
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
If you liked this try: 2001 (8/10); Avatar (6/10); Prometheus (4/10)
The Review: In what seems like a very short space of time, the 3D experience has become a huge part of both the cinema and home viewing experience.
However, very few films have used the technique to its full potential and studios have seen it as merely a cash cow by churning out last minute conversions on films that have left the public jaded and cheated by this lazy attempt to justify a more expensive ticket.
So now we have the latest in 3D wizardry in the shape of Gravity. A much hyped sci-fi tale of stranded astronauts in space.
Alfonso Cuarón directs after a 7 year gap since his masterpiece Children of Men, resulting in a great deal of attention from the industry as to what he would produce next.
The story revolves around two astronauts, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who are carrying out routine repairs above the earth’s atmosphere.
A freak accident suddenly causes a vast amount of satellite debris to be knocked into their path resulting in Stone being detached from the crew and fighting for her life.
To say any more about the plot would spoil the experience, but what is important is to focus on the breathtaking visuals in the film.
This is a film that is all about the audience experiencing a thrilling 3 dimensional ride.
As soon as the film begins we are presented with a silent beautiful view of earth from above. We then begin to see the shuttle and Clooney drifting into shot where we continue in one take and witness the crew go about their repairs.
The fluid one take shots are outstanding, the camera never staying still and drifting with the crew as they communicate with each other and with NASA. I’ve no doubt this is as close as you will get to experiencing what these brave individuals go through from the comfort of a chair.
Sound design and score have been carefully crafted with moments of deathly silence only to be jolted from your seat with the booming sound and sights of space debris.
The film does however have some issues with pacing and also character development.
The focus is very much on Sandra Bullocks’ character, a novice astronaut with a tragic past. However it is Clooneys’ character that needed more development. His wisecracks and charisma work early on in the film but later on when the situation turns even darker, his reaction to the situation simply didn’t ring true for me.
The film is saved however by the final act, a truly nerve shredding and emotional finale that sees Bullocks’ character fighting for her life.
Visually the film has certainly done something that I have never seen before and to an extent has restored some faith in 3D filmmaking. However, the hype machine is simply not justified and that comes down to the script which needed to go through a few more drafts to develop the characters more.
Alfonso Cuarón is a masterful director no question, but I do hope he doesn’t focus too much energy on pushing the technology in his future work and lose the human touch that he has displayed in his previous films.