Alien 3: The Assembly Cut (2003) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Alien 3: The Assembly Cut (2003) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I’ve long been an apologist for Alien 3 as a movie.  Yup it’s flaw and yup it had serious production issues but in truth I watched Fincher’s red headed step child as much as I ever did Alien (if not more). The Assembly Cut however, a faux directors cut that pieces together a vision as close to Fincher’s as you will ever get, is a very different beast.  Longer, more detailed and at times slower (in a good way), this version makes some major changes – not least origin or the Alien and cutting that horrible ‘Ripley grabs Alien as it bursts out moment’ – that make sense of the story far more.  It’s still flawed for sure (the CGI is still dated) but it’s a film that feels real and, in this extended cut, that stands aside as a very different beast to Alien and Aliens.  In short: Alien 3: The Assembly Cut deserves to be rewatched by the haters.

Best Bit: The longer opening

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Alien, Aliens, Alien: Resurrection 

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Die Hard (1988) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Die Hard (1988) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

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Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Die Hard is for sure the best action film of the 80’s.  Hell is probably the best action film ever made.  Directed by John McTiernan at the top of his game and starring Bruce Willis when he gave a fuck, Die Hard is a super tense, super creative genre defining (and creating) film that changed cinema forever.  But beyond the incredibly staged action, the tense script and the career making performances by Rickman & Willis, you forget just how beautifully shot Die Hard is. Dutch cinematographer (and now director) Jan de Bont creates a gorgeous film that breaks all the rules around lens fair as it makes the most of it’s confined spaces  Films genuinely don’t get any better than Die Hard and 31 years on it still holds up like it was made yesterday.  And yes… Die Hard IS a Christmas movie so there.

Best Bit: Lift shaft + C4 = Boom!

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard: With A Vengeance, Speed

 

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Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) – A Skywalker Saga Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) – A Skywalker Saga Quick Capsule Review

Collections Hall of Fame Quick Review Star Wars

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review
Star Wars: A New Hope was my first major film crush.  It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before (Okay I as probably 4 when I saw it so that’s not saying much) but man 40+ years later it’s still one of the greatest films ever made. From the characters ( A princess, a rogue, a knight) to the set pieces ( escape the Death Star, The final assault, the duel), to the music, editing and everything else… its a film that doesn’t put a foot wrong and is impossible not to love. Star Wars: A New Hope launched a franchise, a media empire and redefined cinema for generations to come.

Best Bit: Escaping the Death Star

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: The Return Of The Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 


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The Wolf Of Wall Street (2014) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

The Wolf Of Wall Street (2014) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Wolf Of Wall Street is a perfect partner of Goodfellas and Casino – a trilogy about greed, crime and excess. And whilst it doesn’t quite hit the heights of those classic Scorsese films, Wolf is probably one of the best movies the director has made in over a decade.  But for as good as the direction and craft is, its the cast that sell this film.  Margot Robbie debuts and makes an immediate impression, DiCaprio delivers a career best performance and Johnna Hill steels almost every scene he’s in.  The film is uncomfortable watching, as horrible people do horrible things not always getting the comeuppance they deserve but rather than glamorising this, Scorsese manages to reflects the true life story of the thousand of Wolf’s on the hundred’s of Wall Streets around the world. One of the best movies of this decade and gets better with each repeated watch.

Best Bit: Ludes.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Goodfellas, The Big Short, Casino, Boiler Room 

 

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Stand By Me (1986) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Stand By Me (1986) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
It’s been a while but rewatching Stand By Me there was one thing that struck me now more than ever – River Phoenix, Jerry O’Connell , Will Wheaton and Corey Feldman genuinely couldn’t not have given better performances.   They ARE their roles and it’s not surprising that arguable at least three of the cast have never really bettered their work here.  The film is still fantastic and remains one of King’s best adaptions, showing once again that his short stories are often ‘easier’ to adapt than his weightier tomes.   In 2019 Stand By Me still remains and essential watch.

Best Bit: The Junk yard

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Shawshank Redemption, IT (2017), Mystery 

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28 Days Later (2002) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween’ Quick Capsule Review

28 Days Later (2002) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween’ Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Tense, scary and raw 28 Day’s Later for me is one of the best horror films ever made.  Even 17 years later it remains one of the most unsettling films ever made.  Danny Boyle, coming off a run that included Trainspotting and The Beach once again showed that he is a director not bound by genre.  Handheld, shot on low fi digital video and with a limited budget, Boyle creates a film that feels as real as it get that adds visceral gore, an epic score and a compelling twist on the then very worn Zombie film.  Add to that career making performances by Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris & Christopher Eccleston as well as an impressive debut by writer Alex Garland and you have a near perfect storm.  Essential viewing.

Best Bit: ‘Hello’

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: 28 Weeks Later, Trainspotting, Dawn Of The Dead

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The Thing (1982) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween’ Quick Capsule Review

The Thing (1982) – A ’31 Films Of Halloween’ Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Thing is the template for how to make a (relatively) low budget tense, character driven sci-fi horror.  The remake is the template for how NOT to and that’s why it should be avoided at all costs.  Carpenter’s The Thing is lightning in a bottle, it could never be bettered. In fact it cemented Russell as a leading man for generations to come and Carpenter as a true icon of horror.   Critics hated it but even today it holds up as a true cult classic. Nearly perfect.

Best Bit: The ending.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Escape From New York, Halloween, Alien 

 

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Serenity (2005) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Serenity (2005) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
One of the best sci-fi films in recent memory, Serenity (based on the superb but brief TV show Firefly) is an action packed, superbly crafted ride that delivers you so much more than blockbusters with 3 times the budget. It’s also not afraid to throw in a few surprises… not least killing one of the casts most loved characters. Almost 15 years on it holds up surprisingly well.  In short I adore this world and we are all worse off that we’ve never been back.   As Mal would say… Shiny!

Best Bit: The Bar

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Pitch Black

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Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998) – A Quick Capsule Review

Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Simply put I consider Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels to be one of the best British films of all time and for sure one of the best films by a debut director.  The script sparkles, the music so perfectly placed and the performances are committed, genuine and believable.  Beyond all that the editing & direction scream out at you in the best way possible.  It’s exciting, funny, endlessly quotable and stands up to multiple repeat viewings.

Best Bit: The poker game

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Snatch, Reservoir Dogs, Layer Cake

 


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Children Of Men (2006) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Children Of Men (2006) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Children Of Men was one of the most original and thought provoking films of 2006 and rewatching it is still as brilliant and impactful as the day I first watched it. The dystopian world created by Cuarón is so real you can almost taste it.  This, backed up with some epic cinematography (not least one of the best ‘one take’ shots in cinema) and you have a real must own film.  In short Children Of Men is powerful, expertly made and once again shows that with the right script and director, Clive Owen is as good as anyone out there.

Best Bit: The one-take Bexhill sequence

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Road, Akira, World War Z

 

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