Executive Decision (1996) – A Quick Capsule Review

Executive Decision (1996) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Executive Decision is a classic 90’s action film – bombastic, silly and hugely over the top.  It’s also massively fun and immensity re-watchable. But it’s also a film that takes some risks – killing off one of your more bankable stars in Act 1 was bold and putting the film on the shoulders of Russell in a period he was making more serious dramas was inspired.  This really was a golden age for action – high concept films in a time before superhero would dominate.  That said the seeds of today’s superhero movie sit very firmly in this era – proper actors in action roles are now common place.  Executive Decision holds up well and is well worth a rewatch.

Best Bit: Seagal buys it!

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Con Air, The Rock, Under Siege 

 


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The Christmas Chronicles (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

The Christmas Chronicles (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Netflix ‘original’s’ have had a hard time this year – Cloverfield, Annihilation and others have headed straight to the bottom of many people’s worst of the year (mine included).  So what hope does a little old Christmas film have.  In two words: Kurt Russell. Actually that’s not strictly fair – the film ALSO has bundles of charm and an unshakable 80’s vibe that leaves you with a massive smile on your face. Yup this is Adventures In Babysitting meets a live action Minions film meets pretty much every 80’s film along the way.  It’s silly, it’s crazy and it has Kurt Russell as a very modern day Santa.  Oh and possibly one of the cameos of the year.   The Christmas Chronicles is bloody great fun and will be a rewatched favourite for years to come!

Best Bit: Jailhouse rock.

Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: Adventures In Babysitting, The Minions, The Muppet Christmas Carol 

 


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The Thing (1982) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

The Thing (1982) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Thing is a nailed on sci-fi horror classic. Even some 36 years since the film was released (to a critically drubbing no less), the film holds up brilliantly.  In fact other than a few moments the film is almost timeless, feeling like it could’ve been made yesterday.  I guess the only thing that stops it feeling like a 2000’s movie is the restraint showed by Carpenter as a director and the cast.  It’s subtlety from start to end, with ambiguous moments leaving the audience to think about what they are seeing.  Carpenter saves his money shots for when they count and when they come man do they deliver.  The 2000’s reboot did everything wrong that this film did right.  In short The Thing is essential.

Best Bit: The blood test

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Escape From New York, Halloween, Big Trouble In Little China

Hall of Fame

 


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Podcast: The Education Of Josh… Tango & Cash (1989)

Podcast: The Education Of Josh… Tango & Cash (1989)

The Education of Josh The Podcasts

 

 

Josh has seen loads of films. Mostly Disney. Phil has seen loads of films that Josh should have seen but hasn’t. Join Phil as he takes Josh through an education in movies – Film by Film.  This episode Phil educates Josh on: Tango & Cash (1989)

Films Discussed: The Heat, Tango & Cash, Cliffhanger

Hosted Phil Hobden (Ross And Phil Talk Movies) and Josh Morris (The Smoking Lamb)

#TheEducationOfJosh #RossAndPhilTalkMovies #MoviePodcasts #Podcasts #TheSmokingLamb

For more on Phil Hobden check out www.philhobden.co.uk , Twitter (@PhilQuickReview) and Instagram (RossAndPhilTalkMovies)

   

 

 


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Big Trouble In Little China (1986) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Big Trouble In Little China (1986) – A Hall Of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Big Trouble In Little China is a classic.  Kurt Russell as Jack Burton delivers what is a quintessential action hero: mullet adorned, grizzled and full of gusto.  He sits along side John McClane & Martin Riggs as one of 80’s cinemas best good guys and whilst Big Trouble In Little China has aged (it’s smaller budget stretched to the limit at times)this martial arts science fiction action fantasy still stands as one of the most enjoyable (and daft) films of the decade.  A must watch.

Best Bit: Russell/Burton steals every scene

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Escape From New York, The Golden Child, Lethal Weapon

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Breakdown (1997)

Phil’s 5 Reasons To Watch: Breakdown (1997)

Other Cr*p Top 5

Phil’s Quick Review takes a look at a film that you may not have seen first time around and lets you know, in 5 concise reasons WHY it deserves your time!


The Plot: 
A man (Kurt Russell) searches for his missing wife after his car breaks down in the middle of the desert.


#1: That Plot
Seriously they take a story that can be summed up in less thirty words and make one of the best, little seen thrillers of the 90’s. That takes some story telling skills and belies the directors later career as Temporary Killer Of The Terminator Franchise.


#2: J T Walsh
Now if you weren’t a child of the 80’s or 90’s you probably have no idea who JT Walsh is as he sadly passed away around the release of Breakdown.  Walsh was a top notch character actor and plays Breakdown’s antagonist. And he’s brilliant, a perfect foil to Kurt Russell – cold, calculating and mean.  Walsh was a great actor and sadly missed.  Check out his performances in films like Sling Blade, A Few Good Men, Red Rock West, Good Morning Vietnam and many more

 

#3: It’s 93 Minutes…
In a era of film where everything has to be over two hours long, bloated and  frankly overblown, Breakdown represents the pinnacle of tight, lean, explosive genre story telling.  And is all the better for it…


#4: Stunts… Mad Max Style
George Miller got props for his stunt work on Mad Max Fury Road and whilst this isn’t to that level, the films practice FX and stunt work hark back to a time when CGI was still expensive and sparingly used.


#5: Kurt Russell
Yup.  THE genre star of the 80’s and 90’s…

 

The Trailer

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Bone Tomahawk Reviewed

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Bone Tomahawk Reviewed

A Blog Grosse Point Geek

 

In the small frontier town of Bright Hope nothing much happens and life carries on peacefully, that is until the local female doctor, a criminal and the deputy sheriff up and vanish in the middle of the night. After investigation it turns out they have been kidnapped by a rather nasty band of cave dwelling troglodytes, so despite dire warnings to the contrary, the town sheriff (Russell)  his elderly backup deputy (Jenkins), the doctors husband (Wilson)  and a gunslinger (Fox) set out on a rescue mission before all manner of unpleasant happenings befall the kidnapped trio.

 

This is a film whose development i have been following for some time. The title is fantastic, Its billed as a  horror/western,  and its got  Kurt Russell as a sheriff going up against a bunch of cannibals – i mean whats not to like?

 

Sadly quite a bit im afraid.

 

Now Bone Tomahawk is by no means  a bad film – in fact its actually very well made considering its low budget and the fact that it was shot in just over three weeks. The cast are universally excellent  – in particular Kurt Russell and Richard Jenkins, who both seem to get better in just about everything they appear in. The writing is good – with a well crafted script by first time director S Craig Zahlar, the horror scenes are genuinely shocking and the troglodytes themselves certainly wont disappoint.

 

However this is all for naught, due to what can only be described as a catastrophically slow pace and a completely unnecessary 2 hour run time that completely dispels any and all tension and ruins what is, on paper anyway, an absolutely cracking idea for a film.

 

All the way though i just kept thinking that in the hands of a better director (Neil Marshall or John Carpenter would have been my choices) Bone Tomahawk could have been an real classic – and what would so easily have been The Searchers meets The Decent,instead turns out to be one of the biggest disappointments of recent years – a real shame as i so wanted to like this film.

 
Author: Will Strong 

 

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Fast and Furious 7 Reviewed

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Fast and Furious 7 Reviewed

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized
Grosse Point Geek cast s his critical eye over the latest Fast franchise instalment… 

Directed by James Wan
Actors: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Jordana Bewster

When the big bad older brother of Fast 6’s villain shows up looking for revenge, Dom, Brian, Lettie and the rest of the gang strike a bargain with a shadowy CIA agent (Kurt Russell) to retrieve a super computer called “God’s Eye” and in return he agrees to help them track down their unstoppable and ever pursuant nemesis. 

To be honest when i saw The first Fast and The Furious in 2001, i thought it was good but wasn’t that blown away by it, the second film (2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious) was OK, but by the third entry (FF:Tokyo Drift – 2006) the franchise appeared to have run out of gas completely.  Then in 2009 Universal reunited most of the cast from the original film for a fourth feature simply called Fast and Furious, which surprisingly was a vast improvement on the previous two sequels and did very well at the box office. After this we got Fast Five in 2011, where half of Rio was destroyed and the man mountain of testosterone that is Dwayne Johnson went head to head with Vin Diesel in what has got to be one of the best and brutal fight scenes ive ever seen. 2013 saw the release of the London set Fast 6 – which upped the stakes even further and gave us some of the most mental action scenes ever committed to celluloid.

We now have this seventh entry which ups the ante even further. Now lets get one thing straight, if you are a fan of arty farty, Oscar worthy stuff like Shakespeare in Love, Sense and Sensibility etc etc, then its safe to say that Fast and Furious 7 is not for you, so do yourself a favor and save your money (and while you’re at it don’t waste time reading this review!) However if you go to the cinema to be  absolutely thrilled, have lots of fun  and be completely entertained, then this film might just be right up your street.

Putting it mildly Fast 7 has got everything an action fan could want –  explosions, gun fights, fisticuffs,one liners – the lot. All expertly delivered by director James Wan and well played by the cast. I mean don’t get me wrong  – its completely preposterous and if you do go and see it you will have to swallow such sights as a load of cars parachuting from a plane, Walker and Diesel driving a souped up super car between not one but two skyscrapers and oh yes and did i mention the utterly bonkers drone strike/car chase/Diesel vs Statham LA set finale????

There are a few faults with the film – most notably the script which, for all its one liners is a bit leaden in the more serious dramatic scenes, not only that but Dwayne Johnson’s wonderfully butch Federal Agent Hobbs isn’t in it nearly enough and the excellent Jason Statham could have done with a bit more character development and alot more to do than just blow things up.

Despite these criticisms i absolutely and completely loved Fast 7 – not just because it was so much good  fun but also because of the wonderful way that the filmmakers said goodbye to the late Paul Walker who tragically died during production. Indeed the final 5 minutes were so well handled and so touching that it really hit home to me what a tragic loss Walker’s death was to the film world. From what i have read, he was a smashing chap, who loved life, gave it his all in every film he appeared in and had a very bright future ahead of him. Such a shame we will never see his like again.

Fast and Furious 7 is in cinemas now and I would highly recommend it.

 

Rating:

 
Author: Will Strong 

 

Blog: Grosse Point Geek’s Top Ten(ish) Favorite Horror Films  – A Halloween Special

Blog: Grosse Point Geek’s Top Ten(ish) Favorite Horror Films – A Halloween Special

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

Halloween, that yearly celebration of devil worship, blood drenched supernatural death and goat sacrifice ,where children up and down the land merrily dress up as various incarnations of the undead, get their parents consent to bang on people’s doors begging for sweets and then wantonly vandalize their property if the poor sods don’t cough up the goods.  Indeed my own fiendish plan to scare off the little bastards this year was completely thwarted the other day by a rather nervous looking shop assistant at my local joke shop, who claimed never to have heard of the Evil Dead and therefore could sadly not supply me with a life size demon doll that would scream “dead by dawn!” at any bunch of trick or treaters foolish enough to disturb my evening.

Anyway, I’m getting off the point. As a lifelong film geek its fair to say that of the many thousands that I have watched, a good proportion have been firmly rooted in the department marked ‘Horror’. Now admittedly I’m not the biggest fan of this genre -I didn’t enjoy the Nightmare On Elm Street series (how a child killer could become a cult icon is beyond me), have never been able to fathom the popularity of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and have absolutely no desire to watch the likes on I Spit On Your Grave, Driller Killer or Last House on The Left.

However, there are in fact some rather good ones out there that I have thoroughly enjoyed and even have in my rather huge dvd collection – and as Halloween is soon to be upon us, i thought id share with you all my top 10 favourite horror films all time- read on if you dare!

 


 

1. The Descent (2005)

 

Director: Neil Marshall

Actors: Shauna McDonald, Natalie Mendoza

A definite contender for one of the scariest films ever made. Neil Marshall’s magnum opus centres on a group of female thrill seekers who get trapped underground in the Appalachian mountains and then one by one fall foul to a bloodthirsty pack of cave dwelling cannibals. I must have seen this ten times over and it still scares the crap out of me, superbly written, hideously claustrophobic, well acted by the no name cast, directed with panache, skill and verve by Marshall and certainly not one to watch alone.

Best Bit: When the creatures finally reveal themselves – don’t look down that camera lens!

 

 

2. Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott

Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, Yaphett Kotto, Veronica Cartwright.

A deep space mining vessel responds to an apparent distress signal from a nearby planetoid and goes to investigate. All is going well until one of the crew (John Hurt) gets a sort of parasite attached his face and is taken on board the ship for medical assistance – big mistake. A near perfect film that combines scares, body horror and classic sci fi plus HR Giger’s astoundingly horrible alien monster that would give even Freddy Krueger the willies.

Best Bit: The Chestburster scene – (“the food aint that bad baby!”)

 

 

3. The Omen (1976)

 

Director: Richard Donner

Actors: Gregory Peck, Patrick Troughton, Lee Remick, David Warner.

When the American Ambassador to Britain (Peck) discovers that his infant son is none other than the Antichrist, he teams up with a freelance photographer (Warner) to discover the awful truth and thwart Satan’s evil plans for mankind.

This one always manages to put the frighteners on me – mainly due to Jerry Goldsmiths nerve jangling score and Richard Donner’s suspenseful direction that very intelligently chooses to be less concerned about daft monsters and OTT effects and more to do with the nature of fear and lurking danger hiding in the shadows, which cleverly manages to keep the viewer guessing as to whether or not the story is all real or just a series of supposed coincidences.

Best bit: That final shot – Young Damien, standing at his parents funeral (whilst holding the US Presidents hand no less) – turns to the camera…………..and just smiles.

 

4. The Exorcist (1973)
Director: William Friedkin

Actors: Linda Blair, Max Von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller.

Celebrated critic Mark Kermode cites this as his favourite film ever – and its not hard to see why. Cherubic looking Regan (Blair) becomes possessed by the demon Pazuzu, then proceeds to speak in tongues, levitate off the bed, vomit pea soup, make unseemly suggestions about exactly what Priest Jason Miller’s dead mother is up to in hell – and don’t even get me started on what she does with that crucifix!

To say the least the Exorcist is one of those films that gets better with every viewing, Friedkin’s direction doesn’t put a foot wrong, the make up and sound effects are still astounding, and the use of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells is a work of sheer genius.

Best bit: The climactic Exorcism sequence, where the two Jesuit priests do epic battle with the demon- very uncomfortable to watch – but brilliant nonetheless.

 

5.The Thing (1982)

Director: John Carpenter

Actors: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David.

A critical and commercial disappointment on its release, this has since become a deserved cult classic. For those not in the know – a shape shifting alien life form gradually infects the men of an Antarctic research station, who then not only have to attempt to destroy said beastie but also avoid killing each other in the process.

Best bit: That ending  – too exhausted to carry on, Kurt Russell and Keith David sit outside in the freezing Arctic cold and watch the station burn to the ground  – both still unsure if they too have been infected by the alien (“lets just wait…..and see what happens”)

 

6.Poltergeist (1982)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Actors: Jo-beth Williams, Craig T Nelson, Heather O’Rourke

Awesome film  – written and produced by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist tells the story of how an ordinary apple pie American family are haunted by a terrible supernatural force that turns their lives upside down when it abducts their youngest daughter (O’Rourke). Now some may argue that this is more of a ghost story than a straight up horror  – but with shocks aplenty, rotting corpses rising from the grave, killer trees and huge monsters appearing out of the ether – it’d be hard to call it anything else. Basically if you haven’t seen this yet then shame on you!

Best bit: Williams, Nelson and the ghost hunting team’s final nail biting attempt to rescue O’Rourke from the clutches of the poltergeist(“don’t let go!”)

 

7 .An American Werewolf In London (1981)

Director: John Landis

Actors: David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter

Naughton and Dunne are two American students on a back packing trip to England who proceed to get lost on the Yorkshire moors and are attacked by a werewolf. Rick Baker’s make up effects deservedly won a bunch of awards and are still impressive even by today’s standards. Its also seriously funny, and damned scary in parts too- most notably the scene at the beginning where the boys are attacked on the moors, and THAT sequence in the deserted London tube station (“i shall report this”!).

Best Bit: The Slaughtered Lamb – Naughton and Dunne walk into East Proctor’s local boozer looking for something to eat, only to be met with stony silence and icy stares by a very unwelcoming bunch of locals. The tension doesn’t last long though as the great Brian Glover proceeds to loudly tell a hilarious joke about 3 blokes in a crashing plane (“he chucks out the Mexican!”) which results in the entire pub collapsing in fits of laughter (just dont ask what that star on the wall is).

 

8.Horror Of Dracula (1958)

Director: Terrence Fisher

Actors: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough.

Hammer’s extremely loose take on the Bram Stoker classic features Peter Cushing as Van Helsing (endless supply of crucifixes) Christopher Lee as Dracula (iffy fangs, silly run) a mad music score by James Bernard, clunky sets, and daft dialogue (“but its HORRIBLE!”). However none of this matters as its enormous fun, chugs along at a rare old pace and never fails to bring a big smile to my face every time ive watched it.

Best Bit: The seriously exciting climactic showdown between Van Helsing and Dracula, involving a table, some curtains, a handy set of candlesticks and alot of sunlight- classic stuff.

 

9.The Fog (1980)

Director: John Carpenter

Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins.

On the eve of its centenary celebrations – a small Californian fishing community is plagued by a mysterious fog that kills all in its wake. Another Carpenter classic, well made and very creepy  – a must for all horror fans.

Best bit: The Sea Grass boat scene (“hey, there’s a fog bank out there”).

 

 

10. Dawn of The Dead (2004)

Director: Zach Snyder

Actors: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber.

Remake of the 1978 Romero classic – which is a very good film, however (and yes Hobden i know this is sacrilege!) i much prefer Snyder’s more polished version that ups the scares and gore quota, throws in bags of action, is better acted and features some really awesome zombies who, rather than mindlessly shuffle about, are depicted as vicious screaming death machines who charge full pelt to get at their victims.

Best bit: Just after Sarah Polley’s nurse escapes from her neighbourhood which has been overrun, the camera pulls back and shows us a birds eye view of her car heading towards a city in utter chaos.

 

 

11.Halloween 3: The Season Of The Witch (1982)

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Actors: Dan O’Herlihy, Tom Atkins.

I thought i close this feature with one of my all time favourites  – i mean what’s a film list without at least one guilty pleasure???

Bearing no relation to the series featuring the Michael Myers character  – this was supposed to kick off a new ‘Halloween’ franchise that would tell a different story with each film. Unfortunately poor box office sales put the kibosh on that, so what we have instead is a very weird (and utterly mental) standalone story featuring O’Herlihy’s unhinged Irish toy maker, who plans to murder all the children in America using booby trapped Halloween masks. Now in my humble opinion this is an unappreciated gem of a film, that is actually extremely well made, with an interesting witchcraft subplot and a doozy of an ending that has to be seen to be believed……………………………..All together now – “one more day to Halloween!…..Halloween! Halloween! one more day to Halloween -silveeeeershamrock!

Best Bit: O’Herlihy’s chilling confession to a somewhat shocked Atkins, about who he really is and exactly what he plans to do on his favourite night of the year (“….the hills ran red with the blood of children and animals!”)

 


 

There you go – my top ten horror films – certainly all worth a watch if you fancy a good scare this Halloween – just wish i had one of the zombies from Dawn of the Dead to see off those bleedin’ trick or treaters – oh bugger there goes the door again………………now where did i put that bucket of fresh pigs blood???????????????

Author: Will Strong 

 

One Sentence Reviews … Stallone Movies!

One Sentence Reviews … Stallone Movies!

Uncategorized

It’s back… The Good, The Bad & The Ugly One Sentence Review. And this time the spot light falls on Mr Sylvester Stallone.

Rocky
The Classic rags to riches story… unmissable

Get Carter
If you have any love for the original I beg you NEVER see this movie… EVER.

Cobra
Much milligned and forgotten Stallone classic… worth a re-watch.

Oscar
Funnier than you remember comedy of errors.


D-Tox
Terrible, dull action thriller that has neither enough action or thrills. One to avoid.

Judge Dread
Judged: Dreadful!

Rambo 3
Three times the action, three times the death, three times the stupidity… three times the mindless fun!

Demolition Man
Snipes! Bullock! Stallone! Leary! They don’t make them like this anymore…


Tango & Cash
The gayest straight guy action movie ever made as Stallone & Russell eye each other up in the shower. Odd.