Phil’s Top 5… Zombie Films!

Phil’s Top 5… Zombie Films!

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: Zombie Films!


Close but no cigar: Night of The Living Dead, Return Of The Living Dead, Zombie Flesh Eaters


5 -Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
Zack Snider remakes a classic and makes an a film almost as good.   Great set pieces, excellent effects and fast zombies that really work. Just an excellent film.


4 -Day of The Dead
Day of The Dead is brutal.  From it’s gut ripping effects to it’s post-apocalyptic nialistic world stripped of hope this is one of the most oppressive horror films ever made.  And it’s brilliant.


3 – Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
Romeo made a stone clod classic in Dawn Of the Dead.  The fact that it exists in so many versions means you probably have never seen the whole film.  Romero’s cut,  An extended cut. The Fuci cut.  This aside Dawn is the grandfather of modern Zombie films and set the pace for all the imitators that followed.


2 – Shaun Of The Dead
Comedy horrors often fall flat.  Good low budget comedy horrors are rare as hens teeth.  Yet. Shaun of The Dead works.  Not just as a comedy but as, more importantly, a Zombie film.  It’s brutal and funny.


1 – 28 Days Later
Raw, stripped back and brutal, 28 Day’s Later isn’t technically a Zombie film according to Danny Boyle but it really it.  Introduced us to fast zombies/infected and proved that once again humans are more dangerous than the undead.  Unparalleled.








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Phil’s Top 5… Bad But Good Movies

Phil’s Top 5… Bad But Good Movies

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: Bad But Good Movies.   For me this are films the term “So Bad They Are Good” were coined for.

Close but no cigar: Trolls 2, Almost Every Friday 13th from Part 5 onwards, Howard the Duck, Most of JCVD’s later films


5 – Grease 2
It’s no Grease that much is for sure, but you know what?  I still find myself signing along to the songs every now and then (yes I own the soundtrack!) and whilst the film lacks the charm of JT it almost makes up for it with a pre-nose job Michelle Pfeiffer and a pre Rex Manning Maxwell Caulfield.  It misses in almost every scene yet wins on charm and likability.


4 – Masters Of The Universe
Yes I know it has so little to do with the source material it’s even laughable that it’s called Masters Of The Universe but this low budget Cannon classic was a massive part of my childhood.  It’s sci-fi with guns, swords and flying things.  It’s actually brilliant. 


3 – Anaconda
Jon Voight.  The leer. (If you ever saw Film whatever it was with Barry Norman around the time this came out the running joke of the Leer was amazing). The terrible effects.  The fact it got a mainstream cinema release.  Anaconda was a film years ahead of its time (see Sharknado!).


2 – Tank Girl
Tank Girl was a rock ‘n roll cluster fuck of a film. It was disjointed, had a 5 min song and dance routine in the middle and almost killed the careers of everyone in it. Yet… in it’s own way it almost perfectly encapsulated the manic low brow source material and was the first (and I think last) film to reduce me to tears on the floor of a cinema.


1 – Showgirls
I bloody love Showgirls. Not for the smut but just for how god damn terrible it is.  The script, the acting, THIS scene (see below – the most amazingly bad sex scene ever) it just oozes horribleness. Yet few films have made me smile or caused me so much (unintentional) joy.  Showgirls is the best spoof ever.  Simple as that.







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Phil’s Top 5… Low Budget Films

Phil’s Top 5… Low Budget Films

Other Cr*p Top 5

In a new semi-regular feature each week Phil takes a lookout a different movie related Top Five… this time out: Low Budget Films.

Yup sub $300k movie making at it’s finest.  And bloodiest. It’s no surprise that it’s horror that tends to shine in this budget level, with scares and blood taking the place of cast and effects.  Here are my top 5 low budget films.

Close but no cigar: El Mariachi, Cube, Brick, Bad Taste, Paranormal Activity, Halloween


5 – The Evil Dead
Sam Rami followed in The Texas Chainsaw’s shoes , delivering one of the most famous ‘video nasties’ on the 80’s with The Evil Dead, a movie whose characters and legacy still carries on today.  See the original uncut version for the full on Evil Dead experience.


4 – Night of The Living Dead
Romero launched a genre with Night of The Living Dead, tacked race politics and scared the bejesus out of people. Night was years ahead of its time and spawned two equally impressive sequels. Today it stands as a key influencer on modern TV and movies.


3 – Clerks
Love him or hate him (and mostly hate with his latest few films), Kevin Smith pulled a blinder with Clerks – a mostly one location comedy with memorable dialogue and even more memorable characters.  Made with credit cards, luck and a degree of bullshit Clerks still stands up today as a damn funny, raw movie.


2 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Whilst it has dated badly, the original TCM was and still is somewhat of a phenomenon.  Banned in the UK for over twenty years, Chainsaw broke new ground in horror filmmaking with it’s raw handheld style, a style that would influence films like Evil Dead and Blair Witch years later. 


1 – Blair Witch Project
Like TCM before it, the directors of Blair Witch would never top their debut film, a film which for a long time was the most profitable movie ever made (overtaken latterly by Paranormal Activity). It launched a sub genre (the found footage film) and showed what you could do with no money but a great idea, presented alongside a one of cinemas best marketing campaigns. Like it or hate it, it changed filmmaking.





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Phil’s Top 5… Movie Trilogies

Phil’s Top 5… Movie Trilogies

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: Movie Trilogies

For most a sequel is an unwanted thing.  And rightly so, after all most can be let downs and for every Godfather 2 there is an Independence Day Resurrection.  However their are also some great sequels and in fact some great threequels out their. This week I take a look at the best movie trilogies (and no the Matrix is NOT included).



Close But No Cigar: Bourne Trilogy, The Indiana Jones Trilogy, Evil Dead, The Godfather Trilogy, Die Hard, Mad Max 


5. Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring,The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

It’s no mean feat, adapting a multi-tome epic source novel over nearly 5 years with a cast and crew almostly permanently relocated to New Zealand by a director best known for low budget shlock films.  But man did Peter Jackson pull it off.  Epic does not even come CLOSE to describing the Rings trilogy (and the multiple endings of Return Of The King for that matter) but even now, over 10 years after it all finished, they still stand out as some of the best films of the last few decades.


4. Back To The Future Trilogy 

There may be technically better films out their for sure, but the story of Marty McFly which spans over a hundred years, is everything that is right with how blockbuster films should be.  It defined a career for Michael J Fox, allowed my fascination with Elisabeth Shue to continue and gave us the iconic Doc Brown.  “What the hell’s a gigawatt?”.  Indeed.


3. Aliens Trilogy (Alien, Aliens, Alien 3)

It’s a testament to just how good the first two films are that you almost ignore the fact that Part 3 is considered by most to be a disappointment. Thing is… it’s not. In fact Alien 3 is probably my second favourite of the whole trilogy (just under Aliens and just above Alien).    Okay yes I’m mad but still!  The key point here is just how good the first two films are, with both rating as best of their genre (Sci-fi and Sci-Fi Action).   And trust me… whilst it’s FX’s are dated, try alien 3 Directors cut again. You MAY be pleasantly surprised.


2. Toy Story

Toy Story not only defined a genre, it also redefined how animation was done for ever.  It’s groundbreaking and things would never be the same again.  Yet at it’s heart of every one of the films is a great story, expertly told and brilliantly voiced.  Pretty much perfect.


1. Star Wars (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi) 

The trilogy that defined my childhood, that ignited my love with film and that left me playing in my room with 3″ plastic toys for years to come.  Ageless (in it’s original form, not the horrid CGI remasters), this is epic storytelling, grandstanding action and odd plot twists at their best.  Iconic.





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Phil’s Top 5… Shane Black Films

Phil’s Top 5… Shane Black Films

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: Shane Black Films

“Who?” I hear your ask.  Well for a while Black was one of Hollywood’s best paid and most well known writers, and was in fact the Hollywood first writer to break a Million bucks on a spec script.  He almost single handedly re-invented the buddy cop genre with Lethal Weapon and went on to piss off millions of Marvel fans with his version of The Mandarin.   Yes, THAT Shane Black.  So here’ say Favourite 5 Shane Black films… (Predator didn’t count being that he was only in it for a small while!).


5 – Iron Man 3
Marvel took a chance and man did it land good.  Black made a very different Iron man than most expected and, whilst it wasn’t everyones taste, I loved it.  And THAT twist.


4 – Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang 
Stepping up as a director for the first time, Black knocked it out the park and started the Downey Jnr come back. Best bit: Gay Val Kilmer.


3 – Long Kiss Good Night
Funny, smart and edgy – it defined Shane Black’s spot on action film writing style.  It’s a Duck not a Dick.


2 – Lethal Weapon 
It redefined the buddy cop genre, cemented Gibson as a star and birthed a million copy cats.


1 – The Last Boy Scout 
Back in the day when Bruce Willis was good (yes it did exist) this sharp as a tack buddy action film boasted one of the smartest scripts around.  Add some expert Tony Scott direction and you have a thrilling and fun action film.  And sadly one that flopped.  Audiences have NO taste.





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The Babadook – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

The Babadook – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
There’s little left to be said about The Babadook.  From All Things Film’s own Andrew Mackay’s glowing review to the heaps of 5 star reviews across the globe, it’s fair top say the film arrives with bucket loads of hype.  And you know what… for once it actually deserves it! Scary as hell, this old school horror film is so unsettling and oppressive that it will stay will for you for weeks to come. Needless to say this is a film that demands to be seen in teh best possible way – so turn off the lights, send teh kids to bed and get prepared to be scared shitless.

Best Bit: Direction.  One of the most assured feature debuts ever.

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The Shining, The Others, We Need To Talk About Kevin



Author: Phil Hobden




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Phil’s Top 5… Video Nasties (Films banned by the BBFC)

Phil’s Top 5… Video Nasties (Films banned by the BBFC)

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: we take a look at the infamous video nasties of the 80’s – the 74 or so banned films by the BBFC ranging from the iconic to the toilet.

Close but no cigar: The Burning, I Spit On Your Grave, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Tenebrae, Driller Killer, Last House On The left


5 – The Beyond
Lucio Fulci Zombie film with a plot “borrowed” from Micheal Winners “The Sentinel” cemented his position as the king of the video nasties. It’s original release had suffered 9 cuts totalling 1:39s.  Released uncut in 2001. 


4 – Faces Of Death
Yes it’s terrible. But Faces Of Death and its is it/isn’t it real documentary video footage set a bench mark of the kind of OTT exploration rubbish that would become legendary when, in reality, it should probably have been forgotten. Cut initially by 35 minutes on it’s UK release, it’s still unavailable uncut.


3 – Zombie Flesh Eaters
The eye!  Yes another Fulci Zombie film, this time a kinda sequel to Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead was marketed as ‘Zombie 2’ (DOTD was called ‘Zombie’ in some countries) in some countries.  Heavily edited by almost 2 minutes in the UK on it’s cinema release, the film was finally released uncut in 2012.


2 – Cannibal Holocaust
Ruggero Deadato Cannibal film became legend with it’s close to the mark featuring gratuitous GENUINE animal butchery that saw the filmmaker in court.  Over 7 minutes were trimmed initially and the film is still unavailable uncut in the UK (although a almost uncut version can be purchased)


1 – The Evil Dead
Yes Sam Rami’s The Evil Dead was a ‘banned movie’ back in the day, even though compared to many on this list it was pretty tame.  It was cut by other 1min 30 secs on it’s initial releases finally seeing an uncut release in the UK in 2001.





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Rex Manning Day: 5 Reasons To Watch Empire Records (1995)

Rex Manning Day: 5 Reasons To Watch Empire Records (1995)

All Things Film Blog The Blogs

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: Empire Records is a 1995 American coming of age film that follows a group of record store employees over the course of one exceptional day. The employees try to stop the store from being sold to a large chain, and learn about each other along the way.


#1: Introducing…
…Liv Tyler, Robin Tunney, Renee Zellweger, Rory Cochrane, Johnny Whitworth (okay so I’m struggling a LITTLE bit at this point), Debi Mazar.  Okay maybe not all their first roles but certainly the one that broke big a lot of future stars.  Add a few veterans like LaPaglia & Caulfield and you have a grade A awesome cast, all in top form.


#2: Soundtrack
Empire Records lives on in my iPhone almost daily.  From American rock to Edwin Star, from GWAR (thankfully not on the OST release) to The Cranberries… the soundtrack just captured a time and a film almost perfectly.


#3: It’s Cool
I was 20 when I first saw this film.  I wanted give up University and go and work in a record shop.  I wanted to be AJ. I want dot have friends like those in Empire.  I wanted to get Liv Tyler’s heart and then perform on the roof top of my record shop. And if a film can make you want to do THAT it must be pretty special, right?


#4: We Love an Underdog…
Much like we do for the characters in Empire Records, we tend to find ourselves routing for the underdogs in real life. So whilst Empire Records film flopped on it’s cinematic release, making just quarter of a million dollars its two-week theatrical run, it quickly became a cult classic.  It just shows box office doesn’t mean everything…


#5: Rex Manning Day
Seriously Rex Manning day is now a thing.  8th April every year. Really.  #rexmanningday


The Trailer


Phil Hobden

Phil’s Top 5… Film Soundtrack Albums

Phil’s Top 5… Film Soundtrack Albums

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:Film Soundtrack Albums!

So to be clear here we are not talking actual film soundtracks but the released OST soundtrack albums that are related on iTunes and (in the old days) CD’s.

Close but no cigar:O Brother Where Art Thou?, Reservoir Dogs, Goodfellas, Fight Club, Saturday Night Fever, Drive, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Shooting Fish 

5 – Trainspotting
Danny Boyle’s stand out 90’s British film also delivered a stand out multi platinum selling soundtrack album.  From Iggy Pop To Pulp, it was as eclectic as they come and, as most great OST’s should, it stood alone from the film.  A perfect slice of 90’s British film.


4 – The Blues Brothers
One of the best musicals delivers a stand out soundtrack with classic after classic performed by the charismatic Jake & Elwood.  Add in Ray Charles, Cab Caloway, Aretha Franklin and James Brown and you have a perfect slice of Rhythm & Blues.


3 – Quadrophenia

One of my favourite albums of all time, Quadrophenia is a journey which stand alongside some of The Who’s best works as well as alongside some of the best concept albums of the 60’s & 70’s.  It’s just brilliant. 


2 – Pulp Fiction
Tarantino delivers yet another standout soundtrack after the delights of Reservoir Dogs.  It was an album that adorned the CD collection of almost ever 90’s student and even manages to transcend the film itself.  Continuing his trend for catchy rarely heard tracks with equally catchy dialogue snippets, Pulp Fiction is a slice of a genius director at his best.


1 – Natural Born Killers
Yup.  Controversial for some but the Trent Reznor produced album for the Oliver Stone film is like an audio version the film itself, weaving in music, audio and sounds to deliver what is essential an audio play of the movie.  From L7 to Dr Dre and almost everything in between it’s a pulse pounding concept album in it’s own right.  Essential.



Phil’s Top 5… Remakes!

Phil’s Top 5… Remakes!

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: Remakes.

Yes the dreaded “R” word.  But hey not all Remakes are rubbish like Total Recall or Point Break.  In fact some are stone cold classics.  Here’s some of my favourites…


Close but no cigar:The Fly, Little Shop Of Horrors, Cape Fear, 12 Monkeys, Halloween


5 – Scarface
Remaking a 30’s little known gangster film, DePalma struck gold with what is one of the definitive films of the 80’s.  It cemented Pacino as a stand out talent and helped launch careers of Michelle Pfeiffer among others.  It also owns pop culture with it’s iconic images and quotes.  Say hello to my little friend indeed.

4 –  Invasion of The Body Snatchers
Now on it’s third remake, Body Snatchers best incarnation is for sure it’s 70’s Donald Sutherland starring vehicle.  That said the 90’s version holds a lot of affection for me and the Daniel Craig/Nicole Kidman version has it’s moments.  

3 – Oceans 11
The original Ocean’s 11, whilst starring the kinds of cool in the Rat Pack, is a mess.  The remake updates it, adds a top notch cast and became a bonified mainstream hit.  Shame the sequels in the whole were messy and forgettable.

2 – Dawn of The Dead
I love Dawn Of The Dead, Romeo version.  It still is outstanding.  So it says a lot that I rate Zack Snider’s modern remake so highly. It’s excellent.  Okay so fast Zombie’s may not be everyone’s taste but the pace, set pieces and cast help this one become one of THE best remakes.

1 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
The Thing is not only the best remake for me but also one of the best 80’s films full stop. From Carpenter’s relentless direction to the spot on cast to the pounding music and ground breaking visual FX… The Thing has it all.  The modern remake/prequel was utter tosh however and did NOTHING to add to this films legacy.