Phil’s Top 5… Actors No Longer With Us

Phil’s Top 5… Actors No Longer With Us

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: Actors we missed who have passed away.


Close but no cigar: Paul Walker, Heath Ledger, Pete Postlethwaite, Dennis Farina


5 – JT Walsh
A mainstay of early 90’s films and TV, Walsh was the very much the archetypal a character actor who could play both good and bad.  Standout role – Breakdown with Kurt Russell.


4 – John Candy
Candy starred in some of the funniest films of the 80’s.  He was a comedy mainstay and even in a bad film would stand out as one of the best things in it.  His films still hold up all these years later.  Stand out role – Planes, Trains & Automobiles


3 – James Gandolfini
From early Tony Scott films like True Romance to later roles in Crimson Tide, Gandolfini was a powerful and memorable screen presence.  And then came one of teh geratest TV shows ever – The Sopranos and he would forever be etched into pop culture. . Stand out role –  The Sopranos, obviously. 


2 – Robin Williams
From genius (Good Morning Vietnam) to grating (Patch Adams), Robin Williams had massive hits and bigger misses.  But as a comedian & actor he was near unmatched.  A true genre icon. Stand out role – Dead Poets Society


1 – Alan Rickman
Best remembered for Snape in Harry Potter, we all first saw him as Hans Gruber in Die Hard.  Rickman’s passing was sudden and unexpected but he left behind one hell of a legacy. Stand out role – Die Hard




Blog: All Things Film – Fast & Furious 7 Reviewed

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Uncategorized

One of the films of the year I thought wouldn’t disappoint has the curious honour of emerging as one of the films I found fairly difficult to get through.

I think this is because of Fast 3, 4, 5 and 6’s director’s replacement with Saw director James Wan. Furious 7 feels a tad rushed and confuses large grandiose mayhem for creative and wickedly absorbing set pieces.

That’s not say that the film isn’t much fun. It does feel, however, slightly constrained and permanently on tribute alert to Paul Walker. The brilliant Fast Five’s safe haul, and the wonderfully silly car-flip devices of part six don’t seem to have a dumb-but-fun counterpart in part 7. There’s a scene in Abu Dhabi that teeters on parody (and manages to lift an entire sequence from 2011’s Tower Heist).

It must just be me, though. I found the gang carefully positioned in front of the sights of cars, coastlines and city scapes ruminating on their next move as ponderous and time absorbing as the periphery character’s unwavering dedication to “the family”. And the “family” is certainly the key word, here. I get the feeling Vin Diesel isn’t much interested in cars and will hop ship to the Hallmark channel to make TV movies after this. Jordana Brewster, understandably, is simply a piston in a much bigger machine, designed to magnetise Paul Walker’s character away from the franchise. Jason Statham’s bad guy would clearly have been more of a force to be reckoned with had the script not needed altering.

And of course, there’s the issue of Paul Walker’s absence. For the majority of the experience, it’s extremely well handled. Perhaps a bit too well. The CGI is unnoticeable and the execution is about as darned near perfect as we’re going to get.

All this aside, though, the action sequences – especially the last one – are appallingly flat and lifeless; particularly in relation to the last two movies. The one-on-one fights that occur, through to a good portion of the hunt-and-kills and random car chases fail to invigorate under Wan’s direction. The film is much, much too long as a result.

I’m not generally a heartless bastard; I’m all for a fitting tribute – but preferably one that’s a bit less pronounced, and one that might not cost me two hours and quarter. It’s a bit of a shame, really, that this swansong of Walker’s has to – not end – but endure a majority of length that’s just, frankly, a bit of a damp squib.


Author: Andrew Mackay


To hear more on this review (and others like it) make sure you download the Filmsploitation podcast, part of the All Things Film network. 

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.



Author: Will Strong 


Blog: Furious 7 (aka Fast & The Furious 7) – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: Furious 7 (aka Fast & The Furious 7) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I’m a big fan of this franchise, a franchise which has massively improved since the shaky original sequels (2,3,4,).  So I was looking forward to some brainless fun, albeit one with the added gravitas of being Paul Walkers last film.   Was I disappointed?  Yes. And No.  So let’s start with the yes:  it’s stupid and messy, the story made no sense and felt very disjointed (probably partly due to Walker’s death).  It also has a terrible script, mostly made up of over macho one liners.  It’s also too long, turning into a silly Expendables film by the end.  Oh and there’s not enough Rock.  So that’s the bad.  Onto the good: all this aside it was great fun for the most part, with some stunning action sequences (although never better than when it’s ‘roided man Vs’ ‘roided man).  They handled Walkers death well with a great final payoff, Statham was brilliant and the ‘Walker’ double / Tony Jaa final fight was excellent considering the limitations.  Oh and it has probably one of the bets openings of a film in recent memory.  It aint a classic,  it’s probably the 4th best Fast film but one well worth seeing.

Best Bit: The opening.  Rock Vs Statham.

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Rent.

If You Liked this Try: Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, The Fast & the Furious 


Author: Phil Hobden

Will Strong’s Round Up of 2013

Will Strong’s Round Up of 2013

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Quick Review

Every year Phil and Will debate the years top (and bottom) films.  Here’s Will Strong’s Best & Worst for 2013.

Best Films

  1. The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug (awesome)
  2. Django Unchained (just brilliant)
  3. Rush (outstanding – couldn’t fault it)
  4. Olympus Has Fallen (awesome action film – took me totally by surprise at just how good this was)
  5. The Escape Plan (so much fun, great action and just fantastic entertainment)
  6. Captain Phillips (Hanks and Greengrass back on form)
  7. Thor-The Dark World (Not enough Hiddlestone but a very very good sequel with some top action)
  8. Star Trek Into Darkness (not as good as the 1st one but Cumberbach was brilliant and it was very well made and directed)
  9. World War Z (I really liked it)
  10. Gravity (Most amazing SFX in years – superbly made)

Honorary Mentions

  1. The Last Stand (great fun)
  2. White House Down ( extremely good fun)
  3. Fast and Furious 6 (glorious lunacy)
  4. Cloud Atlas (far better than expected)
  5. Les Miserables (too long but very good nonetheless)
  6. Man of Steel (should have been better but  I enjoyed it)
  7. The Dyatlov Pass Incident (surprisingly good)
  8. The Hunger Games –Catching Fire (almost made my top ten best list – very very good – if a little bit repetitive of the original)
  9. Prisoners (brilliantly acted and kept me guessing till the end)
  10. Gangster Squad (good fun and well made)

Not bad but could have been better

  1. The Wolverine (sounds odd I know but there was too much Wolverine  -it wasn’t exciting enough, too little supporting characters and was a tad too long)
  2. Iron Man 3 (yes you read that right – I said it! – just didn’t connect to this one – despite the very funny script and the hilarious Mandarin reveal)
  3. Jack Reacher (ok but too slow)
  4. Oblivion (wasted opportunity but not bad)


  1. Pacific Rim
  2. Bullet to The Head
  3. The Councillor
  4. GI Joe Retaliation
  5. A Good Day to Die Hard
  6. Mama
  7. The Evil Dead
  8. The Raven
  9. Texas Chainsaw 3D
  10. Now you see me