They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
They Shall Not Grow Old is an often brutal yet strangely hopeful documentary about the soldiers and life in the then ‘Great War’.  Produced and directed by Peter Jackson, it’s an intimate look at life in the trenches – from the casual nature of death, to the day to day routine of trench foot and toilet duties.  It’s also a technical marvel – re-colourised and reconstructed footage (including frame rate adjustments) matched with recreated sound takes the film to the next level and goes even further to highlight just what life was like in one of the most brutal wars ever fought.  An essential watch both as a film and as a historical document.

Best Bit: Colour

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: The African Queen, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Great Escape 

 


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Mortal Engines (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Mortal Engines (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Mortal Engines is actually quite entertaining.  I say that like I’m shocked but to be honest I am a little – after all reviews have been pretty brutal across the board for this Peter Jackson produced CGI fest.  But there’s loads here to enjoy, even if it’s not without flaws.  Oh and those flaws… the story is weak, the film very much has a Star Wars lite vibe about it and not all the cast deliver.  BUT Mortal Engines rockets along with stunning visuals and some pretty impressive CGI effects and ideas on display.  It’s those core ideas that drive you through the weaker bits. Probably something to see in the cinema if you are at a loose end.

Best Bit: Time to eat a city…

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: A New Hope, Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, The Maze Runner

 


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Phil’s Best To Worst: Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth Films

Phil’s Best To Worst: Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth Films

Best... Other Cr*p

In our latest regular feature, coming out the first Friday of each month, Phil (of Phil’s Quick Capsule Review) breaks down a film related subject in order of his own personal enjoyment from Best To Worst.  This time out: Peter Jackson’s two Middle Earth trilogy’s ! 

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Best: Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

Gollum entered cinema lexicon in what is still an unbeatable combination of motion capture and CGI, the battle of Helms Deep still remains untouched on screen and we are now fully invested in the characters and their fates.  In short it’s epic. 

——

2. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring 

Tough one this.  Fellowship of The Ring and Two Towers sit almost alongside each other in terms of quality.  A great establishing film packed full of memorable moments, it’s smaller and more intimate scale pays dividends.  It introduced fantasy to millions and set the benchmark for the film series that followed.

——

3. Lord Of The Rings: The Return of The King

A stunning film for sure, the action beats alone represent some of the best fantasy action ever captured on screen.  Yet the film is hampered by tough source material and a seemingly never ending series of, er, endings. The film peaks well before the credits fall.

——

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


This film remains the best Hobbit film mostly due to a few stand out sequences, not least The Riddles In The Dark scene which still stands out as a franchise high point.  The rest of the film is fine but like all the rest of the Hobbit films it’s too long at times.  I didn’t mind the singing!  

——

5. The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

The Battle Of The Five Armies isn’t a bad film.  It’s just one that takes forever to get where it’s going (much like the rest of Hobbit trilogy).  Once again finding story where the book didn’t include it. Jackson struggles to make a run time out of the scant original material and instead adds pointless sequences after pointless sequence.  Also the CGI already looks dated

——

Worst:The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug


Smaug is an amazing creation for sure (almost rivalling that of Gollum) but the film struggles to find pace to get there and when it does it takes too long.  The wider effects can let the film down also.  Meanwhile certain call backs to the earlier (yet timeline latter) Lord Of the Rings films just don’t work. At this point it’s hard to see WHY this had to be split into three films (other than money)

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire Reviews Jan 2015

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire Reviews Jan 2015

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

Happy New Year fellow film fans! Welcome to Grosse Pointe Geeks Jan 2015 Rapid Fire Review!

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Exodus: Gods and Kings

Director: Ridley Scott

Actors: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver.

Scott has another stab at the historical epic with this so-so retelling of the story of Moses. On the plus side its beautifully photographed, very well directed and the set designs are amazing. However, its too long, fairly dull in places and there isn’t nearly enough action. Also Weaver and Aaron Paul barely get a look in -making one wonder why they were cast in the first place, not only that but to be honest the whole thing had a distinct whiff of Ridley Scott tapping Gladiator all over again.

At Cinemas now

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The Expendables 3

Director: Patrick Hughes

Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Jet Li, etc etc.

Recently released on Blu Ray, which includes an extended more violent version than the one released in cinemas. Now i know i did a quick review of it last year, but if I’ve said it once I’ll say it again – for the love of God and Mammon – if you haven’t done it already  -please please watch this film!

Yes its silly, no it isn’t Shakespeare but if you love an action movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, is well made and extremely entertaining – then this is definitely for you.

(On Blu Ray and DVD now  – however i would recommend getting it on Blu Ray)

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The Heat

Director: Paul Fieg

Actors: Sandra Bullock, Mellissa McCarthy

The mismatched cop genre is mined once more in this fairly good action comedy. Bullock is the straight laced FBI agent who reluctantly teams up with McCarthy’s slobbish Boston detective. Skips along at a rare old pace, very profane and actually quite funny in parts – especially McCarthy who gets all the quality one liners.

However we have seen this kind of film many times before in the 1980’s and one hopes that its success wont necessarily inspire Hollywood to go down that route all over again.

Available on DVD/Blu Ray and Netflix

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The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies

Director: Peter Jackson

Actors: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Ian McKellan, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom.

The Middle Earth saga comes to a close with this epic final chapter that sees all and sundry close in on the Lonely Mountain to try and claim the gold from Thorin and Dwarves.. Freeman, Evans, Armitage and McKellan give faultless performances once again, plus Jackson effortlessly crafts a film that not only looks fantastic but is incredibly enjoyable as well. I will say this though – as good as it is, it cant touch the Return Of The King and one did get the feeling that a lot of footage was held back for the yet to be released 2015 extended edition DVD.

At Cinemas now

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The Imitation Game

Director: Morten Tyldum

Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, Mark Strong, Charle Dance, Matthew Goode.

Based on the true story of Alan Turing – a brilliant mathematician who single handedly built a machine that could decipher the Nazi Enigma Code and as a result turned the tide of World War 2, saving millions of lives in the process. A totally outstanding film, with a mesmerising performance from Cumberbatch that, if there is any justice, will bag him a much deserved Oscar nomination. One of the best films of 2014 – highly recommended.

At cinemas now

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The Pyramid

Director: Gregory Levasseur

Actors: James Buckley, Ashley Hinshaw

Found footage film featuring a team of archaeologists who unearth a lost pyramid then get trapped inside, whilst being pursued by evil supernatural forces and all manner of flesh eating beasties. Descends into CGI madness at the end but to be fair the story is quite interesting, there are some pretty scary bits and its certainly worth a look for anyone who enjoyed last years As Above So Below.

Possibly still at cinemas now

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Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

Actors: Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon levitt, Powers Booth.

Not bad sequel to the 2005 original. Well made, fairly enjoyable with some good performances  – especially Brolin, Levitt, Booth and Green, however the narrative and story aren’t as well structured as the first film and overall it all feels like a case of been there done that with no need to do it again  – which seems to be all Robert Rodriguez does these days anyway.

Available on DVD/Blu ray

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The Wicker Tree

Director: Robin Hardy

Actors: Graham McTavish, Christopher Lee

Adaptation of the novel ‘Cowboys for Christ’ and a sort of sequel/companion piece to Hardy’s original film – The Wicker Man.

Suffice to say that once in a while there comes a film that is so bad that it automatically gets into my top ten worst of all time list………and this is that film. Awful in just about every way you can imagine – cheap looking, amateurish direction, terrible acting, appalling script,  and overall a complete and utter insult to anyone who enjoyed the first film.

Avoid

Available on Netflix (if you can be bothered)

 

 

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That’s it for now.  I’ll be back soon…

Author: Will Strong 

 

Blog: All Things Film – The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition (DVD/BR)

Blog: All Things Film – The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition (DVD/BR)

Uncategorized

The Review: So Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth once more for for Elves, more Orcs, more Dwarves and more walking.  Yes lot’s of walking.  So overall The Hobbit 2 is okay.  Not Lord Of The Rings great by a long way but good fun, much tighter than the first part with a much quicker pace. The visual effects are much better this time around also, that extra year between films helping WETA polish the film to a much higher standard than part 1.  But  ultimately the problem is after 5 films (with one more still to come) it’s all feeling a little familiar.  Where as Middle Earth was once a marvel, it’s now as familiar to me as Brighton town centre (and one would argue with considerably less horrible sights).  The film picks up with the scenes in Lake Town but for everything it does new, it shoe horns in a cameo or a return to something we’ve seen or done before.  That sense of wonder is gone and with it a degree of magic that the original films brought with them.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have wonder.  The barrel sequence is pure adrenaline  and when Smaug finally does make an appearance, he’s everything you hoped and more, voiced so expertly by Benedict Cumberbatch.  Martin Freeman is greta in the role he was born to play and the supporting Dwarves feel more like real characters this time.  Even Evangeline Lilly mangoes to shine as the only notable female character, even if she is forced to carry an Eastenders style romance plot.

The additional footage in this extended edition once again does little to help the pacing issues.  This is still a very long film that, worst of all, now feels even longer and dragged out.  For a full list of what’s added check out this site here.  

So as you would expect from a Jackson Middle Earth film, the craft is good, the actors are excellant and the FX up to the usual standard of WETA.  But for me that magic, that special something just isn’t there.  Be it familiarity or just the feeling like there’s a good 3 hour film waiting to bust out the combined near six hour run time of the first two Hobbit movies, Middle Earth just doesn’t wow like it once did.

If you already own the film, this is for collectors and die hard Rings fans only.

 

Reviewed By: Phil Hobden

 

Buyers Guide: Released November 3.

The UK versions are best suited for importing, given that they have the same english-language packaging. The age ratings (two round circles) might be irritating to some.

However, for The Hobbit, they are printed on a separate removable sheet of paper. Also, the Brits do have some nice exclusives as well. Like with AUJ, the Weta Statue is not released in UK, though.


High-definition versions

The spine of the packaging of the UK BluRay version is thicker than the US release in order to accommodate the BBFC rating logos! No 2D-only version seems to be available.

  • 3D+2D BluRay: one disc with the film in 2D; two discs with the film in 3D; two discs with bonus materials.


Exclusive high-definition versions

  • 3D+2D BluRay Steelbook: one disc with the film in 2D; two discs with the film in 3D; two discs with bonus materials; steelbook packaging. Same design as the USA Target exclusive, but in 3D.
  • 3D+2D BluRay Bookends Edition: one disc with the film in 2D; two discs with the film in 3D; two discs with bonus materials; Guards of Erebor bookends. This seems to be a late issue of the Guards of Erebor bookends. The cover art does not show it yet, but the Amazon listing definitely states it’s the Extended Edition. A little overpriced to my taste though. Exclusive to UK.


DVD

The design of the UK DVD (first printing at least) is a foldout digipak with an outer cover without a photograph, and thus more resembling the old LOTR SEE DVDs! It won’t play on US DVD players though.

Blog: Savaged – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: Savaged – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Brutal, bloody and spirited – this independent horror is like a throw back to the early films of Sam Rami and Peter Jackson.  And that’s a very good thing.  Unrelentingly grim, rape revenge films are usually rather predictable and boring.  Not so here – writer/director Ojeda finds a rather innovative new approach and harks back to the horror films of the 80’s as his protagonist goes on a bloody revenge.  Considering it’s limited budget, the FX work on display here are simply excellent and there’s plenty of splatter and inventive moments to keep even the most hardened horror fan happy. Not for everyone but if you liked your films in a BBFC upsetting, Mary Whitehouse bating manor then this is for you. 

Best Bit: Barbed wire + hand

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Evil Dead, I Spit On Your Grave, Brain Dead

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Review: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

Review: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

Uncategorized

The Review: So Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth once more for for Elves, more Orcs, more Dwarves and more walking.  Yes lot’s of walking.

Firstly lets address the elephant in the room.  What the hell was peter Jackson thinking with it’s HFR malarkey? My first experience with watching a film in this format and needless toe ay like most other people I found it to be a massive hindrance. Okay so yes it does make the 3D quite enjoyable and get’s rid of almost all the motion blur and uncomfortableness associated with working in the added dimension.  But man does it make the rest of the film look horrid.  Okay that’s not strictly true the internal scenes at night look OK but the day time stuff really does look like Australian daytime TV.  Which is odd that you would choose that for a film where you’ve investment nearly $100million USD to make it look fantastical then apply it in a format that makes it look unreal and cheap.

As for the film? It’s good.  Not Lord Of The Rings great by a long way but good fun, much tighter than the first part with a much quicker pace. The visual effects are much better this time around also, that extra year between films helping WETA polish the film to a much higher standard than part 1.  But  ultimately the problem is after 5 films (with one more still to come) it’s all feeling a little familiar.  Where as Middle Earth was once a marvel, it’s now as familiar to me as Brighton town centre (and one would argue with considerably less horrible sights).  The film picks up with the scenes in Lake Town but for everything it does new, it shoe horns in a cameo or a return to something we’ve seen or done before.  That sense of wonder is gone and with it a degree of magic that the original films brought with them.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have wonder.  The barrel sequence is pure adrenaline  and when Smaug finally does make an appearance, he’s everything you hoped and more, voiced so expertly by Benedict Cumberbatch.  Martin Freeman is greta in the role he was born to play and the supporting Dwarves feel more like real characters this time.  Even Evangeline Lilly mangoes to shine as the only notable female character, even if she is forced to carry an Eastenders style romance plot.

So as you would expect from a Jackson Middle Earth film, the craft is good, the actors are excellant and the FX up to the usual standard of WETA.  But for me that magic, that special something just isn’t there.  Be it familiarity or just the feeling like there’s a good 3 hour film waiting to bust out the combined near six hour run time of the first two Hobbit movies, Middle Earth just doesn’t wow like it once did.

And next time?  I’ll stick with good old standard frame farm 2D thank you.

Reviewed By: Phil Hobden

Join the debate on our Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/Filmsploitation) or on our website (www.thefilmpodcast.co.uk)

 

Review: The Hobbit (DVD)

Review: The Hobbit (DVD)

Uncategorized

Okay, so now you know who lost the Filmsploitation quiz! Whichever way the result went, I had earmarked the remainder of the evening to watch The Hobbit – with some major discrimination.

However, rather than use this as a catalyst to routinely trounce a franchise I have little interest in, I decided that since fate had dealt me this unwelcome card, that I would turn this into a sort of redemptive catharsis. As much as I disliked Fellowship of the Ring, I always knew – eventually – I’d have to revisit this franchise to see if I was right the first time. I’m about ten years older now; life has dealt me a number of shitty (and awesome) hands; I’ve grown older, and hopefully more wiser and now I suppose is as good a time as any to see if I can extract any joy or pleasure from these movies.

I’m sure you all know the story, and so I shan’t bother to waste your time by telling you that Bilbo Baggins lives in The Shire and a bunch of unwelcome small people bombard his little hut, along with Ian McKellan – and they all set off on a journey to find a dragon atop a mountain to slay it and reclaim their original home.

Now that the story is done, let me reveal the one-two gut punch right off the bat; I actually really liked The Hobbit! I think Martin Freeman is a great ordinary everyday small person – certainly a better fit than Elijah Wood, and if anyone was going to get Ian Holm’d later in life then I guess it’s Tim from The Office. I can see why Hammer & Tongs elected to cast Freeman as Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This time, Jackson nails it. McKellan is fine casting as Dumbledore, or whatever his name is, and the rest of the hobbits are cherubs with enormous heart – although it’s blatantly obvious just how racist the film is by having them speak RP, or stupid Oirish, just in case they’re not cute enough.

The real slam-dunk casting-wise for me is Sylvester McCoy as Radagast – a fellow tall wizard dude. He has beady, protruding eyes. I’m not much of a Who fan, by McCoy did catch me in my formative years of TV watching – and it was another case of inspired casting. I look forward to seeing McCoy in everything I ever see from now on. He has that adorable, cuddly thing going on.

I confess, I jump into The Hobbit virtually Lord of the Rings unscathed, and so I find myself on a rather unexpected journey myself. This must be akin to watching the Star Wars saga for the first ever time, starting with Phantom Menace. However, The Hobbit is no Phantom Menace. There’s a tonne of action – stand-out moments include giant stone menaces battering about and eventually turning to stone when daylight hits them; vampiric in nature, and as CGI as the whole affair is, it takes a near-genius to take on this bulk and make any kind of visual sense of it.

The stand-out scene for me – both of them, in fact – occur in the final hour. The first is the Riddles in the Dark with Andy Serkis playing Gollum. I know sod all about Gollum, but got a sort of perverted sense of schizophrenia permeating the performance. Again, as CGI as it can be, it does work very well.

Finally, the last battle – employing all sorts of trapeze artistry with a bundle of little hobbits all falling around the places is an absolute wheeze. All this charmingly culminates with young Bilbo realising that he’s a central part of the journey, and realising that he too has a place. Awww.

It’s not perfect; it’s a shade under three hours. But strike me down if it didn’t feel that long at all. The first hour is mostly just a silly musical with general merriment; a kind of PG rated Peter Greenaway stage play – and it does become tiresome. But gosh darn it, if at about the 75 minute mark, The Hobbit actually caught me and kept me entangled in its web of ridiculousness. I really, really liked this overlong, stupid fucking movie.

Remember, I avoided this film at all costs. I am glad I have discovered it. So much so, that it has now reinvigorated my curiosity into the original trilogy. Complacency be damned, if they turn out to be shite (as I suspect a lot of it probably is) then at least I’d have seen them through my own volition, and not because I lose a quiz smack down: mental note – never ever show a taste weakness around here ever again. I got lucky this time.

 

Reviewed By: Andrew MacKay

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