Spiderman Week: The Amazing Spiderman (2012)  – A Quick Capsule Review

Spiderman Week: The Amazing Spiderman (2012) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Let’s get this straight: Did The Amazing Spiderman Need to be made.  Simply put – no.  But is it worth watching?  Certainly.  It’s a flawed production for sure with CGI issues, a poor villain and a feeling of been there done that that seeps through from start to finish.  BUT the central story of Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy as performed by Garfield & Stone is just devine and the film does a lot to reset the problems of Spiderman 3 that left little room for any further movies.  So not a must see but certainly with some good action, a great cast and a great central paring there are far worst films to watch.

Best Bit:Emma Stone

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Spiderman 2, Spiderman, Spiderman 3 

 


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Spiderman Week: Spiderman 3 (2007) – A Quick Capsule Review

Spiderman Week: Spiderman 3 (2007) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Erm… months on after its original release this is a much, MUCH better film on DVD and without the hype attached. The film is a lot faster, more fun and just better when watching it at home and whilst Mcguire is still phoning it in, Rami’s delivers a mostly solid effort.  So Spiderman 3 is flawed but it’s far from bad.

Best Bit: Anything BUT the dancing.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Spiderman, Spiderman 2, Batman Begins

 

 


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Star Wars: The Last Jedi – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So the Last Jedi is good.  On balance it could well be the best true Star Wars film since Jedi and It’s fair to say when it delivers it knocks it out the park – The opening, Rey/Ren, The finale.  Even better watching it back on home video, the misses that bothered me first time around (The long middle section, Star Wars Casinos, the punking out of not one but two characters set up for great things but cast aside) actually made a lot more sense.  It’s still far to say that a better script could have made this up there with Empire, but even though The Last Jedi flirts with greatness it still doesn’t QUITE land it.  This all said it was a really entertaining film, with lots of surprises along the way and twists and turns you don’t quite expect that lived up to expectations and hype.  Hamill is great, Fisher gives one of her best performances and the support cast are mostly exceptional.  Where to next is anyones guess but the final film in this trilogy will have a hell of a job beating this. Recommended.

Best Bit: Finally! Lightsaber action!

Worth A Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back , Rogue One : A Star Wars Story

 


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Rex Manning Day: Empire Records (1995) – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Rex Manning Day: Empire Records (1995) – A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s (Not So) Quick Capsule Review:  Empire Records was a massive bomb on it’s original release.  Critically and commercially.  Roger Ebert hated it (that said he hated The Usual Suspects…), Variety labelled it as “Soundtrack in search for a movie”  and it grossed under £300k on it’s theatrical release.   Yet as the years go on so the cult around Empire Records continues to grow and grow.  From regular midnight screenings to the annual Rex Manning Day celebrations (8th April) more and more people have come around to the fact that Empire Records is, actually, pretty damn good.

The story, as such, is about an independent record store on the brink of a take over by a nasty big multi national chain called Music Town stuck with a eclectic team of broken teens and an ego manic musician reluctantly there to plug his new album.  In reality it’s coming of age story that kind of ends up being a 90’s Breakfast Club set in a Record Store rather than a detention.  But, like many a cult hit, this film is less about the story and more about the feels & the characters.  And that is something this film has in spades.

Backtrack.  I discovered Empire Records in a video shop in my home town of Lewes (Lewes Videos take a much deserved bow) thanks mostly to it’s excellent owner who had an ability to find little heard of classics and fill his shelves with them.  From 80’s actioners Action Jackson, Never To Young To Die and my love of Jackie Chan – without that shop I’d probably not be writing this review here.   See before the internet, before Facebook and Instagram a cult hit became a cult hit often from a knowledgeable video clerk pointing you in the direction of something a little special.  Yes the Tarantino stories of video shop life weren’t all exaggerations!  Sadly those days have now passed but I do wonder if this film came out now and had similar reception if it’s fandom would grow as much as it has or would it’s 30 score on Metacritic or sub 30% on Rotten Tomatoes consign it to some little seen Sky Movies channel at 4am in the morning?  

It was a film that initially felt ahead of it times whilst being a launch pad for the careers of at least 3 big stars (Zellweger, Tyler and Tunney).  And this is the key Empire Records continued success.  The cast are brilliant.   Be it Liv Tyler’s innocent but broken Harvard student Corey or Rene Zellweger’s s–ty Gina, Maxwell Caulfield egotist singer Rex Manning or Anthony LaPaglia heart of gold store manager Joe… Empire’s characters resonate hard. For sure it’s not the best acted or directed film of the 90’s. But it’s cast gave it heart and soul, making it relatable.

Oh and the soundtrack.  I’ve seen empire Records well over twenty times. But the soundtrack I’ve listened to hundreds.  And much like the films cast it’s full of oddballs, strangeness, 2nd tier hits and one hit wonders it’s soundtrack delivers an eclectic mix from Coyote Shivers to Edwin Collins.  Look beyond the official soundtrack album to Spotify playlists that have been created with music that didn’t make it to the CD and you’ll find even more quirky tracks covering Gwar, Dire Straights and many more.

I have to admit part of the original appeal for me was Liv Tyler.  Empire was Tyler’s third film (after the very good Heavy and the little seen Silent Fall) but I’m pretty sure I caught it after seeing her in Stealing beauty (a wonderful film in itself). I had a major crush so anything with Tyler in was a draw for me.  She still remains a very underrated actress, with film appearances fleeting after the early successes.

No commentary for this film could pass without reference to the wonderful creation that is Rex Manning.  Part Hoff part every one hit wonder clinging to his heyday singer that’s ever been, former teen star Maxwell Caulfield who himself has something of a high and low filled career (see the critically hated Grease 2) delivers a note perfect slimeball performance backed up by the so bad it’s brilliant ‘Say No More Mon Amour’ track.

Don’t get me wrong the film has flaws.  It’s random to the point of being totally undisciplined, certain characters (Mark) seem like they are in a different film and it’s no surprise that few of the male cast broke big down the line.  BUT no work of art, no movie is perfect and it’s flaws just make it that bit more real.

Even thought Empire Records flopped on it’s release, in the 20 plus years that have followed it’s cult has grown enough for it to get some much needed love back from the rights holders. A ‘Fan Edit’ a few years back was released  (I’m not a massive fan as it kills the pacing and makes certain sections drag longer than they should) and a US Region A BluRay Release.  Outside the official stuff, there’s Etsy shops galore with pins, name badges and posters and Rex Manning Day has become a thing.  No really.

Empire Records was of it’s time.  And like many films I hold dear from my formative years, it’s one that stuck with me.  I’ve never shown it to anyone that didn’t love it.  I embrace it’s flaws.  I love it’s quirkiness and like Warren I too deep down just wanted Joe to give me a job.

Damn the man, Save The Empire! 

 


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Killer Klowns From Outta Space (1988) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Killer Klowns From Outta Space (1988) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Killer Klowns may sound like a cheap 80’s low budget horror film (which to be fair it is) BUT it offers far more invention and creativity than you would expect from a film made for peanuts and directed by a trio of brothers who have done little of note since.   The basic premise of Alien clowns killing people in a small town is silly enough but the charm in which is does it and the creative use of clown tropes makes this far more enable that it has any right to have and oddly stands up well over 30 years later.  One to stream for sure (now on Netflix UK).

Best Bit: Shadow Puppets

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Ticks, The Blob, Critters

 


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Black Panther (2018) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Black Panther (2018) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Black Panther is still a good film.  And it’s still not quite as good as the reviews and Academy Award nominations make it out.   Black Panther add’s new depth to the ever expanding Marvel universe and remains one of Marvel’s more intimate stories but as usual it throws in the standard amount of things blowing for good measure.   The films issues still bug me (the Korean action sequence needed better FX and the final battle gets a bit meh!) but yet again Marvel delivers a film that will made a lot of money alongside considerable positive fan, award nominations and media notes. So what do I know…

Best Bit: Rhinos!

Worth A Rewatch: Just

If You Liked this Try: Thor: Ragnarok, Thor, Spiderman: Homecoming 

 


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Worst Film of 2018: The Cloverfield Paradox

Worst Film of 2018: The Cloverfield Paradox

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Yawn.  There’s nothing crushingly bad about Netflix’s The Cloverfield Paradox but the fact Paramount chose to dump it to the streaming service should tell you all you need to know about how much faith they had in the finished film.  And they were right.  This second Cloverfield sequel (nominal sequel at least) isn’t a patch on 10 Cloverfield Lane and is a hot mess of a film that has no idea what it is or wants to be.  It drags, things happen, then it ends.  Watch for curiosity but little else.

Best Bit: The FX are good

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: CloverField, 10 CloverField Lane, Bright

IMDB Rating: 

 

 


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Best Film of 2018: Coco

Best Film of 2018: Coco

Best & Worst Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Coco is Pixar back firing on all cylinders – It’s funny, charming and endearing without being preachy or over the top.  In fact I’d say that Coco happily sits towards the top end of Pixar’s considerable cannon.  Visually stunning and with top draw voice acting, it’s day of the dead theme (whilst treading similar ground to  also very good The Book of Life) provides a rich tapestry for the animators to work with.  For my money this should be sitting amongst the crowd of best Motion Picture nominees at this years academy awards.

Best Bit: So THAT”S why it’s called Coco

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: The Book Of Life, Inside Out, Ferdinand, Up

IMDB Rating: 

 

 


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West Of Memphis (2012) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

West Of Memphis (2012) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review
West Of Memphis is one of the most engaging, tense and fascinating films i have seen in 2012.  Not documentary.  Film.  An unbelievable story, about an unbelievable set of events, Memphis tacks this familiar case from origins up to date, leaving you in no uncertain terms where the filmmakers and their many supporters lay their suspicions.  Emotionally charged and simply brilliant.

Best Bit: That was nearly 3 hours?  Flies past.

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Buy

If you liked this try: Into The Abyss, Inside Job, Catfish, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hill

 

Rating:

 


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Beast Of The Southern Wild (2012) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Beast Of The Southern Wild (2012) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review
Beast Of The Southern Wild is truly one of the best debut films I have ever seen.  Stunning, poetic & beautiful this almost impossible to describe coming of age fantasy drama shows a true talent in the making both behind the camera and in front (Quvenzhane Wallis is truly amazing).  This is a film that deserves to be seen… if not always understood.

Best Bit: Quvenzhane Wallis

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Buy

If you liked this try: Moonrise Kingdom, Pans Labyrinth,  Life Of Pi

Rating:

 


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