Batman (1989) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Batman (1989) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The 1989 Batman isn’t a subtle movie.  From its in your face marketing to its gigantic sets to it’s outlandish Batmobile and over the top Nicholson/Joker – it’s in your face from the get go.  It’s also flawed, playing as loose with the Batman story as Batman Vs Superman did (yup this is a Batman who kills and uses guns).  But it’s also highly stylised, confidently directed and, for its day, ground breaking.  Yup Burton is more interested in Wayne than Batman and the Joker outshines an excellent Keaton but this, years on, remains an essential film.  Add in an amazing iconic score (and some banging Prince tracks) and you have one of the best tellings of the Batman story.  Well at least until Nolan came along.

Best Bit: Gotham

Worth A Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman Returns, The Dark Knight

 


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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Week: Reservoir Dogs (1992)  – A Quick Capsule Review

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Week: Reservoir Dogs (1992) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Reservoir Dogs is an essential film.  It marks the debut of Quentin Tarantino of course but it’s also the template for how to take a small amount of money and deliver what was a landmark, career defining movie.  It’s raw, in your face and smart both using the cliches of the genre and defining new ones that would spawn a million copy cats for years to come.  What’s surprising is just HOW well the film holds up all these years later.  Its power & its energy drives you from one scene to the next leaving you breathless, all wrapped around some brutal violence and THAT dialogue.   Reservoir Dogs remains one of Tarantino’s best films and one of the best films of the 90’s.

Best Bit: Stuck In The Middle…

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight 

 


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Wild Things (1998) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Wild Things (1998) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I may take a lot of slack for this one but I honestly believe Wild Things is somewhat of a forgotten classic of the 90’s.  Okay ‘classic’ may be a little keen but hear me out because Wild Things is a genuinely fun, entertaining and surprising thriller that is much more than it’s often cited sex scenes (which today seem very tame). Yes its cheesy, yes is tacky and yes it’s silly but that’s all kinda part of the charm isn’t it?  The cast know it, the director knows it and the audience sure as hell know it.  The biggest surprise rewatching this years later was that Bill Murray features in a pretty key role.  Who remembered that? Look Wild Things won’t appeal to everyone but it’s a damn fun, unpretentious film.

Best Bit: Bill Murray

Worth Rewatching: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Basic Instinct, Cruel Intentions, Showgirls

 


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Solo: A Star Wars Story – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I liked Solo.  It has issues for sure but overall it’s a thumbs up.  But it’s production issues (fired directors, massive reshoots, more reshoots) do shine through the film, especially the first and last act.  The pacing and tone suffer the most with the original directors comic stylings not sitting at ease with Howard’s more pedestrian direction.  BUT these issues can almost be forgotten when you have performances as spirited and fun as Glover and Ehrenreich who do excellently with such iconic roles, leaving you wanting much more from them.  Harrelson makes a good addition to the Star Wars universe but sadly Emilia Clarke once again fails to shine away from Game Of Thrones.  So not quite a disaster, Solo is a worthy if lesser entry to the Star Wars cannon.

Best Bit: Meet Lando

Worth a Watch:  Just

If You Liked this Try: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars Rebels

 


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Full Metal Jacket (1987) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Full Metal Jacket (1987) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Full Metal Jacket is one of the best of the raft of late 80’s/ early 90’s Vietnam films, a brutal look at the journey of the recruit to solider, from dehumanisation and initiation to deployment and ultimately, for many, death.  It’s as uncompromising as you’d expect from the controlling, detailed and obsessive Kubrick, with a legendarily career defining performance by R Lee Ermey dominating your memory of the film, even if it’s Matthew Modine whose the true lead. Not easy to watch but it’s an essential film.

Best Bit:R Lee Ermey

Worth A Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Platoon,  Good Morning Vietnam, Apocalypse Now 

 


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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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Star Wars: The Force Awakens  – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The danger is always that when you hype up a film to such a degree that it can only ever disappoint.  And episode 7 its probably the most hyped film ever.  To live up to this hype It would have to be special.  It would have to deliver.  And you know what – for the most part it does.  The Force Awakens is the Star Wars films I wanted.  Great new characters, throw backs to the great characters of old, a simple story, intrigue, a great bad guy and a plot that doesn’t feed you every little detail.  It’s not perfect – far from it – BUT in spirit and execution this film delivers.  It feels like a Star Wars film. It looks like a Star Wars film.  It IS a Star Wars Films.

Best Bit: BB8!

Worth A Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 

 


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Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi  – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Return of the Jedi isn’t the best Star Wars film.  That will always be Empire.  But it’s certainly the most watchable (and one I watched the most).  See Jedi is pure popcorn fodder – full of space battles, plot twists, ground wars and lightsaber fights.  The cast here are super comfortable, clearly loving  their roles (well maybe not Guinness) and proxy director Marquand delivers high action from the start. In this current version Lucas’ changes remain mostly in and around Jabba’s palace and still stand out like a sore thumb.  Like most of his additions they just feel so unneeded.  Other changes are okay but I think we all could do with out Hayden Christensen anywhere near this trilogy.  In short – despite Lucas’ best efforts to ruin his films, Jedi remains a perfect send off for the original trilogy. Fun, action packed and full of Ewoks.  Yes I went there… I love the Ewoks.  Thank god then in the end it was a trap!

Best Bit: Attack of the Death star 

Worth A Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 

 


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Scum (1979) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Scum (1979) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Alan Clarke’s Scum (itself a remake of a BBC TV version from 1977) remains a sobering, brutal look into 70’s borstal life.  From suicide to rape, beatings to racism, it’s a film that doesn’t hold back for a second of it’s run time time.  At the centre was a career making performance for Ray Winstone, the new ‘Daddy’ on the block.  It’s a film that has been re-quoted in playgrounds for years and whose legend shines bright in the history of classic British cinema.  A must, if tough, watch.

Best Bit: I’m The Daddy Now.

Worth A Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Quadrophenia,  Borstal Boy, Nill By Mouth

 


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Bodysnatchers (1993) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Bodysnatchers (1993) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Bodysnatchers is the third big screen screen adaptation of 1954 Jack Finney novel and takes a refreshingly different approach.  Directed by the always of-the-wall Abel Ferrara, it moves the setting to a military base and contemporaries the story somewhat.  It’s a lean film for sure (in running time, budget and pacing) but that does work in its favour. It wastes few scenes or moments.   I’ve always been oddly drawn to this film series (even liking the much maligned Daniel Craig version) and this film especially was a firm favourite when I was younger.  Years on it stills works for me despite it’s rough edges. Yes it’s not the superior 1978 version but there’s plenty to enjoy.

Best Bit: Bath/First transformation 

Worth A Rewatch: Yes

If You Liked this Try: Invasion, Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1978),  Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1956)

 


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