‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: The Irishman is more than just Oldfellas. It’s a film that bares the weight of its cast and directors ageing years and experience. Yes it’s long and yes it lacks the pace and stylish filming of either Casino or Goodfellas but it’s also not trying to be either of those films. The Irishman is a slower story, told over decades, that relishes in its character interaction and quiet moments. It’s also not THAT violent, certainly not compared with Scorsese’s other gangster and crime films. Nope The Irishman is a different film, genetically linked to his classic works but one that reflects the closing years of some of the most epic careers in the movie industry. Also side note – the de-ageing technology on display here is near faultless. Not bad for someone with a less than positive view of CGI heavy movies…
Best Bit: The technology
Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)
If You Liked this Try: Casino, Goodfellas, The Godfather
Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the award nominated Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years, currently co-hosts Ross And Phil Talk Movies and is a writer/editor for his own blog Phil’s Quick Capsule Review…
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Wilem Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Ian McShane
Reeves plays the title character, a reformed super assassin, forced back into action after the son of a Russian mobster beats him up, nicks his classic car and kills the (admittedly extremely cute) puppy his recently dead wife left him. A surprise sleeper hit in the US last year, well made, with some top action (the lengthy night club shootout is excellent) and a good turn from Reeves, Admittedly its isn’t exactly Shakespeare but despite being daft as a brush, proves to be great fun nonetheless.
On Region 1 dvd now and soon to be released in cinemas in the UK.
IMDB Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
The Killing Season
Director: Mark Steven Johnson Robert DeNiro, John Travolta
Travolta is the former Serbian Soldier out for murderous revenge on DeNiro’s retired special forces commando. After befriending him, he then chases him through the woods in some relatively dull action scenes, until a cop out ending grinds the the whole sorry mess to a halt after about 90 minutes.
Safe to say that had this been made two decades ago it would have probably been released at cinemas worldwide and been a massive hit. However due to its two stars now non existent box office clout and the fact that its utter crap to boot, it went straight to dvd last year and can now be found languishing on Netflix. Honestly, don’t bother with this one folks – unless of course you are a massive DeNiro fan and really like the idea of hearing Travolta doing a comedy Euro accent.
Four backpacking college students fall foul of a flesh eating Leprechaun that haunts a remote Irish village. Straight to DVD reboot of the never ending Warwick Davies starring horror series (which I’ve never seen) actually isn’tas bad as one would imagine. Featuring a creepy monster, some good scares and the occasional inventive death scene. Being totally honest I wouldn’t exactly recommend this film, but if you have nothing to do on a wet Wednesday evening and there isn’t anything on the telly then you could do worse.
On DVD and Netflix now
IMDB Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
Under The Skin
Director: Jonathan Glazer Actors: Scarlett Johansson
Johansson’s nameless Alien drives around Glasgow luring random men to her house, then feeds them to some sort of black liquid………….and that’s about it for the plot of this morbidly depressing arty farty bilge, which successfully manages to be hideously boring and mind numbingly dull all at the same time. Scarlett is very good but unless you enjoy watching paint dry then id give it a wide berth.
On DVD and Lovefilm now
IMDB Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
Director: David Mackenzie Actors: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend.
Excellent film about a violent 19 year old (O’Connell) transferred from a young offenders institution to a maximum security prison, where he meets up with his estranged father (Mendelsohn) who is serving a life sentence. To say the least this incredibly brutal drama isn’t exactly easy to watch but its very well acted (O’Connell is a standout) and superbly directed by David Mackenzie. Be warned though, its very hard going in parts, but if you can stick with it you will see one of the best prison films for years.
The Review: Okay so the Award For Overrated Film Of 2014 goes to… American Hustle. Much like Silver Linings Snore Fest last year, this is a film that did nothing for me. Yes it looked nice (Gravity), yes it was well acted with a great soundtrack (Playbook) but fuck me after an hour I couldn’t care less about the characters or what they did, let alone the story that went nowhere fast.
It’s the smuggest film of the year (okay the year is but a day old but trust me year end no film will out smug this), from a smug director who everyone seems to think can do no wrong.
As you may have heard (in the somewhat over flattering press surrounding this movie) Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence are great, turning in real career highlight performances, and it’s nice to see Christian Bale acting again with his talent rather than his creepy bat voice, but seriously there are only so many shots of women in front split dresses and no bra (Bra budget for this movie =$0) that I can take and after about 15 mins (about 150 shots of said offence) I’d had enough. Which is roughly also the point where i start dot get bored.
This is the point where usually I’d recap the story. I can’t. It went something like… Someone cons someone then get’s taped up by the FBI to con someone else. Sound riveting? No. Not really.
But wait! Don’t worry about the story listen to this LOUD song from our GREAT SOUNDTRACK. Or look at this CAMEO. Whatever you do don’t focus on the story…
Director Russell has turned in a karaoke version of a Scorsese film without the heart or talent. It just made me want to watch Casino or Goodfellas again. In fact American Hustle is like a great receipt the filmmakers once saw on TV then years later tried to cook it again… they got the ingredients right (other than the dash of Cooper which turned out to be a full smug bottle full) but they just had no idea how to put them together into something that is more than a sprinkling of flash (okay food references over).
Wait! STOP! Over here! Look at Amy Adams in a front split dress and no Bra! Just ignore the story.
In my book Russell has made ONE good film – Three Kings, one okay film (The Fighter) and two of the most over praised films of the decade.
Side note: Also my bug for 2013/14… can directors please use different cast members in films. Even Scorsese gave DeNiro a break from now and then. Having almost the whole cast of Silver Linings PlayBook just annoyed me, whilst reminding me that Cooper overacts at ever chance.
Emperors new clothes? Sadly no… see the films greatest con is actually convincing the press (and cinema goers) that what they are seeing is something great when in fact it’s a polished turd. A nice looking one. But a polished turd none the less.