‘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 Old Man & the Gun tells a fascinating story… just not in a fascinating way. It’s not like the cast don’t deliver – they do and are by far the best thing about the film. But the direction and pace are so slow that even for a lean ninety minute run time the film feels slow. Redford is fun and for sure enjoying the (mostly) true life story of Forrest Tucker but there needed to be much more to this to make it essential.
Best Bit: Redford
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream
If You Liked this Try: The Mule, White Boy Rick, A Simple Plan
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…
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Sneakers is by far one of the best films of the early 90’s. It’s also one of the best films that very few people have seen. A fun, highly entertaining thriller that was actually spot on about the future of hacking, spying and covert governmental operations. A great cast (including a young River Phenix) and a journeyman director on career best form, it’s surprisingly undated with a style that predates but certainly similar to Oceans 11. All in all if you want to see a great film from the 90’s that you probably missed, THIS is the one.
Best Bit: The script.
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy
If You Liked this Try: Oceans 11, Breakdown, Inside Man
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: I’m a massive fan of modern Marvel’s films to date. And whilst there haven’t exactly been bad films, probably Captain America was my least favourite in the post Iron Man wave. So way to knock it out of the park with the sequel guys – a tense, political thriller set against the back drop of superheroes doing what they do best… kicking arse. Everyone delivers here – from Chris Evans as Capt to Robert Redford (Yes Robert Redford in a Marvel movie!) as the films big bad. It even manages to fit in the always awesome Frank Grillo as a future Marvel villain. It’s not perfect – The Winter Soldier part is a bit lost behind the much more interesting Hydra story – but rarely do blockbusters come this polish, intelligent and fun.
Best Bit: Lift Fight
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy
If You Liked this Try: Captain America, All the Presidents Men, The Avengers
The Review: We know almost nothing about the poor elderly sod trapped all alone on his little boat awaiting certain death. In recent conversations I’ve had about All is Lost, JC Chandor’s follow-up to his debut Margin Call, the topic of empathy has cropped up: how can we care so much about a man we do not know about? Does he have family? Does he even have a name?
It’s quite an interesting answer to contemplate. We all know how very, very hard movies try to make us sympathise with their characters. But here, all adrift and on the road to screwsville, it’s almost irrelevant. Quite how pertinent it is to feature a man who is, to quote Chris Morris’ deadpan observe in The Day Today “… being old they would have died soon, anyway…”, is anyone’s guess. Might All is Lost have had the same dramatic impact if it had been a quadriplegic thirtysomething? Or an adolescent stranded at sea about to die because his smartphone has become waterlogged, and 1700 miles out to sea means a 3G connection can’t get you to Google to search on how to distill your contaminated water supply?
Ah, well, this is thing here – and Chandor knows it, evidently. This isn’t a story. It’s a parable. A fable as old as time itself; without your requisite toys, bells and whistles – all is for nothing if you have no survival instinct and indeed the will to survive. It’s almost ball-bustingly shoved down our throats; 90 odd minutes of Robert “I’d Like to Thank the Academy” Redford screwing up his face on a quest to find out just how many variations of facial muscle pulling can convey – telepathically – that God is a twat for putting him in this position. And, to be quite fair, Redford has acquired many wrinkles over the decades to pull this off in a variety of ways. There’s the forlorn stare at the skies. There’s the slight twinge in his thirteen wrinkle on his left eye seeming, somehow, to indicate that he may have sussed out how the distillation process can take place with a knife.
There’s also that thousand yard stare when he wakes up and surveys the answer to what bollocked his boat in the first place: a dead on stare-out with a broken piece of container ship that has pierced his own. The look on his face says “This is all-too seemingly a small accident. I think this may actually kill me”.
Contrarily speaking, though, all is not lost. Oh, don’t misunderstand me; Redford will have to earn his journey to the last gasps of the final act’s last moments, but he’s quite happily found himself afloat in an all-too-shocking calm Indian ocean, floating all sunburnt northward into a known path of cruise liners. Life of Pi this is not. No tigers, and not nearly has many crushing, death-rolling waves come hurtling his way. This is a more contemplative disaster movie.
Some may compare All if Lost to Gravity – after all, they’re set in in terrain that is altogether inhabitable by humans. The odds are exactly against them. If it were you or I we’d have been killed within moments. But these characters know how to survive. Whether they deserve to survive is quite a different matter altogether – because, like Gravity (and don’t read into this next bit, it’s no indication of the outcome one way or another) All is Lost is a message; hold tight, fight it off, stick it out and you’ll come up trumps.
These nameless characters; their survivalist mitochondria – two in the same year… so if the message is the same, yet the technicalities are at ends of the spectrum, then it matters not; in space, or at sea, the stakes and the score remain the same.