Ready Player One (2018) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Ready Player One (2018) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Tonally Ready Player One is a bit of a mess.  The humour doesn’t always work alongside the darker story undertones and the amount of swearing is very unusual for a Spielberg film.  This all said – Ready Player One is visually stunning and as you’d expect the direction is first class, showing once again that Spielberg is still one of the best directors working today.  The cast are generally good as well but personally I’m getting a little bored with Mark Rylance’s increasingly one note mumbling’s.  But it’s the cameos you’ll remember – everything from the Iron Giant to the Delorean and a million more.  Ultimately Ready Player One is a geeks paradise that’s good enough to paper over it’s cracks.

Best Bit: Cameos!

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: Back To The Future, Minority Report, Tron

 


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Circle (2015) – A Quick Capsule Review

Circle (2015) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
If you liked Saw, Cube or similar claustrophobic limited location horrors then likely Circle (Not The Circle – that’s a rubbish Netflix original) will be right up your street.  This low budget indie movie throws a bunch of random people in a room, killed off one by one by an unseen assailant.  To say anymore would give too much away but it’s easy to see why many people consider this to be one of the better films on Netflix you probably haven’t seen! Best of all it’s got a super tight runtime and a plot that keeps you guessing.  A great find!

Best Bit: The tense plotting…

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: Saw, Cube, The Room

 

 


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Blade Runner 2049 (2017) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So this is a turn up for the books – Blade Runner 2049 (Still a terrible DTV title) ends up being one of the best films of 2017.  Who saw that coming?  To be fair teaming up Reynolds, Deakins and director Villeneuve was a good starting point but still this was a sequel that nobody really wanted to a film that I still feel was a TOUCH overrated.  All this aside at nearly 3 hours in length, sitting in a terribly uncomfortable cinema with the worst audience i’ve shared a film with in a long time STILL didn’t dent my affection for this slow burn sci-fi wonder. Visually stunning, expertly performed and amazing direction.  A must watch. 

Best Bit: Deakins cinematography

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Blade Runner, Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens, Strange Days

 


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Little Joe (2020) – A Quick Capsule Review

Little Joe (2020) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
If crossing Invasion of The Bodysnatchers with Little Shop Of Horrors (sans music) sounds like a great idea then probably avoid Little Joe.  Because whilst it tries hard to combine elements from both this is more like an arthouse take on both that, whilst interesting for sure, fails to be captivating and certainly doesn’t reach the heights of either of those classic.  Sadly a lot of the issues there come from the performances.  There’s very little nuance and at times the performances seem just plain bad.  Which is shame as it sets an excellent tone and feel but every time you think it starts to nail it, it falls into it’s wannabe art-house trappings.  So interesting yes but far from essential.

Best Bit: Escaping the plants

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Little Shop Of Horrors, Invasion of The Bodysnatchers, The Invasion 

 


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In The Shadow Of The Moon (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

In The Shadow Of The Moon (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
In The Shadow Of The Moon starts off as a serial killer thriller and quickly spirals into something quite different. Okay so it’s far from perfect but at least it plays with some new concepts and ideas as the story soldiers on through decades after decades even if when the ending finally arrives it is a touch unsatisfying, with one particular turn being pretty obvious early on.  But overall In The Shadow Of The Moon is a pretty decent diversion, with a  good cast and some solid direction.

Best Bit: Ah it’s THAT film

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: Primer, Predestination, Twelve Monkeys 

 


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Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Collections Quick Review Star Wars

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So after 40 years, 9 blockbuster movies and numerous games, books and comics, the legendary Skywalker saga comes to an end. Was its worth it? Well according to critics no, not really – Rise Of Skywalker has had the worst reviews of almost any Star Wars film to date.  Are they warranted?  Not really.  Look The Rise Of Skywalker is a mess for sure, the whole trilogy lacking a cohesive drawn out narrative from the start and this for sure plays out as a massive negative here as JJ struggles to pull it all together.  It also is hampered by Carrie Fisher’s death, something that causes narrative issues.  BUT these points aside it’s a good film – spectacular action sequences, solid twists and turns and some great character work by the core cast.  Yup the script is lumpy at times and the film has no logic for it’s major reveals but you can JUST ABOUT put all that aside as the film grabs you up and takes you along on a super fun ride.  So flawed yes, fun for sure, good ending for the saga… maybe.

Best Bit: Death Star!

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema – Love it or loath it it’s the ONLY place to see it

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars: A New Hope

 


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Ghostbusters 2 (1989) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Ghostbusters 2 (1989) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Ghostbusters 2 but, laid up in bed and with Netflix at hand, it seemed like a good way to pass the time.  The less loved of the original Ivan Reitman films (although the 2016 remake makes this look like high art), Ghostbusters 2 holds up surprisingly well all things considered.  As before, as solid as Reitman’s work is, it’s the cast that makes the film.  Murray especially is superb, all grumpy and snappy, and the wider cast – from Weaver, Moranis and Akroyd – have once again deliver some superb chemistry.   It’s flawed for sure but Ghostbusters 2  is still a barrel of silly 80’s fun.

Best Bit: Liberty

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Ghostbusters (2016)

 


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Bellflower (2011) – A Quick Capsule Review

Bellflower (2011) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Bellflower is a bit of an enigma.  A few days after watching the film I still don’t really have an clue what the point actually was.  That’s not to say that it’s not enjoyable – it is, or that I didn’t like it – in fact I liked it a lot… BUT I just don’t really have a clue what the film was about. This award winning indie darling, made for under a million USD, is superbly crafted all things considered and really brings a unique visual style and feel.  Performances are strong but this wont be for everyone.

Best Bit: Medusa!

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Mad Max, Take Shelter, Safety Not Guaranteed

 


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Star Wars: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

Star Wars: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

A Blog Other Cr*p

Plot in a nutshell

Sometime after the events of The Last Jedi, the Resistance are still battling the First Order and Rey (Daisy Ridley) is training to be a Jedi under the watchful eye of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher),  meanwhile a terrifying message is detected coming out of the depths of space  – the evil Emperor Palpatine is alive and threatening to destroy all who oppose him  – its now a race against time to find his whereabouts before he can unleash a vast armada of planet killing ships and bring about the return of the Sith.

 

What worked?

In my view – a lot.

To begin with the story is superb, a rollicking good old fashioned space adventure, spanning lots of different locations, throwing in various McGuffins with some really interesting twists and unexpected turns.

As always with Star Wars, the action scenes deliver in spades, light sabre duels, blaster fights, space battles and endless escapism which had me whooping for joy.

Once again, the acting is also excellent  –  Adam Driver as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is extremely good and has now become one of the film industry’s most talented actors working today.

I also have to say that Daisy Ridley was brilliant as Rey, effortlessly showing how she has come on leaps and bounds from her rather wide eyed performance in The Force Awakens, the girl absolutely gives it her all here and along with Adam Driver totally anchors the whole film. The ever charismatic Oscar Isaac is great as Poe Dameron, even managing to channel his inner Han Solo with some cheeky one liners and knowing smirks. Finally there is the return of the magnificent Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine  -the stuff of nightmares, seriously evil, and completely beyond redemption  – the guy owns this role so completely that when he’s on screen you just cant take your eyes off him – to say he is incredible in this role would be the understatement of the millennium.

 

What could have been better?

Despite how good the plot was I have to say that it was at times a bit too densely packed and there were some ‘Basil Exposition’ moments that caused me to roll my eyes on several occasions.

The whole thing also seemed somewhat too focussed on Poe, Rey and Kylo which meant that some characters remained underdeveloped or didn’t get enough screen time – for example Billy Dee Williams comes back as Lando Calrissian but isn’t nearly in the film enough, then there is the excellent Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico who finds herself side-lined here in an almost afterthought of an appearance – a decision which seemed to be paying lip service to the hammering she had off the idiotic troll fanboys for The Last Jedi. Lastly, even though he’s on screen for most of the film, John Boyega as Finn isn’t really allowed to shine much at all and is very overshadowed by Ridley, Driver and Isaac – which is a shame as he is a great actor and was very central to the plots of the last two films.

 

Review summary

Very well directed by JJ Abrams, winning performances from Ridley, Driver, Isaac and McDiarmid , cracking action, lots of throwbacks to the original trilogy and an interesting plot with lots of unexpected twists and reveals -Rise Of Skywalker is a fantastic thrill ride that had me completely fixated for its nearly 140 minute running time, yes there are flaws, but to be honest I was so caught up in the whole thing that it really didn’t matter. Wonderful stuff, I loved it.

 

 


Review epilogue

As the Skywalker story comes to a close I thought id share with you some of my thoughts on this incredible film franchise. As most who know me (long suffering girlfriend, long suffering family, the eternally exasperated Phil Hobden etc) will be aware that I have been a dedicated Star Wars fan for nigh on 42 years. For me its always been about the films themselves, I’ve never cared for the expanded universe, the books, the games etc plus I really don’t take any notice of the highbrow critics or rabidly moronic fanboys who still cant see what Star Wars is all about.

For me Star Wars is simply a wonderful fairy story  -one based on all the classic tales our parents read us when we were little –   theres a castle, a hero, a princess, a wise old wizard and a man dressed in black –and  that’s all a fairy story needs to be.

Star Wars represents everything incredible in this world and in life itself-  the ability to rise above your standing, that mastering a skill isn’t ever easy and takes lots of hard work, that failure is the best lesson of all because it teaches us to always try harder,  that those who are older and wiser are in fact pretty much right about everything (even if they are 900 years old) that heroes can be flawed, villains can be redeemed and most important of all –  good will always triumph over evil.

Thankyou George Lucas and may the force be with you – always.


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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) – A Skywalker Saga Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) – A Skywalker Saga Quick Capsule Review

Collections Quick Review Star Wars

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!

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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