The Predator (2018)- A Quick Capsule Review

The Predator (2018)- A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Predator is rubbish.  But its Saturday afternoon sitting on the sofa not doing much rubbish that is actually quite good fun while it lasts.  Okay yes so there’s obvious studio interference and the film lacks a lot of Shane Black’s usual spark (it’s also not set at Christmas usually for Black).  There’s also some issues around the side that have contributed (at least in part) to the film flopping in the cinema but and, it’s a big but,  there’s enough here to enjoy that enables you to mostly forget this.  Black’s script is witty, the cast are good and the affects  more than passable.  Predator 2 still remains the best sequel in this franchise and there’s still a much better film to be made in this world but I enjoyed The Predator for what it’s worth.

Best Bit: Predator Dogs

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Predator, Predator 2, Predators 

 


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Phil Hobden

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…

Avengers Week: Thor The Dark World : A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Avengers Week: Thor The Dark World : A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

With Avengers: Infinity War opening this week, Phil’s Quick Capsule Review will be rerunning the reviews of some of our favourite Marvel Films!

The Review: For me the original Thor film was my second , least favourite Marvel adaptation after Captain America (sorry Capt.).  It wasn’t bad but it always felt like it was missing something special.  Now, two years later and bolstered by an appearance alongside his Avengers buddies, the Blonde, buff god returns in what is a far more well rounded and successful movie.

The Story: Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Firstly let’s get this out the way.  Thor 2 is actually really good.  Excellent in fact.  Of all the Avengers films, it’s probably the most ‘together ‘ .  It has a simple story, which moves at pace, with action and drama but keeping it tight enough to come in at under 2 hours.  It even manages to get around (at least MOSTLY get around) the standard CGI monster fighting CGI good guy trope that has hobbled the end of every Avengers film since Iron Man.

A large reason why the film works so well is the sublime decision to once again sit an unlikely candidate in the director’s chair.   Be it Jon Favreau for Iron Man or James Gunn for the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy, Marvel have a knack of picking the right man for the job.  This time out respected TV and Game Of Thrones director Alan Taylor brings a more even vision to the film, much more suited to the material than Kenneth Branagh, and obviously revels in having a larger that his usual budget to play with.   The action is clean and well shot, and best of all you can see every punch, every explosion and every insane flying spaceship moment.

Oh and talking of flying Spaceship moments… director Taylor is obviously a fan of 80’s cheese fest Flash Gordon, being that he borrows a considerable part of the films finale for the attack on Asgard.  Not that I’m complaining as the mix of sci-fi, Norse legend, super hero and action make for a pleasant change form the usual Earth bound Marvel world.

Hemsworth once again proves he is a man of considerable talent, delivering action alongside comedy and the occasional pathos.  Naturally Natalie Portman has little to do (as is the female role generally in a Marvel film) but she remains a welcome addition, as does the returning Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston (once again a stand out as Loki) and Anthony Hopkins (as his most gravelly).  Rene Russo even gets to kick arse, which is nice.  As for former Dr Who and professional grump Christopher Eccleston he does good with his limited bad guy role, but in reality with the added make up and FX it could have been anyone as Dark Elf leader Malekif.

In truth the film has little against it, other than maybe an element of familiarity, and ends up being one of the best blockbusters of the year.  Maybe not as good overall as Iron Man 3, but certainly more fun. For the most part.

So overall a good script, great characters and some snappy dialogue alongside standout action sequences and a fast pace mean that deservedly Thor The Dark World will be another hit for Marvel.  Truly a studio that cant seem to get it wrong.

Rating:

 

 

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #074 – Blade Runner 2049 (Non-Spoiler + Spoiler)

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #074 – Blade Runner 2049 (Non-Spoiler + Spoiler)

The Smoking Lamb Podcast

It’s The Smoking Lamb Movie Podcast. A weekly, no-holds-baa-aa-arred, and R-rated look at the world of movies.

On this episode: Don’t worry movie fans, we have you covered. We have a Non-Spoiler and Spoiler review of the critically acclaimed Blade Runner 2049! And in a highly debated Top 5, we say our picks for the Top 5 Movies That Critics Got Wrong!

Check it out and BLEAT THE WORLD and don’t forget to follow up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#TheSmokingLamb #MoviePodcasts #Podcasts #FilmPodcast

 

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #065 – Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, The Emoji Movie

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #065 – Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, The Emoji Movie

The Smoking Lamb Podcast

It’s The Smoking Lamb Movie Podcast. A weekly, no-holds-baa-aa-arred, and R-rated look at the world of movies.

On this episode: Sooooo, the films we are reviewing might be dire but we promise the Podcast is not. It is slightly above average! Seriously tho, we have a very entertaining show with two fun reviews, Top 5 Trailers That Lied and Josh opens up about his open on John Wayne films.

Check it out and BLEAT THE WORLD and don’t forget to follow up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#TheSmokingLamb #MoviePodcasts #Podcasts #FilmPodcast

 

Blog: The Machine – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: The Machine – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Machine is a rare thing – an exciting, well made independent science fiction film that adeptly manages to mix high concept with arse kicking action.  Arrow’s Caity Lotz , alongside former Bond villain Toby Stephens star in a film that, in lesser hands, could have been a real drag but director Caradog W. James works his limited budget well and really delivers the moments that matter.  Add to that a believable look and feel and what you have here is a little gem of a movie. 

Best Bit: Action sequences 

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Rent

If You Liked this Try: Hell, Zero Theorem, Pi

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Blog: All Things Film – RoboCop (2014) Reviewed

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

In the not too distant future, Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman-TV’s The Killing), is mortally wounded in the line of duty, desperate to save him, his wife (Abbie Cornish) agrees to let Michael Keaton’s sinister Omnicorp and Gary Oldman’s brilliant scientist rebuild him as – you guessed it – Robocop – a part man, part machine, indestructible law enforcer who soon has the criminals of Detroit on the run. Until that is, Murphy’s human side starts to take over and, defying his corporate masters, sets out to solve his own murder.

In 1987 the now defunct Orion Pictures made the potentially crazy decision to give the then unknown Paul Verhoeven several million dollars to direct a futuristic sci fi film, about a cyborg cop, featuring a cast of virtual unknowns.

What could have been a bog standard Judge Dredd/Bionic man, direct to video, B movie, turned out to be anything but.

Blood soaked, peppered with quotable one liners (“id buy that for a dollar!”, “Guns, Guns, Guns!”) a brilliant score by Basil Poledouris, outstanding action sequences, one of the most evil bad guy’s ever committed to celluloid and a wry intelligent humour that slyly thumbed its nose at corporate America –the original Robocop deservedly remains one of the greatest sci fi action movies ever made.

When it was announced that a remake was in the works, legions of naysayers and fan boys where naturally up in arms crying sacrilege, which was further compounded, months later, when said geeks were up in arms after photos of a new sleek black Robo Suit were put on the net along with rumors of studio interference and meddling.

So it was to most peoples surprise that when Robocop 2014 was released last week, it turned out to be pretty decent – sort of.

So whats good? – Well for a start the cast is excellent – Kinnaman, as Murphy/Robo is superb and a future leading man in the making, Oldman is effortlessly brilliant as usual and Michael Keaton is fantastic as the head of OmniCorp. The action is well staged, Jose Padilla’s direction is very inventive, the visual and make up effects are impressive and the film is never less than very entertaining.

However….

There are quite a few things wrong – first and foremost, it simply isnt as good as the original, out goes all the blood, gore, one liners, swearing and complete lack of political correctness that made the 1987 film such a joy and in comes a bloodless PG 13 version that seems to want to appeal to a more sensitive mass market. The baddies – whilst enjoyable- cant touch the 1987 version’s motley crew of psychos, and Samuel L Jackson’s shouty TV host is completely pointless and ineffective.

I have nothing against remakes – Oceans 11, 3:10 to Yuma and The Departed were all brilliant – but they were remakes of films that were ether foreign, not very good in the first place or were so old that no one had seen them for decades. This is not the case with Robocop – and whilst Jose Padilla’s film is never less than enjoyable – one cant help feeling that the cast, director and budget could have been put to use on something more original – this of course is the fault of the studio – remake a well known film with a built in fan base, do a PG-13 version so as to appeal to a wider audience and –hey presto – a box office friendly franchise is reborn with minimal effort put in.

The trouble with Robocop 2014 and many others like it, is that it’s a remake of a very well known, well loved movie that (along with its sequels) is still available on dvd, and is shown on TV and Netflix on a regular basis. Therefore its still very much in the public consciousness – the result is that the filmmakers are set up for a fall before even one person watches the finished product – produce something original and different and you are accused of ruining an already good movie, or just do a straight remake and get told that you are rubbish because you have no new fresh ideas – basically dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t – and whatever anyone says – people will always compare it with the original movie.

In summary I would cautiously recommend Robocop, as it’s good solid entertainment, well made and very well acted – and I’d be interested to see a sequel – as Robocop 2 and 3 –(released in the 1990’s) were appalling.

However Hollywood needs to start being brave, move away from making easy money movies, and concentrate on producing fresh stories -now id buy that for a dollar.
Author: Will Strong

Interview: Caity Lotz Talks The Machine

Interview: Caity Lotz Talks The Machine

Uncategorized

Caity Lotz trained in martial arts,  dance and gymnastics.  From starring in Mad Men, The Pact and Arrow as the infamous Black Canary to be Lady Gaga’s backing dancer, the 27 year old has had a more varied and in depth career than those twice her age.  Her latest project is an action packed, British science fiction film The Machine, a story of two computer programmers fall in love as they create the first ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence, which is designed to help humanity. But things go wrong when the MoD steal their breakthrough and teach it to become a robotic weapon.

The Machine is released inc cinemas & VOD on 21st March and on DVD/BluRay on 31st March.  We sat down with Caity to talk The Machine, Arrow and Don Draper for an Exclusive All Things Film interview…


What appealed to you about the role of Ava in The Machine?

I was really interested in the script because it was such a challenge. It was two completely different roles and one of them wasn’t even human. I was really excited to try and develop both of the characters to make them so different.

With the part of Ava being very physical, was the Machine one of the more changing projects you’ve worked on?
Ava was a just a scientist so wasn’t very physical at all. The Machine however was very physical which added a challenging element to her. I trained in martial arts and dance so it was like I had been preparing for this role since I was 7. Switching back and forth between characters doing shooting was also a challenge.

How do you approach the action sequences? 
I just do it. We didn’t have much time for rehearsals so usually I would learn the fight scenes while they were setting up the cameras and we’d do it. Our stunt team on the film was amazing so they made me look good.

You’re career is very varied: TV & Film actress, model, dancer… what drives your choices?
Curiosity drives my choices. I try to leave myself open creatively to whatever draws me. I think anytime your curious about an artform it’s is for a reason and that form of expression should be explored. I believe it’s important to go with the flow of your passions, even if it doesn’t end up being something you do professionally, it can teach you something and make you more open.

You’re currently fearing in a recurring role in the highly successful Arrow TV show. What attracted you to that series?
Badassery. I’m not sure that’s a real word but it should be. I when I auditioned for the character they didn’t tell me who exactly I was playing, but I loved how strong she was. When I found out later I was going to be a super hero I definitely wasn’t mad about it.

What’s been your favourite role to date and why?
That’s a hard one because I’ve been so blessed to play some wonderful characters, but I’d have to say The Machine. I really was able to lose myself into the character. There also was such a physical transformation. I got really buff for the role, bleached my eyebrows and hair, changed my posture and voice, when I looked in the mirror I didn’t even recognize myself.

Don Draper or Oliver Queen?
I think I’d have to say Oliver Queen, I mean he’s a super hero.

What’s up next for you? 
Who knows!? Arrow takes up a lot of my time but I definitely won’t stay out of the film world for too long. Maybe I’ll take up bird watching.

 

The Machine is in cinemas/VoD 21 March and DVD/Blu-ray 31 March. www.themachinemovie.com

 

Review: Safety Not Guaranteed (DVD/BR)

Review: Safety Not Guaranteed (DVD/BR)

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

The Review:  A bored graduate (Aubrey Plaza) working as an intern at a magazine in Seattle, volunteers to tag along with one of its writers (Jeff Johnson) and another intern (Karan Soni) to write an investigative article on a man (Mark Duplass) who has placed an advert looking for a partner to take part in a time travel experiment.

After some initial  stalled attempts, she manages to make contact with the reclusive geek, gains his trust and embarks on a complex training programme that he insists will prepare her for their forthcoming time travel journey. Initially thinking he is a nuttier than a fruitcake, she gradually warms to him and starts to believe that he may not be the total loon she took him for after all.

Produced and  directed by Colin Trevorrow  and made on a very low budget, this is a smashing little film that rightfully deserved the numerous awards and nominations it received in 2012 at various film festivals such as Sundance. Very well acted by all concerned  – especially Plaza and Duplass, and with a sharp script by Derek Connolly, Safety Not Guaranteed is by turns oddly quirky and very touching. In fact it plays very much like the something done by the Coens or Wes Anderson by successfully managing to be funny without being stupid and clever without being pretentious. A film well worth checking out – its available on both dvd and Netflix now.

Reviewed By: Will Strong

Join the debate on our Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/Filmsploitation) or on our website (www.thefilmpodcast.co.uk)

Enders Game: A Quick Capsule Review

Enders Game: A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Sadly Enders Game promises a lot but delivers very little.  Except one moment. One moment that makes the WHOLE film worthwhile.  But aside from that it’s avareg performances, Harrison Ford mumbling and some nice effects which sadly a great film do not make.  It’s not terrible are there are worse ways to spend two hours but with Netflix’s at only £6.99 a month sadly they will always be something else better instead.

Best Bit: The twist

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Stream

If you liked this try: Thor 2 (8/10); Hungers Games 2 (7/10); The Day The Earth Stood Still 2008 (4/10)

Review: Riddick (DVD/BR)

Review: Riddick (DVD/BR)

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

The Review: In 2000, a rather splendid sci fi film was released called Pitch Black,  made on a low budget, directed by David Twohy and featuring a then virtually unknown Vin Diesel, it  went on to become a sizable sleeper hit, spawning an animated spin off, a computer game and in 2004 – a sequel called The Chronicles of Riddick –  again featuring the gravel voiced Diesel and directed by David Twohy.

Now as far as the 2nd film goes  I must be one of the only people that really liked it, its a bit of an oddity to be sure, featuring baddies called Necromongers,  Judy Dench  as a transparent being called an Ethereal and some weirdness about a place called Underverse. Chronicles  played like a cross between Star Wars and Firefly, it was inventive, original, well made and action packed –but despite this , it was a critical and commercial disappointment and as a result the franchise looked dead and buried  –   however strong dvd sales and an on-going cult following, resulted in a third chapter getting the green light.

Released theatrically last year to relatively good box office, Riddick made its bow on dvd/blu ray last month and I’m happy to say that its not bad at all.

Plot wise – it picks up with Riddick being  double crossed by the Necromongers  and abandoned on a desolate backwater planet. Having no way to escape, he sends out a distress signal, which results in two teams of mercenaries arriving in the hope of capturing him and claiming the hefty bounty that is on his head. However, things soon take a rapid turn for the worst when Riddick and the mercenaries find them selves surrounded by a horde of fanged flesh eating creatures and have to concoct a desperate plan to get off the planet before they all end up on the menu.

Going back to basics, Riddick is a very much akin to Pitch Black, Diesel and Twohy seemingly abandoning the expanded universe of the 2nd film and focussing more on the man vs monsters theme that made the original so enjoyable.

Despite the low budget, the visual effects are impressive, the action is very well handled, there’s bags of blood, violence and swearing, and Diesel is once again suitably bad ass as the film’s seemingly indestructible Snake Plissken alike anti hero. On the negative side  – the plot bears far too much resemblance to Pitch Black and it has a somewhat sexist macho streak running through it that some may be offended by.

Diesel has recently stated on his Facebook page that, due the success of the film both at the cinema and on dvd, Universal have approached him to make a 4th entry in the series  – of this I would advise caution  as there is a danger of going to the well far too often  – the Riddick trilogy has certainly been popular – however its never done Star Wars levels of box office, and the 2nd film was seen by some as extremely silly an a bit of an epic failure when it was 1st released, plus one gets the feeling that the studio may well be indulging big Vin  so as to keep him signing on for more lucrative Fast and Furious sequels.

In my opinion this franchise  would be better served continuing on the small screen – more and more we are seeing big stars like Woody Harrelson, Steve Buscemi, Kevin Spacey and even Matthew McConaughey, making highly acclaimed top quality TV series – and there is no reason that their success cannot be replicated by Twohy and Diesel with the Riddick character, – as we have seen with the updated  Battlestar Galactica – good writing, interesting characters and fast paced action is a sure fire recipe for success – not only that  -apart from Doctor Who – there are no new space set TV series on the horizon at the moment  – so there is definitely a gap in the market.

So overall, I would certainly recommend Riddick –a bit daft but a good  solid Friday nights entertainment best enjoyed with a six pack and a takeaway.

 

Reviewed By: Will Strong 

Join the debate on our Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/Filmsploitation) or on our website (www.thefilmpodcast.co.uk)