Podcast: Ross And Phil Hijack – The Smoking Lamb #83

Podcast: Ross And Phil Hijack – The Smoking Lamb #83

The Podcasts

On this episode of the podcast we hand over our partners and friends at The Smoking Lamb for a revisit of their Christmas 2017 special episode featuring Phil from Ross And Phil Talk Movies.  Basically I’m filling here whilst Ross And Phil is on hiatus (back August!) but it’s a great episode!

Find out more about The Smoking Lamb here or subscribe to the podcast via Soundcloud or Apple Podcasts

#RossAndPhil #RossAndPhilTalkMovies #MoviePodcasts

For more on Phil Hobden check out www.philhobden.co.uk
For more on Ross Boyask search @RossBoyask on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

   

 

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Star Wars Week:  Star Wars A New Hope – A Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars Week: Star Wars A New Hope – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

With Solo: A Star Wars Story out this week it felt a good time to revisit our previous reviews for the Star Wars films… next up A New Hope. 

 

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Star Wars is a genre defining, once in a life time kinda film that not only changed a genre of films for good it showed that the true value in film laid beyond the movie itself openning up multiple untouched revenue streams that kept the franchise alive well beyond it’s original runs.  It’s a film that wears its influences on it’s sleeve, from pulp serials of the 30’s and 40’s like Flash Gordon to the World War two dog fights that influence it space combat action so heavily.  The script is hokey for sure but the effects have rarely been topped by CGI and the pace and editing are top notch.  Star Wars defined a generation and still continues to entertain and endure over 40 years later.

Best Bit: The death star assault

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star wars: Return Of The Jedi, Star Wars: Rogue One

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

Phil’s Top 5… Star Wars Films (Updated)

Phil’s Top 5… Star Wars Films (Updated)

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: Star Wars Films… Updated

 

Close but no cigar:  Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode 3: The Revenge Of The Sith 

 

5 – Star Wars: Rogue One
Almost on par with Jedi, Rogue One is brutal, dark and raw.  It adds mythology with action and some amazing crowd pleasing moments. It doesn’t feel a Star Wars right up until the ending but for sure it feels part of the Universe.

 

4 – Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi
A dark, brooding, unexpected Star Wars film that does ALMOST everything well.  Okay so it sags a bit in the middle but this is a real Star Wars film, with drama, characters and heart.

 

3 – Star Wars Episode 4: The Return Of The Jedi
Probably the Star Wars film I watched the most growing up with the best action, superb space action scenes and Ewoks.

 

2 – Star Wars Episode 2: A New Hope
It’s a New Hope. The Star Wars film that started it all. Ground breaking, genre defining and truly amazing,

 

1 – Star Wars Episode 4: The Empire Strikes Back
The best sequel ever made, Empire Strikes Back gave you an ending that just kicked you in the teeth.  It’s a flawless film.

 

 

 

 

Grosse Point Geek – The Last Jedi

Grosse Point Geek – The Last Jedi

A Blog Grosse Point Geek

Picking up right after the end of The Force Awakens, The dwindling Resistance are on the run from the First Order. Meanwhile on the ocean planet of Ahch-To, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is desperately trying to persuade a very reluctant Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to train her in the ways of the force and save the Resistance from his former apprentice Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his evil master – Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).

So here it is – the ninth chapter in the Star Wars saga (yes i do include Rogue One in that) and i am very relieved to report that for the most part we have another genuinely fantastic Star Wars film on our hands.

To begin with its superbly directed by Rian Johnson – who seems to really understand the material and injects proceedings with a real sense of fun that brought back the feel of the original trilogy.

Its also very well written, with a clever story that at times pulls some really surprising twists and turns.

Acting wise – all the central performances were excellent – Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and a far more present Oscar Isaac (as Poe Dameron) are all on top form and have grown well into their respective roles. The late Carrie Fisher is alot better here than she was in The Force Awakens, she plays Leia with a lovely knowing twinkle in her eye  and to say the least she will be very sorely missed in episode 9. Special mention must be given to Mark Hamill who is superb as Luke Skywalker  – gone is the blonde haired callow farm boy from A New Hope, instead Luke is a bitter and broken old man,who has turned his back on The Force and wants nothing more than for the Jedi to die out – with him along with it. Hamill brilliantly injects the character with traits we have never seen in him before – fear, regret, anger, even downright sarcasm – indeed i found that in every scene he has (and mercifully there are many) he gives a completely gripping performance that reminds us what a talented actor he is really is. 

Finally i have to single out  Adam Driver who is once again absolutely incredible as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo  -without doubt he was the standout actor in The Force Awakens and he’s done it again here  – the guy just effortlessly owns this part  and one can only hope that if Driver is allowed to keep going the way he is  then he could end up being remembered as giving one of the greatest performances in the whole damn franchise – yes folks he is that good, id even go so far as to say that we may well have on our hands a character that could be a contender to challenge Darth Vader’s title as Star Wars’ all time best villain.

Now we all know one does not go to a Star Wars film for its acting or writing alone- no indeed – what we really want is some top notch fights and a shed load of space battles  – mercifully with The Last Jedi we get these in spades. An opening melee between the escaping Resistance fleet and The First Order is very good, then there’s a god almighty light sabre tear up in Snoke’s throne room that could well be up there with one of the most exciting of the series so far  – however the best is left to last in the film’s  final battle  – i wont say too much  – but it involves an appearance from a certain Wookie piloting a familiar looking spaceship and John Williams classic Star Wars theme  – not to put too fine a point on it but during this scene I geeked out so much i actually cried tears of joy.

 

Moving on  – there are a few quibbles and im not going to lie and say the whole thing was perfect. For a start, at two and half hours it is a tad too long and as a result does sag a bit in the middle  – particularly in the casino scenes on the planet Canto Bight which seemed a bit out of place. Then there is Benicio Del Toro’s appearance as a mysterious code breaker which really didn’t work at all (his characters habit of stuttering is downright odd) plus there was one special effect that was very iffy indeed (you’ll know it when you see it) and regardless of the very honorable intentions behind it i really felt that it could have been done better. Finally, despite some excellent character development  and highly unexpected twists and turns in the story there was more than a degree of similarity to the basic plot of Empire Strikes Back – which did annoy me a little bit  –  however that’s the die hard Star Wars fan in me so maybe others may disagree.

However despite these (admittedly small) issues, i can say wholeheartedly that The Last Jedi is a damn fine Star Wars film, certainly one for the grass roots fans, a million miles better than the prequels, not as good as the original trilogy (it was never going to be) but compared to The Force Awakens, which despite being very good indeed was a bit too safe in its tone and plot, this new chapter is refreshingly more ballsier, funnier and unpredictable and all credit to Rhian Johnson and the writers for successfully achieving this  -which is no mean feat in  a 40 year old franchise.

Over to you JJ – you are gonna have your work cut out for you if episode 9 is gonna top this one.

Highly recommended

Author: Will Strong aka Grosse Point Geek

 

Phil’s Top 5… Star Wars Characters

Phil’s Top 5… Star Wars Characters

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out:  Star Wars Characters

 

Close but no cigar: Luke Skywalker, R2D2, Poe Dameron, Jabba The Hut, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ray

 

5 – Lando Calrissian
He lost a Falcon on a bet.  He runs cloud city. And he kinda betrayed our heroes. That SMALL point aside, Lando is Lando and proves in this universe there’s very few cases of people being one thing or another. 

 

4 – Princess Leia
She’s sassy, classy and handy with a blaster.  She’s also royalty, a great leader and one of the strongest female characters in sci-fi. 

 

3 – Darth Vader
The baddest dude in the galaxy, top notch pilot, leader of the Emperors forces and Luke’s dad.  

 

2 – Yoda
He talks odd, he’s small and he doesn’t do a great deal BUT Yoda is totally bad ass even before Attack Of The Clones tried to ruin him with stupid CGI. 

 

1 – Han Solo 
The uber rogue, shoots first EVERYTIME and answers a princess telling him that she loves him by saying “I know”.  One of the coolest film characters ever.

 

 

Will’s (Grosse Point Geek) Top 5… Star Wars Characters

Will’s (Grosse Point Geek) Top 5… Star Wars Characters

A Blog Grosse Point Geek

This week our very own Grosse Point Geek Phil takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: Top 5 Star Wars Characters

 

5 – Yoda
Funny, sad, poetic,inscrutable –  the list is endless –  probably the most brilliantly written character in the Star Wars universe, combined with astounding puppet work and Frank Oz’s amazing vocal performance – words fail me, just incredible.

 

4 – Boba Fett
He has barely five minutes of screen time across two films (Empire and Jedi) but God almighty he is just so cool.

3 – Darth Vader
Basically the greatest villain in film history.

2 – R2D2
Very funny and endlessly endearing – plus Han, Luke, Leia and the rest would all be stone dead without him.

1 – Han Solo
Scoundrel, smuggler, rogue, gets the girl, bags all the best one liners and owns the coolest spaceship in the galaxy -lets face it lads we all wanted to be this guy.

 

 

 

Blog: Why Star Wars Is Important to Us…

Blog: Why Star Wars Is Important to Us…

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p

Grosse Point Geek, Motion Picture Maniac and All Things Film editor Phil Hobden explain in their own words just WHY Star Wars is important to them whilst sharing their favourite moments and characters!  First up…

 

Motion Picture Maniac 

These days it’s rare for a film to overwhelm me with butterflies, make me feel different upon witnessing its gargantuan scope and, dare I say, epicness, but there are some films that still do it for me, Lord Of The Rings is one, another is Star Wars. Like a drug I would feel alive while watching it, like my imagination activated at the very thought of it, Star Wars doesn’t make you doubt your imagination, it invigorates it, pumps life into the gears that spin your mind; its lack of limitations creates the impression of a world that could exist somewhere and by watching – you too become involved in the situation. It has a theme for just about everyone, is about everything – not just space fights, and reeks of the sweat and passion that went into its making; it’s literally like watching a dream come true.

I don’t remember seeing Star Wars for the first time, in the comprehension of my mind it was something that was just always there; like the ability to speak. I remember seeing Alien for the first time, The Terminator and Jaws, but not Star Wars, perhaps my parents presenting it to me at an age in which I was yet to create memories caused some kind of biological attachment, and why, for the rest of my life, the idea of sci-fi, the concept of a story the size of a galaxy, the characters and creatures, the space ships and battles, all of it became a sedative from the gloom of the real world. Monsters, aliens and intergalactic civil wars are my cup of tea, Star Wars is the kind of film that just hands me everything I want on a plate and, as a piece of the beginning of my life, it will always be a part of my life.

 

Favourite Character

Boba Fett: I must guiltily admit I was slightly more fascinated by the villains than the heroes, I always thought they were just cooler and more fun to watch, if I had to pick a favourite character it would have to be one that makes me want to call out every time they appeared onscreen, if you ask me tomorrow I may have a different answer but for now, I’ve gotta go with Boba Fett, I mean come on, that voice (the original of course), that helmet, the jetpack, his presence; if I could only have one action figure from the Star Wars universe to display – it would be him.

Favourite Moment

I apply that same philosophy to picking a favourite moment, by tomorrow I will have a different answer so for now I’ll just pick the one that is currently on my mind – the last moments of Rogue One, Baze Malbus allowing a grenade explosion to engulf him, Jyn and Casian embracing on the beach accepting their impending deaths, Darth Vader massacring a group of rebels, the image of the Death Star hovering above the clouds, the music that goes along with it all, those moments will stay with me forever, I know they’re recent but I don’t care, that ending topped many well loved Star Wars moments for me so that’s what I’ll go for.

 

 

Grosse Point Geek

Of the thousands of films i have seen, Star Wars is without doubt my favorite. I first saw it when i was four, i was utterly enthralled back then and forty years later nothing has changed. It is quite simply the greatest film ever made and the reason why i love films so much.

There are all told eight entries in the franchise, (with a ninth due for release later this month). The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are both staggeringly brilliant,  The Force Awakens is great but its a bit of a remake of the first film, then there’s Rogue One  which is really good and of course we have the decidedly iffy prequel trilogy that had moments of brilliance but iscatastrophically hampered by a terrible script, dreadful acting and THE worst love story in movie history.

So why is Star Wars so important?  – well for a start its the blockbuster franchise by which all fantasy action films are judged against – come the end credits  of any big budget summer film and i guarantee someone somewhere will say the immortal words “it wasn’t as good as Star Wars”. Its  the reason we have the likes of The Matrix, Jurassic Park , Alien, Indiana Jones, Mad Max and The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, moreover it paved the way for every groundbreaking special effect and film making technique we see in modern films today.

But most importantly (for me at least) it played a massive part in the childhood of a four year old little boy called William Strong, who in the summer of 1977 begged his  Mum and Dad to take him to the local cinema  and watch what will always be the most exciting,  wonderful and awe inspiring film he would ever see.

 

Favourite Character

Han Solo  scoundrel, smuggler, rogue, gets the girl, bags all the best one liners and owns the coolest spaceship in the galaxy -lets face it lads we all wanted to be this guy.

Favourite Moment

Star Wars: A New Hope – The chasm leap. Having lost Han and Chewie, Luke and Leia are running for their lives and suddenly find themselves trapped before a huge chasm in the Death Star  – all whilst being pursued by a load of pissed off storm troopers who are closing in fast – but just as they think all is lost Luke finds a rope and grappling hook on his utility belt, throws it over a nearby beam, grabs Leia and swings them both to safety – awesome.

 

Phil Hobden

Star Wars.  A New Hope was released a year after I was born and for me felt like it was tied to almost every stage of my life.   Return Of The Jedi was the first film I ever watched in the cinema and even now, some 30 years after I recorded it from ITV onto a Scotch VHS tape I can still remember the exact position of the advert breaks that interrupted by copy of this film for years.  I had the toys – everything from the Ewok village to the B-Wing, from Boba Fett to “That thing from the Cantina scene”.  And I played with them – toys that now are worth thousands in pristine condition would often be missing a leg from a brutal lightsaber showdown with Luke or Vader.

I bonded at University with my fellow course mates when we back to back watched the original trilogy (Widescreen version son a 14” TV no less).

I longed for more Star Wars films and then felt deflated as I endured The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars.  

I loved The Clone Wars on TV, then Rebels after.  And I was there on opening night for The Force Awakens and Rogue One as Star Wars finally made the big screen return we longed for since the 80’s.

I’ve played the games, worn the T-Shirt and now, at the age of 7, I’ve started to slowly to bring my daughter into the fold (we started chronically with The Phantom Menace – the most kid friendly Star Wars).  

So Star Wars has been there with me from the start.  It shaped the films I watched, the games I played and the people I connected with.  Long may it continue…

Favourite Character

Han Solo: Come on – He shoots first, flys the coolest ship in the galaxy (and won it in a card game), has the bestest side kick ever and answers ”I Love You “ with “ I know”. NOBODY is cooler or tougher than Han Solo.

 

Favourite Moment

Star Wars: A New Hope – Few cinematic moments have defined a film series better than the opening of A New Hope.  The Blockade Runner storms overhead, followed by a Star Destroyer.  Onboard there’s panic, they take positions and the doors explode open.  Laser blasts, people fall to the floor then the shadowy figure of Darth vader enters.  From that moment you know that he means business.

Star Wars The Last Jedi – Review Round Up

Star Wars The Last Jedi – Review Round Up

Other Cr*p

Want to know what the critics think of the latest hot releases but don’t want to have to search for them?  Well look no further as we round up the reviews from 5 of the most influential sources for the latest BIG RELEASE movie.

This time out: Star Wars The Last Jedi


Overall Critics Say

 


Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the quintessential Star Wars movie. It embraces everything in the franchise that came before while taking big risks to push the story into new and unexpected places.”- 9.7

 

” An excellent middle chapter bursting with wit, wisdom, emotion, shocks, old-fashioned derring-do, state-of-the-art tech, and stonking set-pieces.” – 5/5

 

 

” If The Force Awakens raised a lot of questions, The Last Jedi tackles them head-on, delivering answers that will shock and awe in equal measure. Fun, funny but with emotional heft, this is a mouth-watering set-up for Episode IX and a fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher.” – 5/5

 

” It may sound like a backhanded compliment, but with so much on the line, Johnson deserves credit for not messing things up.”

“Despite all its flaws and curious story decisions, which will likely be debated for years to come, The Last Jedi retains the saga’s childlike sense of adventure and romance. ” -3/5

 

 

Full credit to original sources.  Links to websites provided. 

The Star Wars Holiday Special – Motion Picture Maniac

The Star Wars Holiday Special – Motion Picture Maniac

A Blog Motion Picture Maniac

 

I watched the Star Wars Holiday Special from beginning to end… I mean I actually went and did it, I actively sought this beast out, sat there and watched it; may God have mercy on my soul. Just imagine James Franco’s face in 127 hours immediately after he finishes removing his arm and you’ll get a pretty good picture of how I feel right now. Do I deserve a gold medal or a trip to the nut house? I don’t know, either way that’s hardly the main question floating about what remains of my mind at the moment, what I want to know is why, “why what” I hear you cry, why anything is my response, why anything – why EVERYTHING? Who am I, what is my place here, why was this made, why was it approved, why did I do this to myself, who – what – why?

I’m a Star Wars fan—I love Star Wars, and I’m really looking forward to Episode 8, the trailers look great, I think Disney have done pretty well so far, I mean Rogue One especially was out of this world, and thus I felt the time was right to review something Star Wars-ey in preparation for the Last Jedi’s release… oh dear. Twas the year of 1978, Star Wars had come out the year before and was quick to brand cinematic history with its mark forever and ever – all to everyone’s surprise too, then, in the haze of popularity induced merchandising mayhem, some poor misguided soul decided to make a Star Wars Christmas special featuring the original cast; from that moment on we all doomed.

George Lucas had nothing to do with the making of it since the television network responsible, according to some sources, simply borrowed the license so they too could cash in on this brand new money machine that was Star Wars, just a shame the way they saw fit to get in on the success was to make something Lucas would later go on to say he would like to destroy with a sledgehammer. This is the same George Lucas responsible for Howard the Duck, Jar Jar Binks and “I don’t like sand”, now I’m grateful to George for creating Star Wars in the first place and his contribution to the world of geekdom should be forever appreciated, but if he says something deserves destruction at hammer time then it really must be something.

Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and all the rest debase themselves by appearing as the characters we know them for in this 90 minute television atrocity, you’d think their presences would make it slightly better but it’s just all the more embarrassing for it. So what exactly is the Star Wars Holiday Special about? Well, Han Solo is trying to get Chewbacca back to his home world and family so he can… celebrate “life day”. Not Christmas, something else, and while the bromantic duo try to evade the Empire we get to see Chewie’s family watch a bunch of videos and that’s it! Just a bunch of growling wookies sitting about watching crap on the television; I wish so badly there was more to it than that but there really isn’t.

It opens with a hilariously gut-busting sequence in which the cast and characters are roll called with a cheesy voice announcing their names and second long clips of the cast smiling for the camera, it doesn’t get more 70’s television than that my friends and it serves as a crystal clear indication of what this thing is like. The direction is unenthusiastic to the point of non-existence and makes all the flying around in the Millennium Falcon cockpit look like a theme park simulator, Harrison Ford looks like he wants to run away and never look back in every shot, Mark Hamill looks like he’s been assaulted with a spray tan gun and Carrie Fisher, well; at the very end she gets to sing a little song about peace and love and wonder… I really don’t know what I’m supposed to say about it right now.

So, where do I start regarding Chewbacca’s family? We are first treated to a bizarre sequence in which a bunch of wookies make noises at each other while the music tells us to find it cute, no subtitles, no English speakers to provide the other side of their conversations and it certainly doesn’t work like “I am Groot”. It goes on and on until finally one of them turns on a little holographic projection of… a cheap discount version of a Cirque de Soleil show… it was at this point I really started questioning the filmmaker’s intentions because I’m pretty sure there weren’t any, oh just fill the story with random do-dah and it’ll be fine.

Oh but it doesn’t stop there, this whole thing is just people sitting down and watching television, they watch a man with four arms dressed like a woman prepare a meal a little too excitedly, a malfunctioning droid who can’t control his tongue and a porno sex simulator that starts singing… sounds like it could be at least funny though, right? Like The Room? Well it isn’t, it’s boring as living hell, I came close to falling asleep twice and spent the whole time daring myself to keep watching despite my better judgement. Anyone able to keep their eyes open will notice the massive amount of shots that have been lifted from A New Hope, and cut scenes of Darth Vader, now that’s how to fill the gaps, steal footage from another, better film in the franchise; was this thing made by a human being or a sociopathic machine?

When stormtroopers attack the wookie home they are distracted by a mini holographic concert that goes on forever, another transmission shows a man with a hole in the top of his head confess his love for a female bartender who suddenly starts singing for some reason and… no, you know what? I’m done, that’s it, I’ve had enough, this so-called holiday special is humiliating and shameful garbage not fit to plug the devil’s rear end, it’s not fun, it’s sickening and boring and hateful, there is not one single redeeming quality to be found; not one. It deserves zero stars because giving one is still far too many, I almost didn’t even present the star metre because, as Roger Ebert said about the Human Centipede, stars don’t belong in the same reality as the product I am reviewing.

It’s monstrous and evil; you wanna give it a go? The whole thing’s on YouTube if you want to have a look, see how long you last. To think that the scenes I described exist in something Star Wars related, go ahead George, buy some time and destroy every copy you can find!

Phil’s Top 5… Star Wars Films

Phil’s Top 5… Star Wars Films

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: Star Wars Films

 

Close but no cigar: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode 3: The Revenge Of The Sith 

 

5 – Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens
The Force Awakens was an excellent tribute Star Wars movie that gave you enough new mixed in with plenty familiar.  It looses lots of return viewing for sure but it’s well directed and great fun.

 

4 – Star Wars: Rogue One
Almost on apr with Jedi, Rogue One is brutal, dark and raw.  It adds mythology with action and some amazing crowd pleasing moments.

 

3 – Star Wars Episode 4: The Return Of The Jedi
Probably the Star Wars film I watched the most growing up with the best action, superb space action scenes and Ewoks.

 

2 – Star Wars Episode 2: A New Hope
It’s a New Hope. The Star Wars film that started it all. Ground breaking, genre defining and truly amazing,

 

1 – Star Wars Episode 4: The Empire Strikes Back
The best sequel ever made, Empire Strikes Back gave you an ending that just kicked you in the teeth.  It’s a flawless film.