Five Movies/TV Shows that are great when you edit chunks out

The Mummy (1999)

mummy1999I have a soft spot for the first Mummy film. I recognise that it is a poor film but I caught it at the right age to enjoy it as mindless fun.

In 10 year old me’s defence the taped off tv copy I had was missing the first 35 minutes or so of the film. This means that the film is pretty much action all the way through and it barrels along at just the right pace to make you not question things to closely. Also, and this is crucially important, the titular Mummy makes an appearance about 20 minutes into the running time.

In the actual cinematic cut The Mummy doesn’t show up for the best part of an hour. I’d take my ‘missed the start whilst taping it’ cut any day.

The Lady Vanishes (1938)

lady vanishesThe plot takes place on a train journey through Germany. It centres around a old lady who the central character has seen after waking up hung over. No body else on the train remembers or will admit to seeing her why is this?

It is a good set up for a film. It is also the best movie on this list by far. If you haven’t seen this film. It is a great film. It is perfect to kill an afternoon or a lazy Sunday.

There’s a caveat to this however (and I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Hitchcock film). This film is better if you skip the first 27 minutes of the film.

I first caught ‘The Lady Vanishes’ from the point the heroine wakes up on the train with the delightfully caring old Grannie sitting opposite her.

This was really fortunate because, it adds entire layers to the film i.e. is the main character reliable? If you see the first 27 minutes of the film however, this question completely disappears.

The 1979 remake with Cybill Shepherd and Elliot Gould also has a beginning out should miss but that one only lasts 15 minutes. It must be the only time in auteur Anthony Page’s career that his editing was better than the Master of Suspense’s.

Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions

matric reloadedI like to call this the ‘Stay in the Matrix cut’. Fast forward your way through the super boring bits in Zion that no body cares about. Such as the new Operator (whose name I cannot be bothered to find) talking to his wife, the orgy scene in the bowels of hell, Morpheus’ religious sermons, the Council of Zion and the fight scene ripped from Aliens.

Remember however, to stop in at ,or just remember, the bit showing that Agent Smith

I make sure I  see this guy as little as possible

I make sure I see this guy as little as possible

is now in Zion also. That bit is the only bit of the Zion sequences important to the plot.

All in all this carves a lot, but sadly not all, the fat off these sequels. It makes them infinitely better to watch.

Prison Break

prisonbreakPrison Break had the sort of insane premise that I can totally buy into. Lincoln Burrows’ is on death row for a crime he didn’t commit and his brother Michael Scofield decides to break him out.

How you ask? By tattooing all the prison plans and escape details onto his body and then getting sent to the same prison himself.

Stop it there and I am completely on board with you. The writer’s just couldn’t stop themselves however. Instead of just having Lincoln framed by corrupt cops or gang members or an enemy he has made they decided to make Lincoln Burrows as the patsy for an all seeing shadowy cabal that controls the world.

There was no need for this. Prison Break has a high concept enough concept already. If you are going to sell this then you shouldn’t dump a tonne of stupid on top of it. There is no need to add a conspiracy dimension to your cops and robbers conspiracy movie.

When it first came out on TV I ignored those bits and I did the same when I rewatched it again on netflix. It’s much more fun that way.

Lincoln

lincolnThis one makes the list for knocking an entire star and ruining the end of an almost perfect film. I am of course taking about the last 12 minutes of Lincoln.

Spielberg’s Lincoln was fantastic. It was beautifully shot and brilliantly acted. Plus it was basically an extended version of West Wing, a show that I love. Lincoln dealt with hugely important historical events and gave a sense of the politics of that time.

It showed just how difficult the decisions were that Lincoln had to make. It created in the movie character Lincoln (I don’t know enough about real life Lincoln) a believable politician who also did the right thing. He was flawed but basically saint.

By the end of the film you have created basically a figure who is mythical within his own time frame.

I’m watching this and I feel that Spielberg understands this. He knows where Lincoln is going. The audience knows where Lincoln is going. The whole set up is note for note perfect.

Lincoln is reminded of the hour and goes to leave saying “I suppose it is time to go. Though I would rather say”.

The iconic silhouette of Lincoln with his hat walks down the corridor in the White House and camera shows the Butler as if he also feel the weight of this moment of time. The music plays poignantly and Lincoln exits stage right.

Just cut there that’s the movie. That’s perfection.

Instead it continues for 10 more minutes of utterly pointless footage. He may have been competing against this film at the Oscars but that doesn’t mean Samuel Jackson wasn’t right.

Lord of the Rings : Return of the King (extended cut)

returnofthekingIt’s an obvious one but sure but that doesn’t make it any less true. There is no need for the last half an hour of this film.

Not only is it unsatisfying story telling to keep doing what are essentially extended post-credit sequences but within the narrative of the movie it makes no sense at all either.

Peter Jackson killed off Saruman back at the start of the film some 14 hours ago. So (spoiler alert) Saruman is not around to make a final appearance as a bad guy like he does in the book. There is no need to keep the film going.

The only one of these scenes that is remotely acceptable after the coronation is Frodo and the elves sailing away from Middle-Earth and that should come after the credits.

THE END

THE END

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My top five Christmas Stories

Its that time of year again; saturnalia. With this in mind I this in mind I thought I’d give you a list of my top five Christmas books, films and or characters. So without any further ado….

Five – Evil Robot Santa from Futurama.

Blasting through the steel reinforced windows of the awclarehugh blog command centre is the evil santa from Futurama. Every time I catch one of these episodes it is laugh out loud funny. Here’s hoping he doesn’t pay me a visit after only placing him at five.

Four – Home Alone 1 & 2

Duck Joe Peschi! Duck!

Ouch! He didn’t duck.

At times there is nothing like some cartoonish violence to make one’s heart feel warm and snuggly. I could watch Home Alone 1 & 2 time and time again. I’m watching these films to see actors get hurt by blowtorches, nails and BB guns. Wow, when you put it like that I sound like a bit of a physco.

Oh well, can’t do anything about that now. For your amusment and interest I’d like to direct you to these two links. You’ll never look at Kevin McCallaster in the same way again :-

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTo6yvJ5SCM

2) http://theweek.com/article/index/238037/diagnosing-the-home-alone-burglars-injuries-a-professional-weighs-in

Three : Die Hard

Possibly the best action movie ever made. So good it keeps me liking Bruce Willis after Die Hard: A Good day to die hard, Red, Red 2 and the other countless awful films that Bruce Willis seems to be making at the moment. Seriously Bruce read the scripts before you accept!

Best of all it takes place during Christmas so its a Christmas film. So blasting its way in a three with Hans Gruber’s missing detonators is Die Hard.

Two : Its a Wonderful Life

A really heart warming story. That is watchable no matter how many times you have seen it before. Plus its interesting to see how the economic message of a 1947 film can still be so relevant today.

Merry Christmas You old building & loan!!

One : The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett has written some really good books but for my money this is  his best. Its funny, it has a great plot and it has great ideas.

I mean Death has to become Santa because, a manically insane assassin has killed Father Christmas. This is the best/ most absurd high concept premise ever and it has great characters like Susan D’eath, Death of rats, Death himself, the wizards, Mister Teatime, the eater of socks and the god of hangovers. It is simply brilliant.

Best. Christmas. Story. Ever!

Five most underwhelming signings of the season so far

The Premier League is big business. Hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on players every transfer window. The five players below cost around a combined £91.5 million.

Yet for every success story there is a failure. For every Ozil there is a Veron.

The list below is the five players who have so far failed to live up to their price tag since completing summer switches to England.

Erik Lamela

Replacing Gareth Bale is not an easy task, and to be fair to Lamela he is just one of the raft of players that Spurs spent the Bale money on. Still, last season Lamela scored 15 goals for Roma in Serie A making a reputation for himself as a creative goal scoring winger.

Compare this to his performances for Tottenham and you can almost wonder if it’s the same player. Except for one good game against FC Sheriff in the Europa League, he has drifted anonymously through games playing so poorly that he has only one league start to his name.

Tottenham must have thought they were getting more than this when they paid Roma
nearly £26million.

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel

When Norwich pulled off the signing of Van Wolfswinkel from Porto for around 10 million Euros it seemed like an inspired piece of forward planning.

Norwich had struggled to score goals all season and in Van Wolfswinkel they had signed a player who in two years at Sporting had scored a goal almost every other game. Surely Wolfswinkel would bring some of this form with him to Norwich?

It started well enough with a goal on debut. Since then however Van Wolfswinkel has not only
failed to score but averages a pitful 1.5 shots a game and zero successful dribbles.

Its not just that Wolfswinkel does things poorly its that he doesn’t seem to do much at all. Norwich are not a club that can afford to spend such money for so little return.

Marouane Fellaini

Marouane Fellaini cost Manchester United £27.5 million. He was the first and so far the only major transfer of the David Moyes era.

Expectations for Fellaini were high – he often dominated games for Everton but at United the most memorable thing he has done is get sent off in the Champions League at Real Sociedad.

Indeed Fellaini has been so poor that the defender Phil Jones now seems to be ahead of him in the pecking order.

Iago Aspas

Liverpool should be thankful that Luis Saurez failed to manufacture a move away from Anfield for his understudy Iago Aspas has hardly looked up to the rigours of the Premier League.

Restricted to a handful of appearances Aspas has failed to score, and his only contribution has been a single assist against Stoke.

This sort of return is not good enough for someone who cost almost £8 million, and it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see him slide out of Liverpool in the same manner as Fabio Borini.

Stevan Jovetic

It seems harsh to put Jovetic in this list. He has only made one start and two substitute appearances all year.

I don’t get to see him train, but it’s entirely possible that his training performances deserve this. Plus it can hardly be said Manchester City are struggling to score.

Still anyone who saw him play for Fiorentina knows that he was a player capable of scoring
sublime goals; a real talent. To see City pay £22 million for him and then not play him is just depressing.

Welcome (some entirely non-essential instructions about reading this blog)

The writer. I'll let you decide whether I'm Harry Potter or Daniel Radcliffe

The writer. I’ll let you decide whether I’m Harry Potter or Daniel Radcliffe

You know writing an interesting welcome page isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do so why don’t you just imagine that this blog is filled with all the things that you find most interesting on the internet (excluding boobs).

Provided that the things you find most interesting are reviews of films, books and the occasional post about sports then this is the place you. If you aren’t interested in any of those things though you should read this blog anyway because, it will make you richer, more intelligent and more attractive*.

If the above doesn’t convince you to read you may wish to consult a doctor about your sanity. If you have done this and the doctor has affirmed you are sane though but are in need of some more specifics about what is actually going to be posted then here it is.

You can expect a steadyish diet of blockbuster movie reviews (these may or may not be mostly superhero related don’t blame me blame Hollywood), the goodreads widget should give you some clue about what books I am going to be reviewing. And finally I am going to be posting up a reread of the Discworld series and a rewatch of the Farscape series in the near future i.e. when I get over my mild Mario Kart 8 addiction or more likely smash my controller in frustration at being beaten by seven year old kids again. Damn you red shell!

This is going to hurt!

This is going to hurt!

*Some parts of the above text may be lies. Not the kind of lies that send you to hell, but lies nonetheless.