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

Things to look forward to in 2014

With 2014 just starting off I thought I would take this opportunity take a look at the TV, films and books coming out in the next twelve months that I am really looking forward to.

Harry Dresden is back

It was almost 12 months ago exactly that I first started to read Jim Butcher’s fantastic Dresden Files. So engrossed was I in the world of the Chicago wizard that I raced through all 14 books in about three weeks.

Its fair to say that I am looking forward to the next book Skin Game. I would be excited for a new Dresden book regardless but the plot details we have sound (and I don’t use this word lightly) awesome.

The plot details are as follows according to Jim Butcher’s site

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day….

Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

He doesn’t know the half of it….

Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.

Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance….

Yep, I will be reading this the moment it comes out.

Interesting Sci-fi movies

The last few years have included a lot of really dumb and bad sci-fi movies like Transformers and Looper. 2014 looks like it might be something of a sea-change as post-inception and cloud atlas film makers attempt for expansive and interesting science fiction movies.

The Wachowski Siblings have got ‘Jupiter Ascending’ out this year. I’ve really enjoyed their previous work (The Matrix Trilogy, Cloud Atlas) and the Jupiter Ascending trailer looks interesting.

Along with Jupiter Ascending is ‘Transcendence’ directed by Wally Pfister of Batman fame and Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar‘ and the new X-Men. It could be a banner year for sci-fi films despite the upcoming new Transformer Blockbuster.

Archer Season 5

https://i2.wp.com/cdn.uproxx.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Archer-S5-poster.jpg

If you’ve read me review of the book ‘How to Archer’ you will know I’m a huge Archer fan. The new series should be hilarious. Although my comic con spies tell me that the cast and writers are promising something different from previous seasons. I’ve got Kenny Loggins on speed dial cos they might be about to enter the DANGERZONE.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Carlin’s Hardcore History is easily the best podcast/history related program that is going. So well researched and large are his episodes that they are essentially audiobooks. He still manages around five a year however which is pretty good. The next one cannot come soon enough.

The World Cup

I’m a big football fan. The World Cup is a once every four year opportunity to watch lots of high quality football. Please don’t humiliate us England.

Lastly more posts on this blog.

Batman: Under The Red Hood

Batman under the red hood poster.jpg

As opposed to doing anything productive I spent last night watching the DC animated film Batman: Under The Red Hood. Although not a comic book reader myself a steady diet of DC and Marvel cartoons growing up and the current wave of superhero films means that like almost everyone else I am familiar with the main players Batman, Spiderman, the Joker etc. I found the film to be really enjoyable. The plot is interesting and wacky enough to hold the attention and the Joker is exactly the sort of mad anarchist that was so enjoyable to watch in the Dark Knight. On top of this the score and character voices were fantastic and really added something to the experience. It comes to something when it is easier to understand the words of a cartoon then most of the actors in mainstream Hollywood films.

As someone who is not a huge comic book fan I would highly recommend this.

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.