Jurassic World (2015) review

Jurassic World posterDirector: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan

CLAIRE – “Think it’ll scare the kids?”

MASRANI – “The kids? This’ll give the parents nightmares.”

CLAIRE – “Is that… good?”

MASRANI – “It’s fantastic.”

“I can’t wait any more!”

This is what young Gray (Ty Simpkins, the young lad from Insidious) says near the start of Jurassic World as he whips open the curtains of his hotel room window and gets a glorious view of the park.

In a way, he’s speaking for every Jurassic Park fan crossing their fingers for 14 years for a new movie (and, some would argue, 22 years for a truly brilliant one). We couldn’t wait any more either. And now the wait is over. Continue reading “Jurassic World (2015) review”

Cube (1997) review

Cube posterDirector: Vincenzo Natali

Starring: Maurice Dean Wint, David Hewlett, Nicole De Boer, Nicky Guadagni, Andrew Miller, Julian Richings, Wayne Robson

“It’s all the same machine, right? The Pentagon, multinational corporations, the police. If you do one little job, you build a widget in Saskatoon, and the next thing you know, it’s two miles under the desert, the essential component of a death machine. I was right! All along, my whole life, I knew it! I told you, Quentin. Nobody’s ever going to call me paranoid again! We’ve gotta get out of here and blow the lid off this thing!” (Holloway, Cube)

I’m a sucker for low-budget mystery films that put extra focus on their script to make up for their lack of grandeur elsewhere. Sometimes you get the most out of a storyline when you’ve got the least to work with.

Recent examples include Exam – in which eight candidates are sat in front of desks, given a blank sheet of piece of paper and told to answer ‘the question’ – and Devil, in which five strangers are trapped in an elevator also occupied by a nasty presence. Guess what it is.

Cube is similar to these in that the majority of the film was shot in a single room, although here it acts as a number of similar rooms. Look, it’ll make sense in a minute. Continue reading “Cube (1997) review”

Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (1992/2014) review

Both season 1 and season 2 of Twin Peaks and the film Fire Walk With Me may have already been reviewed on That Was A Bit Mental, but Twin Peaks week isn’t over yet! Today I look at the recently released deleted scenes The Missing Pieces before finishing on Friday with a review of the international pilot.

twinpeaks_themissingpieces_posterDirector: David Lynch

Starring: Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Moira Kelly, Chris Isaak, Keifer Sutherland, Kyle MacLachlan, Dana Ashbrook, Phoebe Augustine, Pamela Gidley, James Marshall, David Lynch, David Bowie, Madchen Amick, Michael J Anderson, Frank Silva, Walter Olkewicz

“Is it future, or is it past?” (Man From Another Place, Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces)

The shooting script for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me came in at around five hours long. Naturally, nobody in their right mind would find that acceptable, so after shooting all the footage David Lynch got to work cutting loads of it out.

As a result, Fire Walk With Me was released with a runtime of two hours and 15 minutes: still fairly long, but with more than half of its content relegated to the cutting room floor.

For over 20 years Twin Peaks fans have discussed these mythical deleted scenes, with only the shooting script and the occasional mention of them in cast and crew interviews as indication that they did indeed exist. Continue reading “Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (1992/2014) review”

Twin Peaks season 2 (1990-91) review

Twin Peaks week continues on That Was A Bit Mental with the review of the second season of David Lynch’s cult ’90s TV drama. If you missed the season 1 review then you can catch up here. Tomorrow it’ll be a review of the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, then recently released deleted scenes The Missing Pieces and finally the European pilot of the show, which featured a different killer.

twinpeaks_s2_posterDirectors: David Lynch, Lesli Linka Glatter, Todd Holland, Graeme Clifford, Caleb Deschanel, Tim Hunter, Tina Rathbone, Duwayne Dunham, Uli Edel, Diane Keaton, James Foley, Jonathan Sanger, Stephen Gyllenhaal

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Eric DaRe, Everett McGill, Joan Chen, Piper Laurie, Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, David Duchovny, David Lynch, Heather Graham, Billy Zane, Kenneth Welsh

JUDGE: “Mr. Cooper, how do you find our little corner of this world?”

COOPER: “Heaven, sir.”

JUDGE: “Well, this week, heaven includes arson, multiple homicides, and an attempt on the life of a federal agent.”

COOPER: “Heaven is a large and interesting place, sir.”

The first season of Twin Peaks was such an enormous success it was a no-brainer that TV network ABC would give David Lynch and Mark Frost the green light to do a second.

This time, however, ABC wanted an assurance that the main talking point of season one, the death of Laura Palmer, would finally be resolved in season two.

After all, viewers were less than pleased that the show, incredible though it was, had ended its initial run without revealing the identity of Laura’s killer.

Lynch grudgingly agreed that the second season would indeed identify the person responsible for her death, but the 22 episodes created would ultimately be memorable for much more than this. Continue reading “Twin Peaks season 2 (1990-91) review”

Twin Peaks season 1 (1990) review

It’s Twin Peaks week on That Was A Bit Mental! Over the course of the week I’ll be reviewing both seasons of David Lynch’s cult ’90s TV drama, as well as the movie Fire Walk With Me, the recently released deleted scenes The Missing Pieces and the European pilot of the show, which featured a different killer.

twinpeaks_s1_posterDirectors: David Lynch, Duwayne Dunham, Tina Rathbone, Tim Hunter, Lesli Linka Glatter, Caleb Deschanel, Mark Frost

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Eric DaRe, Everett McGill, Joan Chen, Piper Laurie, Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Russ Tamblyn

“You know, this is – excuse me – a damn fine cup of coffee. I’ve had I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee in my life and this, this is one of the best. Now, I’d like two eggs over hard. I know, don’t tell me, it’s hard on the arteries, but old habits die hard, just about as hard as I want those eggs.” (Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks)

Recently Eastenders celebrated its 30th anniversary with a story based on the death of teenage character Lucy Beale. “Who killed Lucy Beale” was the question on the lips of numerous Brits for the past few weeks, and 9 million viewers tuned in to find out it was some kid nobody gives a seventeenth of a fuck about.

Now imagine a similar question being asked 25 years ago, in America, with nearly four times as many viewers and a brand new series nobody had heard of. And imagine the question had remained unanswered and much-discussed by the American public for almost an entire year. That’s Twin Peaks, innit. Continue reading “Twin Peaks season 1 (1990) review”

Election (1999) review

Election posterDirector: Alexander Payne

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell

“Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn’t, as you well know.” (Tracy Flick, Election)

With Reese Witherspoon recently being nominated for a second Academy Award for her performance in Wild, I thought it would be a good time to review my favourite of her films.

Writer/director Alexander Payne is perhaps best known for his Oscar-winning Sideways or his Oscar-nominated Nebraska.

Back when both films were still a twinkle in his eye, though, he wrote and directed Election, a brilliantly sharp satire about classroom politics. Continue reading “Election (1999) review”

Cavegirl (1985) review

Cavegirl posterDirector: David Oliver

Starring: Daniel Roebuck, Cynthia Thompson, Darren Young, Saba Moor-Doucette

“Look, you wouldn’t happen to know what century it is, would you? See, I’m lost, and you don’t speak any English, and how would you like to sit on my face?” (Rex, Cavegirl)

Ah, the ’80s. A more innocent time, a time when it was perfectly acceptable to make a movie in which a nerd went back in time and spent the entire length of the film trying to shag a cavegirl.

It’s probably safe to say this sort of shit wouldn’t fly these days, so let’s travel back to a time when neanderthal men thought with their knobs instead of their brains. Yes, I’m still talking about the ’80s. Continue reading “Cavegirl (1985) review”

Snowpiercer (2013) review

Snowpiercer posterDirector: Bong Joon-ho

Starring: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swanton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner

“Order is the barrier that holds back the flood of death. We must all of us on this train of life remain in our allotted station. We must each of us occupy our preordained particular position.

“Would you wear a shoe on your head? Of course you wouldn’t wear a shoe on your head. A shoe doesn’t belong on your head. A shoe belongs on your foot. A hat belongs on your head. I am a hat. You are a shoe. I belong on the head. You belong on the foot. Yes? So it is.” (Mason, Snowpiercer)

If I had a penny for every ‘the end of the world has come and only a small number of survivors remain’ film I’d seen, I’d have about 16p to my name.

Snowpiercer takes that tired plot device, makes things interesting by sticking everyone on a train, then asks “how much would you fucking have now, Chris?”

The answer, of course, is 17p. Regardless, my point is that Snowpiercer puts a new twist on an overused idea and succeeds for the most part. Continue reading “Snowpiercer (2013) review”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles posterDirector: Steve Barron

Starring: Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, voices of Corey Feldman, Josh Pais, Brian Tochi, Robbie Rist

“Death comes for us all, Oroku Saki, but something much worse comes for you. For when you die, it will be without honour.” (Splinter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

First, a disclaimer. I’m an enormous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. From the Eastman & Laird comics to the ’80s Fred Wolf cartoons to the Playmates toys to the Konami video games, I couldn’t get enough of the lean green teen fighting machines when I was a sprog. And yes, that included this film (and its two sequels).

However, now that I am 31 it is only fair that I try to review the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie with some degree of sensibility and not let my rampant Turtles fanboyism nunchuk its way to the fore. Continue reading “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) review”

uwantme2killhim? (2013) review

uwantme2killhim posterDirector: Andrew Douglas

Starring: Jamie Blackley, Toby Regbo, Joanne Froggatt, Jaime Winstone, Liz White, Amy Wren

JanetD47695.gov.uk: HE HAS A GUN. IT’S VITAL WE STOP HIM.
M4RK_87: wot ru saying?
JanetD47695.gov.uk: YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING
M4RK_87: no
M4RK_87: i dont.
M4RK_87: u want me 2 kill him? thats wot ur askin me?
JanetD47695.gov.uk: YES.

Not only does uwantme2killhim? have one of the worst titles in the history of film, it’s also got a ridiculous plot involving a lead character whose stupidity leads to some frankly bizarre plot twists.

What’s remarkable, though, is that this isn’t the result of a screenwriter’s failure to come up with a believable plot. In fact, said protagonist was indeed a real person, and the bizarre web of events he finds himself tangled up in did actually happen in real life in Manchester. Continue reading “uwantme2killhim? (2013) review”