Tag Archives: Jurassic Park

Failed Critics Podcast: Silence is Golden (Globes)

SILENCE

Bad episode titles, published at 3am, and two miserly gits moaning about the world? It can only be the return of Failed Critics Podcast in 2017!

Hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are on their Todd for the first podcast of the new year to talk about Scorsese’s latest drama, Silence, as well as supernatural hocus pocus shenanigans in The Invitation. The pair also end up chatting about the iconic Steven Spielberg after Steve’s first ever watch of The Color Purple – and perhaps more surprisingly, Owen’s first ever watch of Schindler’s List.

In the news, there’s a chat about Carrie Fisher’s passing, which leads to a discussion about the use of CGI to replace actors in movies. We also quickly skim through the winners and losers of the recent Golden Globes and the speeches that were worth paying attention to.

Join us again next week for reviews of La La Land and Manchester by the Sea.

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Best Films on TV: Christmas to New Year 2015

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Every 23rd December, for the past three years, we have released our pick of the films being shown on freeview TV over the Christmas schedule. Last year’s choices were made by Paul Field, but returning to this Failed Critics Christmas tradition is site editor Owen Hughes. It practically guarantees less Carry On movies and probably more big budget blockbusters…

A couple of years ago, we were regularly posting lists of films that we would recommend for the week ahead. Oh, how times have changed. It seems these days that with the rise of Netflix and other streaming services, we’re less bothered about waiting for films to be shown on TV and instead watching whatever we want, whenever we want. Which is great! Except that it’s reduced these articles to annual posts.

Nevertheless, I’ve had a look through the TV schedule to see what tat is being pushed on us this year and tried to sift out some of the dross (although Steve will be pleased to know that The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is being shown on Christmas day at 11am) and chosen five decent-to-good movies each day in the run up to 2016.

Christmas Eve –

Finishing work early tomorrow? Want something to just stick on when you walk through the door to get you in a Christmassy mood? Well, stick Channel 4 on at 2.15pm and get straight into the classic It’s A Wonderful Life. Alternatively, if you’re sick of that bloody film already, try out the Robert Zemeckis animated A Christmas Carol over on BBC One at 2.20pm (it’s the version that I talked about on our Winterval Podcast this week). If you prefer your Scrooge’s to be real rather than cartoony, then stay up wrapping last minute presents until half past midnight for the 1951 version on Channel 5 starring Alastair Sim as the miserly grump. For those of us who relate a bit too much to Ebenezer, and can’t be arsed with this Christmas nonsense – bah humbug – then watch Karl Urban as the Mega-City One Judge, jury and executioner in Dredd on Film4 at 11.25pm or switch over to BBC Two five minutes later for one of Hitchcock’s best with Dial M For Murder.

Christmas Day –

We’ve had two of the most well known adaptations of Dickens’ novel, so why not start the afternoon with Channel 4 and give the other two a watch on Christmas day itself? Starting at 1.45pm with The Muppet Christmas Carol, they swiftly follow it up at 3.45pm with Bill Murray doing his thing in Scrooged. Later that evening, BBC Three have a double bill of animated movies that are safe to watch with granny, the kids, your other half or on your todd with Toy Story at 7.30pm and How To Train Your Dragon straight after it at 8.45pm. For something not at all schmalzy, sentimental or saccharine, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until much, much later in the evening as the Coen Brothers change the mood entirely at 00.05am on ITV4 with the hilarious 90’s comedy The Big Lebowski. Or, like, that’s just my opinion that it’s hilarious, man…

JURASSIC PARK, 1993. ©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

Boxing Day –

It may be somewhat twee, and I’m aware Wes Anderson isn’t for everyone, but if there’s a better film on TV for you to crawl out of your hangover with after getting up extremely late than Fantastic Mr Fox on Channel 4 at 11.25am, then I couldn’t find it. You can time it right to fit in a quick turkey sarnie and a fresh cuppa between it finishing and Jurassic Park starting over on ITV at 1.20pm, reminding you just how good the original was after Jurassic World swept the box office clean earlier this year. Really though, you should be watching the football. I believe that’s what Boxing Day was invented for. Once Final Score has finished, switch over to the horror channel at 6.40pm for the intense Spielberg thriller, Duel. Film4 can round off a very late evening with two modern British classics in crime thriller Sexy Beast (11.25pm) and Scottish sci-fi – and one of our favourite movies of 2014 – Under The Skin (1.10am).

Sunday 27th –

That’s the Christmas movies well and truly out of the way now and it’s Studio Ghibli to the rescue as we kick off the day with one of their most celebrated works, the charming My Neighbour Totoro. Flick over to Channel 5 at 2.25pm to see one of the greatest movies ever made, John Ford’s most revered western, The Searchers, starring the Duke himself, John Wayne. Starting at 4.05pm on BBC One is a fantasy movie returning to where it all began with Oz: The Great and the Powerful, which is actually quite a nice, funny little family movie. You can choose how you’d like to round off the day with one of the following two. Personally, I’d go for one of my favourite discoveries of the year, Cronenberg’s body-horror Videodrome (the horror channel, 10.50pm) over Channel 4’s showing of The Inbetweeners 2 at 11.10pm, that both Steve and Callum tore to pieces.

Monday 28th –

You maniacs! You haven’t yet set your reminder! Ah, damn you! Goddamn you all to Hell! Well, at least until Monday morning at 10.15am when you switch on More4 and watch the original Planet of the Apes – AND THEN later that day you’ll be fully prepared for Film4’s 6.55pm screening of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. At 8.30pm on BBC Three is Kung Fu Panda 2 (read why that’s a good thing in Callum’s brilliant piece from his DreamWorks retrospective). For something a little more… grown up… Steven Soderbergh’s movie Behind The Candelabra (BBC Two, 9pm) features one of Michael Douglas’s best ever performances. Finally, if the forgettable Terminator Genisys hasn’t already disappeared entirely from your memory, then James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day will wipe the last remnants from your mind on Film4 at 1.15am.

Tuesday 29th –

Channel 4, 2.30pm, Coraline. Film4, 6.10pm, Master & Commander. ITV2, 9pm, The Shawshank Redemption. ITV, 10.25pm, American Pie. My pick of the lot: Channel 5, 10.45pm, Erin Brockovich. That’s your lot. We’re running out of quality films on TV as the year comes to a close and I’m running out of patience trying to make these films sound interesting. However, if you think Tuesday’s films read a lot like a list of movies you’re glad that you’ve seen once but probably have no intention of ever watching again, just wait until you see what’s lined up for Wednesday…

Wednesday 30th –hobbit

We’ve got a run that starts with ITV2 at 5.45pm and Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth (that I actually thought was quite enjoyable) with The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyFilm4 will help change the tone to something surprisingly fun with Denzel and Wahlberg teaming up for crime-comedy Two Guns at 9pm. Tune into the horror channel at 10.45pm for some Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse horror at Planet Terror. Furious 7 may have already been voted for in quite a number of people’s submissions to the Failed Critics Awards, but Channel 4 go back a couple of sequels to Fast Five at 11.05pm. Afterwards, prepare for Joy with Film4’s showing of The Fighter at 1.10am.

Thursday 31st –

And here we are! New Year’s Eve and what better way to see off 2015 than with, er, well, The Adventures of TinTin on BBC One at 10.55am. (That was a rhetorical question. Don’t answer that.) More adventures are afoot with a rare screening of The Rocketeer on Channel 4 at 1.10pm and – a Pixar film guaranteed to make you cry – Up, over on BBC One at 2.50pm. I will be at a New Years party by this time (oooh get me) but if you fancy a night in watching movies to bring in 2016, then BBC4 honour Bob Hoskins, who sadly passed away this year, with Made In Dagenham at 10.55pm. Film4 are going slightly more modern and again doing the whole David O. Russell / Jennifer Lawrence / Bradley Cooper / Robert De Niro thing and are showing Silver Linings Playbook at 11.10pm.

Failed Critics Podcast: Jurassic World & Christopher Lee

christopher leeHuh? Where’s the podcast gone…?

…oh, no…

…IT’S CAMOUFLAGED!

No, wait, here it is. And it looks like Steve Norman and Owen Hughes have spliced together some DNA and created a monster of their own in Mike Shawcross. You might think that’s an insult, but remember, ‘monster’ is relative. To a mouse, a cat is a monster. To Hammer Horror, Christopher Lee is a monster. To our audience, we are monsters.

Anyway, in this episode we review Colin Trevorrow’s new mega-blockbuster box office-record-breaking hit Jurassic World, including both a spoiler free review (as normal) and the return of “spoiler alert” at the end of the podcast after the credits.

Also in this episode: we pay tribute to the iconic Sir Christopher Lee, a true legend of cinema, who sadly passed away last week; as well as running through the original Jurassic Park films and the latest Channel 4 series Humans, Steve actually prepared a quiz this week; Mike explains the problems with The Matrix on blu-ray; and Owen raves about the documentary Paul recommended at the end of last week’s podcast, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.

Join us again next week as we review Entourage: The Movie (or whatever it’s called) and Mr Holmes.

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Jurassic World

Jurassic World is honestly kind of a bad film, but I love it anyway.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

jurassic worldThere’s this thing about irony: if you coat enough of your work in it, it can lead a critic to become genuinely confused as to where the intentional faults and flaws end and the unintentional ones begin.  It’s honestly a pretty brilliant tactic, cos how am I supposed to know what is an intentional mistake and what isn’t when almost the entire point of the movie is being drowned in irony and satire?  Especially when the film itself calls out in-universe its satirical and ironic aims and intentions.

Jurassic World is a film that swims in irony, perhaps too much for its own good, occasionally appearing to use that as a defence mechanism for the rest of the film.  Is the fact that almost every last dinosaur is a never-quite fully convincing CGI effect a comment on modern filmmaking’s detrimental obsession with CGI or just a detrimental obsession with CGI?  Is the film’s constant product-placement, that is even a minor plot point and a point of contention for one of the park’s staff members, a wink and nod to its blatancy in modern blockbusters, with its eventual destruction a cathartic blow to such a practice, or just blatant cost-subsidising product placement?  Is the fact that the film really isn’t at all scary an acknowledgement that we’re no longer frightened by things that have become institutions, and the failure of the I-Rex to change that being a comment that you can’t just manufacture scary things by throwing a bunch of scary ideas in a blender and printing the resulting concoction, or just a failure on the part of director Colin Trevorrow?

Again, it’s difficult to know where the intentional faults end and the genuine faults begin.  Is the fact that much of the movie is all about shaming emotionless Cylon Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard, not actually a Cylon) into understanding that these animals are animals, dammit, and not just numbers on a spreadsheet – as well as being shamed into realising that work should not be everything and that family, specifically visiting nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), are deserving of time and attention too a sly parody of such “women shouldn’t science or business” plots or just poor writing that ends up lapsing unintentionally into that area?  Speaking of, is her relationship with Owen (Chris Pratt) a purposefully ridiculous demonstration of how fast, frivolous, and ultimately pointless these sorts of obligatory romances in blockbusters are, filled with awkward implications and such, as a “take that” to their continued existence, or is it just all of that with none of the parodic undercurrent?

I could keep going on and on and on – applying this same uncertainty to things like the film’s barely one-note characters, its sledgehammer subtle digs at the military, its unresolved plot threads that are just blatant sequel-teasing, the fact that Owen is quite literally portrayed and characterised by the film as The Greatest Human Being Who Ever Lived and whose sneezes can probably cure cancer – but hopefully you get the point.  Since Jurassic World announces from practically the first frame that this is going to be a film with a meta-text about the state of filmmaking today running through it, it eventually reaches the point where one just has to question if it’s only doing so as a pre-cautionary defence in case everything went wrong; the equivalent of slipping on a banana peeling, falling, breaking six bones, and proclaiming, “Totally meant to do that!”  I’m glad that we have another blockbuster, the second in two months no less, that wants to say something instead of just being pretty lights and loud explosions, but the sheer extent of its commitment (?) to this theme and message for much of the film’s runtime arguably does it more harm than good.

See, by traditional metrics and what we usually define as ‘good filmmaking’, Jurassic World is a bad film.  Its characters are barely the definition of one-note, its dialogue is not corny enough to be corny, it’s not scary, the dinosaurs and the humans never give off the illusion that they share the same reality as one another barring one sequence that only serves to make that fact even more clear, there are some plot turns and developments that scream “last minute sequel-opening rewrite”, its desperate desire to be Aliens sometimes does it no favours (more on that in a sec), its extreme pacing means that there’s barely time for everyone to get their bearings before the I-Rex breaks free, and the Owen and Claire stuff – despite Chris Pratt being on a full-on “come on, come fall asleep on my abs” charm offensive – never works and never stops feeling token at best.

But, goddammit, do I love this friggin’ movie anyway.

Jurassic World is nonsense.  Jurassic World is absolute nonsense and, goddammit, do I love it for that, because it is massive amounts of pure fun!  That meta-text may sound like it drowns the film in humourless detachment, but it still bristles with pure glee at its various setpieces and ideas.  That sprinter’s pacing is like the film is just desperately trying to get to them out of palpable excitement: “No, folks, seriously, there’s a moment where the I-Rex fights an Ankylososaurus!  Hold on, I’m just gonna hit the fast-forward button so we can get there quicker!  I can’t wait to see the look on your faces, you are going to flip!”  In a way, it’s rather analogous to Zach’s character in the film, as the big brother who doesn’t seem like he wants to be here at all, but is not immune to the pleasures of seeing a Mosasaurus eat an entire shark in one bite.

This glee at being able to fling full-scale mayhem about the place does occasionally cross over into being rather mean-spirited – the Pteranodon setpiece is a load of fun but is tainted by one extended and really unnecessarily cruel death sequence – but mostly sticks on the right side of that line.  Mainly by being Aliens.  I’m not kidding, Jurassic World lifts so much from Aliens’ playbook that I’m expecting James Cameron’s lawyers to be sicced on Universal any second now.  Precocious children?  Check.  A mother figure who puts herself in harm’s way despite wishing not to in order to keep those children safe?  Check.  One capable partner whom she eventually bonds with despite prior reservations?  Check (minus the romance part in Aliens for we all know that no man can tie Ellen Ripley down).  That same endless breathless rush from one setpiece to the next once the release valve is turned?  Check, check, check!

Now, of course, these are all traits that are not specific to Aliens, but the similarities don’t stop there.  There’s even a Weyland-Yutani equivalent in the form of InGen, a corporation who have got their mitts all over Jurassic World, even the parts that no-one else knows about, and who have really just the worst and stupidest ideas.  Those raptors that Owen is trying to tame are being bred to become weapons of war, loyal and efficient comrades of soldiers in the field, whilst you gain absolutely no surprises for guessing that they’ve been involved in the creation of the I-Rex and that their refusal to be forward about what went into the thing is very bad for everybody involved.  They’ve got a representative, played by the great Vincent D’Onofrio, who is such a smug asshole that you can imagine he drives his car to work on a personal make-shift carpet of baby seals.  And there is even a setpiece in the film’s ridiculously fun final third that is so startlingly similar to the first Xeno ambush at Aliens’ halfway point that I’m still not sure that the projectionist didn’t just splice in some footage from that briefly.

This is sometimes to Jurassic World’s detriment, when it is being so blatant in its Aliens referencing that it distracts from the quality of the film itself, but it manages to get away with it by being Aliens in spirit, rather than in flesh.  These are two films that share similar makeups and similar traits, but still feel fundamentally individual.  This is still a Jurassic Park movie at its core, it’s got that same sense of wonder and the same sense of awe and spectacle, but it’s also a Jurassic Park movie that realises that trying to be just Jurassic Park again won’t work.  The core can still be the same, but everything else needs a change-up.  So why not take from the playbook of Aliens and go bigger, more action-packed, more crowd-pleasing, and fundamentally different, whilst not losing sight of the core of your series, instead of just doing the first film again?

Jurassic World is not a film that is going to win any awards for storytelling, or for character-work, or pacing, or thematic depth or anything of that sort.  Again, take it on traditional merits for what we consider ‘good filmmaking’ and it’s honestly a mess and kinda terrible.  But the film instead succeeds on something far more valuable to me: fun.  Wonder.  Pure entertainment.  I don’t hold Jurassic Park up to the same unassailable nostalgic standard as most do, although I do still really like that movie, and even I felt my heart stir and soar at our first introduction to the new park as John Williams’ classic theme overtook the soundtrack.  And when the film takes off the safety and goes all-out in the crazy, ridiculous nonsense, including an absolutely wonderful finale that aimed directly for my inner 5 year-old and did not miss?  Oh, it is right up there with Mad Max: Fury Road for the most amount of fun I’ve had at the cinema this year.

So, in a way, I guess Jurassic World really is like a theme park.  It’s emptier than it lets on, hides behind the “I meant to do that” defence for anything that goes wrong, and kinda falls apart if you think too much about it.  But if you just sit back, let go, and allow the pure fun of the whole thing to overtake you, then nothing else matters because HOLY YES THAT LAST SETPIECE YES OH MAN!  And, really, shouldn’t we all just let go and give into stupid fun nonsense a little more often?

Callum Petch was ready for the flight.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Failed Critics Podcast: Teaser, Trailer, Mockingjay, Spy

Notice: Apologies for the return of our audio issues this week. We’re currently investigating the issue and will update this page in due course.

jurassic worldA few days ago, in a galaxy quite close to where you are right now, three people got together to record this podcast!

This week, as you’ve probably guessed already, the team mull over the teaser / trailer / pre-trailer-teaser / clip things for Jurassic World and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and decide if they’re ‘clever girls’ or just stinky old nerf herders. Also on this episode, we have a review of the first part of the third part of the Hunger Games series with Mockingjay, Part 1; as well as brand new docu-drama about the life of the titular artist, Hockney.

Amongst all of this and the mayhem that is the dramatic conclusion to our ongoing quiz, there’s still time for Carole to review the gorgeous new Guardians of the Galaxy steelbook; Steve questions dodgy accents in Ocean’s Eleven; and Owen explains why he “quite liked” Life Is Beautiful.

Join us again next week for more news and reviews. Until then, may the force be–no sorry I can’t do it. Just.. come back next week. I’m sure you’ll find a way.

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Best films on TV – week commencing 15th April 2013

This week’s choices are from our editor, James Diamond.

24hourpartypeopleMonday 15th April – The Bourne Supremacy (ITV2, 10.30pm)

Try to forget the sheer boredom of last year’s The Bourne Narcolepsy by diving into one of the better sequels of recent times. Paul Greengrass’s first go at the helm of a Bourne film, and it’s a cracker of an action movie, with Matt Damon returning as the super soldier pushed to the edge when sinister forces won’t let him enjoy his retirement. Brilliant support from Brian Cox and Joan Allen ensure that  the film feels more heavyweight than the majority of its peers.

Tuesday 16th April – Stalag 17 (More4, 11.10am)

As is now pretty standard in these pieces, I’m going to suggest a film that I’ve got tucked away on my unnamed DVR box and still haven’t got around to watching. This week’s choice in that category is about as low-risk a recommendation as they come though, what with it being a Billy Wilder film that’s firmly entrenched in the IMDB Top 250. William Holden stars as a wheeler-dealer POW during WWII who suddenly finds himself in grave danger when his men suspect him of being an informer for the Germans. Also on today is Blue Valentine (Film4, 11.20pm), and all you need to know about that is that it stars Ryan Gosling.

Wednesday 17th April – Tropic Thunder (BBC3, 10pm)

One of the better examples of the type of high concept comedy that Hollywood seems to churn out by the shedload these days, usually starring some combination of Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, and Steve Carrell. What elevates Tropic Thunder is its happiness to poke fun at the very industry that made it, from Robert Downey Jr’s character’s extreme method acting, to Tom Cruise cameo as a vile Hollywood producer.

Thursday 18th April – 24 Hour Party People (Film4, 11.30pm)

The first of the Steve Coogan/Michael Winterbottom ‘ego’ collaborations (with their latest The Look of Love out this month), and probably their best. It charts the rise of ‘Madchester’, Factory Records, and the brilliant Tony Wilson (surely an inspiration for Alan Partridge). My local indie nightclub seem to have this playing on mute in a constant loop most Saturday nights, so I’ll be taking this rare opportunity to actually listen to the brilliant soundtrack. Word of warning though, DO NOT watch Knowing (Film4, 9pm) directly beforehand. I didn’t know it was possible for a Nic Cage film to be this bad.

Friday 19th April – The Shawshank Redemption (ITV2, 9pm)

Look, I know it’s obvious. I know it’s a clichéd choice, and I know that you’ve probably already seen it before. That doesn’t stop The Shawshank Redemption being the best film on TV today. Its number one rating on IMDB may be overstating its brilliance slightly, but away from the hype it is still a wonderfully written and directed film (adapted  from Stephen King’s novella by Frank Darabont, the man who brought The Walking Dead to our screens), driven by two utterly magnificent central performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Saturday 20th April – Parenthood (ITV, 10.45pm)

Now and again a film comes along with an ensemble cast that is so perfect, with everyone at the top of their game, that you just want to sit back and watch them work. Parenthood is one of those films, with brilliant performances from Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis, Dianne West, Tom Hulse, Keanu Reeves, and a young Joaquin Phoenix. A film with great humour, and a lot of heart.

Sunday 21st April – Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (ITV2, 12.10pm)

I know this is cheating a little, but I’m not going to turn down the chance to recommend a double-bill of Toy Story and Toy Story 2. My site, my rules. Toy Story is the film that made Pixar famous, and possibly even saved Disney. Even now the animation looks great, but it’s the smart script (including input from none other than Joss Whedon) and top-notch voice performances from the likes of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen that make this one of the finest family films ever made. Toy Story 2 doesn’t quite live up to the first film, but if you’re watching the first you’d need to have had your mind melded not to hang around for the sequel. Those in search of the perfect family film day can probably fit in a quick toilet break before Jurassic Park (ITV, 3.55pm) starts. Heaven.

For those who cast The Rock, we salute you!

The RockThis year, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is appearing in approximately 347 films. His screen time in this summer’s blockbusters is longer than the reign of Queen Victoria, and only Kevin Bacon (in those disappointingly bad EE adverts) will be seen by more pairs of eyeballs in darkened cinema screens across the land.

This is no happy accident though, rather it is the result of over a decade of hard work and bucketfuls of natural charisma that have led to the first true wrestling/Hollywood crossover action star. You have to admire the way that Johnson has put in a hard shift at the acting coalface, biding his time in an assortment of ropey children’s films like Tooth Fairy and Race to Witch Mountain, and honing his skills in small unconventional roles in films as diverse as Be Cool and Southland Tales.

Where he seems most at home though, is in the action genre. His film debut as the Scorpion King in 2001’s The Mummy Returns led to a woeful spin-off film, but even when left high and dry by a terrible script and lacklustre direction there is a genuine glint of stardust in the shit. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger before him, Johnson is a giant slab of muscle with a great sense of humour and a winning smile. Recent performances though, have suggested a greater depth of performance that could be the missing piece of the action star jigsaw that has been incomplete for so long.

Interestingly, Johnson has made a recent habit out of resurrecting franchises that should by rights have been long consigned to the great bargain bin in the sky. First with the Fast and Furious films, then the Journey series, and more recently with GI Joe: Retaliation. It’s not just franchises he is single-handedly resurrecting, and this summer he has achieved the near impossible by getting someone other than teenage boys excited about a Michael Bay film.

With that in mind, here are a few more moribund film series that I think Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson could infinitely improve:

Jurassic Park

The original was one of Stephen Spielberg’s best films, but the series went rapidly downhill after that. With Jurassic Park 4 in the pipeline, who better than The Rock to add a touch of kick-ass action to the mix. The only problem being the films’ inherent implausibility and complete lack of scientific grounding in fact. I mean, there’s obviously no way a T-Rex could withstand a People’s Elbow.

Aliens v Predator

It would take an infinite amount of monkeys an infinite amount of time to explain how two brilliant franchises combined to produce such a bad collection of spin-off films. It’s time for The Rock to resurrect this bafflingly bad, but so full of promise franchise. For the first time, Aliens and Predators must combine forces to defeat the most deadly force in the the universe…the Rock Bottom.

Paranormal Activity

The worst thing about these dreadful films is the hour and a bit of watching some unlikeable fuckwits wander around a house while nothing happens. How about we watch The Rock chilling out at home for 90 minutes, and then he punches a ghost in the face. Box office gold.

Tell us which films you’d love to see Dwayne Johnson ‘rock’ up in. Is there a single film that wouldn’t be improved by his presence?

Failed Critics Review – Dredd 3D

In this desolate future there are thousands of films, and the only thing seperating the criminally bad film from the public are the men and woman of the Hall of Film Justice. We are the judge, juries, and executioners of horrific cinema. We are the law!

On this week’s Failed Critics Review we give our verdict on Dredd 3D, and find out whether it is able to lay to rest the ghost of the atrocious Stallone effort. Also reviewed this week are The Inkeepers, Blade Runner (Final Cut), and Jurassic Park. Owen even manages to compare a Van Damme film to Goddard’s Breathless (really).

Join us later in the week for Triple Bill, where this week we choose our favourite film cops.

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‘Are Father and Uncle Max going to push the car all the way to Switzerland?’ Genuine question.

She’s clearly upset. Just don’t ask me to tell you why.

Ah, the eighties. Simpler times. Before political correctness ‘went mad’ and we could just tape films off the telly with no regard for their regulatory deemed suitability. Before our parents were told that letting us play video games would make us grow up and kill people. (Indeed, any ounce of patience or tolerance I may possess today is entirely down to a childhood spent attempting to complete the 17 levels of Alex Kidd in Miracle World WITHOUT A SAVE OPTION!)

Rather than be corrupted by evil cinematic images I wasn’t considered old enough to see, for the most part I was blissfully unaware of their existence and enjoyed the films regardless. Not unlike the first time I saw The Usual Suspects, where I lost the thread of what was going on quite early into the film (my teenage head crammed too full of Boyzone trivia to be much use to anyone), but continued watching nonetheless because I liked Pete Postlethwaite’s accent. The big twist at the end was still a wonder to behold, even though I was just seeing it on a very base level. ‘He’s not who he said he was!’ was revelation enough, with the implications of said discovery reserved for, and enjoyed on, subsequent viewings.

I asked Twitter, and they reminded me about a whole host of films I enjoyed as a kid, while the finer details soared unknowingly over my head.

The (some might say integral) presence of Nazis throughout The Sound of Music escaped me. I knew there was much tutting over some flags, and that the family had to run away from the ‘police’ at the end. But that was as far as I got. I was also sad that Rolfe blew his whistle (because, for whatever reason, that meant he’d dumped Liesl) and kind of intrigued that they planned to walk to a whole other country at the end. But I was confident Maria would make everything fun with all her singing.

 I remember watching the hooker fairy tale Pretty Woman at a slumber party back in primary school, where we must’ve had such a scant understanding of the storyline it became nothing more than a series of shots of a lady going shopping, interspersed with a massive bubble bath and the occasional horse. It was a few years later before I realised the colourful strip of plastic Julia Roberts pulled from her boot were condoms, and a couple more before I understood the particular appeal of that piano solo.

Presumably long before the availability of ESPN on UK tv, my dad decided to show us the Snipes/Harrelson mashup White Men Can’t Jump one weekend, because my little brother was really into basketball. This proved something of an error on his part, as he proceeded to fast forward through three quarters of the film at the first sniff of a sex scene, while instructing us not to tell our mum we’d watched it.

In 1950’s high school romp Grease, I knew Rizzo wasn’t pregnant when she jumped off the ferris wheel screaming ‘I’m not pregnant!’. But I was oblivious to the entire unprotected sex conversation that preceded it. (Not to mention the references to nose jobs, hookers, gang bangs and chicks creaming throughout.) Looking back, Kenickie says he’s had his ’25-cent insurance policy’ since the seventh grade. Since he is roughly 45 by the time they graduate, is it any wonder the condom perished?

Despite Dickie’s kindly face and patient explanation on the Jurassic Park tour, I didn’t get the science behind it one little bit. Moreover, I was perpetually confused by the fact that, despite the writers obviously possessing the know how to breed dinosaurs, they chose to make a film about it instead of, you know, building an actual theme park. Which I would’ve forced my parents to sell their house in order to take us to. (Naïve maybe, but I was smart enough to realise the mean lawyer guy was joking about having a coupon day.)

The list is pretty extensive. The talking sperm at the beginning of Looks Who’s Talking, the endless vibrator references in Parenthood, the unorthodox approach to ceramics making in Ghost. I didn’t realise that ginger orphan Annie’s parents were dead, but I also couldn’t comprehend why she refused an offer to go live with someone who could buy out an entire cinema on a whim. I had no clue what Suffragette Mrs Banks was up to in Mary Poppins, and concluded that she was just a bit weird. And although I used to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail weekly, battered copy of the screenplay in hand, it never failed to piss me off when the police car turned up at the end. Presumably because I wanted it to be real. I still do.

Which films did you adore as a kid, if not entirely understand?

(With thanks to: @mooglemeg, @rella_robinson, @araarabella, @SuperduperJoJo)