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136. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation – Independence Day 2019 (-#45)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Jess Dunne and Luke Dunne, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Kim Henkel’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

Prom should be the best night of Jenny’s life. However, an unexpected detour winds up taking Jenny and three of her friends on an unexpected detour down the back roads of rural Texas. While exploring, the teens stumble upon a horror nestled snugly at the heart of the Lone Star State.

At time of recording, it was ranked 45th on the Internet Movie Database‘s list of the worst movies of all-time.

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Torchwood: Miracle Day – The New World (Review)

In a way, Torchwood: Miracle Day is a miracle itself. It’s a sign of just how far Russell T. Davies has brought Doctor Who, to the point where one of the franchise’s spin-offs could be an international co-production between America and the United Kingdom. Sure, Starz is hardly the best and brightest of American networks, but it’s no small accomplishment on the part of Davies.

America has been something of a promised land for the franchise since the eighties, when John Nathan Turner would spend considerable time and money visiting American fan conventions or casting multinational companions or even arranging international co-financing or to air The Five Doctors first in international territories. None of those examples really took, and most of America only really knew the franchise through PBS airings of the Tom Baker era.

Jack's back...

Jack’s back…

Davies did a lot of work to bring Doctor Who to America. That work really came to fruition during the Steven Moffat era, with a massive opening two-parter set in 1970’s America and the use of Utah as a crucial location. Massive visits to Comic Con became an annual ritual for the show, its producers and performers. The Day of the Doctor will be broadcast live around the world at the same time, no small accomplishment.

While it’s undoubtedly on a much smaller scale, it is nice that Miracle Day affords Davies a chance to be part of this expansion – spearheading his own project that directly intersects with American television. Starz is hardly Fox, the network that Davies originally pitched to, but it is a significant achievement, and a lot of Miracle Day is best understood as an opportunity for the franchise “to go American.”

Defying classification...

Defying classification…

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Hannibal – Amuse-Bouche (Review)

Second episodes can be tough. Pilots tend to establish the core themes and characters of a show, offering a very clear blueprint going forward and perhaps hinting at the direction that you want to take things. They are grand mission statements, couched in broad terms and delivered with a sense of novelty. Second episodes are a bit less exciting. They are about putting that plan into action, defining the edges a bit, expanding outwards where necessary and refining as needed. It’s with the second episode that you really get a sense of what a show is going to be like in a more practical week-to-week sense.

By that measure, Amuse-Bouche works quite well at giving us a sense of putting the show’s feet on the ground and helping prepare us for what lies ahead for the rest of the season.

It's growing on me...

It’s growing on me…

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Non-Review Review: Bernie

Bernie is a gem. Reteaming director Richard Linklater and Jack Black, two talents re-energised by their last collaboration in School of Rock, Bernie is a black comedy based on a true story about a Texas mortician named Bernie Tiede. It’s a beautiful and darkly funny little film, one Linklater shoots in a mockumentary style just to add a touch of  the surreal. It’s a fake documentary (complete with staged reconstructions) of a real event, one of those bizarre slices of Americana. It’s never to harsh on its subject, but it also never pulls any of its punches, feeling very much like one of those stories that is so ridiculous that it must be true.

Mortifying...

Mortifying…

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Non-Review Review: Into The Abyss

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

Capital punishment is always a thorny issue to tackle, if only because of the delicate relationship between the victim and perpetrator of the original crime. It’s easy to seem sly or manipulative while painting the convicted murder as some victim of society or social injustice, while ignoring the impact of their actions on the family and friends of those they killed. Werner Herzog is always a deeply fascinating director, whether of narrative films or documentaries.

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Non-Review Review: W.

Oliver Stone famously rushed just about every aspect of this production in order to get it into cinemas before last year’s November election. Does that affect the movie? It does and it doesn’t. It doesn’t in that Stone seems to have a clear image of the President in his head and it’s perfectly captured on screen. It does affect the movie in that Stone has to choose an arbitrary cutoff point for his movie, since he can’t end it with the end of Bush’s presidency. So he chooses the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004 to serve as the film’s ending. That point arguably suits the central thesis of Stone’s psychological profile of the man, butit also serves to make that thesis seem heavy-handed or forced. The other side of that coin is that I doubt the Stone would have been able to market and sell the film for a few years after the end of the Bush administration, and the fact that so vintage a diretcor as Stone can still make such a raw and energetic film is a testament to his abilities (that some of us may have doubted after World Trade Centre and Alexander).

bush

Misunderestimate at your peril...

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