Quick Picks brings you short reviews of films available to rent, buy or stream now. This edition features Tammy and the T-Rex, A Glitch in the Matrix and Justice Society: World War II.
Tammy and the T-Rex (1994) Rent or Buy Now
I have a challenge for you, name five movies that are so bad that they are good? Are you done? Great, I have no doubt your list contains Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, Plan 9 From Outer Space and maybe even Jupiter Ascending. But does your list contain Tammy and the T-Rex? If it doesn’t, it really should. After all, how many movies contain a teenage brain transplant into a mechanical T-Rex, a host of squashed bullies and Paul Walker in a crop top. But, that’s just for starters, as British director Stewart Raffill unashamedly cashes in on the post-Jurassic Park fever of 1994. In turn, creating a horror-comedy that is as ridiculous as it is brilliant.
Whether or not Raffill’s movie is called Tammy and the T-Rex or Tanny and the Teenage T-Rex continues to cause debate. But, title aside, his 1994 B-Movie is nothing short of bizarre, deliciously dark and downright silly. While at the same time providing Paul Walker and Denise Richards with their breakout roles. Tammy and the T-Rex became a cult classic from the late 90s due to limited VHS availability. The films hurried re-edit, helping to morph the movie from an R-rated comedy-horror to a PG13 love story. However, the original version remained intact, and in 2019 the world finally got to see the movie Raffill intended, with all the delightful comic book gore restored.
Bonkers and brilliant, if you haven’t yet discovered Tammy and the T-Rex, you don’t know what you’re missing. Jurassic Park, it’s not, as a hormonal teenage T-Rex stomps all over the horror-comedy genre. But, take it from me, this slice of B-Movie heaven will earn a place in your heart if not your head. And despite its kooky screenplay and dodgy effects, it’s laced with great dark humour and performances that understand the tongue in cheek nature of the action on screen. So grab the popcorn and settle in for a roaring good time.
A Glitch in the Matrix (2021) Dogwoof On-Demand
Documentary filmmaker Rodney Ascher is no stranger to rabbit hole explorations of an idea, theme or belief. In recent years he has taken us into Kubrick’s Room 237 and the horror of sleep paralysis in The Nightmare. But, with his new documentary, Ascher delves even deeper, tackling themes of science, fiction and theology as he asks whether we are all living in a grand computer simulation.
Opening with Philip K. Dick’s 1977 lecture on the possibility that we live in a computer-programmed reality, Ascher’s documentary explores the simulation theory Dick’s talk created. While at the same time asking far-reaching questions on philosophy, mental health, art and fiction. His camera providing space to the believers of simulation theory while neither agreeing or disagreeing with the ideas presented. The result is an unsettling, fascinating and thought-provoking exploration of humanity versus technology. Here, the interface between reality, fiction and wish fulfilment becomes hazy as we are guided through a maze of virtual reality images, avatars and individual obsession.
Many will struggle with Ascher’s apolitical stance on the themes presented. But, A Glitch in the Matrix remains a gripping documentary that strives to challenge and succeeds. Its final message and worth, left in the hands of those who dare to journey down the rabbit hole of the interface between simulation theory and human belonging.
Justice Society: World War II (2021) Buy Now
Warner’s animated DC adventures have long held a place in my heart. And while a few have struggled, the majority have been excellent. Much of this success has come from a love of the comic book source material in both vision and direction. However, outstanding voice performances throughout the years have also ensured enduring appeal. Their new feature-length animated adventure is no exception, with Justice Society: World War II both intricate, engaging and action-packed. Here, Barry Allen (The Flash) is accidentally transported into the multiverse for the first time. Dazed and confused, Barry finds himself in a world where the newly formed Justice Society are fighting Hitler’s Nazi’s as part of the allied war effort; Wonder Woman leading the charge alongside Hawkman, Black Canary and Jay Garrick’s Flash.
If there is one criticism of the story that ensues, it’s how busy it is in a limited 90 minutes. However, this is a minor flaw, at no time distracting from the sheer energy brought to the screen. And it is within this energy, pace and action that Jeremy Adams and Meghan Fitzmartin’s delightful screenplay finds a voice; each character allowed space to develop amid the flying bullets and intrigue. And for those new to the Golden Age comics from which Justice Society is born, Barry Allen provides a great hopping on point.
Justice Society: World War II is aimed at a far younger teenage audience than many of its predecessors. So for adult fans who like their Warner animated movies, dark and broody, the upcoming Batman: The Long Halloween may be more your thing. However, that does not mean Justice Society is void of complex themes and ideas. And a few of these might surprise you in their depth.