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March 2013 Sci-fi Challenge
60 replies to this topic
Posted March 03 2013 - 03:45 PM
I love all the Star Trek movies. Maybe some slightly less than others but still they are all entertaining. Terminator (1984) (dvd) :star::star::star::star::half: Still waiting for a remastered version to come out on blu ray. Probably my favourite of the series followed closely by Judgement Day. This is such an iconic role for Arnie that it's difficult seeing anyone else in the role. This little low budget film certainly helped launch James Cameron's brilliant career. At almost 30 years old, the movie still manages to keep me riveted to my seat. War of the Worlds (1953) (dvd) :star::star::star::star::half: I've seen this movie dozens of times over the years and it still doesn't fail to captivate me. Based on the HG Wells novel this is a very good adaptation, a cautionary tale especially during the time it was made. While I was watching it I couldn't help but wonder how awesome it would be if they could have gotten Orson Wells to do the voiceover work. I imagine though after his ill-fated broadcast in 1938, he would want to steer very far away from such a project. The cast is good and it's certainly a relief not to have any spoiled superstars, or screaming kids in the cast. Though I enjoyed Spielberg's movie, for me this film was miles ahead.
Posted March 04 2013 - 11:30 AM
Star Trek Nemesis was such a horrid movie. I've only seen it once, when it first came out, but I remember it being pretty bad. I watched two more classic Doctor Who episodes. Ark in Space part 2 Ark in Space part 3 It's so funny what they used at that time for makeup, special effects and costumes. To show a guy with a alien bacteria arm, they wrapped his arm in green bubble wrap. When he clings his arm, you can hear a little bit of the bubble wrap pop. Timelock (1996) Watched on Netflix First time viewing Bond girl Maryam d'Abo joins her partner to fly a bunch of criminals to an area in space that has been classified as a prision. Most are imprisoned in an electronic cell. Others, the criminally insane are left in a hanging cryo mode. Along with the new prisoners is Arye Gross code named A-1 (like the steak sauce) He has been mistakenly been taken to the frozen prison. While transporting the new prisoners, there is a prison break to release the frozen prisoner McMasters, played by Jeff Speakman. This movie is pure space garbage. It's plagued with bad dialogue and one-liners. Many scenes trying to establish areas of the planet are replaced by obvious models. They also over use a special fire effect to establish time warping, explosions and fires. The worst, and I do mean the worst (even worse than Space Mutiny's dead girl coming back alive) is the end where
Posted March 04 2013 - 05:02 PM
Iron Sky (2012) (TMC-hd) :star::star::star::half: I think this satire is either one you're going to love or hate. I wouldn't say I love it but it was amusing enough to get a pass from me. Bonus points also for being fairly original, or at least I haven't seen anything like this before. It's 2018 and two astronauts land on the moon only to discover the Nazis escaping from Earth in 1945, have built a moon base and plan to invade and conquer the earth. Sounds goofy and it is. This movie makes fun of everyone from a Sarah Palin type President to the UN and of course the Nazis themselves. Don't miss the ending and watch the earth as the credits are rolling. Comes recommended with reservations. Time Machine (2002) (KTLA) :star::star: I know this is a minor annoyance but Guy Pierce, Mark Addy, Phyllida Law, Sienna Guillory and Jeremy Irons who all had substantial roles were born in Britain so why did they have to change the location from London to New York? I know that shouldn't bother me like other parts of the movie but it's the details man. The whole plot with the moon breaking up was just ridiculous. Some of the choices made when writing this script was just oh so wrong. What happened to Weena. I enjoyed her as a character in the 1960 version. The worse offense was the hologram. I mean, really! I did find some of the set designs good and a lot of the acting was very good but the movie itself uh no. I probably was too generous giving this one two stars, but its certainly not at the level of some of the crap I've watched. TV 05 Firefly: Safe (bluray) 06 Firefly: Our Mrs. Reynolds 07 Firefly: Jaynestown 08 Firefly: Out of Gas 09 Firefly: Ariel The best show that was cancelled even before it got started ever. I loved the whole scenario of this series. The characters were well thought out and acted. Just sad that this great little show got cancelled early. At least we got a movie, Serenity that managed to wrap up things nicely.
Posted March 04 2013 - 11:02 PM
Netflix has Iron Sky for streaming. I'm going to add this to my queue. I'll also be starting Firefly again this week. Apollo 18 is going to be on Showtime this Thursday. Going to check that one out. Epix will also be showing "Star Kid" which I hear is beyond horrible. I have to check this out.
Posted March 05 2013 - 05:53 AM
WALL-E A great pixar offering that is treat on Blu-Ray. No dialog for big stretches of the film has me wondering if this would have been a good film to take kids to see, or if they would just bored out of their minds. I love the movie and think it is near the top of the Pixar list. RED DWARF I just finished season 2 on Netflix(Parallel Universe) and thought overall it was great. I really do think it is one of the best british Sci-Fi shows ever....even if it is a comedy. Plan on starting season 3 tonight.
NOSFERATU on Blu-Ray. Hopefully, someday.
Posted March 05 2013 - 12:50 PM
Doctor Who (classic) Ark in Space part 4 Finished out this four part episode. Enjoyed it and looking forward to watching more episodes. Cowboys & Aliens First time viewing. This is one of those movies I don't hate or love. I liked it for the first our and them became slightly bored of the story. I like the look and design of the aliens. Anyone else like or hated it?
Posted March 05 2013 - 03:03 PM
I'm going to have to start watching Doctor Who. I had finished Torchwood in Nov. and enjoyed it so I'll probably like the Doc. 12 Invasion (2007) (peachtree) :star::star::half: I have mixed feelings about this one. Certainly at the bottom of my list as far as body snatcher movies go. It was exciting and fast paced in spots. I liked the actors that were chosen for this movie but they didn't always deliver. I suppose they were trying to go for something different and not a straight out re-make. The plot itself was weak and the dialogue suffered from mediocrity. Too bad because I did have high hopes. 13 Phantom Planet (1961) (dvd) :star::star::half: An astronaut is captured by miniature people on an asteroid that his ship is drawn to and lands on. Once on this planet he himself is shrunk down in size and told that he can never leave. This movie was a lot less sophisticated than a movie that was made even a decade earlier but it was still a lot of goofy fun and recommended.
Posted March 05 2013 - 05:28 PM
Critters (1986) :star::star::star: Fun sci-fi spoof about a Kansas family who finds themselves under attack from small fur balls that can shoot out poisonous darts and have an appetite for flesh. CRITTERS was New Line's reply to GREMLINS and for my money it's the better movie. There's no question that this film was made for a rather small budget but I think it's a perfect example of how the genre can be done right without having to spend a lot of cash on special effects. The film offers up some fun homages to other films, some great characters to root for and we're also given some terrific villains who you just love to hate. I think the creatures themselves are certainly the highlight of the picture. Their design really was a work of genius in the way that they can roll to wherever they're going and the darts are just an added goodie. I really loved the way that they looked and there's no question that those teeth are priceless. While the things aren't ever scary I really don't think they need to be because this picture really isn't about being scared but it's about just having fun. It also doesn't hurt that we're given a great family to cheer for along the way. Dee Wallace Stone play the mom, Billy Green Bush the dad, Scott Grimes the son, Nadine Van Der Velde the daughter and M. Emmet Walsh plays the local Sheriff. We also have Billy Zane in a small role as a boyfriend. The performances are also extremely good here including the always reliable Dee Wallace Stone. Grimes makes for a good guy to cheer for as well. The film really doesn't contain any major violence, which wasn't the norm for the horror and sci-fi genre from this period but the creativity here really makes up for that. Director Stephen Herek really does a nice job mixing everything up and he keeps the film moving at a terrific pace. The film has plenty of laughs but best of all is that you can just sit back and have a good time with it. Critters 2 (1988) :star::star: Rather bland sequel finds Brad (Scott Grimes) returning to his hometown where a bunch of creature eggs have just hatched and soon the fur balls are attacking more people. Bounty hunter Ug (Terrence Mann) and his group show back up to try and stop them but this time they have help from the small town. CRITTERS 2 isn't really a bad movie but it's yet another sequel that was quickly made to cash-in on the success of the original film. As is the case with most of these films, there really wasn't too much thought put into the picture and it's basically just a remake of the first one, which is a real shame. Pretty much everything that made the first film so good is missing here including the characters that you like, the imagination and especially the fun. It's really disappointing that so many people from the original didn't make it back but this here happens most of the time. Sadly none of the new characters are all that interesting and even the Brad character doesn't have the same charm. Ug and his pal do what they can but even these two just don't have the same magic. I will say that it's pretty funny to see how much female nudity managed to get into this film and its PG-13 rating. The screenplay doesn't really offer the viewer anything they didn't see the first time around and a lot of the humor just falls flat. Just take a look at the sequence with the Easter Bunny and you'll see a perfect example of laughs not working. The one saving grace are the little creatures, which are as fun as always. I thought their design was quite good and I especially liked the baby ones that first start to hatch. Another good thing is that they're actually meaner than in the first picture but it's too bad they don't have anyone great to go up against. Escape from L.A. (1996) :star::star::half: John Carpenter and Kurt Russell bring Snake Plissken back for this sequel to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. This film takes place in 2013 as Los Angeles is the new prison for the worst people in America. The government asks Plissken to go into L.A. and get a device that controls a major weapon that could destroy the world. ESCAPE FROM L.A. was a major bomb when it was originally released and this here was the first time I've watched it since opening night. I think the film has improved somewhat but it's still a major disappointment considering how terrific the original movie is. The most shocking thing is that writers Carpenter, Russell and Debra Hill didn't bother coming up with a better story. This here is pretty much just a remake of the original movie and it's a shame there weren't any newer, more original things going on here. One major problem with the screenplay is that it appears the three writers were just coming up with "fun" scenes and this entire film just has good scenes that never really fit together or add up to anything interesting. You have Peter Fonda playing a hippie surfer. There's Pam Grier as a fighter who used to be a man. Steve Buscemi plays a talent agent. Bruce Campbell plays a surgeon who likes to cut out eyeballs. Cliff Robertson plays the President and Stacy Keach is his main soldier. All of these people are fun actors but their roles here really aren't all that fun. We get an over-the-top surfing scene that just never works and there's quite a bit of CGI that looks really bad today. So, what keeps the film from really falling apart? I'd say it's Russell who manages to be good in the film even though he's not given as much to do here. I think the one-liners aren't as sharp and the screenplay really lets the character down. Still, Russell has no problem fitting back into the role, which he has called the favorite of his career. The rest of the cast are fun to watch even if they're not given much to do. Carpenter adds in some good looking visuals but sadly in the end it really doesn't add up to much. One really wishes that a third film would have come along to try and fix the mistakes of this one but as it stands this here isn't horrible but it's certainly a disappointment. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) :star::star: The first film in a very long running series has a strange entity in space being spotted so the Starship Enterprise, led by Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) heads off to find out what it is. I guess I should admit right up front that I've never seen a single episode of the television show. With that said, I'm not sure how close this film was to it but this thing is deadly boring, which is a real shame because there are some good performances and there's no question that they got the look of the film right. Director Robert Wise uses the opening minutes to make the viewer feel as if they really are in space and I think he does a very good job at making you really feel the location that you're in. A lot of science fiction movies never really put you into space as you always feel like you're watching a special effect but that's not the case here. For about the first forty-five minutes or so I was really caught up in what was going on but it finally struck me that there really wasn't too much happening. For the life of me I couldn't understand why such a weak story was used here and even more shocking is that the filmmakers were able to drag it out to a whopping 131-minutes, which was simply way too long. There's simply not a story here strong enough to carry such a running time and especially when you consider that you could have cut out thirty-minutes worth of dialogue and not lost anything. It just seemed like this journey to the entity was taking forever and it didn't help that the majority of the running time had nothing but people talking to one another. Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are certainly very good in their roles and they help keep things moving. The supporting players for the most part are good as well. The real highlight of the picture were the wonderful sets, which just jump off the screen. I also thought the music score was effective as were the costumes and cinematography. Sadly there's just not enough here to keep it entertaining throughout its running time.
Posted March 05 2013 - 06:12 PM
PatW, what are you going to start with? Classic Doctor Who? or New Doctor Who? Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video both have classic Doctor Who episodes.
Posted March 06 2013 - 01:42 AM
I haven't decided yet. I watched a few minutes of Classic Who quite a while ago and turned it off thinking it wasn't my cup of tea. After watching Torchwood and really loving it, I think I would be a lot more tolerate. I don't think I gave it a fair chance so I want to watch again. It's probably best if I start with the New Doctor Who.
Posted March 06 2013 - 01:48 AM
I enjoyed this quite well the first time I watched. It was a blind buy for me so I'll try and watch it again to see if I still like it. It certainly was unusual, being set in a western time period. Next up is Skyline. Started watching last night but fell asleep. Will have to rewatch it again this morning.
Cowboys & Aliens First time viewing. This is one of those movies I don't hate or love. I liked it for the first our and them became slightly bored of the story. I like the look and design of the aliens. Anyone else like or hated it?
Posted March 06 2013 - 10:41 AM
Godzilla (1954) 1/2
The original Japanese version of the iconic Godzilla is serious business. It's very clear the the movie was made to deal in some way with the atomic blasts Japan suffered during WWII. Here atomic testing frees a long-dormant prehistoric monster that then attacks and destroys anything in its path. Yes, some of the effects are incredibly obvious but this more than offset by the film's intensity and seriousness of purpose. There are genuinely frightening moments along the way. Once you see the original you'll never want to watch the Americanized version with Raymond Burr again (except perhaps for nostalgic reasons).
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
A doctor returns from a brief vacation only to find some of his patients claiming friends and loved ones are not really their friends and loved ones. This classic exercise in terror and paranoia apparently upset those who saw the first cut - which had no voice over and ended with Kevin McCarthy screaming in the streets - so much they made director Don Siegel shoot bookend scenes which gave the film a more hopeful ending. In spite of several remakes this one remains the best version.
The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) 1/2
A rocket ship crashes upon its return to earth, killing all but one of the astronauts on board. But when the survivor starts showing signs of metamorphosis, it's clear something happened to him during his journey. Director Val Guest's documentary-like approach and Brian Donlevy's intense turn as Dr. Quatermass, the man behind the space launch, give this story its power.
The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)
Universal produced only one classic monster during the 1950s - the Gill-man. While this viewer isn't the biggest Creature fan the movie does have plenty of atmosphere. After a scientist discovers a prehistoric fossilized "hand", he leads a group through Amazonian waters hoping to find more evidence of the ancient creature. They get more than they bargained for. The bickering between Richard Carlson and Richard Denning's characters gets old very quickly and some of the Creature's actions call attention to the fact the film was shot in 3D. But the creature is impressive and once he gets serious about wanting Julie Adams to stick around his lagoon, the movie barrels full steam ahead.
Luckily George Orwell was wrong about what British society would be like in 1984: your every move is watched, a committee decides whom you can marry, there is no such thing as free speech, ignorance is strength, etc. Edmond O'Brien, an office worker who rewrites history, dares to love freely and chant "Down with Big Brother!" while the UK is at war with Eurasia. Pretty disturbing stuff with a downbeat ending. One of the bleakest 1950s' Sci-Fi offerings.
"...you would not understand...You do not...have...daughters."
Posted March 06 2013 - 01:49 PM
Doctor Who (classic) Season 14 Robots of Death part 1 Not really liking the new companion Lela. She may be Easton the eyes, but she's kind of boring. I like how the Tardis appeared in the sandminer and that's where they are stuck for the time being. Thirteenth Floor (1999) Re-watch I think this was an underrated Sci-fi film. Has elements of Matrix and Inception. It's too bad when it came out during the whole Phantom Menace Box office craze, that it bombed and nobody knew the movie came out. I'm thinking about getting the audiobook it's based on "Simulacron 3" I also like the end credit song, "Erase/Rewind"
Posted March 07 2013 - 09:40 AM
Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988) :star::star: With a title like this I really hope no one is coming to it expecting the work of Kubrick. In what's 80s Queen Heaven, Linnea Quigley, Robin Stille, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer make up the cast and we have "B" movie maverick David DeCoteau in the director's chair. The story is pretty simple as three dorks get caught watching a sorority girl take a shower so they're forced to go to a bowling alley with two of the girls and steal a trophy. It turns out that the trophy they take has an Imp inside and he grants them some wishes before turning deadly. The greatest thing about SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA is the title. There's no question that a title like this certainly jumped off the VHS shelves back in the day and when viewed today you can't help but think this is a perfect slice of 80s cheese. Back in the day it really wasn't important to make a "good" movie as long as you made something that could stir up some talk to make it a hit on video. The title of this thing obviously got people talking but I think the film works even better today thanks in large part to it featuring four of the biggest "B" stars from this era. It's actually a lot of fun seeing the ladies and especially when you get them in one movie. The always fun Quigley stars as a punk who's actually in the bowling alley just to steal some money but then gets caught up with one of the nerds. You also have Bauer who was kind enough to take off her clothes and Stevens also manages to strip down for a shower sequence. Stille's role isn't quite as good but it's still nice seeing her. There's really not as much T&A as you'd expect from a movie like this and there's really not any major violence and there's certainly no slime. I'm really not sure why the film didn't try to do more so those expecting some sort of sleaze will probably be disappointed. There's no question that this here isn't a "good" movie by your typical definition but at the same time fans of the 80s should enjoy seeing the four stars together. End of the World (2013) :star::half: SyFy film has a couple video store clerks (and one of their wives) having to put their knowledge of disaster movies to the ultimate test when the end of the world approaches. When some sort of mysterious explosions start dropping from the skies, the three head off to find an expert (Brad Dourif) who is locked up in a mental hospital. I'll give END OF THE WORLD credit for at least trying to do something different but unfortunately it really doesn't add up to much. The biggest problem with this movie is the low-budget, which just doesn't really allow it to be taken that serious. I think with a higher budget and a re-write of the screenplay then we might have had something much better. As is, the film has some interesting moments and a couple good performances but that's it. One good thing is the constant references to other science fiction movies, which was somewhat fun for film buffs. I also enjoyed the performances for the most part. Caroline Cave is good in the role of the wife and we also get nice work from Greg Grunberg and Neil Grayston. I also enjoyed seeing Dourif who goes wildly over-the-top but in a fun way. The special effects are pretty much what you'd expect from a low-budget film like this but they were still much better than what you typical see on SyFy. Back to the problems, the screenplay just isn't strong enough to make us believe the situation these characters are in. Not once did I buy into the "end of the world" and there's really not any drama or suspense anywhere. I know this is mostly a comedy about these two video store clerks but we needed something else. Rabid (1977) :star::star::half: After a motorcycle crash, a young woman (Marilyn Chambers) is given a certain plastic surgery, which has a major side effect when she wakes up as it turns her into a rabid creature wanting human blood. Whoever she bites also gets infected and soon the plague is sweeping across the nation. David Cronenberg's rather bleak horror tale is a pretty good film, although it does suffer from a few flaws that keeps it from being much better. A lot of the attention goes to Chambers who was attempting to make a mainstream crossover after appearing in the hardcore porn film BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR. I really thought she did a pretty good job with what was asked from her as the director perfectly used her to benefit the story. Her sexuality was the best thing in the picture and I especially liked the way Cronenberg used it to help spread this virus. After all, a majority of the victims were those attracted to her and it's almost like there was a STD fear lurking behind the main story. I do wonder if this "virus" in the film has a bit more of a meaning to the director. Either way, RABID manages to be quite graphic at times in regards to the violence. There's quite a bit of puss flowing from people's mouths and there's certainly a lot of blood throughout. Cronenberg doesn't back off of the violence but I think what's even better is the rather bleak and dark atmosphere that he manages to create. The entire film is very dark in tone and I thought the director perfectly handled this as well as some more dramatic moments (like the motorcycle crash). Chambers is good in her role but we also get nice performances by Howard Ryshpan, Joe Silver and Frank Moore. The one major flaw in the film is that it has a very slow pacing that really drags out the running time. I think a little quicker pace certainly would have helped things but the film is still worth watching. Critters 3 (1991) :star::star: The third film in the series is certainly a major step up from the previous one plus you've got Leonardo DiCaprio in his first screen role. The film's story is pretty simple as an apartment building comes under attack by the hairy aliens and it's up to Annie (Aimee Brooks) and Josh (DiCaprio) to try and save the day. CRITTERS 3 went direct-to-video back in the day and it's often considered a very bad movie but I've always thought it was somewhat fun in a "B" movie way. It certainly shouldn't be taken serious but then again no one making it took the subject matter very serious either. I thought for the most part we're given a pretty fun "B" movie that offers up some likable characters, good performances and of course we've got the actual critters back in action. The critters here have basically the same design with the only difference being that these here are a bit fatter and there's also a lot more hair on them. The screenplay actually gives them quite a bit more screen time, which certainly wasn't a bad thing and there's also a lot of humor added in. One sequence has one of the critters eating some soap and then chowing down on some beans so you can use your imagination as to what happens next. The screenplay certainly doesn't offer anything new or original but at least we're given some likable characters to root for. The main focus is on the Annie character who is having issues with her father. I thought Brooks was pretty good in her role and managed to at least help keep the film entertaining. We also get some good performances from John Calvin and Don Opper who returns as Charlie. Plus, it's always fun seeing a now-major star in one of their first roles. I watched this movie back when it was first released and you could just tell that there was something special about DiCaprio even in a film like this. CRITTERS 3 certainly isn't going to be for everyone but if you enjoy the series or just cheap movies then it offers up enough entertainment. Battlefield Earth (2000) BOMB I hate bandwagons but I must admit that I'm jumping on one here. Incredibly bad movie set in the future where humans are pretty much an endangered species. They've been murdered off by the evil Psychlos but one human (Barry Pepper) decides to venture out of his safe zone and he's kidnapped by Terl (John Travolta), which sets a new chain of events into motion. BATTLEFIELD EARTH is every bit as bad as you've heard and in many ways it's actually much worse than its reputation. One really has to wonder what on Earth anyone involved in this thing was thinking. The original novel by L. Ron Hubbard is a piece of work I've never read so I can't say whether or not it's bad and they just made a bad movie out of it or perhaps it's good and this movie just messed it up. The biggest problem with this film (and there are many) is the fact that there's no a single second of screen time where you actually care or are interested in what's going on. The entire movie just seems so pointless as you never care for any of the characters, you don't care what happens as the plot moves along and you certainly don't care about anything happening. It's really shocking that a movie from Hollywood could be made without you at least feeling for one single character. Even worse is the dialogue, which is just so bad that most people will be wondering if perhaps the entire film was some sort of bad joke. The performances aren't any better, although out of everyone Pepper comes off the best. Forrest Whitaker isn't horrid but it's rather embarrassing seeing someone with his talent here. The real horrid performance comes from Travolta. Geez, what can be said about him? The performance and character are among the worst you're going to see in the genre and I guess the less said the better. The entire film has a very ugly look to it. The visuals are bad, the cinematography poor and even the music score makes you want to blow your ear drums out. BATTLEFIELD EARTH is a complete waste of time and the 117-minute running time just drags by. However, if it wasn't for all the slow motion this thing might have clocked in at under 90-minutes. Inseminoid (1981) :star::star: Interesting if not completely successful British clone of ALIEN has a group of scientist on another planet studying the place when one of their parties is sexually attacked by an unknown creature. Shortly afterwards the woman turns into a raving maniac trying to kill off the crew so that she can give birth to what's growing inside of her. According to legend, director Norman J. Warren had a screenplay pumped out in four days and the entire film was shot in four weeks. With that in mind I give the film credit for looking as good as it does but there's still no question that there are some flaws here. The biggest flaw is also a spot where I'd actually tip my hat to the filmmakers. You'd think with an ALIEN clone we'd just have a monster running around killing the crew the entire running time but this actually isn't the case. Instead of that the filmmakers tried to mix things up by having the female herself doing the killing and I thought it was an interesting attempt at doing something different than your monster-on-the-loose thing. Sadly, the little experiment didn't work because it's the female killer that really drags the film down. Earlier in the picture we get a glimpse of one of the aliens and it has a pretty good look to it and it almost seems like it influenced the end look of the monster in THE FLY remake. There's also a sequence with the alien babies, which look extremely good and once again more time with these fellas would have been nice. The film also suffers from some pretty weak performances at time and the music score itself is pretty weak. With that said, there's still quite a bit to enjoy here including the direction by Warren. I thought he actually did a nice job considering what he had to work with and this is especially true during the first half of the movie. Another major plus were the special effects, which at times were quite gory for a British film from this period. Still the film never fully reaches the level I'm sure it wanted to. Many consider this one of the worst sci-fi pictures of the era but I wouldn't go that far. Dark Universe (1991) :star: Silly direct-to-video release about a space shuttle on its way back to Earth but it runs into an issue and crashes in the Everglades. The one astronaut on board turns into a murderous monster and it's just in time for a reporter, a swamp guide and others to come wondering out there. DARK UNIVERSE is a really, really bad movie but thankfully there are some pretty campy moments that make it worth watching for those who enjoy sitting through awful movies. If you're looking for any type of story, acting, directing or heartbreaking drama then you're going to be highly disappointed. There's really nothing "good" going on with this film but there are a few funny moments and it's too bad there weren't more of these. If I had to shine a spotlight on a highlight it would probably be the monster outfit. It's a clear rip-off of ALIEN and it's a wonder that the filmmakers here weren't sued because the similarities are incredibly strong. I did like the monster enough even though there were times where it seemed like it had no mobility to move around or do anything. The black tar look isn't the most original out there but it did lead to a couple good and gory kill scenes. The rest of the film is pretty much flat, boring and lifeless. Joe Estevez has a brief role as the guy leading up the space mission but even he can't save this thing. The rest of the performers aren't the greatest in the world but they're pretty much what you expect in a movie like this. At least a couple of them got naked. DARK UNIVERSE certainly isn't a movie that's going to appeal to many as most are going to hate it with a passion. If you like ultra low-budget, bad movies then you might want to give it a rental.
Posted March 07 2013 - 03:01 PM
Skyline (2010) (bluray) :star::star::star::half: The human race is being exterminated by aliens who have arrived on our planet. They need us for our CNS and brain in order to operate their machines. Not a bad movie if you're willing to check your brain at the door. (no pun intended) The special effects are good but the story is severely lacking. Occasional it's satisfying to watch one of these mindless movies that don't involve any thought. On a different day I might have hated it. The Darkest Hour (2011) (space) :star::star::star::half: Five kids are trapped in Moscow during an alien invasion. The aliens are here to mine our natural resources and find us in the way, so humans are being exterminated. There is a Russian sub waiting in the Moscow river for survivors which plan on meeting up with other survivors from around the world. Kind of a dumb movie but the aliens are quite interesting and unique and the movie is inoffensive and not boring. TV episodes 10 Stargate SG1 Season 10: Company of Thieves (dvd) 11 Stargate SG1 Season 10: The Quest pt. 1 (dvd) 12 Stargate SG1 Season 10: The Quest pt. 2 (dvd) 13 Stargate SG1 Season 10: Line in the Sand (dvd)
Posted March 08 2013 - 02:05 AM
Spaceballs (1987) You can't have a Sci-fi challenge and not watch Spaceballs. The best Sci-fi comedy. It's too bad we never got the sequel Mel Brooks has always talked about, "Spaceballs 3: The Search for Spaceballs 2" Doctor Who (classic) Robots of Death 2-4 Finished out the four part episode. My favorite scene in part 4 is when The Doctor puts his hat and scarf on a robot to fool another robot to think its The Doctor. Audiobook: Doctor Who "Dead Air" Narrated by David Tennant. He does his Doctor voice along with two other voices. It's just an okay story. Doctor lands the Tardis in 1960's on a pirate radio boat. An evil presence known as "The Hush" that tries to silence the crew and the entire world.
Posted March 09 2013 - 12:59 PM
The Man From Planet X (1951) :star::star: Early invasion film from director Edgar G. Ulmer is somewhat better than it probably should be but it's certainly no classic. A Scottish community is shaken when a UFO lands and a weird looking alien is found. It seems the alien comes in peace but no one is certain why he's there and things take a turn when one scientist goes to abuse him for knowledge. THE MAN FROM PLANET X suffers from a very low-budget that doesn't allow it to do much but as is usually the case, the director manages to add a little more style thanks to some creativity. I think the best thing about the film is the actual look of the picture. The setting is a very small town and I thought Ulmer managed to build up a nice atmosphere. The fog machine he bought was obviously extremely good as there's all sorts of thick fog running throughout the film. I thought this helped give it a pretty good look but of course it also covers up some of the limitations of the budget. The actual alien is hotly debated among sci-fi fans but I personally liked it. Yes, it looks cheap but at the same time the motion-less face was actually quite creepy and there's no question that it's original looking. I also enjoyed the cast with Robert Clarke doing a nice job in the lead. He was in several of these low budget movies and I've always enjoyed him as an actor. Margaret Field, Raymond Bond and William Schallert are good as well. The biggest problem is that there's really not too much that happens. The majority of the film is taken up with dialogue with people talking about everything that's happening instead of the viewer actually seeing very much of it. This was often the case with films like this and thankfully this here only runs 70-minutes. THE MAN FROM PLANET X isn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination but fans of the genre should get a few kicks out of it. TerrorVision (1986) :star::star::star: A father (Gerrit Graham) installs a new satellite TV system and before long it crosses paths with some aliens who decide to pay a visit and cause all sort of bodily harm. TERRORVISION comes from Empire Studios, which was the original home name for Charles Band and it actually turned out to be much better than I was expecting. If you're wanting a straight science fiction film then you're going to be highly disappointed because this thing is silly, over-the-top and pretty much pokes fun of the genre. I think what really kept this film so entertaining is that you never know where it was going to go. At times it's just a spoof of the genre that's winking at the viewer and there are other times where it goes so wild with goo that you can't help but really laugh. I thought the monster itself was classic because it seemed like an obese E.T. that has goo coming out of it and some brown stuff that looks like he had way too many refried beans. The creature was so memorable and especially with its deformed eyes, the extra "eye" and of course there's that tongue, which seems to be in a mouth with such bad breathe that you can smell it through your TV screen. Another major plus were the death scenes, which were quite gory. There's really not any blood on display but there's all sorts of slime that comes oozing out of the creature after he gets done eating people. Another good thing going are the characters, which seem to have been an early version of the ones we'd see the following year on 'Married with Children.' I say this because the parents are swingers constantly bringing people back to the house and even old grandpa isn't all there in the head. The daughter (Diane Franklin) has her hair colored just about everything you'd see in the rainbow and even the small brother (Chad Allen) is pretty strange. They're strange but incredibly likable and they certainly add charm to the picture. We even get Sonny Carl Davis who most will remember as the breakfast guy from FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. This film certainly has its tongue planted firmly you know where but this is what makes it so much fun. You even get to see aliens watching stuff like ROBOT MONSTER and EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS, which is pretty interesting. The Alien Dead (1980) :star::half: Cult maverick director Fred Olen Ray got his first theatrical release with this low-budget mix of sci-fi and horror. Set in the swamps, locals notice that the alligators are missing and at first no one realizes what's going. It turns out that earlier a meteor hit the area and has turned several people into zombies that are now wanting human flesh. THE ALIEN ZOMBIES probably would have been a better title but either way it's doubtful most people are going to be able to make it through to the end. I really don't think this film is as bad as some make it out to be and I think you've got to give the director credit considering he pretty much filmed this with no budget. Compare this film to some of the stuff that goes directly to DVD today and you'll be wanting a second helping of this. I thought the Southern setting was something that actually helped the film but I honestly couldn't tell you why. Perhaps it's simply because not too many tried to shoot films in Florida and the list of titles are rather small. Another thing I enjoyed was seeing veteran actor Buster Crabbe playing the Sheriff. It seems rather clear that he's not too interested in anything other than his paycheck but it's still fun seeing a "classic" actor appearing in a movie like this. The zombies themselves are fairly forgettable as some wear bad masks while others are given a little make-up. None of them really stand out and neither does the death scenes, which are also pretty forgettable. Performances are what you'd expect in a film like this but at least the director only had this lasting 74-minutes. There's really nothing "good" about this picture but those who enjoy drive-in trash might be some "so bad it's good" entertainment out of it. Considering the drive-in era was coming to an end, this film does really feel like those trashy pictures of the 1970s. Predator 2 (1990) :star::star::star: Set in Los Angeles, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) finds himself caught up in a gang war where both sides are doing battle in the streets. Things take a bizarre turn when an unknown force begins to take out all sides and soon Harrigan finds out that he's dealing with something from another world. PREDATOR 2 is actually a better film than the first one because of how sleazy it is. I remember watching this in the theater when it was first released and I still recall how many people walked about because of how violent the film is. Watching the movie for the first time in over twenty-years I was surprised to see that it actually holds up quite well in regards to the action but also just how shocking it is that something this dirty wasn't completely cut up by the MPAA. I thought the story here wasn't all that strong as there are many questions left unanswered but this here really doesn't take away from the good time. The film pretty much starts off in high gear and throughout the running time we've always got some sort of action going on. The opening shoot out between the police and the drug dealers was extremely exciting and of course things heat up on the predator is thrown into the action. I really thought the film offered up a very sleazy side including some nudity, a somewhat rough sex scene, non-stop profanity and then there's the violence. Considering how badly horror films were getting chopped by the MPAA it's rather shocking to see how much blood and guts were allowed to stay in the movie. I'd say there's enough here to turn away weaker viewers but those who can handle the stuff will be entertained with the great special effects. The look of the predator this time around is quite good and I really thought having him in a city worked even if they didn't exploit it as much as one would have liked. Glover is good in the lead role and we also get some nice work from Gary Busey, Bill Paxton, Ruben Blades and Robert Davi. The one issue I had with the film is that it starts to run out of gas by the time the ending comes and once it does, I think it's the weakest thing here. At the Earth's Core (1976) :star::star::star: Set in the Victorian times, this Amicus picture has a scientist (Peter Cushing) and his assistant (Doug McClure) creating a machine that allows them to dig through the ground. They plan to go to the center of the Earth but they end up in some sort of land with monsters and humans who are being held by slaves by some sort of tribe. AT THE EARTH'S CORE turned out to be the final film from Amicus and it's really a good movie. Well, it's not really a "good movie" but I think it's so silly and so wacky that you can't help but have a blast with it. The term "so bad it's good" certainly fits this thing but the most important thing is that it's highly entertaining. We've got several different types of monsters on display here and all of them are nothing more than rubber suits, which look extremely bad. Just take a look at the first monster attack when a man is eaten by the creature. This sequence is one of the funniest things I've seen from any sci-fi picture. The entire catalog of monsters are pretty fun to watch even with the rubber suits that make some of those Godzilla creatures look like Oscar-winning work. Even the monsters holding the human slaves are incredibly cheap as they just wear masks that cover half of their faces with their normal skin still showing making it all the more obvious. Cushing plays a dimwitted scientist and while his performance is good the character is certainly less than memorable. McClure is good in his supporting role and we got Caroline Munro at least wearing a somewhat cute outfit. Throughout the film there are all sorts of fights, weird looking sets and other strange things that really make this film stand out compared to other low-budget films of the genre. AT THE EARTH'S CORE isn't going to be confused with THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL but those who enjoy campy movies should enjoy it.
Posted March 09 2013 - 01:52 PM
16 They (1974) (dvd) no stars Really dumb movie about beings from inner earth launching an attack on earth via mysterious illnesses, crashes, disappearances etc. Everything about this is lame from the ridiculous dialogue, terrible acting and ludicrous adam and eve type ending. What the hell was that anyway? 17 Forbidden Planet (1956) (bluray) :star::star::star::star::half: Almost a perfect Sci-fi film. I would have loved to have more info about the Krell, the former inhabitants of Altair. In among all the creature features released in the 50's there were some intelligent Science fiction movies being released. This is one of a few. 18 Retrograde (2004) (Netflix) :star::half: Two time travellers from 2204 are sent back to our present to find and eradicate the source of a plague. Decent story brought down by the dismal acting from the cast. I don't think I'm exaggerating by saying that Dolph Lundgren was one of the better actors in this movie. 19 Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) (dvd) :star::star::star::star: I have a lot of affection for this movie that seemed years ahead of its time when it came out in the early 60's. I saw this in the theatre way back when and this was a particular childhood favourite of mine. I'm gratified that it still stands up to the test of time.
Posted March 09 2013 - 02:19 PM
I watched A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage Dans La Lune) (1902) The sci-fi short that was the inspiration for the movie Hugo. Doctor Who (classic) Season 17 "City of Death" Part 1 I'm really liking this four part story so far. The Doctor and his companion Romana (Romanadvoratrelundar) who is a Lady Timelord They are spending a holiday in Paris at the same time Count Scarlioni (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade's Julian Glover) is condcuting time experiments. Thus causing weird time anomolies that The Doctor and Romana are having. I love Romana as the companion. She actually shows up in season 16 for the "Keys of Time" season. Hulu+ and Amazon Prime have all but one episode arc of Season 16.(hulu has the ones Amazon doesn't and vice versa) The Keys of Time season has been re-released on DVD with commentaires by Tom Baker. I'm looking to buy these soon.
Posted March 09 2013 - 03:27 PM
Melies has so many wonderful horror/sci-fi films out there. I've seen most of his work that survives and it's usually pretty amazing what he was able to do and especially when you compare it to the rip-off artists that were working around the world. A TRIP TO THE MOON is a real blast. I wanted to see it theatrically when it was re-released last year but it didn't come anywhere close to here. Re: THEY I've never heard of this one but it sounds bad enough to where I'll have to see if Netflix or Amazon has it.
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