Loving The Alien: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

 

The best film directors are master manipulators who can magically transform an entire theater audience into a group of happy to sappy sapient lemmings or wide-eyed marionettes easily controlled from start to end credits. Their best films have the masses cheering the heroes, hissing at the bad ones, empathizing with the downtrodden and generally feeling whatever emotion a scene calls for. Yes, there are exceptions to this non-rule (too-likeable villains, swapping out all attempts at sympathy for more explosions and eyeball rolling plot twists you can see coming 20 minutes before they occur). But when you get right down to it, you know your cinematic needs are being taken care of when certain directors are at the helm.

Or, as an old friend once said:

(thanks, svofski!) 

In other words, this is a Spielberg film, folks.
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Alien: Covenant Does The #TBT Thing A Day Early


 

Well, well. Referencing that infamous dinner scene from the original ALIEN, this “Last Supper” prologue also manages to give an idea of how close to the vest Alien Covenant is going to be playing a few of its cards. Granted, I wasn’t expecting anything revolutionary with the upcoming film, so this clip does indeed hit the right notes. I liked what I saw, although that larger crew means a lot more victims which will hopefully not translate to the film feeling repetitive. Eh, I’m not really worried much, though.

aliencovenant-header 

Oh, by the way, when you go to that site link above and register, make sure you mess with the MU/TH/UR 6000 computer interface for a bit of fun. Ask it some questions that are ALIEN-related, if you need a hint.

-GW

(Not So) Random Film of the Week: GOG

gogWhile the three films in Ivan Tors Productions’ “Office of Scientific Investigation” (OSI) trilogy haven’t gotten the name recognition or massive fan bases of certain other more well-known franchises, each stands out as a fine example of Tors’ commitment to bringing a more scientific and human touch to the genre. While not going for camp or cheap thrills, the films make for a look into Tors’ heavy interest in pure science fiction with independent films he got made on his own terms.

Beginning with 1953’s The Magnetic Monster, 1954’s Riders to the Stars, and GOG, also released in 1954, the three films trade in the era’s familiar “B” movie antics for drier, more “realistic” hard science mixed with speculative elements. While some action scenes take place in all three films, outside these sequences things are done with a more sedate, almost documentary-like presentation of their assorted plots.

Additionally, all three films can be watched and enjoyed fully in any order, as they tell stories that are connected by a few threads, but don’t contain the same characters. Chief among these threads is men (and women) of science trying to make advances in the field for the future with dramatic (and sometimes unfortunate) results. Or: you can’t make a science-flavored omelette without breaking a few scientist-shaped eggs…
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Random Film of the Week: Hundra

Hundra DVDIs Matt Cimber‘s 1983 sword and not an ounce of sorcery flick Hundra a “great” movie?  Well, that depends on one’s perspective on these sorts of fantasy movies. If you go in with “epic” level  expectations from what’s basically a very straightforward and competent “B” movie with a nice mix of action and humor, that answer might be “nope.”

On the other hand, it’s not bad at all if you bust out the popcorn and fizzy adult beverages and don’ forget to grab a few like-minded friends who enjoy stuff like Xena: Warrior Princess or other fun shows or films with strong female leads. In that case, you’re in for a pretty solid time in front of the TV, warts and all.

(Thanks, Cinema Epoch!)

Laurene Landon‘s striking looks and gung-ho athletic ability (she did her own stunts) outstrips her less than dynamic acting talents here. But her raw performance really works well for the film’s purposes because she’s playing a wild female warrior type in search of a man to impregnate her so she can restart her slain nomadic tribe’s lineage.

“Say whaaaaaat?” Continue reading

Call of the Westeros Meets Classic Response Time

So, this season of Game of Thrones ended with a bang. Well, a few bangs if you count the graceful exit one key character made via a nearby window. The internet being what it is, one still frame ended up as a hilarious image gamers who know Ubisoft’s hugely popular Assassin’s Creed series got a laugh over:

ACWesteros

It took me all of thirty seconds for my brain to cook up goofball responses to that scene using classic film posters, but a little longer to swipe images I’ll link to to be fair to the folks who posted them first. Traffic is cool on one’s blog when it’s least expected, I always say. Okay, here we go (click on the posters to go to their respective sites):

Hit the Hay

I’ve never seen this flick before, but I’m now Judy Canova curious. I know I’ve seen HER before in something, but I’ve not a clue as to what.

It Ain't Hay

Ooh, a new site to check out! Nice place you’ve got there, Steve! Haven’t seen this one in decades, but it’s probably as funny as I recall.

crash-dive

A not too shabby WWII war drama/romance flick with a fine cast doing their thing for the cause. Oscar-winning special effects here, but don’t go into this looking for CG perfection.


 


 

Finally, yeah… I may as well get Fox some love as well for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie. As with any game-based film, my eyebrow is up a lot on whether it can capture the game’s more interactive elements clearly. But I absolutely LOVE being proven wrong by movies based on videogame source material. Which means I’m still skeptical even with the casting choices made. We’ll get into that later. Just go enjoy the rest of this weekend for now.

Assassin’s Creed Trailer: A Killer at the Box Office Not So Silently Approaches

assassins_creed_xlg
 

So, I usually have no faith in videogame movie adaptations (okay, I’ve NEVER had any), particularly when certain fans roll in with the “It doesn’t look that bad!” commentary simply to defend their favorite franchise against any form of criticism. My own opinion on games to film is more of a rule: an interactive medium works BEST as interactive medium, PERIOD. Yes, non-gamers who want to see what the fuss is about can enjoy a game movie just fine. But the more hardcore fans who dislike games made into blockbusters for the simple reason that the films deviate from the source materials enough that it’s an almost completely different bird once all those feathers have been plucked. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, anyone? While a well-made film, it wasn’t at all what fans expected or wanted. I can name a bunch of others, but I’ll let you discuss that among yourselves.

Anyway, well… 20th Century Fox and Ubisoft may have changed my mind:


 

Other than the atrocious choice of a Kanye West song (Seriously? It doesn’t fit at ALL and in fact, something a great deal less modern would have made the trailer almost perfect), that trailer got me curious as to how the film will tackle the reality and virtual reality flipping done throughout the AC franchise. I did have a non-gamer friend ring me up and ask about the games and whether he needed to have played them to fully enjoy the film, whereupon I had to admit I hadn’t played an Assassin’s Creed game in a few years. Hey, I got bored with them after AC III, although I’ve been thinking about picking up the last couple after playing the Vita game (and the sole one with a female lead). So, thanks, Fox. You may get my grumpy butt in a theater seat after all. Continue reading

10 Cloverfield Lane: Surprise! J.J.’s Dy-no-mite Trailer Blows Up the Internet


 

Ha and double ha. It seems producer/director J.J. Abrams is The Master of Surprise (not to be confused at all with The Master of Disguise). It also seems no one knew about this new film at all until the trailer dropped on the 15th followed by the sound of jaws dropping and keyboard tongues waggling for days since. Judging by the tagline on that poster, the very brief plot synopsis on IMDB and some bits gleaned from a few re-viewings, it’s clearly *not* a “sequel” to Cloverfield at all (despite all the “Cloverfield 2” posts online since this trailer dropped), but a film that seems to have a similar tone of stuff “out there” and how folks react to it.

10_cloverfield_lane 

As for that cast, John Goodman? Great in pretty much any role he’s taken and who doesn’t like Mary Elizabeth Winstead? Okay, you three in the back? Get lost. Never heard of the other guy, but I may have seen something he’s in and not recalled his generic mug at all. Hey, I’m getting old… but two out of three ain’t bad in terms of the actors here. Anyway, March 11 is coming up sooner than you think and this may be quite the ride through paranoia whether or not it’s got any monsters in it at all.

As always, we shall see…

Blu-Ray Review: Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive AV015While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was (and still is) a memorable horror film experience, Tobe Hooper’s follow up, 1976’s Eaten Alive (released in 1977) was and is memorable for entirely different reasons. While it’s got a compelling and frightening performance from Neville Brand and that bathed in red sound stage set makes the film even more frightening, there’s a “too many hands” feel to the production process that makes the film more of a “B” than it deserves to be. That said, it’s yet another excellently produced Arrow release that’s worth a buy for the solid 2K restoration job and copious special features as well as the chance to see a film you may not have heard of previously (or had forgotten entirely).

Then again, given the incredibly sleazy origins of the “allegedly based on actual incidents” story here, Eaten Alive also works quite well as a pure “B” flick. Running a tidy 87 minutes, no time is wasted here as Brand’s psychotic veteran motel keeper, Judd, kills off a local lady of the evening after a tryst gone wrong at a brothel nearby sends her scampering for the hills after the madam (Carolyn Jones) gives her the boot. Judd runs the Starlight Hotel (one of the film’s many alternate titles along with Death Trap, Legend of the Bayou, Starlight Slaughter and Horror Hotel) which also happens to have a live crocodile as an attraction living in a penned in “swamp” outside. You know that Judd and his “pet” are going to be pretty busy as the film progresses and the victims show up as if there’s a massive magnet yanking their cars in that general direction. Continue reading

A “B” I Need to See: Les Raisins de la Mort

The Grapes of Death MP

Poster courtesy Horrorpedia.com- GO SUBSCRIBE!


 

I’ve never seen Jean Rollin’s 1978 horror flick Les Raisins de la Mort (The Grapes of Death), but I do vaguely recall discussing the film with a friend a few years back in a conversation about foreign horror movies. I’d forgotten all about it until YouTube user Sleaze-O-Rama posted the trailer below:

(thanks, Sleaze-O-Rama!)

And now, the hunt begins for a DVD as I prefer to borrow or outright own my movies and not stream or steal them. It’s not an urgent “get” at all. But if I see this one in my travels and it’s affordable, I’ll be adding it to the library when I can.

Random Film of the Week: Invisible Invaders

Invisible Invaders MPSometimes revisiting an old film can reveal a load of new surprises, particularly if it ends up being a possible inspiration for later and better works. While not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, 1959’s Invisible Invaders managed to actually be a lot more thrilling than I recall from seeing it as a kid.

For one thing, it’s both an alien invasion and a zombie flick, melding sci-fi and horror pretty well despite some rather incredulous plot shenanigans. It’s also an unintentional response to Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space (also released in 1959) because it features more or less the same story executed far more effectively. Well, for a low budget flick, that is.

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