Random Film of the Week: Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet_MPEven though the first time I saw Forbidden Planet was when I was about five or six years old on a medium-sized black and white TV with not always perfect reception and the film was rather horribly panned and scanned from what I recall, I fell in love with it and it’s remained one of my favorite science fiction films. I’ve since seen it countless times and it remains quite a fun film to watch thanks to everything melding together so flawlessly (including its handful of flaws).

I think it was also one of the first movies I actually remember looking at the music credits for and being surprised that two people composed the “electronic tonalities” that were buzzing my eardrums and pleasantly sinking into my brain’s recesses. Louis and Bebe Barron’s impressive score drove home right away that this was no ordinary 1950’s flick with a low budget and cast of no-names mugging it up for the camera. I’ll also admit to thinking director Fred Wilcox was a relation, but I think my mother or father pointed out that many people have the same last name who aren’t related at all (but I don’t think I believed her at the time). Flash forward a few years later and when I finally saw the film in color on a huge TV in its original widescreen format, I was even more floored thanks to the beautiful color palette and (mostly) still impressive visual effects. I was also a bit jealous because back in 1956, it must have been blowing audiences back in their seats to see this on a massive Cinerama screen with those sounds booming from multiple theater speakers… Continue reading

Superman: The Movie (1978) Sharp Dressed Men Make An Impression! Writers, Here’s How To Introduce Your Hero (#7 Of A Bunch)

(thanks, Jason Makiaris!) 

This one’s priceless and still a kick in the pants because it’s classic 1970’s New York gone comic book (thanks to the great Richard Donner), but even more hilarious for one key reason. I recall seeing the film back in 1978 and some kid sitting in front of me asking his dad who the black guy was noting how awesome Superman’s costume was. I don’t think there was EVER a pimp in a Superman comic when this film was released (and I’m not sure if one has ever been in an issue even as a background character). I do remember the father muttering something like “Er… um, I’ll tell you later – just watch the movie!” and me trying not to crack up laughing for the next hour plus. To this day I often wonder HOW that guy explained what a pimp was and what he did to his kid. THAT conversation must have been a doozy. The full scene is here – enjoy!

Random Film of the Week(end): Zardoz

(thanks, tubesoda!) 

zardoz_xlgHow amusing that I had a dream about Zardoz and TCM (Turner Classic Movies) just so happens to be showing it this evening (EDIT: Okay, at 2am Sunday). John Boorman’s wonderfully gorgeous and somewhat, okay, EXTREMELY bizarre follow up to the 1972 smash Deliverance was and is a weird mix of science fiction, black comedy and violence that baffled many critics and moviegoers of the time and while it’s a more popular cult film today with a loyal following, still has a polarizing effect on a few fronts. If anything, the film’s oddball mix of impressive and cheap visual effects and some stunning cinematography go a long way in holding one’s interest as the plot zooms all over the landscape.

From the killer opening sequence with a floating stone head issuing marching orders (“The GUN is GOOD! The PENIS is EVIL!”) to some well-armed men (well, the stone head is the one arming them with PILES of firearms), to one of those well-armed men (Sean Connery!) sneaking aboard that head to do a bit of surprising disposal work (how do you kill a “god”? Here’s one way if you need a hint!), Zardoz continually surprises, even when it’s getting too meta for its own good. Then again, that seems to be what Boorman wanted to do with this film. This is one of those experimental flicks that does an excellent job of making you pay attention right from the start and slowly draws you deeper into its odd characters and world. Granted, your suspension of disbelief is being kidney punched the entire way through, but such is art and films such as this one… Continue reading

Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever Finally Comics-Bound!

Ellison Trek IDW 
YES. I’m SO pleased at this news that I’m too busy doing mental back flips and stuff to type out a boring descriptive post about the plot and whatnot, so you get to read a boring descriptive press release instead. Woo. Yeah, I’ll be grabbing this five-issue series for sure. Or should I hold out for the inevitable collected edition? Ah, whatever – we’ll see. Isn’t that cover awesome, by the way? Meanwhile, just for fun here’s an old Harlan Ellison’s Watching video for you on the implosion of the trading card collector’s market:

As to that Trek comic? Here, go read all about it below the jump… Continue reading

The Zero Theorem Trailer: Gilliam’s Back Soon, Get Your Money Ready…

For me, a Terry Gilliam film is a must-see experience no matter how you feel about it after all is said and done (which usually means you need to see it a few more times). The inventive director’s latest is the soon to be released The Zero Theorem, a science fiction film that features the great Christoph Waltz as a computer whiz called “We” (I think it was something like Quohen Leth before this trailer, but I guess I’ll find out when I see it) who’s trying to discover the meaning of life, but gets a bit distracted by a handful of visitors and situations on a few occasions. I actually dislike finding out TOO much about a Gilliam film before I see it as there’s always the chance that it might (and will) go in a different direction than the trailer shows. That and Gilliam’s films need to be seen from beginning to end and absorbed as whole experiences, not just well-trimmed cuts with a flourish or three.

Anyway, September isn’t THAT long away, people. Some of you can nap until then or take a long stroll for a few weeks poking around for memories or fossils or both while you’re waiting for this one to finally come out of the oven. I’d join you on that nap and/or walking tour but I’ve got stuff to do here and my backlog is actually growing, not shrinking. Boo, but it keeps me busy and out of trouble.