Random Film of The Week: Starship Troopers


“This soldier threw a knife that from twenty feet away that somehow landed in his own hand. That’s a damn PASSING GRADE for sheer ingenuity!”

starship_troopers_ver2Someone call up Guinness, please, because I can very likely tell you of the world’s shortest class trip that doesn’t involve anything dangerous happening. Back in 1997, I went to see Starship Troopers on its release day, opting not to take the subway to what I thought would be a crowded city theater, but supporting a local theater here in the Bronx. I got my ticket early for the first showing at the formerly wonderful Loews American, sadly, now a Marshall’s (Boooo, but at least they kept the beautiful ’40’s era statues on the rear of the theater intact), and waited for the film to begin.

I noticed as the lights dimmed that there were two rows of seats on the right side that were empty, but there was one guy who looked like he was from the theater waiting for someone, as he kept looking back as the exit from a seat behind the empty rows. I recall shrugging, then getting glued to the screen as the film began. The theater wasn’t quite full, but those rows stood out. The movie started and during the boot camp scenes, a group of kids guided by two teachers and and an aide marched into the theater, and took their seats. Those kids were I’m guessing, based on height and dress, were about nine or ten years old.


Some kids are scarred for life and they never even saw a an alien bug rip someone in half.

As soon as the co-ed shower scene kicked in about two minutes later, yep, those kids were rather rapidly lined up and shuffled out so fast that it was like a Benny Hill sketch, Yakety Sax and all. Some in the audience let smattering applause and few quick and mean comments were tossed at the exiting teachers who thought this was a good idea before we all went back to concentrating on the screen. I shook my head because I guessed that somewhere a few weeks or months earlier, some adult in that school likely saw an ad or trailer this was coming out, decided they wanted to take those kids along because “Pew-Pew, it’s gonna be like Star Wars!”, never read any Robert Heinlein, went and got the trip approved, getting clueless parents to sign permission slips that allowed their kids entry to an R-rated film.

This trailer, by the way, is excellent… but misses a few important points (and how!):


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Random Film of the Week: The Straight Story

straight_story_ver2For me, The Straight Story is David Lynch’s best film because it succeeds wholly as the director’s “most experimental” work and manages to be one of those movies that WILL touch you no matter how you feel about his other work. The true story of Alvin Straight’s 200+ mile journey to visit his ailing brother on a riding lawn mower may seem well out of Lynch’s weird wheelhouse, but those of his fans and anyone with a good eye will see plenty of strangeness in the normal here that shows even the simplest of stories can be remarkable when told as well as done here.

Perhaps the most amusing and interesting thing about the movie to some will be it carries the Disney name on it (it was released under the company’s Buena Vista Pictures label back in 1999) and is rated G, usually two death knells for a director know for startling his audiences with bizarre imagery. Lynch keeps things more mundane here, but there are moments in performance and presentation where you can see bits of his trademark style on display and it doesn’t detract from the story at all… Continue reading

Need For Speed Trailer #2: Road Rage, Revisited…

Well, given that this one’s headed at full speed towards being either a mega-hit or a mega-bomb, it’s at least nice to see all the actors throwing themselves into their parts as much as those CGI cars are throwing themselves across the screen. Granted, I’m betting people aren’t going to be seeing this for the “acting” all that much, as it seems the car body count will be high enough to keep them more distracted than any great thespian action going on. Of course, the laws of physics are being broken to hell in this one in the same manner it’s busted up in other popular car carnage flicks. But heck, if you’re expecting total “realism” as a fan of the video games this flick is based on, you probably still have a 3DO plugged in and on top of your old analog TV. Hey, I liked that first NFS game back in the day too…

Need For Speed Trailer: Put it in “Park”, Pinkman…

(thanks, joblomovienetwork!) 

Oh, this is going to hurt, but here goes. We really do NOT need… a Need for Speed movie. Seriously. Aaron Paul may be a hot star thanks to Breaking Bad, but this soon to tank out effects-filled gasser isn’t going to gain him any fans unless they’re too young to watch him as Jesse but right in the clutches of this upcoming car flick. Not that it’s supposed to be a big thing to see an actor come off such a huge TV show ride as BB and make the leap to Oscar bait right away, mind you. I predict this will do well on opening weekend if there’s no Fast and the Furious flick rolling out at the same time, but anyone lining up looking for character depth may as well play Need for Speed: The Run, which was EA’s attempt at making a racing game play like a movie… and it didn’t work all that well despite the best of intentions. I’d laugh if there were a game tie-in on a console (I can definitely see a cheap app popping up, though) at some point next year. We gamers don’t have THAT short a memory (well, I sure don’t)…

Oh well, I’ll shut up now with my predictions and let this one find its level. If it’s in YOUR wheelhouse, enjoy the show. Me, I’ll hold out for the cable premiere and kick myself later if I was incorrect in my forecasting…