Archive for the ‘Science Fiction and Space Shit’ Category

Sleep Dealer

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

You know how there’s that endangered subtn_sleepdealergenre of “intelligent sci-fi”? Like the recent MOON and SUNSHINE and I guess people would say that movie PRIMER although I haven’t seen it. Coming out on DVD today is another small, low budget, independent sci-fi full of smart ideas about the modern world and what could happen with our technology. This one’s not an action movie at all though, it’s a small drama, and from a Mexican perspective. So if you never heard of it that’s why. Subtitles, and no exploding heads.

(There are robots and lasers, but not in a cool way. They’re just tools. Maybe about as cool as a city employee riding a Segway. Exactly that cool or less, no cooler.)

The story is about Memo (Luis Fernando Peña) who grew up in a tiny Mexican village screwed over by the building of a dam. He’s spent his whole life dreaming of getting away, but just like people in the not-future his way of getting away is just secluding himself in a little room and using technology to connect with the outside world. He builds a radio that he uses to tap different frequencies and listen to people’s conversations, but this gets him into trouble. (read the rest of this shit…)

Moon

Friday, August 28th, 2009

tn_moon(from the request line…)

Remember SUNSHINE? Well now we have MOON. It’s not really at all like SUNSHINE, because it’s about being on the moon, not going to the sun. But it’s another serious, thoughtful sci-fi movie, which is kind of like a bald eagle these days. They still exist but you don’t see them too often (and sometimes their beaks are deformed [not sure if that last part is a criticism of SUNSHINE’s last act or just me not knowing when to end the analogy]). (read the rest of this shit…)

District 9

Monday, August 17th, 2009

tn_district9Well, we’re getting to the end of the summer here and it’s been pretty light on good old fashioned popcorn type movies. Most of us enjoyed STAR TREK, but that was at the very beginning of the summer, it seems like a lifetime ago. TERMINATOR SALVATION was a letdown, TRANSFORMERS 2 need not be described, GI JOE was hilarious but not the type of behavior we want to encourage. Leave it to some 29 year old South African director of video game commercials to make the most memorable sci-fi action type movie in a while.

Neill Blomkamp was the plucky young orphan that Peter Jackson discovered living off scraps in the Wellington sewer system (not sure about the authenticity of this wikipedia bio) and for some reason chose to direct a movie of the video game “HALO.” But the money fell through on that one so director Blomkamp and producer Jackson said “Fack it” (they both have accents) and made a lower budget sci-fi movie free of video game heritage, an extension of Blomkamp’s ’05 short film ALIVE IN JOBURG. (read the rest of this shit…)

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Monday, August 10th, 2009

tn_gijoeNot since THE HURT LOCKER have I seen a movie that so convincingly captures the mental toll that the pressures of a war zone take on our soldiers. I’m not talking about GI JOE, I’m just saying I haven’t seen another movie like that since THE HURT LOCKER.

I don’t know what you’ve heard, I don’t know what kind of rumors are flying around, but this here is not what anybody should call a “good summer popcorn movie.” GI JOE can’t be mentioned in the same breath as JAWS or even JURASSIC PARK or even INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, so don’t ever read this sentence out loud. But there is something unique about this movie and I would recommend it to some of you. If you’re the type of individual with room in your heart for a ridiculous movie that comes out in August that you go see in a half (or all) empty theater for a laugh, then I believe this movie will deliver for you spectacularly. For example I paid money to see STEALTH a few years ago and it was kind of funny. If STEALTH was a single this is a grand slam. I was laughing pretty much from the extravagant new Hasbro logo at the beginning to the weirdly intelligence-insulting final scene, without many lulls in between. For some of you it will be unwatchable crap, but for me it’s hilariously terrible and/or terribly hilarious. (read the rest of this shit…)

Knowing

Monday, July 6th, 2009

tn_knowingI’m not sure I can say KNOWING is that good of a movie, but I do think it’s kind of crazy and subversive for a PG-13 high concept Nic Cage Hollywood sci-fi thriller. So the more I think about it the more I kind of like it.

Nic Cage plays so-and-so, college professor, scientist, single dad, widower. His son (not one of the better child actors, poor kid) is attending his school’s 50th anniversary celebration when they dig up a time capsule. They pass out the 50 year old childen’s drawings predicting the future and this kid only gets a creepy paper covered in numbers. That night Nic happens to look at it and notices some of the numbers are 9-11-01. He Googles 9-11-01 (I guess he doesn’t know you’re supposed to “never forget”) and finds out the death toll, which is also right there on the paper. Then, in a montage of drunken code-breaking, he stays up all night doing web research and figures out that the entire paper exactly predicts the dates all the biggest disasters of the past 50 years in order and how many people died in each. And there are more numbers that haven’t happened yet. And one’s coming up in a couple days. Oh shit. (read the rest of this shit…)

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

tn_transformers2Okay, first off, this is not a fair review. I didn’t go into this thing in good faith. I never thought there was a possibility I would genuinely like this movie. So don’t think I’m trying to be objective here. But I’ve been getting emails and comments for months asking me to review this sequel to a movie I hated, and there’s a hell of a conversation going on in the comments for my review of the first one. And to be honest I was strangely excited to see it. It just sounded so insane, and as a fan and scholar of the summer blockbuster movie maybe it was important that I see it, just like I saw MY GIANT for the sake of Seagalogy. Whatever my excuse is, the same guy who got me into the first one for free hooked me up for this one too. So your wish is my command. (read the rest of this shit…)

Terminator Salvation

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

tn_terminatorsalvationHere’s my TERMINATOR SALVATION review. Sorry it took me a few days – everybody else on the internet has already reviewed it two or three times each and moved on with their lives. I figured I ought to go the extra mile so my  review includes an optional soundtrack:

 

 

(note: I’m not really gonna pussyfoot around the spoilers in this one, so beware)

I got so much trouble on my mind. I refuse to lose my hope for McG. I had this fantasy – what if McG made an undeniably great TERMINATOR movie, and everybody who ever talked shit about him had to eat crow? They’d be so unprepared to admit they liked a McG movie that their minds would pop like balloons. It would be like reading in the newspaper that a squirrel had built a working rocket ship – just completely out of left field. They wouldn’t know what to do. “Well, his name makes me uncomfortable, but TERMINATOR SALVATION changed my life.” “You know, I went back and gave CHARLIE’S ANGELS FULL THROTTLE another look, it turns out it was ahead of its time. There was no way to really know back then that it was good, only Vern ever understood it, but now it works.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Outlander

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

tn_outlanderMan, here’s a solid little movie with a clever genre-mixing premise, nicely acted and directed, a fun time, but owned by the Weinsteins. So of course it was barely released or advertised. These pricks got a quiet, sad drama based on a Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece, they’re gonna pretend it’s some sci-fi action movie. Meanwhile they got this one that actually is a sci-fi action movie, but they forgot they even had it. “Oh shit, did we release that viking thing? I can’t remember. Just send some DVDs to Blockbuster and tell them not to mention it to anybody.”

Oh well, at least it snuck out. The cover art is pretty cool too, and it uses one of those critic quotes that isn’t really a compliment but just a description: “PREDATOR meets BEOWULF.” And that’s accurate. A space ship crash lands in Norway, 709 A.D. A survivor climbs out wearing a space suit that looks alot like a suit of armor (surprisingly that doesn’t come up again later). He’s Jim Caviezel, and I wasn’t sure at first if I was gonna accept aliens that look just like humans, but when he looked up Earth on his computer it said we were an “abandoned seed colony,” so I guess we all come from the same place. Brothers from a different mother. (read the rest of this shit…)

Turkey Shoot

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

tn_railsbackTime to get back to my ongoing study of the works of Brian Trenchard-Smith. This one will also be part 1 in a Steve Railsback double feature.

TURKEY SHOOT is one of the Brian Trenchard-Smith pictures I had heard of before I started going through his filmography, although I knew it under the American title ESCAPE 2000 (which is what it’s called on the Anchor Bay DVD). It takes place in a dystopian future where “deviants” have been locked up in camps to be brainwashed and abused. Not sure if this happens at all of them but at this particular one, Camp 42 I believe, they also let the inmates run around in some wilderness to be hunted by rich people. Hence the title “TURKEY SHOOT.” It’s kind of like in the U.S. a couple years ago what we would’ve called “DICK CHENEY PHEASANT HUNT.” Means the same thing.

Our heroes are naive Olivia Hussey, sexy Lynda Stoner, and defiant Steve Railsback. Railsback gets a pretty badass setup because the headmaster, Thatcher, lists all the different camps he’s escaped from, and you know he’ll be adding Camp 42 to the list soon. I love Railsback from ED GEIN, LIFEFORCE, etc. but to be honest he doesn’t have that great of a character in this one. He mostly just runs around. Not that he’s not good at running around, it’s just not that memorable a part. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Running Man

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

tn_runningman1Arnold Schwarzenegger is… THE RUNNING MAN. That’s actually what it says on the credits, which makes me feel good, makes me proud to be an American. In fact, I’m gonna make a new tag for this review called “is…” If you can think of some other movies where the star “is…” the title, let me know. But only if it’s in the actual opening credits, not just the trailer or the poster, at least for now. We’ll see how many we can find.

THE RUNNING MAN was a book Stephen King wrote in 1982 when he was on the lam and hiding out under the alias Richard Bachman. I read it back in the ’80s so I don’t remember it in much detail, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the same kind of goofy cartoon shit as the movie. It was about a brutal game show of the future where contestants tried to get across the country without being killed. I think there were bounty hunters after them, but also they’d become famous through the show and regular people would try to kill them to collect a reward. It’s like American Idol except instead of participating by calling in you do it by shooting at the guy. The main character was kind of like Kowalski in VANISHING POINT, he ended up capturing the hearts of everybody at home and they started rooting for him to get away. (read the rest of this shit…)