Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
A group of longtime friends converge on a fatal course with destiny when they cross paths with Alexander Tatum, a mercenary surgeon. He is a hunter with the keen skill of one who has also ... See full summary »
A psychologist is gradually broken down to the point of no return in his life; but was it his work or his past that sends him over the edge, to do the most unthinkable things. All of this happens to him in the middle of chaos breaking out during the London riots.
Hayley J Williams
One night, young David McLean sees a spaceship crash into a nearby sandpit. His father goes to investigate, but comes back changed. Where once he was cheerful and affectionate, he's now sullen and snarlingly rude. Others fall into the sandpit and begin acting like him: cold, ill-tempered and conspiratorial. David knows that aliens are taking over the bodies of humans, but he'll soon discover there have been far more of these terrible thefts than he could have imagined. The young doom-monger finds some serious help in a lady doctor and a brilliant astronomer. Soon they meet the aliens: green creatures with insect-like eyes. These beings prove to be slaves to their leader: a large, silent head with ceaselessly shifting eyes and two tentacles on either side, each of which branches off into three smaller tentacles. It's up to the redoubtable earth trio to stop its evil plans. Written by
The sandpit opening and closing was done by cutting a long slit in a piece of heavy canvas and inserting a large funnel. A hose from a powerful vacuum was attached to the funnel and the whole thing was then covered with sand. The vacuum was activated and the sand was sucked down for the shots of the sandpit opening. Moreover, the film was simply reversed for shots of the sandpit closing. See more »
Several shots throughout the film are "flipped", run in reverse, apparently to lengthen some sequences. This includes the military police chase of McLean's car after his attempt on Dr. Wilson's life (the vehicles' steering wheels are clearly on the "right" in the flipped sequences), a reversed shot of the fence and path, and numerous shots underground of the Martians and soldiers running through the tunnels. See more »
The heavens. Once an object of superstition, awe, and fear. Now a vast region for growing knowledge. The distance of Venus, the atmosphere of Mars, the size of Jupiter, and the speed of Mercury. All this and more we know. But their greatest mystery the heavens have kept a secret. What sort of life, if any, inhabits these other planets? Human life, like ours? Or life extremely lower in the scale? Or dangerously higher? Seeking the answer to this timeless question, forever seeking, ...
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Nostalgia probably has a lot to do with my affection for this film.
It could never be legitimately argued as one of the masterworks of Cinema. And, while its director was at the very least always regarded as competent, and more usually engaged as a production designer, he would never even be considered by critics when ranking the greats.
But at a time when computerised sleight-of-hand can achieve the impossible in depiction of alien worlds, few modern science-fiction films can match the portrayal of a young boy's fear and wonderment of the unknown as depicted in the original version of Invaders from Mars.
Nostalgia probably has a lot to do with my affection for this film. Although the original release date of the film was before my time, even some years later the early 1960's Irish schoolboys were still endlessly fascinated with the possibility of flying saucers. And while we wanted to believe that there really was something out there, the Red Planet was seen as this great evil place which we had to be constantly wary of.
So I really do identify with Jimmy Hunt and his sense of wonder. But the film is more than just a festival for nostalgia-freaks.
The wonderful design and look of the film, those marvellous garish colours; the feeling of alienation (sorry) by Jimmy when it seems that not only can he not trust the local police but even his parents seem to be under the control of the aliens. And that wonderful ending when it seems that the nightmare will never end.
Of course you can pick faults: the master alien is rather ridiculous looking. And the scenes of the aliens running through the tunnels would never strike dread in you. But I'm sure the budget, even by the standards of the time was not much above Poverty Row. But these are minor quibbles. Its the overall impact that matters most. And the accurate portrayal of the concerns of the time.
I know there are many films of the 1950's which Americans maintain are allegories of the McCarthy witch-hunts and the Cold War. I don't know about that. But I do know that however much I may admire the computerised sci-fi films of the 80's and 90's, this film will always have a special place in my collection.
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