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Heavy Metal (1981)
Cel animated anthology with mostly bad stories
This film is extremely odd. It combines different genres (adventure, crime, drama, sci-fi, comedy and horror) with R-Rated elements (sex, nudity, gore, extreme violence and profanity) all done in cel animation. I personally think this film is a huge mess but certain parts are very well done. The film opens in space with Elmer Bernsteins haunting score playing. As the credits role we watch a model animated astronaught return to Earth on a space-vehicle. This credits sequence is awesome, combining the stop-animated and sometimes hand painted animated astronaut. Then we meet a green globe which represents pure evil. It tells storys of how it has been around for ever all around the galaxy and what it has done to it. The first story is, OK. It's predicible and ends kind of lamely but it's OK. The second story is pretty much a big mess. It's called Den about a nerd who gets transported to a place where he is the hero and sleeps with every woman who wants him and saves the world and the alien civilization. It's really nothing more that a 12 year old perverts fantasy and it's a waste of time. The third story is better than the firts few called "Captain Stern" and it reminds me of the old Nelvana animated cartoon shows except for the language that is. The fourth story is a masterpiece. It's called B-17. It opens up as WWII fighters and planes are battling each other. The only surviving plane, being of course a B-17, flys off after all of the others have also gone or have been destroyed. The only surrviving people on the plane are the pilots and one of them goes back to see what's going on. He sees that everyone else has died of bullet wounds. Then a circular green meteor-like object lands on the plane for a short moment and then leaves. When the meteor leaves, the dead bodies of the men come back alive, as skeletons who's organs are falling out. Now the 2 pilots must face ultimate evil while trying to escape the B-17. This story reminds me of old EC comic books such as "Tales from the Crypt" and "Vault of Horror." This was extremely well done, accompanied by an awesome and haunting score by Elmer Bernstein, the animation was done so that it looks like you're watching a living horror comic book on your TV. The 5th story is another excuse to show sex and pathetic antics. This time with a sex-crazed robot and 2 drug addicted aliens. The last story is so boring, I don't even feel like talking about it; it's so poorly written and looong, it's the longest segment in the film and not even Bernstein's score can save it and it was worse to find out that the end that the whole bookended storyline (with the meteor and the girl) ties in with the last one. I'd say that this movie has one excellent segment which should be scene by horror comic book fans, but the rest is terrible.
Get ready for something unique
After a long 5 year wait, Henry Selick's next film, Monkeybone, was finally released. Although a strong dissapointment, Monkeybone delivers some great comedic comedy, the visually beautiful Downtown designed by Henry and some excellent stop-motion animation. The look and tone of the film is very sexual, something not explored in any of Selick's earlier films. Monkeybone, the title character from what I got while watching the film stands for the part of someone that gets aroused sexually and therefore the message at the end of the film `There's a little bit of Monkeybone in everybody' will make sense to those who got some of the subliminal messages. Besides the shock of there being sexual themes in a Selick film, there are some extremely well thought out and created visual effects and stop-motion animation special effects contained in the film. The film combines stop-motion animation and live action to the extent that hasn't been seen or attempted before. With scenes containing compositions between the puppet and the human actor they filmed the stop-motion monkey on a blue screen manaquin which is representing Brendan Fraiser in a scene when he must interact with the monkey. The cast is great- Brendan Fraiser, Bridget Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg and Chris Kattan. The film should have gotten an R rating for all of the sexual material represented in the film throughout but thus was rated PG-13. The editing is terrible and many characters are not introduced. A lot of stop-motion animation and scenes involving the relationship between Stu Miley and Kitty were cut which make scenes left in make little or no sense at all. The film's production was very slow and seemed to be a nightmare. The release date was in limbo for nearly 5 months until a trailer finaly appeared with the film Cast Away. The trailer made the film look like American Pie meets MTV. The film itself is a bit hard to describe. Indeed it does combine films like American Pie and Nightmare on Elm Street and uses the same kind of imagery from the Nightmare Before Christmas. But best of all this is something completely different from the usual brain-dead teen-age comedies that are being made today. It was a box office disaster and a failure to bring something new to screen. As it stands, it is a CULT classic and hopefully will achieve a Rocky Horror-like following sometime in the next 20 years.
This weekend I rented two films- Brainstorm and Altered States. Brainstorm was the better of the 2. While Altered States was a lot more like a bad trip, Brainstorm provided the audience with an original and interesting story line. The key element in Altered States are drugs, graphic gore, sex and evolution ( with some spectacular effects thrown in ). While the key elements in Brainstorm are love, the mind, science, and death with some great effects thrown in too. Rent it for a special science fiction experiance. A great scientific adventure! Highly recomended!!! 8 out of 10.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
This movie is so entertaining
I love this movie, for what it is. I do know, however, that if another director would have had his hands on this, it probably would have ended up a lot darker and a lot less funny. But I find a happy medium in everything so I take it for what it is. For what it is I give Mars Attacks a 10. For one thing the story is very well written and very witty. Second, this movie has the greatest aliens of all time. As a huge fan of the cards before this came out, seeing them look almost real is a treat. And third, the acting. Although I do think that some of the actors didn't need to be hear, Danny Devito had such a tiny part, but for what it is the acting is great. My fav parts of te film are all of the parts when the martians are on, in the saucer especially. Although I would have perfered the martians to be stop-motion animation, the computer graphics of these guys are excellent. And the saucer scenes are a nice homage to Ray Harryhausen ( those are his saucers you know).
Bad Movie, great aliens
Some awesome stop-motion animation in a bad film. The only good live action in this movie in every scene Eddie Dezen is in. He plays a real dork in this movie, so he is funny. The aliens in the movie, on the other hand, are fabulous. They were designed by David Allen ( *batteries not included ) and Jon Berg ( star wars ). They were animated by Randall Wiliam Cook The Gate ) and David Allen. With all of this talent on board, these aliens are truly majestic and awesome. Stop-motion animation fans need to check this one out for the aliens. I love them! The movie, however, is a drag. 4 out of 10.
entertaining, great movie
Equinox is a real good entertaining film. It's been rumored that this is the film that inspired "Evil Dead". The story is about 4 teen-agers (probibly 19) who go out in the woods to see their college professer and to have a picnic. Dr. Waterman, the professer, is missing and his home is destroyed. They go searching for him and they find a castle ( a matte painting by Jim Danforth ). And the strange ranger,Asmodeus, seems to have something up his sleve. Well, you go on from there. They then encounter- stop-motion animation monsters, a giant, and evil unworldly powers. Very hard to find a copy. Every once in a while, if you're lucky, a copy pops up on eBay. I got a copy on eBay that recorded from the original 35mm print. Just recently on AMC Stan Winston Theater EFX they showed it. It seemed to have been digitally restored. Stop-motion fans should definatly try to hunt down this rare GEM. The special effects were produced and directed by Dennis Muren, the stop-motion animation was done by David Allen, and the matte paintings were by Jim Danforth. 9 out of 10!
The Worst of 2000, next to Mission to Mars
Yes, this is most certainly the worst film I ever went to, along with Mission to Mars. When I first saw the trailer to it, it looked very campy and very dark. Playing in the was a 1960's rock song, right then I new the movie would be lots of fun. But also- I saw really good make-up of an alien- one looked scaley and another looked like the oval-shaped-slanted black eyes type of alien. Wow, this looks fun. When it opened up the first day, I thought it sounded like a good way to spend my Friday night. Boy was I ever wrong. First of all it was totally edited out. I could tell that a lot of the gore parts and sex scenes had been cut up a lot. When the movie was over I was extremly dissapointed that none of the aliens I saw in the trailer were in the movie. I was expecting some cool make-up and creatures. The story made absolutly no sense and it was all MESSED up. The violence and sex scenes were cut in order to receive a PG-13 rating I don't think any teens liked this movie anyway so it was a big waste of time. Too many mistakes made and too many missed opportunities.
The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977)
My friend and I rented The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977). We both enjoyed it and thought the make-up was outstanding. There is some good acting and the story was close to Wells's novel. The remake was awful. This one is much better, so if you want to see a good science fiction movie rent this one. You won't be dissapointed. 7 out of 10.
Lovers of 50's monster movies should seek out this one
This is a good old-fashioned monster movie. A mutated octopus man comes out of the water to kill, find a women, kill some more, and cause havoc in the woods. The monster was created by Doug Beswick( Planet of the Dinosaurs ) and Rick Baker ( An American Werewolf in London, The Grinch ). A lot like those old men-in-suits monster films of the 50's and 60's.
The octopus is a very well done monster.
Hollow Man (2000)
Never a dull moment
Hollow Man is one of those movies when you never get bored and it just keeps getting better and better. The acting is very good and Kevin Bacon is great. He is the same kind of villain he was in The River Wild except more evil and crazy. It starts off like a science fiction adventure, then it turns into a strait out horror. Science Fiction fans will love this movie. I was amazed at how good the computer graphics were in this great thriller. 8 out of 10.