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Return of the Ghostbusters (2007)
Excellent fan film!
When I think of fan films, I cringe. In fact, sequels or remakes created by professional, authorized, official production companies cause me various levels gastric distress. (I Spy, Thunderbirds, Star Trek I, War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers just to name a few) Naturally I was skeptical when I started watching Return of the Ghostbusters online. But, instead of being a laughable (or unbearable) gushing, goofy fan mess, it's actually (I can't believe I'm saying this) It's actually GOOD!!! And, good on just about every level.
They show superb understanding and respect for the original, while being able to pick up the pieces and make their own mark with the work. That ain't an easy task! The plot was interesting and original and included several character stories providing motivation and context for character actions and interactions. Apart from a good script and nice pacing, the cinematography is PDGwell framed and nicely lit, SFX, acting, comedy sense, characters all deserve special note.
The Plucky Girl Reporter is gorgeous and adorable. The boys are engaging and equally adorable. It's all great fun to watch.
I'm not saying it's Citizen Kane, but considering it's an amateur work, it's pretty impressive. Clearly these are not just a bunch of idiots with a VHS camera. They're a bunch of very TALENTED idiots with many skills (not unlike Ackroyd, Reitman, Ramis, Murray et al).
Great work folks! Hope you get to make more of these, or better yet
I hope you get snapped up as professional filmmakers. Thanks!
Star Trek: Voyager: Resolutions (1996)
Pivot point for Voyager fans - Spoilers
Probably the most talked about, most defining episode of Voyager -- at least for Janeway/Chakotay romance fans. And there are a lot of us. Many fans are so captivated by the "love that never was", that they've formed their own discussion and write vast quantities of fan fiction , devoted to "JetC", or J/C as it's called for short. There are many J/C videos online. One fan even wrote and sang a song for one (and she's good!)
For me, Resolutions is a bittersweet moment in the Voyager saga. It's performed by two superb actors, Beltran and Mulgrew. They do a magnificent job of leading us through the narrative and convincing us that they are in love. The look on Chakotay's face when Janeway pulls away from his is amazing. Where's my box of tissues?
The heartbreak is, that the Janeway/Chakotay romance was completely dropped. They hardly seemed to have any relationship at all. Instead, the powers that be (TPTB) gave us countless hours of treknobabble and entirely too many lifeless scenes where the ship was blowing up. They still used Janeway as a pivotal character, but Chakotay was often written as if he were an extra, spouting "Red Alert" and "Shields at 20%" or the unforgettable "Shields at 60%". Will we ever see drama of that caliber again? I HOPE NOT!
In "Resolutions", Chakotay becomes Mrs. Janeway, cooking and making house on the Edenic planet on which they are stranded. He's deeply in love with her, but she wants to "define parameters" in their relationship (huh? Mine would be, take your vitamins, guy!). That line leads to a truly beautiful scene between the two characters. But, throughout the series, the Janeway character is forever saying she "doesn't have time" for romance and can't have the "luxury" of human love, and citing protocols and regulations that prohibit such a union. (that's not in original Trek!)She cannot have a normal relationship with a member of the crew. In later episodes, she has an affair with a hologram. Ugh!
Oh brave new world! In the future, powerful women will be aloof and inhuman and will need to use an advanced computer projections in lieu of a normal, healthy relationship. Great! Glad I won't be there.
It would have been a more powerful statement to have the two characters marry and run the ship as a "Mom and Pop". She could be pregnant and defending her ship and crew against Borg etc., still functioning in the real world and being in charge, the same way women in leadership positions do today.
I do not know why TPTB got on this anti-J/C jag. If Janeway and Chakotay did the old "impossible, it can never happen, arm's length" mating dance that is common in Sci-Fi shows(Firefly, Farscape, X-Files) that would have been great, IF they eventually broke down those barriers and triumphed over...well, whatever it is that keeps them apart. Even if they just cared about each other, as friends and colleagues, that would have been terrific. But, to drop the relationship: not good.
I guess we'll never know Berman's or Paramount's reasons for taking the show in that direction. I suspect there was spite involved, as the fans of the show were clamoring for J/C when the show was first run. Perhaps they did not want the fans to dictate the direction of the story. Robert Beltran, was not very politic in voicing his disappointment with the scripts he was being handed. Perhaps he angered the writers and the producers and they simply gave him less to do, which is awful for an actor. I know what he was complaining about, and he was right! But, that's all speculation on my part.
Kirk and Spock were great friends, to the point of self sacrifice. Their relationship one of the main things that makes Star Trek TOS work so well. And, lack of it, is one of the things that mars this spin off, which is often a wonderful show.
Bone Eater (2007)
Another Bad Idea from the Sci-Fi Channel.
Sci-Fi channel thinks this IS Sci-Fi; it's a shame. Big Bugs, Snakes, Mythical Beasties, on and on, they persist.
Some one at Universal had the brains to include BattleStar Galactica (the new, good one) and Firefly for a brief moment in their line up. I know they know they difference between total garbage and extremely high quality sci-fi.
A few years back they were on about how they were going all high and mighty, making productions that were not just for us mere, lame-o Trekkies. Thanks so much, Sci-Fi! You know, you make movies so bad, even Trekkies won't watch them, so you achieved your goal! Fire Serpent, Ice Spiders, Manticore, Larva etc.and a vast unrelenting crap-storm later, and they're still churning out just faster than the latest flu virus! How they do it is beyond my ken. Why they do it, I just don't know. How they can ignore these reviews, comments, blogs and e-mails, I don't know either, but it's clear they don't think much of their audience or care about our opinions! They seem to think this is what sci-fi fans want! You would think one or two good productions with some sense would creep through when whoever green lights this junk is on vacation. At least they're employing the collection of Misfit Toys; many of the sci-fi movie of the week actors were in Science Fiction shows once and now need the cash. Love you folks, and hope you get some better work!
I Spy (2002)
Why call it "I Spy"?
Obviously the creators of this film did not care for the original show. If they had, they wouldn't have gone so far out of their way to alter it beyond recognition.
Kelly and Scotty were suave, urbane, competent. Neither one of them was James Bond. They never stopped into the spy center to pick up their gadgets.
Kelly did NOT have a posse, a bevy of bi-atches or a private airplane with his name splattered on the side, and he did not refer to himself in the third person. AND, he was a WHITE tennis player, not a black exhibition boxer. (I guess white men can't jump, so they made the black guy the athlete.) Robert Culp was incredibly sexy but did not refer to himself as "Agent Double Oh Nine and a Half". I mean, ewe! But, these are all elements of this film, which for some reason bares the name of the series and heists the character names.
I don't think I would have hated this movie so much if it weren't pretending to have anything to do with the classic series. If it were a stand alone flick about a couple of spy guys, then, so what. But, as it is, it's basically an affront to the original "I Spy". Was their only research a poster or something? Because, the original show is available on DVD, so it's not as if it's gone from the planet.
It brings to mind the horrific "update" of the "Wild, Wild West", a Razzie Award fav.
I don't have any problem with black people updating these characters and stepping into the roles. But, do they have to do it so badly? Kelly and Scotty were never goofy, or grossly incompetent. (Ok, so they walked into a couple of fists along the way. It was subtle comedy, not this over-blown mess.) This Kelly and "Alex" are hopelessly off the mark.
Updates can work, (Scooby-Doo, Addams Family, Bradey Bunch) but there has to be SOME respect for the source material, even if it's parody. How can you parody something you've never bothered to see.
And gawd, this movie makes me love Culp and Cosby even more than I already do!
Scared the be-jimity outta me!
***Contains SPOILERS**** This episode left an indelible impression on me as a child. I remembered many details from it and was amazed when I saw it years later.
IT'S WONDERFUL!!!! This Ray Bradbury story is extremely chilling and beautifully executed (pun intended). It's superbly acted--Pat Buttram gracefully heads a remarkable cast of actors. George Lindsey's portrayal of a mentally challenged man is sensitive and heart wrenching. William Marshall (Blackula, Dr. Daystrom from Star Trek) is deep and visceral.
Each character is given a chance to say what they "see" in The Jar and it's an actor's playground and a audience delight.
One of the reason I enjoy shows like this so much is that actors who were relegated to bread and butter roles that they could phone in (like George Lindsey as Goober Pyle in Mayberry RFD) got to show their tremendous range and versatility. These are NOT one note actors so give 'em more than one note to sing.
If you see no other Alfred Hitchcock episode ever, see this one! They you'll be remembering it 40 years later!
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
One-Off, The Best of the Worst
Once in a lifetime, a film comes along that is such an affront to all that is good, right and sane that it removes paint and varnish from most surfaces. That film is "Manos" The Hands of Fate, which has been deftly recycled for your bad movie enjoyment by MST3K.
In 10 years and countless searches, MST3K never did find another character/performance to equal the nadir of John Reynolds' `Torgo'. He hems, haws and generally looks uncomfortable, even as an inebriate--he is quite obviously smashed throughout the film. The `big knees' were his idea, as he was going for the Satyr look that was all the craze in Texas in the drug soaked '60's. He really did think about this.
Warren never did another film. So many of the greats have only one work to their name, as if the pinnacle of their achievement was their only purpose for passing through this misty vale that we call `life'. The shining star that shined so bright for this director perhaps burned his `manos' right off, as if the gods themselves were affronted by his attempt to touch the eternal truths. Or maybe there was just more money in other steaming piles of manure. Depends who ya ask.
I will leave you with this MST3K quip: `Every frame of this film looks like somebody's last known photograph.' Woah! That's so true, dude!