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Not of This Earth (1957)
A movie ahead of it's time. Depicts something TRULY alien!
A much under-rated sci-fi film! People assume just because Roger Corman produced it, that it is automatically B-movie schlock. Nothing could be further from the truth! It's a genuinely creepy and and imaginative take on the usual "bug-eyed monster" films so common in the Fifties. It presents a an alien that is TRULY alien, and some very unusual and unique ideas on what an alien civilization could be like, and the threat it could present to Earth. Add to this a gutsy female heroine, and it is a movie that any aficionado of Sci-fi should watch!
Black and White film was perfect to setup the eerie atmosphere of this story.
Forget about the silly 1988 rip-off of the same name, starring ex- porn star Traci Lords. They makers of that may have had 10 times the budget and much more movie technology, but it doesn't hold a candle to the original.
Delivers the goods, with 1/10th the budget of modern "blockbuster" films!
Gotta love these 1970's disaster films! The deadpan dialogue. The soap opera sub-plots. The missiles look like they were made from Revell model kits. But "Meteor" still delivers the goods and keeps you entertained. Far more so than some other "big-budget" films in the same category today.
The A-list actors seem to enjoy being in this film. Also Brian Keith's and Natalie Wood's authentic Russian dialogue gives a legitimacy to the story line.
"Armageddon" may have had 20x the budget, but it didn't deliver even 1/10th the entertainment as this film!
Barbarian Queen (1985)
Playboy playmates unconvincingly try to be warrior Amazons
After "Conan the Barbarian" became a surprise hit, there were literally dozens of imitations made of it, all across the budgetary range. As a fan of these types of movies (the "sword and sandal" genre), I have seen quite a few. Even in the most cheaply produced ones, I can point to at least something I liked in the movie.
However, with "Barbarian Queen", there is not a single good scene or even one bit of dialogue that distinguishes the film. An hour into the film, it still has not advanced beyond the "warrior women being pursued by lusty men--interspaced with swordfight scenes".
One of the most annoying things in the movie is the unconvincing nature of the lead actresses. Basically they are Playboy Playmates pretending to be Amazons. They can hardly lift a sword, and deliver unconvincing and wobbly strokes against men who are twice their size.
The music contains excerpts from other Corman films, like "Battle Beyond the Stars" and "Deathstalker". The costumes of the evil guards and soldiers (such as the headware) are lifted also from the latter film.
Of course, with a Corman-produced film you aren't expecting Ingmar Bergman-like quality. But even a low budget swordfest like "Deathstalker" was much more enjoyable than this. Zero effort seems to have been put into making even a passable script.
This movie is sure to put you to sleep.
The Ultimate 80's late-night movie!
I came across this movie purely by accident (part of a DVD collection of 80's fantasy/sci-fi movies). Watched it last night on my home theater. Watch it, if you have the chance, because it's one of the most interesting low-budget films of the 1980's.
This movie has everything: a "mandroid" Terminator-type robot, a gutsy female robotics expert, a Humphrey Bogart/African Queen boat captain, a Ninja warrior, Neanderthal cavemen, an R2D2 clone, southern rednecks (wait till you see "Bayou Betty"!)---and a villain cyberneticist whose real ambition is to travel back in time and become a Roman Emperor! Surprisingly everything holds together very well, and from beginning to end it definitely keeps you entertained. It's a great family film, with action for the kids, and just enough intelligence and wit to make it interesting for the adults.
One of the best if not the best "80's B movies". Watch it!
Hawk the Slayer (1980)
This movie has to be seen to be believed!
It briefly made the rounds of late night television in the mid-80's here in the U.S., and then I didn't see it until I recently bought the DVD.
I admit I'm a "sword and sorcery" fan, and am usually rather forgiving when I watch one of these movies.
But "Hawk--the Slayer" is in a class of bad all its own.
First--the dumbest dialogue ever. It's as if someone filled a Rolodex with "standard lines from fantasy epics", and then used it to write the script. Thus we get such gems as "the prophecy is fulfilled!", "wolves now hunt where none were seen before", and "the wizards gather in the South".
Jack Palance is supposed to be Hawk's brother. But he looks old enough to be his dad; and other than some similarities in their right ear-lobes, there is no resemblance whatsoever.
The outside scenes all seem to have been filmed in the same tiny patch of forest. And what's with all those skulls and lizards that seem to be randomly scattered about? F/X largely is confined to stopping and reversing the camera, along with generous use of the smoke machine. In a supposedly haunted forest, our heroes are menaced by what appears to be a finger puppet.
The music is a curious sub-sub genre that can be best termed "medieval disco".
What WERE they thinking when making this film, anyway?
Kojak: The Belarus File (1985)
Even if you are not a fan of the series, this is one TV movie to see
As a young man in the 1970's I watched the occasional episode of Kojak. While I have always liked Telly Savalis as an actor, I was not a regular viewer of the Kojak series; thinking it just another of the ubiquitous "cops and detectives" shows that were so common at the time.
In this movie, viewers get a history lesson in one of the little-known aspects of World War II. Specifically the fact that many in the Nazi-conquered countries collaborated with the Germans.
The most notorious of these collaborators were among the "White Russians" (today the country of Belarus--hence the title of the movie) and the Ukrainians. Both countries have a long history of anti-Semitism, and when the Nazis began the "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem" there were plenty of locals who participated enthusiastically in the rounding-up and killing of Jews.
After a series of murders of elderly Russian men in New York, Kojak discovers that the victims were actually Nazi collaborators who were living under assumed identities. But the plot thickens as Kojak uncovers further evidence that the U.S. government was involved in helping these Russian Nazis get into the country in the first place. And there is a surprise at the end when the murderer is revealed.
This movie makes great use of its New York locations, especially emphasizing the various ethnic enclaves in the city. Savalis steps effortlessly back into the role he left 8 years previously. It's great to see George Savalis in a good supporting role. Susan Pleshette as government-employee-turned-Kojak's-partner is always good. Swedish actor Max Von Sydow as a Jewish witness to the "Russian Holocaust" and Herbert Berghoff as a German Nazi round out the cast with great performances.
Hopefully this move comes out on DVD. So far there has only been a limited release on VHS in the 1990s. It's gripping, moves at a fast pace, and tells about a bit of WWII history that few people know about.
Queer as Folk (2000)
Which universe does this show take place in?
So---gay guys have lots of torrid sex with other hot-looking gay guys. And when they aren't engaged in that, they're out clubbing! As a gay man myself, can someone tell me what universe this show takes place in? But I suppose if you put lots of implied sex and near-nudity in a TV show, it is SURE to boost the ratings!
Apparently the gay world consists of narcissistic nitwits who are all beautiful and spout dumb dialogue.
This empty-headed series is just chock-full of the worst gay stereotypes. But then again, as I mention above, dopey dialogue and the occasional sweaty heaving (but implied) sex brings in the idiot viewers.
Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Gave up after watching Episode 7 of Season 1
While not a rabid fan of the original "Battlestar Galactica" I nonetheless enjoyed the original series. It had some good stories and the f/x were great; and of course Lorne Greene is always an actor you want to watch. If it would have been allowed to get beyond only 1 season I think the original BSG would have been a successful sci-fi series.
Not having cable at my house, having largely given up watching broadcast TV some years ago, I missed the premier of this "new" series. Finally, after so many of my friends said I just HAD to see the new series, I started renting it on Netflix.
Sure enough: just as I expected they took what was a light-hearted, enjoyable, and rather daring TV show and really "updated/ruined" it for the 21st century.
Ponderous, slow, pretentious, and downright boring.
In the original series, Apollo and Cmdr. Adama have a great father-son relationship. The officers on the ship all respect and work with each other. This was one of the best and most attractive aspects of the original show. Human beings are depicted as trusting and courageous in the face of the terrible catastrophe inflicted by the Cylons.
Of course the way Hollywood "re-imagines" things now, all that is gone. The first order of business is to make it "dark". So now we get Apollo and Adama having issues, Starbuck and Col Tigh have issues, Boomer and Apollo have issues, etc. etc.
Make Starbuck a woman, and a barely disguised lesbian.
Edward James Olmos is a good enough actor, but in this show he mumbles so much as to be incomprehensible. I actually turned on the CC so that I could know what he was saying.
And they lay on the "shaky cam" and ultra-closeups with a trowel. By the time of the third episode, you get intimately familiar with every hair follicle and facial pore on the actors faces.
Oh yeah they make the Cylons human. Not really much explanation for this, as the reason is as muddy as so many other things in the story. I suppose it was done to cut down on f/x costs.
Baltar is supposed to be one of the smartest of the colonists. But why is the guy depicted as a sex-obsessed idiot?
The point I actually gave up on the series? When Starbuck launches and flies a crashed Cylon ship. Turns out the Cylon ships are actually "organic" (if the Cylons are machine creatures and denigrate anything organic as inefficient, then why do they make their ships organic?). At the point where Starbuck uses a piece of shirt to plug a hole in the Cylon hull, and begins manipulating various ganglia in the "organic" ship to make it fly---that's where I exited and instead popped in my new DVD copy of the "old" (and much better) BSG.
Independence Day (1996)
dumbest SF movie in a VERY long time!
HUGE alien spaceships make an appearance.
Hundreds of CGI techs overload their MACs generating titanic explosions that wipe out cities in tedious slow motion, while a few important characters in the plot save themselves from the total destruction by jumping into a subway maintenance closet.
Then--the Armed Forces attacketh! Once again above mentioned computer techs overload their programs (and the movie screen) with thousands of CGI-generated alien space ships.
The President acts noble. Throw in his dying wife and a dog to add a little artificial drama.
A computer geek and his Jewish dad make an appearance. The Jewish dad is cantankerous and feisty at just the right moments in the movie, to add some comic relief.
An air force pilot amazingly masters a totally alien technology in about 1 minute of on screen time to learn to fly one of the spaceships.
The computer geek accompanies him and singlehandedly wipes-out the alien's with a laptop; by uploading a virus that crashes the nasty ET's Windows OS (didn't these guys bother to check for Microsoft updates once in a while?) Thaaaaaats ALL, Folks!! Except for the audience leaving the theater with permanent hearing loss from the endless Dolby Surround-sound explosions.
very well done and meticulous re-creation of events
I just came out of watching this movie five minutes ago, and wanted to jot down some quick notes on my immediate impression of the film.
This is an excellent portrayal of the events leading up to an including the attempted assassination of Hitler in the summer of 1944.
For those viewers who are interested in the history of WWII, they will find that this has been a meticulous re-creation of events. Too often, these types of movies--for the sake of "dramatization"--obscure, ignore, or outright distort the historical record. There is very little, if any, of that here.
I suspect the screenwriters closely followed the history of this as depicted by William Shirer in his excellent "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".
Too often this event has been relegated to a footnote of history. One of the things the movie tries to impress on the viewer is the incredible courage of the conspiracy members. I have read some reviews where the reviewers whine about the "darkness" of the movie. But it must be remembered that the conspirators knew that this was a desperate attempt to save Germany and stop World War II, and that there was only a slight chance of success. It is to the credit of the German Resistance Movement---too often dismissed by historians and even FDR himself--that they realized the evil of Hitler and tried to do something about it.
Cruise is quite good as Stauffenberg, and the British actors do an excellent job depicting the German co-conspirators.
I would urge others to see this movie, and especially young people. The movie has not only a historical lesson to teach, but a lesson in morality and courage in the face of tyranny. It is a lesson still pertinent today.
We also need to show Hollywood that there is a demand for good weighty movies such as this, and not only for the escapist mind-candy that so often appears at your local cinemaplex.