July 9, 2014
Tom Cruise is back to join the Starship Troopers and help Incept Groundhog Day against Aliens in Edge of Tomorrow.
Okay, the above snarky, reductive synopsis makes Edge of Tomorrow sound like a crappy knock-off, it’s best bits cannibalized from of a handful of better films. Though you could argue that is technically accurate, it’s a description which doesn’t do the film justice—a film which is probably the last, best original science fiction film we’re going to get for a decade.
I do say “original” because though it borrows elements from other films, such as the rag-tag band of marines from Aliens, remember that the rag-tag band of marines from Aliens were an homage to classic war films like The Dirty Dozen. The seemingly unbeatable alien invaders in Starship Troopers weren’t a new concept when the book was written and absolutely old hat when the film was made. If there was an element of deja vu in Groundhog Day it was partially that the gimmick of time-loops was already an old standby. If there are any wholly original concepts left in sci-fi, they haven’t cropped up in the past four or five decades so we shouldn’t criticize a film too harshly for not offering one up now.
And I say Edge of Tomorrow is the “last, best” sci-fi film we’ll see because, judging by the dismal box-office reports of Edge of Tomorrow‘s opening weekend, audiences have guaranteed we’ll only see reboots and superhero movies until people stop going to see those too. Eventually it will probably find a word-of-mouth audience on Netflix (which I imagine is of little interest to the studios) and in time will become a sort of sci-fi action classic alongside Aliens, The Matrix, District 9 and Inception—but without making the studios the kind of bank those films did. For now it’s being painted as the biggest genre bomb since Waterworld.
Which is too bad since it’s the antithesis of Waterworld—a true turkey which bombed because it was an actively, aggressively, unapologetically terrible film. Something audiences don’t seem to care about as long as the words “Star Trek” or “Marvel” or “DC” are attached to the title.
So when I call it the last, best original science fiction film, it’s being measured by a bar set dishearteningly low.
May 1, 2014
A double review of William Shatner’s documentary, The Captains, which is a tribute to his own vanity, as well as the latest Marvel Comics movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is barely about the titular soldier.
January 3, 2014
This week, without a party of a dozen dwarves to lead the way, just the two of them, like Sam and Frodo, Jakob and Mandi enter the desolation. The Desolation of Smaug, specifically. Or Smahowg, as he’s known to his friends. Apparently.
November 27, 2013
Kathie is back to discuss the latest Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. Also, urine and minor spoilers if you know absolutely nothing about Hunger Games.
June 24, 2013
♦ complete viewing ♠ partial viewing ≈ television series
♠ Terminator 2: Judgement Day
I wanted to watch this again because I’ve thrashed it hard over the years (23 of them to be precise) and lately have begun to suspect I was being unfair to it. Judgement Day seems to be the franchise favourite among fans and sometimes I have a knee-jerk negative reaction to popular favourites.
So what were my issues with the film going in? Basically just that they’d taken the gritty, ultra-violent, campy B-movie, sci-fi action/horror of the original Terminator and sanitized it into an almost family-friendly, Spielberg-esque boy-and-his-robot buddy movie. I remembered it being basically E.T. if Elliott was a juvenile delinquent and E.T. had been a time-travelling hunter-killer cyborg. While I’ll always have a nostalgic love for E.T., doing a Terminator version was just a terrible concept from the get go.
Rehashing the same time-travel paradox gambit from the first film was probably a bit dodgy to begin with, but I had a huge problem with the switch-up in making Arnie a good guy this time around (at his insistence if I remember correctly). The concept might have been okay if, instead of playing a reprogrammed T-800 sent back to protect John Connor, he was a human being—the one that the T-800’s appearance was based on. Having this “good guy” version of the T-800 completely destroys the character. He’s simply not interesting unless he’s indiscriminately killing people without mercy or remorse. Maybe human-Arnie could even have been fighting robo-Arnie! Or maybe someone like Dolph Lundgren could have been a T-900 cyborg? Anything would have been better than this neutered version of the T-800 and the weird liquid man.
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May 23, 2013
This week the nerds hurdle into darkness (see what we did there?) and as a result Kathie snarks on Captain Kirk while Mandi has a Zack attack and Jakob is dumbfounded neither of them had seen Wrath of Khan before.
A few interesting Into Darkness reads and links regarding the more sexist aspects of the film:
FELICIA DAY, asks “Where are the women? The strong women? The women we’d like to see in 200 years?”
DAMON LINDELHOF says, Alice Eve underwear scene was ‘gratuitous’
SLASHFILM says, “The whole thing is over within a minute, and ends with Carol still in her bra and panties. Her lingerie isn’t even all that sexy. But — and memorize these next two words, because they’re basically my entire thesis statement — context matters.”
THE DAILY DOT says, “Are we expected to believe that a mysterious plague has wiped out 75% of the women in the galaxy?”
Also, Benedict Cumberbatch looks even more like an OTTER with water streaming down his face.
November 23, 2012
With the release of SKYFALL, pretty much every media outlet has been making a big deal out of this being the 50th anniversary of Bond, James Bond. Though, really, it seems like every time there’s a new Bond film out, there’s a retrospective of all the past Bonds, girls, villains and cars. The list is just gets a little longer each year. So though the world really doesn’t need yet another look at Bond, we’d be remiss in not tossing our thoughts onto the pile.
August 25, 2011
I really didn’t expect to go to Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D Aroma-Scope, but my co-host and light of my life, Mandi, was insistent. Rarely have I seen her so excited for an upcoming movie that wasn’t about teenage wizards (or vampires). Actually, I’ve never seen her so excited for any film.
It wasn’t too surprising, I figured, since the first Spy Kids movie was truly excellent and the second two instalments were pretty great as well. Not only were they family films made by a proper director—not just cheap product rolled off a studio assembly line—but they also showed there was more to Robert Rodriguez than ultra-violent, post-modern grindhouse flicks. They had heart, a unique style, great writing and they had great casts. Some of his best work by far.
I would have been more confused by Mandi’s excitement if I’d known Mandi had never actually seen a Spy Kids movie. I didn’t know until we were pulling into the cinema parking lot that she was going purely for the Aroma-Scope experience. As far as seat-filling gimmicks go, this one apparently works (except our theatre was only about 20% full).
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December 24, 2010
I’ve always had a problem with The Matrix.
The premise is simply too absurd. I don’t mean the idea that reality is a digital construct. That one I can buy. But the idea the titular “matrix” was designed only to keep the brains of billions of comatose prisoners alive so they can act as power generators for a race of intelligent robots throws a monkey wrench into my suspension of disbelief machine.
Certainly the amount of power needed just to keep their life-support pods active would use up the paltry amount of electricity the human brain produces. I can’t even reasonably believe a person could power their own pod. I just can’t do it. It’s preposterous. I spent a decade arguing it’s the stupidest sci-fi concept ever committed to film.
But then I saw Tron: Legacy. It makes The Matrix look like Shakespeare.
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