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LawrenceA

Recently Watched SF & Fantasy

50 posts in this topic

On 9/29/2018 at 9:30 AM, jaragon said:

The dinosaur effects are cool and Chris Pratt is always fun but I did not like the script at all

I think the filmmakers didn’t want to tinker with the formula that worked before.  And as you point out, Chris Pratt’s star power makes up for any shortcomings.

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the most recent SF film I've seen --and this, is testament to how few I regularly view--was at least four years ago when I chose to attend a classic screening of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth"  with James Mason. I was very pleased with the experience.

I was dubious at first, because SF is not my favorite genre at all... but I would take a gamble on seeing James Mason in any role. That's how much I trust his talent. Anyway I need not have worried, because it turned out to be smashing. I left the theater well-satisfied with my choice; I didn't see a single misstep, goof, groaner, or howler in the whole production. Snags, loopholes, and anachronisms really do bother the heck out of me. But there's nothing to complain about in this case.

Bosley Crowther of course, panned it. :huh:

But more displeasing to me, is when I glance at modern reviews of this flick and the reviewers say merely that 'the special fx are dated'. So stupid! It's a rousing flick, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Compared to some POS remake with implausible-on-sight "Brandon --somebody"? A token pre-teen and a female lead you'd just as readily see consumed by a raptor?

The thing about the 1959 version is that it exudes charm and vigor and heart. No one says, "yo dude" as a line of dialog. So what if the monsters are terrarium geckos obviously matted in? Its solid storytelling.

Dir: Henry Levin; written by Charles Brackett.

journey-to-the-center-of-the-earth-1959.

 

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On 10/4/2018 at 11:31 AM, Sgt_Markoff said:

the most recent SF film I've seen --and this, is testament to how few I regularly view--was at least four years ago when I chose to attend a classic screening of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth"  with James Mason. I was very pleased with the experience.

I was dubious at first, because SF is not my favorite genre at all... but I would take a gamble on seeing James Mason in any role. That's how much I trust his talent. Anyway I need not have worried, because it turned out to be smashing. I left the theater well-satisfied with my choice; I didn't see a single misstep, goof, groaner, or howler in the whole production. Snags, loopholes, and anachronisms really do bother the heck out of me. But there's nothing to complain about in this case.

Bosley Crowther of course, panned it. :huh:

But more displeasing to me, is when I glance at modern reviews of this flick and the reviewers say merely that 'the special fx are dated'. So stupid! It's a rousing flick, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Compared to some POS remake with implausible-on-sight "Brandon --somebody"? A token pre-teen and a female lead you'd just as readily see consumed by a raptor?

The thing about the 1959 version is that it exudes charm and vigor and heart. No one says, "yo dude" as a line of dialog. So what if the monsters are terrarium geckos obviously matted in? Its solid storytelling.

Dir: Henry Levin; written by Charles Brackett.

 

One of my all time favorite science  fiction adventure movies. It's one of those rare movies that I loved as kid which still works.  The fx work is excellent even the lizards as dinosaurs.  The movie has a real sense of wonder and that awesome Bernard Herrman score.

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Peter Fonda directed "Idaho Transfer" (1973) a low key science fiction movie about a group of young people who are involved in a time travel experiment which takes them to a desolate future Earth.  A young Keith Carradine plays one of time travelers. This is a film of it's time and the ending is truly bizarre.  You can see on You Tube.

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So true.."sense of wonder" is paramount in films like these. There's no FX budget big enough to repair a flick which lacks it! :wacko:

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20 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

So true.."sense of wonder" is paramount in films like these. There's no FX budget big enough to repair a flick which lacks it! :wacko:

I agree with you so many modern films over do the CGI fx but do not give the audience a chance to be enthralled by the fantasy they are watching.

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I love the scene in Disney's " Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" where Nemo rams the Nautilus into the clipper ship; zooming right up to it and diving at the last moment to plow into the hull at an angle from below and rip it open. For my money, its one of the most amazing shots Disney ever did. You watch this take place from below--you can see the nose of the submarine slice the wood open and then the munitions inside explode. It's wild!

Who better than James Mason to bring that character to life.

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On 10/19/2018 at 10:16 AM, Sgt_Markoff said:

I love the scene in Disney's " Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" where Nemo rams the Nautilus into the clipper ship; zooming right up to it and diving at the last moment to plow into the hull at an angle from below and rip it open. For my money, its one of the most amazing shots Disney ever did. You watch this take place from below--you can see the nose of the submarine slice the wood open and then the munitions inside explode. It's wild!

Who better than James Mason to bring that character to life.

Mason is Captain Nemo- the DVD edition had an excellent must see making of documentary; specially interesting is how they changed the attack of the giant squid from daylight to night time.

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He sure is. Although there may have been some other actors who could've taken the role; there's no one I'd rather have seen do so. That cultured voice of his; his intensity; his work-ethic.

My favorite movie critic cried when Mason died and I don't blame him.

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JJ Abrams"Super 8" (2011) Spielbergh inspired science fiction adventure about a group of kids making a super 8 monster movie  in 1978 and encountering the real thing.  I was a teen age super 8 movie maker and they got that part of the story just right- but the creature from outer space angle doesn't quite work.

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Captain Marvel (2019) Brie Larson steps into the shoes of this latest Marvel superhero.  We’re introduced to her as Vers, a member of the Kree, a superior alien race that functions as a cosmic police force, battling their arch nemesis, the reptilian-like Skrulls.   Vers eventually finds herself on Earth, haunted by images from a fragmentary past.  Did she really have a life on Earth?  The Skrulls have also landed, and they’re after a valuable engine that can be weaponized.   The Skrulls are a worthy adversary, capable of shape-shifting, down to one’s DNA.

It turns out Vers indeed had another life, as Carol Danvers, ace Air Force pilot. Once she teams up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the film takes off. The script has several clever turns.  Good and evil archetypes are flipped.  There’s plenty of playful, comic banter.  Ben Mendelsohn as Skrull leader Talos speaks in a deadpan South London accent so rich I was expecting him to break into song and dance. But the narrative devise that gives the film its emotional heft is a storyline that’s topical in today’s immigration debate, inserted ever so nimbly and organically.

I loved Brie Larson’s performance. She’s vulnerable, headstrong, and ferocious.  Hints are sprinkled that Carol and her best friend, fellow pilot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), were more than just friends.   Once Carol’s powers are fully realized, there’s seemingly no other superhero in the Avengers universe that can touch her. With Jude Law, Annette Bening, and a cat named Goose it’s better not to anger.

The 1995 setting provides a nice nostalgic touch without overdoing it.  The soundtrack, including hits from Nirvana, No Doubt, and Garbage, is an adrenaline rush that compliments the great action scenes.  The whole affair is alot of fun.

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Avengers: Endgame (2019) After last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, I had a feeling the next film would have a time travel plot to reverse the destruction wrought by Thanos (Josh Brolin).  Sure enough, Avengers: Endgame features a space-time portal known as the Quantum Realm (a perfect name).  Even without the prized Infinity Stones, Thanos, aka The Mad Titan, is still quite a force.  All the characters from the Avengers universe get screen time, but the focus is on the originals: Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and to a lesser extent The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).  The 3-hour running time doesn’t feel interminable because of the nimble pacing, and the various side stories of the characters dispatched to far off galaxies and time zones.  The third act, in which everyone gets a shot to take down Thanos, is a cacophony of battle sequences that confirm why these movies are so much fun.  As for the ending, I won’t spoil anything except to say it feels just right.

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On 4/2/2019 at 2:11 PM, cinemaspeak59 said:

Captain Marvel (2019) Brie Larson steps into the shoes of this latest Marvel superhero.  We’re introduced to her as Vers, a member of the Kree, a superior alien race that functions as a cosmic police force, battling their arch nemesis, the reptilian-like Skrulls.   Vers eventually finds herself on Earth, haunted by images from a fragmentary past.  Did she really have a life on Earth?  The Skrulls have also landed, and they’re after a valuable engine that can be weaponized.   The Skrulls are a worthy adversary, capable of shape-shifting, down to one’s DNA.

It turns out Vers indeed had another life, as Carol Danvers, ace Air Force pilot. Once she teams up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the film takes off. The script has several clever turns.  Good and evil archetypes are flipped.  There’s plenty of playful, comic banter.  Ben Mendelsohn as Skrull leader Talos speaks in a deadpan South London accent so rich I was expecting him to break into song and dance. But the narrative devise that gives the film its emotional heft is a storyline that’s topical in today’s immigration debate, inserted ever so nimbly and organically.

I loved Brie Larson’s performance. She’s vulnerable, headstrong, and ferocious.  Hints are sprinkled that Carol and her best friend, fellow pilot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), were more than just friends.   Once Carol’s powers are fully realized, there’s seemingly no other superhero in the Avengers universe that can touch her. With Jude Law, Annette Bening, and a cat named Goose it’s better not to anger.

The 1995 setting provides a nice nostalgic touch without overdoing it.  The soundtrack, including hits from Nirvana, No Doubt, and Garbage, is an adrenaline rush that compliments the great action scenes.  The whole affair is alot of fun.

The could not find a more charisma challenged actor to play Ms Marvel?

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3 hours ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

Avengers: Endgame (2019) After last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, I had a feeling the next film would have a time travel plot to reverse the destruction wrought by Thanos (Josh Brolin).  Sure enough, Avengers: Endgame features a space-time portal known as the Quantum Realm (a perfect name).  Even without the prized Infinity Stones, Thanos, aka The Mad Titan, is still quite a force.  All the characters from the Avengers universe get screen time, but the focus is on the originals: Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and to a lesser extent The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).  The 3-hour running time doesn’t feel interminable because of the nimble pacing, and the various side stories of the characters dispatched to far off galaxies and time zones.  The third act, in which everyone gets a shot to take down Thanos, is a cacophony of battle sequences that confirm why these movies are so much fun.  As for the ending, I won’t spoil anything except to say it feels just right.

It was a long and satisfying movie except for the scenes with the charisma challenged Ms Marvel - the best scenes were Fat Thor- Hemsworth really brought a human dimension to the character

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17 minutes ago, jaragon said:

It was a long and satisfying movie except for the scenes with the charisma challenged Ms Marvel - the best scenes were Fat Thor- Hemsworth really brought a human dimension to the character

I haven't seen the latest Avengers (don't worry, I know what happens so I can't be spoiled), but I did read that Brie Larson filmed her scenes for it before they shot her standalone movie, and that she (and the Russo brothers who directed) weren't even really sure what her character was like yet. I thought the blandness of her character was a problem in Captain Marvel, but chalked it up to the nature of the character in that film (not knowing her past, or who she really was). I find that in most instances, it's a script problem and/or a direction problem. I've seen Larson in other things (Short Term 12Room) and thought she was very good and a charismatic performer. Whatever the cause, I thought Captain Marvel was among the least of the Marvel movies thus far, but I still enjoyed it for the most part.

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4 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I haven't seen the latest Avengers (don't worry, I know what happens so I can't be spoiled), but I did read that Brie Larson filmed her scenes for it before they shot her standalone movie, and that she (and the Russo brothers who directed) weren't even really sure what her character was like yet. I thought the blandness of her character was a problem in Captain Marvel, but chalked it up to the nature of the character in that film (not knowing her past, or who she really was). I find that in most instances, it's a script problem and/or a direction problem. I've seen Larson in other things (Short Term 12Room) and thought she was very good and a charismatic performer. Whatever the cause, I thought Captain Marvel was among the least of the Marvel movies thus far, but I still enjoyed it for the most part.

I found Larson and the character really boring- I did not see the "Ms Marvel" movie - she is not Wonder Woman

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On 5/22/2019 at 6:40 PM, jaragon said:

I found Larson and the character really boring- I did not see the "Ms Marvel" movie - she is not Wonder Woman

I’ve read where others also said her performance lacked something. Her character had her memory erased and didn’t know who to trust, so she was confused, angry and had a chip on her shoulder. She didn’t have the strong family support of Wonder Woman. I find Brie Larson to be a compelling actress, and thought she hit the right notes as Captain Marvel.

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"Gozdilla King of the Monsters '(2019) the legendary radioactive lizard returns in this movie which is slowed down by a subplot about a broken family.  The monster fx are excellent- these creatures have never looked more real or scary- specially the three headed Ghidrah .  Rodan and Mothra are in too and the scenes with Mothra are quite beautiful.  But one does not go to a Godzilla movie for a melodrama about divorced parents Kyle Chandler and Vera Formiga who spend as much screen time fighting over their daughter Milli Bobby Brown ( Eleven from "Stranger Things" ) than they do the various monsters. 

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On 6/1/2019 at 7:18 PM, jaragon said:

"Gozdilla King of the Monsters '(2019) the legendary radioactive lizard returns in this movie which is slowed down by a subplot about a broken family.  The monster fx are excellent- these creatures have never looked more real or scary- specially the three headed Ghidrah .  Rodan and Mothra are in too and the scenes with Mothra are quite beautiful.  But one does not go to a Godzilla movie for a melodrama about divorced parents Kyle Chandler and Vera Formiga who spend as much screen time fighting over their daughter Milli Bobby Brown ( Eleven from "Stranger Things" ) than they do the various monsters. 

This was alot of fun. I agree the family melodrama dragged it down a bit.  But the monsters saved the day. I especially liked the sequence with a squadron of fighter jets trying to take down Rodan (the Fire Demon), which didn’t work out very well for the jets. The epic battle between Godzilla and Ghidorah was great.  The international cast was also a plus.

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High Life (2018). Directed by Claire Denis, I admired this film’s lo-fi minimalism. After a while, though, the story of a group of people traveling in space, in a ship that looks like a boxcar, grew confoundingly pretentious. Who are these people, who look like models in a perfume commercial? We learn they’re guinea pigs serving death sentences who are sent on a mission to harness energy from a black hole. High Life seems to confuse ambivalence as high art.  Starring Robert Pattinson in a performance I found overly restrained to the point of being listless.

The only character generating any interest was Juliette Binoche’s de facto leader. She plays a doctor with a Dr. Moreau complex, only this time sticking with humans, chewing up the scenery and spitting it out.  The ship has a special room where the passengers can pleasure themselves.  The scene in which Binoche’s character enters the room, and what she does, is one of the most extreme examples of self-indulgence I’ve seen.  She makes Meg Ryan’s histrionics in When Harry Met Sally look like a poetry recitation.  Grade C+.

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2 hours ago, jaragon said:

This is a good sci-fi horror thriller from Spain

It's a very entertaining movie, with good suspense scenes. Clara Lago is a knockout.

 "De los Productores de Los Ojos de Julia". Los Ojos de Julia is a very good thriller. Belén Rueda is one of my favorite actresses.

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phase_iv_poster.jpg

Phase IV. 1974. Directed by Saul Bass. With Nigel Davenport, Michael Murphy, Lynne Frederick.

Two scientists travel to the Arizona desert to study and stop a colony of mutated and highly intelligent ants.

Screen-Shot-2015-03-20-at-3.42.11-PM.png

 

I liked the idea of the movie, slowly showing the mystery of nature in contrast with the modern world. But the story is muddled, and instead of picking up the pace in some key scenes, the movie continues to drag on without any built-up tension. On the other hand, cinematographer Ken Middleham shot stunning sequences of the ant colony and other wildlife. Those are the best scenes in the movie.

 

phaseiv2.jpg

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Ejecta  (2014)  -  3/10

MV5BNjQwMzM3NDkyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDgy

Dreadful sci-fi thriller about a man (Julien Richings) who gets kidnapped by military types who think that he has some knowledge about a possible impending alien invasion. The film jumps back and forth between his interrogation, which is shot in the traditional manner, and flashbacks shown in a documentary style. It seems like two half-finished bad movies stitched together into one terrible whole. Avoid.

 

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