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Archive for the ‘Science Fiction and Space Shit’ Category

Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope (No Baggage Review)

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

nobaggage tn_starwars4Oh, thank the Maker’s, there’s a new one! I don’t know what the fuck 20th Century Fox were thinking ending part 3 with all our space heroes dead or running away to hide under a rock. Not everything has to be a Hollywood ending, but that was a little grim there, fellas.

PART 4: A NEW HOPE is like a new beginning after a final chapter. It’s all kinda stripped down, rawer, lower budget, 15 minutes shorter, minimal CGI and slower-moving, and refreshingly optimistic in comparison. I mean, a young man does find the burning corpses of the aunt and uncle who raised him, but no children are murdered and nobody gets more than one limb severed, so it’s pretty light-hearted compared to the last one.

Our former hero Anakin has turned into “Darth Vader” (David Prowse from FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL), stomping around in the black helmet, unrecognizable as he storms that ship that the robot droids R. D2 and C. 3PO live on now, accusing the humans of being part of a “rebel alliance.” And the guy’s got a pretty good case because when he and his soldiers (in white armor similar to the clones) board the ship a bunch of uniformed soldiers shoot back at them. They’re obviously some type of organized militia. (read the rest of this shit…)

Star Kid

Friday, May 9th, 2014

tn_starkidNOTE: I am still on my spiritual journey in the American South, so I won’t be able to continue the STAR WARS series until the middle of next week. To hold you over until then I’m afraid all I have is a quick look at STAR KID.

Richard Stark is one of the greatest writers in the history of badass crime fiction. His Parker novels are sleek, deeply satisfying classics of the form and have also inspired a few great movies. But what if I were to tell you that Richard Stark’s name wasn’t Richard Stark at all? STARK I.D. is the story of one man’s obsession with uncovering the true identity behind the name. He looked it up on Google and it was Donald Westlake, I’m surprised he didn’t already know that because it’s on the cover of some of the books it’s not like they were hiding it from anybody, it’s pretty widely known and discussed. And also now that I think about it this movie is actually called STAR KID, I don’t know what I was thinking man I need to get more sleep I think.

I don’t think you can say STAR KID is a forgotten kiddy wish fullfillment sci-fi fantasy of the ’90s. More like an ignored one. And that’s fair. The subject matter seems inspired by ’80s kids and aliens movies of the Amblin and fake-Amblin variety, like E.T., FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR, EXPLORES and MAC & ME, but it came out in 1997, fer chrissakes. The successful sci-fi movies of that year were THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, MEN IN BLACK, THE FIFTH ELEMENT and the STAR WARS special editions. The good reviews went to GATTACA. It was too early for STARSHIP TROOPERS and too late for this shit. (read the rest of this shit…)

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (No Baggage Review)

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

tn_revengeofthesithnobaggageprogramming note: I plan to do all six of these star warses, but I had to leave on a one week spiritual quest and cue these up to post… I’ll catch up on the second half of the series after I get back. thanks everybody

It looks like some time has passed since part 2. This time Hayden Christensen has been replaced by the much older Marc Singer as Anakin. That’s not true although it’s a good idea they probly considered. Actually it’s the same actor as last time but aging is implied because his hair got long, and he has a scar across his eye. He has that robot arm from the end of part 2 so he seems like a serious veteran of star war. Those clone soldiers that were fresh out of the oven in the Battle of Bug Planet are now the Jedis’s trusted allies and co-workers. The clone war, which is a type of star war, has spread out so far that alot of the Jedi Council have to holo-commute to their meetings.

Also, uh, Anakin’s secret wife Padme is knocked up. Shit is getting real.

Watching this right after the other two is cool because even though it’s the same director (George Lucas, AMERICAN GRAFFITI) it’s a huge leap forward in almost all respects. The pacing is much better, moving at a clip, hurtling through the best space battle and action setpieces of the series so far, pedal to the metal but with a solid grip on the wheel. Kenobi and Skywalker have a much better chemistry, their expert teamwork/bickering combo much more entertaining. Christensen’s acting is much more natural, his character more charismatic, even though he (spoiler) turns evil and murders a bunch of little kids. His romance rap is still a weak point, but goes by quicker and easier than in part 2, and by the time he’s using the Force (a magic thing that Jedis use, hard to explain but just roll with it) to do a Chris Brown on his pregnant wife you figure it’s dipshit passion more than genuine love anyway, no wonder it came off so dumb. (read the rest of this shit…)

Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (No Baggage Review)

Monday, May 5th, 2014

tn_aotcnobaggageplease friends: it would be nice to play along with the no baggage concept in the comments instead of going over the same prequel discussion for the one thousand billionth time for chrissakes have some god damn respect, manners and honor thanks nerds

Remember in the opening of Star Wars part 1 there were two of these “Jedis” who were sent to intervene in a tax dispute or whatever and they got attacked by robots? Well, we learn in the opening of part 2 that these types of issues are popping off all over the galaxies now. Escalation. These “Separatists,” led by ex-Jedi turned nobleman Count Dooku (Christopher Lee, CIRCLE OF IRON), are trying to secede from the Republic and it’s getting to the point where there just aren’t enough Jedi to fly around and baby these fuckin whiners, so some of the people in the Senate are talking about finally making a “Grand Army of the Republic” to give them the smackdown. In other words, they’re saying “this means star war.”

Padme Amidala (still Natalie Portman from LEON) is no longer Queen of Naboo, but she’s become one of their Senators, and is the leader of the opposition to the army-making proposition, so some sneaky no-account motherfuckers are trying to kill her. In the first scene her ship gets blown up and she gets killed, except it turns out it’s one of her doubles and she was on a different ship with her new head of security Captain Typho (Jay Laga’aia, DAYBREAKERS). This was kinda cool because she had all those doubles in part 1 and she just used them for sneaking out and seeing the world, but this is the logical conclusion of that concept. They’re there to get assassinated in her place. That’s gotta be a hell of a feeling, that it’s somebody’s job to look like you and take an explosion for you, and then the poor girl apologizes. (They just leave her body on the landing platform. Bus your table, people.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (No Baggage Review)

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

tn_phantommenace'I guess now they’re saying May 4th is Star Wars Day. Yet another fake holiday created by Hallmark and Kenner. At first I assumed they chose May 4th because it’s 21 days before the anniversary of when STAR WARS was released and they are planning seven STAR WARS trilogies. But then somebody explained that it’s supposed to sound like “may the fourth be with you.” Get it. From the nerds who brought you Talk Like a Pirate Day: Seriously, A Whole Day of This Would Be Fun Ye Guys.

Well I’m sorry to perpetuate it, but I decided to use this as an excuse to try to finish a project I started last year when the Star Warses came out on the blu-ray and I watched all six of them again.

I like these movies. Like anybody I especially like the original versions of the original three. But – I think I mentioned this before – one thing I am sick of god damn ever fucking hearing about is fuck George Lucas, he changed the movie that I like, he made a new movie that had farting in it, he owes me, this is at least equal to child rape, most likely way worse, now I finally understand the type of psychological struggle that a 14 year old molested junkie prostitute is going through, boo fucking hoo, etc. Not that it was not a legitimate topic at one time, and inspired by true incidents, but now it’s a decades old discussion done by everybody always and still people will bring it up as if it’s a fresh wound or, worse, as if it’s some sort of rebellious cry against the system if they point out the same damn thing that everybody of their generation also thinks and always will.

I mean honestly, I don’t know how you could verify this but I bet there are more than a billion words on the internet complaining about George Lucas. They hate that motherfucker so much they saw it as a dream come true when he sold his independent artistic creation to the Disney corporation to be used as a licensed property trademark franchise product. Hopefully now the curse is on some other sucker (J.J. Abrams now and whoever takes the gig after him), ’cause they really gotta give the People vs. George Lucas topic a rest, the same way a comedian would at some point just have to leave it be about the airline peanuts, no matter how strongly he feels about how hard it is to open those bags.

Even around here where we have the best god damn commenters in the world (am I right outlawvern.com? I can’t HEAR you!) it’s risky to bring up STAR WARS or George Lucas in any context. But I was watching those blu-rays and I thought it might be a good challenge to try to write reviews of the star warses that I would consider worth reading. I’m not saying I’m gonna succeed, I’m saying I’m gonna try. I’m watching all of them yet again and they’re in these special editions that tie them all together so I might as well write about them from a perspective few have ever considered: as the guy now intends them. One long six chapter story watched in order from 1-6. (read the rest of this shit…)

The World, the Flesh and the Devil

Friday, March 21st, 2014

tn_worldthefleshTHE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL, which I never heard of until I picked up the Warner Archive dvd box abandoned sideways on top of the Post-Apocalypse section at Scarecrow Video, is an early take on the LAST MAN ON EARTH type of concept. It’s from 1959, making it the earliest one I know of, and it’s based on a book other than I Am Legend. Actually it’s apparently based on two things, The Purple Cloud, a 1901 novel by M.P. Shiel (H.G. Wells was apparently a fan!) that sounds like it has very little in common with the movie other than a last-man type concept, and a story called “End of the World” by Ferdinand Reyher (which I can’t find much information on).

Harry Belafonte plays Ralph Burton, an inspector who gets trapped alone in a collapsed mine. He’s down there a long time and goes stir crazy talking and singing to a radio that never talks back (he assumes it’s broken). Eventually he gives up on anyone rescuing him but is luckily able to dig his own way out of the rubble. (Shoulda tried that before, I guess.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Battle of the Damned

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

tn_battleofthedamnedIn BATTLE OF THE DAMNED, Dolph Lundgren fights zombies, and I’ll give it this: it’s way better than AGAINST THE DARK, the one where Steven Seagal fights vampires. There are two main reasons for this:

1) AGAINST THE DARK is Seagal’s worst movie ever
2) BATTLE OF THE DAMNED also has robots

It’s almost the same story: group of mercenaries led by beloved action icon of the ’80s and ’90s (in this case Dolph) patrols through a quarantine zone where a plague turns everybody into violent monsters (in this case running zombies instead of vampires) while a group of bland survivors walks slowly and talks about boring shit in a large building. They kill a bunch of the monsters, splattering that CGI blood that dissolves in the air, and there is some running around and stuff. Seagal used a sword, Dolph doesn’t, but he does meet a guy named Elvis (Jen Kuo Sung of NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER 3 and BLOODMOON) who does. And he knows the military plan to bomb the whole area to stop the virus so he bands together with the survivors he meets and they try to get out of there before it’s too late. The end. (read the rest of this shit…)

RoboCop (2014 remake)

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

tn_robocop14Many remakes, even good ones, remove or weaken the meaning or subtext of the originals. The classic example is Zack Snyder’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (by this same production company, Strike Entertainment), which is a fun action movie version of Romero’s masterpiece, but doesn’t have much time for the questions about our voluntary enslavement to consumerism and materialism. How do we keep our humanity in the face of this apocalypse? Did we have it in the first place? Who gives a shit. Zombies!

Another one is LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. A surprisingly good remake, in many ways more artful than the original, but with its last act tweaks and audience-pleasing ending it completely ditches the thing that makes Wes Craven’s version worth stomaching: its angry illustration of the dehumanizing effect that revenge has on those who commit it. According to the last scene of the remake fuck all that, sadistic revenge is funny and cool.

ROBOCOP 2014’s goals and tone are very different from Mr. Verhoeven’s 1987 classic, but it’s the rare remake that’s arguably even more directly political than the movie it’s based on. Most would say, and I agree, that Verhoeven’s (or really Neumeier and Miner’s) message about privatization and corporate greed is more powerful because of its hilarious bluntness. It was the sarcastic cop movie that Lee Iacoca and Ronald Reagan’s America was asking for, a movie where amoral corporate assholes run the police force for profit, turn a dead body into a cyborg cop, then unleash him to do high caliber battle with savage DEATH WISH style supercreeps and get mixed up in a feud within the company, reconnect with his old self and turn on them. (read the rest of this shit…)

RoboCop History Week: RoboCop: Prime Directives: Dark Justice

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

tn_robocoppdrobocophistoryweekIn 2001, three years after the previous ROBOCOP tv show (the cartoon ROBOCOP: ALPHA COMMANDO) and 14 years after the original movie, the Canadian company that made the LA FEMME NIKITA tv series and MUTANT X owned the tv rights to ROBOCOP and wanted to squirt something out before they expired. Instead of a traditional tv series they decided on a mini-series of four feature length, but not feature quality movies. Or prime directives, if you will.

I watched the first one, DARK JUSTICE, which has RoboCop (Page Fletcher, who I guess played the title character in the early ’90s tv series The Hitchhiker) returning to action on his tenth birthday.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Robocop History Week: Robocop Alpha Commando: “Justice Reborn Parts 1-3”

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

tn_robocopalpharobocophistoryweek“I’m not a weapons system. I’m a man.”

In 1998, 11 years after the first ROBOCOP movie, five years after the last ROBOCOP movie, ten years after the first ROBOCOP cartoon and four years after the first live action TV series came the second ROBOCOP cartoon, ROBOCOP: ALPHA COMMANDO. This was cartoon RoboCop reimagined for a very different age of TV animation. After the success of prime time cartoons like The Simpsons and the influence of Batman: The Animated Series, most cartoons were still aimed at children, but the standards for storytelling were a little higher, and many seemed like they were no longer made with utter contempt for the little shitbags they expected to be babysat by the fuckin thing.
(read the rest of this shit…)