Archive for the ‘ invasion/visitation movies ’ Category

movies. [five things, 10.17.11]

Some movies I’ve been loving lately, during the last few crazy weeks. I can’t wait to get back into movie watching more regularly again.

1. The Lion King (on Blu-Ray)

Still awesome, after all these years. Among other things, a smorgasbord of metaphors for understanding our own identity development, how we run from our callings, how fear holds us back from being what we can be, etc.

I really wish I had my own Rafiki.

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2. Jane Eyre

I’ve never read the book. It’s just another classic on the long list of books I own but still need to read. So very many books, and so little time. It’s sad.

This means I had no idea what to expect when watching the film. I was actually on the edge of my proverbial seat watching this love story unfold. Great performances, stunningly beautiful cinematography, and solid direction make a splendid film.

Also, I love Michael Fassbender so much!

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3. To Catch a Thief

Oh, Alfred. My sweet, sweet Alfred. You created so many wonderful films in your life. To Catch a Thief  was like a balm to my story starved soul. After circumstance limited me to only three movies in September, this film made things better. Some of the sexiest chemistry ever, and yet all with silly innuendo and firework metaphors instead of the blatant sexuality we have all grown so accustomed to.

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4. Plan 9 From Outer Space [Invasion/Visitation Movies #7]

The consensus worst movie of all time. It  really was awesomely bad. You should watch this, and then watch Ed Wood to see the story behind the man behind the movie.

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5. Kung Fu Hustle

Stephen Chow is amazing. He’s the type of star that only exists in a few forms for each generation. There are those folks who write, choreograph, act, etc. etc. etc. In many ways, this movie is Stephen Chow as today’s Gene Kelly. The martial arts and dancing of Kung Fu Hustle tells a large part of the story. We learn who characters are, we see martial arts that are hilarious as well as those that are exciting. It’s certainly nothing in the jaw-dropping ‘how’d he just do that’ variety. However, that’s mostly because Chow’s sense of humor takes things so far over the top that most fight scenes are filled to the brim with CGI assistance.

When I say that Chow’s sense of humor takes things over the top, I really mean it. This movie is part homage to movies, part martial arts dance party, part Bugs Bunny cartoon, with a little bit of Buddhism thrown in for good measure. I loved it. It was pure good time movie watching.

five things. 8.10.11

There are so very many things I should be doing right now. None of those things is blogging on RtM. Yet, I miss it so very much. Thus, here I am anyway. I’ve been falling behind in every conceivable way, because my body just wasn’t made for the sort of schedules I’ve been working lately. This week is a really light schedule, but starting next Wednesday I work ten days straight, and twice in that ten days I work until between 9 and 11 at night and then wake up at 4 the next morning to open. For a depressed insomniac, that’s a recipe for disaster. And so, things like reading, RtM, and Trigger Fiction have fallen by the wayside. I hate it, and I hope to use the next few days to get back in action. So, there you have it, a bunch of information about my life, in case anyone cares.

Now, on with five things I’ve been enjoying during these woeful pauses; again, just in case anyone cares. On with the show!

1. Wye Oak, live at the world famous Crocodile Cafe!

Let me tell you, folks: See this band live when they come near you. They. Rock. So. Hard.

Just two people. Her, with several guitars and an effects board. Him, with a drum kit, a keyboard (which he plays simultaneously with the drum kit), and an effects board. Per person, they create more sound each than anyone I’ve ever seen live. They play so well together, they showcase each other really well, and I want each of them to be my friend.

So epic.

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2. A Dance with Dragons

A lesson I learned reading this book: Don’t start reading a 1,000 page hardcover book and a new job at the same time. It took me nearly a month to get through this book. It’s hard to tell, because there are more words on a page in a first edition than in paperbacks, but it could be the longest book in the series so far. It’s definitely longer than A Feast for Crows. 

Now, I love the world that Martin has created in these books. I love the characters, I love the way he develops story. Yet, that just makes it hurt all the more when he unceremoniously kills off main characters. There will be NO spoilers here, aside from the reality that Martin is willing to kill off main characters. Many of you have seen the HBO series now, so you are well aware of his willingness to kill off characters who would be untouchable in any other serial storytelling.

There are times when he has spent so much time and so many pages developing a character and events, and then kills them and erases it all. It’s difficult to take after you’ve spent soooo much time investing in that character.

In the world of George R.R. Martin, no one is safe. That’s good, but also irritating. Sometimes it seems like he is killing characters just because he can. Is there actually contempt for the reader at work here? I sure hope not, and I could just be angry since the wound is still fresh.

Though I may bitch, I’ll still be pre-ordering the next installment however many years from now it is released. I’m addicted to Westeros.

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3. Attack the Block [Invasion/Visitation Movies #6]

OMFGLASERS!!! Ahem.

This movie was amazing. I didn’t laugh as much as I expected to, although it was definitely hilarious. I also bet I’ll laugh more on my second viewing, since I won’t be on the edge of my seat quite as much.

Instead, the movie was a huge amalgam of elements that all added together to create one kick-ass package. Believe me, people, this movie kicked all kinds of ass. Laugh out loud jokes, characters that were lovable without being flimsy and 2-dimensional, awesomely over the top aliens, genuine social commentary, and brilliant performances by all involved (especially the young actors).

I was going to say that, sadly, a few of my favorite characters died, but on second thought I think all of the main characters were favorites. The deaths were also really important to the plot: for the journey of our protagonist, as part of the poignant social commentary I mentioned, and to create tension.

I want to go see it again today. I won’t, but I want to.

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4. Watch the Throne

I never, ever use iTunes to buy music anymore. Thus, I had no idea that Watch the Throne came out earlier on iTunes than it did on Amazon’s mp3 store. Then Brian told me, and I bought it right away. I am still on my first listen, not all the way through yet, but so far so wonderful!

“Otis” has already been playing several times a day, and I know I’ll be listening to this album a lot over the next few days/weeks.

Oh yeah, and Jay-Z is back.

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5. Cowboys & Aliens [Invasion/Visitation Movies #7]

With a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes, most people don’t like this movie. I respectfully disagree. Sure, the movie had plenty of weaknesses, but it had everything I hope for in a fun summer film.

Daniel Craig was a fucking badass as a cowboy.

Olivia Wilde was scaldingly hot.

The aliens are refreshingly original, and although they are somewhat evolutionarily suspect, they are still pretty awesome biologically. Also, instead of the silly flying saucers they could have easily gone with in a genre/cliche mashup like this, they instead had really great UFOs that flew in legit formations and combat maneuvers.

Keith Carradine as a cowboy. Always wonderful.

Sam Rockwell. Period.

In the saddest fall from grace in history, I was genuinely disappointed that Harrison Ford was in this movie while watching the trailers. All for nothing. While his character has some glaring development flaws, this is still his most enjoyable character on screen in at least a decade.

the thing. [trailer park.]

A trailer for the remake of John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, which itself is, “Ostensibly a remake of the classic 1951 Howard Hawks-Christian Nyby film The Thing from Another World, Carpenter’s film is a more faithful adaptation of the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. which inspired the 1951 film.” [via@wikipedia]

Thoughts:

1. The other day, my friend Josué was wondering when they’ll start rebooting/remaking movies we saw in the theaters as kids. The Thing isn’t quite there yet, but since it came out the year Josué and I were born, we’re getting pretty close.

2. Watching the trailer just made me want to check out the original again, which begs the question: Why remake the movie already?

3. Then again, the special effects in the first one are pretty dated (although it’s still most definitely worth watching in its own right), so perhaps the update will help the film be scarier. If they get the atmosphere right, like they did with the original, and the effects aren’t downright silly at times, this movie is going to be as gross and creepy as shit!

3. Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

4. Poor, poor dogs. Sad. They didn’t fuck with something that should’ve been left alone.

5. That scientist guy who takes a sample clearly hasn’t seen the 1982 version.

trailer for ‘attack the block.’ [trailer park.]

First, Attack the Block got a date: July 29. Well, that’s only in select cities apparently, but fortunately my city is one of those cities.

Now, Attack the Block has a wonderfully long redband trailer. It’s entirely possible I’ll see this movie like five times this summer.

So far, various screenings of the film have people going crazy for it. I can’t wait!

super 8. [alien invasion/visitation movies. #5]

I’ll keep this short, because it’s a busy week writing-wise, but I really did want to write briefly about seeing Super 8. 

I loved this movie. It certainly wasn’t perfect, without spoiling things I’ll just mention that parts at the end were a bit overdrawn, and there were some key moments in which there was emotional growth that made no sense based on the events in the movie. Those things will probably keep the movie from finishing the year as my favorite film of 2011. Still, I really did love it.

It was so beautifully reminiscent, as an homage should be, of Spielberg’s work in the late 70s and 80s. Close Encounters and ET, with a bit of The Goonies (which was co-written by Spielberg) thrown in for good measure. Youthful yearning for adventure, rooted in a deep desire for community, feelings that were aroused by movies like ET when I was young, came rushing back into me. That’s actually a likely part of my disappointment with parts of the end of the film, a comparison to ET will often leave a film lacking, because I think ET has one of the most perfectly crafted final acts in the history of film.

A few of my favorite elements of Super 8 were:

1. Satisfying contents in the mystery box. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard tell many times of a talk Abrams has given when he discusses his ability to create an atmosphere of mystery and anticipation and wonder. He talks of the mystery box, and how our anticipation of what might be in the box is always more satisfying than what is actually in the box. I was reminded the other day (by the lovely and talented Rebecca Canlis) of a really good example of a mystery box with really disappointing contents : Signs. I still like Signs much more than most people, but those aliens were so lame and disappointing. In large part, that was because the CG wasn’t prepared for what M. Night wanted to do with aliens, but it’s come a long way since then. The alien in this was really awesome looking and imaginative.

2. Amazing young cast. Finding young actors who don’t suck is really, really hard. Directing them well is just as hard. This movie has got the goods. The kids played off of each other really naturally, they were likable, they cared for one another in believable ways, and Elle Fanning was nothing short of a revelation.

3. It reminded me of falling in love with movies. One reviewer who had a snippet on a commercial I saw for the movie mentioned something along the lines of Super 8 having everything that made us love movies to begin with. I whole-heartedly agree. The scope, the relationships, the sense of adventure, the impossible seeming truly possible… Super 8 really did remind me why I fell in love with movies in the first place. Sure, that love is deeper and richer now. I love movies for different reasons than I did when I was 11 and could imagine nothing better than going to the movie theater, or renting six movies from Blockbuster and watching them all within like 30 hours (Okay, so, minus the Blockbuster part, I still can’t imagine anything better than that). In Super 8, Abrams offers the world exactly what Spielberg was once the master of, a well-crafted adventure story full of delight, wonder, friendship, and young love.

the fifth element. [alien invasion/visitation movies #4. movies in space #3.]

I wasn’t sure if this one should be part of the Movies in Space list, since most of the second half takes place in space; or the Invasion/Visitation list, since the whole plot revolves around the approach of a purely evil alien force threatening earth. Best solution? Count it as both. It’s a win/win/win situation.

Not my first time seeing this, but this was the perfect excuse for watching it again. Luc Besson’s hyper-stylized sci-fi action romp is still crazy after all these years. Also, it’s still awesome. In my biased opinion, it’s just the right amounts of absurd, funny, and action-packed.

It’s got Bruce Willis kicking ass, Milla Jovovich before she started making terrible so called “zombie” movies, Chris Tucker in an early role, Ian Holm before he was Bilbo, and Gary Oldman. I love me some Gary Oldman.

Fun times.

starman. [alien invasion/visitation movies – #3.]

This was one of those movies I missed as a kid. Watching it now was a good reminder of just how ridiculous 80’s movies were. There was so very much that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Just about all of the supporting characters were poorly acted and poorly written, in really simply ways that assume the audience must be  brain dead.

However, Jeff Bridges was great. His turn as a guy trying to learn to be human was worth the time spent watching the movie. That was it though.