Category Archives: Science Fiction Films
ALIENS-United States/United Kingdom-1986
Directed by James Cameron
Story by James Cameron, David Giler and Walter Hill
Screenplay by James Cameron
Based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett
Do you ever have that problem where, you’re writing a review, and the movie you’re reviewing is so good that you just want to load every superlative onto it that your mind can conjure? The problem with that is that if you do you know you’re going to come off sounding like some pompous jerk.
So what do you do in this situation? You dial it down; which is what I’m going to do. I’m going to dial down all my ‘pompous jerk’ superlatives into three simple words:
Aliens fucking rocks.
There is not one scene in this entire film that doesn’t crackle with excitement, with urgency. Even the quietest scenes are the fuse that will light the powder keg for the more explosive moments in the movie. Director James Cameron has taken all the intensity of his previous The Terminator and cranked it up to ten for Aliens.
I’m giving you the bare bones details. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver, Copycat, The Cabin in the Woods) returns with a squadron of marines to the planet where the crew of the Nostromo first encountered the vicious xenomorph of 1979’s Alien. In the years since that time a mining colony has been established and all contact with it has been lost. For the next 45 minutes or more Ripley and the marines encounter and do battle with hundreds, maybe thousands of the bloodthirsty creatures. The tagline for Aliens is ‘This time it’s war’ and war is what we get as the beasts come out of the walls, from the ceiling and even up from the floors to attack and conquer.
In one of Aliens quieter moments a little girl, Newt, the only survivor, is discovered and Ripley becomes a surrogate mother to her for the rest of the film. The amazing thing about this is that it breaks the main premise of Aliens down into something very simple and that is that a mother, a good mother, will go to any lengths to protect her child. In the end, when it’s down to Ripley, Cpl. Hicks (Michael Biehn, The Victim, Planet Terror), the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen, Pumpkinhead, Millenium) and Newt (Carrie Henn), the last thing standing in the way of them getting off of the planet is the queen alien, a being so magnificent that mere words cannot begin to describe her. That’s a cliché, yes, but one that is loaded with truth. The final battle between Ripley and the queen is an amazing sight to behold. Here, we have two mothers; one human and one alien fighting for the lives of their children.
In the 26 years since its release in 1986, Aliens has stood the test of time as not only a great science fiction film, but as a spectacular action film that can be regarded as one of the finest in cinema. I get the strong feeling that I could make that statement in another 26 years. If Alien is the perfect science fiction/horror film, then Aliens is the perfect science fiction/action film.
Hicks was originally played by James Remar, but Michael Biehn replaced him a few days after principal photography began, due to “artistic differences” between Remar and director James Cameron. However, Remar still appears in the finished film – but wearing the same armor, and shot from behind, it’s impossible to tell the difference between the two actors.
All of the cast who were to play the Marines (with the exception of Michael Biehn, who replaced James Remar one week into filming) were trained by the S.A.S. (Special Air Service, Britain’s elite special operations unit) for two weeks before filming. Sigourney Weaver, Paul Reiser, and William Hope didn’t participate/attend the training because director James Cameron felt it would help the actors create a sense of detachment between the three and the Marines – the characters these three actors played were all outsiders to the squad; Ripley being an advisor to the Marines while on the trip to LV-426, Burke being there just for financial reasons and Gorman being a newly-promoted Lieutenant with less experience than most of the Marines.
Having hired James Cameron to write the screenplay, 20th Century Fox then did the unthinkable when he left the production to direct The Terminator: they agreed to wait for Cameron to become available again and finish the screenplay. Cameron had only completed about 90 pages at that stage, but the studio had loved what he had written so far.
To bring the alien queen to life would take anything between 14 and 16 operators.
Al Matthews, who plays a Marine sergeant in this film, was in real life the first black Marine to be promoted to the rank of sergeant in the field during service in Vietnam.
In the scene where the crew is getting dressed after waking up from hypersleep, Hudson says, “Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?” to which Vasquez answers, “No. Have you?” This is “borrowed” from Hollywood legend. Columnist Earl Wilson once asked Tallulah Bankhead, “Have you ever been mistaken for a man?” Bankhead responded, “No darling. Have you?”
- NYCC: Aliens: Colonial Marines Preview (escapistmagazine.com)
- The Terminator (1984) (behance.net)
- He’s a veteran of such flicks as Terminator and Aliens (lfpress.com)
- Aliens Colonial Marines (scifitalk.com)
- Corporal Hicks Returns in Aliens: Colonial Marines (escapistmagazine.com)
- Hands-On First Look at ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’ (forbes.com)
- Countdown to Halloween #12: Alien Xenomorph (grizzlybomb.com)
- Blu-Ray Review: Michael Biehn’s The Victim (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- The Time James Cameron Apologized To HR Giger For ALIENS (badassdigest.com)
- Be The Ball …. (strategiclearner.wordpress.com)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by John Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
This may be the shortest, most simplistic review I’ve ever written. If I try to explain the plot of “Prometheus” in too much detail it begins to sound ridiculous despite the fact that it’s not. So I decided to try and touch on the things I found intriguing about the film.
1. The film is a return to science fiction for director Ridley Scott after a 35 year absence. Let’s hope he doesn’t take that long the next time around.
2. “Prometheus” is, and isn’t a prequel to 1979′s “Alien”. It is because it answers questions about the original film; it isn’t because it could be a stand-alone story with entirely new questions to answer.
3. The three main leads in the film; Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron all deliver excellent performances. However, it is Fassbender as the android David who knocks it out of the park. His David is a walking version of the HAL 9000 from “2001: A Space Odyssey“. Fassbender is courteous, cold and cunning; usually all three in the same scene. I hope that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences takes note.
4. The film is a visual beauty.
If you want a more detailed review of “Prometheus” then I suggest you read the review at CINEMAWOLF. I went into the theater to have a good time and to see a good movie. I didn’t really do too much thinking. Sometimes I just want to watch a movie on a fan’s level.
- “Prometheus” Review (comicbooked.com)
- Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace Talk PROMETHEUS, the Amazing Practical Sets by Arthur Max, Deleted Scenes and More (collider.com)
- Prometheus Review: An Alien Reboot with Solid Scares (people.com)
- ‘Prometheus’ Box Office: Ridley Scott Film Opens To $21.4M (huffingtonpost.com)
- FILM: Why Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” Isn’t the Sci-Fi Epic We Were Hoping For (meetsobsession.com)
- Prometheus – Movie Review (news.softpedia.com)
- And I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee About Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (biblioklept.org)
- Film Review: Prometheus (cashierdecinema.com)
- ‘Prometheus’ Review: Big Things Have Small Beginnings (Very, Very Small Beginnings) (slashfilm.com)
- Go, See, Talk! Review: Prometheus, 2012, dir. Ridley Scott (agcrump.wordpress.com)
- Movie Review: ‘Prometheus’ – KYW Newsradio (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Weekend Ar(t)s answers your questions before seeing Prometheus (arstechnica.com)
- Charlize Theron & Cast, Each Owned By The Drama, Heroic Horror; Prometheus (marcwinger.com)
- David Denby: “Prometheus,” “Dark Horse” reviews. (newyorker.com)
- Prometheus | TotalFilm.com (netflowers.wordpress.com)
- ‘Prometheus’: The Reviews Are In! (mtv.com)
- Prometheus: what was that about? Ten key questions (guardian.co.uk)
- Retro 1950s Style PROMETHEUS Movie Poster! (geektyrant.com)
- We Came From Them,They Will Come For Us Read Our Third PROMETHEUS Review (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- PROMETHEUS Review – Breathtakingly Stunning Sci-Fi Epic (geektyrant.com)
- ‘Prometheus’ review: Brooding sci fi (sfgate.com)
- Ridley Scott Brings The Light: Prometheus (tor.com)
- ‘Prometheus,’ by Ridley Scott, With Noomi Rapace – New York Times (movies.nytimes.com)
- Film Review: Prometheus (filmophilia.com)
- Movie Review: ‘Prometheus’ (pinkisthenewblog.com)
- The Design of ‘Prometheus’ (nytimes.com)
- Review: Prometheus (movingpicturesdotcom.wordpress.com)
- ‘Prometheus’ Impresses (foxnews.com)
- ‘Prometheus’ Brings Fire (cinemalt.wordpress.com)
- Five Reasons To See ‘Prometheus’ (moviesblog.mtv.com)
- Prometheus premieres (newstalk.ie)
- James Franco: Can Prometheus Help Us Understand Ourselves? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts on How to Create a Great Space Movie [Prometheus] (io9.com)
- Damon Lindelof Talks PROMETHEUS, LOST, Ridley Scott, What He Added to Jon Spaihts’ Script, and the STAR TREK Sequel (collider.com)
SUPER 8-United States-2011
Written and Directed by JJ Abrams
I keep trying to put together into a narrative that can be easily read and understand just what exactly this film is about. I can’t do it. I can’t put the words on the page that will get across to you how wonderful this film, Super 8, really is. So, instead of doing it that way I thought I would make a list of the things that came to my mind while watching the film. Check this out.
2. Its JJ Abrams best film, bar none.
3. It’s a film about what happens when you’re a kid facing the loss of a parent. Growing up is hard enough without that.
4. It’s a film about first love and the hold it can have on our hearts.
5. It’s a film that Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich could never even dream of making. In order to make a great sci-fi monster flick that doubles as a coming of age film you have to have brains and heart; something those two are sorely lacking.
6. It’s the first great summer blockbuster of the 2010′s.
7. I really have to pee, but I don’t want to have to stop this movie.
8. Elle Fanning is every bit as talented as her older sister.
9. The film is set in the 1970′s. Do Spielberg and Abrams feel that the kids of that time were more decent and respectful than their counterparts of today? That could very well be true, although not of all kids.
Finally, the one thing that I enjoyed most about this film is that it was fun to watch. I haven’t had that experience with too many films as of late. Maybe things are changing for the better.
Since the kids were making a zombie movie, there are several references to director George A. Romero. For example, Romero Chemicals as the evil company, plus the poster for one of his movies in Joe’s bedroom and reference on the radio.
Steven Spielberg (a producer of the production) was reportedly on set many times throughout the course of filming. Director J.J. Abrams and Spielberg have both gone on record stating that the filming of this production was some of the most fun they have ever had on set.
The film according to J.J. Abrams was homage to the producer of the film, Steven Spielberg, and his films of the 1970′s ranging reverence from Spielberg’s directorial films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind & E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial to Spielberg’s produced films like The Goonies.
The famous bicycle from Steven Spielberg’s movie E.T. can be seen as a part of metal junk that is being attached to the water tower in one of the final scenes.
- J.J. Abramss Super 8 bears the mark of Spielberg (theglobeandmail.com)
- Super Awesome – Super 8 (thehindu.com)
- ‘Super 8′: J.J. Abrams on the big lessons of small budgets (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- VIDEO: How Bruce Greenwood Became the ‘Super 8′ Monster (slashfilm.com)
It is one hell of a dystopian society in what is now called Old Detroit. Crime is rampant, the cops are outnumbered and outgunned and there’s no end in sight. That is until OCP-Omni Consumer Products, steps in with their idea of building a cop that will be the future of law enforcement, Robocop. There’s just one little catch. They need a volunteer, and that’s where Alex Murphy, freshly transferred police officer from another precinct, comes into the picture, the poor schmuck. You see, you have to be dead to volunteer for the Robocop program. So, after our boy Alex is literally shot to pieces by bad boy Boddicker and his band of baddies he is all set to step up and be all that he can be for OCP. First order of business: track down the miserable varmints that killed him in the first place, Clarence Boddicker and his band of miscreants.
Nearly every scene in this film is wrought with violence. Even the quietest moments in the film have a tension to them that forewarn us that something nasty is about to happen. Even the nightclub scene is filled with shaking fists and in your face camera angles. There’s enough blood in this movie to fill 10 films. I loved this film when it first came out and I have never tired of it. It is one of the best films that is the representation of a dystopian society and should easily be considered a classic of the sci-fi genre. In fact, this film is so damn good it can almost make you forgive Paul Verhoeven for Showgirls. You will note that I said ‘almost.”