Blog Archives

Summer’s End

Wow. I just did a count of all the movies I’ve seen this summer. We’ve hit a new record low, folks. I’ve only seen 3 films. But you know what? I’m totally cool with that.

In the days of yore before I had, you know, bills and a car payment, rent, etc., I would see almost every film released during the summer season. I used to collect the ticket stubs and marvel at their number.

Mind you, this was also when matinée showings were around $3 and evening films were $5-ish. Today’s matinée showing of The World’s End (I’ll get to that in a bit) was $8 freaking dollars!!! WTF!

My overdue point here is that I can no longer afford to go to every release as that really adds up. Instead of marveling at my stub stack, I’d be marveling as how quickly my bank balance plummeted. Ha!

Anyways, things being what they are, I’ve become a little particular when it comes to what I see over the summer months. I check out the releases and make a list of (a) what I’d like to see and then out of that (b) what I must, by all means, see. The rest go straight to the Netflix queue. Needless to say, my queue is a bit crowded right now.

So..what trifecta of films made the grade?

  1. Star Trek Into Darkness
  2. Pacific Rim
  3. The World’s End.

Just looking at that list made me realize that my genre of choice must be science fiction. Again, totally cool with that. Most of my favorite movies fall into that bucket, and really, why else do we go to the movies but to escape? There’s no further escape than sci-fi.

I’ve raved about Pacific Rim already, so you don’t need my thoughts on that. Star Trek? All I need to tell you is this: Cumberbatch. Nuff said. But The World’s End? Ahh…I’ve decided it’s the perfect film to watch for this summer’s end.

The World’s End is the final film of the “Three Flavors of Cornetto” trilogy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and directed by Edgar Wright. The other two films are Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  TWE follows a group of friends as they attempt to recreate a pub crawl from their youth. During the crawl they discover their hometown has been taken over by aliens. The premise is a little zany but it totally works.

I’m a HUGE Simon Pegg fan so it’s hard for me to find anything wrong with the film other than that it had a bit of a slow start. Aside from that, it was awesome. There were several cameos from folks who were in the other two films as well as a couple from the Pegg/Frost/Wright TV show, Spaced  (if you haven’t seen this, shame on you).

Oh, also this movie was damn funny. I laughed and laughed. People in the theater laughed too. It wasn’t just me!! Anyways, that’s about it. I just wanted to note the few films I saw and say that I’m glad I saw them.

Did you see any stand-out films over the summer? Are you having to be choosy too? Let me know.

Advertisements

“They’ve just formed Blazing Sword!”

Last weekend, I saw Pacific Rim. Wow. I loved it. Something about ginormous robot types (called jaegers) pummeling even more ginormous alien monsters… Now that’s good cinema. Don’t get me wrong. There is not one ounce of character development in this movie. Characters met at the beginning of the movie are more or less the same if they live to see the ending credits. You can’t have it all, people!

Anyways, one of the things I really liked about Pacific Rim was that this might be the closest I ever come to seeing a live-action version of Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Hands down, Voltron was my favorite cartoon when I was a kid. Commander Keith was the no-nonsense leader of the team. The Princess was pretty and in constant danger of being kidnapped by the evil Prince Lotor who was more conceited and far less evil than his father King Zarkon. And the sexually ambiguous Pidge talked to mice.

Every episode, the king’s witch, Hagar, would send down a Robeast (aka giant alien monster) which would attack and wreak general havoc on the goodly peoples of Planet Arus. I’m sorry. If my planet was being attacked on a regular basis, I’d have give serious consideration to relocation. Just saying.   

So…the Robeast would attack, and then the Voltron team would assemble their individual lion robots into Voltron!! (Which rocked!) The two would fight on the planet and fight in space. Usually, the robeast would gain the upper hand at some point. Then and only then would Voltron use its secret weapon: Blazing Sword. Ah yes. Best part ever. From that point on, the Robeast has no chance. It’s over.

So, during a massive fight in Pacific Rim there was a scene where the jaeger is out of ammo and is about to lose a fight. What to do…. One character mentions they have one weapon left which just happens to be a sword. Right there in the theater, I elbowed my good friend Sabrina and hissed in her ear, “they’ve just formed Blazing Sword!!!!” I might have shouted it. I’m not sure.

Back several years ago. Might have been 2007 or so, I heard many a tale of a live-action Voltron movie. I was eager to learn more. Sadly, nothing has come to pass. I found a report from a year ago saying that the movie was still in development. Maybe if Pacific Rim does really well, the studios will see that yes, there is an audience for this movie! Maybe.

Anyhoo, if the Voltron movie never gets made, at least I’ll have that one scene from Pacific Rim. I can hold on to that for a while.

And Then There Were Aliens

In Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, a group of people are lured to an island by a mysterious host. The guests are then picked off one by one, and no one knows who the murderer is. Next to Murder on the Orient Express, it’s one of Christie’s most famous works.

This week’s cinematic endeavor is really similar to And Then There Were None—sort of. You have to squint and be really flexible with the term “similar.” If you make it that far, you too will see that Terminal Invasion has “classic” potential written all over it—not. I kid!!! It’s not a classic at all, but it did make me think of the Christie work.

Terminal Invasion is a movie that I really hesitated in reviewing. It should have been a no-brainer. After all, it hits almost all of my “meh movie” criteria. The problem is that Bruce Campbell is the star of the movie, and I am a card-carrying Bruce Campbell fangirl. How can I objectively review any movie with him in it? That was my main worry. Would my admiration of Bruce block my reasoning brain cells from seeing the turkey that the movie could potentially be? As it turns out, I’m able to separate Church of Bruce from the State of the Movie. All is well.

TI takes place at the world’s most inconvenient and tiny airport. I think it might be patterned after Tom Nevers Field Airport from TV’s Wings. I half expected Tony Shalhoub to wander into a scene. There is a nasty blizzard, and a small group of passengers and airport personnel are trapped in the itty-bitty lounge.

You get all kinds here. First of all, there’s Cathy the spunky feminist pilot. She’s a by-the-book type which means that no, she won’t fly the plane in a blizzard, and it doesn’t matter how much money you offer her. Cathy is instantly likable since her first scenes show her handling snobby passengers such as the wealthy David Higgins (who I’ve been calling “Armani” in my notes), and the bickering Phillips couple—Sarah and Andrew. There’s also Gloria the old lady airport um…lady. Del the TSA Agent and Darian the wise-cracking passenger round out the airport folks. Also, there are two very bratty and creepy children running about. Where are their parents??!!!!

Lastly, I mention Bruce. Bruce plays a convict named Jack. Jack was being transported when the police vehicle slid across the road and landed in a ditch. The two cops and Jack all got to wander to the nearest building which happened to be Tiny Airport. The cops want to keep Jack at the airport until a relief vehicle can arrive to continue his transport to the next prison cell.

Using the old “I’ve got to take a leak” trick, Jack dupes the cops into taking off his cuffs so he can take care of his business. While Jack tries to pee, a priest exits one of the stalls and washes his hands. But I’m telling you here and now that there was no soap usage. Ew. Then, preacher man totally picks up one of the cops and tosses him about the room. I did not see that coming. Or maybe I did. After all, he didn’t use soap. We can’t trust anything about this man. Preacher man kills the two cops, and starts heading towards Jack. Preacher Man is an alien!!!!! We get to see his shifty alien eyes. They are very creepy. They kind of blink from regular eyes to a sideways slide of black. Not normal.

Jack is able to kill the alien. However, alien guy’s body melts into goo, so it looks as if Jack has killed the cops himself. This isn’t going to go over well with the folks out in the lounge area. Jack must be some kind of hardened criminal, because he takes it all in stride, and Bruce Campbell is just so cool when he’s playing a meanie. He holds the passenger group at gunpoint and explains that he needs a flight to Canada.

Oh, I forgot to mention that there’s this blond lady in the group. She’s sobbing over the dead cops and does a lot of overacting in general. She calls Jack an animal (Yeah, he is!) and then starts hyperventilating. She’s really very annoying, so it’s a wonderful thing when, during a struggle between Jack and Del the TSA guy that the gun goes off and Blondie eats a bullet. But does this kill her right away? Nope. She is an alien!!!

Blondie the alien really just looks like she’s slept in her car. Her hair is suddenly wild, and she starts snarling at Bruce before he shoots her dead—for reals this time. Part of me kept waiting for him to utter some lines from Army of Darkness but alas…

So here’s the dilemma: There are aliens in the airport. The aliens look like regular people, but are clearly intent on doing harm. Also, the group is stranded and can’t leave. What to do? What I love is how quickly everyone rolls with the alien concept. There isn’t a single naysayer in the bunch trying to find a more “rational” explanation. Nope. Someone says alien, and everyone else agrees. It’s kind of refreshing.

Pilot Cathy immediately starts calling the shots, or as she so politely puts it, “I am the Alpha Female, people. What I say goes.” Ha! Cathy suggests that whatever the group does, they have to do it together and also keep an eye out since any one of them could be an alien. I love the immediate trust/distrust.

One thing the group agrees on immediately is that despite the bad weather, they have to get out of the airport. Del suggests that in order to figure out who is alien and who isn’t they each take a ride through the carry-on x-ray machine. This works fine for a brief period. We learn that the Phillips’ are not aliens. Also, Del checks out fine. Alas, tiny, old Gloria turns into a giant alien creature and we see her transform on the view-screen. What’s funny is that somehow she sets off the alarm system on the x-ray machine. Is there a setting for that? Del peers into the machine like a fool, and is snatched inside. There’s a cool view-screen play-by-play of their struggle. Neither survives.

Anyways, after the x-ray disaster, our survivors decide to ignore their earlier plan and split into groups. Super… Armani, Darian, Sarah and Andrew hang out in the lounge. Armani and Darian bond over snack foods. Meanwhile Sarah chooses this to be the time to discuss with Andrew the current state of their marriage? Really?

Cathy remembers the bratty little kids and goes off to find them. Why she thinks they’ll be in the scary basement-looking hangar is beyond me, but there they are. Meanwhile, Jack learns from Sarah that those kids don’t belong to anyone that they know of. I bet you can put two and two together on this one. Jack runs to save Cathy.

Creepy little boy and girl have alien eyes!!! Run for your lives!!! I knew it! The little boy is the scariest. He’s got red hair and very pale skin. He grins like Damian, and when he starts to morph into alien form, he’s even creepier. Eek!!! Jack and Cathy manage to escape the evil children, but that’s okay. The kids can just kill off the group hanging out in the lounge—and that’s just what they set out to do.

The rest of the movie is mostly Jack and Cathy being the smart ones by outrunning and outwitting the aliens. The others seem better suited at being hunted by the evil alien children. I won’t say who else lives or dies. I don’t want to give away the whole thing. Sheesh!

Oddly enough, the movie started to slow down for me around the time everyone was running away from aliens. The psychological drama of who could be an alien was actually, pretty interesting. Once folks are crawling through ventilation ducts and blocking entryways, the movie lost a little something.

I know! I’ll talk about the aliens. For most of the movie the aliens are in people form. But after a while, they change into full-on alien form. They are flesh-colored with longish limbs. They are also really slimy and very toothy. They kept reminding me of the alien assassin that shows up in The Last Starfighter. You remember—he’s the one who showed up to kill Alex but was thwarted by Robert Preston. Man, I love that movie. I’m putting it in as soon as I finish writing this. Back to subject. Yes. So picture the Xandoxan from The Last Starfighter and then make his head more cone-shaped and make his mouth bigger. Also move his eyes from the sides, more up to like regular peoples. They are practically twins. Scary.

Bruce Campbell: It was interesting seeing him play an anti-hero. I mean, in the Evil Dead movies, Ash would rather be someplace else obviously, but I’ve never thought of him as anti. He’s just the hero. For most of this movie, Bruce seems to be PMSing a little bit. He comes across as bored and cranky. He’s also kind of cold-hearted at times.  He has a plan to get out of the country and will do whatever is necessary to achieve that. However, because this is Bruce as the lead, he’s also the hero. He has no problem fighting the aliens. It’s not much of an action role, but he’s so the alpha male in the group. Armani is like a very distant second. Way distant. Bruce also has the best line in the entire movie. The arch-villain (whom I won’t reveal) seems to think he/she knows that Bruce will leave the other survivors to their doom so he can escape to Canada. And that’s when we get this line: “You don’t know Jack.” ha ha…Cheesy yet effective because his character’s name is Jack. *snort*

So looky there, kids! I was able to do it. Terminal Invasion is not the greatest of films. It has the strange honor of slowing down when the action speeds up. It’s also fairly easy to figure out who is and who isn’t an alien. For that reason, the plot gets very predictable, and I kind of wanted the aliens to hurry up their hunting of the humans so we could get to the end. Chase Masterson who played Cathy the pilot was okay in her role. She wasn’t super memorable, but she held her own in scenes with Mr. Campbell.

And Bruce…he’s the man.