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Don’t Panic

I’m back, and in celebration of the possible end o’ the world, I thought I would do another one of my annoying lists to mark the occasion.  But first, let’s look at December 21 (or 22nd depending on where you get your info). It’s also the Winter Solstice. Kim Harrison’s groovy Hollows books have characters that celebrate it. Lots of real folks do too. I plan to decorate my tiny gingerbread village if the planet is still intact ,and we still have a breathable atmosphere. Plans are good.

So anyways, apparently per the ancient Mayan calendar, tomorrow is the last. day. ever. It had to end sometime, I suppose. Or maybe it won’t. I always wondered if maybe it’s just the last day ever for Mayans. Who knows? Certainly not I.

Enough rambling musings. On with the list of best end o’ the world movies and/or scenes!!!! [Insert crazy Kermit dance here]

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy    I may have celebrated a love fest for this movie before. I can’t remember. Anyways, the Vogon Destructor Fleet moves in and in a span of seconds, BOOM goes the planet. And that’s just the beginning. Has anyone checked to see if the dolphins are still around?

2. Sunshine  Only about 45 seconds of this movie take place on Earth. The rest is up on space where a crew of scientists and astronauts are on a mission to recharge a dying sun. The world-ender in this one is that the sun is almost extinguished (I guess you would call it that) and the earth has become a rather chilly place to live. It’s a pretty intense movie, but I like them that way. Danny Boyle directed this one, and it’s pretty cool.

3. Twelve Monkeys  This Terry Gilliam-directed flick is one folks either love or hate. Basically, Bruce Willis is sent into the past from his post-apocalyptic future to collect information and possible evidence regarding a virus that all but ended human life on the planet. The movie is a little trippy but it wouldn’t be a Gilliam film otherwise.

4. The original ending of Army of DarknessStuck in mediaeval times, Ash drinks the potion and is supposed to wake up in his own time. Instead, he oversleeps and wakes to find a destroyed world. It would be a depressing ending if it wasn’t so funny.

5. Children of Men   In the not too distant future… People have not been able to successfully procreate for some time now, and the human race is aging and dying out. Another intense movie. It was really good.

And last, but not least…

7. It’s a tie between two episodes of Doctor Who. Yes, I know it’s not a movie, but it’s relevant. The first episode is appropriately titled “The End of the World.” The Ninth Doctor takes companion Rose Tyler five billion years into the future. From the safety of an orbiting space station, they play to watch the sun’s expansion wipe out an abandoned Earth. I However, this being Doctor Who, nothing goes as planned.  The other episode is called “Doomsday.” In this one, the Daleks and Cybermen are on the attack. it’s up to Rose and the Tenth Doctor to prevent world extermination. It’s probably my favorite DW episode, and it’s also one that makes me cry–oh how I cried the first time I saw it. 

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There are so many other movies or TV episodes I could list. I’ve left off 28 Days Later, for example. There’s also The Pink Panther Strikes Again in which a crazy Chief Inspector Dreyfuss invents a death ray and threatens to destroy England unless someone kills Clousseau. I could also have mentioned Independence Day but I really didn’t want to, so that’s all you are getting.

Anyways, tomorrow will be here in a few short hours. I assume we’ll be here a number of hours, days, weeks, months, years, eons afterwards too. But you never can tell…

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Halloween!!! I love October. I love how the temperature drops, how it gets darker earlier, how the leaves change, etc. I even have a list of movies I work my way through every year in anticipation of the greatest holiday this side of Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day. So for right now, while I work on the next review to present to you good people, here is my list of must-see movies for October.

Oh, and before I get to that list— and yes, I do realize that I killed the moment there—I just wanted to point out that I’m not big into ghosties or slasher films. I don’t like any Japanese horror films either because they truly freak me out. I never got more than ten minutes into The Ring and have no plans to find out what happens in the remainder of that film. As a child, I was completely terrified by Ghostbusters and The Lady in White. After seeing the former, I was convinced Slimer was going to come out of the faucet, and I can’t remember what frightened me about the latter other than it did.

That said, I’m sure my personal list isn’t very festive for some folks, but to each their own. And now, without further ado and in no particular order:

1. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I mean, how on earth could this not be watched at least 2 or 3 times this month? It’s the greatest TV special ever in terms of Halloween.

2. Shaun of the Dead. Funniest zombie movie I’ve ever seen. Bonus points because Bill Nighy is in the movie.

3. Underworld. Sequels aside, this first endeavor in the franchise was a pretty groovy movie. Extra Bill Nighy bonus points.

4. Sleepy Hollow. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp took a favorite story and made it even better. It’s creepy, silly, and cool. Extra points given for Christopher Walken and his pointy teeth.

5. 28 Days Later. They are infected zombie-like people, not zombies. Doesn’t really matter. It’s not the infected you need to be scared of.  Its sequel, 28 Weeks Later, is pretty good too.

6. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Actually, it’s okay to turn this off right after Tim Curry sings “Sweet Transvestite” because after that, in my opinion, the movie gets dull pretty quickly. Up until that point, however, it’s a blast.

7. Clue. I know it’s not exactly a Halloween movie. But, it is a good murder mystery movie (and a fun board game as well). I watch this one every Halloween.

8. Arsenic and Old Lace. Maybe for the fact that it’s set on Halloween, or that two little old ladies turn out to be innocent-looking serial killers, but this slightly creepy screwball comedy is an annual favorite.

9. Meet Me in St. Louis.  Most people would consider this a Christmas film since the famous “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” song is in it. But the Halloween section where little Margaret O’Brien’s “Tootie” works herself up to be the most horrible is the best part. Also, it’s a little scary that the children of the neighborhood are building bonfires on the street.

10. Army of Darkness. Why this one? Because it’s a classic. Any of the other movies in the series (Evil Dead; Evil Dead 2) could just as easily sit in the #10 spot, but Army of Darkness is the most fun of the three. From this movie, you know that you “shop smart; shop s-mart.” You know what a boomstick is. You know or maybe think you know the magic words to safely collect the Necronomicon. I could go on for days about the wonderfulness that is Bruce Campbell, but I won’t. If you aren’t sold on Bruce by now, I worry about you.

And for the Meh Movie of the list………………

11.  The Queen of the Damned. I actually saw this movie in the theater. For the most part, the movie is just silly. It’s nothing like the book, and the characters feel more like caricatures than anything else. Still, it’s vampires, and some of the music is okay. I do like one of the music videos Lestat’s band does. It’s in the style of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari which is a very creepy silent film. If you can’t seen that little gem, you need to go find it.

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.