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  #411  
Old 20th September 2022, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs View Post
Just bought this on Blu specifically to watch during Sci-Fi September.
You won't be disappointed with the Blu-Ray
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  #412  
Old 20th September 2022, 05:56 PM
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You won't be disappointed with the Blu-Ray
I used to find it very meh. Seemed like as it got going it finished but i've got used to it over the years. Won't go wrong upgrading Carpenter films to Blu.
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  #413  
Old 20th September 2022, 06:02 PM
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Won't go wrong upgrading Carpenter films to Blu.
My thoughts exactly
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  #414  
Old 20th September 2022, 06:23 PM
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The Thing (1982) ★★★★★

Based on the book ‘Who Goes There’ by John Campbell Jr. and a remake of Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World, The Thing stands as both a seminal work in the career of John Carpenter, a perfect exercise in psychological terror and one of the rarest of rare things, a remake superior to the original. Perhaps calling it a remake is a little bit of a stretch as although they are based on the same source material, the two films are very different. Hawks’ version only takes the barest of elements from the book and turns it into a film reflecting Cold War paranoia and the battle between scientists and the military. Carpenter’s is completely different, a faithful adaptation of Campbell Jr.’s novel which had the alien life form as a shapeshifter leading to a group of men turning on one another, due to mistrust and fear.

The Thing is set at the other end of the world from Hawks’ version, with events taking place in the Antarctic rather than the Arctic. At United States National Science Institute Station 4, a helicopter flies around with the co-pilot taking shots at a husky and throwing dynamite at the dog. When the chopper lands and the man follows the dog into the American base, he is shot dead by Dr. Copper. The men wonder what possessed the Norwegians to do such a thing and their helicopter pilot, Mac (Kurt Russell), flies an expedition to the Norwegian base to find the rest of the men and see what was going on there.

All they find is the Norwegian station destroyed, a pile of burnt bodies and evidence pointing to the discovery of a UFO buried in the snow and ice. A huge block of ice appears to contain a frozen creature of some sort so it is taken back to their base so they can study it further, melting the ice and trying to figure out what the Norwegians had excavated. When they find their own huskies dead and some bloody clothes but with no sign of a victim and no one missing from the team, it's clear something is not right. Establishing that the creature from the ice is some sort of shapeshifter that takes on the appearance of any biological organism that it comes into contact with, the question isn’t where The Thing is, but who it is.

One by one, the Thing takes more victims and takes their form causing the men turn on each other, unsure of who is really human and, if you were taken over, would you know?

For a film that relies on paranoia and psychological terror, John Carpenter uses the same techniques that he employed in Assault on Precinct 13 with little characterisation to begin with, only bare bones development is necessary, and makes this a siege film but with the enemy on the inside.

Carpenter keeps the film tight, the tension high, and doesn’t wimp out when it comes to the ending – a lesser director would have gone for a ‘Love Conquers All’ happy resolution but thankfully Carpenter sticks with the downbeat tone right until the final credits. He also cast well, with Kurt Russell on top form and ably supported by the likes of Keith David, Wilford Brimley and Richard Dysart. There isn’t a great deal of characterisation at the beginning but, as the numbers shrink, the characters become more fleshed out and developed, helped by some fine acting.

With Ennio Morriconne’s uncharacteristically dark and moody score perfectly suiting the tone of the film and escalating the tension, typically accomplished cinematography by Dean Candy, and Rob Bottin's outstanding make-up effects and creature design, this is one of the all-time great horror films.
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  #415  
Old 20th September 2022, 06:25 PM
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The assembly cut makes a pretty mediocre film so much better . The prison and it's inhabitants are giving so much more life here with some great acting from a great cast of British actors. Gripping and more gory than the first two but why the need to kill of Hicks, but suppose a kick ass marine really wouldn't fit with the tone of the film. This will be the only version I watch from now on.

With Andor starting this week(tomorrow) , time rewatch what is my second favourite star wars film and easily the best , lightyears of the other Disney movies.


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  #416  
Old 20th September 2022, 08:52 PM
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The Cloverfield Paradox. 2018.

This is the second time watching this since it first appeared on Netflix...i think it was Netflix that snapped it up, anyway this is still confusing the second time round.

I'm guessing this isn't set in the same time line as Cloverfield, nobody seems to mention a energy fuel crisis, a group of people selected to go to a space station to help with the energy crisis and go through a worm hole and everything seemed to change for them unknown to them the energy crisis on earth is less of their problems.

The makers seem to try and create a sense of dread and fear like Alien or Event Horizon and failed, while creating a few laughs with a moving arm and a guy saying he is pushing up the middle finger. If there was suspense to be in this film then it appeared at the the last two minutes on earth before the escape ship hit the clouds. The acting is ok but think everyone was trying a bit too hard to make it believable. Always give a film a second chance and I have with this but don't think they be a third viewing .

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  #417  
Old 20th September 2022, 09:26 PM
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Illegal Aliens (2007)

The final project producer and star Anna Nicole Smith would undertake prior to her untimely death aged just 39 that same year.

Illegal Aliens is a film i've seen two or three times now on dvd and it always amazes me not only by how terrible it is but also by how much i actually enjoy it.

Smith plays one of three aliens who take the form of Californian babes sent to Earth to prevent an alien outlaw committing genocide. Okay, fair enough. Been there done that already etc.

However not in such a batshit bonkers kind of way as this film does it. Smith's ditzy blonde is practically child like in her behaviour - Witness her playing Light Sabers (with sound effects) with a vibrator as she tries to work out what it is - which is weird to begin with at least until she transforms into a car, bus, then a plane...as you do.

Then there's the intergalactic terrorist played by Joanie (Chyna) Laurer. Another star of this film who also passed away too early. Laurer plays the villain like some sort of even crazier cousin of Bobcat Goldthwaite's Zed from the Police Academy series. Weird and off putting to begin with but quickly growing on you, well me anyway.

The film playfully engages pop culture - the three girls take their orders from a hologram called Syntax for example, very reminiscent of Charlie's Angels, so obvious is the influence that Smith walks in and says "Hello Charlie" to it - it's also not afraid to take the piss out of itself which is fun.

The end is very left field, When Laurer is defeated, the director walks on set and calls it a wrap. Former Dynasty star John James, who is a producer of the film, mutters to himself about how inept it's all been and the camera pans round the crew as the credits roll telling us who everyone is rather than their names rolling up the screen as is the norm. It's all quite engaging really.

Illegal Aliens isn't a film i can recommend because to put it bluntly it's crap, but also enjoyable crap if in the right frame of mind. It makes other dumb sci-fi comedies such as Dude, Where's My Car seem like 2001 meets Blade Runner in comparison.
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  #418  
Old 21st September 2022, 12:50 PM
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The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. 1953.

After arctic atomic testing, a prehistoric beast awakens and goes on a rampage heading towards New York City.

Another classic 50s movie with animation by Ray Harryhausen and is able to make the beast look real up close and from a distance, RKO released The Thing From Another World with their arctic expedition movie but Warner Bros kicked itt up a notch by creating a monster that leaves it's dorment area and head to a populated city where a young Lee Van Cleef manages to be a great sharp shooter. The acting in this is decent, with someone seeing a monster, no one believing him and then his story is believed then mass hysteria. One film I never appreciated years ago but now a firm favourite.

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  #419  
Old 21st September 2022, 02:58 PM
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The Purge. 2013.

For one night for 12 hours any crime is legal, a wealthy family in The Purge lockdown in their own home become targets for a group who want their Purge, a lonely man taking shelter inside their home.

Set in present time, although filmed 10 years ago, I had some high hopes for this film yet when I first watched it, this had me intrigued, 12 hours to do anything and get away with it. There is a slow suspense in it, a made safety room by a young boy, the daughter's boyfriend getting ready to take out the father and a mother trying to protect her family from a stranger and a group of people outside sadly this fell flat.

Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play the wealthy couple who are stuck in the house with a stranger and strangers outside while trying to survive the night. Writer/director James DeMonaco was given a budget of $2.7 million to work with and almost two weeks to film it so he really can't be blamed for this being a rushed film, this one may grow on me.

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  #420  
Old 21st September 2022, 03:31 PM
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STALKER


In the near future, forbidden zones exist where paranormal activities are alleged to happen. Rumours abound that in one Zone, there is a room in which your greatest desire can come true. Three men, a Writer, a Professor, and their guide, the Stalker, set out on a dangerous journey to find the Room.

Andrei Tarkovsky’s film is a very loose adaptation of Roadside Picnic, but where the short novel had aliens visit Earth visit for a short while, Stalker never explains what actually happened. The novel explores humanity’s worth in the grander scheme of things. Stalker is more a meditation of humanity in general.

You may notice that this is a shorter review than usual from me. That’s because of what Stalker is, and its director’s approach to filmmaking. Tarkovsky came from the school of thought that cinema was an emotional exercise, and not of intellectualism (if you were ever in doubt of Tarkovsky’s Soviet background). Tarkovsky had little time for montage and plotting, as he felt they prevented the audience from truly opening their hearts and minds.

That’s not to say that Stalker is French New Wave deconstruction. The plot is simple, but it is a scaffold to allow characters to discuss religion, morality, and philosophy. Sometimes, there is no dialogue, but trancelike visuals accompanied by Eduard Artemyev’s ethereal score. It’s hard to decipher what emotion these moments are supposed to evoke, but they stir the soul nonetheless. When the Stalker rolls in the grass in the Zone, weeping, while the synth music creeps in, I don’t know how I feel. Is the Stalker relieved to be back home again? Or to be surrounded by nature? Or being close to what is possibly Heaven? Is he secretly full of joy because he is close to having his dreams come true? Is he scared that what he wants is not what he truly desires? I don’t know, but I know I was moved.

At 161 minutes, and full of long takes with little dialogue (one shot goes over four minutes), Stalker may seem like a daunting watch, but the aforementioned imagery lull you into a hypnotic state. Alexander Knyazhinsky’s camera slowly tracks in and out, that you forget that you just saw a wide shot transition to an extreme close up. And the imagery Tarkovsky produces is beautiful. It’s not just lighting, but texture.

The scenes outside the Zone are sepia tone, and convey industrial collapse. Puddles of water cover the floors in the Stalker’s home. His kitchen (bathroom) looks like a collapsed factory room, with stained walls and broken tiles. The local pub looks like a prefab held together by planks. In addition to that, the visuals have harsh sharpness to them.

It's only the scenes inside the Zone that are full of colour, and these scenes are softly lit. The colours are vivid, and the industrial grinding from outside is replaced by comforting winds, trickling winds, and rustling grass and trees. But don’t compare the Zone to paradise. Even without comparing to the sepia scenes, the water sparkles and shimmers more than it would in reality. Corpses and rusted tanks and cars litter the landscape. Remnants of the people who lived there pollute the rivers. From the outside, it is the Garden of Eden. Look closer, and it’s something from Hell. To achieve this look, Tarkovsky shot in an area that were extremely toxic, and cost him and many crew and cast’s lives.

Stalker is full of these contradictions, and makes it almost impossible to summarise. What is Stalker about? I have no idea, but it’s not important. What does the ending mean? Again, I have no idea, but it’s not important. Tarkovsky isn’t interested in telling you what is happening. He’s more interested in asking you what is happening, and hearing your answer. Why did you come to that conclusion?

For the record, I do have my own interpretation of the ending. My reading is relatively optimistic. When discussing it with my friend, he had a completely different interpretation, and it was extremely pessimistic. We discussed our readings, and came to two conclusions: that neither of us was wrong; and that it doesn’t matter.

Stalker is extraordinary, and is one of the most beautiful works of art within the genre.

NOTE: My recent rewatch was on the Criterion BluRay. It is a gorgeous restoration that cleans up the audio, and restores the colour to its true majesty. I only mention this, as I used to have the Artificial Eye release, and it is a very lacking disc. If you can, pick up the Criterion release.
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