the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘movies

Instead of bitching for 1200 words about how unwatchably terrible Valerian And the City of a Thousand Planets was (and I wanted to like it! I tried SO HARD to like it!) I will instead point you in the direction of this love letter to Luc Besson’s masterpiece The Fifth Element.

(click the link, not the picture)

I was finishing high school when this movie came out, and I’ll admit, I was just a smidgen obsessed with it.  I still remember the vague promos that came out months ahead of this movie. They didn’t say anything about what the movie was about, or who was it in.  Yes, I was a very impressionable teen, but wow those promos made an impression on me! I had no idea what this movie was going to be about, but I knew I had to see it.

 

When the movie finally came out, I’d never seen anything like it, I didn’t know movies like this could exist. I had no idea if I was watching a movie, or a music video, or both at the same time.   Great art direction, fun set design, fun soundtrack, great aliens,  snarky script, and it is even more over the top than Baz Lurhmann’s Moulin Rouge.

 

If you can believe it, there are people who have never seen The Fifth Element!  What would you tell someone who has never seen this movie to get them to see it? How would you convince them that this 20 year old scifi flick is worth their time?

 

Also?  LeelooDallasMulitpass!

 

 

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Up In The Air and The Devil Wears Prada are basically the same movie, and they aren’t what you think they’re about.

 

I adore Anna Kendrick, and I’ve seen Up in the Air about 10 times. I laugh at all the travel scenes, because I’ve been there done that (and the St Louis airport has some surprisingly nice restaurants). Up In the Air is a good, but not great movie. And with The Devil Wears Prada who can say no to an all-star cast of Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, and Emily Blunt? So these are obviously two really fun movies for me. These two movies are supposed to coming of age stories about young women who chase a dream career and blah blah blah . . .

 

Coming of age story? Yeah, well, they aren’t about that at all.  Imma gonna spoil the plots for you, okay? Both movies have nearly identical plots, that among other things, are pretty predictable. So I don’t feel like I’m actually spoiling anything important here.

 

up-in-the-air-girl

Anna Kendrick in Up In The Air

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Today’s guest post is from Lesley Conner. Lesley is one of my go-to people when I have a crazy idea at 4am and need someone to tell me that yes, the idea is crazy, but let’s do it anyway.  Everyone should have a Lesley in their life.

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, on Page and Film

a guest post by Lesley Conner

bio pic Lesley ConnerLesley Conner is a writer, social media editor and marketing leader for Apex Publications, and Managing Editor for Apex Magazine. She spends her days pestering book reviewers, proofreading, wrangling the slush pile, doling out contracts, and chatting about books, writing, and anything else that crosses her mind on the @ApexBookCompany Twitter account. Most of her nights are spent with a good book and a glass of wine. She recently sold her alternative history horror novel, The Weight of Chains, to Sinister Grin Press. It’s slated to be released in early 2015. To find out all her secrets, you can find her on Twitter at @LesleyConner.

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers has become an iconic cultural reference over the years. If things feel off, if people seem to be acting a little strange, whispers of how it must be the pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers fly. I smile and bob my head like I know exactly what people mean, and go on with my day. And the thing is, I do know what they mean…. vaguely. In the hazy vision of a giant seed pod popping open and a perfectly formed, adult body emerging to take the place of my friends and neighbors kind of way.

Until recently I hadn’t read Invasion of the Body Snatchers or seen any of three movies that the 1955 novel inspired. I knew the basic premise of the story – we all do – an alien species is taking over Earth by replacing all of the humans with exact replicas grown in giant pods. But beyond that… shrug, I didn’t know.

bodysnatchers book cover

So when the chance came up to do another vintage sci-fi post for Andrea, I decided it was time to find out more, reading both the novel and watching the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers so that I could compare and contrast the book to the film. (Why did I pick the 1978 film? Besides the fact that Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum were in it? It was available through Netflix streaming. I searched and pushed play. Easy peasy.)
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Bicentennial_man_film_poster

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Bicentennial Man is a 1999 film directed by Chris Columbus, and stars Robin Williams, Embeth Davitz, Sam Neill, Oliver Platt and Hallie Kate Eisenberg. It’s based on the 1993 novel The Positronic Man by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, which was an extension of Asimov’s 1976 Hugo and Nebula award winning novelette The Bicentennial Man.  I’ve read a lot of Asimov (and a middling amount of Silverberg), but I haven’t read either the award winning novelette or the later written novel. So this review will be just of the movie, I can’t even speculate what scenes from the books the screenwriters skipped or expanded upon.

 

200px-The_bicentennial_manThe story opens with an android being delivered to the Martin residence. Through the young daughter’s mispronunciation of the word android, the robot gains the name Andrew.  Only Mr. Martin is excited by their new “gizmo”, and after the daughters both try to damage Andrew, the new family rule is that Andrew must be treated with the same respect due any member of the family. Soon the girls start treating him like a visiting cousin: someone who can help them with their homework, but someone they shouldn’t bother unnecessarily. After all, he is a “household robot”, he was purchased to help with housework, clean, garden, and fix things around the house. as the years pass, the youngest daughter, whom Andrew refers to as Little Miss, forms a special bond with him. (And yes, Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are very quickly presented, but never dwelled on).

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Asimov’s guesses about the future were entertaining and fascinating for me. The opening scenes take place in 2014, and commercial androids are commonplace and becoming popular for wealthy families to have at home.  But there are no cell phones, no digital cameras, no facebook, no big screen tv’s, no home computers, very little digital technology. Even later in the movie, as the decades pass, flying cars and holograms make an appearance, but no mention of suborbital anything, or smart phones, or genetic modifications, or social media. And as the decades go by, even robots go out of fashion.

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The story follows three generations of an African American family in Florida over the course of about 30 thirty years. While I was very satisfied with the complexity of the characterizations and the historically accurate details put into the narrative, the story itself seemed oddly lacking in speculative elements.

 

Starting in 1937, we  meet Mayola, who at fifteen is interested in attending Texas A&M, she reads all summer and saves her nickels so she can reach her dream.  She gets a job as a maid at an all white resort at Wakulla Springs.  It pays so well, she’ll have her college funding in no time. The springs are natural, obviously, but since it’s private property, only white people are allowed to swim there. They are filming a Tarzan movie, and Mayola inadvertently spies on the movie folks while sitting at her favorite shady lunch spot. she knows all about Tarzan, she’s already read all the books. The star, Johnny Weissmuller, had been an olympic swimmer. This acting crap pays the bills, but he’d rather be swimming. On a moonlit night, Mayola and Johnny go swimming together. She’s terrified of losing her job, he’s desperate to go swimming with someone who can keep up with him. He doesn’t care that she’s a stranger, or a girl, or an employee of the hotel, or black. He’s only interested that she’s interested in swimming.

 

The next section follows Mayola’s teen aged son, Levi. It’s 1953. Mayola never made it to college, she’s still working at the hotel and trying to keep her son interested in his studies, so he can go to college. Another movie crew is at Wakulla Springs, this time filming The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Levi soon befriends the actor who plays the creature, Ricou Browning, who is more than a little impressed with Levi’s ability to swim underwater for minutes at a time.  Levi becomes Ricou’s apprentice, of sorts. It’s better than sitting at home listening to Mayola go on about her boyfriend, Jimmy Lee, who has just returned from Korea.

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Two little Star Trek gems entered my life recently:

SAM_3422

The comic book, circa 1986, is a quick and funny little story, about how Kirk and crew outsmart a group of aliens who invade the Enterprise. In command of the Excelsior, Kirk teaches Saavik a little something about humor and hunches, and we get to meet Lt. Naraht the Horta. Comics is the perfect medium for this kind of story, as it’s too light and fluffy  to survive being a filmed tv episode.  Not exactly canon, DC did this series of comics in the mid 80’s, to follow the crew of the Enterprise after Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  But I coulda told you that just by looking at the cover art and flipping through the comic book.

One of the many things I enjoy about the lifespan of Star Trek is what I like to call art-direction-dating. Similar to  carbon dating, the use of Star Trek art-direction-dating allows a fan to date an image, screen shot, film credits intro and uniform by the style of title font, and by Kirk’s hairstyle.

But mostly by Kirk’s hairstyle.

See how his hairstyle goes from late 60’s blonde-ish straight-ish hair with a side part, to 80’s more brown than blonde and curly on top, and then to a 90’s whatever moptop/toupee thing.

See what I mean? can totally date everything by the hair.

See what I mean? can totally date everything by the hair.

Piece of pie to date the comic to mid 80s.

moving on . . . to the second Star Trek goodie.

SAM_3428 Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a new trailer out for Star Trek Into Darkness.  It’s a pretty fucking epic trailer.

go watch it over at Wired.

Looks awesome, yeah?  i want to stand up and applaud after watching that.

but do these J.J. Abrams movies feel like Star Trek?

And does it matter?  Does Star Trek have, for lack of a better term, umami, that is or should be present in the J.J. Abrams films? and if yes, what is that particular flavor?

discuss.

 

I’ll go first. You know how a lot of people were annoyed with the X-Men prequel that came out a couple years ago? Long time fans said it didn’t jive with the cannon story line and ret-conned a bunch of stuff. my only experience with X-Men is the movies, so if characters and plotlines were changed from the comics I had no way of knowing.  The way Abrams is handling Star Trek makes me really sympathize with those X-Men fans.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.