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Old 07-01-17, 11:22 AM   #37
brainee
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 7,370
Re: The 10th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge List Thread

Brainee's 2017 DVDTalk Summer Sci-Fi Challenge List

Goal: 31
Total: 66.5
First Time Views: 61.5

= first time viewing

July 1st
1. ☼ Arrow (Season 3): "Nanda Parbat", "The Offer"

July 2nd
2. ☼ The Venture Bros. (Season 3): "The Buddy System", "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman", "What Goes Down Must Come Up", "Tears of a Sea Cow"

3. ☼ Despicable Me 3 (2017): Pretty much what I was expecting (and what I would anyone familiar with the series would be expecting).

4. ☼ Okja (2017): Like other Joon-ho Bong movies, you can't really have any expectations except to know you're going to get something really good I intentionally went into this not knowing much, and it turned out to be less fantasy/sci-fi than I was expecting (the giant GMO pigs aren't a stretch from today's world).

5. ☼ The Flash (Season 1): "Out of Time", "Rogue Time"

July 3rd
6. ☼ The Flash (Season 1): "Tricksters", "All Star Team Up"

7. ☼ For the Love of Spock (2016): For the most part very good, especially when not trying to be too cutesy and just let the stories and footage speak for themselves.

8. ☼ Get Out (2017): I know it was OK'ed in the other thread, but this really feels like it's appropriate to use a wild card to count this one. Fortunately I was able to watch this with exposure to minimal spoilers. Wildcard #1

9. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "Reptilicus"

July 4th
10. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "Cry Wilderness"

11. ☼ Arrow (Season 3): "Suicidal Tendencies", "Public Enemy"

July 5th
12. ☼ Arrow (Season 3): "Broken Arrow", "The Fallen"

13. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "The Time Travelers"

July 6th
14. ☼ The Flash (Season 1): "Who is Harrison Wells?", "The Trap"

15. ☼ The Girl with All the Gifts (2016): Thought for sure this would have a sci-fi tag at either imdb or allmovie. But it doesn't so that makes it Wildcard #2

16. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "Avalanche"

July 7th
17. ☼ Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): A huge improvement over the last two "Amazing" movies (whose lead I never bought as Peter Parker). I'm just sorry we didn't get to hear Captain America's advice for those going through the changes of puberty

18. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "The Beast of Hollow Mountain"

July 8th
19. ☼ The Flash (Season 1): "Grodd Lives"; ☼ Doctor Who(Season 10): "The Doctor Falls"

20. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "Star Crash"

July 9th
21. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "The Land that Time Forgot"

July 10th
22. ☼ Arrow (Season 3): "Al Sah-him", "This is Your Sword"

23. ☼ The Flash (Season 1): "Rogue Air"; ☼ Arrow (Season 3): "My Name is Oliver Queen"

July 11th
24. ☼ A Monster Calls (2016): Reminded me a lot of Bridge to Terabithia, using a fantasy backdrop while mostly being concerned about a real-life coming of age drama about dealing with tragedy.

25. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "The Loves of Hercules"

July 12th
26. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "Yongary"

July 13th
27. ☼ The Flash (Season 1): "Fast Enough"; ☼ The Venture Bros. (Season 3): "Now Museum - Now You Don't!", "The Lepidopterists"

28. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom"

29. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II"

July 14th
30. ☼ Life (2017): This evening I'm catching up on a couple of recent sci-fi themed movies that good mixed responses. I'm setting my expectations appropriately low. And this ... was pretty much what I expected. A well-made generic sci-fi/horror time passer. It probably doesn't speak well for the movie that the ending, no doubt intended to shock and horrify audiences, made me
Spoiler:
Just the obvious way the whole thing was set up, and the overdone "Noooooooo!!!!!" by the two remaining characters.


31. ☼ A Cure for Wellness (2016): This what about what I was expecting as well (and that's just fine). It had style to burn, for sure ... and I'm a big fan of the stylish European gothic horror movies of the 60's that this is so clearly channeling. This badly needed tightening up with at least 30 fewer minutes. And maybe a more charismatic lead actor to carry things.

July 15th
32. ☼ Belladonna of Sadness (1973): I can see how the animation style (or lack of animation style, as was often the case) will be a deal-breaker for some viewers. That said, this was quite captivating. When experimental cinema works, it can make quite an impression.

33. ☼ Evolution (2015): What's it mean? I'm not sure I know. But like the director's earlier film Innocence, lack of a cohesive story is balanced out by some startling images, haunting mood, and a brief running time.

34. Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962): Good grief ... how have I subjected myself to three (so far) Ib Melchior movies this month?!?! This one didn't have the benefit of wise-cracking robots (though this movie is certainly a prime candidate for such treatment). That said, it wasn't boring (which is the real kiss of death for cheap sci-fi movies from this era). And you had a giant rat cyclops monster, which is something I never saw before. I got a chuckle out of the fact that cast members couldn't pronounce things like déjà vu (said like "view") and annihilation (left out the "hil" part).

July 16th
35. ☼ Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011): With the retirement of Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai is one of my favorite anime directors (it's between him and Mamoru Hosoda). This movie comes across as a Miyazaki homage. Which is not a bad thing at all, when it's done as well as this. Still, I can't wait to see his latest Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) which by all accounts is absolutely brilliant.

36. It Came From Outer Space (1953): I must have seen this before, but it was so long ago I didn't remember anything. Certainly my first time seeing it in 3D, which was quite well done (aside the obvious meteors and aliens in our faces, the depth of the desert scenery looks great). One of the better sci-fi movies of the time, as you'd expect from director Jack Arnold (and based on a Ray Bradbury story).

37. Master of the World (1961): Nowhere near the level of the earlier Verne adaptation 20,000 Leagues, but solid entertainment nonetheless. Price is in good form and Charles Bronson is at his manly peak (so manly so cuckold's another man's fiance without even trying).

July 17th
38. Escape from New York (1981): Breaking in a couple of Shout Factory Blu Rays tonight.

39. Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973): I forgot this was the first movie Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II) worked on. Not that the writing was particularly good in this movie (in fact it was laughably bad). Still, for those who can tolerate cinematic cheese this is a fun watch. Lots of attractive women in various states of undress, and the occasional truly effective scene (such as the scene where we see how a woman is transformed in a Bee Girl). I wish that a little more effort was put into the science though.

July 19th
40. ☼ Embers (2015): Somber movie that doesn't really go anywhere plot-wise. But the image of a post-apocalyptic world affected by a memory-destroying disease through a series of vignettes was a striking one.

41. ☼ The Little Prince (2015): I thought this was really great, and a different spin on the original story. I kept putting this off because the animation in the Netflix images looked so primitive, but it turned out that was a style used sparingly in the "story-telling" sequences. I really was expecting at the end though:
Spoiler:
a scene where the girl tells off the academy for pushing the idea that the goal of all children when they grow up is to be essential (though clearly it can be interpreted beyond just being essential to the workplace).


42. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "Carnival Magic"

July 20th
43. ☼ The Void (2016): I appreciate the influence of gooey 80s monster movies like The Thing and Hellraiser (with practical effect, no less). I just wish there was a more coherent story by the end of it all.

44. ☼ Game of Thrones (Season 7): "Dragonstone"; ☼ The OA (Season 1): "Homecoming"

45. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "The Christmas That Almost Wasn't"

July 21st
46. ☼ Fire and Ice (1983): Story is basic swords & sorcery silliness. Though the unusually somber tone, minimal dialog, and Bakshi's animation give this its own identity.

47. ☼ The Clone Returns Home (2008): I can see where the Tarkovsky (especially Solaris) references come from. Not for the story, but the tone and pacing. If one can handle that sort of thing, then this would be recommended. Also like Solaris, I like seeing movies use the freedom of the sci-fi genre to address huge issues about humanity that otherwise couldn't be covered.

48. ☼ The Ice Pirates (1984): After two dead-serious movies, this was a relief. 9% rating at Rotten Tomatoes (albeit from only 11 reviews) isn't fair ... the 5.7/10 at imdb is more reasonable. For people who enjoy the 70s/80s versions of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, I think this would be up their alley. The toilet humor and slapstick didn't work for me, but the pimpbot made me laugh. And there were some genuinely interesting sci-fi ideas, like a single fight in a time warp that takes so long that even future generations of the characters can join in. Also fun to see "very early in their career" versions of Anjelica Huston (the year before her breakthrough role in Prizzi's Honor) and Ron Perlman (in only his third credit). Perlman looks shockingly small in this ... but mainly because the male cast in this movie seems to be unusually tall (star Robert Urich was a former college football player, and John Matuszak is a giant of a man).

July 22nd
49. ☼ The Drifting Classroom (1987): From the director of Hausu, and it really shows What a weird movie, and one that seems ripe for rediscovery by a modern audience (less than 100 ratings at imdb and most of the comments are actually from cast members). Ostensibly a children's movie ... but one that kills most of the characters in horrible ways.

50. ☼ The Land of Hope (2012): Sion Sono is one of my favorite current directors, though he's hard to categorize. You just sit down to watch his movies and you know you're going to get something worthwhile. To be honest, this is not at all a sci-fi movie (though imdb lists it as one, so I'm counting it here). Instead, it's a family drama centered around a fictitious disaster in Japan (involving an earthquake, tsunami, and threat to a nuclear reactor). There's none of the "craziness" here that other Sono movies are known for. But it's a powerful and moving film.

51. ☼ Summer Time Machine Blues (2005): A light fun bit of time travel silliness was what I was in the mood for after the heaviness of The Land of Hope.

July 25th
52. ☼ The Strain (Season 4): "As the Worm Turns", "The Blood Tax"

July 26th
53. ☼ The OA: "New Colossus"; ☼ Game of Thrones (Season 7): "Stormborn"

54. ☼ Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: "At the Earth's Core"

July 27th
55. ☼ The Virgin Psychics (2015): One of Sion Sono's weaker movies. It has its moments, but stretches out things way too long. And for a teen sex comedy, it really went through a lot of trouble to not show anything close to nudity. Maybe making 5 movies in 2015 alone stretched even Sono too thin (though I enjoyed another 2015 feature, Tag).

56. ☼ Liza the Fox-Fairy (2015): I really really enjoyed this. Funny, clever, sweet, and creepy and twisted at times. Unlike the movie I just watched, it makes the on-screen craziness work by actually having characters you cared about.

57. ☼ The Beastmaster (1982): Yes, I really think I've never seen this before, at least in its entirety (maybe I've seen bits when channel surfing cable in the 80s ans 90s). They really got away with a lot of boobs and blood for a PG rating. As Bubba Ho-Tep also showed, Don Coscarelli had more in him than just Phantasm movies.

July 28th
58 and 59. ☼ The Cave of the Golden Rose (1991): Cute "Disney-esqe" fairy tale fantasy from Italian television (though I think it could've stood to be edited down to the running time of a single movie).

July 29th
60. ☼ Love & Peace (2015): Love this movie ... and very unlike anything else in Sion Sono's filmography. Good natured (and family friendly), at times evoking Tim Burton, Toy Story, kaiju, and Christmas fantasy. It really kept me guessing where it would go, but it was consistently entertaining with a lot of heart.

61. ☼ Colossal (2016): I had forgotten this was by the director of Timecrimes. Nice to see him seemingly get his career back on track. Much darker than I was expecting:
Spoiler:
especially with the Oscar character essentially turning into a mass murdering psychopath, when my expectations were that he would ultimately be the guy Gloria ended up with in a happy ending. Which is admittedly the point, and the real "twist" of the movie. The trailers and first part of the movie give the set-up that this will be a rom-com with a kaiju twist. Until we realize that while Gloria is pretty messed up, the men in her life are the real monsters of the movie. Not just Oscar ... the ex-boyfriend, while having a legitimate reason to be upset, comes off as condescending. The two "bar buddies" don't do a thing to stop Gloria getting beat up by Oscar and stop genocide in Seoul. In fact, at the end of the movie we see the "nice guy" being entertained on the tv by mass destruction in South Korea despite knowing full well that Oscar is causing it.


62. ☼ Murders in the Doll House (1979): A fun little mystery about which I knew very little when starting to watch. Sci-fi is one of the listed genres on imdb, but its connection to the genre is very scant.

July 30th
63. ☼ The Whispering Star (2015): I can appreciate what Sion Sono is trying to do with this movie. But that doesn't excuse the fact that it was extremely boring and tedious, and could've been done as a 30 minute (or so) short.

64. ☼ Ghost in the Shell (2017): This was alright. I think it's better to have a stream-lined introductory movie than some bloated incomprehensible nightmare (which I get the sense the manga/anime fans would've preferred).

65. ☼ Endless Poetry (2016): Not really a fantasy, but imdb lists it as one so I'm counting it here While not as magical as Dance of Reality, this is consistently captivating. And from looking at Jodorowski's biography, it sounds like there's still plenty of interesting stories to be told based on his life.

July 31st
66. ☼ Forbidden Zone (1980): As a movie, it's pretty incoherent. But seen as a filmed version of what Oingo Boingo's live shows were like in the 70s, it's fascinating (and certainly never boring).

66.5. ☼ Game of Thrones (Season 7): "The Queen's Justice". Hate to end my monthly count on a fraction, but that's all I have time for
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October Horror Challenges: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Summer Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenges:2009, 2016, 2017

Last edited by brainee; 08-01-17 at 12:20 AM.
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