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Old 07-03-09, 10:48 PM   #49
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Re: Summer Sci-Fi Challenge 09 - List Thread

Brainee's 2009 DVDTalk Summer Sci-Fi Challenge List

Goal: 31
Total: 76 (I confess I'm probably like Star Trek's Scotty: lowballing these estimates to make myself look good when I surpass them)
First Time Views: 64

= first time viewing

July 3rd
1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) - That's even with the extremely low expectations I had for this

2. Repo: The Genetic Opera (2008) - Incredible as it sounds, Paris Hilton is perfectly cast in this (as a spoiled heiress with no talent who annoys everyone around her). The only thing that really holds this back from being a home-run is that the songs were rather forgettable.

3. Splinter (2008) - Not listed as Sci-Fi, but any creature feature starring a mutant/alien monster counts in my book. It's a rather slight little movie. The monster is interesting, making me wish that a filmmaker with more ambition (money) tackled this project.

July 4th
4. The Tenth Victim (1965) - Hard to believe I've never seen this, but I don't remember anything. Pretty ahead of its time with a concept that would repeated many times later on (about competitors in a media-fueled death game). What wasn't ahead of its time was the look and sound - swinging sixties all the way! I read Mastroianni wasn't happy with how this turned out, thinking it was too silly and campy. I think I agree with him, though this is still fun viewing.

July 5th
5. The Fountain (2006) - A love-it-or-hate-it movie if there ever was one. Since I've seen it multiple times and own the Blu-Ray disc, you can probably guess which camp I fall in.

6. Silk (2006) - Kind of interesting spin on the tired "Asian ghost girl + creepy-ass ghost kid" genre. It takes it into sci-fi territory with the introduction of "Menger sponges" - these nanomachines that let people interact with ghost energy projections. The "silk" of the title are the visible (at least after you've used Menger sponge eye spray) thin strands that ghosts send out before contacting a living person. Since these ghosts do nasty things, like squeezing hearts and throats, it's not a good thing to see a ghost strand on you. Some good ideas and moments here, though everything isn't developed as well as it could be. And the science parts are pretty laughable - don't you love watching sci-fi when the writer clearly doesn't have the foggiest notion of how science really works?

July 6th
7. Starcrash (1978) - It's just like "Star Wars". Except with no budget ... and no talent. Though you have to give some props for casting Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff as the leads! And character-actor extraordinaire Joe Spinell gives new meaning to the phrase "chewing the scenery" as bad-guy Count Zarth Arn. He never passes up the opportunity to do an evil laugh (often while giving a menacing twirl of his black cape).

July 7th
8. Bane (2008) - Now here's an interesting one. Isn't one of the best things as a movie-goer to go into something with no expectations and have it knock you on your ass? Well, imdb rates this as a 3.7 (with miserable comments) and trailers made this look like another "torture porn" exercise. What I found was something a lot closer in spirit to the mysterious episodes of classic "Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits" instead of "Hostel". I love movies that keep me off-balance and guessing where things are going. It reminded me a bit also of "Cube" - except this movie actually gives you an answer in the end. I don't know if the final explanation completely held water, but it was good enough to satisfy me. I can only guess that the negative reviews come from people expecting gory torture horror, only to be thrown for a loop when
the Cthulhu-esque aliens show up
Or maybe people who don't like movies that make their brains do work. Anyway, the reviews at imdb linked under "External reviews" all agree with me instead. I say its worth a look for open-minded adventurous viewers, who don't mind their sci-fi getting rather nasty.

July 8th
9. ☼ Warehouse 13: "Pilot" (2009) - Not bad ... I'll be giving more episodes a shot.

10. Serenity (2005) - At least Whedon got a chance to wrap things up. Too bad this didn't do very well at the box office. I guess the public has more refined taste in sci-fi, preferring stuff like "Transformers 2" to this.

11. The Men Who Fell (2007) - While I can appreciate the technical aspects of making of reasonable-looking sci-fi movie for $25,000, as entertainment I didn't think much of this. Dull as dirt (for the first hour, all that pretty much happens is two guys wander around a warehouse and bicker with each other), with a predictable "twist" at the end.

12. Dinner for Adele (1977) - The story features a mad scientist experimenting with carniverous plants to exact his schemes of revenge and world domination - that's good enough to count as sci-fi in my book! Really entertaining pulp comedy (with animation by Jan Svankmajer) that deserves to be better known. I loved detective-hero Nick Carter's gadgets (this was set in the early 20th century). At one point he extends a portable phone across a restaurant (with a cord snaking all the way across a room) to talk to his partner. But when his partner gets confused how to use the gadget, Carter just yells the instructions across the room (pretty much ruining the whole "secrecy" thing). And he wields a solar-powered laser for shooting down a balloon - let to him personally by Mr. Laser himself!

July 9th
13. Darkon (2006) - I'll use a wild-card on this documentary that explores the world of LARPs (live acttion role playing games). Don't call them nerds ... or they'll bash you with their foam swords!!! I guess I'm a nerd, because this looks like fun. Though I don't get how they keep order in battles - it looks like all-out chaos to me. Props to this for actually being fair in portraying these gamers as well-rounded people ... some even have wives, girlfriends, and real jobs. Though I had to laugh at the one pudgy guy who thought that he wasn't being accepted by this group. Tipped off somewhat by the fact that he was "assassinated" 12 times in a single day on their last get together (Wildcard #1)

14. Hinokio: Inter Galactic Love (2005) - Surprisingly good movie about a young boy who goes to school as a robot, built by his father to help him cope with life after his mother's death. Sounded like it could've been stupid, but it's realistic and honest emotional content made this a winner in my book. Only mistep was a subplot involving an addictive video game.

July 10th
15. The Ugly Swans (2006) - This got my hopes up early. The premise was intriguing: in a small Russian town, some people inexplicably transform into these alien-looking fishpeople (called "Aquatters). The Aquatters have advanced technology that lets them control the weather in their town (making it rain non-stop), and they set up a school for gifted children to pass on their knowledge and powers. However, they're looked upon with suspicion by the government who aren't convinced they're as harmless as they claim. The story follows a man who starts to work on the council watching the Aquatters - and he has a personal interest since his daughter is one of the students. Like I said ... interesting premise - this is sort of intelligent idea-driven sci-fi we get so little of these days. The movie has a great look (torrents of rain awash in red light), and the acting is top-notch. However, the conclusion is far from satisfactory, and ecological issues feel shoe-horned into the story. Still worth a look for fans of serious sci-fi.

16. The Aquanauts (1979) - This was a nice little find. I was expecting a silly sci-fi adventure, but found an intelligent bit of hard sci-fi mystery. Despite being produced in Cold War-era Russia, there's no politics here. Instead, you follow the adventures of a Soviet aquanaut - think of them as an elite team of undersea explorers. The story follows his attempt to solve the mystery of a disappearance and strange goings-on at an undersea base, that somehow tie into a personal tragedy.

July 11th
17.Moon (2009) - for the movie for the annoying talking people in the theater who were clearly looking for something with more action and explosions

18. Sunshine (2007)

19. Ultraman (2004) - Big (well "bigger" than before, at least) recent theatrical reboot of the Ultraman series. It was ok, though lacking the silliness and fun that I love about the original.

20. Portal (2008) - It's listed as sci-fi at imdb, but it's not really. I watched it hoping it was this movie. That sounds good. This sure wasn't.

July 12th
21.To the Stars by Hard Ways (1981) - Otherwise known as "Humanoid Woman" in the Sandy Frank-butchered MST3K-mocked version. I watched the 140 minute Russian version. If you make allowances for some cheesy effects and a sometimes pokey plot, this isn't bad. It's no "Solaris", but its way better than all the "Star Wars" ripoffs that were being made around this time. I really hate when MST3K fans destroy the ratings of movies that get riffed. If you've just seen the MST3K episode, you haven't seen the movie. As they've shown with "This Island Earth" and "Phase IV", even good sci-fi can be riffed and made to appear awful.

22. Ice Planet (2001) - The bad: the acting was awful. The pacing is off (more time is needed to better introduce the characters and connect the dots for the story). The story is a mish-mash of other (better) movies. It's cheap. The story ends with a big "to be continued" that was never continued. The good: Though the budget was low, I think the filmmakers got the most out of it. It's nice to see a low budget sci-fi movie not be afraid of being visually ambitious. It's nowhere near as bad as some people make it out to be - the imdb reviewer that states this is one of the worst sci-fi movies ever clearly hasn't watched much sci-fi. It's still better than most Sci-Fi (oops ... SyFy) Channel Originals. It's nice to see a sci-fi movie that tackles hard science issues, rather than be a retread of the same old monster movies.

July 13th
23. Tokyo Gore Police (2008) - One of those movies you can't complain about what it gives you ... campy gore. I thought the 2 hour running time would be trying for just a gore movie, but it wasn't. Actually, the sci-fi elements of the movie aren't bad (though not exactly held together with logic), and I liked the silly commercials that run throughout. It reminded me of a cross between Videodrome and Robocop, with over-the-top gore.

July 15th
24. The Testament of Professor Dowell (1984) - This Russian sci-fi is actually really good - kind of a realistic variation on the Frankenstein and Re-Animator stories. Unlike those stories however, there are no monsters - not even any outright "bad guys". Only debit is the awful synthesizer score, which sounds like someone playing scales over and over again until you want to strangle them.

July 16th
25/26. ☼ Stargate SG-1: Season 5, "Enemies", "Threshold", "Ascension", "The Fifth Man" - Let's see if I can work my way through more Stargate. This is the 1st time watching these. Never got around to watching the show while it was on, but have been buying the DVDs when on sale. Consistently good, though it never seems to reach the heights of the best sci-fi series. The cast is top-notch, with just the right amount of key characters so everyone gets their moments to shine. This batch had one of Teal'c's best lines. When he and Jack are rebuffed for a "Star Wars" video-viewing party by Sam, Teal'c suggests "I have heard of a thing where people do combat in a ring of jello". Jack answers "I'll call Daniel" :

27. Blindness (2008) - Interesting idea (an outbreak of a mysterious plague that renders everyone blind), and top-notch cast and direction. Thoroughly unpleasant movie to watch though (both visually and story-wise), especially during the lengthy "quarantine" section. I get the allegory, but I think it got in the way sometimes of crafting a story that held together. One of those movies where I can appreciate the craftmanship, but I doubt I'll revisit.

28/28.5. The Invisible Man (1984) - The BBC can usually be counted on for a classy production, and this is no exception. I think the story was spread a bit thin for 3 hours though. The James Whale classic is still the standard for this story - being far more economical is its story-telling, while managing to flesh out the characters better. Here, the invisible Dr. Griffin is a one-note character - he's invisible, and he's nuts. I know that's more faithful to the book than how he was portrayed in the Whale version, but it doesn't make for a better movie. This series does get really good by the end, when our focus is changed to the good Dr. Kemp. You really get the sense of how terrifying it would be to have an invisible madman out to get you.

July 17th
29.5. Beowulf (2007) - I must be low-brow, because I enjoyed this. It's too bad there's no way to reproduce the theatrical 3-D at home - it must've looked spectacular in its original format. (Wildcard #2)

30. ☼ Warehouse 13: "Resonance" - This show seems to be searching for its tone: whether it wants to be dumb-as-dirt in appealing to young boys, or something more. I'd, of course, prefer the latter, but I fear SyFy execs may feel differently. Ended strong, though the explanation of using genetic fingerprinting to ID the writer of a song is one of the stupidest things I've heard in sci-fi for some time. Well, at least since "Fringe" ended its season

July 18th
31. The Invisible Man (1933) - Getting around to watching the "Legacy" set. Like I said for the BBC remake, this is still the standard. Classic James Whale style, with healthy dose of black comedy. I was surprised at how brutal this Invisible Man was (despite the filmmakers "softening" him a bit by giving him a fiancee, and blaiming the madness on the drug). He literally kills hundreds of people! I liked the anecdote told by Rains' daughter in the "making of" doc. Her father took her to a small-town showing, and people were shocked hear the Invisible Man himself buying a ticket. Rains even gave his daughter a running commentary during the movie. Normally, movie talkers piss me off. But if you're watching "The Invisible Man", and Claude Rains himself is doing the talking, I think I'd let that one slide.

32. The Invisible Man Returns (1940) - You can really feel the effect of the Hayes code here (compared to the first movie). More of a mystery, and lacks the flair of the first movie. But solid movie, and Vincent Price is more than a suitable replacement for Rains (he looks so young in that final scene).

33. The Invisible Woman (1940) - As long as you go in knowing you're getting a comedy, and not a sci-fi thriller, there's fun to be had.

34. The Invisible Agent (1942) - If its 1942, you know it must be Nazi-fighting time. I would've liked it more if the Invisible Man wasn't such a goofball. At one point, he blows his mission for finding out the details of a German attack just because he throws a hissy fit when a Nazi officer is putting moves on a good-looking woman he just met a few minutes ago. You have to laugh at the casting for some of these WWII-era movies. You have Brits playing Germans, but they cast the German-speaking Peter Lorre as Japanese.

35. The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944) - Nice to see the series return to horror/thriller, and it's interesting to see Jon Hall (who played the Invisible Man so goofy in the last movie) play it evil.

July 20th
36. The Creation of the Humanoids (1962) - I don't think I've ever seen a sci-fi movie as talky as this one. That's 99% of the movie - people talking. What makes it rough is that the acting is so wooden. I guess for the robots its no big deal, but there's no excuse for the humans. Despite that, this movie has some things going for it. The screenplay is surprisingly intelligent, thought-provoking, and imaginative (tackling themes largely ignoring by sci-fi until years later).

37. War Between the Planets (1966) - Good ol' "Tony Dawson", bringing us another helping of Italian genre cheese! This is pretty subdued compared to other spaghetti sf I've seen. Though we get the usual outer space romantic triangle, and one testosterone-fueled slugfest. I love when the screenwriters of these movies, who clearly know less about science than your average 5th grader, try to impress their audience with technobabble. One term I remember from this is "asteroidal manifestations" ... clearly more impressive than just saying "asteroids" I wish this movie had explained more about the attacking "planet". A living planet sailing through space sounds like a cool idea, but here they just land on it and blow it up without any scientific discussion.

38. They Came from Beyond Space (1967) - Well, actually they came from the moon which as far as I'm aware is still located in space, and not beyond it. It's fun to see familiar genre veterans at work here, like Robert Hutton, Michael Gough (as The Master of the Moon!), with the great Freddie Francis behind the camera. Robert Hutton proves he is the master of the flying leap attack in this. A guy might be across the room him with a gun. But Hutton gets a crazy look in his eyes, leaps across the room, with the other guy so stunned he never gets a shot off. Silly fight scenes aside, this is a decent sci-fi movie until the silly ending where
after so much violence, our hero tells the Master of the Moon all they had to do was ask for Earth's help, and their crazy fake-plague, body-possession, moon slave labor camp plan was all for nothing. And they shake hands, and happy music plays, and THE END.

39. Moon Pilot (1962) - I was expecting some kind of serious sci-fi movie, and was surprised (but not unpleasantly) to find out this was one of those silly Disney live-action sci-fi comedies. Interesting to see Tom Tryon take a turn at the human side of the alien-human romance (after "I Married a Monster From Outer Space" a few years earlier). Dany Saval is a real cutie in this.

July 21st
40/41/41.5. The Changes (1975) - Very well-done 10-part BBC series with an intriguing premise - out of nowhere, almost everyone develops an intense hatred of technology. People start smashing machines, and want to kill anyone who doesn't feel the same way. I'm not sure I bought how easily the main girl character's parents just left her to fend for herself at the start though (oh, the apocalypse is breaking out? well, we're in a hurry so why don't you catch up with us in France ... later!) Still, for a "children's" program, this is extremely watchable by adults. Though the resolution was extremely underwhelming. Turns out, all you have to do to solve the problem was
talk to the magic stone and ask it to stop.

42. ☼ Warehouse 13: "Magnetism"

43. The Fantastic Planet (1973) - A must-see for any sci-fi fan. Like a lot of Americans, my mind was initially warped by this as a child during a late night USA network "Night Flight" airing in the 80's.

July 22nd
44/45. ☼ Stargate SG-1: Season 5, "Red Sky" - I love that the Stargate program continually risks billions of lives because they don't like the inconvenience of bothering with the stargate's safety setting. And I'm sure this episode isn't going to change that. If it wasn't for Sam's talent for pulling technobabble out of her ass to save the day, I'd think the intelligent races of the universe would want to blow our planet up (or at the very least, pull the plugs on the stargates); "Rite of Passage" - risk the life of one girl (adopted daughter of an SG member), or set free a powerful Goa'uld who will likely kill countless friendly aliens. Do we even have to wonder what call the SG team makes?; "Beast of Burden" - once again, these guys pretty much do the opposite of Star Trek's "prime directive" at every opportunity. This time, they trigger what will likely be a bloody war on a peaceful planet. Good thing they bail out before any of them get hurt; "The Tomb" - it's a team-up with the Russians. Pity the poor Russkies ... they might've well all put on Star Trek red shirts.

46. Gandahar (1988) - More cool Rene Laloux sci-fi. Like his other movies, don't expect fancy animation, deep characterizations, or something for the whole family. But again, he excels at creating truly alien worlds and tackling a number heady sci-fi concepts.

July 23rd
47. Time Masters (1982) - More Rene Laloux goodness! By far the most "kid-friendly" of his work, with a boy protagonist, comic-relief aliens, and a distinct lack of boobage. It's still wonderfully inventive and intelligent sci-fi.

48. ☼ Stargate SG-1 - Season 5, "Between Two Fires"; "2001" - One thing I like about SG-1 is the balance of continuity. It's not so serialized that you feel lost when taking time off between episodes. But the show takes care to make their universe a living one, that changes over time. Especially in regards to the consequences of SG-1's actions. These episodes are a nice example of that, following up a couple of the stronger earlier episodes. Though in "2001", certainly SG-1 could've come up with a way to translate that newspaper, without cutting it so close for a global apocalypse.

49. Alien Raiders (2008) - Watched this as a result of a DVDTalk review recommendation. And it was good - I liked it more than the similar "Splinter" (which seemed to get more buzz). Nothing groundbreaking (like "The Thing" and "The Mist"), and you can see the "twist" ending coming from a mile away. But solid entertainment, produced on a shoestring by people that clearly are fans of the genre. And it's nice to see "Six Feet Under"'s Mathew St. Patrick in a good role.

50. The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit (2008) - As a long-time kaiju fan, I couldn't resist giving this a whirl. The filmmakers clearly love the old-time monster movies too. And I think it would really help the enjoyment if viewers have a familiarity with the genre, to recognize what elements are being spoofed. You have an Ikira Ifukube rip-off score, horribly inept English-speaking actors (including the British PM with a distinct American accent), the annoying know-it-all boy with short-shorts (who hilariously gets thrown out by security when he makes his first appearance), silly monster-worshipping song and dance routine (complete with crotch grabs), stupid what-the-hell-are-they thinking plans to stop the monster ... and of course, the one-and-only Monster X! This is good when sticking to the monster stuff. The political humor (and there's a lot of it) isn't so good - the jokes are obvious and childish, and just not that funny. Though I got a big laugh when
Kim Jong-il crashes the G8.

51/52. RahXephon (2002) - Episodes 1-8

July 24th
53. RahXephon (2002) - Episodes 9-12

July 25th
54/55/56/56.5. RahXephon (2002) - Episodes 13-26: And that does it for "RahXephon"! Good series that certainly would've been regarded higher if "Neon Genesis Evangelion" didn't come first. I don't agree with the naysayers at imdb who call this a rip-off, though. Yeah, it's got teens piloting robots to fight aliens done in a sometimes surrealistic dramatically artistic style. But there's enough different as well. It was a very high quality anime series. My biggest gripe was that for most of the running time, I really didn't like the main character (Ayato). There's only so much brooding and sulking I could handle. Of course, that kind of behavior seems to attract all the anime babes like flies to shit.

57. ☼ Short films of Rene Laloux - Including "Monkey's Teeth" (1960), "Dead Times" (1964), "The Snails" (1965), "How Wang-Fo Was Saved" (1987), "The Captive" (1988): I figure all of these together should count as at least half a movie. A great array of imaginative works from a guy that made all-too-few movies. With topics ranging from a look at the fantasies inhabiting the minds of real-life mental patients, death through the ages, gigantic snails running amok and destroying the world, the heavy price paid by the world's greatest painter, and children imprisoned in a bizarre alien castle.

July 26th
58/59/59.5. ☼ Torchwood: Children of Earth (2009) - Never watched this show before. Not sure why not, since I've always watched Doctor Who. This was quite good, though I hear that I'd be massively disapointed if I expect the rest of the series to be on this level. Surprisingly grim at times.

60. ☼ Doctor Who - "Planet of the Dead": Watching this after Torchwood made me feel like I was watching a kiddie show. OK episode, though it suffers from the same silly technobabble as previous episodes (typically pulled from the ass to save the day at the last moment).

July 27th
61. ☼ True Blood - "Never Let Me Go", "Hard-Hearted Hannah" (Wildcard #3)

62/63. Jekyll (2007) - Episodes 1-4

July 28th
64. Jekyll (2007) - Episodes 5 and 6: Excellent show! Sharp "re-imagining" of the classic tale, and James Nesbitt was outstanding in the lead role. I like this type of take on the story (with Hyde looking very similar to Jekyll, with only the personalities changing) than the turn-into-a-monster approach. The series constantly walks the tightrope of making Hyde scary, yet still oddly likable. I'm not sure if all the plot developments and twists hold together in the end - though the final twist in the last scene nicely answered a few questions I feared would go unaddressed.

65. Mikadroid: Robokill Beneath Disco Club Layla (1991) - Sadly, this doesn't quite live up the levels of awesomeness I was expecting. Maybe I couldn't get past the fact that the monster looked an awful lot like the Michelin Man to me. On the making-of doc, the filmmakers mentioned how they were forced to pad the running time at the last minute to get this to feature length ... and it really shows.

66. Eden Log (2007) - This had me hooked from the opening ... I love "mystery" sci-fi where you gradually are trying to piece together what's going on. And this throws you right in ... with mutants, holograms, cyborg-looking soldiers, and some kind of weird giant tree. I don't think it completely held together all the way through, but it was an interesting effort that clearly had some passion put into it and deserves to be more widely seen.

July 29th
67. 11 Minutes Ago (2007) - And here's a sci-fi, that at its heart is an indie romance. Which probably explains its criminally low imdb rating (under 5.0) - instead of getting time travel excitement, you get a micro-budget chick flick. But I think the filmmakers did a great job (amazingly, they shot the whole movie in a day!) with what they had. It's certainly a new way to handle the old "boy meets girl" story, having the "boy" come from the future (on a mission to solve an air pollution crisis) only to fall in love. The catch is that he can only visit the past in non-linear 11 minute segments.

68. ☼ Stargate SG-1 - Season 5, "Desperate Measures"; "Wormhole X-Treme!"

69. The Cold Hour (2006) - The Spanish have been making some kick-ass horror movies in recent year, and here's another one. Another "mystery" in the set-up, with survivors of some sort of apocalypse having to battle hordes of gooey zombies and weird cold monsters. Very well done and intense ... but it lost me at the ending. It's bad enough to just blow off and not explain one of the main mysteries of the movie, but it's worse when a crazy twist happens that's so over-the-top and inexplicable that even M Night Shamylan would shake his head.

70. Sleep Dealer (2008) - I thought this was very good. I love sci-fi that's actually about issues, instead of just being about monsters and fighting (not that I can't enjoy those kinds of movies now and again). How many modern Mexican sci-fi movies have there even been? I like how this melds the cyberpunk genre with a gritty story set in the Tijuana slums. This is a believable future - still mostly familiar, but with reasonable advances in computer and robotic technology. It's message is far from subtle, but interesting ideas are brought up. And the movie looks great for its budget. Considering this won awards at Sundance, I'd be shocked if it doesn't get some wider release.

July 30th
71. The Man From Earth (2007) - Movies that are pretty much nothing but people talking in a room have to be carefully crafted to remain interesting. And I think this one pulls it off - I was sucked into the conversation and the movie flew by. In addition to the script, having a fine ensemble group of actors (like this has) helps immensely. Only falter for me was a twist at the end that pretty much removes all ambiguity. But overall, I'd recommend this to anyone open to literate speculative fiction.

72. Puzzlehead (2005) - Interesting to follow up "Man from Earth" with this. Because everything "Man from Earth" does right in pulling off the low-budget, indie, sci-fi movie, this movie does wrong. I'd say this movie was as dull as watching paint dry, but that would be an insult to drying paint everywhere. This might've been good as a 30 minute "Twilight Zone" or 45 minute "Outer Limits" - but the material is stretched way too thin for feature-length. I've seen the "robot begins to develop human feelings" many times before. It's hard to tell whether its just the script/direction was awful, or the actors just sucked. Maybe a combination of both. Regardless, for a movie that's all dialog between three characters, having the dialog be as wooden and unconvincing as it is here is just deadly. If I wasn't doing this contest, I'd have bailed after 20 minutes (and I hardly ever stop watching movies once I've started).

73. Special (2006) - This was cute - Micheal Rapaport makes a good likable loser. I appreciate a movie that knows well enough not to stretch its concept too far (if anything, this could've been stretched out more - especially the romantic side-plot). Kind of reminded me of the "Amazon Women on the Moon" take on the Invisible Man - with a doofus running around thinking he has powers, but doesn't really.

74. Tooth and Nail (2007) - Pretty mediocre movie, and if you're any kind of horror/sci-fi fan you've seen this done a million times. It's too bad the filmmakers pretty much ignored the ramifications of their post-apocalyptic set-up after the opening, settling into a routine isolated-good-guys being stalked by crazy-people thriller. Not awful, but routine - and with a number of plot points that don't hold up under much thought. Fans of the "stars", Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, will be disappointed to know they have little more than cameos. Though I did appreciate the fact that the main character actually used their brains to execute a good plan in the end, rather than doing some half-assed "charge into enemy territory" deal.

July 31st
75. Blade Runner (1982) - Thought I'd hit #75 with class. This is the "Final Cut" version - at least it is until another DVD dip happens and Ridley monkeys with it again. Did you realize this movie is only set 10 years from now? Where are the flying cars and androids? It's funny to see that despite huge advances in some areas of science, computers in BR's future still have CRT monitors with green-on-black screens.

76. Eolomea (1972) - A final short one before wrapping up. I doubt this Iron Curtain sci-fi would've had a chance with US audiences. Very low-key, with no "bad guys" - just people who want to explore space. You do get some groovy 70's music, proving that even the Iron Curtain is defenseless against its power. Not bad - despite being low-budget, it looks better than most other Euro sci-fi of its time. As long as you're not expecting anything on the level of "Solaris", I think serious sci-fi fans should find something to appreciate.
My Movies
October Horror Challenges: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Summer Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenges:2009, 2016, 2017

Last edited by brainee; 08-01-09 at 01:35 PM.
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