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Showing posts from August, 2019

I Am Mother (2019)

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There has always been a major gap between literary and cinematic science fiction.  There are exceptions (usually for the youth market in the past, although young adult novels have significantly changed), but even in the Golden Age of science fiction, where many authors knowingly got the science wrong, the focus was largely on ideas.  Aliens, robots and giant spaceships were background; typically the focus was on the human condition and moral dilemmas.  Look at most classic (and modern) science fiction literature and you find the big bad guy is usually something humans brought on themselves.

On the big screen it has always been spectacle that stood out.  Arguably 2001: A Space Odyssey is a much better movie than any Star Wars film save The Empire Strikes Back, but even a large part of 2001's audience were there to watch the light show at the end rather than to ponder humanity's ultimate evolutionary end and place in the universe.  Watching World War II style dogfights in space…

Twice Upon a Time (1983)

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I often find the stories behind some of the movies I watch to be more interesting than the movies themselves.  Perhaps that is when it comes to strange cult movies like The Room the movie is spawns about the movie and the people behind it is often more enjoyable than sitting through the actual movie.  Twice Upon a Time thankfully is not anywhere near the level of terrible as The Room; in fact, it's not terrible at all, and is at times quite interesting to watch. It's just that its history and its ultimate fate is more interesting than what got made.

At the time Twice Upon a Time was made, Ladd Company, the studio that made it, was going under.  They also made The Right Stuff at the same time which, even though it didn't keep the studio from going bankrupt, has become a classic of the 1980s, while this little cartoon as largely disappeared into obscurity.  The story was largely written by John Korty (who also directed) and Bill Coutouri√©, along with Suella Kennedy.  A stor…

Thor (2011)

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As Kevin Feige, the man behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, began to get his army of writers in line to make some sense of proceedings as a promised Avengers movie approached, it was time to look beyond Earth for inspiration.  Iron Man had two movies, and what was often a second-tier hero suddenly became the center of a film franchise.  The Incredible Hulk was a bit more popular, but neither movie that had been made featuring him managed to match the entertainment value of a 1970s television show, thus the green guy was on the back burner.

Disney had acquired the rights to the MCU in 2009, although they still had a number of movies to pump out to fulfill their contract with Paramount.  Sony still held the rights to Spider-Man, while 21st Century Fox had the X-Men, so with a major superhero jam session looming it was important to get in some heavy hitters.  It came as no surprise that, after all these years, we would get a Thor movie.

It made sense why this had never been done befor…

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

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Roger Moore was not off to the best start as James Bond.  Live and Let Diewas somewhat popular, but unfortunately was rather quite silly.  The goodwill that movie received did not quite carry over to The Man with the Golden Gun, as it did not score well with audiences or critics.  Co-producer Harry Saltzman had blown most of his money, forcing him to sell out his ownership in the series, and once again Kevin McClory was finding things to sue EON Productions for.

That is also ignoring the fact that the James Bond series was utterly failing to keep up with the times.  The character was becoming a cartoon and the Bond girls bimbos.  The supporting characters were sometimes interesting, but given little to do.  While Moore portrayed Bond with style and finesse, the villains were the only other thing that was interesting in either of the two films, and poor Yaphet Kotto found himself turned into a balloon while Christopher Lee got a coat of paint to look Cuban.

Many things needed to chang…