Movie reviews

REPUBLIBOT WEEKEND MOVIE PREVIEW: Movies Opening 2-12-10

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Hola!! This week on the Republibot Weekend Movie Preview we have some possibly interesting genre offerings at the old movie house. But before we jump in, let’s just get our standard reminder out of the way as quickly as possible so that we are all on the same page: I have not seen any of these movies, nor have I gone out of my way to do any research on any of them. The interesting part for me (and really, it is all about me…) is passing judgment on these films, sight unseen and completely by osmosis. All of the film information in these previews, including the plot summary, has been pulled from the Opening This Week page of IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/nowplaying/). This week we are previewing The Wolfman, Valentine’s Day, Percy Jackson, and My Name Is Khan

And there we go, and here we go…

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SATURDAY AFTERNOON B-MOVIE CRAP FEST: “Mysterious Island” (1961)

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When Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Beneath The Sea” came out in 1954, it was something of a watershed, if you’ll pardon the unavoidable pun. It was a huge hit for the studio, it was arguably the first genre effects picture to be an unquestioned success with mass audiences, and of course it whetted people’s appetites for Victorian SF on the big screen, and SF in general. Had “Leagues” not been made and successfully marketed, you would not have had a zillion other Verne stories made in to lesser films like this one. Nor would you have had things by HG Wells and others from the era up on the big screen.

This movie sets the bar high. With a comparatively big budget, a good enough cast, and the rights to the sequel to a story that had already been a hit movie, they aimed to re-capture the magic of the flick that started it all.

 And they miss by a mile, sadly. 

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SATURDAY AFTERNOON B-MOVIE CRAPFEST: “Project: Moonbase” (1953)

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Last time out we reviewed “Destination Moon,” the seminal George Pal SF film from 1950, the one that really *started* the Science Fiction boom in film sixty years ago. It was a surprise hit that didn’t talk down to it’s audience, and took the “Science” part of Science Fiction seriously. It was co-written by Robert Heinlein, and based on his “Rocket Ship Galileo” novel. Of course George Pal used his unexpected hit as leverage to tell more really ambitious films, many of which we’ll eventually get to here.

But what about Heinlein? What did he parley all the good will from “Destination” in to? Well, later that same year he went on to work for “Tom Corbet, Space Cadet” as a technical advisor, and then wrote a couple episodes of an SF Anthology show, and then he got involved in a new “Hard Science” SF pilot called “Ring Around The Moon” in 1953.

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SATURDAY AFTERNOON B-MOVIE CRAPFEST: “Project: Moonbase” (1953)

Republibot 3.0's picture

Last time out we reviewed “Destination Moon,” the seminal George Pal SF film from 1950, the one that really *started* the Science Fiction boom in film sixty years ago. It was a surprise hit that didn’t talk down to it’s audience, and took the “Science” part of Science Fiction seriously. It was co-written by Robert Heinlein, and based on his “Rocket Ship Galileo” novel. Of course George Pal used his unexpected hit as leverage to tell more really ambitious films, many of which we’ll eventually get to here.

But what about Heinlein? What did he parley all the good will from “Destination” in to? Well, later that same year he went on to work for “Tom Corbet, Space Cadet” as a technical advisor, and then wrote a couple episodes of an SF Anthology show, and then he got involved in a new “Hard Science” SF pilot called “Ring Around The Moon” in 1953.

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MOVIE REVIEW: "Daybreakers"

So far, most vampire movies have had one thing in common: whether their vampires were suave villians, heartsick romantics, ratty-looking things, or whiny teenagers, it was that they were usually the minority. But Daybreakers breaks that convention and instead makes them the majority and us, the mortal humans, the minority.

What would that world be like?
 

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SATURDAY AFTERNOON B-MOVIE CRAPFEST: “Destination Moon” (1950)

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It’s easy to forget what a watershed this film is, there are far better films only a few years down the road, and earlier SF films like “Flash Gordon” and “Buck Rogers,” but, really, this is *the* one that started it all. This is *the* film that gave birth to SF as an actual cinematic genre, and something more than sword and sorcery in space. It’s also the birth of Producer George Pal’s career as the unsung John Ford of speculative fiction. He *is* what Ridley Scott claimed he wanted to be in the late 70s/early 80s, if we can set aside differences of style, pacing, scripting, and whatnot.

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DVD MOVIE REVIEW: Battlestar Galactica: “The Plan” (2009)

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If you’ve ever wondered why it is that I always end up with the short straw around here, and end up reviewing the RDM Galactica, a show I’ve loved and been betrayed by, well, so have I. It’s not particularly germane to the review itself, but as this is probably my last opportunity to explain, the bottom line is this: As an 11 year old, I was obsessive about the original Galactica. I dreaded the remake, and hated the pilot for reasons that I still think are valid. Our Own Republibot 2.0, however, raved about the series every week during its first season, and cajoled me to watch it.

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SATURDAY MORNING B-MOVIE CRAPFEST: “Creation of the Humanoids” (1962)

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Ok, now, see, *this* is what I’m talking about! This is exactly the kind of movie I was hoping to stumble across when I started writing this column. A movie of complete, inept, pervasive badness that is, at the same time, surprisingly smart and insightful, with a chewy core of ideas that - no matter how badly delivered - remain provoking. And believe you me, this is one badly-told movie.

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Avatar” (2009) [SPOILER LITE]

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Wow, what a gorgeous movie! Seriously, I’ve seen a lot of movies in my day (More than eight, definitely), and I have never seen a film in which the scenery was this sumptuous. Oh, sure, I’ve seen movies with considerably more lush set design, costuming, what have you - the 1984 version of “Dune” springs to mind - but, the exteriors just completely blew me away in a fashion that I haven’t felt since “The Fifth Element” (1997) or back in ‘77 when I was ten and saw Star Wars for the first time.

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SATURDAY AFTERNOON B-MOVIE CRAPFEST: “Conquest of Space” (1955)

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Back in June I reviewed George Pal’s first Science Fiction film, “Destination Moon” (Here:
http://www.republibot.com/content/classic-sf-movie-review-%E2%80%9Cdesti... ) a movie with some fairly profound pacing problems and spotty acting, but a heart as big as all outdoors. Ridley Scott once said that he wanted to be “The John Ford of Science Fiction Cinema,” though really Pal had already filled that role. Pal’s career went onward and upward from “moon,” cranking out a new eye-popping Science Fiction film every year, each one more successful than the rest. I had hoped to review all of his movies in the order they were released so we could sort of chart his progression as a film maker, but I guess that isn’t gonna’ happen, so let’s just jump right to the bitter end of his surprising run of successful films with “Conquest of Space.”

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