Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Watch Party Watch: American Cyborg - Steel Warrior (1993)




Watched:  04/22/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Boaz Davidson

A movie that actively resists how movies are supposed to work, American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1993) eschews character, story, pacing, and more to tell the plot outline of a cute blonde carrying a jar-of-baby to a port to give it to Frenchmen whilst being stalked by a robotic gym coach.  Luckily, she's saved by Unfrozen Caveman Hero Joe Lara.  

The movie has exactly two modes:  (1) uninspired fighting - 90% (2) awkward romantic moments - 10%.

It's a movie that is only 90 minutes, but somehow feels 4 hours long, because it has no story and thinks it should make up for that with the exact same fight sequence happening over and over and occurring in 10 minute spurts.  It's insane.

Anyway, I hate it and want to eject it from my brain as soon as possible.  So this write-up is over.




Monday, April 11, 2022

Sci-Fi Watch: World Without End (1956)




Watched:  04/10/2022
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Edward Bernds

From YouTubeTV:  

An astronaut (Hugh Marlowe) and his buddies land on 26th-century Earth and find men meek and women friendly

I mean, yes.  

I have no idea how I recorded this movie, but I did.  I'm guessing by accident.  I put it on to see what it was, and - while not good or great - there's a bit of The Time Machine and what we'll all know from Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes to this movie.  

Some astronauts return to Earth only to find they didn't just pass through space, they passed through time - a few hundred years.  On the surface, they find giant spiders and brutish troglodytes, and as they meet a race of subterranean people who seem much more like the people they left, they find that there was a nuclear war at some point.  While safe in their underground city, the men have turned weak and fearful, and the women - hot and mini-skirted.   And disappointed in their men.  So of course they like Rod Taylor popping his shirt off and bringing the gun show.  

Anyway, it's mostly curious in that it seems like Hollywood did watch the movie and said "we could do this better".  And they were not wrong.  Just twelve years later, Planet of the Apes - with Rod Serling and the original novel behind it - doesn't just turn the opportunity into a sex fantasy/ reinforcement of our exceptionalism as mid-Century Americans.  


Thursday, April 7, 2022

Watch Party Watch: Flash Gordon (1980)




Watched:  04/01/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Mike Hodges

In a lot of ways, Flash Gordon (1980) maybe came out at exactly the wrong time and set the tone for what would be a problem for comic-based material until X-Men in 2000.  

With Star Wars and Superman released to critical and financial success, Dino De Laurentiis began mining the properties that had influenced the creation of both properties and set the tone in Hollywood that Marvel and DC couldn't get anything green lit for years - but somehow pulp characters would get movies.*  As The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman disappeared from TV, Buck Rogers showed up on the small screen, and De Laurentiis went and tapped Lorenzo Semple, Jr., one of the main brains behind the 1960's Batman series, to bring Flash Gordon to the big screen.  

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984)




Watched:  02/25/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  W.D. Richter

A first viewing of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984) is not an easy task, I would assume.  

I saw Buckaroo Banzai on its release in the theater thanks to a dad who was not particularly nerdy and didn't care for nerd culture, but had certainly enjoyed serials and whatnot in his youth, and absolutely got what the movie was selling.  And I loved it.  Absolutely was into the movie.  I still love the idea of a team of folks with specialties standing between civilization and chaos.  And I got that the movie was funny and winky.  

But I also watched it over and over on cable and recorded on VHS for a bit through middle school.  What I didn't know was that the movie had flopped.  Horribly.  I mean, it made sense that my dad had to drive us across town to the one theater showing the movie, which was mostly empty.  But I also had seen Adventures in Babysitting in a theater so empty of anyone but me and my pals, the manager had come in before the movie to tell us "no monkeyshines", and that's an American classic.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Keep (1983)




Watched:  02/18/2022
Format:  Amazon 
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Michael Mann

This is not a good movie, but it is a fascinating movie.  If you hate Nazis (and I do!) it's not unappealing to see a supernatural force take them apart.  

I found out during this viewing that I had been given some wildly inaccurate information about the origins of the film - that it was based on a Richard Matheson novel (it is not) and that in the original novel, it's Dracula in the Keep, thus the Carpathian mountains (completely and utterly wrong).  Frankly, having read the description of the novel, I like the idea of Dracula cooling in a Keep in the Carpathians a whole lot more than the description of the novel, which sounds like a very matter-of-fact fantasy novel that would not be my jam. 

The appeal of the film is in watching early Michael Mann with a budget and - if you're so inclined - a Tangerine Dream score that matches the action.  It's a dreamy, music video of a movie with minimal dialog and falls squarely in a rare 20-year period where that was maybe fine in film.  Before, people would not have known what you were doing, and after, movies started filling in every crevice of a film with wall-to-wall exposition.  

I was pleased the assembled watch-partiers were more or less fine with the movie, all things considered.  I guess when Sheena was our last touch-base, this is like Citizen Kane.  

Anyway, there's some interesting dynamics at play as it's clear the main evil supernatural force is a big ol liar and the promise that he may just murder his way to Berlin and melt Hitler is a bit of bullshit to convince Ian McKellan to help him out, but for a brief moment, you think "well, maybe we can let this extradimensional being tear shit up.  Enemy of my enemy, etc..."  Also, the movie makes a fine point about how citizens can get caught up in the bullshit of their nation's leaders and become subordinate to the true believers, who generally are not the kind of folks who really want to have to answer to.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

PODCAST 180: "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) - A Signal Watch Canon Episode w/ SGHarms and Ryan




Watched:  01/20/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Stanley Kubrick



Ryan welcomes old droog and new co-host SGHarms to viddy a bit of the old ultraviolence as we discuss a bit of popular cine. It's Kubrick's much-discussed 1970's masterpiece, and there's plenty to talk about. Join us for a sloosh, my brothers, as we sort through all that Master Kubrick has brought us. 

If you have not seen this film, be aware that discussion of the film will include covering the film's depiction of multiple forms of violence, including sexual violence. Proceed with caution.

SoundCloud

YouTube



Music:
Clockwork Orange Title Theme (based on Purcell's "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary" - Wendy Carlos
9th Symphony, 2nd Movement - Ludwig Van Beethoven, Berlin Philharmonic


Signal Watch Canon

Monday, January 17, 2022

Watch Party Watch: The Brain From Planet Arous (1957)




Watched:  01/14/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Firstish
Director:  Nathan Hertz

I'll tell this story again here, so...

The year is about 1978 or 79.  For reasons I cannot remember, my mom has to keep me busy while she deals with something else in the house.  I am about 3 or 4.  My mom does something she never does:  she puts me in my folks' room and turns on the TV and says "look at that til I get back".  I am left alone with a black and white movie on the TV.

The movie is well underway, I don't understand what's happening and then this shit appears on screen:


I lose it.  Giant floating menacing brains with glowing eyes are not something I yet take for granted.  

Friday, January 14, 2022

PODCAST 179: "Soylent Green" (1973) - a 2022 SciFi Episode w/ JimD and Ryan



Watched:  01/05/2022
Format:  Tubi
Viewing:  First
Director: Richard Fleischer




JimD returns to talk what to expect in the new year and what to look for as you consider healthy eating in 2022. It's a Sci-Fi classic that isn't all that great! But it has a neat ending. And garbage trucks. And some name cast, which is just weird. Join us as we try not to crowd you with our opinions!




Music:
Soylent Green - Fred Myrow


Sci-Fi Nerdery

Thursday, November 4, 2021

PODCAST: "Foundation" Sci-Fi TV discussion w/ JuanD and Ryan




Watched:  09 and 10/2021
Format:  Television Apple+
Viewing: First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  various




Juan and Ryan ponder what has come before to consider what is happening now and what will happen next as they take on the famously unfilmable series of books from one of the greats of American sci-fi. Join us as we run the numbers on a show that's epic in scale, and maybe dropping a space elevator on the fans of the books.




Music:
Foundation Main Theme - Bear McCreary


Sci-Fi Playlist

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Muad'Dib Watch: Dune (2021)




Watched:  10/24/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Denis Villeneuve

Well, whatever opinion I have will be wrong, by everyone who watched this movie.  And, especially, if you read the book.

I've only read Dune once, years ago, at the recommendation of RHPT and StevenH (and probably Lauren, if Steven was pitching it).  That said, I thought it was a singular reading experience.  My inability to return to the book has much more to do with life being short and me doing other things rather than my lack of love for what I read.

I think people who read and grok Dune are changed a little after, maybe in tiny ways, but a bit.  I cannot imagine approaching a Dune movie without having read the book - I know watching Lynch's version without having read the book led to me giving up 20 minutes in.  But after reading it, I was like "oh, yeah, this is maybe not the best way to do this, but ok."  Similarly, before reading the book, I could only follow the SyFy Channel TV mini-series version of Dune so far before I was like "y'all are on your own".

So - I have no idea what those who didn't read the book took away from the movie currently in theaters and running on HBOmax.  

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Cameron Watch: The Abyss - Director's Cut (1989)




Watched:  08/28/2021
Format:  DVD I bought on ebay
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  James Cameron

I would have been about 14 when The Abyss (1989) hit, and it arrived as a sort of prestige sci-fi film.  I remember seeing it in a packed house on a Saturday within the first week or two it was out (with my pals), and it was a*very big deal*.  

It became a staple of our rotation, but one you had to make time for.  The thing was 2.5 hours long.  It felt smart and somewhat relevant.  A Cold War story and not so displaced from our own time and technology, an underwater oil platform made sense - especially as run by roughnecks and fairly blue-collar technical crew.  

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Vegas in Space (1991)




Watched:  06/28/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Phillip R. Ford

This was a Jenifer pick for a watch party, and it was a gd delight.

Filmed circa 1983-85 in apartments and a few borrowed locations in San Francisco, this sci-fi epic follows a group of agents of the Empress of the Galaxy who are sent to Vegas in Space, a pre-fab pleasure planet with an all-female population, to find out what's going on with a crime wave.  To infiltrate the planet, the agents have to change genders and pose as a girl-group performing 20th Century showgirl routines. 

It's probably best to mention - the movie was made on no-budget by a group of drag queens and their friends, and the story of the making of the film sounds like it'd be a hell of a film or prestige HBO mini-series itself.

For something shot by people with minimal experience, it's a surprisingly coherent film, with ideas thrown at the screen every few seconds, tons of wild visuals only someone without proper training would even think of (apparently meth is also a bit of an engine behind the film), and characters with an ocean liner's worth of presence, if not acting chops.  I expected to have some good laughs at the attempt and the "let's put on a show" aspect of the movie, but instead...  the movie just worked.  It's insane, high-voltage camp, and tragically ahead of what I think America was ready for.  I mean, it's really funny, good stuff.

While watching the film, make sure you listen to the ADR'd background chatter.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

PODCAST: "Trancers" (1984) - A Sci-Fi Film Chat w/ SimonUK and Ryan




Watched:  06/25/2021
Format:  DVD (Full Moon)
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Charles Band


SimonUK and Ryan are back (in time) to discuss a cult classic of 1980's horror sci-fi. It's time-travel, zombiefication, cults, iffy future governing structures and the promise of everyone in Los Angeles getting an ocean view. So join us as we do some detective work on not just the film, but that it survives with a cult audience all these years later!
Music:
Trancers Opening - Trancers OST, Phil Davies & Mark Ryder
Confrontation on the Roof - Trancers OST, Phil Davies & Mark Ryder

Playlist:

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Shudder Watch: Psycho Goreman (2020)




Watched:  06/19/2021
Format:  Shudder
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Steven Kostanski

It's been a minute since I posted.  We had guests for the first time since COVID, and we've been watching a lot of baseball and Ted Lasso, so no movies of late.

It seems Psycho Goreman (2020) is a bit of a cult favorite at the moment among horror aficionados, and I was looking for something fun to watch on my Friday night.  But aside from "sorta like an 80's family movie", "sci-fi alien" and "hilarious", I didn't really know much about it, which is my preference going into most horror.

And, yeah?  It's horror-ish.  Horror adjacent.  Sci-fi.  Comedy.  Something.  

Monday, May 31, 2021

PODCAST: "RoboCop" (1987) - A Signal Watch Canon PodCast w/ JAL & Ryan



Watched:  05/24/2021
Format:  BluRay (Arrow)
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Paul Verhoeven



Dead or alive, you're listening to this PodCast! JAL and Ryan stay out of trouble and talk a 1980's sci-fi action drama satire that's way the hell better than it should be. We look at the movie that may have had way more about to say about our present day back in 1987 than near any other sci-fi of the last 50 years. Join us as talk what we love about a movie about a guy we call "Robo".




Music: 
Drive Montage -  Basil Poledouris, RoboCop OST


Signal Watch Canon:

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Regret Watch: Star Trek V - The Final Frontier (1989)




Watched:  05/29/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1980's
Director:  William Shatner

I always like me some Trek, but the last time I watched this movie was in 1989, and it was the last time I saw it for a reason.  

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a weird mess of a film, with no coherent plot or threat, or goal.  Coming off the Star Trek II - IV trilogy, which had run the gamut from revenge-driven space battle to whale wrangling comedy, coming up with what was next for our crew as they now had The Next Generation nipping at their heels was going to be a tall order. And, over and over again, the movie just fails to deliver as an adventure, a sci-fi premise, a philosophical exploration or a comedy.  

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Space Truckers (1996)


 

Watched:  05/11/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First (complete viewing)
Decade:  oh, so 1990's
Director:  Stuart Gordon

Way back around 2001 or 2002, one day I noticed a movie called Space Truckers (1996) was showing on HBO.  If you've been hanging around this blog since 2003, then you know:  I immediately tuned over and caught something like 30 minutes of it.

I was shocked to see name actors Stephen Dorff, Dennis Hopper and Debi Mazar in what appeared to be a mid-budget sci-fi comedy that I'd never heard of, galivanting around space in a long-haul space-truck.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Trek/ Cattrall Watch: Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country (1991)




Watched:  05/02/2021
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Nicholas Meyer

This is... my third favorite Trek movie?  Pretty remarkable for a movie that has very few ship-fetish shots and plays like a 3-part episode of the TV series.  But, man, it just works.  

I believe it was advertised as the final movie for the original crew from Star Trek before The Next Generation gang took over, but as an excitable 16 year old, I thought "nah, they just got their mojo back on this one.  They'll make more."*  

So, yeah, shocker, I am into a tight murder mystery set in space with the fate of the galaxy in the balance.  Throw in ship-to-ship combat, several rad supporting cast members beyond the usual crew, plus Sulu as Captain of his own ship (and, my god, had they just given Takei a spin-off series back then...), \more wildly over-the-top Klingons in the form of Plummer's Shakespeare spouting warrior, Chang (love everything about this character) -  and it's like Trek was just punching "Ryan will like this" buttons.  

And, of course, Kim Cattrall as Lt. Valeris.

Monday, April 26, 2021

PODCAST: "Blade Runner" (1982) - a Signal Watch Canon episode w/ Ryan and SimonUK


Watched:  04/19/2021
Format:  BluRay - version - The Final Cut
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Ridley Scott


More PodCast than PodCast, that's our motto! Ryan and SimonUK sit down and check our emotional response to this 1980's favorite of design and theme! There's nothing artificial about how we chase down one of the best of the sci-fi genre that defined an aesthetic, crossed genres, and asked the big questions.


Music:  
Blade Runner Main Theme - Vangelis, Blade Runner OST
Tears in Rain - Vangelis, Blade Runner OST


Signal Watch Canon:

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Watch Party Watch: They Came From Beyond Space (1967)




Watched:  03/30/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Freddie Francis


Meteors fall to Earth, specifically Britain.  Scientists are dispatched to check them out - minus an American who just happens to mention having a silver plate in his skull.  I *think* the story is that alien brain waves were living inside the rocks?  Anyway, the alien psychic waves transfer over to the brains of the science team and build a little fort from which they begin shuttling people to the moon to make more brain transfers with more aliens.  And there's a plague?

I fell asleep for part of this movie, but not much, and it's been a week, but I can't really piece it all back together.  I do know the heroes wind up wearing goofy helmets and going to the moon where a badly made-up Michael Gough awaits them (wearing a robe, because: alien).  

I can't recommend the movie as "good", I can recommend it as "this is whackadoodle".   It's Jenifer's selection from last week, so here's her words on the topic.

I will say - the poster promises something the movie absolutely refuses to deliver upon, but I have heard Amicus and Hammer both made the posters first to get financing, and then made the movies.  And, somewhere along the way, whatever they had in their heads about folks with sleek helmets, catsuits and space ray flamethrowers got turned into this.