charlieoso

IMDb member since June 2018
    Lifetime Total
    75+
    IMDb Member
    2 years, 11 months

Reviews

Back to the Future Part III
(1990)

"What's your name, dude?" "Uh, Mar...Eastwood. Clint Eastwood."
Robert Zemeckis brings us the third and final installment in the BACK TO THE FUTURE series. This time starting off right where the last one ended Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) is sent back to 1885 when Marty (Michael J. Fox) was in 1955. So Marty finds the Doc Brown from 1955 and they visit the gravesite to find Doc's tombstone. They end up digging up the DeLorean that was placed there by Doc, but also find out that Doc was killed by the vile outlaw Buford 'Mad Dog' Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson). So Marty goes back to 1885 to save Doc and then try and get back home in 1985.

A great and terrific ending to the series and I always thought they could have just kept making these movies as long as they had the care that Zemckis and co-screenwriter Bob Gale brought to the projects. Unfortunately, due to Fox's Parkinson Disease it may never had a chance to happen. At the same time I am so happy these films were made. Like previous entries it injects wonderful humour, great characters, adventure and top notch music from Alan Silvestri. Also starring Mary Steenburgen in a big role as Clara Clayon, Doc's new love interest, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and the band ZZ Top. If you've made it this far in the series how could you not watch the final act?

Back to the Future Part II
(1989)

My Favourite of the Series, but Also the Most Flawed
Michael J. Fox returns as Marty McFly as we take off right from where the original left us. Very few sequels actually do this and usually allow for time to take place between the parts, but not in this series. I admit I do love it when sequels do this. It actually allows me the viewer to have his emotions already riding high if I loved the original (as I do in this case). Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) leaves for the future only to return moments later to Marty and his girlfriend (this time played by Elisabeth Shue) and telling them that they must return to the future for their kids' future is at stake. So Marty and Jennifer join the Doc and Einstein his dog to go to 2015. What takes place is a great story involving multiple time jumps, seeing the future and reliving the past as multiple Martys are back in 1955. I really did love that about this film.

The big reason why I find it flawed though is the story. Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis (who also directed) penned the story and I give them props for injecting some true originality and great humour into the story, but through so much action and time jumps it leaves a hole in the story you could drive a DeLoren through. To some this may not matter, but to me it is huge. After Doc Brown explains to the audience about Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) stealing the DeLoren going back to 1955 and creating a new 1955 you should clue into the fact that when Biff leaves 1955 to go back to 2015 he would be going to an alternate 2015. Not the 2015 where he stole the DeLoren from Marty and Doc Brown, but a new 2015 where he would be mega rich and there would be now two Biff Tannen's. The 2015 Marty and Doc Brown are in has no Biff Tannen's and more importantly no DeLoren. Meaning Marty and Doc would be stuck in that alternate 2015 unless Doc could recreate the DeLoren, but then you would have to go back to 1955, then go back to the future to deal with a rogue DeLoren, then back to 1955 to deal with Biff and his disasterous plans. Sorry folks, my apologizes to everyone who did not want to read that, but I feel I had to go through that plot hole.

In saying that though the film is I find extremely fun to watch and even though I find it has its flaws its still highly recommended from me. I remember going to the theatre to watch this for my 10th birthday with my parents and my friend Mike. Still has terrific music from Alan Silvestri. Also starring Charles Fleischer, a young Elijah Wood and Joe Flaherty in a great final scene. Followed by part III the next year to wrap up the great film series.

The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent
(1957)

What a Title!...
...and not much else. Ultimately quite silly story from a long time ago when the world was ruled by Gods a group of women decide to sail out and search for their missing men. They become shipwrecked and are taken over by a group of ruthless people who also happen to have their men captive. Can they release the prisoners and escape to their ship? What do you think? Directed by Roger Corman, this is certainly one of his weakest entries. Starring a couple of his regulars at the time Susan Cabot and Jonathan Haze. Truly cornball effects and not very believable.

Teenage Cave Man
(1958)

Just Plain Bad on All Levels
Over his time as a director Roger Corman directed some great movies. Unfortunately, he also directed some not so good ones. This one to me was a total dud and never really showed off any of Corman's true abilities as a director, but was made for $70,000 and made money at the box office.

Teenager Robert Vaughn (who looks 30, was actually 25 I believe) starts to questions things that go on within the society he is involved with back in the caveman days. I must say I enjoyed the fact that there is a message to the movie and a nice one, but the way it is delivered just wrecks the film. May work for a 5 year old who has never seen a movie before. Horrific costumes worn by the cave people and the monsters as well. There is a scene with a bear, it is obviously some actor in a bear suit. There are also gigantic monsters that unbelievably fight each other. Corman must have watched GODZILLA and thought hey we should slip that into the movie. To me this film is ruined by the low budget and low quality filming techniques. Was used for a episode of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000 and deserves it.

War of the Satellites
(1958)

Interesting Corman Low-Budget Sci-Fi
Some interesting ideas are put to the screen in this Roger Corman flick. Manned satellites are being destroyed in space after they come in contact with an odd barrier. A message has been sent to Earth from alien beings instructing humans to not continue to explore into space. This in turn does not deter the humans and full-speed ahead on exploration in space. While on a trip to the UN (which I must say in the early going there is a little bit too much of) the leader of the program Dr. Pol Van Ponder (Richard Devon) is taken over by alien beings and is able to do weird things like duplicating himself. He heads the mission with different intentions and all astronauts on the next mission are in peril danger.

Cheeseball effects don't seem to hurt this film as the interest was piqued enough for me that the downgraded effects. was just part of the entertainment. Dick Miller plays as Dave Boyer the main hero and Susan Cabot plays Sybil Carrington a brilliant researcher. The main cast does a good job and all play their roles in a rather restrained fashion I would say. Corman himself even has a little cameo.

Not of This Earth
(1957)

Pretty Good Low-Budget 50s Sci-Fi from Roger Corman
Quite a good 50s sci-fi romp from producer/director Roger Corman. With interesting ideas and quick development from scriptwriters Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna. Here quite an unusual fellow named Mr. Johnson (Paul Birch in a pretty good role) donning his sunglasses must get a blood transfusion from the hospital. Quite early in the film we see Mr. Johnson has some mind-control over humans and once that happens you must figure this dude has got to be from another world. After the transfusion he wants Nurse Nadine Storey (Beverly Garland) to be his personal nurse for further transfusions he will have at home. In the end she agrees and she lives with Mr. Johnson in his home and also meeting his personal bodyguard Jeremy Perrin (Jonathan Haze). We see though that this extra-terrestrial is gathering blood to test it on himself to see if he can survive as there is a blood disorder that is killing his own people on his home planet of Davanna.

A pretty good story that moves along at a wickedly fast pace as it is just over an hour long. Unfortunately you can see or tell that Corman needed to keep the money close to the vest when perhaps when the 3rd act starts a little flow of money to up the production quality would have been nice, but it still is worth a viewing. Also starring Dick Miller in a funny little bit as a vacuum salesman. Followed by a remake in 1988 starring Traci Lords and another in 1995 starring Michael York, both produced by Corman I believe.

It Conquered the World
(1956)

Watch if You Can't Get Enough of the 50s Sci-Fi Low-Budgeters
Human beings have sent satellites into space, but Dr. Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef) is against believing that there are aliens in space watching us right now. The latest satellite has disappeared and Van Cleef calls alien down to Earth, while all those around him think he has gone crazy. Unfortunately the alien brings only death to the human race.

Roger Corman produced and directed this mid 50s low-budget cheapie. Written by Lou Rusoff and an uncredited Charles B. Griffith. Effects and monster suit are beyond cheap, with a monster that looks like an angry turnip. In the end it really is just far too silly to take seriously. Also starring Peter Graves who along with Van Cleef you can tell they are very good actors, because they are able to play this so straight. Cast also includes Corman favourites Beverly Garland, Jonathan Haze and Dick Miller.

The Beast with a Million Eyes
(1955)

The Beast with a Million Eyes
Total 50s cornball sci-fi/horror directed by David Kramarsky and an uncredited Roger Corman and Lou Place. A poor date farming family (with Paul Birch as the father) along with super-creep (Leonard Tarver) who likes to watch the daughter Sandra (Dona Cole) bath in the river are visited by aliens. The first indication is the animals start going crazy. Like their dog Duke (London) goes bananas. Then the family begins to investigate in the California desert near their home.

For a short film it actually takes a long time for it to get going and when it comes to the part in the film where it may have pushed itself towards being a film worth watching (because I believe inside this film there is something better than what you get) it really just falls flat on its face.

Hook
(1991)

Fun Filled Fantasy Flick
Steven Spielberg does a pretty darn good job in recreating some of the Peter Pan magic in this early 90s fantasy flick. Story by Nick Castle and James V. Hart. Screenplay by Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo.

Robin Williams is great as Peter Banning an overworked workaholic dad who doesn't seem to have enough time for his kids. Not to mention he also lacks any kind of imagination. His family with his wife Moira (Caroline Goodall) and his two kids Jackie (Charlie Korsmo) and Maggie (Amber Scott) are off to England to visit his Granny Wendy (Maggie Smith) who helped find him a home when he was a young orphan. His kids are kidnapped and Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts in a nice energetic role) comes to get him to get them back. The big problem is Peter is unaware that he is actually Peter Pan. So The Lost Boys try to get him in shape for the final battle against Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) and save his children.

To me the biggest casting homerun they hit was in getting Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook. He is perfect in the role and works excellent against Williams who is also just great in his performance.

If you or your kids have read Peter Pan this should be a big hit. What is also nice is thirty years later most of the effects still stand up pretty good. Also starring Bob Hoskins as Hook's right hand man Smee, Phil Collins as Inspector Good and see if you can spot Glenn Close. Lots of fun to be had for sure.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
(1987)

Worst of the Superman Films
While certainly the worst Superman movie, it is not because it is boring or slow-paced. In fact it moves along much better than the previous three. The big reason is the effects are a major downgrade from the earlier entries and in the end only were able to get half the budget that was used in the previous entry. It is rather obvious and Christopher Reeve's ability to play Superman and John Williams' great score alone can not carry the picture.

Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) is broken out of jail by his moronic nephew Lenny (Jon Cryer) so that he can create his own superhero or supervillain in Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow). Once the two face off you should be welcomed to a great cinema fight, but you must undergo and witness some brutal flying scenes and grade Z effects.

Reeve, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal wrote the story, Konner & Rosenthal the screenplay, but it is interesting because I can tell there actually is a good movie somewhere inside it, just needed a bigger budget and perhaps more story. Supposedly there were multiple scenes shot that were not included in the final cut. As well Wes Craven was originally set to direct, but he and Reeve did not get along well and then Sidney J. Furie was brought on board to direct. Joining the cast for part 4 are Sam Wanamaker as tycoon David Warfield who owns The Daily Planet and his daughter Lacy played by Mariel Hemingway who has the hots for Clark.

Superman III
(1983)

Series Staring to Show Cracks in Armour
Christopher Reeve is back once again as Superman/Clark Kent and does great in the blue and red adding much needed spark to really a lower quality Superman sequel.

After being introduced to Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) a man who can not seem to find a job that will stick with him and a mega-silly opening running during the credits we see Gorman ripping off Webscoe the company he works for by taking all the half cents that were not paid out to employers in a payout to himself. He is quickly caught by the big boss Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn) and his sister Vera (Annie Ross) where a plan is hatched for them to be much more involved in the price of coffee in Colombia. No really that's the plan. Only Superman is there to thwart their plans.

Richard Lester returns as director in the third installment. It seems like he was wanting to direct a Richard Pryor comedy rather than a Superman film and they ain't the same thing. Plays much more like a comedy due to leaning on Pryor for laughs, lack of any real good action sequences early in the film and ongoing attempts to make the audience laugh. I did think Richard Pryor was in fact quite good in his role and grabbed a few good laughs out of me, but that type of character with that type of screen-time was unneeded in a Superman film. The other thing I did not like was compared to the previous two entries the villains in this film were very weak. They would be no fight for Superman, but most rely on a computer to battle Superman in the final scene.

One thing that really does work and continues to work is Christoper Reeve as Superman. He adds a star to my rating due to his performance here. By the 3rd act the film evolves into some good elements only to slip in the final 10 minutes. I thought the idea of the darker Superman who throws away the basic goodness of Superman and the battle between the good and evil Superman was pretty cool and very well delivered by Reeve.

Written by David and Leslie Newman who co-wrote parts 1 and 2. Also starring Annette O'Toole as Clark's old love interest Lana Lang. The whole idea of Clark returning to Smallville was a great idea, but in the end was actually kind of boring and did not spice up the film as it should have for me.

Superman II
(1980)

"Come to me, Superman! I defy you! Come and kneel before Zod!"
The most human story about Superman in the film series and also one that I have always loved. Ever since I was a kid and saw it on TV. It is also an extremely good follow-up to the original.

Christopher Reeve is back as Superman, but this time must face not one but three worthy opponents. If you remember from the original film General Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and Non (Jack O'Halloran) are trapped in The Phantom Zone due to their crimes on Krypton and flying through space endlessly. Superman saves Paris by grabbing a hydrogen bomb and flinging it into space. When it explodes it opens up The Phantom Zone releasing the other three final survivors from Krypton. They also have the same powers as Superman, but are looking to rule and crush everyone under their feet. At the same time Superman is revealing himself to Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and professing his love for her unaware that General Zod is starting to take control of the world. When they learn that Superman is the son of Jor-El their jailer they want Superman to bow down before them.

I must say that Reeve once again puts in a great performance as Superman/Clark Kent and he always did. To me though I love Stamp's performance as General Zod and did wonderful casting for Douglas and O'Halloran as the other evil cohorts. Gene Hackman also returns as Lex Luthor after being sprung from jail with his own ideas on how to beat Superman with the assistance of these three super-beings.

Directed by Richard Lester as Richard Donner was removed from the project and did not want his name added as co-director. I have never seen the Donner version, but I think I would love to as he did seem to have the best vision of Superman and this version is just a refilming of his story. Co-written by Mario Puzo. Also added to the cast this time are Clifton James, E.G. Marshall and John Ratzenberger.

If you enjoyed the original you need to see this one.

Superman
(1978)

"Uh, um, would you like a glass of wine?" "Uh, no, no thanks. I never drink when I fly."
In my opinion this was the best comic book film ever made. While a few sequels (while the second is great all inferior), a new Superman, Batman, Spiderman and countless DC and Marvel movies being made I admit I haven't seen them all, but this one takes the cake. Perhaps you had to see this one as a child, but thanks to some wonderful acting, amazing music and direction from Richard Donner this is a very moving and motivating story for everyone.

They really cram a lot of story into the version that I have seen (runs at 143 minutes) and I would completely agree that what audiences found acceptable in 1978 may not apply so well today from an opening credit sequence that runs too long, but hey, I don't care it mixes in maybe from favourite score of all time by John Williams with some beautifully cheesy late 70s effects. We follow Superman's father Jor-El (Marlon Brando) who believes his planet of Krypton will explode after its sun goes supernova. The high council toss away his pleas and in turn to save his only son Kal-El he sends him in a spaceship to Earth where his dense molecular structure will make him stronger than any mortal man. He lands on Earth where he is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter) in a pretty cool scene. When he grows older he moves to Metropolis where he works for the Daily Planet as Clark Kent the nerdy, no-nothing, ultra old-school boy from the mid west. He works with and falls for the attractive Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), yet there is the most brilliant criminal mind of our time working in the underground depths of the city; Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman is simply wonderful in his hammy spin of the character). Along with his buffoon sidekick Otis (Ned Beatty) and Miss Teschmacher (Valerie Perrine) he plans to detonate the San Andreas Fault causing California to slide into the ocean depths.

I think to this day Christopher Reeve is underrated as an actor as he did a fabulous job in this and all the sequels. To go along with Richard Donner's great direction (and my thoughts that he knew the material and appreciated it as well) there was a pretty darn good script co-written by Mario Puzo who wrote THE GODFATHER.

The big thing that I love about this film and SUPERMAN II is that it does take its material seriously, but doesn't take itself seriously. It is swimming in camp at times much like the comics did at that time as well. Today they seem to have gone the other way in taking itself seriously, but to me the camp that is within these films brings a high level of joy and fun.

Maybe give it a shot to the younger group who may have never seen this film. It is different than the comic book movies they make nowadays, but it was huge at the box office as well raking in over $300 million. Also starring Jackie Cooper as Daily Planet editor Perry White, Terence Stamp as Zod (who returns for the sequel) and Susannah York as Superman's mother Lara.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
(2015)

Something Fans of the Old Star Wars Should Enjoy
Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas back in 2012 so owned the rights to STAR WARS. This was their first dip into making a new STAR WARS film. Hey, I gotta tell you I loved it as it was really the first time for me since seeing RETURN OF THE JEDI that I was excited about a STAR WARS film. I saw it twice at the theatre which is a rarity. But it does come with flaws.

Here in the 7th part of the STAR WARS films Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is out there somewhere in the galaxy. He has decided to hide due to his failed Jedi training with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is part of a new evil that is taking shape in the galaxy. Due to this evil Skywalker must be found to put peace back in the galaxy. Thing is no one knows where he is. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) gets part of a map of Skywalker's whereabouts and puts it in BB-8 (who is essentially the new R2-D2). The droid ends up on Jakku (which interestingly looks a lot like Tatooine to me). There he meets the heroine of the story Rey (Daisy Ridley). So along with Finn (John Boyega) who used to be a stormtrooper there are off to return the droid to the Resistance to find Skywalker.

Other old Star Wars characters pop up along the way like Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2, and of course Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). It is great to see Solo and Chewy again 30+ years later and still in action. Also some great space battles and of course the effects are top notch.

Problems I did have with the film though are first off it is extremely derivative of A NEW HOPE. To the point that some of the wonder or imagining what will happen next is wiped away from the film. Due to some surprises and new characters though the wonder does still exist. They have also created another Death Star. Not for the second time, which to me they got away with in RETURN OF THE JEDI, but for a third time. To me it seems like lazy writing if you can not come up with new ideas to inject into a story. Finally, I really do enjoy the Rey character, but once again seems like lazy writing as first I would say she can fly the Millennium Falcon better than Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian combined. Which is fine, but make it a little more believable. As well her ability with the force is not really believable as it comes to her so easily. Its like they wanted her to have Luke's ability by the end of A NEW HOPE before we really even get there. Do love the ending battle though between Rey and Kylo Ren. Amazing winter setting.

To me though this film did have a lot that old Star Wars fans really enjoy. What they did well they did extremely well. Written by J.J. Abrams (who also directed), Lawrence Kasdan (who also co-penned THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI) and Michael Arndt. Followed by THE LAST JEDI, which I thought really missed the mark. I will rewatch though and give a review, but it was the film that made me double down on knowing that I am not a Star Wars fanatic and do see problems that were in the films after the original three were released. If you enjoy Star Wars though this is highly recommended.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
(1989)

"Whoa."
You should have some fun in this comedy/sci-fi romp about a couple of high school boneheads (nicely played by Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter).

In the year 2688 humanity lives within a utopian society, but back in the past there is going to be some serious trouble that will effect our futuristic society. For it has been shaped by Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Theodore Logan (Reeves) and they are about to be split up in 1988 due to them failing history. They will not stay together to create The Wyld Stallions and reshape humanity through music. So Rufus (George Carlin) is sent back in time to help the boys out so that they can pass history. It is all based upon a final presentation that they need to ace. Rufus gives them a phone booth that allows them to travel through time to collect important people in history to bring to this presentation. Some real good laughs and while only running 90 minutes time really flies during this movie. Also has a good soundtrack including the title song "Two Heads are Better Than One" by Power Tool. Also starring Bernie Casey as history teacher Mr. Ryan. Reeves has carved out quite a career since this film, but to me he will always be Ted "Theodore" Logan. Followed by two sequels.

Flash Gordon
(1980)

Cheesy, Campy, Over-the-Top Fun To Be Had
It took me a few viewings to get into the right frame of mind when watching FLASH GORDON. For if you are not you likely will not enjoy it. Just remember you are not about to watch STAR WARS. It is loaded with cheese. From the effects to the acting, which should win an award for the hammiest of 1980. But, when you understand that it is based on a comic and well before every movie based on a comic took itself seriously they used to be silly. So, there is a lot of campy fun to be had here. Not to mention they may have picked the perfect band Queen to bless this film with a soundtrack with the excellent title track 'Flash'.

Max von Sydow is excellent as the main villain The Emperor Ming. He is playing with planet Earth by creating natural disasters before finally destroying it. NFL great Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) and travel agent Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) are flying in a plane when the disasters start to really take hold of Earth. Flash luckily crashes the plane into a greenhouse owned by thought-to-be crazed scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol) where he takes the other two with him on a trip in a spaceship to the planet Mongo where they are greeted by Ming and his minions. Flash must then try and stop Ming from destroying Earth and bring peace to Mongo.

Good flick to watch with some buddies to have some laughs and a good time. Not to be taken seriously. Also starring Timothy Dalton (who puts in a very good performance), Richard O'Brien and Philip Stone.

Somewhere in Time
(1980)

"Come back to me."
Based on the novel "Time Bid Return" written by Richard Matheson, this film blends romance with a sprinkling of science fiction quite well. I think they did a very good job translating the book to screen as I have read the book.

Christopher Reeve plays playwright Richard Collier. He is just unable to pen out his next winner. So he goes on a little trip to clear his mind. He ends up at the Grand Hotel and it is there that he sees the most beautiful, captivating and spellbinding picture in his life. It is a photo of an actress named Elise McKenna played by Jane Seymour. He becomes obsessed with her to put it lightly and after some research decides to do a little time travel to meet the woman of his dreams. Now, it may sound a little silly, but Reeve is excellent and is able to bring this story that may border upon ridiculous to come to life and believably. Once getting to the past in 1912 Seymour is also excellent in her portrayal of the lonely and gifted actress. Christopher Plummer, who is always excellent plays her manager W.F. Robinson.

The music to the film by John Barry alone makes the film worth seeking out and viewing. Not sure how it wasn't even nominated for an Oscar. It mixes new material with old, but the music is well...perfect to what you are seeing on screen. It is a huge plus and they hit a homerun in the music department.

It is also awesome to see Reeve trying to shake his Superman persona. He does an excellent job in doing so and really he shakes off the cape and boots. Sadly the film did not perform amazingly at the box office, just adding to the list of really good movies from the early 80s that did not perform as they should have at the box office. This might in fact be a good date movie. It looks as if the film though has found a nice fan base as it is quite highly rated with over 25,000 votes here on this site.

I am not one for sappy, overdone romance movies, but hey I really liked this movie. So, if you like Reeve, want to see something a little different or are yes a romance fan give it a shot. Also starring Teresa Wright, look quick for W.H. Macy in the opening scene and also in a cameo is the author of the novel and screenplay Richard Matheson.

The Final Countdown
(1980)

Very Good Mixture of Different Genres
Very good blend of action/sci-fi/romance about aircraft carrier USS Nimitz lead by Kirk Douglas as Capt. Matthew Yelland that finds a hole in time that sends them back just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Terrific A list (for that time) cast also includes Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross and James Farentino. Has some great air flight scenes and seems to have a very realistic approach to bringing this story to life aboard the aircraft carrier. Have seen it a few times now over the years and gets better each time I see it.

Saturn 3
(1980)

Good But Disappointing
"Saturn 3?" you ask. "I never seen Saturn 1 or 2. Come to think of it I never heard of Saturn 1 or 2." Hold on a sec. Saturn 3 is a place. To give a small low down on the story Captain Benson (Harvey Keitel) kills off Captain James, so he takes his ship and he is off to Saturn 3. Which is a research station on Saturn's third moon, thus Saturn 3. There only Adam (Kirk Douglas) and his beautiful sex robot Alex (Farrah Fawcett) are there. While there Benson puts together Hector a robot who is mentally linked to Benson, so therefore knows all of his secrets. Hector turns around and wants to kill off everyone at the station. In the end Hector is in fact a very good villain and he works well.

This film does have a reputation of being a bad film. I am here to say no it is not bad, but she is far from a great film. In fact I found the film to be disappointing, what with the cast and high production values I was expecting more. Slow-moving, which is okay, but if you are expecting anything like STAR WARS or STAR TREK you are not going to get that. Has more of a horror vibe as well than those sci-fi classics of that time period.

Elmer Bernstein does bring some great music to the film that works well with the quirkiness of the film. Directed by Stanley Donen, who did not have a sci-fi background and perhaps that becomes apparent as the film really is missing something important to make it great. In the end though, it is worth a watch, but be careful as it may not be for all tastes.

They Live
(1988)

"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum."
This is a John Carpenter classic that had the potential to be even better. Written by Carpenter and based off a short story by Ray Nelson we have WWF legend 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper (off the top of my head the best role I have ever seen a wrestler play) play a down-on-his-luck kind of everyman. Just trying to survive, trying to find work, but still trying to look at life in a positive way. He gets a new job, befriends a co-worker in Keith David, who in turn leads him to a shanty town soup kitchen where he can eat, sleep and shower. Piper witnesses some strange happenings with the leader of the soup kitchen (Peter Jason) across the street at a church. He ends up finding some sunglasses after a weird conversation about perhaps some sort of resistance taking hold. But after Piper slide those sunglasses on God what sights he sees.

I love the premise and as usual Carpenter's directing style. To me Piper puts in a real good performance and most of the time you aren't just watching some hammy wrestling performance. The main thing that I think needed improvement were the effects. Even on my first viewing which may have been like 4 years after its release the effects were so cheesy. By my eyes some of the effects are substandard, mostly being the effects on the aliens. To me if they had gotten say Rob Bottin to do the effects I think this film would have totally rocked. In saying all of this Carpenter has created a big-time sci-fi/horror cult flick that I really do strongly suggest to those who enjoy those types of films. There is a great message being said by Carpenter and really do enjoy this 80s classic. Also starring Meg Foster and George 'Buck' Flower.

Bill & Ted Face the Music
(2020)

Pretty Good Return for Bill & Ted
Well, Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) are back in this retelling of both BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY. The two dopey rockers are still trying to crank out that song that will save the world, but now they have limited time to do so or else space and time will collapse entirely. Enter in their kids; Bill's Thea (Samara Weaving) and Ted's Billie (Brigette Lundy-Payne) to help them in putting together the greatest band and travelling time in doing so. Bill and Ted are as well time travelling to try and find this amazingly epic song to share it with humanity.

While I did kind of find it a reworking of the two previous films there are three things it gets right. Reeves and Winter have returned, the same writers in Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon penned the script and I found it to be very funny. George Carlin is missed, but he even gets his own cameo so he is still in it. I loved the opening scene where the characters are reintroduced at Missy (Amy Stoch) and Ted's brother Deacon's wedding. It pretty much sets the comedic tone for the film wonderfully.

So if you liked the original two in the series you should enjoy this one as well. Don't sit down thinking you are going to see Shakespeare or something, understand that you are going to watch a pretty goofy comedy sci-fi.

The Fox and the Hound
(1981)

Very Good Disney Classic With Darker Overtones
A Disney "classic" that before I had rewatched it for reviewing purposes I hadn't seen in way too long. You could also accuse this Disney film of having some darker overtones to the story. Maybe this is just my mind at work here, maybe due to my love of horror films, but there does seem to be death that looms over the story. What is great though is that it is not a dark look at death, but rather a realistic view at it.

The story is about a little fox named Tod (Keith Coogan) whose mother is shot and killed. It does sort of have a little bit of a BAMBI like beginning. Yet, little Tod is taken in by a sweet old lady named Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan). Across the way is the miserable Amos Slade (Jack Albertson) who just happens to have a new hunting dog named Copper (Corey Feldman). The two befriend each other, but as time passes the older Copper (Kurt Russell) now wants to hunt and kill his old friend Tod (Mickey Rooney).

Film also includes Pearl Bailey as Big Mama, Pat Burttram as Chief and Paul Winchell as Boomer. They all do a wonderful job and the voices really add to the richness and enjoyment of the film. There really are great secondary characters here and are not underwritten. Boomer is particularly great as he is almost like Bill Murray in CADDYSHACK. His whole point to the film is to catch a caterpillar that he does in great comic fashion. The music by Buddy Baker really works and is quite effective.

Time Bandits
(1981)

Smart, Funny, Feel-Good Movie
A wonderfully imaginative film almost immediately. Six Time Bandits (lead by David Rappaport, but also has Kenny Baker, Malcolm Dixon, Mike Edmonds, Jack Purvis and Tiny Ross) visit little Kevin (Craig Warnock) one night. They have stolen a map from The Supreme Being (who shows up later and is played by Ralph Richardson) and are travelling through time to essentially rob people. Later you find out the six helped God create the world. Kevin joins him on their journey away from The Supreme Being. Through their travels they meet Napoleon (Ian Holm), Robin Hood (John Cleese in to me a hilarious role) and King Agamemnon (Sean Connery) in Ancient Greece. Thing is there is also the villainous Evil (David Warner in a quite funny role) who wants the map as well, because he wants to rule the world.

Produced and Directed by Terry Gilliam, who generally is extremely good at adding humour to a deep story, which he does quite well here. Written by Gilliam and fellow Monty Python member Michael Palin (who also stars in the film). Ex-Beatle George Harrison also was one of the executive producers.

To me though when re-watching this film I find that Sean Connery alone grounds this film. Whether or not you think it needed to be grounded is up to you, but he is a terrific actor who also adds a serious star power to this film.

If you enjoy Monty Python, or like movies that make you think with a bunch of laughs or want a movie to watch with a bunch of buddies I would suggest this Terry Gilliam classic.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
(1989)

Nice Disney Family Fun
I remember when I was a kid a lot of the kids on our street went down to the local theatre and watched this on a Saturday afternoon when it was new. We seemed to really enjoy it and the crazy antics that happen.

Rick Moranis plays super-nerd Wayne Szalinski who is working on his newest invention that can shrink things. After a baseball is hit into the upstairs window where the contraption is kept by the next door neighbour Ron (Jared Rushton) his older brother Russ (Thomas Wilson Brown) brings him over to apologize and get his ball back. When Wayne's two kids Amy (Amy O'Neill) and Nick (Robert Oliveri) bring the other two upstairs they find the machine is in perfect working order. They are shrunk right down to miniatures, end up in the trash can at the end of the driveway and must get back into the house and have Mr. Szalinski get them back to regular size.

This film has some very cool effects and they were quite big at the time. Some of the effects still seem to work well due to the fact that a lot of them are in fact practical and director Joe Johnston did not rely on a computer to CGI up the effects. I mean it was 1989 so those effects were very primitive in today's standards, but that works for the film.

I do think the kids should really enjoy this and my own wife loves it and it is one of her favourites. Also starring Matt Frewer as the Thompson boys' father Big Russ. Screenplay by Ed Naha and Tom Schulman. Based on a story by Naha, Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna.

Brain Dead
(1990)

Sci-Fi/Horror With Many Twists and Turns
Bill Pullman plays Dr. Rex Martin who is a neurosurgeon who works on brains. His old roommate and buddy Jim Reston (Bill Paxton) shows up to let Dr. Martin know that a mathematician Jack Halsey (Bud Cort) who once worked for the company he is employed by Eunice has gone bananas and is being held at a mental institution. Reston is wanting Dr. Martin to work on his brain. That is just the start of it. There are some really cool twists that start near the middle of the movie. It was at this point I wasn't sure if I was really enjoying the movie or not. The twists come off quite nicely, made me enjoy the movie much more and plays out like an extended version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Which is kind of interesting because original screenwriter Charles Beaumont wrote for that TV show. Director Adam Simon got ahold of the script and rewrote it for modern times (or 1990 anyways). Also starring George Kennedy.

This sci-fi/horror film may in fact not be for everyone, but I enjoyed the twists and certainly know that it will be one I will watch again to piece some things together hopefully.

See all reviews