Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Films 10 and 11. Pros and Cons.

Well GREAT news so far! The first blog has had absolutely rave reviews which has made me smile somewhat!:

"This is brilliant, laugh out loud funny." - London Evening Standard

"One mans quest to use the word "Gash" in as many reviews as possible. Keep it up man this is wicked." - Entertainment Tonight

"Loving the blog" - News of the World 

Quite an impressive list of comments from some well established sources, i'm sure you'll agree. I didnt make them up. these are actual quotes. They're... Just not from the sources I claim they are from...

Weirdly i've logged in to write a new blog and the basic font I'm writing in seems to have changed which has nothing to do with me.

Thanks to everyone on Facebook who has taken the time out to suggest more films for me to watch, it's very much appreciated and keep them coming! I'm also willing to receive suggestions through this blog. C'mon now, dont be shy.

Anyway, onto the films:

10.) District 9 (2009) Dir: Neill Blomkamp

Well, after years of my friends telling me I would love this film and me putting it off, and off, and off, I finally got around to watching it. I dont really know why it took so long as I had been told the idea and thought it sounded really good - despite being told that it was (Apparently) low budget, something which I find more often than not isnt a plus in the world of Science Fiction...
If this film is indeed low budget then I have to say a big props should go out to everyone involved with it because the make-up, action scenes and special effects are incredible. As good as any high budget Hollywood movie (Skyline had the effects but not the story...) and then some!
District 9 stars Murdock from the A-Team as someone in charge of relocating Aliens from a Ghetto to a new housing encampment. Years earlier aliens had come to Earth and taken up residence in Johannesburg but have since doing so pretty much been treated like second class citizens. Human residents aren't happy so the aliens are being moved from slums into what are effectively, as even Murdock points out in the film, concentration camps.
Bad luck for Murdock, he ends up being subjected to something that is rewriting his (Here comes the science bit) molecular make-up and is turning him in to the first Human to Alien specimin. He becomes incredibly valuable to the company responsible for the Alien relocation, develops a taste for catfood and eventually teams up with one of the Aliens himself in the hopes of being cured and getting his life back. Along the way he see's the horrors that the unfortunate aliens have been subjected too and you cant help but sympathise with the aliens plight.
I wont go too much into the actual story (The end battle scene is pretty epic) but suffice to say I found it to be a kickass commentary on how we have dealed with things like Racism in the past. I read it as a comment on the Holocaust and Apartheid. Mostly Apartheid due to the legal segregation and the fact that it is in South Africa. I got the holocaust bit from the camps the aliens were being relocated to. They also refer to the aliens as "Prawns" which is a racial slur for the aliens much like ones we have all heard in the past ourselves.
Murdock is absolutely amazing in this and you can really feel his anguish as he goes from goofy guy who shouldnt work in any other area than admin to a desperate man who will do whatever it takes to survive.
This is one seriously sexy film! (It evens shows photoshopped pics of Murdock doing a "Prawn" from behind- rock on. Bit weird which is why I could only knock one out to it twice...)
Rating 5/5

So, one absolutely fantastic film done and dusted! I then moved onto a film that... Wasn't quite so fabulous...
But as a fan of anal sex might tell you: You have to take the rough with the smooth.

11.) Antibody (2002) Dir: Christian McIntire

The Pros of this film:
It stars Lance Henriksen AKA Bishop from the Alien films
It stars William Zabka AKA Johnny from the Original Karate Kid (Send him home in a body bag Johnny! YEAH!)
The cons of this film:
Ok so the film starts with Bishop as an FBI agent (Gaynes) called out to a bomb threat in an American suburb. He checks out the bomb and uh oh! It's a bad one! How to disarm it? Hell there hasnt been a bomb made yet that good old Gaynes couldnt disarm! But then a call comes through! The local airport have surrounded a man armed with a handgun and detonator switch. His finger isnt on the trigger of the detonator so Bishop tells airport security via phone to take the shot and put the miserable s.o.b down.
Please note: All supporting actors up to this point are beyond terrible and for the rest of this review i'm going to refer to cast members by names they had in films I liked.
Aaaaanyway, the bomber is shot dead but just to set the scene for the rest of the film, the bomb goes off anyway. Bishop is made the patsy and loses his job.
Excitingly though, it turns out that there is a new implant you can have that basically detonates a bomb if your heart stops. Intriguing no? No.
A year later and Bishop is living in Munich working with Johnny at his own private security firm. Enter an annoying reporter chick I initially figured would be an irritating part of the film and love interest for Bishop. Wrong. This film keeps throwing me curveballs quicker than I can knock them out of the park! She's in it just until some Embassy is attacked by some terrorist, the leader of whom has a detonator implant, and is then never seen again.
In go Germanys equivalent of a SWAT team who kill all the terrorists bar their leader who is mortally wounded. Bad news is the leader is wired up to a world ending Nuke (I might exaggerate slightly here but I kinda glazed over in this film at parts...) with an implant that is microscopic and in his body somewhere.
Bishop is asked then to join a team of appallingly bad actors to disarm the bomb.
"If its microscopic, how can he disarm it?! HOW?!" you might ask me...
Cue bad "Inner Space" rip off.
The team get into a space-ship like vessel and are shrunk to microscopic size then inserted into the terrorist leader.
Cue incredibly bad CG effects.
Cue terribly cheap looking set which makes for the ships interior.
By this point already I was feeling like this:
Understandably I think you'll agree. The cockpit (heh heh "cock") was so unconvincing I was half expecting it to fall apart at any moment. Robin Givens the ships pilot was steering what seemed to me to be a little TOO enthusiastically and I'm surprised the ship wasnt swerving as if piloted by a drunk.
The seats they are sat in seem to be made of some cheap plastic... All the money spent on the ship and they couldnt fork out for some comfy leather? Fuck me, seriously? I'm sure they could sterilise it!
The other two "characters" that make up the crew are a big let down in what would otherwise have been a blockbuster movie i'm sure. Flirting with each other but denying they are in love as they are more like family. Yet when the girl faces impending death she cant resist but to tell a guy with the worlds best monobrow, that of course, she loves him.

I think this review might be going off the boil a bit because the more I type the angrier I get. I'm enjoying this challenge but feeling robbed at the same time... Kinda like blowing your wad early on when paying for a blowjob... Ultimately you're satisfied but gutted that you paid for it with it being over so soon. I would imagine.
Of course the crew die with the exception of Bishop and Robin Givens so that they can have a romantic rendezvous at a later point. All the while through the main action though, poor old Johnny hasnt been able to put anyone in a bodybag because he's been watching from the outside and is unfortunate enough to have a terrible cold. Bless. No sweeping of any legs for the poor blighter.
I cant stress enough how bad this film is that I wont give anymore of a detailed description for fear of "spoiling" it for you. OH! There is one bit though where a skin mite has gotten into the terrorists blood stream and hasnt died but manages to attack one of the ships Bishop and the crew are using. I'm guessing its this point of this film that allows the IMDB to classify the film as a horror as well as a Sci-Fi however lame that link might actually be...
This film is the epitome of Gash.
Rating 1/5

So another 2 films down another couple hundred to go. I'm still open to suggestions and would love to get some comments going.
I know not everybody is going to agree with all of my reviews - some folk have already argued with my opinions of "Children of Men" and "Monsters" but I feel I must stress they are just my opinions. And they're the right one's. Feel free to debate the merits of what I write though.

I wonder how cynical I will be towards Sci-Fi by the end of this challenge... Or even if i'll be sane...

Back to the films!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Science Fiction 250: The beginning.

Ok I would just like to start by saying that I cant possibly claim this as being my own idea.
I found out that my friend Sarah had been set the challenge to watch 500 horror movies within one year. I thought this sounded like a lot of fun and decided I would give it a go myself.
It would be a bit pointless though to do it in the same genre as her as she was already covering pretty much EVERYTHING there. I made a few suggestions of films she could watch, most of which she had already seen, and didn't think too much of it.
The following day though I think it was, I was telling my best friend Gav about it while we were building our new tattoo studio (The day job) and thats when we realised we wouldn't mind having a go at something like this ourselves. I decided that, being the geek I am, I would watch 500 science fiction films and Gav 500 martial arts.
I got in touch with Sarah about it and she told me that 500 horror films she hadn't seen was working out at being a LOT of work as it meant she had to average 10 of them a week. Currently she's on 101 but I digress... Basically there are rules to the challenge it turns out. I initially thought it would mean I could watch any science fiction film which included any I had already seen. Sarah informed me that they would have to be completely new to me. On top of that, the films also have to be classed as Science Fiction by the Internet Movie Database ( for those of you who have been living in a box these recent years.) for them to count.
With this in mind she advised me that it might be more sanity saving to set a target more around the 250 mark. Thats what I have done. Hence the blog name.
I apologise now if this seems a badly constructed blog so far- I'm currently running on fumes after sacrificing sleep to science... fiction...

So far I think I have gotten off to a rather flying start with the challenge. On reflection if I had planned this in advance I probably could have been sponsored for charity or something. Alas it didn't occur to me. Maybe if I do this challenge, I can take on another and get sponsored.

Anyways, you don't know of course that I haven't seen these films before, you can only go on my word. Trust me though, as a geek I thought this would be a good chance to see more geek films I would have otherwise avoided and maybe I'll find some Gems along the way.

Here I intend to keep a record of the films I watch, give a basic review with a rating out of five at the end. Here are the first 9 films I have racked up in the last couple of days since starting the challenge:

1.) Pandorum (2009) Dir: Christian Alvart

So when I started this challenge I did the thing anyone would do and asked my friends for recommendations and this was the first one of them that I actually watched. The film had so much promise. Earth is overpopulated and so a deep space vessel is sent out to colonise a new planet in the hopes of humanity carrying on. Alas things dont run smoothly and the film pretty much starts with Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid coming out of Hypersleep with temporary amnesia and a ship that at first seems deserted.
Cue creepy mutant cannibal type characters.
At first this was pretty cool as it had elements that reminded me of Alien. Dark, narrow passages. Quick flashes of the enemy.
This soon fizzled out though to Ben Foster bumping into, what can only be described as 2 virtually superhuman, martial arts experts who have also survived what happened to the crew. I don't want to give away too much but here it is broken down in 3 segments: Good Start. A middle with nothing happening. Predictable ending.
Rating 3/5

2.) Children of Men (2006) Dir: Alfonso Cuaron

I'm not a Clive Owen fan. I'm not a fan of Julianne Moore. I liked the idea of the film though. It's set in the latter part of the 2020's and humanity has become infertile. The last child had been born 18 years earlier and as the film starts you learn he has been stabbed dead. The rest of the world has gone to shit but Britain has somehow managed to survive where all else have failed by imposing a ban on immigration. I know the Australians have a pretty tough immigration policy NOW so why they haven't survived and Britain has when Britain currently lets pretty much anybody in is beyond me. Anyway Owen plays the reluctant hero drawn into a "terrorist" cell by Moore when he discovers that Moore is protecting a newly pregnant woman. From the government. Yes. Rather than have specialists care for her and maybe discover a cure to the planets infertility, they try and smuggle her to a cell of good terrorists who can somehow help. Moore is (Satisfyingly) killed 30 minutes in and Owen ends up on the run for the rest of the film. Eugh. It's basically a film where Owen has to get a VIP from point A to point B. I didnt enjoy the film. 
Rating 3/5

3.) Babylon A.D (2008) Dir: Mathieu Kassovitz

I like Vin Diesel. Against my better judgement perhaps but I like him. You think back to the fact that he was in "Saving Private Ryan" and had the leading role in the brilliant low budget Sci-Fi flick "Pitch Black" and how could you not? The Fast and Furious films are a guilty pleasure of mine that I put off watching for years on the basis I figured they would be Gash liked only by Chavs... In the end I watched them and loved them. Yes, even "Tokyo Drift"
So I was hoping this would be another of Diesels fast paced, senseless action/violence flicks. It's set in the future and he is playing a Mercenary in it after all. There are certainly action segments to the film but they're all pretty much a lamer, shitter rip offs of scenes from James Bond movies. They have one scene involving ski-dos and its like a much, much, MUCH shitter version of the one in "Die Hard 2" and then the big end action scene is only about 30 seconds long with no main villain for Diesel to square up against. You cant help but feel that they could send 100 bad guys at once against Diesel in this and they would all be horribly outmatched. The ending is just farcical too. 
It's basically a film where Vin has to get a VIP from point A to point B. It's Gash.
Rating 2/5

4.) The Lost Future (2010) Dir: Mikael Salomon

I stumbled across this by chance early on Saturday evening. I thought to myself "Yeah it was only made in 2010 and is on the Syfy channel (HATE the name change by the way. It's SCI-FI) but it's got Sean Bean in it! He's Sharpe! He's Boromir! He's AWESOME!
Yet this film... isn't.
I wont say its the worst film i've ever seen but its definitely up there.
Set in the future, mankind has lost all grasp on technology, literature and arithmetic but has somehow managed to keep a basic grasp on Christianity. Hallelujah. Humanity are confined to tribes that tend not to leave their little villages for fear of coming across the "mutants" and they all dress like Tarzan. When the main characters tribe is attacked, three of the younger members escape into the wilds where they are rescued by Boromi... I mean Sean Bean and he tells them of a cure to a disease caused by contact with the earlier mentioned mutants. It's a yellow powder discovered by one of the young heroes fathers. Thats all its ever called: Yellow Powder. Bean cant read but since one of the young heroes can, he holds the key to mass producing a cure for humanity. Simply on the basis that being able to read of course, automatically makes you a chemistry and mathematical genius. Gash.
The Villain of the piece isnt actually a mutant really but is in fact a human who is hording what remains of the yellow powder. Maybe it goes to show, we're all monsters really (PAH!) but the villain looks like he's more suited to playing guitar in Spinal Tap than ruling in a post-apocalyptic future...
Even Bean can't save this film.
Rating 0/5

5.) A Scanner Darkly (2006) Dir: Richard Linklater

I really enjoyed this film. I loved the style of it and the story coming from a Philip K. Dick novel was something that appealed to me too. Robert Downey Junior is fucking brilliant (As per usual).
I like rotoscoping. It's not really done much anymore as animation has moved on to the more CG motion capture these days. It worked really well in this film though. It kinda added to the whole drug addiction that is the basis of the whole story. Keanu Reeves is really good in this because despite him being more wooden than the Forest of Dean, the script seemed to play to that and it worked really well.
Reeves is an undercover cop who has tried to infiltrate a group of drug addled miscreants in the hopes of the bigger bust. As he uses himself though he seems to become jaded between what is real and what isnt. I guess thats the only way I can really describe it as it is a pretty complex story. Enjoyable though. I've heard that even off people who DIDN'T understand what was going on...
Rating 4/5

6.) Skyline (2010) Dir: Colin and Greg Strause

This film is complete gash. The story is so fucking bad. Imagine if "Independance day" was 10 times worse than it was. Thats this film. Some people with more money than sense throw one of those yuppie parties that most regular people would hate to be at and the following morning, aliens invade. Groovy.
Some of them get taken but some remain holed up in the high rise apartment they had the party in. What should they do?  I know, they came from above (Space) right? well surely the safest place they can go is the roof of the building right? RIGHT? Wrong. Some how, the aliens that have come from space are actually already flying around the top of the building. Wowza. So then logic sinks in. Get to the ground floor. Makes a tad more sense... But NO! Aliens have the streets under wraps too! What to do? What to do? WAIT! I KNOW! Lets try the ROOF! AGAIN! Fuck me the Americans in this film are stupid.
When that doesnt work, the "Hero" (Term used VERY loosely) says that everything will be ok if they can just get to the docks and get a boat. Aliens who have taken over the planet wouldnt think to look at or fly over the sea apparently. Gah! I could rant for ages but I wont as I have another 3 films to get through.
Utter, utter gash.
Rating 2/5

7.) Cloverfield (2008) Dir: Matt Reeves

I know there was massive amounts of hype for this film when it came out and I really wanted to see it. Unfortunately at the time I allowed myself to be put off by my father and sister who had been to see it and left half way through as my dad said it was terrible and the my sister said the jerky cam was causing them both Motion sickness... BUT as part of my challenge I figured "What the hell" and gave it a go.
I loved this film.
Not just because it has Lizzy Caplan in it (I LOVE her.) but because everything about it was so well done. The effects were tremendous and the way it was shot on a camcorder made it a hell of a lot more real. You kinda get the impression that if this had been released in the forties around the same time as the "War of the Worlds" radio show was, you would have had a LOT more American suicides.
Also for added realism, according to the IMDB: The running time of the film, without credits, is about 80 minutes, the length of a long-running MiniDV tape
Which to me is pretty cool in itself.
So basically some giant creature from space/the sea/my closet has attacked and devastated New York and this is from the point of view of civvies on the run for survival. Brilliant!
Rating 4/5

8.) Monsters (2010) Dir: Gareth Edwards

I don't care what the IMDB says. This film is hardly a Science Fiction film. Aliens are seen twice for a matter of seconds throughout the entire film, yet it claims to be about humanity coping with life after Aliens have invaded... South America.
It's not. This film is about a douchebag trying to get an idiot across the border to her fiance and along the way they slowly (Very slowly) fall in love. It's tedious and quite possibly the worst Sci-Fi film I have ever seen. Dont watch it.
Apparently you're supposed to be impressed by the fact that the film was made for $16 with a crew of 2 people (Not including the stars) with anyone else who appears in the film being real area residents not actors.
I wasn't.
Rating 0/5

9.) Repo Men (2010) Dir: Miguel Sapochnik

I fucking LOVED this film. I probably shouldnt, but I did.
It's the future and technology has progressed so far that you can replace any of your internal organs. Bad Kidney? Here, have one of our cybernetic implants as a replacement! It'll only cost you $600,000! Cant afford to pay in one? Thats ok! We do a payment plan with an APR at the low cost of 19.95%!!
I must warn you though that if you fail to make a payment and 90 days pass, we will be forced to repossess the aforementioned organ.
Jude Law and Forrest Whitaker are body parts repo men. They're good at what they do too. Law's wedding is on the rocks and to save his marriage he has to consider switching his job from repossession to sales. When he goes on one last job, something goes wrong and he ends up needing a replacement heart himself. Needless to say he cant keep up with the payments as he's lost the taste for his high paying job now that the shoe is on the other foot. He ends up being hunted by his best friend and there's a brilliant twist at the end! I don't want to say anymore for fear of spoiling it! But this film is definitely a hidden gem!
Rating 5/5

SO! There's my first load of films! I think i'll do an update every five or so films as this has taken me fucking ages to do and it's nearly 1:30 am... I need to sleep! Comments are more than welcome, particularly if you have suggestions for films I should check out. Old or New.