Release Date: July 11th, 2008 (Latvia) Directed by: Howard McCain Written by: Dirk Blackman, Howard McCain Music by: Geoff Zanelli Cast: Jim Caviezel, Sophia Myles, Jack Huston, Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Aidan Devine
Ascendant Pictures, Rising Star Productions, VIP Medienfonds 4 GmbH & Co. KG, The Weinstein Company, Virtual Studios, 115 Minutes
“If you truly believe that you write the tale of your life, then the end is up to you.” – Freya
This movie came and went and I didn’t know about its existence until recently. But when I saw that this film was about an alien humanoid crashing into the Viking era with a very deadly alien cargo, I had to give it a watch.
This movie is like Predator meets Skyrim where the monster that must be hunted down is an insanely deadly beast.
The cast in this is also really damn good from its star Jim Caviezel to Sophia Myles, Jack Huston, Ron Perlman and the legendary John Hurt, who plays the Viking king in this film’s old world community.
This was a manly fucking movie that was just pure badass and a lot of fun. It’s action packed, deals with a pair of alpha males having to bro up and unite and the special effects are pretty damn decent. Also, the monster is strange but absolutely terrifying and seemingly unbeatable with the limitations of Viking technology.
What’s cool about this is the level of danger, the insane odds and how the heroes have to outwit and outlast the pissed off monster.
Outlander isn’t great but it’s a hell of a lot of fun and just a cool fucking movie that offers up real escapism and thrills.
The only real negative is that it should’ve probably been trimmed down to 90-95 minutes.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with:Pathfinder, Solomon Kane, The 13th Warrior and The Eagle.
Release Date: December 11th, 2005 (Austin Butt-Numb-A-Thon) Directed by: James McTeigue Written by: The Wachowskis Based on:V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, David Lloyd Music by: Dario Marianelli Cast: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Stephen Fry, Rupert Graves
Anarchos Productions Inc., DC/Vertigo Comics, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Fünfte Babelsberg Film GmbH, Silver Pictures, Virtual Studios, Warner Bros., 132 Minutes
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” – V
While this is a film that kind of blew me away in early 2006, when it hit regular theaters, it doesn’t have quite the same effect on me now. Maybe it’s because I’m older and my views on the world have evolved, allowing me to see through the simplistic, good versus evil formula that this story employs.
It’s still a damn good movie and it’s hard not to pull for the heroes as they stick it to real fascism in an Orwellian type of world but its solutions to the problem aren’t really solutions and they’re kind of juvenile and reckless.
And honestly, is it really a film about smashing fascism or is it a film about a guy simply out for personal revenge and using his theatrics to inspire regular people to put themselves in danger in an effort to get him what he selfishly wants?
Either way you chop it up, it’s still an entertaining film that leaves the audience with a lot to ponder and for fans to discuss till the end of time. Hopefully, those can be rational discussions as we now live in a world where shitbirds want to burn everything down because, “ermahgerd ferscism ers baaahd!”
The film is perfectly acted and I’m saying that as one who rarely likes Natalie Portman. She is great in this and so is everyone else. Hugo Weaving is the real glue that holds it all together, though, and he was able to give the performance of a lifetime while fully obscured by a mask and a cloak.
Since it’s been so long since I’ve seen this, I forgot how much it deviated from the original story and after having recently read it, I’m not sure why, as the structure and story of the comic seemed more effective to me. Some of these alterations are major, like all the TV station stuff. I guess it makes sense for the film but it wasn’t necessary in the grander scheme of things and it makes me wish that this were more of a beat-for-beat adaptation like Watchmen mostly was.
This is a story that would probably work better as a television series. Granted, nowadays it’d be butchered and reworked into some sort of weird amalgamation of shit like the Watchmen TV series but the comic is paced in a way that would work better in an episodic format over ten or so episodes.
As a film, however, this mostly works. I feel like it succeeded at generating the emotion and weight that it needed but some things were left out and could have made it even more effective.
In the end, it’s still solid, looks great and it showcased incredible acting performances from its stars.
Rating: 8/10 Pairs well with: the comic it’s based on, as well as all the Watchmen comics and film.
Release Date: October 11th, 2004 Directed by: Frederick Baker Written by: Frederick Baker Cast: John Hurt (narrator)
Media Europe, NHK, BBC, 95 Minutes
The Third Man is a movie that I discovered fairly recently but it instantly became one of my favorites. I couldn’t get enough of it, honestly, and I watched it three times over the course of a month.
So when I came across this documentary about the film, I had to check it out. This is streaming on the Criterion Channel for those of you interested in watching it.
This goes into great depth about the film, looking at how it was made, as well as being a love letter to Vienna and the iconic locations where the film was shot.
What’s really cool about this, is that it shows you the same locations in Vienna now, in modern times. Not much has changed in these locations but it’s really neat seeing them in full color, compared to the shots of the film.
This documentary is narrated by the great John Hurt and he adds a certain bit of eloquence to the presentation, as he guides the viewer through this film’s genesis, it’s execution and the impact it had after its release.
Another great thing about this film is that it shows interviews with most of the key people involved in the film. The stuff featuring Orson Welles is compelling stuff.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with:The Third Man and any Carol Reed or Orson Welles film.
Also known as: Planet Moron (working title), Spaceballs: The Video (video box title), Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs (Germany) Release Date: June 24th, 1987 Directed by: Mel Brooks Written by: Mel Brooks, Ronny Graham, Thomas Meehan Music by: John Morris Cast: Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, George Wyner, Joan Rivers (voice), Michael Winslow, John Hurt (cameo), Jim J. Bullock, Ronny Graham, Leslie Bevis, Rudy De Luca, Dom DeLuise (voice), Stephen Tobolowsky, Robert Prescott, Rick Ducommun, Tim Russ, Tony Cox
Brooksfilms, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 96 Minutes
“What’s the matter, Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?” – Dark Helmet
I’ve been on a Mel Brooks kick, as of late. I’ve also been irritated with modern Star Wars shit. So I figured I’d go back and revisit Spaceballs, as it is a much better Star Wars movie than anything we’ve gotten in the last few years.
Well, it isn’t really a Star Wars film, it is a parody of the Original Trilogy, as well as some other sci-fi franchises like Star Trek, Aliens and Planet of the Apes, but it feels more consistent with the things I love about Star Wars than anything Disney has done, except for Rogue One.
Mel Brooks was the master of parody and he arguably lost his touch after this film but he was still on his A-game when he crafted this.
The thing that this film really has going for it is the cast. Brooks was perfect as always but it was cool seeing him ham it up with Rick Moranis and the inclusion of John Candy was great. Bill Pullman really stood front and center and carried the picture on his back. And that’s not to take anything away from the comedic actors, again, they were superb. Pullman had a certain panache and command of the screen when he was center stage and he’s really the star of the picture.
I also liked Daphne Zuniga as the princess and Joan Rivers as the voice of her robot sidekick, essentially a female C-3PO. You also have a lot of cameos and small parts for other well-known comedians and Brooks regulars, all of whom leave their mark.
This movie is hysterical if you love Brooks, Candy and Moranis. It’s certainly ’80s mainstream humor and it does feel a bit dated but it is a comedy classic in the same vein and style of Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles.
Plus, if you are a fan of the massive sci-fi franchises of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, then you’ll enjoy this even more.
This is a solid example of how to do a parody film, which in this day and age, seems like a lost art.
Rating: 8.5/10 Pairs well with: The original Star Wars trilogy, as well as the Mel Brooks classics: Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles.
Also known as: Indiana Jones 4, Fourth Installment of the Indiana Jones Adventures, Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, Raiders of the Lost Ark Sequel, The Untitled Genre Project (working titles) Release Date: May 18th, 2008 (Cannes Film Festival) Directed by: Steven Spielberg Written by: George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson, David Koepp Based on: characters by George Lucas, Philip Kaufman Music by: John Williams Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Shia LaBeouf
Lucasfilm Ltd., Paramount Pictures, 122 Minutes
“Leave it to Ox to write a riddle in a dead language.” – Indiana Jones
After this film came out, people seemingly hated it. Well, I hate those people because the hate for this film is pretty silly.
Okay, I get it, there are some really goofy things in this picture and you could argue about the stupidity of a few bits but ultimately, this was still a great adventure and a lot of fun. Yes, this is the worst of the Indiana Jones movies but that’s like saying sirloin is the worst cut of steak. It’s still friggin’ steak, man.
I like the fact that the film’s setting was in line with Harrison Ford’s increased age since last being seen as Indiana Jones in 1989’s The Last Crusade. Sure, you want to see Indy punch Nazis in the face but the Soviets were a good replacement as were the Cold War fears of the time.
I enjoyed Cate Blanchett’s Colonel Dr. Irina Spalko as the villain. She wasn’t as good as René Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark or Mola Ram from Temple of Doom but I thought she definitely had the edge over Walter Donovan from The Last Crusade. Indiana Jones movies have always had great villains though and Blanchett lived up to that task, being one of the absolute high points of this movie.
I also loved that the older Indy wasn’t focused so much on chasing tail and that he, for the first time on the big screen, was reunited with a love from the past. Marion Ravenwood was nearly everyone’s favorite “Indy Girl” of them all and it was really cool seeing them reunited and there being a romantic happy ending for both characters. I’ve always loved Karen Allen and her return makes almost all of the bad shit in this movie worth it, especially since we got to see her and Indy ride off into the sunset.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Shia LeBeouf addition to the cast and the whole bit about him being Indy’s kid but he did okay with the material and really, I don’t think another actor could have salvaged some of his poor dialogue anyway. But I am glad that he wasn’t given the reins of the franchise.
I guess the hardest pill for me to swallow as a fan is that Sean Connery, Denholm Elliot and John Rhys-Davies aren’t in the picture. I get that Connery didn’t want to do it and that Elliot had passed away since The Last Crusade but even a cameo by Rhys-Davies would have been awesome. Especially, for the wedding of Indy and Marion, as he was good friends with them both.
Most people didn’t like the alien twist and I get that. However, looking at what Indiana Jones is supposed to be, which is a modernization of the old school cheesy movie serials of the 1940s, it sort of fits the style. Sure, I would have rather gotten those long rumored Bermuda Triangle or Atlantis plots but I didn’t hate the premise of this film. It did feel strange and somewhat out of place at first glance but hey, there was a vampire story in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and that show is canon.
I, like almost everyone I’ve talked to about this movie, rolled my eyes at the refrigerator scene, the Tarzan homage and the giant ants. But looking beyond those weird bits, this film still has a lot more good stuff than bad or cringe inducing stuff. And none of it was as bad as dancing Emo Spidey from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the best summer blockbuster of 2008 after The Dark Knight and Iron Man. There weren’t many films that were more fun than this one was that year.
Harrison Ford was still great and his chemistry with Karen Allen was perfect. I also thought that John Williams did a fine job with the score and the tone of the film was just right.
The first three Indiana Jones films were all given a perfect score here at Cinespiria. Obviously, this isn’t a perfect ten but all things considered, I’d say it’s a solid eight. But I also really love Indiana Jones.
Rating: 8/10 Pairs well with: The other Indiana Jones films.
Release Date: May 25th, 1979 Directed by: Ridley Scott Written by: Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett Music by: Jerry Goldsmith Cast: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
“Ripley, for God’s sake, this is the first time that we’ve encountered a species like this. It has to go back. All sorts of tests have to be made.” – Ash, “Ash, are you kidding? This thing bled acid. Who knows what it’s gonna do when it’s dead.” – Ripley, “I think it’s safe to assume it isn’t a zombie.” – Ash
I saw Alien on the big screen once before. I think it was in 1999 when it was re-released for its twentieth anniversary. Granted, I can’t miss the opportunity to see this or its first sequel when they come back to theaters. Both are perfection and both are very different. While people have debated for decades, which film is better, I still can’t decide. Why can’t they both be the best? I mean, they are perfect compliments to one another because of the different things that each brings to the table, setting them apart narrative wise and tonally.
Where Aliens is a badass action thriller, the original Alien is really a pure horror movie set in space. The Alien formula was actually so effective, that people are still ripping this film off today. Almost every year, there is at least one film dealing with an isolated crew battling a dangerous creature in tight confines, whether it be a spaceship, an underwater facility or some science research base in the middle of nowhere. Alien is still the best of these kind of films, although John Carpenter’s The Thing is a very, very close second.
What makes this film work is how dark and how cold it is. Everything just comes off as bleak and hopeless. The film has incredible cinematography and its really unlike anything that was made before it. A lot of the visual allure, as well as the film’s looming sense of doom, is due to the design work of Swiss artist H.R. Giger. His style is like German Expressionism from the future in that it is dark, disorienting but also very tech-like and beautiful. Giger’s art is very unique and very much his own. Without Giger, I feel like Alien would have been a very different film.
With as iconic as Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley has become and as synonymous with the franchise as she is, it is weird seeing her not being the top billed star. That honor goes to Tom Skerritt but Ripley does become the focal point and Weaver gives a great performance, even if she isn’t as incredibly badass as she would become in the next film.
This film benefits from having a pretty amazing cast, though. In addition to Skerritt and Weaver, you’ve got Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Veronica Cartwright. All seven of these people have had pretty impressive careers with multiple notable roles.
The film is also directed by Ridley Scott, who has gone on to resurrect the franchise with new energy since he returned to the series with Prometheus in 2012 and then followed it up with the lackluster but still interesting Alien: Covenant in 2017.
Alien is still a very effective film and even if I have seen it dozens of times, there are certain parts in the movie where I still get chills. The effects hold up really well and still look damn good. And even if the sets and computers look really outdated for a movie set in the future, it still has a certain aesthetic that just works for me.
All things considered, there really isn’t a negative thing I can say about the film. It moves at a nice pace, builds suspense effectively, still feels chilling and has aged magnificently.
Rating: 10/10 Pairs well with: Other Alien films and Blade Runner.
This is a hard list to compile, as I haven’t disliked a single Doctor in the long history of Doctor Who. However, some were better than others and this is my attempt to quantify that in some fashion.
Just because someone ranks in at the bottom spot, doesn’t mean they weren’t worthy of the role. The people behind the show have always done a great job in finding people that fit The Doctor.
Some of the ones at the bottom are also only there because they made only a few appearances and didn’t have the time to really shine in the role over a season or more.
1. Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)
2. Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)
3. Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)
4. Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi)
5. Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison)
6. Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)
7. Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)
8. Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)
9. Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)
10. Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker)
11. First Doctor (William Hartnell)
12. Movie Doctor (Peter Cushing)
13. Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann)
14. War Doctor (John Hurt)