Sunday, November 23, 2014

AE: Apocalypse Earth (2013)

Lately, I have been in a Sci-Fi mood. I am not quite sure why, maybe it is the overwhelming urge to discover if Nibiru is real, and what their inhabitants would have in store for us when it arrives. But, of course, that all could be a legend. Next up is a Sci-Fi flick from The Asylum, the 2013 entry AE: Apocalypse Earth.

Plot/ A group of refugees from Earth work to survive on a hostile alien planet.

When I headed into this one, I really did not expect much, as it was another entry from The Asylum. While this one is not close to perfect and has all of the typical flaws such as rough CGI effects, uneven acting, and uninspired cinematography, there was something different here. That is the interesting storyline, which was something that I did not expect. Sure, there were some problems with the execution of the material, but at least there was an underlying meaning and there was something to make it at least somewhat original. In the end, there are a ton of flaws and the movie may not be great, but it is pretty much on par with other entries from The Asylum. Would I search it out, no, but it does serve well as a Sci-Fi backdrop to a slow creeping day.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mercy (2014)

As I continue to struggle through the final days of this miserable college math class, I decided that it was time to throw on something supernatural to assist in my learning. After some debate, I decided on the 2014 independent entry Mercy.  

Plot/ Two unruly boys move with their mom to grandma’s old farmhouse to care for her and discover that grandma has a pact with ancient beings that bestow on her special powers. Now they must survive the terrifying presence in the farmhouse.

I often cringe when I see something listed as a Stephen King adaptation, as usually they can never live up to the source material. Unfortunately, while this movie is not as bad as some, it definitely struggled to capture the atmosphere and creepiness of the original short story Gramma. While there were some positives in the film within the extremely short run time, with a decent cast, some solid performances, and the pace kept things interesting. However, even with those positives, the lack of atmosphere and some strange cinematic decisions with the lighting brought this down to average at best. In the end, this one again failed to match the potential of the sources King work, and becomes another in a long list of movies that fail to capture the magic. Is it terrible? No, but it is not great either. If you love Stephen King, give it a shot, if not, there are better options out there.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

As the days creep toward the holidays, it is fun to occasionally venture into a few blockbusters. Usually, I stay away from them, as they are often watered down and miserable. Fortunately, there are times where I roll the dice and come out surprised. In this one, the mention of Planet X or Nibiru was that moment. Next up, 2013s Star Trek Into Darkness.

Plot/ After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.

As someone who is not a huge Star Trek fan, and one that hates reboots, I actually have intentionally stayed away from this series for some time. Now, after watching this one, I may have made a mistake. While it does stray from the intricacies of the original Gene Roddenberry platform, it does take the series into a direction that is at least interesting and action packed. Having not watched many of the original series of movies, my memories are stuck with the original series I watched in my youth, I was able to appreciate some of the modern ideals that were added. The action was solid, the plot made sense, and there was some layered character development throughout. Sure, some of it was predictable, and there were some plot holes mixed in with the clich├ęd moments, but this did little to offset the underlying themes put on display. In the end, I may not be a Star Trek purist and that may have allowed me a different insight, but I definitely found this one of the more Sci-Fi films in some time, and it made me want to explore this universe some more. If you have not seen it, give it a shot.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Shivers (1975)

Over the past few days, I have watched a wide variety of stuff. Sometimes, I get in these moods, and cannot figure out exactly what I am in the mood for. This has definitely been one of those periods. Of course, it is likely the math, I hate math. One of the more interesting films I have watched over this period is the 1975 exploitation horror flick Shivers (AKA They Came From Within); the movie that in many ways created a cinematic legend.

Plot/ The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

Shivers was an interesting film with a fascinating mixture of sexual indulgence and zombielike overtones. Truly, it was a film that fit in the middle of the low budget exploitation movement of the time ad should be viewed as such. Amazingly, writer /director David Cronenberg knew little about the filmmaking profession, yet created a piece that demonstrated the skills (and thematic elements) that would make him a household name. The film is definitely uneven, with some so-so acting, incoherent moments, and low budget quality, but that does not matter when you immerse yourself into the storyline and remember that this movie predated the anti-sex craze and viral epidemics that plagued the world in the late 1970s to early 1980s. In the end, this early Cronenberg piece may not be perfect, but it is one of the more influential films in his catalog. Not for everyone, so be warned, but it is a movie that should be seen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stargate (1994)

Over the past few days, I have been part of some interesting conversations on Nibiru and hollow earth. While both subjects are fascinating, they are no more fascinating than our own ancient histories, where cultures such as the Egyptians and Mayans create intricate artifacts that have stood the test of time. How did they accomplish that? Who really knows, but Stargate (1994) does venture into one possibility.

Plot/ An interstellar teleportation device, found in Egypt, leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.

Stargate is such an amazing story and does provide a science fiction explanation to some of the real life mysteries that haunt our ancient past. While there is an interesting and layered plot, some solid performances and the cinematography and score blend together in a seamless fashion, it is the historic detains of the story that draw me in every time. As a researcher, the potential questions (and answers) it brings to life makes it a must see, Plus, the action and atmosphere are not bad either. Sure, if you are closed minded, it may not appeal to you as it does to me because you must suspend reality to accept the possibilities, but that is part of the realm of science fiction that makes the genre amazing. In the end, this movie may not be for everyone, but if you are open minded and love plot driven science fiction this one is for you. Give it a shot!