Monday, June 30, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Director: Bryan Singer

Writers: Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

Composer: John Ottman

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Daniel Cudmore, Bingbing Fan, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen, Lucas Till, Evan Jonigkeit, James Marsden, Michael Lerner

More info: IDMb

Tagline: His past. Our future.

Plot: In 2023, the entire human race is on the brink of extinction. Sentinels, originally created to kill mutants now hunt all of mankind. The remaining survivors cannot stand against the onslaught of the Sentinel army. In order to save the future, Wolverine is sent back to 1973 in order to stop the war before it even starts.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Man, I'm so glad I caught this one in the theater before it left.  It's outstanding.  I loved the way they were able to reset the stage for the continuity of the previous films.  It works.  Unlike X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011), this film had me genuinely caring for the characters which heightened the suspense and tension, especially in the final half hour.  They're not going to kill the franchise so you know they're going to make it somehow, but at what cost?  It's great seeing McKellen, Stewart and the rest of the old gang back.  The performances are good except for one, Jennifer Lawrence.  She's the weakest link in that category.  I REALLY miss Rebecca Romijn as Mystique.  She handled it so effortlessly.  I don't mean to compare the two actors but Lawrence either doesn't feel comfortable in the roll (which she should considering this is her second outing with it) or she's just not as good of an actress as she needs to be (which is weird because she does a fine job in the HUNGER GAMES pictures).  She isn't terrible or anything but you can tell she's a little out of place.  I really love the story and how Singer & company were able to make it work.  I'm looking forward to seeing it again on Blu-ray.  Great fun.

Basket Case 2 (1990)

Director: Frank Henenlotter

Writer: Frank Henenlotter

Composer: Joe Renzetti

Starring: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Judy Grafe, Annie Ross, Heather Rattray, Chad Brown, Beverly Bonner, Leonard Jackson, Alexandra Auder, Brian Fitzpatrick, Gale Van Cott, Kuno Sponholz, Kathryn Meisle, Dominic Marcus

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Look who's back

Plot: Duane and his basket-bound mutant brother are taken in by a secret home for wayward freaks with journalists hot on their tail.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I might be too generous here with my score but I really loved what happened at the end with Duane (Hentenryck) and Susan (Rattray).  It was hilarious and completely unexpected and the very end was out there and fun.  The rest of the film is really silly and doesn't come close to the fun the first BASKET CASE (1982) film brought to the table.  You could say it suffers from sequelitis by having a house full of freaks instead of just one.  Then there's the overly comical synthesizer score that ramps up the funny, only I didn't find it funny.  Where the first film felt raw, underground and independent, this first sequel looks clean and more polished.  I'm such a huge fan of Henenlotter that I'm almost afraid to check out the third film.  Talk about procrastination, I see in my review for the first film that I was planning on tackling part 2 that same month.  That was five and a half years ago.  Geez.

The Time Machine (2002)

Director: Simon Wells

Writers: H.G. Wells, David Duncan, John Logan

Composer: Klaus Badelt

Starring: Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Phyllida Law, Sienna Guillory, Laura Kirk, Josh Stamberg, John W. Momrow, Max Baker, Jeffrey M. Meyer, Jeremy Irons, Orlando Jones, Samantha Mumba, Omero Mumba, Yancey Arias

More info: IMDb

Tagline: 0 to 800,000 years in 1.2 seconds.

Plot: Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I'm a huge Guy Pearce fan but he doesn't seem ideally suited for this role.  Nevertheless, the film doesn't fulfill me as much as I'd like it to.  It's actually pretty good for the first half but it starts to go downhill once Alexander (Pearce) ends up a bazillion years into the future where everything is as it was a few thousand years ago, very primitive.  Maybe this is me being far too picky but shouldn't the language be different or at least a bastardized version of English (some of these people speak perfect English)?  It's remarkable that Mara (Mumba) knows an awful lot about events that took place 800,000 years ago.  Yeah, she's a teacher but come on!  We know some things about what happened that long ago but it's pretty basic shit.  Anyway, this last half of the film suffers from a score that feels better suited to THE LION KING ().  I'm a fan of Klaus Badelt but not this score. I need to wrap this up.  The second half is cheesy and I didn't care for it.  I've never ready the H.G. Wells novel but I did see the 60s film a long time ago.  This might be a faithful telling of the tale but it's not for me. It is cool, by the way, that the director is the great grandson of H.G.W.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Malcolm X (1992)

Director: Spike Lee

Writers: Alex Haley, Malcolm X, Arnold Perl, Spike Lee

Composer: Terence Blanchard

Starring:Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee, Theresa Randle, Kate Vernon, Lonette McKee, Tommy Hollis, Debi Mazar, David Patrick Kelly, Michael Imperioli, Nicholas Turturro, William Fichtner, Christopher Plummer, Karen Allen, Peter Boyle, Al Sharpton, Bobby Seale, Ossie Davis

More info: IMDb

Plot: Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam and his assassination.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I knew very little about the man going in and now that I've come out the other side of the near-three and a half hour movie...I feel like I have a much better understanding of who he was and what he as about.  That is, if everything in those 202 minutes is the truth.  That's the problem with a lot of these biopics in that you're usually seeing the subject through the eyes of someone who wants to paint a positive picture.  I'll give Lee the benefit of the doubt and buy what he's selling.  As a film, the story of Malcolm X is interesting and engaging but staying just shy of utterly compelling.  It's clear to see how the events in his life shaped him and his beliefs.  The part that I found most humbling was when he discovers the man he's been following and the man he'd easily have given his life for, Elijah Muhammad (Al Freeman Jr.), was flawed and blatantly lied to him.  It's at that point that Malcolm reinvents himself once again and for the greater good of mankind.  That sounds lofty but that's what I got out of it. It's admirable enough, though not necessarily an endorsement.  The performances are solid and the one thing that many have an issue with, the length, I don't.  There are scenes that go on far too long (like the jitterbug dance) that add nothing to the story but I like them.  I liked spending time in this world and at no point was I bored.  Shocking, I know.  Beware of the single disc DVD as it is devoid of any extras.

The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

Director: Wallace Fox

Writers: Sam Robins, Gerald Schnitzer, Harvey Gates

Composer: ???

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Luana Walters, Tristram Coffin, Elizabeth Russell, Minerva Urecal, Angelo Rositto, Joan Barclay, Kenneth Harlan, Gwen Kenyon, Vince Barnett, Frank Moran, George Eldredge

More info: IMDb

Tagline: KIDNAPPED BRIDES Are The Victims Of His Terror! Prepare to shudder when you see the strange practices of this doctor who sacrificed beautiful women for the sake of a mad love!

Plot: A scientist, aided by an old hag & her two sons - a malicious dwarf and a brutish moron, kills virgin brides, steals their bodies, & extracts gland fluid to keep his ancient wife alive and young.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

Here's a fun little Poverty Row picture made on the cheap but delivers the Lugosi goods.  Bela is being Bela but he's having some fun which lets us join in. It's barely over an hour long and it's great that they use every bit of it to try and thwart the plans of Bela & pals.  It's a fun story and it's great that people die (marriage is bad, OK?).  The acting from everyone is earnest and fits the tone precisely as needed.  The music (I'm assuming it's stock library music as no composer was listed in the credits) is fun and it often has that OUR GANG vibe.  Despite having a low budget, the filmmakers do a wonderful job in making something entertaining out of it.  Here's a fine example of a film that works well with being an hour long.  These were commonplace but the quality of entertainment varied wildly.  This one is worth your time.  It's in the public domain so you shouldn't have a problem finding it on YouTube for free.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Moonshine Love (1969)

AKA: Sod Sisters

Director: Lester Williams

Writer: Stan Potosky

Composer: ???

Starring: Genie Palmer, Breege McCoy, Hank Harrigan, Tim E. Lane, James Schacht, Glenn Stensel, Joseph Mikel, Lou Tu, Pat McLamry

More info: IMDB

Plot: Tom (Lane) double crosses Chico and and Moose (Stensel) after a robbery and runs off with the loot.  Walking along a wooded dirt road Tom is struck by a moonshiner, Zeb (Harrigan) and his two daughters, Jeannie (Palmer) and Lil (McCoy) in his pickup truck.  The flee the scene not wanting to get involved, tossing the unconscious Tom into the bushes.  Tom wakes up and makes it to Zeb's place, falls for one of his daughters and lives the country life while suffering from amnesia.  Eventually his whereabouts are discovered by his slighted pals and they come to collect their dough.

My rating:6/10

Will I watch it again? I doubt it.


The Tripper (2006)

Director: David Arquette

Writers: David Arquette, Joe Harris

Composers: Jimmy Haun, David Wittman

Starring: David Arquette, Richmond Arquette, Courteney Cox, China Crawford, Paz de la Huerta, Alan Draven, Norwood Fisher, Ben Gardiner, Richard Gross, Lukas Haas, Brad Hunt, Thomas Jane, Rick Overton, Paul Reubens, Jason Mewes

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Move Over Jason, Look Out Freddie. HEEERE'S RONNIE!

Plot: A Ronald Reagan-obsessed serial killer targets a bunch of hippies who are heading to a weekend-long concert.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I really dig horror films that are set in the woods.  THE TRIPPER looks great and it's somewhat satisfying.  There's no problem with the acting (it's great seeing Paul Reubens in anything and Jason Mewes is a lot of fun), camerawork, aesthetic, gore or most anything else.  The problem is that after the first half it drags a lot.  I hate it when films feel bound to that 90 minute constraint.  What's wrong with a 75 minute movie?  Cut 15 minutes (or whatever) and tighten this thing up.  I really hate how films are sold to us like this. I'm sure people will bitch no matter what you do but would it be that bad to watch an hour or so film if it means it's much improved because of the shorter length?  I don't think so.  I was ready for this to be over long before the credits rolled. It's just too much.  There's a lot to like but the drag keeps it from being a good slasher comedy.  Thomas Jane rocked, though.  There's a better film in here somewhere and it needs is a good editor to find it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Writer: Michael Arndt

Composers: Mychael Danna, DeVotchKa

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, Dean Norris

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Where's Olive?

Plot: When 7 year-old Olive Hoover learns that she's qualified for the the little Miss Sunshine contest the entire family sets off in their VW camper van for the trip from Albuquerque to California. The family includes her reasonably sane mother Sheryl; her father Richard, a motivational speaker who is stressing over whether his book will be published; her brother Dwayne who is into Nietzsche and has taken a vow of silence and hasn't said a word in 9 months; her grandpa Edwin Hoover who likes to cuss; and her uncle Frank Ginsburg - Sheryl's brother - who recently tried to commit suicide. Along the way, the van breaks down, Richard learns his book won't be published and they forget Olive at a gas station. They face grief along the way but they get Olive to the pageant on time - even if the pageant itself doesn't quite go as planned.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

Super cute flick with a lot of laughs.  So why didn't I go apeshit over it like everybody else?  Beats me.  It kind of felt contrived sometimes.  The performances were great right down the line and it was awesome seeing Bryan Cranston and his BREAKING BAD co-star Dean Norris in small roles (Norris was fucking hilarious).  It's a fun little picture and I almost hate to say anything negative about it but some really tragic things happen that only bums the family out for a couple of minutes and then they move on for the sake of the end game which is getting Olive (the adorable Abigail Breslin) to the shitty beauty pageant.  And I totally didn't buy so-and-so's chance meeting with that someone in a gas station.  The film has moments like that that defy logic and basic screenwriting.  I know, like I've written anything.  These moments are so quickly done away with by distracting the audience with other things like something shiny in the corner of your eye. It's dysfunction coated in sugar and kept afloat on top of a styrofoam-filled self-help book. I have no fucking idea what I just said.  It's either brilliant or ridiculous.  Alan Arkin is hilarious as the dope-taking, foul-mouthed grandfather and it's nice seeing Steve Carell play someone who isn't an idiot.  If you haven't seen it, give it a shot.  There's a wide degree of laughs that will coax at least one out of you regardless of how you like your funny served.

Trip with the Teacher (1975)

Director: Earl Barton

Writer: Earl Barton

Composer: Igo Kantor

Starring: Zalman King, Brenda Fogarty, Cathy Worthington, Dina Ousley, Jill Voight, Susan Russell, Robert Gribbin, Edward Cross, Robert Porter, Jack Driscoll, David Villa

More info: IMDb

Tagline: How far should a teacher go to protect her students?

Plot: A teacher and her class of female students take a class trip to the desert. Their bus breaks down, and they find themselves terrorized by a gang of psycho bikers.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

This is great drive-in fare despite my low score.  It's the kind of thing that's elevated by watching it outside under the stars with a bunch of other folks, eating greasy food and making out.  See, it's the making out part that makes this better but it's entirely on you to make that happen.  Regarding the film, two of the bikers are bad news and some of the young girls add fuel to the fire by fucking with them and being total C U Next Tuesdays!  The acting is appropriately good to mediocre.  The dialogue, cinematography, story all work reasonably well but what does the film a disservice is the slow pacing. It's about a half hour in before the shit starts to hit the fan for the girls.  For a while after it takes a turn toward the drag only to pick up a bit in the drawn out final third. It's not just me.  Everyone in the room was feeling it.  If it weren't for the slow pacing this could be a much better sleazy time.  It's got all of the ingredients for a fun exploitation picture but it takes too long to deliver the goods.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Hillside Strangler (2004)

Director: Chuck Parello

Writers: Stephen Johnston, Chuck Parello

Composer: Danny Saber

Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Nicholas Turturro, Allison Lange, Marisol Padilla Sanchez, Jennifer Tisdale, Kent King, Aimee Brooks, Natasha Melnick, Damon Whitaker, Brandin Rackley, Jessica Allegra, Roz Witt, Lin Shaye

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Based On A True Story

Plot: Based on the true story of the Hillside Strangler who terrorized Los Angeles in 1978 and 1979. No one knew that the brutal serial sex killings were the work of not one man, but cousins!

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I'm always a little hesitant to watch movies based on real serial killers.  Maybe it's because the true story is generally more horrific than what the screenwriters come up with.  It's also an easy opportunity for a low budget filmmaker to get a horror picture noticed.  I've been pleasantly surprised before and this one is added to the list of films in this genre I will re-watch.  It's a very good picture.  Right off the bat you'll notice the acting is fantastic.  Howell and Turturro are fantastic.  They work really well together.  The supporting cast is great, too, without a bad performance in the bunch.  And the best scene to prove it?  The dinner scene with Ken (Howell), Angelo (Turturro) and Angelo's mother, Jenny (Shaye).  Lin Shaye's performance really ratchets things up a few notches.  I was impressed.  It does take a while before the killings start but it's interesting as hell and there isn't a moment of dead time (regarding the pacing) anywhere.  It's so good it's got me wanting to watch more about these two guys.  It's a good looking picture with a fine score and the filmmakers did a great job of taking us back to the 1970s.  The way they incorporate vintage street footage as the boys are driving around is ingenious.  I don't know how much of this picture sticks to the facts but at no time did it seem unreasonable.  Highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Longest Day (1962)

Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew marton, Bernhard Wicki, Gerd Oswald, Darryl F. Zanuck

Writers: Cornelius Ryan, Romain Gary, James Jones, David Pursall, Jack Seddon

Composer: Maurice Jarre

Starring: Eddie Albert, Paul Anka, Richard Burton, Red Buttons, Sean Connery, Ray Danton, Fabian, Mel Ferrer, Henry Fonda, Steve Forrest, Gert Frobe, Jeffrey Hunter, Curd Jurgens, Alexander Knox, Peter Lawford, Roddy McDowall, Sal Mineo, Robert Mitchum, Kenneth More, Edmond O'Brien, Leslie Phillips, Wolfgang Preiss, Robert Ryan, George Segal, Rod Steiger, Peter van Eyck, Robert Wagner, Stuart Whitman, John Wayne, Richard Dawson, Bernard Fox

More info: IMDb

Tagline: This is the day that changed the world... When history held its breath.

Plot: England in June 1944. Unseasonal storms. Allied troops are massed ready for the invasion of France, some already on the boats. The Normandy beaches will be their destination while paratroopers are dropped inland to take key towns and bridges. On the other side of the Channel the Germans still expect the invasion at Calais, and anyway the weather makes them think nothing is likely to be imminent. Eisenhower decides to go. Hitler sleeps on.

My rating:  8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Making a film that tries to encompass something as tremendous as the D-Day invasion is almost an insane undertaking.  You need a lot of money.  Well, they had it and it looks like a good chunk of it was spent on filling the picture with famous faces.  Does it work?  Yes.  There are a ton of recognizable actors which adds to the fun.  The only one that stands out is John Wayne.  There's a scene where he appears a little drunk or, at the very least, not on top of his game.  He looks like he's concentrating really hard on the beats he needs to hit which end with a 'no way' hand gesture.  It's hilariously forced.  Other than that the acting never got in the way.  Robert Mitchum comes off like a tough son of a bitch.  One scene that has always packed a punch for me is when the paratroopers land in all sorts of nasty places.  I can't help but begin to feel how awful it was for the fellas that ended up that way.  Just terrible.  There's a really great tracking shot during the battle along the river running through the town that's impressive as hell.  And it's great that they used subtitles for the Germans, something you didn't get much of back then.  There's a lot to like in this picture.  It's a great film with a lot going for it.  Does it feel like 3 hours?  Not really. It's engaging enough that it somehow avoids the curse of bad pacing considering its length.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Necroville (2007)

Directors: Billy Garberina, Richard Griffin

Writers: Billy Garberina, Adam Jarmon Brown

Composer: ???

Starring: Billy Garberina, Adam Jarmon Brown, Mark Chavez, Brandy Bluejacket, Gene Grant, Scott Phillips, Kurly Tlapoyawa, Jeremy Owen, Thomas Severinghaus, Aaron Work, Kevin Santry

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves and one horrible girlfriend

Plot: In Necroville, a city overrun by zombies, vampires, werewolves, and other monsters, Jack and his best friend Alex find work at Zom-B-Gone, a monster extermination company. Battling the legions of the undead at work and desperately trying to please Penny -- his horrible, selfish girlfriend -- at home, Jack's two world's collide when Penny's ex-boyfriend returns to town, as the unholy master of a coven of bloodthirsty vampires.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

In an effort to find a Richard Griffin picture as highly entertaining as NUN OF THAT (2009), I'm watching everything the man made.  He's a busy guy, directing 2-3 pictures a year.  So far it hasn't fared well. What I've seen beyond NUN was low budget, grade Z material.  But this film is showing some promise.  It's well-made (you know, for what it is) with a mixed bag of acting, it's a pretty good story and it's fun.  That's the most important part.  Like nearly all low budget films of this sort it has some pacing issues where it drags from time to time but it's largely a good time.  There are a few laughs that'll get you and some pretty good gore effects.  The sound effects (like gun shots and punches) could have been beefed up.  As they were, they were pretty weak.  I hate to nitpick on films like this but it felt like if this film got a little more attention in tweaking it here and there, it would have been even better.  As it is, I recommend it.  It's one of 4 Griffin horror pictures in a DVD set called, FEEDING THE MASSES HORROR COLLECTION.  I've got two more films to watch including SPLATTER DISCO (2007).  You can pick it up for under ten bucks on Amazon.  Is it worth it?  It is if you're into this kind of film making.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Common Law Wife (1963)

Directors: Eric Sayers, Larry Buchanan

Writer: Grace Nolan

Composer: ???

Starring: Annabelle Weenick, Lacey Kelly, Bert Masters, Libby Hall, Norman Smith, Dale Berry, Max W. Anderson, George Edgley

More info: IMDb

Tagline: You don't have to say "I do" to be married...

Plot: Shug, a rich old man, throws out his longtime live-in mistress and moves in his young, sexy niece, who's just returned home after making a living as a stripper in New Orleans. The mistress doesn't intend to go without a fight, however, and while Shug tries to make peace between the two women, he doesn't realize that his niece has her own plans for him.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

As exploitation-y as this sounds, there's no nudity but you get close.  Now that that's out of the way, this is a pretty good picture.  It's a nice and tame-sleazy revenge picture painted in black & white with strippers, a dirty, mean old bastard and some poisoned liquor.  It could probably use a few short minutes edited out but it's still an enjoyable and watchable 82 minutes.  If you start feeling the drag halfway through, the last fifteen minutes make up for it. The performances are great for this sort of thing and the music is groovy as shit.  It wouldn't take much to make it more fun by adding a bit more sleaze but I can't complain much.  It's part of a 3 movie Something Weird Video DVD that includes JENNIE: WIFE/CHILD (1968) and MOONSHINE LOVE (1969) along with a few extras.  I love SWV soooooooo much.   Please don't die.

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

Director: David Twohy

Writer: David Twohy

Composer: Graeme Revell

Starring: Vin Deisel, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Judi Dench, Karl Urban, Alexa Davalos, Linus Roache, Yorick van Wageningen, Nick Chinlund, Keith David, Mark Gibbon, Roger R. Cross, Terry Chen, Christina Cox, Aaron Douglas

More info: IMDb

Tagline: All the power in the universe can't change destiny

Plot: 5 years after Pitch Black, the wanted criminal Riddick arrives on a planet called Helion Prime, and finds himself up against an invading empire called the Necromongers, an army that plans to convert or kill all humans in the universe.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Boy, did they get a lot more money to make this one (4x that of the first film)!  The effects are fantastic.  I really dig the space scenes and the look of the planetscapes from space and on the surface.  The outfits of the Necromongers was pretty badass, especially the ones we first see with the faces on three sides of the headgear.  It's a pretty good story but what makes it better is that it's a lot different than PITCH BLACK (2000).  Typically we'd get a re-tread of the same story with a different cast but it's nice that they made this a true sequel.  Diesel plays it too serious for my money.  I'd like to see him lighten up.  And what's with this 'evil' everyone says about Riddick?  We've never seen him do anything evil if your on the side of the good guys.  Maybe it's deeper than I think in that he did some shit a long time ago and he can never escape his past.  Karl Urban's performance is rather flat but maybe it's the character.  Judi Dench is always a treat to see.  The action is good but damn, those effects are gorgeous.  It's a great looking sci-fi actioner that's a pretty fun ride.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Damaged Lives (1933)

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer

Writers: Eugene Brieux, Edgar G. Ulmer, Donald Davis

Composer: ???

Starring: Diane Sinclair, Lyman Williams, Harry Myers, Marceline Day, Jason Robards Sr., Charlotte Merriam, Murray Kinnell, George Irving, Cecilia Parker, Almeda Fowler, Harrison Greene, Victor Potel, Harry Semels

More info: IMDb

Tagline: His life of debauchery brought disease to his wife!

Plot: An extramarital affair leads to a young couple contracting syphilis.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

It's fun watching these old cautionary tale films.  They're usually so tame and melodramatic that they're sometimes fun and hilarious. This one has its moments. It takes a while to get to the syphilis and they pussyfoot around saying exactly what it is.  It's not until Donald (Williams) visits Dr. Hall (Robards, father of Jason Jr.) and it comes from the doctor's lips.  Doc shows Donald real patients inflicted with the disease which are cleverly inserted bits of footage not filmed for this picture.  Some of the victims contracted the disease from a tobacco pipe, street walkers, etc. One is a mother who unknowingly passed it on to her children.  All of this is to show, of course, that anyone can get it and from any number of innocent or illicit ways.  Because this stays a few minutes shy of an hour, it's easy to get through.  You'll probably find yourself laughing hysterically but knowing this isn't played for laughs.  Time has a tendency to allow for humor.  It'd be interesting to see if any of these pictures were effective.  I can't imagine over the top drama like this made a dent in the STD scene but I could be wrong.  For as dark as the picture gets, it ends happily.  I'd rather it go the other way but it's a rare film from this era that ends on a downbeat. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Godzilla (2014)

Director: Gareth Edwards

Writers: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham

Composer: Alexandre Desplat

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, CJ Adams, Elizabeth Olsen, Carson Bolde, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Richard T. Jones, Victor rasuk

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A king's arrival is never silent

Plot: The world's most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.


I was looking forward to this.  It's not as bad as the 1998 film but it's got some major problems.  I'm going to start by saying I know that just about all of my beefs with this film can be countered with, "but it's about a giant monster that fights other giant monsters".  That negates an awful lot.  I would have preferred an old style man in suit stomping on models than this.  The first half until Joe (Cranston) dies is pretty good.  After that I didn't care much about his son Ford's (Taylor-Johnson) mission or his family. Ford survives nearly impossible situations at every turn, the Admiral (Strathairn) was a neutered character, simple physics were ignored frequently, there was too much Elle (Olsen) and on and on.  My biggest bitch is why the hell do we get these giant monster movies and they rarely (or never) give us the goods during daylight?  We don't get to see Godzilla fight or do much of anything unless it's at night and the weather is bad (frequently).  "But you gave it a 6.5" you say?  Yeah, It's a dumb movie that I enjoyed for the most part but I was left unfulfilled.  The best part was Godzilla's finishing move breathing the energy ray down the other creature's throat.  Bad to the fucking ass!  I need to watch Edwards' first film, MONSTERS (2010), as I've heard nothing but good things about since it hit the scene.  But then I heard a lot of good things about this one, too.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004)

Director: Peter Chung

Writers: David Twohy, Brett Matthews

Composers: Tobias Enhus, Machine Head, Christopher Mann

Starring: Vin Diesel, Rhiana Griffith, Keith David, Roger Jackson, Tress MacNeille, Nick Chinlund, Dwight Schultz, Sarge, Julia Fletcher, Hedy Burress, Andrew Philpot, Rick Gomez

More info: IMDb

Plot: After escaping from a desert planet, Escaped convict Richard B. Riddick and his two companions, Jack and Imam are captured by a crew of bounty hunters of the vessel "Kublah-Khan" commanded by a imperial woman named Antonia Chillingsworth and her chief henchman Junner. Riddick discovers Chillingsworth has her own museum on-board and she collects the galaxy's most-wanted criminals and instead of delivering them to penal colonies and claiming the bounty, Chillingsworth turns them into living statues and Riddick has become the latest addition to her collection.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

At 35 minutes long it's hard to not get bored.  It's a neat little adventure that feels like it's a TV episode.  I'm sure fans would've eaten that shit up lickety-split.  The voice work is good and there are a handful of really nice animation. If it had been live action the characters' outfits wouldn't be as outrageous as they were.  I guess there's more leeway when animation is thrown into the mix. Still, it's a groovy follow-up to PITCH BLACK (2000) that doesn't add anything of substance to the character of Riddick but it provides an easy half hour of sci-fi action that will satisfy fans of the first film.  Now on to CHRONICLES...

Friday, June 20, 2014

J.R.R. Tolkien - Master of the Rings (2001)

Director: Chris Gormlie

Writer: Robert Di Napoli

Composer: Rick Wakeman, Mostly Autumn, Paul Farrer

Starring: Robert Di Napoli, Aryk Nusbacher, Helen Kidd, Prescilla Tolkien, Father John Tolkien, Rayner Unwin, Roger Dean, Ken Hensley, Rick Wakeman, Ian Collier, Heather Findlay, Bryan Josh

More info: Amazon, IMDb

Tagline:  The definitive guide to the world of the Rings

Plot:  Discover why J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings has become an icon of 20th century culture.  This documentary features stunning new 3D computerized animations of Middle earth, a host of illustrations by the Brothers Hildebrandt, rare archive footage of the author himself and in-depth analysis by leading Tolien scholars from around the world.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

It's been a long time since I watched the massive extras from the Peter Jackson LOTR films but I recall learning an awful lot from therm...and they were entertaining and fun (the bits about Tolkien's life and the creation of this world). Watching those will spoil you. 20 years ago this Master of the Rings DVD set would have been great. It does cover a bit about where Tolkien came from and the genesis for creating The Hobbit and later LOTR. The best part is the 3D map of Middle Earth and getting to see the locations while hearing about them. The live action recreations are hokey but they serve their purpose with a minimal budget. It also covers the influence the books have had on literature and music. The Brothers Hildebrant paintings are wonderful to see. The set includes a booklet with some of the illustrations (50 of them are an extra on the DVD). Other DVD extras include interactive interviews and inspirations (this section runs 11 minutes and has footage not seen in the documentary). There's also an added CD of music selections by Rick Wakeman, the keyboardist from the band, Yes.

If you are old enough to have known and loved Tolkien's work long before the Peter Jackson films beginning in 2001 (like before the Reagan administration), then you might find this worth your time. Will you watch it more than once? Probably not, but it does have that CD you might dig. If the 2001 film is what brought you to read the books or at least get into the genre, you should save your money. Right now you can get this set for under $4 shipped. It's worth it but hopefully you've got an idea of what you're getting so you won't waste your time on top of the four clams.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

Director: Bernard L. Kowalski

Writer: Leo Gordon

Composer: Alexander Laszlo

Starring: Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard, Michael Emmet, Tyler McVey, Bruno VeSota, Gene Roth, Dan White, George Cisar, Guy Buccola, Joseph Hamilton, Walter Kelley, Ross Sturlin

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Massive Blood Sucking Monsters!

Plot: After local-moonshine swilling trapper Lem Sawyer sees a giant creature, people start disappearing. While searching for illegal traps Steve Benton and Nan Greyson, his girl-friend find Lem dying with giant sucker wounds on his body. One couple Liz Walker and Cal Moulton, forced into the water by her enraged husband Dave Walker, gets taken by the leeches. When police refuse to believe Dave's story, he hangs himself. Soon after this, 2 more trappers disappear, the local Game Warden Steve Benton gets involved. He and Nan's father Dr Greyson realize that the people were taken by the leeches and the leeches live in caves under the swamp. Using dynamite, the 4 missing bodies are discovered and the leeches are destroyed.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

Are these the giant leeches they're talking about?

Who'd 'a thought you'd get to see nads in a cheesy low budget horror movie like this?  Sure, you'd expect them displayed in a big time Hollywood period drama but not here.  This is a fun flick to watch with a crowd and by the time you think you might get bored, the hour has run out and you're done.  The acting and everything else is what you'd expect for a picture of this calibre.  The good guys go up against dudes in rubber leech suits, save the gals and kill the monsters.  I like the swamp location shooting and the underwater cave lair where the giant leeches store the meat.  The film makers get lots of points for even going there and making an underwater pantry for the added thrills.  The picture plays out exactly like you think it's going to so there aren't any surprises but it's still a fun watch and shouldn't be overlooked for fans of the genre.  It's also in the public domain so finding the film to watch online should be a snap.

Pitch Black (2000)

Director: David Twohy

Writers: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, David Twohy

Composer: Graeme Revell

Starring: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Claudia Black, Rhiana Griffith, John Moore, Simon Burke, Les Chantery, Sam Sari, Firass Dirani, Ric Anderson, Vic Wilson, Angela Moore, Peter Chiang, Ken Twohy

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Fight Evil With Evil

Plot: A commercial transport ship and its crew are marooned on a planet full of bloodthirsty creatures that only come out to feast at night. But then, they learn that a month-long eclipse is about to occur.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

I've seen this a couple of times now and I think that's the limit on this one.  I dig the picture and I like that Vin Diesel isn't the overly macho badass that he became after this with the lower, gravelly voice and the way he carries himself in an almost cartoonish way.  There's some of that here but it's not as pronounced as he later became. The look of the film is neat, going a long way in helping sell the illusion that we're on another planet.  The space bugs are pretty ferocious but to call them 'evil' is too much.  They're just doing their job, eating folks to survive.  Overall it's a fun sci-fi flick with a new character working in a tired premise but he makes it work. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ambush Bay (1966)

Director:Ron Winston

Writers: Marve Feinberg, Ib Melchior

Composer: Richard LaSalle

Starring: Hugh O'Brian, Mickey Rooney, James Mitchum, Peter Masterson, Hary Lauter, Gregg Amsterdam, Jim Anauo, Tony Smith, Clem Stadler, Amado Abello, Juris Sulit, Max Quismundo, Bruno Punzalan, Tisa Chang, Buff Fernandez, Joaquin Fajardo, Limbo Lagdameo, Nonong Arceo

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Their top secret mission paved the way for the man who said "I Shall Return!"

Plot: A Marine unit on a Japanese-held island in the Philippines tries to hook up with local Filipino guerrillas.

My rating: 4.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

It looks good, that's about it.  I'm surprised it's not better.  The pacing is slow, and I can dig it when the film calls for it or it's an interesting picture, but the drag isn't because it's necessary; it's just plain slow.  Most everything about it is mediocre.  The acting is sometimes stilted, leaving me wondering if one more take or two couldn't have gotten a better line reading but there's enough of it that makes me think otherwise.  It's neat seeing Mickey Rooney as a combat soldier and he acts his butt off (as per usual) but he's delivering some of his lines in the best tradition of a 1940s gung-ho picture made to boost the morale of the American people and her soldiers.  I'm not sure how dated that kind of dialogue was in 1966 but, in this film, it only sometimes works.  Don't get me wrong, I love that kind of dialogue when it's in those 1940s pictures or when it works with the film no matter what year.  The music even feels like it's a romantic war film with the lush strings.  I wanted to like this film more but it didn't happen.  My scale, by the way, is such that a 5/10 is obviously right down the middle, an 'OK' at best film.  Anything below that caused me boredom.  The more I look at how much longer is left, the lower it is.  This is one of the lesser major studio 1960s WWII pictures.  You're better of looking elsewhere.  The MGM DVD looks great.  It's got the fullscreen and widescreen (not anamorphic) versions along with the film's trailer as the sole extra.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Postman (1997)

Director: Kevin Costner

Writers: David Brin, Eric Roth, Brian Helgeland

Composer: James Newton Howard

Starring: Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Larenz Tate, Olivia Williams, Rames Russo, Daniel von Bargen, Tom Petty, Scott Bairstow, Giovanni Ribisi, Roberta Maxwell, Joe Santos, Ron McLarty, Peggy Lipton

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The year is 2013. One man walked in off the horizon and hope came with him.

Plot: A drifter with no name finds a Jeep with the skeleton of a postman and a bag of mail and dons the postman's uniform and bag of mail as he begins a quest to inspire hope to the survivors living in the post apocalyptic America.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I've heard nothing but bad things about this picture since it came out.  It's not that bad.  Having just seen it for the first time, the only negative thing I've got to say about it is that it's probably twenty minutes too long but the film doesn't drag that much and it didn't feel like a three hour movie.  I like Costner's character. He felt more like a regular dude whose deceit set him on an unexpected path.  We don't get much in the way of a back story for him, the war or anything else and I liked that.  I dug the ending, surprisingly, with the one on one fight between The Postman and General Bethlehem.  It's predictable but it wasn't all that bad.  The Pacific Northwest scenery is gorgeous.  I would love to live there.  There's probably a 2 hour movie hiding in there somewhere but I think, despite the lag around the two thirds mark, it works pretty well.  The slow evolution of The Postman worked. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rocketship X-M (1950)

Director: Kurt Neumann

Writers: Orville H. Hampton, Kurt Neumann, Dalton Trumbo

Composer: Ferde Grofe Sr.

Starring: Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, John Emery, Noah Beery Jr., Hugh O'Brian, Morris Ankrum, Patrick Aherne, Sherry Moreland, John Dutra, Kathy Marlowe, James Conaty, Sam Harris, Judd Holdren, Stuart Holmes, Bert Stevens

More info: IMDb

Tagline: ZOOM through the Universe the Screen's First Story of Man's First Conquest of Space! GASP at the Daring Courage of Four Men and a Girl as They Thunder Between Planets on a Runaway Rocket! You've Read About It! You've Heard About It! Now SEE it!

Plot: Astronauts blast off to explore the moon. Because of craft malfunction and some fuel calculations, they end up landing on Mars. On Mars, evidence of a once powerful civilization is found. The scientists determine that an atomic war destroyed most of the Martians (who surprisingly look like humans). Those that survived reverted to a caveman-like existence.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I love it.  They give a press conference, with the crew, announcing the mission 15 minutes before takeoff.  Space travel is easy. 6 minutes before takeoff and the crew is still shootin' the shit outside.  The optimism of 1950 seems alien to us future-folk.  If you're looking for a great sci-fi outer space classic, this isn't it.  Let's break it down.  It's 77 minutes long.  The first 10 minutes is a lengthy press conference explaining the details of space travel and the ship that's taking these kids to the Moon.  At 15 minutes they finally take off.  For the next 35 minutes they're traveling through space, talking a lot about stuff that doesn't really mean anything and narrowly avoiding meteors (as they fly by you'll notice it's the same meteors after each set of 3 fly bys). Once on Mars it's another 10 minutes before they discover the Martians.  We've only got about 15 minutes before the picture ends.  They fight with the cavemen Martians, during which we get to see one of their hot Martian women, and then it's BLAST OFF!  Back to Earth which takes just a few minutes...BEFORE THEY FUCKING CRASH TO THEIR DEATHS ON EARTH!!!  But wait, it gets shitty.  We're told there were two survivors (presumably Floyd (Bridges) and Lisa (Massen) who professed their love for each other minutes before the crash).  I call shenanigans.

To answer Lavinia from Trbovlje, looks about like that.

Crazy-eyed Martian broad.

I dig that they went sepia tone once they reach Mars but cool turns to laughs when you see them with their skin exposed.  I guess 1950 American kids were naive enough not to know that IT'S COLD AS FUCK ON MARS AND THE ATMOSPHERE IS SO THIN THE RADIATION WOULD BE DEVASTATING!!!  But, hey, who's nitpicking?  The science is so bad I started getting flashbacks of PROMETHEUS (2012).  Grofe's music for the Martian battle was great.  Good stuff, there.  But that only lasts for a few short minutes before it's time to go home.  At first I thought the ending was ballsy as shit until you learn that two survived.  When you see the rocket hurling toward the planet doing at least 75MPH you'll see that there's no fucking way anybody's walking or crawling away from that one.  They'd be pulverized into atoms.   But, hey.  With these 50s sci-fi pictures, sometimes you dig 'em and sometimes you don't.  This one's right in the middle.  Watch it for the few minutes on Mars and the bullshit cop out ending.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Director: Tim Burton

Writers: Pierre Boulle, William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal

Composer: Danny Elfman

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Estella Warren, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, David Warner, Kris Kristofferson, Erick Avari, Deep Roy, Rick Baker, Charlton Heston

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The battle begins November 20th

Plot: An Air Force astronaut crash lands on a mysterious planet where evolved, talking apes dominate a race of primitive humans.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Alright, so I'm burning through the sci-fi DVDs on my shelf, going through every one I haven't seen since 2007.  I saw this in the theaters with my dad and we were both amazed at how bad it was.  I can't remember what we didn't like specifically but we left the theater with a bad taste in our mouths.  Maybe the expectations were too high.  Well, now that I've revisited it, it all came back to me.  Wahlberg was a poor choice for the lead.  Heston was ideal in the '68 film.  Sorry but I have a tough time separating the two films.  As a film to stand on its own, this version is OK.  It's a standard, by the numbers action film with very little imagination.  As a remake, it's terrible.  The '68 film is superior in every way. 

How retarded is it that Leo (Wahlberg) is honestly trying to teach a chimp how to fly a spaceship?  And that's just in the first 3 minutes. It gets worse when that chimp arrives at the end to save the day at the precise moment he/she needed to.  That's bullshit.  A huge mistake is letting the humans talk. Visually, it's a dark film, the complete opposite of the original. We finally get some daylight desert shots in the last hour but even most of those are graded darker.  Carter and Giamati stole the show in the acting department.  At the opposite end of that scale you've get Estella Warren as the hot cave girl, Daena. She's just horrible, and it's obvious she's wearing makeup.  The story bears little resemblance to the original film as does about everything else (including the names) so the only thing they've got in common is that the planet (or at least these few square miles of it) are run by apes.  The ending was neat with Marky Mark's discovery at the, ahem, Lincoln Memorial.  And it's nice to see David Warner and Charlton Heston in the picture even for just a little while.  What's more, this in no way feels like a Tim Burton picture.  I remember years before this it was talked about Oliver Stone directing a PotA movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead.  That sounds a lot more interesting than this film.   The original was special.  It touched on a lot of social issues, gave us some great science fiction and managed to be a damn fine entertaining picture that's loaded with surprises.  This one's only surprise was that it's worse than we thought it'd be.  RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) managed to correct that and deliver something fresh and intriguing and its sequel, coming out very soon, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014), looks to be one hell of a ride. One thing every APES picture has in common...outstanding makeup effects.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Omega Doom (1996)

Director: Albert Pyun

Writers: Albert Pyun, Ed Naha

Composer: Anthony Riparetti

Starring: Rutger Hauer, Shannon Whirry, Norbert Weisser, Tina Cote, Anna Katarina, Jill Pierce, Simon Poland, Cynthia Ireland, Jahi J.J. Zuri, Early White

More info: IMDb &

Tagline: Robots rule the Earth. Only one man can stop them.

Plot: After earth is taken over by an army of robots, the small number of humans left are forced into hiding. In the nuclear winter, only droids walk the face of the earth, in fear of the rumored human resurgence, and in search of a hidden cache of weapons. One robot, his evil circuits destroyed, enters a small town where a robot civil war is taking place. He tries to convince both sides to join forces in search of the weapons, all the while having a hidden agenda, and an affinity for one of the local droids.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

What you've basically got here is YOJIMBO (1961) (and then A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) which this film has a riff on the "apologize to my horse" bit) in a post-apocalyptic world with humanoid robots calling the shots...that is until badass motherfucker Rutger Hauer, I mean Omega Doom, walks into town.  Hauer is his usual action flick, soft talking badass schtick which works well for the picture.  Norbert Weisser as The Head was great and he added some much needed comic relief.  Most viewers, myself included, will take issue with the picture's pacing. It's in need of a good bit of tightening.  It's not that bad of a picture but editing it to pick up the pace would do wonders.  Just shaving off ten minutes by turning the screws a little could fix that, but then you wouldn't have a near-90 minute film which, for some damn reason, seems to be the magic number for most pictures.  Another annoyance was the constant sound of the droid's servo gears or whatnot.  It's all over the place.  You'd think this problem would have been fixed by then.  This isn't the 1930s for cryin' out loud.  It could have used a better score, one that wasn't filled with slow, undercurrent pop/rock guitar riffs.  There are cues that I really dug but the overall vibe didn't help the film's biggest offender, the pacing. It's one of the better minor films Rutger Hauer made and it's not as bad as the internets are want to tell you.  Fans of BLADE RUNNER (1982) will have some fun with some off-the-beaten-path references.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Morons from Outer Space (1985)

Director: Mike Hodges

Writers: Griff Rhys Jones, Mel Smith

Composer: Peter Brewis

Starring: Joanne Pearce, Jimmy Nail, Paul Bown, James Sikking, Dinsdale Landen, Tristram Jellinek, George Innes, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones, John Joyce, Mark Lewis Jones, Leonard Fenton, Andre Maranne, Moanna Dickens

More info: IMDb

Tagline: An incredible saga or love & hate that spans an entire universe.

Plot: Four holiday travelers from the planet Blob have somehow lost control of their rented spaceship and crash-landed on Earth. At first, the military and scientific teams assume they are higher life forms. But not for long. Idiocy is hard to hide. The stranded wayfarers are complete morons, content to drink their green beer, sing ear-splitting pop songs and talk to trash cans, which they assume are the planet's leaders. But not until an enterprising journalist decides to market their dazed innocence and turn them into glitzy superstars do they find their true mission to Earth.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

It looks like they got shafted on the poster art.  It's interesting that this is from the same director as GET CARTER (1971), FLASH GORDON (1980) and CROUPIER (1998).  It's a silly and moronic film that's amusing every once in a while.  I probably laughed a couple of times.  The CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) gag with the organ was hilarious but that's about it.  The comedy is rather playful and fun and I can easily see how it can appeal to folks. Being a British film helps.  George Innes (as Stanley) took the cake for me.  He was great.  I'd swear I've seen him before but I couldn't find anything in his extensive credits that I recognize him from.  Maybe SHINER (2000) which I saw recently.  It could also be that he looks and sounds like Topol from the early 80s.  For the most part the film just kind of sat there, going through the motions for laughs only I didn't find it all that funny.  It's silly and harmless and that's about it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Nightfall (2000)

Director: Gwyneth Gibby

Writers: Isaac Asimov, Michael B. Druxman, John William Corrington, Gwyneth Gibby

Composers: Brad Segal, Nic. tenBroek

Starring: David Carradine, Jennifer Burns, Winsome Brown, Joseph Hodge, Ashish Vidyarthi, Pradeep Singh Rawat, Tony Mirrcandani, Sushant Kumar, Smita Hai, Varun Vardhan, Malini S. Paul, Lalith Sharma, Manosh Sen Gupta

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The greatest science fiction story of all time.

Plot: When a distant planet's six suns slowly disappear, the population is overwhelmed with fear and superstition.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

If you watch the trailer and think this is a straight-to-video type of picture you'd be right.  It is but it's not horrible like the internets say it is.  It's not good, either.  From what I gather the story is much, much better and this film version takes an awful lot of liberties.  After watching it I can see how.  It feels like there's a really good concept here but the execution of it turns it into a low budget actioner that takes place on another planet. That's about it.  The acting is what you'd expect for something like this and even Carradine has moments where he fluctuates from pretty good to autopilot. I picked this one up for a buck somewhere; the cover looked good, Carradine's in it and it's a sci-fi flick based on an Asimov story.  I expected more than what it delivered and you should, too.