Our “Dark Skies” has established itself in the minds of a significant number of science fiction fans as a gripping piece of conspiracy drama set in the world of UFOs and abductions. It anchored NBC’s Saturday night “Thrillogy” concept in the 1996 season premiere and starred Eric Close (“Nashville”) and the late film character actor J.T. Walsh (â€œSling Bladeâ€). Its main title design won the Emmy award and its pilot screenplay received a Writers Guild nomination. The Syfy Channel aired the entire series multiple times. Since 2010 there’s been a Facebook page where thousands of fans from many different countries push Sony for a TV revival. […]
Ah, consumption. That most romantic and cinematic of slow fades. Think Camille. Two wildly talented love objects with fatally bad lungs compete for this particular smackdown crown. Itâ€™s Frederic Chopin versus Bright Star John Keats in a death-baiting battle of ill-fated geniuses, fighting for every breath, playing fast and loose with history, and winning lovely lady hearts as they struggle for ours. I dare you to find two more gorgeous grandees, two saintlier objects of obsession in all filmdom. Go ahead. Iâ€™ll wait here.
The criteria I used is pretty simple: which films are not just good but really impacted the world of film? It’s relatively easy to make a film that entertains. And, in some ways, it’s even easier to make a film that does something “different” and “new.” But to make a film that both entertains and moves you, while advancing the art of filmmaking…that’s pretty hard. So let’s get this ball rolling as we reflect on a most eclectic period of film…
Galaxy Quest (1999) -vs- Spaceballs (1987)
Patrolling the Universe for Laughs
The Smackdown. While the newspapers and magazines are full of “Best Of” lists for the past ten years, let’s get specific. It was a decade ago that the great “Star Trek” send-up “Galaxy Quest” came to theaters on Christmas Day of 1999. This year we put the film into the Smackdown ring against another comedy send-up “Spaceballs” which took on the other great space franchise, “Star Wars.” While fan boys and girls alike will be debating “Star Wars” versus “Star Trek” for generations to come, maybe just maybe we can get a clear winner out of the comic dopplegangers. Here we go!
Bryan Singer’s X-Men took a little bit of Matrix and a whole lot of Marvel and jam-packed it all into an intense 90-minute film that was surprisingly more thriller than action film. This isn’t a surprise since Singer has always seemed most comfortable in thrillers, The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil being the merits that earned him X-Men’s directorial helm. In X-Men, Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine, an amnesiac mutant with indestructible claws, is found by the X-Men, a group of highly-trained mutants who moonlight as teachers at a school for young mutants. The school’s headmaster, Charles Xavier, dreams of creating a world where human and mutants co-exist. Opposing Xavier and his X-Men is Magneto, Xavier’s former best friend and militant leader of the anti-human Brotherhood of Mutants. This is a movie made by its casting since the plot is rather slim and predictable. Watching Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan wax philisophical as comic book versions of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X makes for a riveting thriller. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was risky, but amazing, casting. The visual style and look of X-Men is something to appreciate, as Singer and his production design crew throw away blind fidelity to comic book gratuity and instead adapt the comic to our real world. Gone is yellow spandex, bright purple/red costumes, eight-foot tall mutants, and Gucci-wearing shapeshifters. Everything is understated, making the film’s themes of prejudice and alienation all the more real for a modern audience.
The saga of the real-life James Boys, their friends, the Youngers, Millers, and (hiss) the Fords has been a Hollywood staple for almost a century, and for every film, there has been a different interpretation of the legendary Missouri outlaw. Jesse has been depicted in wildly differing films as outgoing, stoic, easygoing, stern, voluble, and taciturn. “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” dares to suggest that the man that newspapers of the day compared to Robin Hood was no more than a vicious thug, who may have been going mad from the stresses of being hunted 24/7.
The Smackdown This Tuesday, The Bourne Trilogy hits Blu-Ray, taking America’s favoriteÂ amnesiacÂ spy to the lovely world of over-sized pores and saturated colors. Â Now, we’ve seen how easily Jason Bourne dispatches assassins, but what happens when […]
The Smackdown You’d be forgiven for thinking that Hollywood has forgotten how to make anything but superhero movies.Â They come out as regularly as the comic books that spawned them once did for adolescent boys […]
The Smackdown British comedies are a class unto their own.Â They simply have a way of demonstrating the quirkiness of ordinary human interaction in the face of outrageous circumstances that include the inevitable events of […]