Dark Skies vs. Dark Skies

March 1, 2012 Bryce Zabel

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 (“Sling Blade”). 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. […]

THE THING: Back Again After Being Back Again the First Time

October 9, 2011 Movie Smackdown

Despite the fact that people from around the world go to Antarctica in the spirit of friendship and scientific cooperation (more or less), in the movies it is usually a setting for Something Bad That Is About to Happen.

The Thing has been made before. In the first go-round, it was The Thing from Another World in 1951. Three decades later, 1982, it was just The Thing and in the hands of John Carpenter. Now, another three decades later, 2011, it’s still The Thing, only constructed now to serve as a prelude and not a remake of Carpenter’s classic version. […]

Cowboys & Aliens (2011) -vs- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

July 31, 2011 Bob Nowotny

It’s the Harrison Comparison – two big-budget, high-energy, studio-produced, action adventure yarns starring a Ford with enough miles on him to qualify not only for Triple-A, but AARP as well. I don’t know about you, but I love being taken for a ride (unless it involves a Mexican cartel), and this summer the silver screen is besotted with a plethora of eye-popping, CGI-infested mega-movies starring comic book heroes and video icons. But only one has its roots firmly planted in the wild, wild West – the two-genres-in-a-blender contender, Cowboys & Aliens.

And who better than Mr. Harrison Ford to lead the way? After all, with the Indiana Jones franchise, Ford has proven himself over and over again to be America’s reigning cinema swashbuckler. The fourth and most recent edition of that series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, serves as our Champion for the purpose of this Smackdown by virtue of its own alien storyline..

Two Harrison Ford genre-mashing period pieces, bothvfeaturing an other-worldly presence. They say the hat makes the man, so which one of Ford’s fedoras will prevail in this head-to-head duel? The 10-gallon Stetson? Or the wool felt homburg? […]

Remembering G.D. Spradlin

July 25, 2011 Bryce Zabel

You probably knew G.D. Spradlin best as Senator Pat Geary from The Godfather, Part II, where he played the corrupt politician blackmailed by by Michael Corleone after he wakes up and finds himself drenched in a dead prostitute’s blood.

I knew him as Elliot P. Grantham, the Idaho farmer who was Patient Zero, the first official victim of the alien Hive’s infestation in the NBC series Dark Skies.

My co-creator Brent Friedman and I knew we’d gotten lucky in casting. Who didn’t cringe a little in The Godfather, Part II when Spradlin’s Senator Geary treats Michael Corleone with contempt early in the film? You knew it wouldn’t go well. We had gotten lucky early on by offering a series lead role to J.T. Walsh to play Frank Bach and he said yes. We tried again with Spradlin, wondering if he would find the part too small or, given the alien angle, too silly. But he said yes, too. We were thrilled. As it turned out, Dark Skies was the last television he ever did and the second to last acting job (he also appeared in the feature film, Dick). […]

Super 8 (2011) -vs- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

June 10, 2011 Bryce Zabel

“Listen, guys, we got J.J. Abrams writing and directing a film about alien contact that Spielberg’s gonna help him produce. Who’s in?”

When the words were first uttered in Hollywood, there must have been a hush in the room. Now, with the sci-fi world ablaze with anticipation, Super 8 is ready for its own close-up.

In Summer 2011′s first big swing into science fiction, this Spielbergian team-up goes with a story of kids in small town America discovering something amazing. Our Challenger Super 8 is set in 1979, just a few years before the release our Defending Champion E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Both films involve kids getting involved with aliens, cover-ups, and military diversions and suppressions.

And even though Steven Spielberg is on the team of this latest effort, over here at the Smack, it’s still personal. Two directors slugging it out. The brash new contender in J.J. Abrams and the wise, beloved champion in Spielberg. […]

Battle: Los Angeles (2011) -vs- Transformers (2007) -vs- War of the Worlds (2005) -vs- Independence Day (1996)

June 1, 2011 Bryce Zabel

There are alien invasions and then there are alien invasions.

This Smack is about the ones where the aliens swoop in, lasers blazing, hell-bent on some balls-to-the-wall human ass-kicking. No demands, no negotiations, just straight-ahead mayhem where the Earth is torn up with no regard whatsoever. It’s as if they’re treating our planet like a condemned building that just needs to knocked down as fast as possible so the new construction can get started. I know some folks think we’re already doing that ourselves but let’s skip the politics and just define this as apocalyptical visitation.
[…]

Alien Contact @ Movie Smackdown

May 29, 2011 Movie Smackdown

In the billions of stars, solar systems, and galaxies out there, our little planet is but a single speck of dust in the whirlwind of the universe. Probably, we are all starting to realize, we are not alone.

Hollywood got there earlier than the rest of us, and the film industry has told us stories of alien contact — what might happen if intelligent beings out there were to make contact with our suposedly primitive culture here on Earth — since the 1950s.

This week, Movie Smackdown! examines how alien contact is portrayed in cinema. Each day, we’ll pick another Smackdown from our Classix vault. From the brutal attack force of Independence Day to the benevolent space brothers of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, let your imagination soar as the extraterrestrial life of a crowded Hollywood universe comes calling here on Earth. […]

“Galaxy Quest” Boldly Arrived Ten Years Ago!

December 20, 2009 Mark Sanchez

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!
[…]

Angels & Demons (2009) -vs- The Da Vinci Code (2006)

October 12, 2009 Rodney Twelftree

The Catholic Church is beset with problems in these two films based on the best-selling novels by Dan Brown. On one side, a secret order threatening to uncover the greatest secret in the history of the world, and render the Church obsolete. On the other, another secret (and long thought extinct) brotherhood threatening to blow up Vatican City. Yep, somebody has it bad for the Pope, and it’s up to an American University lecturer to save the day. So settle back, say a few Hail Marys, and prepare to enter the world of Robert Langdon, the world’s smartest symbologist.
[…]

1 2