Dark Star

March 28, 2013


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

A bunch of hapless astronauts on a looooong mission run into some…problems.

This was the first full-length  movie made by both Dan “Alien” O’Bannon and John “A Whole Bunch Of Movies Too Oogie For Me To Even CONSIDER Watching” Carpenter. There’s a written intro by O’Bannon talking about making this movie and audience reaction that’s pretty funny. I was in high school when it came to theaters (yes, I’m old) but I didn’t see it until it was on television a couple of years later.

This movie is such a family favorite. We all loved the bomb, and whenever my dad would go out back to feed the donkeys (we had a couple in the horse field out back to eat all the weeds…cheaper and easier than mowing, and they were cute) he would say, Feed the aliens. Feed the aliens. Why do I always have to be the one to feed the aliens? and we’d all laugh hysterically.

This movie is very mired in its time- the music, the electronics, the look of it is relentlessly 70s, which it should be…although at one point, a character is making a video diary and looks at the 8 track he’s using to record it, and you know the filmmakers were thinking ahead to when that would be hilarious because even then, they were awful technology.

For a very low budget (55 grand, even in those days, wasn’t much) movie, it had some good special effects, some nice bits (hyperdrive, and the big spaceship filling up the camera) that were echoed by Star Wars a couple of years later, and a good, if EXTREMELY low-key, sense of humor.

This is very worth seeing- don’t expect boffo, or to be rolling on the floor laughing, but it’s funny, the characters are great and the ending is very good.

The Help

March 17, 2013


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

From the book of the same name by Kathryn Stockett.

The lives of African-American domestic help and the women who employ them in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 60s and the Civil Rights movement.

Our book and movie discussion group picked this, and I am so glad. The book was WONDERFUL, I buzzed through it in a day and a half and loved it. As did Mr. Otter.

The movie was good; they hit all the high points, and the things that were changed were changed intelligently.

The actors were good, although Emma Stone was WAY too pretty to be believeable as Skeeter.

The setting was good (except for Skeeter using Liquid Paper in her typewriter*) and evoked the feeling of the early 60s very nicely.

Not my usual sort of movie, but enjoyable, well done, and fun to watch in the group.

But the book was better.

*Remotely possible, since Betty Naismith started selling it from her house in Texas in 1962 and by 1968 it was pretty well known. But since the major action of the movie is 1963…not likely. It would have been better if she had used correction tape instead. Says the Otter, who is indeed old enough to have used typewriters…and hated them.

Wreck-It Ralph

March 14, 2013


Internet Movie Database           Movie Reviews

The bad guy in an arcade game wants to change his life.

It was movie and junk food night chez Otter, and it was Spider Jerusalem’s choice. He picked Yiassoo for dinner, an EXCELLENT way to go, and this movie (the other possibility was The Perks of Being A Wallflower, which we’ll catch some other time.)

I had never heard of this, but he told me the plot outline, and I was totally hooked.

And it was fun! Bad guy turns good, charming characters, great animation. Otter Family Favorite Actor Alan Tudyk (voicing King Candy). A good and funny plot, a girl (Jane Lynch) kicking ass. Some great lines and references. What more could you ask?

Warning: have some candy on hand, a lot of the movie takes place in a candyland racing game…I had to break out the jelly hearts and nom nom nom.

A fun evening’s entertainment!

District 9

March 11, 2013


Internet Movie Database
CinemaSins          Movie Reviews

Aliens come to Earth. What shall we do with them?

I was going to the Red Cross for Apheresis (which takes two hours, and you get to watch a movie while they take out all your blood, put it through a machine and put it back in) and Spider Jerusalem recommended this, which he promised would not be oogie.

Oh, I said, I remember when that came out, I wanted to see it- it’s an alien movie.

Well, said SJ, yes, but it’s kind of different. You’ll see.

And I did, and (no spoilers here, I promise) it starts as kind of a documentary about aliens being brought to earth in a giant spaceship that is hovering over Johannesburg. We break in and find lots of them in bad shape, starving and what-not. So of course they’re brought to earth…and put in a relocation camp.

And it’s an indie movie, which means that the WHOLE THING cost only 30 million dollars, which in these days is not much money at all, especially given how well made and believeable it is, and how good the special effects are for that little money.

Not only was this pretty gross and violent and good explodo, but interesting social commentary. A good choice, SJ!