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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Classic Scenes is a new segment we are adding to the Starblog and it is just that – classic scenes that we all know and love from movies past. With our lives so busy and hectic, it’s good to stop for five minutes and revisit some old friends.

For our first installment, I thought the Rescue Scene from Superman: The Movie (1979).  In a world as crazy as ours, take five minutes to remember when you believed a man could fly.

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So like everyone else I endured two plus hours of having those stupid plastic glasses sitting on the bridge of my nose in the IMAX theatre watching James Cameron’s newest epic – Avatar.

I have to say I liked it. After all, it was visually a treat with a serviceable, if hackneyed, plot.

What I enjoyed the most was James Cameron’s dedication to himself.  For Avatar, if nothing else, is a Frankenstein monster of all of his earlier films – an ebay-bound drawer of old stuff recycled to create something new.

Most young’uns probably haven’t paid much attention to Cameron’s earlier essays. They were, after all,mere  trifles, with little to no merit of their own. They were simply practice runs for the second coming known to man as “Avatar”.

Therefore, in order to prevent newly inducted Cameron fans from wasting their time with his earlier sophomoric films, we here at the Starblog offices have a list of ingredients drawn from them and used to better effect in Avatar. (more…)

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Expanded Universe: there are no two words that cause such controversy among Star Wars fans as these, with the exception, maybe of “Jar Jar”.  Some date the beginning of the Expanded Universe as far back as Del Rey’s “Splinter of  A Mind’s Eye” in 1978.  Other’s cite Brian Daley’s “Han Solo Trilogy” while others hold out for Timothy Zahn’s “Heir to the Empire”.  Whatever you consider the beginning of the EU, the fact is that it is exists and it’s here to stay.  There is also another unspoken fact about the EU:

Star Wars isn’t the only one that has it.

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Star Trek 2009

Star Trek 2009

Ba-Bang! Last one.

There was a lot going on in the world in 2001.  As for Star Trek, 2001 was also a big year. Voyager was coming to an end and, unlike other “trying to get home” series like Battlestar Galactica and Space: 1999, this good ship would actually make it.   In its seven year journey, Star Trek: Voyager had become more like the original Star Trek than either TNG or DS9.

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It’s fall of 1994 and on my television set is a preview for the next Star Trek: The Next Generation adventure. There is one crucial difference between this adventure and the usual episode: it can only be seen at a theater near you.

Star Trek Generations

On November 18, 1994, Star Trek Generations premiered in movie theaters.  It was the first Trek series not to be canceled. It had been decided to move these characters from small screen to silver screen. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was in its third season.  The word on the street was that come the new year, a third spin-off (the fourth Star Trek series) called Star Trek: Voyager would be premiering.

For the first time in history, there was a LOT of Star Trek.

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As I write this, summer is coming to a close.  Outside there is the slightest crisp of autumn in the air. JJ Abram’s Star Trek is out of theatres and we can only wait for the DVD release this fall. Holy Frak — It’s September and I haven’t updated my series retrospective on Star Trek!!

Let’s delay no longer. When we last left our intrepid heroes, the original crew of Star Trek had moved on to a series of movies and signed off with The Undiscovered Country in 1991.

But let’s step back about four years to 1987.  Before making peace with the Klingons, Kirk and crew, in a commandeered Bird-of-Prey had just left the 20th century and saved the Earth from a mysterious probe  by bringing back Humpback Whales from extinction.  It was a high time for Star Trek.  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home turned out to be the most mainstream success of all the Star Trek movies.  (more…)

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Entering District 9

Every once in a while, a film comes along which belongs in the annals of SciFi.  The last time this happened was in 2006 with Alfonso Cuarón‘s Children of Men. The Day the Earth Stood Still, This Island Earth, Forbidden Planet, Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters, Star Wars, E.T., Blade Runner are among the titles which represent the best traditions of Science Fiction. Are they all my favorite? No.  But to not be familiar with these entries, is to not be familiar with SciFi.  District 9, written and directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson, is one of those films.  Made for under $30 million and starring a brilliant unknown actor Sharlto Copley, District 9 represent what’s best in SciFi.  It is allegorical, it has memorable characters, it has aliens, spaceships, cool guns, baaaad villains, and lots of action.

I want this to be spoiler-free, so I won’t go into the details of the film.  Suffice it to say, go see this movie. Just go see it.  The films draws from familiar elements of previous sci-fi installments such as V, Alien Nation, and Men in Black, but it does so in a way that you have never seen before.  Setting it in Johannesburg was a stroke of genius.  Yes, it’s a little heavy handed, being the notorious site of apartheid, but the authenticity it lends is priceless.  As a New Yorker and an American, there’s a part of me that goes along for the ride in movies which take place in New York and in the U.S. in general, but there’s always a part of me that knows it’s just not happening, because I live here.  But to set it in far away South Africa, gives it a CNN realism that I really enjoyed.  Yeah, I still know it’s not happening, but I don’t know a lot of what happens in South Africa right now, and it just added to the suspension of disbelief.

The aliens are terrific.  I, frankly,  forgot that they were all CGI and I became as attached to them as I was the humans.  Speaking of humans, Sharlto Copley is genius.  A cross between Inspector Clouseau and David Brent, he manages to make you root for a schmuck of a character.  The villains (yes there are villains) are the kind that you can’t wait to get what they deserve.  They are familiar enough to a 21st century audience that we know they have motives for their evil ways, but we don’t care.

The worst thing that could be done to District 9 is to make Distract 10.  This is a stand-alone film in the best sci-fi tradition that comes in, tells a story, and discretely leaves.   Thank you again, Peter Jackson and Company.

Article by Matt Rashid

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