Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Movie Rundown

It's been movie overload here lately at Voxarama so I better start posting some of this stuff I've seen or else I'll forgot it or just blow it off altogether, and that would be a shame, ha.

Crack in the World is an old SF film that plays out like a disaster movie.  It's science gone awry.  Scientist are doing some geothermal energy research drilling down into the earth.  They hit a snag though as rocks or earth plates have shifted and gotten in their way that prevent them from getting to the core.  They think if they launch a rocket down into the earth they can set off an atomic device to unplug the pesky blockage.  What could go wrong?  It's not an unbelievable premise.  It's in color, and actually has some pretty good sets and such.  It has been put on Youtube by Paramount Vaults that owns the copyright so take a look at it.  Dana Andrews plays in it and was a fairly prestigious actor playing in many popular films of the day like The Best Years of Our Lives and Night of the Demon among others.  You can watch it here.  

Bridge of Spies (2015) is a cold war spy movie by Stephen Spielberg starring Tom Hanks playing the leading role of a Brooklyn attorney in 1960 that gets drawn into an effort to get an aviator back from the Russians that has been shot down and captured.  The thing is he was piloting a spy plane at the time.  That particularly scene where he is shot down was done particularly done well.  To complicate things, James Donovan (Hanks) tries to bargain for another prisoner as well.

 I'm jumping a bit ahead of myself, however, as the film opens up with the Soviet spy here in the states, who is the bargaining chip in this game.  He is Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance),  and is captured for the crime of espionage against the United States.   The first act of the film takes place around the Rudolph Abel character, his capture, and Hanks trying to save him from the death penalty.   This isn't a 007-type movie or some other action adventure, but it does have tension.  Again to Spielberg's credit he crafted another masterful picture that draws the viewer into the plight of an average man that rises above their situation to meet a challenge at hand.  It's one of the better films from last year.

Bone Tomahawk (2015) plays out like a regular western for the greater part of it.  It stars Kurt Russell whom I've always liked in roles.  He plays the sheriff in a very small western town.  He shoots a drifter in town (which was a great scene) and then has to take him to the doc to get him patched up. 

Around the same time one of the wives in town gets kidnapped.  He gathers a posse together to go after the perps.  What I liked a lot about the film is it is shot well and has a lot of wide screen shots that give a nice feel of what a western should feel like.  There's also interesting dialogue once the posse gets on the road.  The story jumps the rail in the third act as does the genre.  The story starts to blend into a horror picture.  Some may enjoy that, while others find it too unbelievable.  For me I enjoyed the full picture.  It may not have been a perfect picture, but it wasn't dull or boring either and that's a plus.  If you've ever seen the movie, Dog Soldier, it was a bit like the genre bending in it.

Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (2014) is a documentary about all the toys that were made during and after the Star Wars movies.  If you happened to be a child of those decades I'm pretty sure you may have collected one or two of them.  Heck, even I've got a couple of them.  Being a Star Wars fan and after hearing about this movie I've been wanting to see this for a while now. 

As you know Star Wars was a huge commercial success, and continues to be that way today with The Force Awakens.  People just love Star Wars (for the most part).  The toys have played an integral part in that success and keeping kids and teens involved and waiting for the next sequel.  Bear in mind, this is a low budget documentary.  Don't expect scenes from Star Wars in it either as they would probably have broken their meager budget to make this film.  It is unknown people showing off their collections, and talking about how the movies influenced them and that sort of fan thing.  Either that type stuff appeals to you or it doesn't. 

It does give some history on who made the toys (Kenner), shows the place where they worked and were designed, and has interviews some of the designers that help create the toys.  Also way back when, a lot of the major toy companies couldn't wrap their heads around the concept of the movie.  What is a,  what-do-you-call-it, a Star Wars toy?   To be honest it wasn't as great as my expectations for it were, but I did enjoy it quite a bit, and it was fun to relive some of that fandom.  For me it was worthwhile.   You can stream it on Amazon, or see it now for free on Hulu.  


At 6:42 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

I remember the crack, a disaster scenario predated the broad acceptance of the notion that the earth already is cracked (plate tectonics). There were a lot of disasters back then: there was that lost missile, those pesky triffids, and the day the earth caught fire. There still are: San Andreas and all that.

I haven’t seen Bridge of Spies but as a kid I was marginally aware of the swap for Gary Powers in 1962. Good to know Tom Hanks came through in the movie based on the event.

I haven’t seen the other two either. I never collected movie toys – regrettably, since some would be valuable now. However, I had an idea after the release of 2001: a Space Odyssey for a cassette tape in which HAL could threaten you passive-aggressively in your car while you drive. I never pursued it other than to joke about it with friends, and I suspect Kubrick would have hated it.

At 8:11 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yes, I've actually been meaning to rent San Andreas, but it's sort of far down on my wanna see list. Still I'll get in the mood for it at some date. I've no idea when the genre of disaster films started. The earliest one I can think of that was a fairly big hit might be the original Poseidon Adventure. Though I'm sure there were many before that.

I still have a few toys or fandom related things. I guess that makes me a true geek. :)

That 2001 tape would have been fun. Although I'd want one to threaten other drivers. I once got sick of hearing loud music and decided to make a compilation tape that had every type of aggressive, discordant music on it I could think of--stuff like Captain Beefhearts, Ornette Coleman, avant jazz, etc. So whenever I pulled up next to someone with super loud music, I'd slip that in and have a little music war.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

After reading your description of "Crack in the World" I realized that the movie from the late 90s called "The Core" with Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhardt might be a remake of that. "The Core" was ridiculous 90s style disaster movie fun. Very over the top, very goofy with the science, but still a lot of fun. It has an excellent score by the talented Christopher Young.

I'm curious about "Bridge of Spies". It is rare for Spielberg to misfire and he actually generates tension really well in his movies. "Jaws" and "Close Encounters" still hold up real well in the tension department to this day.

I've been real curious about "Bone Tomahawk". I really like Kurt Russell, and this western sounds a bit more traditional over "The Hateful 8" which he also appeared in in full Western mode. Your review convinced me to give this one a try!

I was into Star Wars toys in a big way when I was a kid, and again int he late 1990s when they brought the toy line back for the Special Edition rereleases. But the prequels mellowed my need for the toys. I did pick up a few cool things for "Force Awakens". But I can see a great documentary being made about the original 1970s toys. I have a book called "Star Wars: From Concept to Collectable" that goes into the story of Kenner getting involved with the toys and Lucas' approach to merchandizing for the first film. Some of the stories in there are pretty entertaining, like how they determined the size of the figures and what the first official merchandise was.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I saw The Core, and enjoyed it as well. Like you said it felt like a throwback to some earlier SciFi films, and I don't have a problem with that being raised on them. The science doesn't have to be accurate for my enjoyment, in fact, most of that would probably fly over my head anyway. Either way, my main hope is to be entertained, whether it's hard SF or fantasy.

I have not seen The Hateful 8 yet. I have a friend that saw it and wasn't that bowled over--too much talking, I think. I enjoyed Tarantino's Django remake, so I still intend to give it a showing, plus I like westerns too. I do think Tarantino could cut out a lot of the dialogue, however, and perhaps put in a bit more action.

I have a few of the smaller Star Wars figures, but had bought them many years after the initial craze had died down at a comic book shop that picked up a few to sell. For whatever reason, at the time Star Wars came out it just didn't dawn on me to see the movie again or collect anything. I guess I was just too involved with work or other things. The documentary though was a fun romp in that regard. I just recently bought a Kindle Fire, and got some Star Wars games on it. I'm horrible at gaming, but they still are cool to look at. Man, how time flies.


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