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Sunday Matinee: Dreamscape

sunday-matineeDennis Quaid is Alex Gardner, a man with with psychic abilities that he mostly uses for gambling. He’s in debt so when a couple of guys in suits show up he gladly goes with them instead of the thugs that have chasing him.

The men are sent by his old mentor Doctor Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow). Novotny is part of a top secret government project where they use psychics to go into people’s dreams. Originally the project was to help people but the head of the department, Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer) seems to have evil schemes and Novotny wants Gardner’s help.
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Sunday Matinee: Destination Moon

sunday-matineeFilmmakers have been going to the moon since Georges Méliès’ 1902’s A Trip to the Moon. Fritz Lang’s 1929 silent classic Woman in the Moon was the first to show series space travel and a multi-stage rocket. While Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers filled the screen with their space adventures in the 1930s and 40s, serious scientific travel wouldn’t return until 1950.

Producer George Pal had Robert A. Heinlein contribute to the screenplay and Pal made the movie into a big production, lots of publicity and a big budget for the effects. The publicity for the film prompted producer/director Kurt Neumann to quickly rush out and make the quick and cheap Rocketship X-M to cash in on Destination Moon.
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Sunday Matinee: Forbidden Planet

sunday-matineeIt’s the 23rd Century and the crew of Starship C-57D have reached the planet Altair IV to check on an expedition that landed there 20 years ago. They are contacted by Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) who tells them everything is fine and go away. Naturally Commander John Adams (Leslie Nielsen) ignores Dr. Morbius and lands anyway to complete his mission.

When they land the crew is met by a robot named Robby who takes them to see Morbius. They meet Morbius’ lovely daughter Altaira (Anne Francis) and then the good doctor himself. Morbius informs Commander Adams that the entire expedition party except for Morbius and his daughter have been killed by a mysterious force but they themselves are fine but Adams should leave the planet as soon as possible. That night something sabotages the C-57D.
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Sunday Matinee: Planet Of The Apes

sunday-matineeThe other big sci-fi movie that opened on the same day as 2001: A Space Odyssey back in April of 1968 was a little film called Planet of the Apes.

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton, The Boys from Brazil) and based on French novelist Pierre Boulle’s La Planète des Singes. Boulle also wrote the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai which was also turned into a movie.
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Sunday Matinee: 2001: A Space Odyssey

sunday-matineeAnd we’re back after a month long break for 31 Days of Horror. I’m still feeling the space theme and I kind of wanted to include this but it’s not a horror movie – it’s much much more. Today’s Sunday Matinee is Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey.

There are a few films that have influenced movies over the years and as we enter an era where there is less emphasis on creating art than there is on creating mass entertainment there seems to be less and less auteurs. They still exist but it feels like the days where a studio would just finance the work of someone like Stanley Kubrick seem to be over. And while you can see the influence a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey has on someone like Christopher Nolan and his Interstellar it’s hard to imagine a studio financing a movie like 2001: A Space Odyssey today.
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REVIEW: Doctor Strange’s Cold Medicine

Crusader, meet cape.
Crusader, meet cape.

After conquering with relative ease the earthly and interstellar realms, it’s time for Marvel to get mystical. The most obvious way to enter the most otherworldly of planes is through Doctor Strange, the only character of the ethereal branch to break into the popular subconscious (with the possible exception of Ghost Rider).

At first sight, Doctor Strange appears to be a risky bet for Marvel. The film is loaded with comic book arcana and introduces -quite literally- a whole new universe with its own rules and characters. Furthermore, Strange’s ties to the Avengers and their baggage are very limited, at least at this stage.

It is, however, a calculated risk. Strange follows the Marvel formula to a tee (Strange’s likeness to Tony Stark is particularly on the nose), and for safety’s sake, nearly every plot point but one has been leaked to the public. There are so few surprises in Doctor Strange, it feels like a rerun. Continue reading “REVIEW: Doctor Strange’s Cold Medicine”

31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – Alien

space the spooky frontierSo ends another year of 31 Days of Horror. Next year in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary I’ll be focuses on Canadian horror movies. To end this year’s theme I leave with the classic that kick started a franchise that’s still going today and spawned a hundred rip-offs like Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World, Xtro, Horror Planet, Creature, Alien 2: On Earth, Parasite and many many more.

The spaceship the Nostromo is returning home to Earth when the crew is awakened to a distress call. The call is coming from nearby planet that’s devoid of life. The crew go down to the planet and find a giant alien spaceship that has crashed on the planet. Inside is a large fossilized alien that seems to have died from something bursting out of it’s chest. Kane (John Hurt) finds a bunch of eggs that covered by a sort of mist. He looks into one of the eggs and something attaches itself to his face.
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31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – The Thing

space the spooky frontierIn the Antarctic life in an isolated American research station is disrupted when a Norwegian helicopter appears chasing a dog. The Norwegians seem intent on killing the animal. One of the men has a rifle is shooting at the dog.

The helicopter lands just outside the American base and the pilot grabs a thermite charge but ends up dropping it blowing himself and the helicopter up. The dog runs up to the Americans who have gathered to see what all the commotion is about and the man with the gun ends up shooting one of the Americans. Garry (Donald Moffat) shots back and kills the Norwegian.
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31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

space the spooky frontierDr. Miles J. Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) arrives home in the small town of Santa Mira from a conference to find that he has a ton of patients waiting to see him. When he gets to his office he finds that most of the patients have left but the ones who remain all seem to claim the same thing. A close loved one is suddenly an imposter.

Dr. Bennell runs into ex-girlfriend Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter) who has just recently returned from abroad. Becky’s cousin has the same concern about Becky’s Uncle. Becky gets Dr. Bennell to take a look and Bennell decides it’s psychological and sends Becky’s cousin to a psychiatrist. Later Dr. Bennell talks to psychiatrist Dr. Dan Kauffman who says there seems to be an outbreak of mass hysteria of people thinking that other people have been replaced.
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31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – They Live

space the spooky frontierA drifter (Roddy Piper) finds construction work in L.A. He befriends fellow worker Frank (Keith David). Frank takes to a shanty town that Frank lives in.

While there Piper notices some strange activity at the local church. When he goes into the church he finds it empty. A tape recorder is playing a choir and the place is filled with equipment and hidden boxes of sunglasses. Later police raid the shanty town and the church. Piper escapes and returns to the church to find it empty but finds the boxes of sunglasses are still there. He takes the box and hides it and takes one of the sunglasses. When he puts it on his world is changed forever.
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