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Sunday Matinee: The Quiet Earth

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Sunday Matinee of 2017. Let’s start the year off with the end of the world.

Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) wakes up to find that he can’t get any radio signals. Zac was working on a special energy project and soon discovers that there’s wreckage everywhere but there doesn’t seem to be any bodies. In fact there isn’t anybody around except him. Something has gone horribly wrong. Zac discovers that the second the project went online everyone on Earth has vanished except him.
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John Gormley To Global News: “What Do You Have Against White People?”

John Gormley, yesterday:

Ooh! I can answer the question! Global doesn’t have anything against white people. Global ran Andrew Russell’s story about the make-up of Trump’s cabinet (which is, factually, mostly white, male, and rich, which, also factually, isn’t demographically representative of the country he was (technically) elected to lead) because it’s news.

And that homogeneous make-up is, arguably, a problem — because a room full of white, rich dudes is saddled with a narrow range of life experiences informing their public policy. They won’t have experienced racism, sexism or poverty, and as a result they’re much less likely to understand ordinary people’s real, lived experiences.

So the make-up of Trump’s cabinet is absolutely a legitimate topic for a Global news story — especially after all the racist (“Mexican rapists”) and sexist (“Blood coming out of her wherever”) things Trump has said.

It sure as hell isn’t racist against white people, as Gormley implies.

That said: to me, if anything in Global’s tag line is conspicuous, it’s that it doesn’t mention how rich Trump’s cabinet is. But we’ll let that pass because Russell’s actual Global article sure does:

The 17 people Trump has so far selected for his cabinet or for posts with cabinet rank have a combined wealth of $9.5 billion including DeVos – whose net worth is estimated at roughly $5.1 billion, according to Forbes.

I wish John Gormley worried more about narrow-minded, self-interested business elites being handed the keys to the U.S. government by a horrible, horrible man, and less about imaginary racism against white people.

Sunday Matinee: Lost Horizon

One of the 25 films that were added to the National Film Registry this year is Frank Capra’s 1937 movie Lost Horizon. Lost Horizon was based on a novel by James Hilton. It’s starts in China in 1935 where a revolution is taking place. Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) is a diplomat who tries to save 90 British citizens from the revolution. He then flees on the last plane with his George (John Howard), paleontologist Alexander Lovett (Edward Everett Horton), industrialist Henry Barnard (Thomas Mitchell) and the sickly Gloria Stone (Isabel Jewell). Their plane is hijacked and then crashes in the Himalayan Mountains.

From there the group discover a hidden city in the mountains called Shanghai-La. It’s a beautiful place and it seems to make the dying Gloria better. Robert meets the lovely Sondra (Jane Wyatt) and his brother meets the equally lovely Maria (Margo). It’s revealed that the city is over two hundred years old and was founded by Belgian priest named Father Perrault. It’s also revealed that the group have been kidnapped and brought to the city. George is furious. When Robert and George confront their guide he takes Robert to see the High Lama (Sam Jaffe).
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REVIEW: Rogue One Is the Best Kind of Outlier

Jyn Erso, the hero we deserve.

While the return of the Star Wars franchise in the form of The Force Awakens was wholeheartedly welcomed, Chapter VII raised a few red flags. The similitudes with A New Hope were numerous and conspicuous, enough to encourage the perception that the new trilogy may end up being a remix of the original one.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story benefits from this brewing problem by delivering the most original tale of the Rebellion since Jedi. Sure, the structure is videogame-like and the plot contrivances can be more exasperating than exciting, but the characters are edgier and their interactions are a lot spikier than what we have become used to. Continue reading “REVIEW: Rogue One Is the Best Kind of Outlier”

Sunday Matinee: The Asphalt Jungle

Doc Erwin Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe) has just gotten out of prison and already has a master plan for his next heist. Doc goes sees bookie Cobby (Marc Lawrence) and Cobby introduces Doc to high priced lawyer Alonzo Emmerich (Louis Calhern) who has been dabbling in other activities on the side.

Doc needs some money in advance, $50,000 to be precise to hire three men to help pull off a million dollar jewelry heist. Emmerich agrees to give Doc the money for a piece of the action but instead of using a fence for the jewels Emmerich insists on cutting out the middle man and letting him fence the loot.
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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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