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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Sunday Matinee: The Return Of Godzilla

sunday-matineeGodzilla has returned to the big screens this year after an almost 10 year break. The last time he took a break that long was back in the late 1970s/1980s. When he finally returned to the big screen in 1984 Toho had updated the suit with a new robotic head. When the movie was released in North America was titled Godzilla 1985 and was edited with new footage of Raymond Burr.

A volcano erupts on an island and a fishing boat is caught in the current forcing the ship near the island where the vessel witnesses a large creature emerging from the volcano. The ship is found days later with all the crew dead but one. The survivor looks a pictures and realizes that he saw Godzilla. A Soviet sub sinks and the Soviets blame the Americans. Japan announces to the world that it was Godzilla. Meanwhile Godzilla attacks a nuclear plant and feeds on the energy.
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Sunday Matinee: Field Of Dreams

sunday-matineeCanadian author W.P. Kinsella passed away on September 16. I’m not a big baseball fan but my friend is and he loved Kinsella’s stories because a lot of them focused on baseball. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe was adapted into the 1989 movie Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner.

Costner stars as Ray Kinsella a farmer in Iowa who while walking through his corn field hears a voice whisper “If you build it, he will come.” He hears it a few more times before he has a vision about a baseball field. He tears up his corn field and builds a baseball field and waits. His brother-in-law thinks he’s crazy but eventually Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of the Chicago White Sox players who was part of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal where the players initially lost the World Series, appears in the field. Joe at first can only be seen by Costner. Joe asks if he can bring other players and soon the rest of the White Sox involved in the scandal show up to play.
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Sunday Matinee: Miller’s Crossing

sunday-matineeActor Jon Polito passed away last week from cancer. Polito starred in a lot of movies and TV but he was most recognized for his minor roles that he played in several of the Coen brothers films. 1990’s Miller’s Crossing was probably Polito’s biggest role in a Coen brother movie and he was fantastic in it.

Miller’s Crossing was Coen brothers sort of homage to the works of Dashiell Hammett. In particular The Glass Key and Red Harvest were used as inspiration. The movie starts with Jon Polito’s character Jonny Caspar asking crime boss Leo (Albert Finney) to hand over Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro) who has been messing with Caspar’s fixes. Leo is sleeping with Bernie’s sister Vera (Marcia Gay Harden) so he tells Caspar no.
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