Macabre Month of Horror: Movie Review #18 “Alien” and “Aliens”


alien posterWelcome to day eighteen of our Fourth Annual Macabre Month of Horror. Halloween is upon us and today’s Jumping Off Point review is of the classic horror flicks “Alien” and “Aliens

Please keep in mind these are Horror Movies and the video reviews contain content from the films that may not be appropriate for younger viewers.

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Macabre Month of Horror: Movie Review #18 “Alien” and “Aliens

Stranded (The Good, the Bad, and the Grindhouse)

Here is a comedic video review of the movie Stranded

Feedback is appreciated and encouraged

Sam’s Movie Recommendation of the Week #4

The Host

host poster

Reasons to watch

  • It’s a giant monster movie that also manages to be a competent drama.

The effects are great. There is a mix of CG and practical effects and all looks very good.

  • Quentin Tarantino named this one of his favorite movies since he became a filmmaker. If that isn’t a big enough recommendation from you, I don’t know what would do it.

CLICK HERE to read my full review of The Host.

the host

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is overrated and self indulgent

2001 space odyssey

2001 space odyssey2001: A Space Odyssey is often considered a sci-fi masterpiece. Praised by many as the greatest sci-fi film of all time. Even praised by some as the greatest film of all time… Which is why many people will want to tear me apart when I say that it is not a good film.

The movie has some good elements, but is completely over run by the bad. I thought I would like this film. I wanted to like this film. I watched the film and was amazed that one of the most highly praised films of all time, was terrible. It’s not that the film was built up too much and was disappointing. It’s that the film was just awful. So what did I do? I watched the film again. I thought that something must have been wrong for me to not like such a highly praised movie. Was it any better on the 2nd time? No. It was worse.

People always say that the special effects are great. That is one place that I agree with the general consensus. The special effects continue to look great today, which is very impressive considering the year that this film was made. Some of the cinematography can be good at times, and the sets are well designed. But those things are not enough to carry a movie. Special effects are supposed to enhance a movie, not be the movie. The special effects are showcased past the point of self indulgence. No movie should be this self indulgent.

Speaking of self indulgent. Stanley Kubrick can be a good director. He has made some really good films, which is why I was so surprised to see such bad directing. Kubrick’s films tend to have slow pacing, but 2001’s pacing fell asleep before the film even started. The pacing is absolutely horrendous from start to end.

The film begins at the dawn of man. We see monkeys. We see monkeys. We see monkeys. We see monkeys. Non stop monkeys for much longer than is necessary. Now don’t say that I don’t get it. That is a line that I constantly hear people use when defending the film. I most certainly do “get it”. With the movie left up to interpretation, I “get it” as much as anyone could.

Now here is one of my biggest problems with the film. I don’t think that Kubrick himself “Got it”. The movie is a tightly wound ball of pretentiousness that encourages philosophical analization on topics not worthy of being discussed. The movie is really conceited. It has such an undeservedly high opinion of itself. It thinks that it is this philosophical journey to enlightenment, when really it’s just a self serving journey to mediocrity.

There are multiple 25 minute sequences in the film where absolutely nothing happens to progress the plot.  These long sequences serve no purpose, other than showcasing visuals that don’t have a great deal of relevance to the story. The sequence where the astronaut flies to Jupiter is one of the most pointless sequences I have ever seen in a film. We see bright flashing colored lights and landscape shots with weird filters. This is an incredibly long sequence of absolutely nothing. It takes more than flashing colors and filters to make compelling film and I am shocked that I am in the minority on this. This is not an acceptable form of story telling, because you’re not telling a story. You’re trying to be artsy with no real meaning other than to be enigmatic just for the sake of false intelligence. So in the end it is just wasting time.

Trying to talk about the plot of 2001: A Space Odyssey is like trying to talk about the robot in Pulp Fiction. There isn’t one. There is no plot throughout most of 2001: A space Odyssey. The only resemblance of a plot comes in when HAL 9000 appears. I always thought that HAL 9000 was the focus of the film, but it is actually a very small part of the films overall running time.

2001 space odyssey halI actually do think that HAL 9000 is an interesting character. This portion of the film is good, I would even call it great. If the Hal 9000 plot line were separated from the rest of the movie and being judged as a short film, then maybe the praise this film receives would be more reasonable, but this one good segment is so small and insignificant in the scope of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This film would have been much better suited to a 10-15 minute short film, rather than the droning self indulgent 2 hour and 21 minute pretentious film that exisits.

I am not someone who gets bored by film. But when a film is so utterly pointless, I don’t understand how it can remain interesting, aside from the visuals.

While I believe that most of the film is meaningless, I do believe that the last scene has some meaning. I do however feel that people drastically over analyze it. It’s not as deep as people think. I could be wrong about this, but I think Kubrick didn’t know what it really meant, he just knew that it could mean something, and that people would try to figure it.

If you agree with me then leave a comment because I’d like to know that there are some others who see past the pretension.

If you disagree with me and actually have a legitimate response to the question: Why is 2001: A Space Odyssey a good film? Beyond the point of “You don’t get it.”, “Because it just is.”, or “It’s a brilliant piece of art” Then I’d like to hear it.

People are blinded by the fame of this film and will defend it blindly without reason. I believe that many people consider the film to be great because they think that it means more than it actually does.

To me 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of those paintings where the artist paints just a red stripe and says that it has some deeper convoluted reason. Is that stupid? Yes. Do people consider it to be high quality art? Unfortunately yes.

‘The World’s End’ wraps up the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy perfectly

the worlds end

the worlds end

The World’s End is the final installment in the Cornetto trilogy from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright.

the worlds end simon pegg

The first two films in the trilogy being “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”. Both were fantastic movies, so expectations were high for “The World’s End”. All three films in the trilogy star the excellent comedic pairing of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who have to face off against a group of deadly enemies. In “Shaun of the Dead” the threat was zombies, in “Hot Fuzz” it was crazy cult members, and in “The Worlds End” it’s robot aliens.

the worlds end nick frostSimon Pegg and Nick Frost are best friends so they work great together on screen. They are one of the all time greatest comedic duos among the ranks of Abbot and Costello and Fry and Laurie. “The World’s End” has the two doing a little role reversal.

Nick Frost usually plays the drunk, slob, or unintelligent buffoon, and Simon Pegg usually plays the more professional one. This time it’s the opposite and each man delivers a great performance. Simon Pegg gives one of the strongest performances of his career. The character is well constructed and completes a surprisingly deep character arc for a comedy over the course of the story.

the worlds end martin freemanThe supporting cast is top notch. The supporting cast features a bevy of high level British comedic actors including Martin Freeman of Sherlock and The Hobbit fame. the worlds end paddy considineOther supporting cast members include Paddy ConsidineEddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike. All are very funny. There are some great cameos in the movie from people like Pierce Brosnan and Bill Nighy.

The World’s End pays homage to old sci-fi films from the 50’s and 60’s and manages to both satirize the genre while improving upon the formula.

the worlds end eddie marsenThere are a number of fight sequences in the “The World’s End” which was a little surprising but ultimately worked for the better. They are well choreographed and shot and are very inventive and original which is a big plus. The Cornetto Trilogy is also known as the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy and The World’s end shows a  severe lack of both blood and ice cream. The lack of ice cream is actually used for comedy while blood is replaced largely by blue ink, from robots. But the World’s End still definitely earns it’s R rating with plenty of profanity used in the traditional English humor sense.

the worlds end rosamund pikeEdgar Wright brings his trademark directing style to the film with his utilization of fast cuts, non-traditional editing, and inventive camera techniques.

The action is entertaining and the comedy hits it’s mark perfectly. “The World’s End” works great as both a stand alone film and as the final installment in the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy. There are many little references and homages to the other films and “The World’s End” stays faithful to the trilogy in both style and humor. “The World’s End” is a fantastic film. One of the best comedies in a long time.

Repo Men (2010) Movie Review

repo men


“Repo Men” is another film that came on that 4 dvd pack with 12 Monkeys and Children of Men.

I didn’t know what to expect from this film. I had no idea what it was about and usually on the 4 DVD packs there is at least one bad movie.

repo men poster

“Repo Men” not to be confused with “Repo Man”, or “Repo Chick”, or “Repo! The Genetic Opera”, or just plain “Repo”

Repo Men is really awesome. I was very surprised by how good it was. The movie has a great tone that jumps between serious and fun. The direction and writing are both very good and the cast is excellent. I’ve never really been a fan of Forest Whitaker, but I really liked him in this film. He brings a great performance to an interesting character. Jude law gives a great performance that really shines in a few key scenes. Jude and Forest have great on screen chemistry and the relationship between their characters is very well constructed. There are some odd supporting cast members. Only odd because they are small roles of actors that I’ve only really seen in one or two other things. Like “Cholo” from “Land of the Dead” who was uncredited in “Repo Men”, and the boss at the movie theater from theater managerDrake and Josh there’s even a cameo from RZA.

The film is directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who besides Repo Men has only directed TV shows. Usually just one episode on a few different shows, he directed 6 episodes of House, which is interesting. His only current work in progress is a TV movie, but I hope he gets another theatrical release, because he has real potential. His directing style is creative and has a personal flair. His sense of film style comes out in scenes such as the fast paced flashback sequence. He deserves another theatrical release if he desires one.

“Repo Men” is not just an action film, it’s not even mainly an action film. It’s mainly a sci-fi drama/thriller, and a pretty good one at that. I’m not a big sci-fi fan, I honestly don’t care much for the genre, but I know when one does it right. I saw the unrated version of this film, and it was very gory. In a good way mind you. It was a little excessive but not to the point of torture porn like “Hostel” or “Saw”.  There is an action scene towards the end of the film which is a gory as hell knife fight, and really makes me wish that there were more awesome knife fights in repo men knife fightmovies. “The Raid Redemption” has perhaps the greatest knife fights in a movie. Just letting you know.

There are a lot of digital effects in the film, some look a little weaker than others, and even a little dated (Which is odd seeing as it was made in 2010) But overall the effects look really good.

repo men characters

Repo Men is no masterpiece, but it is an enjoyable film. It has plenty of problems and at times has a B movie vibe, but I’ve always enjoyed that vibe regardless.

“Repo Men” is worth watching. Not a must see, but if the opportunity presents itself, check it out.