Thursday, August 24, 2017
And I adored it.
It's rich and clever, painting a tapestry of alien contact through the years (and any film which starts with David Bowie and 'Space Oddity' has to be loved!) and establishing Alpha, a vast inter-special space station let loose from Earth's gravity and sent off into the void, before we head to the very alien world of Mül, whereon the vaguely humanoid inhabitants live an idyllic and peaceful existence before their world is bombarded with debris from a space battle above, and their princess killed.
As she dies, however, she releases a wave of energy which is picked up by Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) who, along with Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne), is working for the human government as special forces.
What this all has to do with the Converter which Valerian retrieved from the Market, and the people of Mül forms the core of the film, which is as bold, brash, funny, visually impressive and incredible as anyone might want their science fiction to be!
DeHaan and Delevingne play Valerian and Laureline well, with an on-off romance, and a nice line in wisecracks and humour. DeHaan is perhaps a little too one-note, but this doesn't seem to matter too much as the action keeps coming, and there are enough space battles, blaster fights and alien creations to keep Doctor Who in business for years.
One of the things I loved were the alien races. From the opening scenes of the Human Ambassadors greeting all manner of strange creatures, to those in the market place, vast underwater monsters, alien creatures 'fishing' using butterflies as bait, and of course the people of Mül, not to mention the Converter (which is a cute little creature itself), every element is thought through and works within the concepts of the film. And when we get to Rhianna playing a blue jellyfish-like creature which can mimic anyone or anything, well ...
I did try and see if I could spot any Mondoshawans or Mangalores (from The Fifth Element) lurking about but there didn't seem to be any ... a shame I thought, but then I suppose you can't have everything!
Overall I adored it, and can't wait to watch it again as we are surely getting the Blu-Ray as and when it appears.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
The idea is that a bunch of alien spacecraft appear all over the world and start kidnapping people, for why we don't know ... And there's a bunch of teenagers, three guys (R J Mitte, Jedidiah Goodacre, Niko Pepaj) and two girls (Laura Bilgeri, Hannah Rose May), who are heading off for a weekend in a secluded cabin in the woods ... and at the gas station on the way. they meet a stranger (Wesley Snipes) who seems to have antipathy towards them. So much, so Cabin in the Woods and Tucker & Dale Vs Evil (not to mention Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and every other film which has a bunch of kids visiting a cabin in the woods).
Things ramp up when the aliens arrive and send in jellyfish-like drones to scout the place out ... we're now in Independence Day or War of the Worlds territory. Snipes' hunter turns out to be someone that the aliens previously captured and who has been 'returned' with strange psychokinetic powers, and some alien decal-like tattoos.
Then, everyone is returned to earth by the aliens and they head off, only to be stopped by the army and shot! Except that two of them use their new superpowers to destroy the army, and to heal themselves as well - seems they are immortal! As are many others who have now been returned to Earth ...
As a film, it's not at all bad. and despite all the derivative elements I mentioned above, is very watchable and exciting. It's pretty obvious that Snipes would turn out to be a - sort of - good guy, and the kids are likable enough.
The effects are excellent, and you get a sense of the alienness of the creatures and whatever their plan is, specifically because it's not spelled out for you. At the end, you still have no idea why this has happened - it's all part of some alien masterplan in progress.
I don't know about 'Cabin Fever meets Skyline' though. The former is about a virus infection which wipes out a group of kids in a cabin ... the only connection I can see here is that there is a cabin! And Skyline was about alien abductions ... so I suppose there's a connection there.
If you're into this sort of film: mixing and matching things from all over the place to create an enjoyable alien/horror romp through the genres, then this might be right up your street!
Directed by Mauro Borrelli
Writing Credits: Reggie Keyohara III, Mauro Borrelli, Teddy Wynne, Sam Acton King
Monday, August 21, 2017
Unfortunately time has not been kind to the film, and it plays today as being somewhat forgettable. A slasher movie in which there doesn't seem to be a killer, which is full of bland characters, and which, when you reach the end, you realise was all a dream anyway. Probably the worst plot 'twist' you could give to a horror film.
The plot is simple: two couples visit an isolated island for a holiday, and get killed off by an unseen killer. The main protagonist is Kay (Sarah Kendall), who has been suffering bad dreams all her life. So she and her husband David (Alan McRae), Kay's brother Eric (Frederick Flynn) his wife Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook) head away for a break. There's also a pilot, Marsh (Michael Holmes), who tries to warn them not to stay as there's a hurricane approaching ... Kay finds a deserted theatre at one point, and the deaths are gruesome and redolent with eighties gore.
The transfer is good, and it's a fairly enjoyable watch and addition to anyone's growing library of horrors.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
• Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
• Original Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Audio Commentary with writer/director J.S. Cardone, actress Carol Kottenbrook and executive in charge of production Eric Weston, moderated by Ewan Cant
• Audio Commentary with 'The Hysteria Continues'
• Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer Robert Folk
• 'Nightmare Island: The Making of The Slayer' – documentary featuring interviews with J.S. Cardone, Carol Kottenbrook, Eric Weston, producer William Ewing, director of photography Karen Grossman, camera operator/2nd Unit DOP/still photographer Arledge Armenaki, special creature and make-up effects ceator Robert Short and 'Slayer' performer Carl Kraines
• 'Return to Tybee: The Locations of The Slayer' – featurette revisiting the shooting locations on Tybee Island, Georgia
• 'The Tybee Post Theater Experience' – join the audience of the Tybee Post Theater (one of the film’s key locations) for this very special home-town screening of The Slayer! Includes event introduction, feature-length audience reaction track and post screening Q&A with Arledge Armenaki and Ewan Cant
• Still Gallery
• Original Theatrical Trailer
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Lee Gambin