Graphic Horror: Alien 1979
This is something that I haven’t done very much since starting my Filmwhys podcast, and that is to go back and watch an essential movie that I hadn’t seen, only I didn’t do it to talk about during an episode of Filmwhys. (Instead I’m talking about it here in a review) Before now I had seen Aliens a few times, and somehow skipped ahead and watched AvP in theaters, but never went back to watch the original even though there’s always the debate over which is the better movie: Alien or Aliens. For my part, I don’t think I’ll ever like this one as much as Aliens, but it is still a great movie that I really enjoyed. And for the record, I did watch the 2003 Ridley Scott director’s cut of the movie instead of the theatrical release, although I didn’t go back and check to see what the differences between the two versions are.
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Almost Super: Demolition Man 1993
I realized that it’s been quite a while since I’ve written one of these “Almost Super” reviews. And this past weekend I watched Demolition Man which had me thinking through most of the movie that it feels like it could easily be the prequel to Judge Dredd. It’s got Rob Schneider in it, and though it may be set in a utopian future rather than a dystopian future it has a similar feel to it. Well, a similar feel to the trailers that I’ve seen for Judge Dredd since I haven’t technically watched that one just yet. It also happened to be the Movie Of The Month over at the Lamb so I thought it would be a perfect movie to use my tag for movies that aren’t quite a superhero movie, but share a lot of the same qualities with them. Anyway, for the actual movie itself, Demolition Man was a fun little 90’s cheesy action movie with both Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes hamming it up with as many action one-liners as they can fit into their dialogue. It had a lot of really odd future ideas in it, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.
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Almost Super: The Matrix 1999
This was a bit of a tough decision on whether or not to tag this movie with my “Almost Super” tag. This is very much like a superhero origin story, Neo has superhuman abilities, even an alter ego, and the visuals are very influenced by comic books in some places. But in the end, the philosophical elements and especially the sci-fi setting to it put this in the realm of a not-quite superhero. I saw this in theaters when it first came out, as well as the two sequels which I don’t think are as bad as everyone makes them out to seem, even though I won’t be continuing on to watch them just now. The movie was one of the biggest surprises to come out that year, it had a great marketing campaign with the question “What is the Matrix?” and it’s pretty much a cultural milestone, noted by the hundreds of bullet time Trinity jump kick parodies over the years. But even with the parodies doing their best to tarnish several of the scenes, the movie still holds up as one of the best movies out there.
Almost Super: Hansel & Gretel
I was somewhat caught off guard when I saw the trailer just a couple weeks ago. While the Avengers was my favorite superhero movie of all time, Hawkeye was the weakest part of the movie, and I hadn’t heard much good about The Bourne Supremacy, the trailer looked like a lot of fun. In the end, my expectations were mediocre at best. But while there were a few parts of the movie that went a little too far into ridiculous territory, it was generally a lot of mindless fun.
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Almost Super: Krull 1983
As you may have seen in my previous post, I just recently watched Krull for our latest As You Watch podcast. We decide the movie for each episode based on a short list of movies from the four of us, and Krull was picked from my list. I’ve enjoyed this movie since I was young, finding and watching every fantasy based movie I could find, so I thought this movie would also be a perfect fit with the Nostalgiathon hosted by Cinema Schminema and Andy Watches Movies, because while I still enjoy the movie, it turns out that practically no one else does. Including all four of my co-hosts for the episode. The pacing may be sluggish, the characters may be weak, the story may be derivative, but I still love this movie.
Wreck-It Ralph 2012
So once again this year I made the trek to my local movie theater. More than superheroes, I’ve always been a big fan of animation, and on top of that, I’ve grown up with video games. Starting with a trusty Commodore 64 playing Jumpman, Circus, Snoopy, and other games before moving up to a Coleco Vision. I eventually moved up through the Sega Master System, NES, SNES, Playstation, PS2, and DS before moving onto the PC MMO City of Heroes, heck I even work in an arcade. I recognized many of the video games referenced, especially some of the classic arcade cabinets, as well as the games that inspired the original games featured in this movie. While Fix it Felix Jr. is an original game, it has its roots in Donkey Kong, Crazy Climber, and a touch of Rampage. Sugar Rush which is a candy version of Mario Kart/Nicktoons Racing, and Hero’s Duty is essentially every modern rail shooter ever. This movie was pretty much made for me to like it and I was in from the very opening.
Almost Super: Die Hard 1988
I was never a big fan of the huge action movie franchises when I was younger. I think out of all the well known movies by the big action stars of the 80’s and 90’s, I had only seen Total Recall and Last Action Hero. It was only a couple years ago when I finally saw Die Hard back to back with the first Lethal Weapon after watching Live Free or Die Hard, mainly because I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan and try to watch almost everything he’s been involved with. That reason was also what made me watch Roadhouse – in the special edition DVD, he and Scott Mosier do a really fun commentary track for it. I never did go on to watch any of the sequels, but of the four films, the original Die Hard was head and shoulders above the other three in terms of quality. There’s a reason that for years and years after this movie came out, action movies like Speed were referred to “Die Hard on a Bus”. It was the benchmark of a great action film, and over twenty years later, it still holds up as a great flick. It is well crafted twists and turns with just the right amount of comic relief without being too silly. And John McClane himself is practically a superhero in his own right, taking on an entire pseudo-terrorist-cell all by himself.
Mortal Kombat 1995
I hit a little bit of a movie block this past week, possibly due to watching The Dark Knight Rises, also possibly due to a couple movies that I plan on watching but haven’t been in the mood for. That, and I’ve been under the weather for the past few days and haven’t been in the mood for much of anything. So I put a call out on Twitter, and the only suggestion was Mortal Kombat. I was a big fan of both the game and the movie when it first came out, but haven’t watched it again in years. I believe the last game I played was Mortal Kombat 4, and didn’t play very much of that. The movie tosses in a ton of references to the game, which isn’t always a good thing, the fight scenes were pretty well done, and while it’s a little bit more campy than I remember, it’s still a pretty fun watch. Especially if you’re a fan of the Mortal Kombat games.
Red Sonja 1985
I have been going back and forth on whether or not to have this movie be a part of the rest of the movies or to have it under my “Almost Super” category. It’s based on a character in a Marvel comic book, but since it’s much more of a low fantasy rather than a superhero so I ultimately decided to use the Almost Super tag. Another reason why I wanted to review the movie, aside from the fact that I vaguely remember watching it and liking it when I was younger, is that the Lamb is having its Lamb Acting School for Arnold Schwartzenegger this month, and I’m not quite ready to revisit the 90’s Batman series ending in his portrayal of Mr. Freeze, so I was left to choose between the two Conan movies and this movie. And while the movie is called Red Sonja, Arnold still manages to get top billing as the secondary lead above acting newcomer Brigitte Nielson. While there were some interesting parts in the movie, it did not nearly hold up to my memory of it.
Almost Super: Gremlins 2: The New Batch 1990
My last edition of Almost Super went over quite well, so I just had to follow it up with the sequel. I’m not sure how regular these will be, probably just whenever I’m in the mood for one. But anyway, where the original Gremlins was somewhere in between being a horror and a comedy, Gremlins 2 is a flat out comedy with only a hint of horror left in it. And things are amped up in every way with more Gremlins, and even plenty of super Gremlins that get into several different batches of genetic potions. This was the real reason why I reviewed the original Gremlins in the first place, but I definitely wasn’t wrong to watch the first one again as there are plenty of callbacks that I might not have recognized.