Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Have you seen it??? R.T's Sci Films - pt 2

Read - Part 1, Part 3, Part 4

Continuing on from last post about Rotten Tomatoes 100 Best Reviewed Sci Fi Films we get into a bit more of the nitty gritty with #74 and up. I have to admit after finishing the last post I snuck a look ahead and it was NOT AT ALL what I expected to see... And then upon looking at their criteria for their choices I'm kind of more confused than ever. They say: "In order to get a nice mix of old and new flicks, we used a weighted system that factors both the Tomatometer and the number of reviews. Some weren't well reviewed enough to make the cut (tough break, Tron), and others didn't have enough reviews to qualify (sorry, Stalker)." I mean are these really the best reviewed films?! Really?! Somehow I thought popular turth would look different thanh this...

We'll get into some of the surprises later though, for now on with the show...

#74 - Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is based on Jules Verne's 1864 novel. A scientist heads out on a treacherous journey to the center of the earth. With him are an intrepid student, an Icelandic guide and the widow of a geologist who steals his information in an attempt to beat him to the earth's core. Along the way the group are confronted by all manner of dangerous obstacles: excessive heat and cold, gale force winds, and tremendous floods.

I actually think I might've sen this at one point... I know for sure I read the book. I should see this again.

#73 - Alphaville (1965)
A bizarre space-chase across a glass and metal landscape of futuristic Paris--here called Alphaville--is the movie's premise. Creating a dystopian "tomorrow" characterized by alienation and cold corporate comforts, Godard slyly suggests that the future is now. Secret agent man Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) travels across the expanses of intergalactic space and time to uncover the fate of his missing predecessor. Working under the alias of Ivan Johnson, Caution is accompanied in his quest by the lovely Natasha Vonbraun (Anna Karina), the daughter of a supposedly missing professor. Caution later discovers that the elder Vonbraun is the mastermind behind Alpha 60--the rigid, masterful computer that governs Alphaville. Alpha's job is to crush individuality, eradicating any human being who does not conform. Ultimately, Lemmy is left with no other choice but to destroy the calculating chip-and-wire monolith, with the only weapons he has left: his heart and soul.

That sounds very interesting, if perhaps a bit overly weird. Almost liek a combination of Until the End of the World, Immortal, and Zardoz. Sometimes far out scifi, especially Foreign far out scifi can get a bit too much for me. Probably it makes more sense once you see it...

#72 - Seconds (1966)
John Frankenheimer's chilling vision of middle-aged malaise concerns 50ish banker, Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph). Bored with his wife and comfortably retired life, Arthur happens to run into Charlie Evans (Murray Hamilton), an old friend he believed to be dead. He gives Arthur a tip on a secret organization called The Company, run by the Old Man (Will Geer). For a hefty fee, they offer to provide the old with entirely new, vigorous bodies, through a mysterious form of plastic surgery, and with completely new identities. Arthur signs on and finds himself transformed into the much younger Anitochus "Tony" Wilson (Rock Hudson). After a suitably middle-aged corpse has been burned to cover his disappearance, Tony is relocated to an idyllic Malibu beach community, where he already has a reputation as an artist. He begins a relationship with the vivacious Norma Marcus (Salome Jens) and is happy for a time, before discovering that she's one of The Company's employees. As he peels back the layers from his other neighbors, he begins to realize that nothing is as it seems. This incisive twist on the Faust legend, a mordant commentary on the American obsession with youth, features Hudson in what is possibly his finest performance, as a man cast in a part he despises. Hudson's sense of irony, then necessarily private, is now public. The great cinematographer James Wong Howe creates a sense of quiet horror through a skillful variation of lenses.

John Frankenheimer and Rock Hudson. That's a good combination. I have a feeling though that I might be bored with this story. It sounds too much like some old Outer Limits episode. Anyone seen this and can give their opinion?

#71 - Farenheit 451 (1966)
Maybe my favorite Ray Bradbury story. The movie is fine but the book is just so amazing, that's the memory I'm more emotionally left with. Wasn't this going to be updated with Mel Gibson a few years ago??? Wonder what happened to that. For a semi-similar, only better dystopia sci fi film, check out Equilibrium.

#70 - Time After Time (1979)
Victorian Brits H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper travel through time into late 70s San Francisco. While the author marvels at this Utopian Eden, the psycho killer discovers his spiritual home -- and goes out searching for his next victim.

WTF?! This sounds utterly ridiculous. I just don't know about this list...

#69 - Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
Finally a film I can really get behind. Just like San Dimas High School football, Wyld Stallions totally rule!

#68 - The Abyss (1989)
Why is this film #68 ??? this should be in the top 10.

#67 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
This is the one about the Klingons. No, I mean the other one about the Klingons... umm yeah.

#66 - Escape From New York (1981)
Snake Plisskin is one of the greatest anti-heroes of our time. Awesome. I'm not sure I'm ready for and yet cannot wait for the remake thats in the works starring our favorite Spartan Gerard Butler.

#65 - 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
I know its Disney but Kirk Douglas is great. I really enjoy this film, although as with Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne is such a great writer that it inevitably overshadows any mere adaptation. This is my favorite Verne book too, so while yes the film is a lot of fun, it merely pales in comparison.

#64 - Pi (1997)
I honestly thought my head was going to explode. Word of advice, don't watch this film high.

#63 - The Thing From Another World (1951)
I actually put the remake above this film in my mind, but I also really love this great suspense film. And they actually are totally different. If you want a fantastic character study of claustrophobia this is your film.

#62 - Jurassic Park (1993)
Such a great film. Should be higher on the list...

#61 - Open Your Eyes (1997)
Handsome 25-year-old Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) has it all--a successful career, expensive cars, a swank bachelor's pad, and an endless string of beautiful and willing women. Unfortunately, he can't get rid of his latest conquest, Nuria (Najwa Nimri) soon enough. When she crashes his birthday party, Cesar uses his best friend Pelayo's stunningly attractive girlfriend, Sofia (Penelope Cruz), as a means to her. The next morning, Nuria is waiting in her car outside his apartment and manages to coax him into the vehicle. The next thing Cesar knows, he's wearing a mask to conceal a horrible disfiguration while being interrogated in a prison held on a murder charge. Alejandro Amenebar's thriller distorts both the viewer's and Cesar's perception of reality with a series of mind-bending plot twists, ensuring that this intriguing Spanish production will keep you guessing until its final moments.

Wait, wait, wait... just hold on a friggin second. Vanilla Sky was a remake?! Why didn't anyone tell me???

#60 - Robocop (1987)
There is sooo much amazingness to this film. When I was a kid it was one of the goreyest films ever. Shooting his hand off, the spike through the neck, I'll buy that for a dollar, The chemicals melting that guy, the kickass hand cannon Murphy used, and of course Ed-209. What a fucking awesome film :)

#59 - Altered States (1980)
A psycho-physiologist doing experiments with human consciousness eventually decides to test his findings on himself. He becomes obsessed with performing these auto-sensory deprivation experiments until he actually changes form physically, ending up as a gorilla at a local zoo. He returns to his normal state, at which point he also involves his wife in the experimentation.

Doesn't sound that great to me...

#58 - The Brother From Another Planet (1984)
After escaping slavery on another planet, a three-toed alien (Joe Morton) crashes on Ellis Island and makes his way to Harlem. Assumed to be a homeless black man, the alien fits right into the multicultural swath of New York City, especially since he can fix both broken bones and broken machines just by touching them. Meanwhile, two men in black with unusual gaits and a fondness for DRAGNET-style dialogue prowl the streets of Harlem looking for the alien.

Sounds kind of heavy handed to me. But I suppose it could be good. Especially if its taken in the context of 1984.

#57 - Planet of the Apes (1968)
a true classic. And esily one of my top 5 Charlton Heston films.

#56 - Westworld (1973)
Michael Crichton's directorial debut, WESTWORLD is the direct precursor to JURASSIC PARK as the story of a technological amusement park gone out of control, with tourists becoming victims. For $1,000 a day, patrons can visit high-tech recreations of historically based mythical settings controlled by lifelike androids and synthetic environments: a Roman world that recreates tales of ancient Rome; a medieval world that recreates the legends of the Middle Ages; and Westworld, which recreates the myth of the classic Western. Two Chicago businessmen, Martin (Richard Benjamin) and Blane (James Brolin), spend their vacation in Westworld, where they live out their fantasies of the Old West mythology: chaotic barroom brawls, random love with beautiful prostitutes, and a violent jailbreak during which they shoot the local sheriff. But the complex technology that supports these fabricated worlds develops complicated syndromes faster than the scientists behind the scenes can resolve them. Soon the entire resort breaks down into chaos, and the androids turn hostile on the visiting tourists. WESTWORLD is both a retread on classic science fiction themes and a precocious critique of the false values and artificiality of the encroaching mass culture.

Man, I don't even have an excuse for not seeing this. I have no doubt in my mind that it rocks...

#55 - Fantastic Voyage (1966)
An important scientist is attacked by assassins and almost killed. When traditional medical methods are exhausted, a crew of scientists is shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the scientist's body to destroy a blood clot and save his life. An exciting adventure with colorful special effects. AKA Microscopia and Strange Journey.

Once again, I don't have any excuses.

#54 - Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
The one with the whales. After Generations I think this is definitely the best Star Trek film.

#53 - They Live (1988)
John Nada (Roddy Piper) is a quiet loner, a drifter who gets work where ever he can find it. While working on a construction site in L.A. and sleeping in a vagrant community at night, John stumbles upon a secret society of alien beings who pose as wealthy and powerful people in human society. John joins a rebel group commited to exposing this conspiracy, and becomes their reluctant leader and the only hope of the human race.

What? Oh man, yet another John Carpenter film I have yet to see. This one sounds great too. Kinda like a better version of The Arrival.

#52 - Save the Green Planet! (2005)
Lee Byeong-Gu (Shin Ha-Gyun, JSA) is a sensitive, blue collar sad sack hopped up on conspiracy theories and sci-fi films whose life has been derailed by one bad break after another. Yet he knows there's no such thing as bad luck. The only thing that could have made such a mess of his life are...aliens. Nasty, disgusting aliens who have infiltrated human society. Sly aliens who are planning to destroy our planet at the next lunar eclipse. The one alien possessing the Royal Genetic Code needed to contact the Crown Prince and stop the destruction just happens to be his old boss, CEO of Yuje Chemicals, Kang Man-Shik (Baek Yun-Shik).

So with the help of his circus-performer girlfriend he sets out to kidnap Kang and torture him until he confesses to his alien identity and stops the invasion. Of course, it's hard to confess to something that's just a delusion in a sick man's mind.

I've heard a few people say that this is a great film.

#51 - Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
I liked it. Although I think I've only watched it twice. The battle scenes were pretty damn cool.

#50 - Things To Come (1936)
In the years since they were published, H.G. Wells's words seem to have become prophecies...
Society in 2036 has devolved into a leisure-saturated body of mass consumers. Important decisions are relegated to an elite few. World wars have left parts of the globe in ashes; localized conflicts continue as a way of life. Social and medical epidemics rage.
The comfortable bourgeoisie dwells like moles, living below sea level. Its members rest on cellophane sofas, inhale filtered oxygen, ingest preserved food, and entertain themselves by synthetic light.
While the intelligentsia obliterates the sick to create a utopia for the earthlings who remain, others plan a mysterious trip to the moon, purportedly for humanity to reach the next rung on its evolutionary ladder.

Well, that sounds very interesting. I'd be really interested to see where a film like that goes. And I love it watching visions of the future from back in the day. When they're off its funny, and when its on, its eerie.

And so kids, that brings us up to #50. Halfway through, and I'm already disagreeing with a number of their choices. Also there were 11 films I'd missed from this batch! Ugh. That's no good. One thing for sure, the top 50 should be VERY interesting...

Stay tuned for more...

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