The Sci-Fi Slob's Movie Reviews

→ in

Review Index

The Thing (1982)
American Pyscho (2000)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Snowpiercer (2013)
Alien (1979)
Tremors (1990)
The Sacrament (2013)
Non Stop (2014)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
Godzilla (2014)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
71' (2015)
American Sniper (2014)
Taken 3 (2014)
Dead Snow (2009)
Lucy (2015)
The Quiet Ones (2013)
The Gambler (2015)
Oculus (2013)
Aliens (1986)
Chappie (2015)
Get Hard (2015)
Persona (1966)
Interstellar (2014)
Nightcrawler (2014)

The Thing
Directed by John Carpenter

The Thing is one of my favorite horror films, and in my opinion John Carpenters best. The combination of groundbreaking practical special effects and a great script and cast, make The Thing a true classic. I must have seen the film at least forty times, and every time I've enjoyed it just as much as the first.


After Director John Carpenter screened his completed film, the movie studio insisted that he go back and film a scene where MacReady is in a hospital, explaining how he alone survived. Carpenter had to fight to keep the original ending.
The plot follows a scientific research team stationed in Antarctica, who find an alien creature buried in the antarctic ice. Over the course of the film the mysterious creature begins to absorb and duplicate the team members. The tension and suspense builds slowly as the team members begin to suspect each other. They all begin to loose the plot. The lead scientist of the team, Dr. Blair, completely looses it, and destroys all the radios, leaving the group stranded.

The one thing that has made the film stand out over the years is the special effects, which still hold their own against today's CGI laden affairs. The animatronics in the film are some of the best ever seen. The only film that comes close to the The Thing in terms of practical effects is Tremors (1990),another classic.


Hey, It's That Guy!: Jed, the wolf dog who played the Norwegian dog-Thing also acted in White Fang.
More to the point, Blair is played by a non-mustachioed Wilford Brimley.
Kirk Russell plays the strongest character in the film - Helicopter pilot M.J. MacReady. Russell's performance is superb. He takes charge towards the end, and using a test devised by the team's doctor, Dr Copper, he forces the elusive creature out into the open. Slowly, the remaining team members become victims of The Thing, leaving only two left at the end. The film ends on one of the biggest cliffhangers ever.

Thirty years on and The Thing is just as fresh,exiting, and trilling as ever, and is a must watch both for horror fans and others alike.

Great review! I'll keep an eye on this thread.

I watched The Thing a few days ago and I also enjoyed it very much. The special effects are remarkable and the film is absolutely thrilling during the whole ride.

I also thought the ending was absolutely brilliant. I'll write a little bit more about that in my own review of the film. It can be interpreted in a few different ways, but I think I made up my mind because there are too many 'coincidences' that point in a certain direction.
Cobpyth's Movie Log ~ 2019

Yep... great film...

Beats any movie of its kind so badly that it's almost a one off. Also my #3 film of all time, rated it 95% too when I reviewed it.

Nice review!

Oh, Rodent. Perfect opportunity to humiliate me in some way and you didn't go for it.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Another reviewer offering me competition?!!! First nostromo and now you!!!

No welcome to the reviewing fraternity. Let's see how long you last before I drive you out. Nice start.

I really liked Carpenter's Thing, as well as The Thing From Another World (1951) and much less The Thing that was done in 2011, which was a lesser prequel. Carpenter's Thing was closer to the original derivative story, Who Goes There?, the 1938 novel by John Campbell.

I've been somewhat aggravated that nobody in the near future will really go back to the roots and make a decent movie out of At The Mountains of Madness, by H P Lovecraft, the best of these closely related stories. Lovecraft's Mountains was the inspiration for Who Goes There and The Thing but was an epically huge story of the shape shifting remnant of an extrordinarily ancient extraterrestrial Antarctic civilization that would take a big budget and a fertile imagination to render on film. There's much more to it than just a parasite in a frozen wasteland. Cameron's Prometheus was close enough plot-wise enough to suck the air out of a Mountains project that Guillermo Del Toro had wanted to do for some years. All this goes way back to Poe's Narrative of A Gordon Pym, the original "scary Antarctica" story.

American Psycho
Directed by Mary Harron

Adapted from the dark and brilliant book of the same name, American Psycho is an ironic, dark, and dam right hilarious social satire.

Its central character, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), is a yuppie of 27 in Wall Street in 1986, obsessed with status symbols, self-confessedly as empty of feeling as his gleaming desk top is of honest labour.
He escorts us through his morning agenda of toilet ablutions, bathroom anointment and wardrobe adornments as if man were the sum of his beauty products.

Feeling alienated by his yuppie lifestyle, he embarks on a psychopathic killing spree: murdering colleges, homeless people, animals, and prostitutes. His wall-flush stainless-steel refrigerator is stocked with a human head, for snacks. Before he teasingly deliberates whether to use chainsaw or nail-gun on his female victims, he treats them to an extended criticism of the CD he feels suits his slaughterous mood. Phil Collins comes off best.

The social satire and subtle critique of the yuppie culture is apparent throughout. Everyone looks the same--perfectly groomed, nice haircuts and expensive suits. They share one interest --money--and that's all they care about. Everyone is having an affair, and getting up all sorts of debauchery in private, but in public they are all respectable, well educated, pillars of society.

However, the facade of respectability is beginning to slip for Patrick Bateman. A detective begins to investigate the disappearance of the college he chopped up with an axe, and his secretory becomes concerned about his erratic behavior.

In the end though, no one suspects him of anything, even after he confesses to his lawyer. Even the detective seems to respect him, and at no point suspects him of foul-play. As far a society is concerned, Patrick Bateman remains a respectable business man. If this film proves anything, its that money talks.

Good review. American Psycho is one that I have almost started at least half a dozen times. It seems to unsettling for my taste but I am sure I will push that play button some day.

The Wolf of Wall Street
Directed by Martin Scorsese

A fast-paced, three hour long, drug-fueled exhibition of greed and depravity.The Wolf of Wall Street is the story of a young stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he arrives in the Manhattan financial world. A 25-year-old kid eager to make it rich, Belfort starts his career at a small firm under the expert guidance of Mike Hanna (Matthew McConaughey).

During a hilarious scene, Hanna gives Belfort some pearls of wisdom that he says will help him in the future, which include masturbating a least 3 times a day and constant cocaine intoxication. It was a shame McConaughey was in the film so briefly because his character was hilarious.

The Black Monday crash of 1987 forced Belfort to seek employment at a tiny Long Island based brokerage firm specializing in "penny stocks". He soon gets into swing of things, making almost 100 grand a month, leaving his colleges in ore of his sales technique and success.

Margot Robbie has said she accidentally slapped DiCaprio harder than she was supposed to in one scene. She told GQ: "I got a little lost in the moment. I slapped his face and said, ‘F**k you!’ There was a stunned silence then they all burst out laughing."

Later Belfort starts his own firm, Stratton Oakmont, with his best friend Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill). This is when they start making BIG money, and with big money come the wild parties, sex and drugs.

Scorsese didn't hold back with the sex in the film (which is a good thing). The wild partying of Belfort and his friends produces some of the most hilarious scenes in the film. It seems his whole life is one big party. The atmosphere at the office is no different - drugs, anger, drinking, sweating and f!cking people over for a profit.

Real life 'Wolf' Jordan Belfort has a cameo at the end of the film. The former banker, who is now a motivational speaker, introduces Leonardo DiCaprio (aka himself).

The film, in it's own very colorful and over-the-top way, paints a poor picture of the banking industry, which is more than relevant given the current financial crisis; though it's very hard to take anything in the film seriously. With the FBI on his back, things soon began to fall apart for Belfort. Everything comes to a head in the funniest scene in the film, which involves Belfort and Azoff taking too many bad Quaaludes tablets, turning them into groaning, dribbling zombies.

Three hours pass like three minutes when watching The Wolf of Wall Street, such is the hectic pace - things never get boring. Great performances from DiCaprio and Hill, Scorsese was on top form here.

"Hey Look it's Masterman"
Loving the format. And great review. Look forward to this thread.
--I Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing.

A system of cells interlinked
Wolf of Wall Street is the first Scorsese film I finished and had to consider whether or not I liked it or not. It was clearly well made, but I found it to be a bit of a chore to get through, and some scenes didn't work at all for me. For instance, the phone scene with Jonah Hill and Leo was over-the-top, and they pushed the bit too far. I liked the direction, I liked the camera-work and editing - Scorsese has mastered his style and it is instantly recognizable to me - but Wolf seemed overstuffed and bloated to me in comparison to his other work.

I will watch it again, but not for a while.

Excellent review, however.
“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” ― Thomas Sowell

Directed by Bong Joon-ho

Snowpiercer is a cross between Elysium and The Raid on a train, and is basically an allegorical reflection of modern society. Everything takes place on a huge train that circles a frozen wasteland earth. Years earlier scientists released a chemical into the atmosphere in an attempt to stop global warming and inadvertently started a new ice-age. Seeing the impending doom of mankind, a genius called Wilford (Ed Harris) designed the huge train, which uses the earths magnetic field for propulsion..

The train has a class system, with the lowest toward the back of the train and highest toward the front. The people in the tail section live in squaller, packed together on cramped, filthy shelves, with the only food available being black blocks of jelly called "protein blocks". Curtis (Chris Evans) is one of peasants from the tail section - sick of the living conditions, constant killings and lack of food, he plans a uprising.

Chris Evans grew a beard for his role as Curtis, and had to use a face mask when he filmed the end-of-credits stinger in The Avengers.
The population of the train is kept under control by periodical sacrifices in honor of the demigod "Wilford". The sacrifices always come from the tail section of course, and the people are often told to be grateful by their rich, well fed oppressors. The revolutionaries are shocked to discover the way that people live towards the front of the train - with a constant supply of meat, fresh fish, vegetables and eggs. They also discover, to their horror, what those "protein bars" are made of.

On there their way through the train, Curtis, and his friends encounter a carriage full of henchmen armed with machetes and axes - this is a brilliant fight scene. With around 100 men cutting each other to ribbons in a tight train carriage with blood spraying on the windows and some nice slow motion edits.

I'm kind of surprised the film has not been criticized the way Elysium was, because it's subtle critique of society is almost identical. Anyway, Snowpiercer is a descent Sci-Fi drama, with great editing throughout, and some solid performances from the main characters.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Only just noticed your latest review. Got to say that I don't think I've even heard of Snowpiercer but it sounds rather interesting. It pretty much got my attention right from your first line which sounds intriguing -

Snowpiercer is a cross between Elysium and The Raid on a train, .

I hadn't heard of it till I read about it on Den of Geek a few weeks back. It's adapted from the french graphic novel "Le Transperceneige" and is the first descent high budget Sci-Fi film from South Korea. Give it a look, it's pretty good.

Directed By Ridley Scott

Many hours of my youth were spent tucked up in bed watching Alien - with my sheets in hand ready to cover my eyes. Like most kids, I'd watch films my parents told me not to watch, and Alien was one of my favorites, and still is.

This seminal sci-fi-horror released at the end of the 70's, the decade that produced some of the greatest horror and sci-fi films, Alien remains as unique, enthralling and dam right creepy as is was thirty years ago.

The plot is rather simple: a group of workers aboard a commercial towing vessel headed back home have their journey interrupted by a mysterious transmission from a nearby planetoid. They stop to investigate, only to end up bringing an extraterrestrial threat back on board their craft.

The Alien script started out as a bare bones, half story written by Dan O'Bannon and was shopped around for years before several re-writes (by several parties). The story eventually became a collaborative effort that added an android, changed crew names, Ripley's sex, and the entire ending. Saying it "helps him think on paper and pin down what he's doing," Ridley Scott storyboarded the full movie, which doubled the budget.
The film is basically like a slasher movie set in space. Alien started an entire sub-genre we now know as sci-fi horror, and has influenced countless films with its effective blend both sci-fi and horror, and is a landmark in both genres.

The first hour of the film consists of a slow build up, concentrating on tone, mood and atmosphere. As would be expected on a deep space journey, tensions between the crew members would be inevitable, hence the rather amusing exchanges between Ripley, Brett and Parker. Ripley's relationship with Captain Dallas is also turbulent at times, stemming from Ripley's sometimes pedantic adherence to protocol, but despite their little tiffs you also get the feeling that they are also really good friends.

The film is basically like a slasher movie set in space. Alien started an entire sub-genre we now know as sci-fi horror, and has influenced countless films with its effective blend both sci-fi and horror, and is a landmark in both genres.

The first hour of the film consists of a slow build up, concentrating on tone, mood and atmosphere. As would be expected on a deep space journey, tensions between the crew members would be inevitable, hence the rather amusing exchanges between Ripley, Brett and Parker. Ripley's relationship with Captain Dallas is also turbulent at times, stemming from Ripley's sometimes pedantic adherence to protocol, but despite their little tiffs you also get the feeling that they are also really good friends.

Anton Furst (Batman [1989], Full Metal Jacket, Awakenings) ran the laser beams in the egg chamber, an effect Scott was "blown away with." (Furst, who won an Academy Award for his Batmobile design, committed suicide in 1991.) The inside of the egg was made of steamed cattle and sheep parts (delivered fresh every morning) and the fluttering movement caused by Ridley Scott's surgical-gloved hand moving around.
From special effects perspective, Alien was way ahead of its time. The use of practical effects is a rarity in today's world of CGI graphics. Alien along with 'The Thing,1982' are in my opinion the two greatest examples of the use of practical specials effects, and still hold their own even by today's standards. The chest-burst scene remains as shocking and unsettling now, as when I first saw it. If the same scene were filmed today, with cheap CGI blood added afterword, the effect would just not be the same.

The cinematography is dark, moody, and really adds a level of dread to the claustrophobic service tunnels and corridors of the ship. All the sets look fantastic and gives an authentic feel a space vessel, with computers, lights, beeping noises. Everything in the ship has a dark, scratched, worn look to it giving the realistic feel of a well living-in and overworked vessel..

Jerry Goldsmith's score is compelling, and the heart beat like thumping during key scenes is a real nice touch. Ridley Scott provides some superb, subtle directing, showing a real flare for building tension and mood. Alien was the precursor to Ridley Scott's timeless sci-fi masterpiece: Blade Runner, 1982, which shares the dark mood, tension and unique directorial style that has become synonymous.

Seldom has any film been so consistent in design, cast, direction, and out-and-out fear factor.