The Sci-Fi Slob's Movie Reviews

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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Really pleased to see another hugely positive review for Edge of Tomorrow. Was desperate to see that one at the cinema but for one reason or another was unable to.



Your review of The Thing is on the money...the film is one of those very rare remakes that is far superior to the original....my number 2 John Carpenter film, behind Escape from New York.



It's funny you mentioned the bare-bones script with which this film began production. I do remember reading somewhere that large portions of this movie were improvised.

EDIT: poster is referring to Alien



'71
Directed by Yann Demange





The only other film I've seen starring Jack O'Connell is Starred Up (2014), which, after watching '71, I realize that his talents were completely wasted on.

O'Connell plays a young soldier who is deployed to Nothern Ireland during the troubles of the nineteen seventies. He soon finds himself on a patrol - sent out to search a house for IRA guns - during which time his patrol is attacked by a mob. He is soon on his own, being chased thorugh the backstreets by IRA gunmen.

During his fight for survival, O'Connell finds himself caught up in a web of military corruption and republican duplicity. The film captures perfectly the atmosphere of a civil warzone, both from the perspective of soldiers and civilians alike. O'Connell doesn't know who to trust as his superiors loyalties are unclear and he take refuge in, of all places, an IRA stronghold - a stronghold which plays host to the films tense and thrilling climax.

'71 is probably the best film about Northwern Ireland and the IRA I've seen since Hunger (2008), both films featuring great performances from British actors.



American Sniper
Directed by Clint Eastwood



American Sniper tells the story of decorated navy seal sniper Chris Kyle, who, during his four tours in Iraq, amased a record number of confirmed kills, 160 in total.

After a brief intro into Kyle's pre-military life, the film gets right down to it with his tough navy seal training, to his first deployment in Iraq. The action from the start is gritty and realistic, starting with an opening scene in Iraq which is very reminiscent of the opening scene in The Hurt Locker.

The combat starts with Kyles supporting infantry troops from rooftop positions, then to him taking an active role in the search for a terrorist leader. Along the way he racks up the kills, at which point he attracts the attention of a notorious enemy sniper. The plot takes a three way split: the search for the terrorist leader, the duel with the enemy sniper and lastly, and most irritatingly, the superfluous intervals in the combat when Kyle returns home between tours.

Minor niggles aside, American Sniper is enthralling true story, which highlights both the heroism of our troops serving abroad, and the toll war takes on themselves and their families.



Taken 3
Directed by Olivier Megaton




Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, and yet again he has upset some of the worlds nastiest criminals. This time in the shape of a frankly ridiculous looking Russian gangster.

**SPOLIER ALERT ** As you probably already know, the Russian gangsters kill Mills' wife, thanks almost entirely to his wife's new husband. A this point things go downhill, both for Mill's and you the viewer. When he finds his ex wife's body on a bed in his house, with her throat cut, the police burst in, and Mill's does what any rational person would do: he protests his innocence by beating the crap out of five cops and goes on the run.

Well, the next hour basically consists of car chases, explosions, and Mills, yet again, recruiting his annoying daughter as a CIA operative. We are also introduced to Forest Whitaker's character (quite possibly the most incompetent cop of all-time). When dumbfounded in his search for Mills, he soon resorts to examining Bagels in an attempt to track him down. When he's not investigating bakery products or staking out funerals in marked riot vans, he pretty much gives up, and drives around the city pretending to do something.

I got bored and lost interest after the first half hour. There's nothing new here. It's basically the recycled plots of the first two films set in a different location. I hope they call it quits at the third film, as not only would another sequel be a complete waste of time, it would also do Liam Neeson's talents a great disservice.



Dead Snow
Directed by Tommy Wirkola



This low budget Norwegian zombie flick shouldn't really work, but it does. Filled with every single horror movie cliche and trope, it's one of those films that are ridiculous in a good way. The story revolve around a group of medical students on holiday in the remotest part of the Norwegian wilderness they could find.

The characters are the biggest cliche of all, from the deadlocked women who looks like a predator, the quintessential attractive blondes, to the fat film geek guy - who is the source of many a horror movie reference during the film.

After the unlikely group settle in, the not so unlikely drunken party starts, a party which is soon interrupted by a knock of the door of the cabin...The knock is the local weirdo with a scary tail to tell. The man proceeds to tell the group about the legend of a lost Nazi battalion whose evil presence remains on the mountain.

Well it doesn't take long before the man's fears are realized, and the group soon start dropping like flies, and it drops to a few remaining to survivors to face the ravenous army of Nazi zombies. The group of remaining characters, one resembling Ash from Evil Dead, with an amputated arm and chainsaw combo, dispense with the zombie horde in more and more over-the-top and super gory ways.

The special effects are pretty convincing for such a low budget indie film, and each zombie death is more original and mega gory than the next. Dead Snow is good old-fashioned comedy horror fun. A little indie gem which is up there among the best comedy horrors that I've seen.



Lucy
Directed by Luc Besson



Probably the single worst sci-fi film I've seen. Everything starts off with Scarlett Johansson being draw into some kind of shady deal with some Chinese gangsters, resulting in her having a synthesized version of the chemical that a women's womb produces during childbirth implanted into her stomach... Wait the story gets better. She is imprisoned and , as a result of the aforementioned chemical, transforms into the first human being capable of using 100% of her brain, which allows to use some rather unlikely new abilities which include: manipulating electrical and communications systems, telepathy, telekinesis, and greatly increased strength.

While she is going through all these changes Morgan Freeman is performing a lecture on the very possibility of such a thing happening to a person, all of which is interspersed with strange images of animals killing each other, and Freeman coming out with obvious Darwinian explanations for it. The Chinese gangsters seem practically useless and are only used as a starting point for the absurd plot, but they keep popping up just fill in space and give Lucy something to fight against with her ridiculous powers.

The film is over stylized drivel with absolutely no scientific basis. And what happens after Lucy is transformed into this super-human..? She changes, as you would have predicted into..a usb thumb drive... Yes, that's right a usb drive. After all the amazing power she developed during the film, the control she gained over all the worlds communications systems, she ultimately changes into a £20 usb drive protruding out of a pile of black sludge in the corner of Morgan Freeman's computer lab. There have been some pretty bad sci-fi films released during this latest renaissance in the genre, but Lucy is by far the worst. Stay well clear.



The Quiet Ones
Directed by John Pogue



The Quite Ones is one of the most ridiculous films I've seen in a long time. The story is ludicrous. A mad professor and his assistants (two posh boys and a slapper with a nice arse) set out to perform an experiment on a young mentally ill girl, who was recently released from a nuthouse. After losing funding from Oxford University for his ridiculous experiment, the professor moves it out to a large dilapidated country house.

The fact that Oxford Uni would have anything to do with such an experiment is what makes the whole premise of the films plot so ridiculous. A young girl, who has previously attempted suicide, is subjected to a series of invasive experiments, which, according to the professors theory, will summon not only an ancient demon, but also awaken the girls dormant telekinetic powers..

The film tries to pay homage to the vintage haunted house films of the 70's, and succeeded in its style and theme, but ruined it with the inclusion of found-footage.
The films trailer was actually scarier than the film. The were only two scenes that actually made me nervous, but the rest were mindbogglingly tediousness. The found-footage element was unnecessary and only used to create the contrived attempts at jump-scares which were, for the most part, unsuccessful. Lacking any original ideas as regards scaring the viewer, the filmmakers just resorted to strange noises, screaming and cheap CGI effects.

Character development was rushed and forever perplexing, the performances were pretty good, but the characters were just dumb and annoying. The only convincing character was the professor himself (Jarid Harris) who convincingly portrayed a narcissistic madmen. The film culminates with a cheap CGI set-piece, which is as underwhelming as most of the ninety eight minutes proceeding it.

The Quiet Ones is not very original or very scary and has a completely vacuous plot. I'm guessing most hardcore Hammer Horror fans won't be pleased with this mess. That said, it may prove entertaining to the late night Netflix viewers of the world.



The Gambler
Directed by Rupert Wyatt



I don't know what message the directer was trying to get across with this mess but I hope it's remains neatly buried in his lower intestine.

A wealthy and successful writer and university professor, Mark Wahlberg, transforms into a compulsive gambling waster every time he steps foot in the seedy and sanitationaly questionable backstreet gambling dens he frequents in his spare time.

While he's not spewing out his self-opinionated absurdly contrived sewage at his students, he tries his best to lose as much money as possible betting ridiculous amounts on games of blackjack, whilst pissing off gangsters, loan sharks and his millionaire mother in the process. What the motivation is for his behavior is anyone's guess: rebelling against his wealthy upbringing, living inline with his chaos theory-like, nihilistic, bullsh1t philosophy of life..? Whatever his motivation, he comes across as the most loathsome little sh1t imaginable.

To cut a long story short, he pays off his debts and decides he's not a gambler anymore, making most of this terrible tripe a pointless build-up to nothing. I was hoping his creditors would at least castrate or torture him to death, what a shame.



Neighbors
Directed by Nicholas Stoller



Seth Rogen is one of the most annoying men alive - that covers most of this review. The film is ridiculously far-fetched, cliched, colorful and immature teen turd, which makes the more recent American Pie sequels look like deeply thought-provoking artistic masterpieces. 3-foot-long penises....this is a low point for cinema.
The highlights: it ends.



The Notebook
Directed by Nick Cassavetes



It was like watching and extended episode of the The Waltons, Dawnson Creek and Neighbors all in one. I felt like giving up at one point, but I stuck it out. I like romance when it's done right, but this is just corny as hell. This could have ending Mr Gosling's career before it got started..shame.



Oculus
Directed by Mike Flanagan



As it was partly a WWE production, I was initially skeptical about Oculus, but it turned to be pretty good. Also, as a Doctor Who fan, I was looking forward to seeing Karen Gillan on the big screen, I wasn't disappointed.

The film has a twisted roller coaster of a plot, that I didn't really understand fully on the first viewing. The story plays out in two different time periods: present day, and 11 years earlier, and swaps between them as the film progresses. The plot involves siblings Tim and Kaylie, and starts in the past with older Tim shooting a his younger sister (told you it's a twisted plot). Tim had always blamed his shooting his sister on a mirror in the family living room, which he claimed had some kind of dark power. In present day, older Tim is released from the nuthouse, and is met by his sister Kaylie, who he apparently didn't shoot in the past at all...

The story doesn't make sense at first, but slowly unravels, so stick with it. Kaylie tells Tim that she has purchased to strange mirror again, and wanted to performed a little experiment to find out what happened 11 years earlier. So, if Tim didn't shoot his sister who did he shoot?... He shot his Dad. After the evil spirit of a woman came out of the mirror and drove his parents insane, his dad attacked him, so he was forced to shoot him. While Tim was locked up, Kaylie did some research on the mirror, and discovered that everyone who has owned it in the past has either disappeared or been killed. Who said starbuck was dead..

The film continues swapping between past and present, showing us how Kaylie and Tim's lives play out in both timelines. Once you find out that the mirror has the power to create illusions and can convinced people they aren't where they really are, you will be able to figure out whats really happening (mostly).

Backed up by a great soundtrack, Oculus is a mind-bending ghost story with plenty of tense scenes that will have you on the edge on your seat. There are a few shock scares in there as well, one of which made me spill my beer, lol. As well having a complex and compelling plot, the cast were great too. Karen Gillan was great as Kaylie (I'm looking forward to seeing her in more films). It was also nice to see Katie Sackhoff in a film again, I've been a fan of her's after first watching Battlestar Gallactica.

Most people will watch Oculus and think I doesn't make sense. I thought the same thing about Donnie Darko the first time I saw that, but after a few viewings, it became and still is one of my favorite films. So give it a chance.



"""" Hulk Smashhhh."""
I want to rep some of your reviews but I can't. Lucy, The Gamber and Bad Neighbours where all okay films. Ime not saying there excellent, but there still pretty good.
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I want to rep some of your reviews but I can't. Lucy, The Gamber and Bad Neighbours where all okay films. Ime not saying there excellent, but there still pretty good.
I can live without the reps.



Great reviews SFS. I missed '71 at the cinema but you've reminded me about it now, sounds good specially as you liked Hunger too as I did.
Oculus sounds interesting. I love ghost stories.



Aliens
Directed by James Cameron



Year Of Release
1986

Director/s
James Cameron

Producer/s
Peter Berg, Brian Goldner, Scott Stuber, Sarah Aubrey, Duncan Henderson, Bennett Schneir

Writer/s
James Cameron, David Giler,Walter Hill, DanO'Bannon, Ronald Shusett

Cast
Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, William Hope, Al Matthews


After almost 30 years Aliens remains probably the best sci-fi action films out there. Released 7 years after Ridley Scott's seminal genre defining masterpiece, Aliens sees the return of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley who, after drifting in space for 57 years after escaping the Nostromo and the Xenomorph that slaughtered her crew, is called upon again by Weyland-Yutani, the shady corporation she worked for as a flight officer.

It becomes apparent that Weyland-Yutani have been busy on LV-426 (the planetoid where Ripley's first crew encountered the Xenomorph.) The geniuses have setup a colony on the desolate world and terraformed it with oxygen generators. Low and behold, they loose contact with the colony and Ripley is sent in with a platoon of colonial marines, and a company slime-ball named Carter Burke.

From the start the film has the same dark and tense atmosphere of the first film. And despite having more of emphasis on action, the characters are just as complex and memorable. Corporal Dwayne Hicks is the replacement to Captain Dallas in that that he is Ripley's closest alley in the group of rag-tag marines - and they soon find themselves in the middle of the alien nest, fighting for their lives against the Xenomorph horde.

A few characters in Aliens mirror those of the first film: Bishop the android for Ash, Hicks for Dallas, and Newt the young girl they discover crawling around the air-ducts of LV-426 represents the daughter that Ripley lost during her many years in hyper sleep. So the characters and plot follow on quite closely to the first film, the only different is the style of film. Aliens is an all-out action fest, here as Alien is a slow burner psychological thriller - a big change that some fans didn't appreciate. So really, Aliens can't really be compared with its predecessor to be fare, they are completely different kinds of film. This fact doesn't make the directing any less brilliant.

James Cameron nailed it with Aliens: well designed weapons, props, vehicles and clothing courtesy of the late H.R. Giger; a great script and characters, and, like all of Cameron's films, a great soundtrack. Still James Cameron's best film for me, and I think it will remain in my top five action-sci-fi's for a long time to come.



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Registered User
I didn't hate Lucy like you did, but I thought it was mediocre. It was only worth watching to drool over Scarlett.

Despite your reviews, I still want to see The Gambler and Neighbors.

I also want to see Oculus.

Aliens is one of the best movies ever made, you know that brother!