Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Intelligent, provocative, funny gender switch film.
Gender switching is one area that Hollywood has never been willing to explore. Even Blake Edwards could not get a studio to examine this concept with any validity. However, a porn film maker used his resources to put together an excellent cast in support of a whimsical story, which is told well. Although many in the cast had experience in pornography, this film is not of that nature. (Unless you consider nudity to be pornography, in which case this film probably would not appeal to you.)
What happens when a male chauvinist pig finds himself in the body of a sexy girl, and then discovers that the company that he built up is being taken over by one of his buddies, who is only interested in siphoning off as much money as he can? How does a male chauvinist pig deal with the feelings having a woman's body creates?
The film explores concepts of sexuality, gender stereotypes, and romance intelligently and with feeling. Jane Hamilton provides an excellent performance as a man trapped in a woman's body, who, at first, is oblivious to any change. Alan Naggar excels in portraying the slimy grease ball who is out to milk every penny from Leo's company. Scott Baker does a wonderful job of portraying a masculine yet sensitive blue collar worker, who falls in love with Cleo.
To my mind, this film is far superior to the gender swap film 'Switch', much more believable, entertaining, and sensuous.
Uplifting come from behind drama.
This is an amazingly well crafted film, which captures the excitement, danger, and intelligence involved in racing big sailboats, while being a warmly human, sad romance. I have found it to be the most uplifting film I think that I have ever seen, without being cheesy, forced, or artificial. I was lucky enough to see live footage taken from on the boats during the America's Cup races held off of Melbourne following Australia winning the Cup, and this movie recreates the immediacy of those broadcasts. Wonderful editing, rich sound, and skillful boat handling combine to dispel the sense of disbelief entirely.
The characters are developed well, and have depth and substance, which adds to the power of the film to engage. One does not need to know anything about sailing to get swept up in this film, but those who do will appreciate the accuracy with which the film was made.
John Wayne portrays a modern-day hero.
When I first saw "Hellfighters" I was only about 13 years old. The movie certainly captivated me, in part because it seemed so realistic. Also, the slogan of the Buckman Company really appealed to me. "Around the world, around the clock." This was a story about someone who really went the distance to help people.
This movie was so visually stunning that Popular Mechanics ran a cover story on the special effects, describing how a mixture of propane and diesel oil was used to make the fires, which were fed by underground pipes. It also explained that Red Adair really did use explosives to put out oil well fires, which many people found hard to believe.
This was a highly believable, present day performance by John Wayne, which is somewhat special in and of itself. There was only one brawl, which was all good fun, and we even get to see Mr. Wayne get a face full of what looks kind of like oil. (It was dyed water.) There is no heavy, moralistic message to this film, a minimum of flag waving, and watching it is just plain fun.
Gothic horror in the future.
When it first appeared, 'Alien' was a totally new look for science fiction. Ridley Scott turned away from the sparkling white of brand new space ships, and turned to what has been called 'blue collar space'. The spacecraft was grubby, well used, the crew relaxed and focused on their routine tasks. Routine, that is, if you happen to be part of a crew of a space tug, one which hauls huge processor barges across light year gulfs. To deal with the long mission times, the technique of 'hibernation' is used, which slows the body processes down to a faint thread, retarding the physical effects of the passage of time.
When the crew is awakened from hibernation by the ship's computer, lovingly referred to as 'Mother', they expect that they are at the end of another mission, about to see home again after years traveling the emptiness. But their voyage has been interrupted, because Mother has detected a signal, representing intelligent life. Protocol demands that it be investigated. I found it very easy to identify with the crew members as they contemplate landing on a strange planet, because they were just ordinary folks, not intrepid explorers, or trained troops.
What this crew finds on this primordial planet is a totally new concept in horror, one which crawls right inside of you. This film has a visual impact which altered the movie experience dramatically. The heartbeat in the audio track and the strobe lighting effects seen so often in todays films got their start in 'Alien'. But this movie does not need cheep effects to put you on the edge of your seat. Dan O'Bannon's story will do that quite well on its own.
Good science fiction when there was no such thing
Back in the 1950's, science fiction was the red-headed stepchild of the film industry, because it dealt with science, for one thing, which few people knew anything about, and it usually involved some kind of special effects, which were always expensive, even if they were hokey. Science fiction films were always thought to be 'B' movies, whereas even a bad Western would never be thought of as a 'B' film. This was a time when the world was changing faster than many people could cope with, and there was a sense that the world was in great danger. The advent of the nuclear bomb had created words that people did not know the meaning of, but of which they were terrified. Radiation, mutation, atomic pile, thermonuclear weapon. People were realizing that nuclear meant more than just bombs, that something which you could not see, smell, hear, or taste could kill in a matter of seconds, even though it might take months to die.
In this setting, a movie about mutated ants capable of destroying the world was very powerful. Because ants are a hive creature, they seem somehow different from most insects. And they have fascinated people for years, with their orderly nests. It was easy to believe that a colony in the area where the first atomic bomb was exploded could have been affected by the lingering radiation, and that the effect was giantism. And ants are the perfect monster, being capable of huge feats of strength for their size, with terrible mandibles ready to rend and tear, and packing a horrible stinger, which many people can remember hurting them.
'Them' does an excellent job of building the suspense, with mysterious happenings in otherwise normal settings. We see two future stars, James Arness and James Whitmore carrying this film with excellent acting. They are supported with a very believable performance by Joan Weldon, in the nearly unheard (at that time)of role of woman scientist. She is rendered authenticity by the character of her father, the nations leading myrmecologist. Myrma what? This film actually attempts to be scientific in its depiction of ants, pointing out that they have the strength for their size equivalent to a human having the strength of 12 men.
Edmund Gwenn makes a memorable portrayal of the elderly scientist, tops in his field, but facing something completely new, like talking on a radio. His performance as the slightly absent minded senior researcher brings several moments of laughter to an otherwise very serious film. He is not the only one we can laugh at, for Fess Parker appears in one of his earliest roles, playing the part of someone who is being held against his will because he saw something he can not believe.
This film is, in my opinion, one of the all time classics of science fiction, superbly made, well written, photographed carefully, and with quality acting. It does not need to rely on special effects, trick photography, or script non sequiturs. I think that it is likely to outlast most of that decades prolific output of science fiction, simply because it was never a 'B' movie.
Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Science fiction meets horror thriller.
I know this film under the title "Five million Years To Earth", and have always considered it one of the best of British science fiction. A weird mix of science fiction, horror, and thriller, this film manages to evoke the 'What if' emotion in me. Plausible enough to suspend the disbelief, yet far out, with creepy moments thrown in. Some of the best chaotic crowd scenes I have ever seen on film, plus a broad poke at the military mentality when faced with the new or unexplained.
No moralizing, or visions of alternate societies, as is common in science fiction from this era, this film is just straight up entertainment.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Ultimate Trip, exploring our beliefs.
2001: A Space Odyssey is truly a unique film. Not because of the incredible accuracy in portraying space travel, not because the special effects are unrivaled, and not because one of the characters is a machine which goes insane. 2001 is unique because it examines the questions of 'Where did we come from?', 'Why are we here?', and 'Where are we going?'. More a statement of philosophy than a piece of entertainment, 2001 uses the power of cinema to evoke wonder in the audience.
Some people believe that we are not alone in the Cosmos. Either way you look at it, the concept is staggering. Could we be the result of an experiment performed millions of years ago? Are we being monitored, to determine if we are a success? What is the end-point of our evolution? 2001 is not a story about someone overcoming adversity, it is an expression of awe at our existence, and faith that we can become more than we are.
Blue Thunder (1983)
Somebody is watching you, me, and them.
One of the things that really caught my attention about this film was the brief blurb at the beginning which stated something to the effect of "All of the surveillance equipment depicted in this film exists and is in use in the United States." Knowing what I do of technology, I am not surprised that those capabilities existed back then. However, I received a powerful demonstration of the stealth technology called "whisper mode" in the film, a couple of years after seeing it. I live near a major U.S. Army firing range, and our local airport hosts a considerable amount of military traffic. At this particular time, I was renting a house about one kilometer from the airport. I went out for a walk late one Sunday night, and, shortly after leaving the house, I heard a noise I could not identify. It was a loud hissing sound, 'which seemed very close at hand, but I could not locate the source, until I looked up. Passing overhead at about 200 meters was a Chinook helicopter, the type with two rotors, and fuselage that looks kind of like a banana. Normally, the rotor noise on these cargo helicopters will rattle windows, but this baby was tip-toeing out of town very quietly. If I had been indoors, I never would have heard it. This made me completely rethink the sequence where the helicopter was hovering right outside of a building, and the people inside couldn't hear it! I took it for artistic license at the time, but the demonstration I witnessed of "whisper mode" made it seem entirely feasible.
This film appealed to me strongly, for several reasons. I am a techno freak, to begin with, and I love anything that flies. Also, the characters in the movie are amazingly human, kooky, (especially the lead characters wife,) and easy to identify with. And the kind of shenanigans the Feds were trying to pull seem all too realistic to me, in light of some of the things that they have been caught doing! And I loved the response of sending a couple of F-15's armed with missiles after the renegade, when he is stooging around in downtown Los Angeles. Missiles are not known for being highly selective when they are of the heat seeking type, and urban areas are rich with thermal signatures which can confuse the tiny brain packed into an air-to-air missile. The filmmakers actually downplayed the havoc that could result from launching such weapons in a downtown area.
I found the film to be an enjoyable, realistic, thought provoking experience, which I would recommend to most people. The hardware is not the star, thanks to the excellent work of Roy Scheider and his supporting cast, and the dialog is tight and realistic. When informed that one of the suspects in a liquor store robbery is wearing a Hawiian shirt and a cowboy hat, Scheider's character says, "What ever happened to being inconspicuous?"
Didn't You Hear... (1983)
Early 1970's college mind trip film.
I had the fortune to see this film in 1970 or '71, shortly after it was made. I don't remember where I got this information, but I seem to recall being told that it was a University of Washington film student's master thesis. It seemed quite avant-garde at the time, with many quick cuts, low camera angles, tight edits, etcetera. The plot revolved around a young college student who was feeling rather outcast, and involved several non sequiturs.
What really made this film stand out to me was the score. This film claimed to be the first film which was scored entirely electronically. The entire score was performed on early Moog synthesizers, and was very original. Some of the music is quite lyrical, and all of it supports the on-screen action well.
The film was shot on the University of Washington campus, and at various locations in the San Juan Islands of Washington state, as well as on a large sailboat. Although the plot is difficult to follow at times, the cinematography is excellent, I believe.