“Alien: Covenant” inspired me to re-watch the third and fourth “Alien” films. “Alien Resurrection,” the fourth one, did nothing for me but I really love “Alien 3.” As a stand-alone film, it is one of the most frightening and despairing films I have ever seen. The first film by the great director David Fincher (“Seven,” “Fight Club”), it finds Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) crashed into a prison planet, with her friends Newt and Hicks (from “Aliens”) dead. There was an egg on her ship, and now the Alien is haunting the prison planet. Can she stop the alien and save humanity? Is this the bleakest film ever made? I’d vote for the most underrated.
The script’s decision to make vile prisoners protagonists caused much audience derision, but it makes for a fascinating film. Also interesting is the film’s cinematography and production design, which create images that will singe their way into your brain. The music by Elliot Goldenthal is highly memorable and marked his big break as a composer of blockbusters. Finally, Groin Hall of Famer Charles Dance gives a great performance as Clemons, as does Charles S. Dutton as the most complex of the convicts. Whether you’re watching the Theatrical Cut or the extended, more coherent 2003 Assembly Cut, “Alien 3” is a powerful, ambitious film that is far better than it is given credit for. David Fincher, take another look at your film: it’s great! (He disowned it.) Much better than “Gone Girl”!
Picked up the Roger Corman double feature of “Deathsport” and “Battletruck” this week. “Deathsport” is a follow-up of sorts to “Death Race 2000” starring David Carradine, Claudia Jennings, and Richard Lynch. It’s about a deadly futuristic sport involving flaming motorcycles, lasers, and much mayhem. The film doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s a lot of fun and is from the director of “Rock and Roll High School” and “Caddyshack 2.” The director contributes an hilarious audio commentary.
“Battletruck,” also known as “Warlords of the 21st Century,” is a “Mad Max” type film starring Michael Beck from “The Warriors” about a lawless, oil-deprived future in which the Battletruck, possibly the coolest vehicle I’ve ever seen, reigns supreme. This flick has very little plot but is very well made from a director who went on to make “Black Moon Rising” with Tommy Lee Jones, which is also about a vehicle.
There’s not too much to say about these two films except that they’re good B-pictures. Claudia Jennings gets naked in “Deathsport” and David Carradine kicks ass. Richard Lynch is always the best villain, I want to own the “Battletruck,” and live in New Zealand, where that film was shot. This two-pack is available on DVD for around $10 and is a good deal.
Are you a fan of “Stranger Things” and “Jumanji”? Have you always wondered if there is more to board games than meet the eye? Welcome to “Beyond the Gates,” an entertaining and sometimes frightening low budget horror film that won the Audience Award at the 2016 Los Angeles film festival.
This film concerns 2 adult brothers whose father disappeared a decade ago who discover a strange board game he was playing before he died. Titled “Beyond the Gates,” of course, the game is an elaborate, mysterious concoction that threatens your mind, body, and soul and takes you to another dimension. In order to survive, you must listen to the game master (played on videotape by Barbara Crampton from “Re-Animator”) and win the game. The two brothers (who are hoping to save their dad from the other dimension( and their friends are affected by the game, and there will be much confusion and weirdness, a body count, blood and gore, and an ending that may not be what the viewer will expect.
I thought this movie was excellent, primarily because of its great premise and unpredictability. The actors are fine and the special effects are good. It’ll make you think twice about playing a board game! It is currently streaming on Netflix and is available on Blu-ray and DVD.
If you’re disheartened by the overly commercial movies being put out by Hollywood and you like horror, I’ve got a movie for you. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe,” starring Emile Hirsch and Brian (Hannibal Lector in “Manhunter”) Cox, is a small-scale but very frightening experience. It is about a farther (Cox) and son (Hirsch) who work at a mortuary, and their new patron, “Jane Doe,” has died a very unusual death, and they can’t figure out what killed her. Is she even dead
This film has two things going for it: great acting and an incredible sense of mystery, atmosphere, and dread. Brian Cox delivers his best performance in years as the father, a decent man with dark secrets. The director, who made “Trollhunter,” has a field day with the possibly haunted mortuary. Not only do we get jump scares galore, but also some truly disgusting and disturbing scenes. It all builds to a satisfying, dark conclusion.
In short, “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a good sleeper horror film. Rent or stream it and turn off all the lights. You will definitely be scared!
I assumed I would never like a movie with a talking raccoon, but “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a blast. The secret, I think, is in the casting. I am not a big fan of Chris Pratt, but he is perfect as Starlord in both films. Zoe Saldana is also good, but the show is continually stolen by Bradley Cooper as a foul-mouthed talking raccoon. Throw in Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot and you have a cast of outcast heroes worth cheering.
I liked this film better than the first because of the cast being so much fun to watch. Not only do we get Sylvester Stallone and (in a memorable role) Kurt Russell, but Michael Rooker gets to be the hero. The 3-D, surprisingly, is very good, and the film never seems stuck in Marvel Movie Formula. In short, the film is a hoot and will probably make a gazillion dollars. And, yes, Stan Lee and Howard T. Duck make brief appearances.
I had a big day at the track today. Only made a single bet. Bet $10 to win, $10 to place, and $10 to show on Ted Oliver and he won at 20-1 odds. Made a little over 300 bucks. Have been betting on Ted Oliver for about three years.
The first time I bet on him I was at the track at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley and I bet $60 to win on him and he won by a lot. It only paid 2-1 and wasn’t a great payout, but it showed that if you had balls you could make some money on this horse. There were a few other times he won or placed for me. When they run him for too high of a purse in the first few races he doesn’t do as well as when they run him for a lower purse and later in the day.
The best thing about him is that when he is on that day, he sometimes can win by a lot.
His past before this race I had bet $30 on him to show , but he came in 4th. I like that he had raced recently and been competitive. Unlike other horses I won a lot on before (Maggie’s Gold for instance) – Ted Oliver seems to place higher the more often they run him, rather than after layoffs.
He had a crummy starting position that time ( on the outside or the inside). Whereas this time he was in the 3 or 4 spots, where its much easier to get a clear lane to run. Most of the time at GGF I recommend to bet on horses starting in the 3 or 4 spot, and avoid betting on horses positioned on the inside or outside positions.
Off at: 5:00 Race Type: Starter Allowance
Age Restriction: Three Year Old and Upward
Distance: Five Furlongs On The Turf
Track Condition: Firm
Winning Time: 57.70
Pgm # – Horse
Ted Oliver 40.80 14.40 6.60
Whilly Pink 8.40 5.40
Preacher’s Bluff 4.40
I don’t know how many Oakland A’s fans are reading this article but this suffering A’s fan has seen just about enough. From hitting to relief pitching to mascots, this team is now decidedly second- rate. However, what really annoys me is our horrendous defense and continual inability to manufacture runs. Because of this, I believe manager Bob Melvin should be fired and replaced with Atlanta Braves 3rd base coach Ron Washington.
I know that many people blame General Manager Billy Beane for trading Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, and Brandon Moss two years ago after three successful seasons. But even then, the Athletics couldn’t play defense or manufacture runs. Now that the team isn’t nearly as stacked with talent, their deficiencies have become far more glaring. A new manager and a changed emphasis on getting the basics right could do wonders for this team. Ron Washington is an obvious choice to replace Melvin because he has coached the team effectively in the past and went to the World Series twice as the manager of the Texas Rangers.
Another thing that has to happen is that the mascot Stomper has to go, but that’s another article. For now, here’s hoping it’s bye-bye Bob Melvin, hello Ron Washington! A’s fans should unite with this urgent demand. We deserve a winning team!
The new movie “The Circle” has the unearned reputation from critics and audiences of being a bomb. It’s a smart thriller that plays against audience expectations. Going in, we know that Emma Watson has to be the heroine and Tom Hanks, as a Steve Jobs-type guru, must be the villain. However, neither character behaves according to type, which has caused many people to say the film makes no sense. I urge people to reconsider. This movie is about people who are in the public limelight 24/7. Because the main characters are in the limelight all the time, there is no way they can tip off that their modus operandi may be masking deeper motivations and secrets. As a result, it is a genuine surprise when the characters are unmasked at the end as not being what they seem. If the director had played everything straight and square, with characters behaving in a more understandable way, the point of the movie would have been lost. The film is about how technology forces us to react in unnatural ways.
That established, this is a good movie, much better than “Fate of the Furious” and “Beauty and the Beast.” It asks important questions about technology, privacy, and where we are today and where we are headed. The music, directing, performances, and cinematography are first-rate. Most importantly, it tells you that if a company asks you to be monitored by millions 24 hours a day without big pay, just say no. See “The Circle” to see that the future is now.