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Blade Runner (The Director's Cut) [DVD] [1982]
Blade Runner (The Director's Cut) [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ Harrison Ford
Offered by ajdiscs
Price: £9.99

17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If movies could be supermodels, this would be Claudia S !, 10 July 2000
I've always said you can switch-off the sound and still find a Ridley Scott film a beautiful experience, just watching the images.
Ridley Scott's 2nd sci-fi feature is just such a film. With the aid of Douglas Trumbell's visual effects and a fabulously dark LA futurescape design element (not to mention Vangelis's haunting score), Scott manages to portray a distopian, corporately-dominated future full of rich neon cityscapes, whilst the stone is turned at street level to reveal a dark societal underbelly of crime and violence.
Harrison Ford, Sean Young and Rutger Hauer all put in decent performances in their respective parts, but one can't help thinking that Scott was restrictive in their character development, and everything appears overly-slow and lethargic (although Scott's intention was never an action movie, more an explanation of the right to exist).
Given the vast overall complexity of Scott's Blade Runner project and his occasionally manic attention to detail, it's a small wonder (with all the noted production difficulties and 'on-set' personality clashes) that this fantastic movie was ever released. It was a surprise summer '82 flop, although releasing it at around the same time as Spielberg's 'ET' was always going to be its deathwish. ET delighted the kids (me included at the time !), but Blade Runner is now rightfully credited as 'the' defining sci-fi movie of the 1980's.


Aliens (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1986]
Aliens (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1986]
Dvd ~ Sigourney Weaver
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £2.39

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All-action, alien-blasting carnage from cult-cutter Cameron, 10 July 2000
Only one director circa-1985 could be asked to direct the first sequel to the brilliant Alien, and that man was James Cameron. Already established as a sci-fi action moviemaker following the classic Terminator (1984)and armed with a quirky script and his love for all things futurist, Cameron made one of the best sci-fi actioners ever made.
One cannot really say whether it's 'better' than Scott's original 'Alien', as the entire premise of this sequel is vastly different. For sure, it's superior in terms of all-out action sequences, memorable one-liners (Get away from her, you ... ! etc etc) and maybe even plotline. Even the direction is pretty good, as you'd expect from Cameron.
However, there is nowhere near the tension of the original and the characters, a platoon of US Space Marines, are sometimes a little OTT (albeit quite funny, eg, Private Hudson). To vastly generalise, it's basically about all-out revenge and blasting aliens to pieces, or getting acidified and cocooned by the aliens. Cameron directs the killing sequences with amplomb (as in The Terminator) by making them gorily believable, but not portraying killing purely for the sake of it. Indeed, the initial battle scene where the aliens attack the first wave of troops is reminiscent of The Charge of the Light Brigade, ie, they literally have no chance.
If you want an ultra-tense, genuinely frightening sci-fi film then watch Alien. If you want a space-based shoot em' up, a riveting plot and a female role model, Aliens is your movie.
Highly recommended !


Clerks [VHS] [1995]
Clerks [VHS] [1995]
VHS
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: £3.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Low-budget, high-quality comedy with a disgusting twist !, 10 July 2000
This review is from: Clerks [VHS] [1995] (VHS Tape)
Kevin Smith played a directorial masterstoke with this sub-$30k, monochrome movie.
The three leads are great and support the hilarious script admirably, and the 'twist' at the end is brilliant. For anyone who has not been initiated into the 'wasters world' of Kevin Smith characters, let this be your introduction.
Best Scene : Where Randall describes the latest 'video-offerings' in hardcore porn to a housewife and her six-year-old daughter (when she only asked for a Disney video !)


Thx 1138 [VHS]
Thx 1138 [VHS]
VHS

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow-moving but thoughtful Lucas debut, 10 July 2000
This review is from: Thx 1138 [VHS] (VHS Tape)
THX-1138 was George Lucas' first major studio effort (yes, pre-American Graffiti) demonstrating his early passion for sci-fi in a more 'near-future' setting than Star Wars.
The overall visual design is cold, sparse and domineering, representing the bland, authoritarian society where Robert Duvall is looking for a way out of a life which he believes is just an 'existence', and where physical love is a felony punishable by electric shock torture and ostricisation from the subterranean 'society'.
The steel-masked police officers portrayed in THX-1138 are genuinely scary and threatening, with their softly-spoken intonation, blackshirt-type uniforms and electric batons (in fact, the name of one of the Imperial Stormtroopers guarding the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars is named THX-1138).
Add to this a great car/motorbike chase sequence and you have an excellent insight into the future directorial intentions of George Lucas and his ability to make a simple story into something highly-engaging and watchable, with Star Wars being his definitive example of this.
The only gripe would be the sluggish pace of the film in parts and some stitled acting (although the very nature of the roles meant that little emotion should come to the fore anyway !)
All in all, this comes highly recommended to Star Wars fans looking for a better insight into the directorial mind of George Lucas and his more humble beginnings.


Alien 3 [DVD] [1992]
Alien 3 [DVD] [1992]
Dvd ~ Sigourney Weaver
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.28

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fincher's first is a fair attempt, but........, 10 July 2000
This review is from: Alien 3 [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
Alien 3 is perhaps the least-loved of the Alien quilogy, although in following on from it's predecessors (from distinguished director's Ridley Scott & James Cameron) this was always going to be a difficult task.
Although Fincher is exactly the type of director who would suit a dark, sci-fi movie of this type, perhaps it was not the greatest idea in letting him loose on the third instalment of the Alien franchise. Perhaps after having a couple of movies in the bag beforehand would given him those few extra visual ideas which could have made this a great film. That's not to say it's a bad film, it's just not a 'great' one. The limited physical scenario of the Fiorina 161 prison colony with fairly one-dimensional, poorly scripted characters did not help Fincher in his task.
This is a pity, as Fincher is a superb film-maker, given a quality screenplay and a decent basic idea (see Seven and Fight Club for proof). Although he has facilitated some excellent ideas within Alien 3, they never quite seem to come off as well as you'd expect in the retrospective context of the Alien saga, ie, there just are'nt enough shocks, and those few moments which do actually shock are fairly predictable anyway.
Maybe Fincher is now ready for Alien V, if Ridley Scott is not prepared (or just too busy) to go back and complete what he began.


2010: The Year We Make Contact [DVD] [1984]
2010: The Year We Make Contact [DVD] [1984]
Dvd ~ Roy Scheider
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: £22.99

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't compete with 2001 - but not a bad attempt !, 10 July 2000
2010 shows director Peter Hyams in his prefered sci-fi mode following his excellent Io-based Outland (1981).
As ever, the director's visuals and attention to futuristic detail are superb (especially during the orbital scenes over Jupiter), incorporating some excellent visual effects for the mid-1980's. Even the main character's are fairly-well developed, which is a rarity in a Peter Hyams movie, although the ending is perhaps a little too schmaltzy (although blame this on Arthur C Clarke !).
Of course, Hyams would have been pressed-hard to emulate the quality of Kubrick's classic 2001, but at least it's not as convoluted as it's predecessor (which was very much a product of the late-60's)and it is a fair, if sometimes slow-moving, attempt at producing a screen version of Clarke's epic sequel in the Odyssey Quilogy. Recommended.


Dark Star [VHS]
Dark Star [VHS]
VHS
Offered by stephensmith_426
Price: £16.77

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hippies destroy planets in deep space shock !, 10 July 2000
This review is from: Dark Star [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I first saw this film back in the mid-80's and have to say it's one of the best sci-fi comedies of all time, along with Woody Allen's Sleeper. (the likes of 'SpaceBalls' don't hold a candle to this).
John Carpenter's directorial debut is an assured piece of work, with some great one-liners from the hippy-esque crew (including Dan O'Bannon), a self-aware nuclear bomb launching computer and an alien lifeform which appears to have evolved from a superior race of beachballs (ie, that's basically what it is ! )
It's a great laugh from beginning to end as the crew have the thankless and seemingly endless task of travelling to different star systems to destroy 'unstable planets' (why was Earth not targetted ?). Couple this with the fact that the crew are growing to despise each other, they are attacked by the aforementioned 'beachball being' and must contend with an obstinate, philosophic nuclear bomb, and you have all the ingrediants of utter chaos in deep space. It's amazing to think that Carpenter's first big movie was a sci-fi comedy vehicle such as this, although his flirtation into sci-fi movemaking would again be demonstrated in Escape From New York (1981) and The Thing (1982).
Dan O'Bannon would later go on to script Alien. Now just imagine 'that' as a comedy !


Alien [DVD] [1979]
Alien [DVD] [1979]
Dvd ~ Sigourney Weaver
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.04

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the greatest sci-fi movie of all time ?, 10 July 2000
This review is from: Alien [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
Alien is without doubt one of the finest ( if not the finest) examples of intelligent science fiction film-making ever-made.
Ridley Scott's art school leanings and impressive attention to detail, coupled with Ron Cobb's stunning interiors and H R Giger's ultra-unworldly alien lifeform combine to make Alien one of the most memorable movies of all time.
From a relatively thin plot, we are absorbed by an ever-present, underlying menace, right from opening credits. You know you are going to be in for a nightmarish ride. We almost never get to see the Alien in it's entirity until the closing 'shuttle escape' sequence, just the head section and the looming bodily shadow, another directorial masterstroke from Scott.
With ahead of their time, Oscar-winning visual effects, an eerie Jerry Goldsmith score, fabulously shot visuals and realistic characters, Alien must be regarded as a 20th century classic and perhaps one of the ten most highly-regarded movies of all time.
Who's to say that Mr Scott should take on the director's chair for Alien V ?


Outland [DVD] [1981]
Outland [DVD] [1981]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Price: £8.26

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The early-80's best sci-fi movie, 7 July 2000
This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
Following on from his excellent thriller Capricorn One (1978),Peter Hyam's produced one of the few meritable and memorable sci-fi efforts of the early 1980s.
The overall setting, a vast mining facility on the surface of Io, is a highly realistic look into our 'off-Earth' industrial future and is the perfect, grim setting for the High Noon scenario which develops.
If there any gripes, then it has to be said that Hyam's relies heavily on his ever-excellent visuals, with the script and plot coming a distant second place. Outland is no certainly no exception here, although there is the occasional memorable one-liner. With the exception of Connery's O'Niel role, characterisation is unfortunately kept to a minimum, with action/chase sequences brought to the fore instead.
Nevertheless, the interior sets are inspirational and very much in line with the neo-industrialist visual design element of Ridley Scott's 'Alien.' The film genuinely generates the uneasy, claustraphobic atmosphere of a crammed working environment in remote, hostile conditions and this, combined with the action sequences, makes for a highly engaging piece of work.


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