August 19, 2005 |
It was a cinematic coincidence that ranks up there with the debut of The China Syndrome just a few days before the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. I'm referring to the news of the discovery of a 10th planet in our solar system on the same day a network showed the movie K-Pax, in which a mental patient who claims to be from another world tells his psychologist that 10 planets, in fact, revolve around the sun. Apart from the bizarre timing, the observation by Kevin Spacey's self-proclaimed spaceman was one of the rare occasions when conjecture of this sort has turned out to be the right stuff.
November 19, 2009 |
The animated sci-fi spoof "Planet 51" makes you wonder if things might be more interesting on Planet 52. The movie's reverse "E.T. " premise has a cocky astronaut (voice of Dwayne Johnson) landing on a planet where the little green men and women live in a near-facsimile of 1950s America - with tailfinned vehicles and a paranoid fear of being invaded by aliens. The movie has fun with its proud lack or originality, up to a point - after a while, you realize even its sci-fi riffs are re-riffted.
October 19, 2011 |
WOODSTOCK, N.Y. - Edgar Villchur, who went from repairing radios in his New York City shop to inventing groundbreaking audio equipment and hearing aids, has died. He was 94. Villchur died Monday of natural causes at his Woodstock home, his daughter, Miriam Villchur Berg, said yesterday. After serving as an Army electronics officer in World War II, the Manhattan native opened a radio repair shop in Greenwich Village, where he built custom home high-fidelity sets. He moved to Woodstock in 1952, and it was while living there and teaching an acoustics class at New York University that he came up with the idea for the acoustic suspension loudspeaker, said Berg, a Woodstock resident.
February 18, 2000 |
"Pitch Black" is a blatant, shameless, brazen pastiche of every popular sci-fi movie of the past two decades, and it's not half-bad. Shot in Australia with a mostly no-name cast from Down Under, this efficient little "B" flick follows survivors of a spaceship crash who find themselves menaced by cave-dwelling monsters on a desert planet. The movie's bleached-out, sun-saturated visuals dominate the early scenes, as survivors look for water on the planet's uninviting surface, constantly scorched by two separate suns.
August 7, 1998 |
When director Fred Wilcox embarked on the filming of Forbidden Planet in 1956, he ignored Shakespeare's advice ("Neither a borrower nor a lender be") and cheerfully lifted the plot of The Tempest. When Wilcox set it down on the remote planet of Altair-4, he made one of the enduring classics of '50s science fiction and a movie that still wears its years well. A serious Leslie Nielsen (yes, he used to be in his younger days) commands the expedition that lands on Altair-4. There Prospero is now the scientist Morbius, Miranda is his daughter Altair, Ariel is a cute robot, and Caliban one of the most imaginatively rendered monsters of the time.
January 23, 2009 |
'By the hammer of Thor!" Tina Fey's Liz Lemon liked to exclaim in last season's 30 Rock . They could've used the line in Outlander , too. Maybe they did and I just missed it - in one of those mead-hall scenes, perhaps, where wenches serve Vikings their grog, just before a giant monster from outer space goes on the attack. That's when the hardy Norsemen shout "Bring me my blade, woman!" and trot off to get sliced and diced by this mysterious "dragon" that's descended like a curse.
April 20, 2009 |
Some may view a comic whose two lead characters are a mentally sharp, physically formidable black man and an equally bright, tough-as-nails white woman as being progressive. However, the key element that makes "Stingers" fun is that it feels like a blast from the past. More specifically, it feels inspired by classic sci-fi movies from the '80s and early '90s like "Aliens" and "Predator. " Of course, as is usually the case with its publisher, Fort Washington-based Zenescope, "Stingers" takes the classic elements from those films and gives them a fresh, modern and fun spin.
September 26, 2009 |
Imagine a future in which you can sit in the comfort of your reclining chair, virtually experiencing the world through an idealized pleasure-bot version of yourself. If only the makers of Surrogates had. Instead, they've crafted a superficial sci-fi film loaded with inconsistencies and cranium-scratchers. For instance, if the whole point of this surrogate society is to appear as a perfectly beautiful avatar, why would Bruce Willis choose that ludicrous blond wig that looks like he plucked it off a mannequin at Boscov's?
April 14, 1995 |
If the phrase Klaatu barada nikto means nothing to you, you owe it to yourself to hie over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Wednesday night for its screening of Robert Wise's 1951 sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still. A suspenseful black-and-white picture with a pacifistic, antinuclear theme, The Day the Earth Stood Still stars the lanky, melancholy Michael Rennie as a beatific alien who steps out of his spaceship in Washington to warn the world against the cataclysmic effects of atomic testing.
March 9, 1995 |
Jeff Goldblum says he's not particularly attracted to science fiction, but over the years sci-fi has shown a marked attraction to him. While he has played assorted yuppies, comic heroes and even a cowboy during the last two decades, some of his best-known performances have been in tales of futuristic fantasy, from cult favorite "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai," to the hugely popular, nightmarish remake of "The Fly" and, of course, the mega-blockbuster...