Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cardboard Science: The movie is nothing but ropes and asses!


An archaeological adventure with more on its mind than it seems, The Mole People wasn't consigned to the dustbin of cinematic history for no reason, but it deserves to be pulled back out, for it offers not just the lowest-fi kind of genre fun, but a good message.

Directed by Virgil Vogel
Written by Laszlo Gorog
With John Agar (Dr. Roger Bentley), Hugh Beaumont (Dr. Jud Bellamin), Nestor Paiva (Prof. Etienne LaFarge), Phil Chambers (Dr. Paul Stuart), Rodd Redwing (Nazar), Alan Napier (Elinu, the High Priest), Cynthia Patrick (Adad), and Dr. Frank C. Baxter (Dr. Frank C. Baxter)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, June 22, 2015

The emo band


Pixar returns with an adventure inside a little girl's head that is extremely cute, irrepressibly sweet, and (up to a point) psychologically insightful, but which is maybe the teensiest bit too muddled to be hailed as an instant classic.

Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen
Written by Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, and Ronaldo del Carmen
With Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Mindy Kaling (Disgust), Lewis Black (Anger), and Kaitlyn Dias (Riley)

Spoiler alert: mild

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Jurassic Week, part IV: Yes, the first Jurassic Park was legit, you fucking knob


Behold!  14 years, and this is all they came up with!

Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, and Colin Trevorrow
With Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing), Chris Pratt (Owen Grady), Nick Robinson (Zach), Ty Simpkins (Gray), Irrfan Khan (Simon Masrani), Vincent D'Onofrio (Hoskins), and B.D. Wong (Dr. Henry Wu)

Spoiler alert: mild

Friday, June 19, 2015

Jurassic Week, part III: It is in the rock that real scientists make real discoveries


In which we learn, again, that sometimes the very best thing a movie can be about is itself.  Now, about that ending...

Directed by Joe Johnston
Written by Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor (based on characters created by Michael Crichton)
With Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant), Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler), William H. Macy (Paul Kirby), Tea Leoni (Amanda Kirby), Alessandro Nivola (Billy Brennan), and Trevor Morgan (Eric Kirby)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jurassic Week, part II: If we so much as bend a blade of grass...


Sure it's awful, but you gotta laugh.

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by David Koepp (based on the novel by Michael Crichton)
With Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcom), Julianne Moore (Dr. Sarah Harding), Vince Vaughn (Nick Van Owen), Vanessa Lee Chester (Kelly Curtis), Richard Attenborough (John Hammond), and Pete Postlethwaite (Roland Tembo)

Spoiler alert: high

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Jurassic Week, part I: Some expense might have been spared


One of the strongest arguments for auteur theory there is, Jurassic Park is an undeniable classic, founded almost entirely upon the strength of its director's personality.

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by David Koepp and Michael Crichton (based on the novel by Michael Crichton)
With Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant), Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm), Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler), Ariana Richards (Lex Murphy), Joseph Mazzello (Tim Murphy), and Richard Attenborough (John Hammond)

Spoiler alert (as if it applied in the first place): moderate

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cardboard Science: Gill-Man or Astro-Man?


Loopy and unjustified, but at least there's some noticeable heart in the third and final chapter of the Black Lagoon trilogy, which is a lot more than you can say about the second.

Directed by John Sherwood
Written by Arthur Ross
With Rex Reason (Dr. Thomas Morgan), Jeff Morrow (Dr. William Barton), Leigh Snowden (Marcia Barton), Ricou Browning (The Gill-Man), and Don Megowan (The... Lung-Man?)

Spoiler alert: high