This week I decided to go with fifties science fiction… one was a classic and one… not so much.
The first on my list, the classic, This Island Earth, was a film I’d known about for years and despite my love of the genre had never gotten around to seeing it and I have to say when I got around to it it was not what I had expected.
The premise, aliens contacting scientists in order to save their war torn planet, while well written, strains your suspension of disbelief for numerous reasons, I found myself filling in the gaps in the story while watching, asking questions like did anyone in the science community know about prominent nuclear physicists disappearing, why didn’t the aliens evacuate their world earlier… they already had a network on earth they could have had the beginning of a colony their before they ever told the protagonists that was what their plans were or for that matter why didn’t they fight back against their attackers rather than merely focus on their “ion shields” after all their flying saucers were very maneuverable with cannons they should have better luck against their attackers who’s only tactic seemed to be dropping asteroids.
Despite this nitpicking as an adventure This Island Earth definitely holds up to it’s rep and the effects were excellent for the time though I have to say that the mutant that was on all the posters barely got five minutes of screen time.
Attack of the Saucer Men is described as a comedy and if that is the case explains away the dumbest parts but even then I found myself wondering just how much of this was intentional. If calling it a comedy was something the advertisers chose at the last minute after the screening. Most of the movie was a bundle of fifties cliché’s so blatant I found myself imagining it being specifically designed as a date film designed to get boys and girls to hold each other when the predictable scare scenes came about.
All in all I found myself sympathizing with the stereotypical crusty old farmer with a gun whose house everyone trespassed into to use his phone. And when you discover that the aliens’ weakness is light how can you be afraid of the imminent invasion when all you have to do is wait for the sun to rise.
Been a while since I’ve seen a reason to crow about my biking regimen, but today I’m proud to say that I broke my record two times in a row this week and the new time to beat is 33 minutes and 28 seconds with a new record speed of 16.32mph!
I’m pretty pumped, though I have to admit that as i’d like to attribute this to my gradual physical improvement (and to be fair, a lot of it is) even more of it is due to getting better at maintaining tire pressure, finally getting a few spokes in front wheel fixed and, most importantly, finally dragging myself out the door before 6.15.
It’s easy to make excuses for yourself like if only I crossed the street on time, if only I didn’t catch that light… but regrettably on my route I can itemize the list of “if only” obstacles. Most of them are virtually nonexistent provided I manage to start before 6:30 but a few of them, including my greatest enemy the light on NE 65th street, which can add as much as two minutes to your time if you are unlucky enough to catch it going both ways, as well as more trivial things like trying to turn off Runkeeper on your iPhone when you finish your workout and are wearing gloves (15 seconds at least)
One of these days I’ll have to do my workout on a proper bike track and find out what my maximum time really is… but what’s the fun of that?
It feels weird that considering approximately ten percent of my cast in Rhapsodies is Irish I’ve yet to do anything with St. Patrick’s day.
I’ve rarely gotten into St. Patrick’s day mostly since I have some not so fond memories of the wearing of green being mandatory at the elementary school I went too, seriously. But the big one is because it is also my sister’s birthday (Happy Birthday Jul!) so to me it’s always been more her day than mine.
All the stuff with the leprechauns are fun but I don’t see any reason to limit my interest in Celtic faerie lore to one day (though the fact there’s a lot of folklore texts on sale at all the bookstores I know this week certainly is a perk.)
As for the adult stuff I really don’t need a night dedicated to getting plastered, especially on a weeknight and I usually forget that this is the week that corned beef is on sale if I want to do that culinary tradition.
But anyway I hope everyone else enjoys it so raise a Guinness while singing Danny Boy and have a happy St. Patrick’s Day!
My initial idea for a theme this week was something in the way of people trying to maintain the façade of an artificial reality. Unfortunately I’d seen most of the movies that could go with the movie that had inspired me to go in this direction, Goodbye Lenin!, so I was forced to muddle along and the connection between it and my second film choice ended up being a bit of a stretch.
Goodbye Lenin! is a German Film about the end of East Germany and how, at least in one apartment complex, lasted just little longer.
We open hearing our protagonist, Alex Kerner, tell the story of how his mother Christiane, embraced communism after his father defected to the west and years later how she had a heart attack from the shock of seeing him in a pro democracy rally putting her in a coma for eight months. During that time the Berlin Wall falls letting all the joys and horrors of capitalism pour in.
When she finally wakes up, Alex is warned by the doctor that any shock could cause Christiane to have another heart attack. In order to prevent this Alex reverts the family apartment to the way it was a year ago and does everything he can to make it look as if East Germany is alive and well. This, however is easier said than done and as the movie continues the façade becomes increasingly difficult to maintain.
This is an interesting quiet film, and while the premise Is certainly comic it is played perfectly straight. The pacing seemed a bit off time most notably my favorite scene where Christiane finally walks out of the apartment and sees modern Berlin covered in loud colorful commercialism with a statue of Lenin flying by hanging from a helicopter. I would have imagined this to be the climax of the film in any other film but in this one the story went on for another 45 minutes.
While, as I said my other film selection, Human Nature didn’t fit my original theme beyond on of the characters trying to hide her true nature to her lover, but it was still quite enjoyable amusing quirky piece of magical realism. It tells the story of a man raised by apes (actually his crazy father who thought he was an ape) and a woman who abandons civilization and the quirky behavioral scientist who brings them together.
This is a flawed but fun satire that has a lot to say with some good performances, (including an early cameo from Peter Dinklage) I found myself liking some of the background material the best, most notably a pair of white mice seen throughout the film who were a lab experiment to see if mice could be taught table market. Near the end of the film they are released into the wild. As the credits go up we see them trying to hitchhike.