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Tremors 2 Aftershocks

Director – S.S. Wilson – 1996 – US – Cert. 12 – 92m

Video rental release

Tremors’ Fred Ward and Michael Gross (the survivalist Burt Gummer) joined by self‑styled “new guy” Christopher Gartin are again beset by underground beasties who, as before, outsmart the humans – here mutating into CGI bipeds created by top Jurassic Park effects man Phil Tippett. Highly inventive sequel – recommended.

Capsule review from Manga Mania, 1996, republished here on the death of actor Fred Ward, May 2022.

Trailer:

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Ladies Of The Forest (San-na-mul Cheo-nyeo, 산나물처녀)

Director – Kim Cho-hee – 2016 – South Korea – 29m

*****

A woman descends from the heavens in search of a mate, but lands in a forest where the pickings are slim – part of a strand of films celebrating actress Youn Yuh-jung at LKFF, the London Korean Film Festival which runs in cinemas from Thursday, November 4th to Friday, November 19th

The source of this plot is a folk tale known as The Fairy And The Woodcutter or The Heavenly Maiden And The Woodcutter. There seem to be a number of variants of the story – a good, much longer summation can be found here – but, broadly speaking, it concerns a woodcutter so poor that no woman will marry him. He lives alone with his mother. One day, he hides a deer from a hunter and in return, the deer offers to grant him a wish. He wishes to be married. The deer tells him of a pool to which beautiful maidens descend from the heavens to bathe. If he steals the clothes of one, she’ll be unable to return and he’ll be able to make her his wife. He must not, however, return her clothes until she has birthed three children, otherwise she will use her clothes to fly back to the heavens.… Read the rest

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Animation Features Live Action Movies

Ready Player One

Director – Steven Spielberg – 2018 – US – 12a – 140m

*****

Get your game on. Spielberg heads back to the future using Tye Sheridan as his avatar inside a visually lavish virtual world stuffed with 80s pop culture references and dirtylicious resonances – now on Netflix

Spielberg has long been happy to move between big-budget spectaculars like Jurassic Park (1993) which push the boundaries of what’s possible in film and culturally significant stories like Schindler’s List (1993) which rely less on special effects or reshaping the blockbuster medium. Following Bridge Of Spies (2015) and The Post (2017), Spielberg now brings audiences Ready Player One which represents something he’s been trying to make for years – a movie which gets into the heads of gamers.

Among his earlier forays, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) felt like a funny mixture of a sequel and an attempt at realising the gamer world (think: racing through fields in vehicles surrounded by numerous running dinosaurs). Subsequent films A.I. (2001) and Minority Report (2002) both boast futuristic environments that might not look out of place in a state of the art video game. Further, the experience of watching The Adventures Of Tintin (2011) recalls the process of actually playing a computer game.Read the rest

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Prometheus

Director – Ridley Scott – 2012 – US – Cert.15 – 124m

*****

UK release date 02/06/2012.

Western social attitudes to women have come a long way since Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) gratuitously stripped down to her underwear prior to fending off the malevolent creature in the finale of Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi shocker Alien (1979), but would appear still to have a long way to go.

You might think the glass ceiling has been abolished with the expedition on spaceship Prometheus being run by ice-cool blonde Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), but subsequent plot twists (which we won’t reveal) suggest otherwise. Scientist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), impossibly pregnant with a mysterious and rapidly growing embryo, is unexpectedly forced to improvise when the automated medical operations facility with which she had hoped to perform her own Caesarian turns out programmed for male surgery only. If sisters are now doing it for themselves, plenty of male-designed hurdles are still making sure they don’t do it it that easily.

Elsewhere, as Prometheus pre-empts the Alien franchise’s “which one of the crew is an android?” gambit by introducing us to the non-human David (Michael Fassbender) walking around the ship before he awakens first Vickers then her subordinate crew members from hyper-sleep, the android male still appears to possess more final authority than anyone else on board.… Read the rest

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The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Director – Steven Spielberg – 1997 – US – PG – 129m

***

UK PAL laserdisc review.

Originally published on London Calling Internet.

Given the original Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993) movie left out some of the best bits of a brilliant book, had a plot so full of holes it was virtually transparent and still elevated itself to the level of technically groundbreaking, cinematic achievement (not to mention making more money than any other movie ever) the quality of any sequel movie was nothing if not uncertain. Michael Crichton’s uninspired follow-up novel, with all the un-Spielberg-y rough edges removed, didn’t bode well and while audiences flocked to see the second film, most critics responded poorly to it. Their main criticism – it has a weak plot. Or scarcely a plot at all.

Basically, having escaped Jurassic Park, chaos theorist Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), his ideas this time round largely reduced to the repeated phrase “life finds a way”, journeys to the second island to bring back palaeontologist girlfriend Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore), who’s there documenting the dino-wildlife for founding billionaire Hammond (Richard Attenborough) before his nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard) – who has just wrested control of the InGen company from his uncle – arrives there with an army of men and an arsenal of big game hunting weapons under the command of big game hunter Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite).… Read the rest

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Jurassic Park

(Review originally published in Third Way, May 1993.)

Director – Steven Spielberg – 1993 – US – PG – 127m

*****

A wealthy philanthropist brings dinosaurs to life from preserved fragments of their DNA to populate his island theme park– in cinemas from 16th July 1993

“God creates dinosaurs.

God kills dinosaurs.

God creates man.

Man kills God.

Man creates dinosaurs.”

– Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), chaos theoretician.

“Dinosaurs kill man.

Women take over the world.”

– Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), palaeobotanist.

“Creation is an act of will: next time, it’ll be flawless.”

– John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), creator of Jurassic Park.

Set to become the biggest grossing movie of all time (if it hasn’t already done so by the time you read this), Steven Spielberg’s latest offering concerns rich industrialist John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) theme park built around his dream to delight children with wonders come to life. The wonders are dinosaurs, cloned from dino DNA ingested by prehistoric insects subsequently drowned and preserved in amber. For more on this aspect of the story, read co-screenwriter Michael Crichton’s original (and best-selling) novel; Spielberg, who races through small chunks of plot as quickly as he can, isn’t interested in them half as much as he is in dinosaurs.… Read the rest