The Predator – Teaser Trailer

What is it with the Alien and Predator franchises?

It almost feels like they’re being deliberately sabotaged (few other things can explain why Ridley Scott is so intent on undermining a series he himself helped to create) by some really bizarre decisions on the part of the people directing them, and it’s a pity.

In the case of the Predator, the problems started with 1990’s Predator 2 (the great idea of a Predator movie in the vein of Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop undermined by Stephen Hopkins paint-by-numbers direction and a weak script) and have pretty much continued to varying degrees since that time.

Though I had assumed that the Predator franchise had bottomed out with 2007’s Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem.

And apparently I was wrong because despite being co-written and directed by the undeniably talented Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) the upcoming The Predator looks to continue the time-honored idea of mixing lots of bad ideas with one or two half-decent ones.

For instance, the idea that the predators are using the DNA from the creatures on the planets they visit to make themselves even deadlier?  Great idea and probably the best addition to the franchise in many Hunter’s moons.

The idea that a little kid discovers a model (!?) of a Predator craft that somehow manages to (apparently) control an actual Predator spacecraft!?

Dumb beyond belief (on the face of it, at any rate).

Then there’s the idea of the movie taking place in Small Town, U.S.A., an idea that didn’t do AVPR ANY favors, so why not do it again?

As I said earlier, Shane Black is a damn talented writer and director, but I get the feeling he’s screwed the pooch on this one.

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Nightflyers Mea Culpa

Screenshot 2018-04-22 19.44.41You don’t typically get much in the way of mea culpas (and in Latin, no less!) out of me, but seeing that I originally posted that George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers was on Syfy, not Netflix , I felt an apology was in order.

This is important for two reasons.  First, I subscribe to Netflix, not Syfy.  And second–and perhaps most importantly–Syfy tends to suck (Though in the name of fairness, for every Altered Carbon there’s a Hemlock Grove or two on Netflix).

For those of you unfamiliar with the work of George R.R. Martin he’s written more than Game Of Thrones.  For instance, if you’re into vampires, Fevre Dream is for you.  Superheroes?  Then his Wild Cards series might be right up your alley.

Nightflyers falls firmly in the science fiction arena–with a healty does of horror–as a crew embark of a ship called Nightflyer, which it should go without saying does it’s damnedest to kill them.

I honestly cannot wait.

Shifting Reality: Book I of the ISF-Allion Series – Review

I have been know to review books here on Screenphiles, but it’s not something that I do on any sort of regular basis.

That being said, I just finished Patty Jansen‘s Shifting Reality, the Book I of the ISF-Allion Series and it was…okay.

The future world the novel depicts was an interesting one, though my biggest gripe is that the book, in an effort by the writer to craft what appears to be a viable future, can be very exposition-heavy.

At the end of the novel, in a section called ‘About the Setting’ Jansen explains that a ‘major disaster’ drove rural people into Jarkarta where the worker population was sourced.

What is never made quite clear is why they were sourced from that region (other than the writer being fascinated with Indonesia and it’s culture).

Another way the book would have been improved would be if more information was provided about the ISF–their origins and how they came to be–as well as Allion–which initially seems like a sinister conglomerate but ends up so much more.

Luckily Melati Rudiyanto, the main protagonist of the novel, is our eyes and ears into this fascinating futurescape because while the narrative may lag on occasion, she was interesting enough to keep me invested.

Overall Shifting Reality is a pretty good read (despite the occasional narrative lag), and worth seeking out.

I discovered Shifting Reality via The Humble Bundle, where you can pay what you like for eBooks that shift regularly in terms of genre, so this week it might be horror, though next week or could be hard Sci-Fi, and so on.

It – Teaser Trailer and Trailer 1

As far as I’m concerned–at least initially–the best horror is in the sizzle, not the steak.

Keep in mind that in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws for a good portion of the movie you never see the shark at all (for the most part a fortuitous accident.  The mechanical shark, known affectionately as Bruce, more often than not didn’t work as planned, forcing Spielberg  to improvise).

Ridley Scott’s Alien followed a similar template, where the monster was gradually teased, making its reveal all the more terrifying.

The first version of Stephen King’s IT did a similar thing, doling out hints and glimpses of the evil clown, Pennywise, before the final reveal.

And Tim Curry’s Pennywise was terrifying, though why he was so unnerving is important.

First off, clowns are slightly creepy in and of themselves.  It doesn’t take all that much to make one look just a bit off…

And I suspect Tim Curry knew this. Visually his Pennywise looked like any ordinary clown, but the way Curry’s voice sounded combined with the way he carried himself made Pennywise oddly disturbing.

This new version of Pennywise looks as if they’re trying too hard to be Scary, and it doesn’t particularly work.  As I mentioned earlier, Tim Curry’s version wasn’t necessarily trying to look scary.  In fact, he looked like a clown that you’d see on just about any circus in the country.


But what the makers of is rebooted series don’t seem to understand is that having one oversized shoe in the normal world, and the other in the bizarre, is what’s terrifying.

This new version, as far as I can tell, tries way too hard.

I (Think) I Finally Understand The Ghostbusters Brouhaha

When I heard all the brouhaha over Paul Feig’s reboot of Ivan Reitman’s 1984 Ghostbusters I didn’t quite understand what it was all about; beyond the obvious, such as recasting the leads as women.

You see, because while I enjoyed the original movie, it didn’t make much of an impression on me.

And Brendan Mertans Ghostheads didn’t change that, what it did was help me understand why it is that some people feel so passionately about the movie in the first place.

Ghostheads, a Kickstarter-financed movie is currently on Netflix is about people who’s lives have been changed by the original movie (it also features an interview with Feig.  It was good to hear him respond positively to the idea of Ghostbusters fandom, which is welcome, especially considering his reaction to people on Twitter who have not responded well to his reboot).

It’s a fascinating look into these people’s lives, and appears to be nothing about positive.

That being said, there’s something a bit odd about people who devote so much of their lives to a movie; though to be fair it’s no more strange than the average Trekkie.

Though more importantly, what it says is that some people use Ghostbusters as a way to meet other people, to be part of something bigger than themselves, like a massive, worldwide social club.

And if you look at it that way, it’s pretty cool.

How StudioADI (Almost) Saved Alien: Resurrection

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection, along with David Fincher’s Alien 3, are considered–and rightly so–to be the worse movies in the Alien franchise.

In reference to the the former, that’s probably true, but doesn’t tell the whole story.  For instance, Joss Whedon (Serenity, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron) wrote the movie, and had a few things to say about the casting as well as how he final product veered from his screenplay.

Another point is that, despite the issues revolving around the casting or story–what’s the point of giving the Alien Queen the ability to reproduce like mammals do, anyway?  Not only is it oftentimes painful (which may aid to bond the mother and her offspring), mammals typically produce much less offspring than insects, which the Aliens essentially are.

So when the entire premise of your movie is a wash, it’s typically a bad sign.

That being said, studioADI handled a lot of the practical special effects–Ripley models, the full-sized Alien Queen, etc–and their work is easily the best part of the movie.

And while it wasn’t  not enough to save the movie, visually speaking, it came damn close.

I, Frankenstein – Review

I, Frankenstein movie poster

I, Frankenstein.  At Least It’s Not Van Helsing.”

That’s pretty weak praise, then again I, Frankenstein isn’t the strongest of movies.

No one through virtually the entire running time is at all certain if the Monster (Aaron Eckhart) has a soul–spoiler alert:  He does–though I wish the same could be said for the movie itself, because underneath the often snazzy special effects, it’s pretty soulless.

I, Frankenstein comic cover

Call me “Frankencastle” and someone gets hurt

I, Frankenstein is based on a graphic novel written by Kevin Grevioux–who also had a hand in writing Underworld as well, and if you swapped out the werewolves with gargoyles, and the demons with vampires, that’s the movie you’d end up with.

Still, it’s not terrible more than just uninspired.  The movie revolves around Frankenstein’s Monster, who calls himself Adam–making his way in the world.  He’s discovered by some gargoyles(?) that are empowered by angels though they’re somewhat morally ambiguous–at least toward Frankenstein–unlike their opponents, the demons, who happen to be hatching a scheme to use the knowledge that enabled Frankenstein to become animate (Knowledge that’s available in Dr. Frankenstein’s diary, which Adam conveniently carries with him everywhere.  The movie never says that he couldn’t read, which I mention because he’s lived for over two hundred years, by which time he could have memorized the entire book without even trying) to enable the dead to become receptacles for fallen demons, a plot device eerily reminiscent of the process Dracula was using in Van Helsing bring his children to life (Huh?  Since when can vampires reproduce?  Kind of defeats the whole “biting on the neck thing,” doesn’t it?  I know, I know.  Focus).

Speaking of which, I, Frankenstein is better than that movie, though not by a lot.  Luckily, it moves briskly and Eckhart does his job in an efficient, workman-like fashion, so at least there aren’t too many regrets.

I, Frankenstein is currently on Netflix.