Not many aliens in movies this week

But that will be rectified soon.

THUNDER FORCE (2021) is a pleasant superhero spoof set in a world where superpowers only manifest in people with evil traits. Super-genius Octavia Spencer hopes to change that and turn herself into the world’s first superhero, but when former high-school buddy Melissa McCarthy stumbles into the experiment, they wind up splitting the powers (super-strength for McCarthy, invisibility for Spencer). Can they stop a corrupt metahuman politician from taking over the city with his henchmen (including a deadpan Jason Bateman as a man-crab)? Feels like the two leads could use more chemistry, but it was fun; TYG, who isn’t a superhero fan, admitted she enjoyed it. “I guess the deep dive into Bevari-Sutton genetic structures was too much for us to take.”

THE THREE LIVES OF THOMASINA (1964) was the first film I recall seeing on the Wonderful World of Disney TV show, though I came in a little late (right as Thomasina arrives in the realm of Bast). The eponymous cat narrates how she went from being the pet of motherless moppet Karen Dotrice (who was good enough in this to be cast in Mary Poppins) and gruff father Patrick McGoohan. When the cat is injured, McGoohan declares she’s too sick to save, alienating his daughter; Thomasina, meanwhile, survives and winds up as the pet of “mad witch” Susan Hampshire. This is just as charming as I remember, though the Evil Roma stereotypes are a minus.Shows not all Disney in this era was The Cat From Outer Space. “Jamie can play MACKINTOSH’S LAMENT on the pipes with only nine mistakes!”

I didn’t care for DISTRICT 9 (2009) when I saw it in the theater and it still strikes me as gratuitously gory. Rewatching for Alien Visitors, though, I found it works better, if only as an example of how our perception of alien immigrants and refugees has shifted. In It Came From Outer Space they just need some tolerance while they repair their ship. In The Coneheads, people accept ETs Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtin despite their weirdness. District 9 feels like an immigrant film for the Trump era, even given it was five years earlier and South African to boot. The alien survivors of a shipwreck are hemmed into a shantytown, preyed on and exploited and in response to protests, they’re being forced to evacuate to a new shantytown. The protagonist is a human bureaucrat pushing the relocation project until a freak accident turns him half-man, half-ET. Can’t say I love it, but worth seeing again.“He became the most valuable business artifact on Earth.”

I honestly can’t remember what prompted me to put NO TIME FOR COMEDY (1940) on my Amazon wish list, but I did and my friend Ross ordered it, so I watched it last weekend. Jimmy Stewart plays a small-town hick turned playwright who arrives in the Big Apple to fix his play’s problem third act (as the trailer acknowledges, this is very much Mr. Smith Goes to Broadway). Almost immediately he and leading lady Rosalind Russell fall for each other, which leads to marriage and a Broadway hit. A few years later, though, Stewart falls under the influence of would-be muse Genevieve Tobin; will she turn him from lively comedy to somber tragedy? And what about her husband, gruff stockbroker Charles Ruggles. I found this a nice, relaxing bit of fun. “You can read less enthusiasm into an invitation than any actress I know.”

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Filed under Movies

2 responses to “Not many aliens in movies this week

  1. Pingback: Alien as Immigrant: The Brother From Another Planet | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Alien visitors on television! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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