Category Archives: Movies

Spider-Man, a Hero and an avenger: movies

SPIDER-MAN: No Way Home (2021) surprisingly resolves the cliffhanger of the previous film — Mysterio framing Spider-Man as a murderer — within a few minutes. However as Mysterio also exposed Spidey’s secret identity, this proves a problem for Peter and his friends (“MJ, are you carrying his spider-babies?”) so Peter enlists Dr. Strange to erase the world’s memory of the reveal. Unfortunately things go wrong and the spell opens the multiverse, bringing the puzzled villains from the Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield films to the MCU (as Disney already has Tom Hardy for Venom, we didn’t get Topher Grace). Can Peter stop them? Can he send them home? Can he avert the deaths he learns they’re all facing? I didn’t like the ending (too similar to the comics’ One More Day — and Peter makes a promise he doesn’t keeep) but nevertheless this was immense fun. “Are you going into battle dressed as a cool youth pastor?”

Bollywood icon Uttam Kumar plays THE HERO (1966), a superstar much like himself (I gather the Hollywood equivalent would be Cary Grant playing a movie star) who takes a train to a movie award ceremony so he can brood about the possibility his new film will be a major flop. The train trip also has him dealing with assorted hustlers, a starstruck spouse, a sick teenager and an ambitious women’s magazine publisher. This film by Satyajit Ray is a mix of character study (possibly influenced by Fellini’s 8 1/2) and Grand Hotel set-up (i.e., watching the interactions between lots of people suddenly thrown together); interesting, though probably more so if I knew Indian culture better. “’Catch fish but don’t get your hands wet’ is my motto.

LADY SNOWBLOOD (1973) is a cult classic—it’s supposed to be an inspiration for Kill Bill—about a child of rape trained into a deadly martial artist to avenge herself on the quartet who killed her mother. Gory to the over-the-top point it;while not bad, I’m not joining the cult. “The vagina goddess has graced us with a visit.”

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Two classic Hitchcocks: North by Northwest and Psycho (with spoilers)

(Re) watching Alfred Hitchcock’s films makes me appreciate why so many critics and Hitch himself saw NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) as a film that expresses the essence of Hitchcock movies. Yet it was the next film he made, PSYCHO (1960) that came to define him: he’d be Alfred Hitchcock, direct of Psycho from that moment forward.

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) stars Cary Grant as Roger Thornhill, an advertising executive who through blind chance is mistaken for Kaplan, an American agent hunting enemy spy Vandamm (James Mason) and his right hand Leonard (Martin Landau). Vandamm mocks Thornhill’s denials, declaring that his performance makes the room a theater; this theatricality crops up over and over, for example when he later sneers American agents should get training from the Actor’s Studio.

The bad guys’ first attempt on Thornhill’s life fails, as does the second; however they unintentionally frame him as a murderer, forcing him to flee cops as well as crooks, traveling across country to track down Kaplan. Thornhill doesn’t know Kaplan doesn’t exist; it’s a non-existent man created by spymaster the Professor (Leo G. Carroll) to distract Vandamm from the real agent in his team. During his travels, Thornhill gets help from Eve (Eva Marie Saint), a beautiful woman who turns out to be Vandamm’s lover. Thornhill, having fallen for her, isn’t happy (“What makes a girl like you a girl like you?”), then he learns she’s the Professor’s agent on the inside. Unfortunately Leonard has figured that out too …

North by Northwest is a spectacular thriller with some great set pieces, from Grant being targeted by a crop-dusting plane to the climax on Mt. Rushmore. It carries over elements from multiple previous films including The Thirty-Nine Steps, Notorious and Saboteur. As The Hitchcock Romance says, it captures Hitch’s repeated theme that love and marriage is the happy ending for most of us. Thornhill starts out twice divorced and something of a ladies’ man (we see him dickering with his secretary about the right gift for one of his girlfriends), then he meets Eve and everything changes. Vandamm intends to kill her for betraying him; the Professor is willing to accept her death for the greater good. Thornhill loves her and he’s going to save her in spite of all of them. It’s a great film. “War is hell, Mr. Thornhill, even when it’s a cold one.”

I would really love to have seen PSYCHO (1960) at least once not knowing what was coming but a friend told me the details in high school (I wouldn’t catch it until college). In the opening, Marion (Janet Leigh), frustrated that her boyfriend Sam (John Gavin) doesn’t have enough money to make a home for both of them, succumbs to a moment of temptation and drives off with $40,000 of her employer’s money. It’s a classic film noir set up that turns into an Old Dark House story when Marion ends up at the Bates Motel, where Norman (Anthony Bates) runs the largely unoccupied business and cares for his sour, bedridden mother. And then, of course, comes the infamous shower scene in which Mrs. Bates stabs Marion to death in the shower (future slasher films owe a lot to this and the later deaths). Can Sam and Marion’s sister Lila (Vera Miles) figure out the truth?This film has a very strange structure, switching from genre to genre and protagonist to protagonist. It’s amazing visually and absorbing to watch even when I know what’s coming. That said, it’s a film that like Vertigo, I admire more than I enjoy. While in many ways it’s much more atypical of Hitch than North by Northwest, though Hitchcock Romance argues the film is a perfect example of Hitch’s tragic romances. When we catch up with Sam after the opening he’s writing to Marion to say that he’ll marry her, despite his poverty; if she’d only waited instead of acting, she’d have gotten her HEA. Like Vertigo and Rebecca, the past chokes the present. Sam’s struggling to pay off his father’s debts and support his ex-wife; Norman is dominated by his dead mother. It’s a remarkable achievement. “I’m not a fool and I’m not capable of being fooled.”

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders. For extra interest, check out the great title sequences for Psycho and North by Northwest by the great Saul Bass.


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Robin Hood and the evil rich

“In times of economic downturns, in times of tyranny and oppression, and in times of political upheaval, the hero Robin Hood makes his timely call.” — from a history of Robin Hood discussing why the legend stays strong, even attaching itself to other people. For instance, the article notes, Jesse James was often portrayed as a Robin Hood figure who’d help out the poor — though I’ve read elsewhere that was a conscious Southern effort to hold him up as the enemy of Northern banking interests after the Civil War.

Part of that, perhaps is that the image of the corrupt rich, trampling are rights, is just as eternal as Robin of Sherwood. As the TV series Leverage put it, “The rich and powerful take what they want — we steal it back for you.” The series showed a team of crooks using their skills as modern-day Robins, providig the poor and pushed-around with “leverage” against the oppressor.

Go back 100 years and George Allen England’s The Air Trust isn’t that different. A grasping millionaire, bummed out that he’s gotten his hands on everything possible, thinks of something he doesn’t own yet — air. He establishes a series of oxygen extraction factories that provide pure, bottled oxygen for people who want it to pep them up. Nobody’s going to realize the amount of oxygen he’s extracting will eventually make air unbreathable — at which point we’ll have to pay any price for his oxygenators if we want to survive. It’s a great concept though heavy socialist exposition undercuts it (there’s even socialist poetry!).

Move to the 1940s and Leading Comics #5 (author unknnown, art by Ed Dobrotka) gives us the heartwarming story of “The Miracles Money Can’t Buy.” That is, I thought it would be heartwarming (“With all my money what I really want is love — a miracle money can’t buy.”) but the miracles in this case are things like the world’s largest diamond and the world’s greatest racehorse. The Skull, world’s wealthiest man, can’t buy them simply because the owners won’t sell. His solution is to bust five criminals off death row and send them out to bring in those wonder items. You could update that one easily, just give the Skull a made-up name — hmm, how does Elon Bezos sound?

Jump forward to the Silver Age and we have another timeless rich dude, Gregory Gideon (whom I wrote about recently at Atomic Junkshop). Gideon is a gazillionaire on the brink of total control of the world’s economy. When his three closest competitors beat back his takeover attempt he proposes a wager: set him any task and when he succeeds, they sell out. The trio come back with something they imagine not even Gideon can achieve — destroy the Fantastic Four! Gideon comes closer than you might expect (details at the link) before learning that yes, the best miracles are those money can’t buy, like the love of his son. Schmaltzy, yes, but Lee and Kirby make it work.

The idea of the rich screwing us over has lasting power because it’s so often true. So it’s not surprising we fantasize someone — the FF, the Seven Soldiers, Robin Hood — who can give us that leverage.

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Hollywood women, modern art: two documentaries

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING (2019) is a documentary on sexism in Hollywood, taking its title from the repeated declarations that the spectacular surprise success of Movie X — Thelma and Louise for example — is a game-changer that guarantees Hollywood will have to take women-led films/female directors/the female audience seriously … and somehow it never happens.

As someone who writes about both movies and sexism, there’s not a lot here that’s new to me, but that doesn’t make this a bad film. The most interesting parts were the personal stories — a woman director watching Mel Brooks call out the Directors Guild for not giving women more support, or one black woman’s awe at seeing Diahann Carroll as John Forsythe’s half-sister on Dynasty — a black woman who was wealthy, held her own with white people and could slap Joan Collins without getting arrested. “If you open yourself up to it, the work gets better.”

MY KID COULD PAINT THAT (2007) is a documentary about a four-year-old art prodigy whose abstract paintings became hot commodities on the New York art scene until Charlie Rose did a 60 Minutes piece claiming (rather dubiously from what we see here) that her dad did most of the work. This killed the kid’s  career until the family released a DVD showing her doing all the painting herself. However the subject is less the girl than the perennial question of how we evaluate, interpret and understand art (the paintings becoming less valuable when “she didn’t paint them herself” was the story) and whether abstract modern art has any meaning. Good job. “It’s never just about art, it’s about the story art tells.”

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Troubled teens and a pissed off old fart: movies

BETTER LUCK TOMORROW (2003) focuses on a group of Asian American teens who turn to shoplifting as a break from their rigorous academic lives. From there they jump to drug-dealing, selling cheat sheets and then … Competent but this never clicked with me.  “It’s literally a full-time commitment just to make people believe you’re the person you’re supposed to be.”

Stephen Soderbergh’s THE LIMEY (1999) stars Terence Stamp as a tough British thug, just out of the jug. His daughter, living in LA, has just died in what Stamp suspects was no accident, which is very bad news for the people responsible. This co-stars Lesley Anne Warren as a friend of the daughter and Peter Fonda as her ex-lover; the story is slight but the performances are strong.  “That’s usually what senseless violence comes down, to isn’t it? Bad loans, bad judgment, bad faith.”

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Disappointing action heroes, but also Kat Dennings and John Goodman! Movies and TV

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Fallout (2018) was a direct sequel to Rogue Nation in which the IMF learns the Syndicate is still running without its leader, and plotting to launch a nuclear terrorist strike so bad the world order will collapse so a better world can arise. Can Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team stop them when CIA spooks Angela Bassett and Henry Cavill (as stiff and uninteresting here as I found him in Enola Holmes) think Hunt might be the real mastermind?

On the plus side, the final fight with the bad guys is truly spectacular and I like that the terrorist strike shows some imagination (contaminating the watershed that provides drinking water for China and the rest of Southeast Asia). And this writes Cruise’s wife (Michelle Monaghan from the third film) out, presumably so Ethan can hook up with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who also returns from Rogue Nation. On the downside, it says something I couldn’t even remember which mastermind was returning. And once again it appears the initial tape recording message is setting Hunt up, which happens ridiculously often in the movies (Bassett and Cavill lampshade this by pointing out how many times the government has failed or betrayed Hunt). Mostly, it just didn’t engage me — for all their flaws, the best Fast and Furious films are better. In any case, that’s it for this series until next year’s sequel. “I kill women and children with smallpox. I have no line.”

That said, Fallout was Star Wars compared to THE BATMAN (2022), in which Robert Pattinson’s Darknight Detective and Jeffrey Wright’s Commissioner Gordon try to thwart the Riddler, a serial killer murdering government officials involved in a vast coverup and conspiracy. Can Batman stop him? Is it even worth it if the system Batman protects is that corrupt?

Critic Christy Lemire describes this as a gritty 1970s crime thriller with Pattinson playing Taxi Driver‘s Travis Bickle more than Batman; I agree but unlike Lemire I don’t think it’s a good thing. Pattinson himself is unimpressive, playing Bruce Wayne like he was sleepwalking and giving voiceovers about Gotham crime like he was channeling Watchmen‘s Rohrschach. And the climax, with Gotham on the brink of destruction, has been a cliched third act for Batman movies since R’as tried bringing the city down in the first Nolan film. Color me very unimpressed, though Zoe Kravitz’ Catwoman adds some fun. “Since your justice is so select/tell me which vermin you protect.”

In the second season of DOLLFACE, Jules (Kat Denning), having regained her closest friends at the end of S1, now has to get a handle on the rest of her life — can she find a worthwhile boyfriend? A good job? And Madison, Stella and Izzy all have the same mission. As with the first season, this wraps up well, with the friends all in good places even if they haven’t figured it all out. I’ll be happy to see a third season. “That’s a lot to unpack — but I’ve now unpacked it and its really bad.”

I picked up a DVD of MATINEE (1993) just four years ago, then learned there’s a BluRay with lots of special features, so I ordered it. The story of Laurence Woolsey (John Goodman) premiering the giant bug film Mant! in Key West during the Cuban missile crisis was great fun to rewatch and the special features cover a lot of details about how much the movie draws on director Joe Dante’s life as a monster-movie loving nerd of roughly the same age as the kid protagonists. There’s also a short version of Mant! (Half Man — Half Ant — All Terror!) with more footage than the movie within the movie. Well worth buying. “One of you will have to go to the atomic destruction without Shredded Wheat.”

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Bill and Ted Get Vertigo! Movies viewed

As a fan of Keanu Reaves and Alex Winter as Theodore Logan and Bill S. Preston, it was inevitable I’d watch the final film in the series, 2020’s BILL AND TED FACE THE MUSIC. It’s 25 years since the guys blew the world away with their concert at the end of BILL AND TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY and in that time they’ve crashed and burned, failed to create a world of peace and harmony, and failed to find day jobs. And their two daughters, Theodora (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) are just as much music-loving slackers as their old folks.

Time up guys: the future’s Great Leader (Holland Taylor) discovers that if the guys don’t play the song that unites the world by 7:17 PM that evening, history goes off the real and reality collapses. The guys set off on a desperate quest to find themselves in the future when they’ve already written the song; the Leader thinks she can salvage time by killing them instead. The end results show, like many series, the law of diminishing returns, but the returns are good enough I’m glad I caught it. “The Sahara Desert just materialized in San Dimas — Queen Elizabeth I is looking at it.”The first time I saw VERTIGO (1958) I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it; as the standard critical take is that it needs multiple viewings to appreciate it, it seems I’m not alone. A near-fatal fall during a rooftop chase leaves John Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart) afflicted with crippling vertigo that forces him off the force. A friend (Tom Helmore) asks John to shadow his buddy’s wife Madeleine (Kim Novak), who seems obsessed to the point of suicide with a woman of the 19th century. John falls hard for Madeleine and when she finally succumbs to the haunting and kills herself, he’s completely lost. Then he meets her exact double (again played by Novak) and begins recreating her into the image of his lost love.

As part of my Hitchcock rereading I can see this has resemblances to Rebecca and the upcoming Psycho with Madeleine, then John, haunted by a dead woman; I think it may also have some commonalities with the upcoming Marnie. While it’s still a movie that fascinates me more than entertains me, it is very fascinating. The special features on this DVD detail the restoration (like Rear Window the master print had decayed over the years and that Hitchcock at one point eliminated a key flashback revealing what’s really going on (the audience hated the results so he put it back). Barbara Bel Geddes plays’ John’s ex-fiancee best friend, who gives us an outside perspective on the strange relationship, though her character doesn’t entirely make sense (she’s clearly still into him, so why was she the one who ended their engagement?). “There’s one final hing I have to do, and then I’ll be free of the past.”

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All things must change: Doctor Who Season 18

Tom Baker’s last season as the Doctor shook things up in multiple ways. Starting of course, with being Baker’s last season as the Doctor. A total of seven seasons and almost 200 episodes made him the longest-serving Doctor and the definitive one for many people.

Behind the scenes, Jonathan Nathan-Turner took over as showrunner, which led to a vast improvement over s17. Lalla Ward’s Romana, who also departs the TARDIS, comes off a much stronger character and the stories are al superior. We kick off with THE LEISURE HIVE, in which the two Time Lords visit the eponymous alien vacation spot, currently advertising a miracle rejuvenation treatment as an incentive for visitors. But the treatment has some problems and then the murders start … Not spectacular, but a solid start. “They’re doing interesting things with tachyons.”

I have absolutely no memory of seeing MEGLOS, even though I know I must have. It’s not the fault of the story which involves an alien intellect hidden in a cactus duplicating the Doctor’s body to steal a doomsday McGuffin. Can the Doctr save the alien culture that owns it, and is already falling apart over a science/religion dispute? Jacqueline Hill (one of the original companions) plays the religious leader though they don’t make much of that. But Romana battling the killer tulip I could have done without. “Let’s hope many hands make the lights work.”

Then the Doctor finally follows orders and brings Romana back to Gallifrey … except instead they wind up trapped in the vaguely explained Exospace for three serials. in FULL CIRCLE they land on a planet where shipwrecked travelers have been trying for generations to launch their ship and survive the attacks of the monstrous Marshmen. But the leaders have a secret about the colony’s history that they’re not telling…. this introduced Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), a mathematical prodigy, as the first of the new Companions for S19. He’s a little stolid for me, but by the start of the following season he’s improving. “We can’t return to Tramadon … because we’ve never been.”

STATE OF DECAY has the TARDIS land on another planet where the peasantry are under the thumb of hree sinister rulers who emerge in the dark and have sharp fangs — and did I mention there are a lot of bats flying around? A throwback to the horror stories of S15, it’s not at the same level but it is good. “In terms of applied socio-energetics, this society is losing its grip on level two development.”

As I have a soft spot for weird reality-warped TV stories (though I can be critical of them precisely for the same reason), I really enjoyed WARRIOR’S GATE. The TARDIS materializes on a space freighter using alien warriors to navigate the convoluted time-space of the area; outside the ship there’s nothing but white space and the broken-off front of an ancient building. The Doctor and Romana eventually figure out what’s going on and Romana sees her way out of returning to Gallifrey — staying in E-Space with K9 to liberate the warriors from other slavers (surprisingly most expanded universe stories about Romana have her return to Normal Space rather than stick around in E-Space). The Doctor and Adric return to N-Space. “A busted engine and a lost navigator — we have nowhere to to and no way to get there!’

No sooner do they arrive than THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN, leader of a benevolent union of worlds, summons them to his planet for help. Thanks to his power, evil intrusions manifest as statues and eventually shrivel away — but the latest Melkur hasn’t withered. It turns out that all is not well among the leaders of Traken and whoever’s behind the Melkur is taking full advantage of it. Can Adric, The Doctor and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), daughter of Traken councilor Tremas (Anthony Ainsley), uproot the menace and destroy it?

This is a good one to start with and more memorable because the “who” behind the Melkur is the Master, returning for the first time since The Deadly Assassin. This story has a lot in common with that one — an ineffective bureaucracy facing a succession crisis, the Doctor suspected of murder, the Master lurking — but it stands on its own. At the end it appears the Master’s done for … until he traps Tremas and steals his body, making up for having used up his own regenerations. “Find your TARDIS, Time Lord — much good may it do you now.”

The season and Baker’s tenure close with the excellent LOGOPOLIS. The Doctor realizes that even in England his TARDIS’ outer shell is out of place — police boxes were largely phased out by then — so he turns to Logopolis, where their mental mastery of “block computation” will enable him to remake the TARDIS’ chameleon circuit. The Master is out to destroy him as usual, but when he arrives on Logopolis, where the monastic inhabitants are engaged in strange computations, he decides to shake things up by killing a few of them (this season was when shrinking people to death became his signature move).

Bad mistake. It turns out that the universe has already achieved heat death; Logopolis has been staving off the entropic end of everything by maintaining wormholes into other universes until it can open up a permanent gate. The Master’s killing so many people has shut the wormholes down so now entropy is catching up. Very fast. In the end, the Doctor and the Master have to work together to save the universe, but surprise, the Master pulls a double-cross! Fortunately the end has been prepared for …

Ainsley’s Master is more a malevolent mustache twirler than the restrained, sociopathic intellectual of the Pertwee years but he works as the new archfoe (he worked much better when I hadn’t seen Delgado in years). Nyssa winds up joining the cast — not only is her father dead, the entropic collapse wiped out the Traken Union — and so does Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding, above left). An Aussie air hostess who tries using the TARDIS to call the cops, she winds up trapped inside. I’ve read that adding her to the cast — the first Earth companion since Hand of Fear — was so that there’d be a non-tech person who could ask for exposition (something K9 and Romana hardly needed). They didn’t make her dumb, and she’s the most opinionated, short-tempered companion in … forever? All the ingredients are in place for Peter Davison’s first season as the Fifth Doctor, but that’ll have to wait until my next post.  “This was the work of the most brilliant master criminal in the universe!”

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The Aliens Are Here: What You Can Expect

As McFarland have the cover ready for The Aliens are Here (originally titled Alien Visitors so you’ll find relevant blog posts under both tags) I’m guessing it’ll be out before the end of the year. So here’s a preview of what it’ll cover.

The introduction covers the general history of alien visitors in fiction, then film and TV. It also delves into “real” encounters with ETs because UFOlogy is deeply interwoven with fictional saucers. Movies adapt “true” stories (The UFO Incident, Fire in the Sky); UFO encounters borrow from film (sightings went up after Day the Earth Stood Still came out).

Subsequent chapters include an overview introducing the topic, then a detailed look at two or three movies:

Alien Invaders: The 1953 War of the Worlds, Spielberg’s remake and Independence Day.

Friendly Aliens: The 1951 Day the Earth Stood Still and V — because sometimes when they say they come in peace, they’re lying.Alien infiltrators: Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, both the 1956 and 1978 versions. It took some work to say something fresh and not just copy what I wrote in Screen Enemies of the American Way but I think I succeeded.Alien superheroes: Superman and Superman II.

UFO Abductions: Fire in the Sky and The Fourth Kind.

Alien Immigrants: Brother From Another Planet and Alien Nation.

Alien impregnation: Village of the Damned (both versions) and the 1964 Children of the Damned.

Ancient Astronauts: Quatermass and the Pit and Eternals.

Alien Monsters: The Thing From Another World, John Carpenter’s The Thing and The Andromeda Strain.

Alien Romance: Starman.

Aliens and Kids: E.T., The Whispers and The Faculty.

Alien Comedies: Tribulation 99, The Coneheads and Resident Alien.

Government cover-ups: The X-Files.

Genre Mashups: Predator, Predator 2 and Attack of the 50-Foot Woman.

I also include some shorter synopses of other films or TV shows in the same subgenre, and a list of added productions at the end of each chapter.

You’ll know more about its progress through editing when I do.

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Women of the suburbs, the West and the future

THE DAY THE WOMEN GOT EVEN (1980) was a TV “cozy” pilot about four suburban women (Barbara Rhoades, Georgia Engel, Jo Ann Pflug and Tina Louise) with an interest in theater who discover Julie Hagerty (soon to be much better known for airplane) is suicidal over being blackmailed by a sleazeball producer with nude shots from her “audition.” Can they take the sleazeball down with their acting skills and the help of a street-smart Latino sidekick? I’m guessing this bland film was inspired by North Avenue Irregulars, a Disney housewives vs. crooks film from the previous year, not that knowing this makes it more interesting. “Pardon me but do you have a brother in Savannah?”

CAT BALLOU (1965) is a great deal more fun, though some of the elements (a Sioux played by a guy in redface, plus scalping jokes!) haven’t aged well. And as you can see, the movie had to qualms playing up sex along with the humor (the trailer makes the most of the star’s looks). Jane Fonda plays Katherine Ballou, back in the West after a few years at finishing school. Unfortunately the town has been taken over by corrupt business interests willing to do anything to drive her father off his land, including hiring a murderous gunfighter (Lee Marvin).

As the two outlaws she’s fallen in with are hardly tough guys, Cat recruits the legendary Kid Shelleen (Marvin too) only to discover he’s a pathetic, broken-down drunk (“He did it! He missed the barn!”). The odds are against her but Cat’s very determined … A good Western parody that netted Marvin an Oscar for his double role. Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole play a banjo-strumming Greek chorus, a detail I liked but I’ve had friends who thought it was ridiculous. “There are a lot of people who are just as depraved and cowardly as they think they are.”

After watching the second season of EXTANT (S1 review here), I wish I’d finished the series before finishing The Aliens Are Here. Mollie’s (Hallee Berry) half-alien son initially appears to remake Species, propagating his kind by impregnating women who die giving birth to the aliens. By the time Molly catches up with him, the hybrids have adapted: they don’t have to kill to reproduce. But the authorities don’t see it that way and they’re about to unleash an army of Humanich soldiers to eliminate the threat. Fortunately there’s no way letting a bunch of humanoid machines off the leash could go wrong, right? The suggestion that we and the hybrids can actually share the Earth is refreshing compared to all the othering I usually witness. “A super-computer in charge of an army of killer robots — it’s a futurist’s nightmare.”

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