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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WTFW: Without Warning (1980)

Without Warning, which is also known as “It Came... Without Warning” and “Alien Shock” (German title), is a 1980 science fiction horror film starring Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Tarah Nutter, and Kevin Peter Hall, and directed by Greydon Clark.  Special effects designer Greg Cannom, who was later involved in major studio productions such as Jurassic Park, Hook and Titanic, created the aliens for this low-budget film.  The film released on September 26, 1980 and was released on home video for the first time on August 5, 2014 through Shout! Factory's Scream Factory label in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

Without Warning is credited with being an inspiration for the 1987 film Predator, both of which starred Kevin Peter Hall as a costumed alien hunter.

Without Warning (1980)

  • Genre: Sci-Fi – Horror
  • Directed: Greydon Clark
  • Produced:
    • Curtis Burch 
    • Greydon Clark 
    • Lyn Freeman 
    • Daniel Grodnik 
    • Paul Kimatian 
    • Milton Spencer 
    • Skip Steloff
  • Written:
    • Lyn Freeman 
    • Daniel Grodnik 
    • Bennett Tramer 
    • Steve Mathis
  • Starring: Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Tarah Nutter, Christopher S. Nelson, Cameron Mitchell, Neville Brand, Sue Ane Langdon, Ralph Meeker, Larry Storch, Lynn Theel, David Caruso, Mark Ness, Bert Davis, Jeffrey Sudzin, Darby Hinton, Kevin Peter Hall
  • Music: Dan Wyman
  • Cinematography: Dean Cundey
  • Editing: Curtis Burch
  • Studio:
    • Heritage Enterprises Inc.  
    • World Amusement Partnership #106
  • Distributed:
    • Filmways Pictures  
    • Columbia Broadcasting System  
    • Ambassador Film Distributors  
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer  
    • Shout! Factory
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 26 September 1980 (USA)
  • Running Time: 89 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

A father and son go hunting in the mountains.  Before they can begin hunting, which the son does not want to do anyway, they are killed by flying jellyfish-like creatures, which penetrate their skin with needle-tipped tentacles.

Some time later, four teenagers, Tom, Greg, Beth and Sandy, hike in the same area, ignoring the warnings of local truck stop owner Joe Taylor.  A group of cub scouts is also in the area; their leader is also killed by the alien creatures, while his troop runs into an unidentified humanoid and flee.

The teenagers set up camp at a lake, but after a few hours, Tom and Beth disappear.  Sandy and Greg go looking for them and discover their bodies in an abandoned shack.  They drive away in their van, while being attacked by one of the starfish which tries to get through the car's windshield.  After they get rid of it, they arrive at the truck stop.  Greg tries to get help from the locals, but they do not believe him, except for Fred 'Sarge' Dobbs, who is a mentally ill veteran.  Meanwhile, Sandy encounters the humanoid and flees into the woods, where Joe Taylor finds and returns her to Greg.

While they discuss the situation, the sheriff arrives, but Sarge shoots him and begins to become more paranoid.  Greg and Sandy leave with Taylor, who reveals he has been attacked by the humanoid before and secretly keeps the flying jellyfish as trophies.  They search for the shack and once there, Taylor goes inside to only find the bodies of Tom, Beth and the cub scout leader.  They discuss waiting for the creature when Taylor is attacked by another "jellyfish".  The young people run once again, leaving him behind as ordered.  They stop a police car and get into the back seat, but find Sarge driving.  He abducts them, believing them to be aliens.  Greg plays along, telling the deranged man that an invasion force is on the way, thus distracting him enough to toss him aside, run away with Sandy and jump from a bridge.

They make it to a house where they find new clothing and try to relax.  In the night, Sandy wakes up and goes looking for Greg, only to discover that he has been killed by the alien, who is still in the room.  She flees to the basement and the creature is about to get her when Taylor arrives and saves her.  On the way to the shack, he tells her about the creature: it is a tall extraterrestrial who hunts humans for sport to keep as trophies, using the living creatures as living weapons against its prey.

They wait at the shack to ambush the hunter with dynamite when Sarge shows up, almost spoiling their plan.  He and Taylor fight, and Sandy is about to hit Sarge from behind when the alien arrives and kills Sarge.  Taylor then shoots the creature, with little to no effect.  Realizing the last chance of success, he lures it to the shack, which is then blown up by Sandy.  She alone survives the horrible night.



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Monday, January 26, 2015

ICFIFC: Joker (2012)

Joker is an 2012 Hindi science fiction comedy film directed by Shirish Kunder, and also his second directorial venture after Jaan-E-Mann.  The film stars Akshay Kumar opposite Sonakshi Sinha in lead roles.  This was the second film in which Sinha paired opposite Kumar after Rowdy Rathore (2012).  The film released worldwide on 31 August 2012, and received mixed to negative response upon release.  Despite collecting mediocre box office collections, the film was panned by the audience and was declared a 'disaster' at the box office.

Joker (2012)

  • Genre: Comedy – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Shirish Kunder
  • Produced:
    • Rana Rakesh Bali 
    • Dipti Jindal 
    • Farah Khan 
    • Akshay Kumar 
    • Shirish Kunder 
    • Yogesh Tevatia
  • Written: Shirish Kunder
  • Starring: Asrani, Avtar Gill, Gurpreet Guggi, Greg Heffernan, Vrajesh Hirjee, Javed Jaffrey, Darshan Jariwala, Mansi Jhingran, Bikramjeet Kanwarpal, Farah Khan, Akshay Kumar, Minissha Lamba, Sanjay Mishra, Suzanna Mukherjee, Alexx O'Nell, Pitobash
  • Music:
    • G.V. Prakash Kumar 
    • Shirish Kunder
  • Cinematography: Sudeep Chatterjee
  • Editing: Shirish Kunder
  • Studio:
    • Hari Om Entertainment Company 
    • Three's Company Production
  • Distributed: UTV Motion Pictures
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 31 August 2012 (India)
  • Running Time: 103 minutes
  • Country: India
  • Language: Hindi

Shirish Kunder had the project in development for several years before finding financial backing and hit films, and had to negotiate for use of the specific title which Kunder stated is important to the script itself.  The film is being produced by Farah Khan, Shirish Kunder, and Akshay Kumar under the banner of Three's Company and Hari Om Entertainment.  The film was shot in 3D using 3D cameras, however in June 2012, it was announced that the film was no longer in 3D any more, since Ra.One and Don 2 have taken the goals, if Joker flopped it would be a loss on the whole crew, therefore the film will only be released in 2D format.  According to director, Shirish Kunder, "It is an underdog story about how individuals make it big in life and in the process, get help from aliens from a fictional planet".

Agastya is a scientist, working on the development of a communication system, to communicate with aliens.  But Agastya loses the faith of his seniors and is allotted with a deadline of one month to conclude his project with some substantial results.

In the mean time Agastya is informed by his girlfriend Diva about his father's illness.  On hearing this they both depart for his native village Paglapur, whose colorful inhabitants include a man who speaks in gibberish, another who thinks he is a lamp post and everyone else who think that the World War II is still going on.

Soon after reaching there, Agastya finds that he was called on a false pretext of illness by his father.

On getting apprised about truth, Agastya decides to move back to the US, but after hearing the plight of the inhabitants of Paglapur, due to the brushing aside of the village by the government because of its being absent from the demarcated map of India, he makes his mind to come out with some solution for the problem.

As the story proceeds, Agastya comes up with a quaint idea pertaining to the crop circle and arrival of aliens in his village, in order to fetch a recognition for his otherwise isolated village undergoing a plight of neglect ever since the independence.

With frames moving ahead, Agastya along with other villagers creates crop circle in Paglapur and spreads the rumor about the arrival of aliens in the village.  And from there, amid tremendous media hype, takes over some hilarious sequences knitted around UFO and fictitious man made aliens.

In the end, the whole joke about the fake aliens is found out and at the end of the movie real aliens come and give the village the gift of oil.

Joker received negative reviews from critics.  Based on 16 reviews, review aggregate site gave the film the verdict, "Apart from an interesting concept and a handful of funny moments, Joker is drag and doesn't work as a comedy or as a sci-fi caper.  Skip it!"  The site's average audience rating is 2/5.  Independent Bollywood gave 2.5 out of 5 stars and said "A Funny and weird entertainer with message".  Soumyadipta Banerjee of gave 0.5 out of 5 stars and said "Not only that the aliens are weird, the whole movie seems be in some weird planet after a point of time".  Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave the film 1 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Joker is a crude joke of a film that will leave you in tears unless you have a stomach strong enough to digest such unmitigated junk."  Noted film critic Taran Adarsh also gave it 1 out of 5 stars and labeled it as a complete "disaster" and a "joke of a film".

And the answer is…Yes, there are elaborate dance routines for no good reason!



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WTFW: Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)

Tammy and the T-Rex is a 1994 science fiction/comedy starring future stars and celebrities Denise Richards, Paul Walker and George Pilgrim.  The low-budget film centers around the life of small town high school student Tammy, Michael (Tammy's boyfriend), and Billy Bad (Tammy's Ex-boyfriend).

Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)

  • Genre: Comedy – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Stewart Raffill
  • Produced:
    • Gary Brockette 
    • Fernando Celis 
    • Joleen Deatherage 
    • Diane Kirman 
    • Etka Sarlui 
    • Laura Tateishi
  • Written:
    • Gary Brockette 
    • Stewart Raffill
  • Starring: Denise Richards, Theo Forsett, Paul Walker, Ellen Dubin, Terry Kiser, George 'Buck' Flower, Ken Carpenter, George Pilgrim, Sean Whalen, J. Jay Saunders, John Edmondson, John Franklin, Michele Maika, Ken Chandler, Shevonne Durkin, John F. Goff
  • Music:
    • Tyler Bates 
    • Jack Conrad 
    • Anthony Riparetti
  • Cinematography: Roger Olkowski
  • Editing: Terry Kelley
  • Studio:
    • Greenline Productions 
    • Platinic Films Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • C/FP Video  
    • Imperial Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 21 December 1994 (USA)
  • Running Time: 82 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Cheerleading for the "Panthers" sets us in an affluent high school.  Michael fights Billy over Tammy; gay black friend Byron looks on.  We cut to Dr. Wachenstein testing his mechanical T-Rex model (why is it smoky?) and wanting to proceed beyond the "limitations of that stupid computer."

Michael sneaks into Tammy's room, but “schoolchicks” rat him out to Billy, who attacks with his gang and leaves Michael in the local suburban wild animal park where lions run loose.  Billy asks him, irrelevantly, "What would you do if you had the power to do anything?"  In any case, a male lion chases and mauls Michael before a game warden can shoot the animal.  Michael remains comatose in the hospital, watched over by a drunken Uncle Bob, his only relative.  Dr. Wachenstein and his assistant Helga intrude and declare Michael dead in order to steal his brain and hook it up to the T-Rex.

The T-Rex with Michael's brain sees Michael's body and then itself in a mirror.  It stomps Karl, another assistant, and tries to phone Tammy, and terrorizes drunks.  Tammy is weepy but at a party, and when the dinosaur hides in the trees, Billy's friend urinates on its leg and gets killed.  The dinosaur terrorizes the crowd, but lets Byron go.  The cops afterwards eat disgustingly at the scene of the massacre and laugh about gutting deer.

Helga rolls up a flattened Karl.  Tammy disappears out the window after the T-Rex shows up and, in a barn, is made to realize about the dinosaur: "You have Michael's brain?"

Dr. Wachenstein later views Tammy as bait to retrieve the dinosaur, but Tammy and Byron plan to retrieve Michael's body after the funeral.  The T-Rex cries at Uncle Bob's eulogy.  Unfortunately, the body is gross and rats are involved, so after an attempted kidnapping by the Doctor and Helga, Tammy and Byron try to find a body that will suit Michael's brain.  With the scientists tied up and the T-Rex in a truck, they display their findings at the local morgue. ("They're all old over here." "Dead is as old as you're gonna get, honey.")

After a chase sequence, the three are trapped in a barn.  Dr. Wachenstein wants to tranquilize the dinosaur, which he nevertheless claims is merely mechanical.  The T-Rex is able to kill the Doctor, but the cops open fire and kill it.

We cut to a happy home scene.  Tammy has the brain hooked up to her computer and video camera and does erotic dancing for this bodiless version of Michael, unto a sort of electrical orgasm.



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