Monthly Archives: April 2012
Futureworld ~ I was just talking about Peter Fonda and this flick on this blog recently so when I saw Futureworld was on Encore Action, so I DVRed it. It’s been at least a serious three decades or so since I’ve last seen it. It’s nowhere near as good as I remembered it, and despite being a feature film, looks barely above television quality, bad for even a Samuel Z. Arkoff production. it does still have its merits though.
Futureworld is the 1976 sequel to the popular 1973 scifi thriller Westworld, and was followed a few years later by the very short-lived CBS TV series “Beyond Westworld,” which was even worse, as demonstrated by it only lasting five episodes.
In Westworld, written and directed by Michael Crichton, the Delos Corporation has created three ‘amusement parks’ – WestWorld, MedievalWorld, and RomanWorld – populated by lifelike androids where guests can indulge in any fantasy they can imagine in each park genre, including having sex with and/or killing the androids. A malfunction affecting all the robots makes them suddenly attack and kill all the guests, highlighted by the Gunslinger, as played by Yul Brynner, and terror ensues. So ends WestWorld.
In Futureworld, Delos seems to have recovered from this PR nightmare and gone back into business. Fonda and Blythe Danner are newspaper and television reporters invited to see what the new Delos is all about and make sure it’s safe. They elect to visit FutureWorld, one of the new parks that have been added. There is some great dialogue between the two regarding newspapers being dead, nice call from 1976.
Most frightening about the film is how much the parks resemble Disney in design and visuals, but I suppose that’s on purpose. On the down side the acting is abysmal and the sexism is humiliating. That the technicians must be gay or robots if they don’t succumb to Danner’s charms is one of the more pitiful bits. There’s also a painful conspiracy subplot about Delos replacing world leaders with robot doubles.
Yul Brynner as The Gunslinger does appear in footage from the first movie and in Danner’s bizarre dream sequence. Too bad he couldn’t be in more. As a true scifi movie villain, perhaps he could have dragged this flick up a few notches from its bad telemovie level.
With the film Marvel’s The Avengers coming up just a few short days away on May 4th, the Avengers are very hot, and at Biff Bam Pop! it’s no different. Here are three recent articles I wrote for the website you can check out, all relating to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!
First there’s Inside Kang the Conqueror, a look at arguably the Avengers’ most dangerous foe. Where, or when, did he come from? Who is he? What makes him hate the Avengers so much? The answers are here!
They come to the big screen very soon, but did you know the Avengers have been on the small screen for decades? In Avengers Animate!, you can find out about their animated adventures in the 1960s through the 1990s to today, it’s all here!
In the world of Marvel Comics, the Avengers is a big organization, so big that sometimes they have split off into side teams, inspired others, and been inspired themselves by others. In Gone But Not Forgotten Teams of the Marvel Universe you can learn about the All-Winners Squad, the Champions, Nextwave, and the Squadron Supreme. Check it out here!
And keep your eye on the Biff Bam Pop! website for more Avengers news, reviews, and articles as the movie gets closer!
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry ~ There was a time when I was a kid that I thought Peter Fonda was the coolest guy on Earth. He was in stuff like Race With the Devil and Futureworld and of course Easy Rider, so he could do no wrong. He was also in this charmer.
Until I saw Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry again recently I could remember very little about it. I remembered it starred Fonda, and Susan George, in the bizarre title roles, it was a car chase flick, and it was frequently one of channel 6’s late night Friday movies – you know, the ones I wasn’t supposed to be staying up watching – both because of the content, and because it was past my bedtime. Little else was retained by my memory.
Upon watching it again for the first time in almost maybe forty years, I am struck by how really bad it is. It may have been okay or mediocre for the time (1974), but let’s just say the years have not been kind. Rather than an interesting time capsule like other seventies films I’ve watched recently, this is a creaky relic.
Loosely based on the novel “The Chase” (later known as “Pursuit”) by Richard Unekis, one can easily see the influence of earlier films of the genre like Vanishing Point, Two-Lane Blacktop, The French Connection, and even Bonnie and Clyde. The problem is that you can also see this film’s own influence on the destruction and mocking of the genre later in the decade by stuff like Smokey and the Bandit, Eat My Dust, and The Blues Brothers. This is the beginning of the car chase movie becoming a joke, amusing or not.
This movie is so seventies, down to the theme song by Marjorie McCoy being used throughout as if choreographed by Quentin Tarantino, to the crazy fashions and ugly cars, to the endless shots of the scenic southwest. And the late Vic Morrow wonderfully eats up the screen as the obsessed pursuing cop. It’s worth a look for the curious, but it’s no masterpiece, but Peter Fonda is still cool.
The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.
Co-hosts Ed (Yellow Lantern) Evans, Allison (More Talking) Eckel, and Glenn (Human Flying Fish) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, in wicked high definition, and available on the YouTube. See it here!
Discussion featured in this brand new extended episode includes: Free Comic Book Day 2012, Avengers Vs. X-Men books of the week, Juggerlus, FF #17, Daredevil #11, Moon Knight #12 by Bendis, Battle Scars #6, Ultimates #9, The Culling, Fury of Firestorm #8, Superman #8, Aquaman #8 and the Human Flying Fish, The Flash #8 by Francis Manapul, Rise of the Vampires, All-Star Western #8, Green Lantern New Guardians #8, IDW reprints, runaway FCBD books, this week from Zenescope, Popeye #1, whole lotta Star Wars, Ed’s indies, Allison’s kids comics, and this week’s trades.
Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, and runs the show from behind the scenes. And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!
Apollo 18 ~ Much like my earlier review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this movie pulls at my nostalgic heartstrings. NASA, the Apollo program, the moon landings, Skylab, Tang, all that stuff is a part of my childhood, and monumental to the 1970s. It’s worth noting that even Steve Austin was an astronaut, that’s how tied together this all is. And a movie about a mysterious Apollo 18 mission fits right in with my recent flights of nostalgia.
From the opening moments of Apollo 18 where it portends to be a found footage film, my heart sank. This type of filmmaking rarely works, and if it does, it usually falls apart at the end. Blair Witch and Chronicle are the rare exceptions to the rule. I hoped this would be as well. Just don’t think about how it is you’re watching this film. It’s apparently edited together after the fact, takes advantage of the poor video quality of the missions, and also spotlights bits of film the viewer is supposed to pay attention to. For me, that kind of ruins it. Don’t oversell, and don’t underestimate your audience.
We see lots of the cast, but sadly the film doesn’t give us enough of the astronauts for us to care about them. This probably remains the biggest fault of the film. That said, once into the premise and watching the movie, you can’t take your eyes off it. So settle in, dim the lights, and add some vodka to your Tang, you’re in for an intriguing and startling ride. Not what I expected at all. Relax and enjoy.
Russia: “Party for Everybody” by Buranovskiye Babushki
Hungary: “Sound of Our Hearts” by Compact Disco
Austria: “Woki Mit Deim Popo” by Trackshittaz
Moldova: “Lautar” by Pasha Parfeny
Ireland: “Waterline” by Jedward
Poor Ireland. Why they are not always a part of the Final is beyond me. They always try so hard, and they are the only country to win twice with the same performer. Unfortunately, they went with Jedward again this year. Sigh. Better luck next year, I guess.
I have to admit, Austria is kinda catchy though. We’ll see. The First Semi-Finals take place on May 22nd, in Baku, Azerbaijan.