Category Archives: jurassic park

Quickies 5-14-2010

Starflight One ~ The synopsis for this 1983 gem reads, and I’m not joking, as follows: “By mistake the captain and passengers of the world’s first hypersonic airliner go past Australia, into space.” Also known as Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land, it’s a disaster movie on a low budget telemovie scale starring the semi-warm cast of Lee Majors, Lauren Hutton, Ray Milland, Kirk Cameron, Robert Englund and Hal Linden. Just as bad as it sounds and would be fun if you make a drinking game out of it. This serious version of Airplane II is abysmal and yet sometimes unintentionally funny.

It’s Alive ~ This TV movie from 1968 is pretty cool, and riding on a smooth drive-in horror flick vibe, until you actually see the monster. Wow. This thing, a recycled prop costume from a previous film just as bad as this one, makes the monsters from the old “Doctor Who” TV series look professional. Hell, it makes Barney look like he walked out of Jurassic Park. This one’s okay excluding the monster. With the monster, it’s just terrible. An example of how one ‘special’ effect can ruin an entire flick.

Kitten with a Whip ~ This 1960s exploitation flick is indicative of the genre and one of the best with name stars. Sociopathic prison runaway Ann Margaret chills at aspiring senator John Forsythe’s home Desperate Hours style while the family is on vacation. This couldn’t have been better if William Castle or Roger Corman had directed it.

Yes Man ~ Jim Carrey plays a negative man who through a positive thinking guru forces himself to say yes to everything. Yeah, it’s kinda like Liar Liar only less funny. It’s not as bad as it could be as Zooey Deschanel saves all the scenes she’s in. As much as Zooey is a delight, Jim is equally a hyperactive and sullen brat. Not as bad as it could be, might be worth seeing if nothing else is on, and as long as you don’t pay for it.

Planet 51 ~ Other than the interesting twist of humans and aliens switching roles, which you can see in any of the previews, there’s really no surprises here. It’s fun animation for kids featuring pantless sea monkeys with Alien dogs in a retro 1950s world, along with The Rock being tiredly ironic for ninety minutes. The shine will wear off for adults pretty quickly.

Pineapple Express ~ You know those great action thrillers where some innocent bystanders witness a murder and then spend the rest of the flick being chased by the bad guys? Yeah, now imagine everyone in said flick is a stoner and/or a doper. Yep, you got it, that’s what Pineapple Express is. It’s funny, but it’s probably a lot funnier if you’re high.

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Sherlock Holmes Destroy All Monsters

Sherlock Holmes ~ Yeah, this is the other film called “Sherlock Holmes” that came out in 2009. This one, from The Asylum, has been nicknamed in genre circles “Sherlock Holmes Destroy All Monsters” because of its plot involving giant monsters overrunning Victorian London. It’s also been alternately known as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, not that that helps much. For those not in the know, The Asylum specializes in making near-beer copies straight-to-DVD of blockbusters currently in theatres.

While it’s more Jurassic Park than Destroy All Monsters, it is an interesting entry, told from Watson’s point of view some forty to fifty years after the fact, and old Watson himself hypes it as Holmes’ “greatest and least known achievement.” Holmes is played by a relative unknown named Ben Syder, while young Watson is Gareth David-Lloyd of “Torchwood” fame. Villain of English legend, and the villain of this piece as well, Springheel Jack is brought to life by Domenic Keating, late of “Enterprise.” Both, while being quirky genre favorites disappoint here.

The movie moves painfully slow and neither lead has the charisma (at least here) to keep viewers interested. I seriously believe that Ben Syder may be the worst Sherlock Holmes ever, and must surely be related to someone involved in the production. Gareth Davod-Lloyd looks alternately bored and sedated, nowhere near as cool (or even uncool) as his “Torchwood” character Ianto – but at least he is more engaging than Syder.

When it does get exciting (it’s rare, but it happens) the action comes off like a flavorless episode of the old “Doctor Who.” There’s even a weird Cyberman-like episode that wants so badly to be Russel T. Davies-ish, it’s painful. And, now that I think of it, this flick probably owes more to the Who episode “The Next Doctor” than it does Sherlock Holmes. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the badly CGI-ed dinosaurs, and the giant robots. Believe me, it’s nowhere near as cool as I just made that sound. Give this one a miss, and go see the other Sherlock Holmes movie again. You’ll thank me.

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Michael Crichton R.I.P.


We’ve lost one of the great ones.

Michael Crichton, perhaps one of the greatest writers of the late twentieth century, author of “The Andromeda Strain,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Great Train Robbery” among many others and the creator of “ER,” died unexpectedly this week after a private battle with cancer.

The man will be missed.