Mad Science and Martian Maidens

Russian author Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote the stories that served as the source material for two of the Soviet Union’s best-known science fiction adventures: the futurist fantasy Aelita, Queen of Mars and the Fantomas-inspired pulp thriller The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin. Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy was Russia’s less internationally known Tolstoy. While the one was writing…

Cultural Gutter: The Gentleman Adventurer

I have a new Frolic Afield up on The Cultural Gutter: The Gentleman Adventurer takes a look at the BBC series Adam Adamant Lives! A swashbuckling Edwardian gentleman, quick with his cane-sword or a witty retort, is frozen in time and revived in swingin’ sixties London, where accompanied by his go-go girl sidekick, he immediately…

Asambhav

Attempting to cram every single flashy editing trick into one film, and usually into one scene, and sometimes into a single shot, this Bollywood espionage thriller is as entertaining as it is moronic. And it is really moronic. It’s been said that in an effort to appeal to as massive a population as possible, the…

Aguirre, The Wrath of God

There are a lot of directors who work with that special someone of an actor forging a partnership that becomes legendary within the cinematic world. Martin Scorsese had Robert DeNiro. ohn Ford had John Wayne. And German director Werner Herzog had Klaus Kinski. If you know anything about Klaus Kinski, this may seem a bit…

Arahan

The script should be giving us something more to root for in Sang-hwan other than “he’s the Chosen One,” but he never really gets much character redemption. He’s a lunkheaded, inconsiderate buffoon when we meet him, and he remains as such throughout the movie. I was wishing he would just get shuffled to the background.

Angry Red Planet

When producer Sid Pink set out to tell the epic tale of mankind’s first trip to Mars, he did so with a budget that would barely get him down the street. That didn’t stop him, and to overcome the monetary limitations, he relied heavily on matte paintings drenched in the accidental surrealism of CineMagic. The…

Aankhen

1967 saw the release of You Only Live Twice, a James Bond movie full of ninjas, hollowed-out volcanoes, egg-shaped monorail pods, and Sean Connery as the world’s most convincing Japanese man. The Eurospy trend was still swinging, and even Japan and Hong Kong were getting in on the fun. The result is that, soaked in…

Assassination Games

The final days of the 20th century ushered in many things, and ushered out quite a few as well. After years of dedicated service, the beefed-up action stars of the 80s and 90s were quietly shown the door. This was a horrible turn of events for Olivier Gruner, a man who had made a living…

Apocalypse Code

Studies of Russian cinema tend to be studies of Soviet cinema — classics from the glory days (such as they were) of the communist powerhouse. Russia has moved on, though, both cinematically and culturally (though Vladimir Putin would love if that wan’t the case), and modern Russian cinema is a very different beast than the…

Amazing Captain Nemo

So, The Amazing Captain Nemo is just-about-passable afternoon matinee entertainment, assuming you can roll with the ropey model FX. And I also now know for certain that even the addition of sweet laser-equipped scuba thrusters isn’t enough to make diving sequences interesting.

Adventures of Jane

I have a friend who is a huge, HUGE World War II history buff. My Dad is similarly fascinated with that conflict, so between the two of them, I have picked up a certain smattering of interest in the terrible events of 1939-45. Not much, but enough to get highly annoyed at my fellow countrymen…

Armageddon: The Final Challenge

At the top of my list of experiences I don’t need recreated for me by a movie would be the frustrating tedium of phone-based customer support.