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Member's Reviews

The Curse of Frankenstein, a review by Antares

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) 71/100Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is

(From Antares' Short Summations on October 14th, 2013)

Member's Reviews

Aliens, a review by Jon

5 out of 5

Lt. Ripley returns to Earth and no-one believes her story. In fact, the planet is being colonised. Soon however, they lose contact with the colonists and a rescue mission is mounted. Ripley reluctantly agrees to go along as consultant.

Alien has always been one of my favourite films. Aliens was my absolute favourite for a long time and it still holds up today. Utterly magnificent, it gets better with every viewing (I pretty much know it off by heart! :-[). In the mid-1980s, sequels were not as expected as they are today and the only truly successful ones were often part 2's of a continuing story (Empire Strikes Back for instance). So I feel confident in saying that Aliens is the best "unnecessary" sequel ever made.

Although it lacks the grace and unique atmosphere of the peerless Alien, it expands on the original without compromising its themes, rather it emphasises them, using the familiar motifs in new ways. In Alien, I felt the creature was so perfect it represented a shift in the food chain. Marines armed to the teeth should be able to kick nature in the nuts and force the balance back, but the cocky soldiers (all with their own personalities rather than faceless grunts) are on the back foot from the first attack and need rescuing by Ripley who is only there as an advisor on the "bugs".

One of cinemas icons, Ripley is the one who evolves to find a common ground and a foothold to survive. Not as the kick-arse Ripley everyone remembers because she was clearly that by the end of Alien and comes back pretty quick here to take charge of the disintegrating military. Here, more importantly, it's as a mother to runaway Newt that will get her through this time. The Alien lifecycle may be perfect, but that humanity is the best weapon we have. Sigourney Weaver was deservedly Oscar nominated for the role. Newt (Carrie Henn) is a brilliantly written child character, something that is frequently mishandled and annoying. Cute, but tough, she gets some great lines and her expression is faultless at conveying real terror.

The mother angle is what brings Ripley face to face with the Alien Queen. Stan Winston's fantastic creation still causes a shiver down the spine. I'm not sure if a Queen was actually envisaged in Giger's original bio-mechanics and simply not used in Alien, but either way, it's development here is perfectly handled and honours the original cycle. She's truly the stuff of nightmares.

Aliens greatest trick though is that all this worthy psychological extension of the themes in Alien is wrapped up in one of the best and most influential, balls to the wall action films, peppered with quotable one-lines (admittedly almost all from Hudson!). It's a brutal masterpiece that leaves you exhausted and gets the adrenalin pumping, and that's before the final act! The power-loader sequence is superb. The music and editing build to a crescendo few other films can match.

The fact that the Aliens theme is used time and time again in trailers is proof alone of the enduring power of this rollercoaster.

(From October Marathon: Horror! on October 21st, 2008)

Member's TV Reviews

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Marathon , a review by Critter

The Pack

Plot: At the zoo, Xander and four other students sneak into the off-limits hyena habitat and become infected by an evil demon spirit. Xander and his pack grow more and more feral until Buffy, Giles and Willow reverse the spell.

My Thoughts: I have memories of not really liking this episode all that much but after a rewatch I decided it isn't as bad as I remember. I think the idea of possesion by an animal spirit is really cool, especially that of the Hyena which is one of my favourite animals. I also like that these aren't just any Hyenas, but somewhat powerful ones that are feared by the African tribes that live with them. I also like the traits that Xander and his pack picked up from the beasts, such as learning the name of their prey then calling it out to get it's attention. I also find the fact that the pack ate the current pricipal was quite humerous, I look forward to seeing who the new one will be as I don't remember.

Rating: 3/5

(From Buffy The Vampire Slayer Marathon on May 24th, 2010)