Aleksey German Jr., son of famed Russian auteur Aleksey German, comes into his own prominence with his third feature Under Electric Clouds, which took home a cinematography award following its premiere at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival. Much like his father’s cinema, German announces similar interests in existentialist societal woes impervious to logical narrative format, and exchanges deliberations of the past (his previous title, Paper Soldier takes place in 1961) for the looming future of 2017 (a date that may dawn before the title premieres in certain international markets). With production delayed so German could put the finishing touches on his father’s posthumous masterpiece, Hard to Be a God, this indictment on the decaying cultural state of Russia tuned exactly one hundred years after the Russian Revolution is a critique as obscurely damning as it elusively oblique in tone. Some spectacular imagery providing a backdrop for overly pointed dialogue manages to settle under your skin despite its sometimes mystifying qualities. Continue reading
Sure, this sci-fi action drama has its cheesy moments but it remains one of the most beloved genre flicks of the 1970s. Your humble editor (at the tender age of 9) saw this on the big screen when it was first released. It’s been a personal fave — a cherished guilty pleasure, if you will — ever since.
This is the second film based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, the first being the 1964 Italian production The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price. That film, actually adhering more closely to the novel, had Price’s sole survivor besieged by blood-drinking vampires spawned by a deadly plague; they’re repelled by garlic and Price drives stakes through their hearts to kill them. The Charlton Heston vehicle eschews such horror elements in favor of action, more befitting the actor’s swaggering, tough guy screen image. There aren’t any vampires in The Omega Man. Instead our hero is pitted against a fanatical cult of bio-mutants — light-sensitive albinos — with a religious zeal to destroy the last “normal” human left alive. Continue reading
“Je T’Aime, Je T’Aime,” which opened yesterday at the New Yorker Theater, was shown at the eighth New York Film Festival. The following is from Roger Greenspun’s review, which appeared Sept. 15, 1970, in The New York Times.
Like most of the previous films of Alain Resnais, “Je T’Aime, Je T’Aime” is science fiction of a sort. And like virtually all of Resnais’s previous films, its concern is for the past recaptured. To support this concern it proposes a story, the most fragmented of all Resnais’ stories, dealing with, perhaps intense but nevertheless transitory love affair. Continue reading
Three men at three different times in history come to Mow Top hill in search of sanctuary from their troubles. A Roman soldier, a medieval rebel and a 1970’s young man. Somehow they seem linked through a energy within the hill and an axe. Is history doomed to repeat itself or can loving another person free them?
A disturbing exploration of the inevitability of life. Under Orion’s stars, bluesilver visions torment Tom, Macey and Thomas as they struggle with age-old forces. Distanced from each other in time, and isolated from those they live among, they are yet inextricably bound together by the sacred power of the moon’s axe and each seek their own refuge at Mow Cop. Can those they love so intensely keep them clinging to reality? Or is the future evermore destined to reflect the past? Continue reading
The year is 1925. Professor Mantsev invents a weapon of a formidable destructive force never seen before – a hyperboloid that strikes dead with a beam… Engineer Garin steals this prototype of the modern laser gun, with the aim to use it for the realization of his insane idea of become the ruler of the world, with no inkling of the consequences that would be dangerous for him, too. A hunt for Garin and Mantsev’s dangerous invention begins… Continue reading
A dejected, worn-out, ill-kempt man spends an inordinate amount of time observing what appear to be well-dressed 1920s high-society types moving in and around a library set in the middle of an otherwise deserted island. Eventually, an irritating explanation for this situation is paired with an improbable one. Continue reading
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a daring exploration of science fiction as an art form. The story of an alien on an elaborate rescue mission provides the launching pad for Nicolas Roeg’s visual tour de force, a formally adventurous examination of alienation in contemporary life. Rock legend David Bowie completely embodies the title role, while Candy Clark, Buck Henry, and Rip Torn turn in pitch-perfect supporting performances. The film’s hallucinatory vision was obscured in the American theatrical release, which deleted nearly twenty minutes of crucial scenes and details. Continue reading