Over the weekend I sumbled across the Youtube Movies channel, which fo some reason has started getting more movies added to it. I thought i would explore it further and see if I could find any Sci Fi Films, and guess what? I did! Ok, so not all are worth watching, and I havent actually watched any of them myself, but I thought I would look around to see what amazon reviewers had to say (as well as a few other sites).
If you are looking fro Free Reading on Scifi – Check out this weeks Free Scifi on SF Signal.
Reddit has a brilliant thread on Legally available Scifi stories / books too.
UFO: Target Earth
“UFO-Target Earth” is a wretched film made in Georgia in 1974. It has all the signs of being a student film, and while presenting itself initially as a pseudo-documentary, it quickly falls into the abyss of bad electronic music and never looks back. I cannot tell you how oppressive or inappropriate the music in this film is; unfortunately it’s also one of the better features of the movie.
For conventional entertainment value, this should get less than one star, but since there are several unintentionally hilarious scenes lending it some serious camp horsepower, I’m giving it two stars. This would have made an unbelievably excellent episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Hideous Sun Demon
Surprisingly, this film has better reviews than I expected, with the most critical review on Amazon saying:
“The Hideous Sun Demon” is one of those quintessential shoestring sci-fi schlockers that is so bad it’s good.
When a scientist is exposed to new radioactive isotope (as is so often the case in these movies), he then becomes allergic to sunlight; the side effect being that he devolves into a lizard-man and kills people. Full of booze and paranoia, our hero takes up with a saloon singer while his sweetheart is left to fret.
Silly science and lots of fiction (and skimpy budget), prevents this particular cautionary tale against “tampering with the Unknown” from being in a league with other radiation-based monster movies. There are some great scenes (mostly with the monster lying in wait to attack), but be ready for some over-the-top acting (and just plain bad acting by some inexperienced cast members!), and some el-cheapo effects work.
The filmmakers do make up for a lack of budget with some creativity and imagination, but what really saves this little film is the excellent use of location shooting. Real-world venues take center stage (especially during the climactic oil tank battle hundreds of feet high up), with startling footage of oil pumps, tank farms, and girders that easily make us overlook any weaknesses in acting or effects. And to be honest, the rubber suit and mask are pretty effective.
You’ll have fun with this one, as long as you aren’t expecting a slick big-budgeter. While far from perfect, you can tell that everyone involved really made an effort to make the movie as fun and as exciting as they could.
This one has probably the worst reviews:
I only watched the first 20 min of this movie (20 more than I should have), and it was TERRIBLE! The acting is bad, the croc is stupid looking, and the storyline deplorable. Don’t waste your time watching this movie, trust me.
Another gem, if I am to believe the reviews – most of which seem very positive. I have been tempted to watch this one first, and if I enjoy it, it will probably end up in my collection if I can get a cheap copy. In any case I pulled off a few comments from a few reviewers:
George Pal’s “Destination Moon” is a CLASSIC Science Fiction Movie of the 1950’s. I recommend it to everyone.
Destination Moon was the first major technicolor motion picture produced in the United States dealing with a trip to the moon, and the first serious, big budget science fiction film. Robert A. Heinlein (author of Starship Troopers, The Puppet Masters, Stranger in A Strange Land, and Space Cadet) co-wrote the screenplay very loosely from his 1947 novel Rocketship Galileo, although about all that remains unchanged in the film is the name Dr. Cargraves. In the book there is a veiled threat from unknown enemies that turn out to be Nazis (this was the first thing Heinlein wrote after the war) – in the film there’s just a veiled reference to a communist threat. I suspect the film also draws from Heinlein’s more sophisticated treatment from the same period, The Man Who Sold The Moon. The film’s suspenseful and scientifically accurate plot depicts man’s first voyage to and landing on the Moon, and the dangers of outer space travel. A Woody Woodpecker cartoon is included to demonstrate the principles of rocketry.
As for the movie itself, this one’s a classic, if not for any other reason than its historical importance. This is one of the first “serious” science fiction films of the 1950s and was written by the great sf author Robert Heinlein. The story revolves around four astronauts, their trip to the moon, and the difficulties they encounter preparing for the return trip to Earth. While certain details are inaccurate, the movie is still enjoyable, overall, for today’s audience. The lunar landscape is still impressive. DESTINATION MOON, by the way, won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Special Effects.
The Alpha Incident
The two reviews on Amazon seem a lot more favourable than the ones on Youtube – and what surprises me is that a new version of the DVD is out later this year…
I bought this at a book store. I saw that it had Ralph Meeker in it so I figured I would give it a shot. I blame the director for this movie. It actually had a decent plot and on occasion the actors would deliver lines pretty well, but the acting overall was not very good. I think with better acting or better directing of the ones used, this could have been a very good film. The “twist” at the end I saw coming way in advance and was no surprise at all. Ralph Meeker, the only ‘name’ in the cast barely did anything and really had the smallest part of all the cast. For a while I wondered if his character was even able to speak. As the hero, Stafford Morgan did an okay, 1960ish job. George ‘Buck’ Flower could have been great. He had a nice part but was just not very good. Carol Newell began the film as the nice lady in the train station then for some reason I could not fathom just went into slut mode. Ralph Meeker, Carol Newell and a couple other minor name stars could have made this one good film to watch. As it was, I enjoyed it but it could have been so much more.
Directed by Steven Lisberger, who also directed the original Tron the film seems to have a decent reception. Another winner by the look of it, and one I will add to the watch list:
Five Stars!! As a SciFi fan, this is one of my favorite movies. When the failures of mankind in managing the environment come to a tragic head, nature turns against us. The movie starts after a series of earthquakes, tidal waves, and such have virtually destroyed nations and economies and people are left to fend for themselves in enclaves. The major manifestation confronting mankind is a river of wind called the SlipStream, a virtual jet stream which has descended to the Earth’s surface and literally destroys all structures. Major travel is by ultra-light aircraft and balloons between settlements.
Bill Paxton plays Matt, an opportunistic wanderer on future Earth who sees a chance to score some money by kidnapping a wanted prisoner with a bounty on his head. The problem is that he’s already captured by the law in the person of Mark Hamill and Kitty Aldridge as Tasker and Belitski. Little does Paxton know that the prisoner is a special man and the two cops are not willing to give him up at all for a specific reason. The ensuing chase makes for a hoot of a SciFi romp through a fascinating future earth’s places and people.
People From Space
I wasnt totally conviced by the single positive review on Amazon, so I dug around and found this review on Film Critic:
This time out, four folks head into the woods in search of a downed alien ship, which carries with it a $100,000 bounty. Mock video crew documents all of this on shakycam — leaving with us the biggest mystery: What kind of couple would let a video crew document them having sex in a tent? In any case, the film takes the same structure as Blair Witch: First they get lost, then they go crazy, then people start disappearing. (Unfortunately they keep coming back…)
This is the second film by director Takashi Yamazaki to utilize computer generated visual effects showing bullet time and transforming alien ships. Plenty of decent reviews and am surprised I havent seen this – and will be added to the “to watch” queue…
Good action, some nice plot twists, and a time paradox or two all combine to make an old plot seem fresh. I bought this one based on a trailer on another DVD and I was not disappointed. The film is fairly intelligent and the hero is wonderfully resourceful, desperate, and caring. Her character does not fall apart as she unravels what is going on and what she must do to stop it. Worth watching.
Audience of One
This is a strange film, and not Sci Fi per se – it’s actually a documntary of a Pastor who WANTS to make a scifi film, based on the Bible. The whole premise encourages me to watch it, purely out of curiouity…
It’s Star Wars meets the Ten Commandments. A $50 million, no, make that $100 million futuristic fantasy film (with funding coming from “the Germans”) that a San Francisco pastor said he was commanded to make by that Studio Chief in the Sky. The story would be far too weird to believe had doc filmmaker Michael Jacobs not captured it all on film.
On the surface, this documentary is about a preacher and his San Francisco congregation working together to do what they believe God has called them to do — produce a Bible-based sci-fi / fantasy film. On a deeper level, it’s an opportunity to observe how a rational faith can morph into a delusional one, and how confidence in one’s own vision is abandoned when one’s faith is given over to the vision of another.