Thirty five years ago today, the original Star Wars was released. It opened in the U.S. on a Wednesday, in just 38 theaters. The studio chose the pre-Memorial Day slot in the hope of getting a jump on the other, bigger movies coming out that summer. George Lucas, the film’s director, was worn out after a long, frustrating shoot, and was not convinced that his movie would be a success. He’d even gone so far as to trade 2.5% of the film’s profits as a bet with his friend Steven Spielberg in the belief that Close Encounters of the Third Kind would out-gross Star Wars.
The 2009 hit film Star Trek garnered many fans, as it became a big hit at the box office. But many new fans may not have realized that it was not the first movie in a new franchise, but rather the eleventh film in a franchise that celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. Tasked with revitalizing a venerable franchise that was on life support (Star Trek: Enterprise, the franchise’s fifth television series, had been canceled six years previously, and the tenth film, Star Trek: Nemesis, was a critical and box office dud in 2002), Star Trek actually faced a similar situation encountered by another film 27 years earlier. In many ways, the films are quite similar, and yet, in others, they are diametric opposites; as such, they become, as Mr. Spock might say, fascinating mirrors for each other. Join us as Reel Rumbles heads to the Final Frontier for a battle of galactic proportions: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan vs. Star Trek.
There are some films on my Flickchart that rank higher than they might have, simply because they contain just one scene that held me captivated. Overall, I may not have cared for the movie, but one particular scene or sequence just caught my attention, and I had to admit: I wish the whole movie could have been like that.
Here are a few films that find themselves pulled from the dregs at the bottom of my Flickchart, buoyed in the middling middle on the strength of one or two effective scenes. One is the first R-rated film to win the Best Picture Oscar. One is considered a modern-day masterpiece. One is a mediocre action flick from a director best known for mediocre action flicks. They all have one thing in common: I didn’t love them…but I loved something about them. (Caution to those who might not have seen the films discussed; there may be a few minor spoilers.)
Just when you thought it was safe to head back to the Flickchart Blog, another Reel Rumbles is here to determine once and for all what is scarier: a murderous great white shark on the loose in a small fishing village or a lone member of a mysterious alien race haunting the jungles of Central America? Separated by twelve years and undeniable advancements in special effects, this looks, on paper, to be a match for the ages. But is it really that close? Does testosterone-fueled action and a Die Hard pedigree trump master filmmaking and deep characterization? Read on and find out in Jaws vs. Predator.