Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The 2012 Boston Science-Fiction Marathon, Part II

Seen: At the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square. Read Part I.

Alright, 4 films down and I'm doing fine! A little hungry but as always I am prepared with snacks (pear applesauce cups, it's all I need). There are some awesome trailers and such shown, but sadly no shorts like the past few years. I heard there was a great shorts program during the festival portion, and usually they pick a few to screen during the marathon itself. I wonder if the gargantuan Endhiran was too long to allow for extra stuff? Hmmph! Anyway, we continue on with more mad inventors/scientists, along with a some aliens and exploding heads. Press on!

5 Dimensions (2011)
This was one of the festival films so I was glad I got to see it after missing the original screening. A thoughtful time travel drama set in 1920s-30s England, Dimensions has some interesting ideas and lovely cinematography. I liked the main cast (who all got to wear sexy 30's outfits) and the romantic aspects so central to the sciencey portions as the main character tries to revisit a lost love from his childhood. Unfortunately its script is too light, dragging through what could have been a much shorter story, and the editing isn't great (all those fading scene transitions were so off-putting). But I appreciated it on a more basic level, especially since I assume the budget was pretty small and it did look good. The director Sloane U'Ren (who previously has been set/art designer for a ton of cool films) was there and did a Q&A but I had to leave to start my reading. Yay for ladies making sci-fi though!

6 Attack the Block (2011)
This I had to sit out for homework time. I totally love it (it's one of my favorites of 2011) but I've seen it twice and the first time was in a theater, so sacrifices had to be made. For anyone who hasn't been paying attention, this is a completely kickass movie with gorilla-wolf motherfucker aliens and a group of resourceful British urban youths who combat them. Great soundtrack, creature design, and casting makes for a fun and decidedly different sci-fi comedy. The title links to my full review from last year.

7 Island of Lost Souls (1932)
So once when I was a kid I was at a slumber party and we watched the 1996 version of this story but everyone else fell asleep really quickly but I watched the whole thing alone and it scared the SHIT out of me. Marlon Brando's creepy turban/pastiness left an impression. THIS one is a pretty cool movie, more subdued but just as eerie and strange. Based on the HG Wells novel, the film follows a castaway who finds himself unwillingly left on a mysterious, tiny island populated by animal/human hybrids- experimental creatures of the devilishly polite Dr Moreau (Charles Laughton). It's a careful thriller with a clipped runtime, wonderfully dark subject matter, and some fantastic performances. Laughton is mesmerizing as the tactful, probably deranged Moreau, but Kathleen Burke stands out as the "Panther Woman" Lota, the doctor's most "human" creation who longs for social interaction. And Bela Lugosi has a small role that led to hilarious Devo references from the crowd! The make-up effects are notable, as well. Good film, though the script felt a bit light at times.

8 Scanners (1981)
Oh, Scanners, a movie that is impossible for me not to love even though it's got some problems. I saw this last year as part of my personal Cronenberg re-awakening (realizing his 80's movies are all I need in life) and came to love it. Patrick "Mr Intensity" McGoohan sets telepaths against each other in a confusing and deadly (and Head Explody) battle, it's perfectly strange and overblown and yet super boring at parts. A weird mix of stuff but as it progresses it gets better and better, and by the time the big reveal comes (which features one of my favorite narrative twists!), I'm hooked. I skipped the first 20-30 minutes to finish reading but I knew what was going on since by now I've watched it a couple of times and could hear certain key moments. Still love it, whatever. I hope there's a Cronenberg at every 'Thon- we're 3 for 4 since I've been going. The title links to my original review.


  1. That sounds like a kick ass festival. I saw you addressed the hunger problem but what about your butt going numb for sitting so long?

  2. threeguys: It IS pretty kickass! As for sitting, I did bring pillows to sit on but honestly there's not much to be done, my butt hurt all day afterward haha.