Tuesday, 26 January 2016
Watching Arcade again after a few years and I realise this film is actually damn good, more so than I remember. On the surface it appears to be a standard post Tron mid 90's virtual reality movie (and there were a lot fo thoes) but there is a bit more to it, writer David S. Goyer (Blade and Dark Knight films) fleshed out the characters a little more especially our hero Alex (Megan Ward), also director Albert Pyun is on fine form giving every scene a memorable look.
The film follows teenager Alex and her friends, a group of 90's gamer kids who spend their time at a local Arcade called Dante's Inferno, one day they get to play a demo of a new virtual reality game called Arcade, they all even get free home versions. But soon Alex realises there is something wrong with Arcade, it seems to know who she is before she's even played and also her friends begin to quickly disappear, including her boyfriend Greg (Bryan Dattilo). So it falls to her and her friend Nick (Peter Billingsley) to find out whats happening and defeat Arcade at his own game.
I love the early CGI in this film, I know that is weird for me to say but I really do, since the characters are in a video game it makes total seance here, plus the early rough around the edges CG reminds me of endless nights playing early 3D games on my PlayStation, especially with some of the cool monster designes.
The actors were filled in front of a blue screen and the look also reminds me a lot of the classic TV game show Nightmare, if you've ever seen it you'll know exactly what I mean.
The film is well directed, Albert Pyun has a large body of work I'm only just starting to discover, lots of great shots in the film especially scenes dealing with Alex on a more personal side, coming to terms with her mothers suicide, or some of the creepier scenes like when one character is pretty much zombified by Arcade. I must say I love the inside of Dante's Inferno, I don't know if mid 90's Arcade's were that darkly lit or so full of smoke but who cares it looks cool.
The faces you'll most likely recognise in the film are Seth Green as teen Stilts, one of Alex's friends and John de Lancie as a software executive. Of course the leads in the film are great, Megan Ward who has built up a sizeable filmography of horror and sci-fi over the years and of course Peter Billingsley who is still fondly remembered for his role of Ralphie in A Christmas Story, though he has a lot more work under his belt including a lot of producing, writing and directing.
This is a fun little sci-fi flick, maybe more dated than other Full Moon films as it is so very 90's, but that doesn’t stop this been a great ride. Pay a quarter, push the player one button and check it out.
Sunday, 24 January 2016
As some of you may already know my favourite TV show since I was a little kid is Doctor Who, I won't bore you here with a recap of the show as I've no doubt most of you already know the at least the premesis. What I will tell you about is the wilderness years, that time between 1989 and 2005 when Doctor Who was absent from television (with the exception of re-runs and the 1996 TV movie), though the stories of the Doctor never stopped, comics that had run almost since the shows beginning continue to this day, series of novels continuing the story as well as adding new adventures for the past Doctor's, in 2000 Big Finish would start it's series of highly successful Doctor Who audio plays and then there is todays subject Reeltime Pictures.
Reeltime Pictured (and later BBV) produced original direct to video films based in the Doctor Who universe. Though the BBC kept close guard of the series Reeltime was able to directly licence characters and creatures directly from the writers who created them, so while The Doctor himself couldn't appear they were able to use characters such as Sargent Benton, Sarah Jane Smith and alien species such as The Sontaran's and Draconian's. Today we'll be looking at one of their films that sees several Doctor Who characters return to fight a classic foe, the recently released to DVD, Downtime.
Written by Marc Platt who also wrote the Seventh Doctor story Ghost Light as well as a number of Doctor Who novels and audio dramas, and directed by Christopher Barry who had directed many episodes of the show in the 60's and 70's, Downtime sees the return of five characters from Doctor Who; Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), Victoria Waterfield (Deborsh Watling), Professor Edward Travers (Jack Watling) and the villainous Great Intelligence along with its henchmen The Yeti. The film also introduced the character of Kate Stewart (Beverley Cressman) who would appear in the revived series of the show. The film also features Doctor Who alumni John Leeson and Geoffrey Beevers in new roles of Anthony and Harrods.
The plot see's the villainous Great Intelligence and his army of Yeti once again attempt to take over the world, this time having manipulated former companion of the Doctor Victoria Waterfield into founding the New World University, all in a ploy to invade the internet. Fellow former asociats of the Doctor Sara Jane Smith and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart fight to save the day with help from the Brigadier's estranged daughter Kate, former RAF man Harrods and psychic teenager Daniel Hinton (Mark Trotman). The film is more than a sci-fi romp especially with the Brigadier as we also get to see his strained relationship with his daughter, and the effects working for a secret government agency had on his life.
What I really love about this film is that I really believe this is what Doctor Who would have been like had it continued into the 90's. It has a similar feel to late 80's Doctor Who especially the Sylvester McCoy years (my favourer era of the whole show) but with a dash of the 90's, especially as the story is heavily involved with the early internet.
The story itself is a sequel to 60's Doctor Who serials The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of fear, which to my eternal shame are two I haven't seen, I will soon as I plan to get both then marathon all three stories back to back to see if I get any more out Downtime that way. The Great Intelligences is a great villain along with its new breed of his menacing robotic yeti. It's great to see a bit of the lives of Doctor Who companions Sarah Jane and Victorias lives after their travels in the TARDIS, and in the case of the Brigadier this film is actually a prequel to his final appearance in Doctor Who, the fantastic Battlefield which took place in the late 90's.
As said before Reeltime productions couldn't directly name drop The Doctor but a few cheeky references are made, a particular favourite of mine happens after the Brigadier has been in a fight, he's been hit on the head and as he falls into unconsciousness he sees another character run towards him to help, the Brigadier says “Good lord, is that you? Have you changed yourself... again?” Little touches like this are charming additions for fans to spot.
The film was also novelised by Marc Platt as part of Virgin Book's Missing Adventures series of Doctor Who novels, a book I would love to read one day as from what I have read it is a greatly expanded version of the story and even has cameos by both the third and fourth Doctors.
This film is great and a must see for fan's of classic Doctor Who though if you are only familiar with the new show you may not get as much out of it. But if thats the case check out some classic Who then give this one a watch.
Thursday, 14 January 2016
Massive apologies, I meant only to take a two week break after my Christmas reviews but things have been crazy this last couple weeks so haven't managed to get my next review done, at the latest my next review will be out in a week but I will aim for before then. And as a teaser I will tell you my next four reviews will all be sci-fi, even a horror hound like myself likes a change once in a while.
After that I already have lots of ideas for what I want to review this coming year so keep your eyes on this page.
But as you wait for my next pice of incredible writing (yeah right) I want to reccomand two other blogs by friends of mine.
First is sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris and like mine is a blog looking at films especially horror ones, she is a much better writer than me on the subject so check it out.
The other is Retro TV Corner, a look at classic sitcoms of the 60's, 70's and 80's, mostly British, if like me you grew up watching a lot of the older sitcoms you'll be hit with a flood of nostalgia as soon as you click onto the page.
So go over, check out their stuff, comment, like and all that good stuff!