Movie Review: STARMAN

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starmanColumbia Pictures Corporation
1984
PG

“I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.”

My first exposure to the films of John Carpenter was by way of the 1984 science fiction movie Starman. I watched it one Saturday afternoon while still a guest at the psychiatric ward during the summer of 1986. And would you believe it was on the CED format? How obscure is that? Also, I don’t recommend that video playback to watch movies on. If you want a good retro video disc system, stick with LaserDisc. But, I digress.

While mostly known for his horror and science fiction flicks that lean towards horror, Starman was a bit of a departure from his standard fare, in that the alien in question is not trying to destroy humans. In fact, you might say that Starman is a sci-fi romance. And this was my first taste of John Carpenter. Talk about easing into things.

So then, after intercepting the Voyager 2 space probe, aliens decide to take us up on our offer of visiting Earth, due to the invitation that was contained on that gold record we put inside the probe. But, instead of a warm, peaceful greeting, the scout ship sent is shot down by the U. S. Military, causing it to crash land in Wisconsin on a farm of a recently widowed woman. The alien entity–mainly a floating orb of light–decides it’s a great idea to clone himself a body to look like said widow’s dead husband. The widow disagrees, and while the alien just wants to get to the rendezvous point where his mothership is set to pick him up, she’s understandably upset and doesn’t want to give him a lift. Also, the rendezvous point is at the Marringer Crater in Arizona, so that’s kind of a factor there, too. She warms up a bit after he explains that, if he doesn’t make it to the location in three days, he will die (and also after resurrecting a dead deer, all the feels there). So, it’s road trip time! With the authorities in hot pursuit, will they be able to make it to the crater in time to get the alien doppelganger aboard and homeward bound in time? And will there be enough of an opening to allow at least a short-lived television series based on the movie?

Back when I first watched Starman, I found myself a bit bored at times, with my attention span wandering and not paying very close attention. I was also 12 years old at the time. Watching it now, Starman is a rather decent movie for what it is, which is a science fiction romance / road trip adventure that has some good performances from Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen as the leads.

Overall, I have to admit that Starman remains a bit of an odd entry in John Carpenter’s filmography. I don’t know if there was an attempt to tap into the more family friendly alien thing that ET popularized a couple of years prior. Regardless, Starman is a decent sci-fi flick; it does drag a bit at times, and the ending is a bit more heartwarming than I care for. But, for a weekend afternoon flick, it’s perfect for a rental.

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Movie Review: DEADPOOL

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deadpool20th Century Fox
2016
R

I’m gonna do to your face what Limp Bizkit did to music in the late 90s!

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Finally. Finally finally finally. After having our collective intelegence insulted with the mishandling of the Merc with a Mouth (actually, technically “Wade Wilson”, not really “Deadpool”, but still) in the cinematic wet fart that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and what constituted as several years of wishy-washy commitment issues from the studios, we long-time Deadpool fans finally have a movie that not only gets the character right, but goes well beyond our expectations on what a good, proper Deadpool movie would be. And considering that this was delivered by the Fox studios (the ones who gave us those wonderful Fantastic 4 movies, among others), I’m fully expecting to see pigs flying in the near future.

You see, I’m in a rather awkward position; I want to go on about the film, about how good it is and all that, but…I also don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who (for some reason I cannot fathom at the moment) hasn’t seen the film yet. So, assuming you haven’t seen it yet, lemme try and shove you off of that fence you’ve been straddling:

For one thing, you’ll be laughing within the first few seconds of the movie. The very opening credits had me and the rest of the theater howling at the way it sets up the irreverent and subversive nature of the movie. And the entire movie is chock full of this kind of funny stuff: the writing is fantastic, the actors’ delivery is impeccable, and there’s so much that I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to watch this again, just to catch whatever I may have missed this one time. Unlike a lot of other comic book-based movies, I’m actually well acquainted with the Deadpool comics (Joe Kelly’s run being my favorite), and I’m proud to say that this Deadpool movie stays very true to that character. Ryan Reynolds is spot-on, and while there are a few tweaks made with the movie version, overall this was a very well-made origin story for the Merc with a Mouth.

I’m going to have to stop there. You have no idea how much I want to go on about this movie. But, I shan’t. I will say, though, that Deadpool well earns that “R” rating, and is not for the squeamish and/or easily offended. Buuuut, if you were familiar with Deadpool, you’d probably know this. That said, Deadpool is awesome, and you really should see it. I’m very picky about which movies I’ll see in the theaters, and it’s rare that I’ll want to see a movie in the theater again after that. Deadpool is a movie I want to see again in the theater. That should tell you something.