The Day of the Triffids was a science fiction classic by John Wyndam, first published in 1951. Like many of the books and movies of the 1950s and 1960s, it reflects cold war paranoia, and to no small extent, suspicion about new technology.
I’m a big fan of old movies, especially old horror and science fiction. They often tell us a lot about both our dreams and our fears. There was a move adaptation in the early ’60s which I haven’t seen. According to reviews, it was mediocre at best. But I recently had a chance to see the 2009 BBC version, and I was impressed. A movie about tall, walking, carnivorous plants doesn’t sound that appealing, but I had read the book as a child, and the BBC adaptation had good reviews, so why not take a chance? Glad I did, there turned out to be a lot more going on here that you would guess from the description.
In my list of “15 Movies that Changed Things”, 2001: A Space Odyssey is going to be the most difficult to discuss. In many ways, it’s a time capsule.
There are three main elements in this story. Human evolution, artificial intelligence, and alien civilization. All these elements are still controversial today. From the viewpoint of 1968, it seemed perfectly reasonable that space flight would be commonplace by 2001, and that machine intelligence would be a fact of life. This was a time of flower children and going to the moon. All things seemed possible. (more…)
If there was ever a movie that reflected the alienation of a generation, The Graduate is it. Like a million other baby boomers, Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock is trapped between two worlds. The easy choice is the shallow and materialistic world of his parents. Marry a “nice girl”, get an acceptable job, preferably something involving plastics, and buy a house in a good neighborhood. (more…)
I was too young to see Psycho. No doubt about it at all. I can’t remember now what kind of lies I told to get in, but I remember being asked if I was with my parents. With my dysfunctional family, that wasn’t happening. It was my good fortune to be given a few bucks along with instructions to stay out of the house for a few hours. That meant you were free to do anything that didn’t involve a police visit. (more…)
Doug Liman’s second feature Go, is an E-ticket ride. Although many reviewers have compared it to Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, some even calling it a rip off, we have to keep in mind that Tarantino didn’t invent time shifting story lines, awesome dialog, or multiple viewpoints. Go has it’s own story to tell, and it’s dark as midnight and funny as hell. It’s all about unintended consequences and the unwritten rule of comedy that anything that can go wrong probably will. (more…)
The storyline of an attractive but financially challenged woman trying to attract a rich man is nothing new. In the 1950s Marilyn Monroe played that role in both How to Marry a Millionaire and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In those films the comic heroine might have had a plan to get her man, but it was charm and innocence that hooked him. (more…)