we’re alive! we did it…

Stranded So to take a break from my recent bout of “low-budget sci-fi film” love, I must say something about Stranded. After a quiet 2001ish start (though blatantly low budget), the first manned ship to visit Mars ends up crashing there! And since their orbiter doesn’t have a second lander, it may as well just turn tail and head back to Earth. Everyone seems really bummed by all of that except for one guy who is just excited to have made it… Which would be my take on the situation if I got to go on the first manned mission to another world!

Trying to piece things together, and realizing that their supplies won’t last even near long enough to make the 2+ years it would take for a rescue attempt to arrive, three of them head out to investigate a strange radar image a few hours walk away. Which is unfortunate, as the scenes of the surface of Mars are probably the low point of this movie, with hardly any attempt made to make it appear that they might be on an different world. But wait! That’s not the only bad part. They talk as they wander about and, while I thought the script was okay at first, just marred by bad readings, as the movie wore on I lost faith in the script also… Though it still wasn’t as bad as the readings. Maria Lidon (also the director?) and Danal Aser deliver every one of their respective lines terribly, without the slightest level of convincingness. That coupled with how cheaply this movie seems to have been made, causes me to wonder about the rest of the cast. What are: Vincent Gallo, Maria de Medeiros and Joaquim de Almeifa doing here? Three actors who, while maybe not great, are certainly of a higher caliber and reputation than the rest. I can’t imagine why they are in this unless it was as a favor for a friend or something.

Lidon also delivers some narration that, while unnecessary as narration usually is, is also painfully delivered. All in all, Stranded is generally boring, badly acted, with terrible effects and “sets” and a story that might have had some potential, but it ends up being not all that. The movie does finally start to try to get interesting and pick up steam about an hour in, but at that point, I didn’t really care.

the wrong pig… the wrong bat… and the lessons of a food handlers card…

Sitting down with a bunch of the guys (and some other guys) i watched Contagion. Now normally I would preface that by saying that I don’t normally watch that kind of movie but, lately, with that Insideous and Paranormal Activity 3, that no longer seems to be the case.

Anyway, Contagion actually isn’t bad. Yes, it is stuffed to the gills with Hollywooders (Matt Damon, G Paltrow, Larry Fishburne, Jude Law (ok, I sort of take that back about Jude Law), and has yet another version of the “watch the plague spread across the world! Will they stop it!?” storyline, I still liked it. It starts off quick, it is a bit dark and graphic for Hollywood and they focus more on accurate desriptions of the technical side of things.

Basically, Matt Damon is the husband of a women who carries back a new virus from a business trip to Hong Kong. The CDC (represented by Fishburne (or Furious Styles as I still think of him)) try to chase down a cure in time.

The first half is pretty good, but the second part bogs down a bit and ends with an anti-climactic ending and an unneeded bit of backstory (at the start ofthe movie, they clearly state “Day 2”.

Also, the soundtracka is pretty lame. But, if you like these kind of Hollywood movies, this is better than most and lacks the ridiculous and irritatating melodrama of, say, Outbreak.


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