Starman

This is a movie that at one point was the hot alien visiting Earth property which had a lot of directors attached to it., Of course the other story about an alien visiting Earth got made and released first and that worked out well for Steven Spielberg. John Carpenter made this, his most mainstream film, after “The Thing” failed at the box office and he needed to show he could do a commercial picture. While it did not have the box office success of “E.T.”, it is an artistic achievement and contains one of the most interesting performances by an actor in this, or any other year. Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen lend a sweetness to the film that is totally different than the other film, and a lot more mature in some ways.

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The premise of the movie is that we have invited a visit from Extra-terrestrial beings, but are clearly not prepared to handle such a visit. The alien visitor is detected by the military and SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), but before they get to the site of a space ship crash, the visitor has taken on the form of a recently deceased house painter by cloning a body from DNA found in the widow’s home. He than hijacks the widow to take him to a rendezvous site on the other side of the country, “Arizona Maybe”. Jenny Hayden is confused as hell that her dead husband has come to life, but she recognizes almost immediately that something is wrong. The visitor has a rudimentary understanding of language but not much else and he learns by watching and copying the actions and behaviors of the humans he encounters.

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The Philadelphia Experiment

Time Travel stories are fun for a lot of obvious reasons. Going to the future allows our imaginations to run wild and going to the past allows us to think of all the choice we had a a younger age. As the characters in a Time travel story face their predicament, we imagine ourselves confronted by some of the same obstacles and we wonder, “what would we do?” “The Philadelphia Experiment” is a Time travel story that exists within our history so it does not have new fangled do dads for us to marvel at (like the instant nail polish in “Total Recall”). This is a fish out of water story with a scientific crisis to make it more complicated.

philadelphia_experimentIn the early 1980s, New World Pictures was the home of Roger Corman and his philosophy of do it cheap, but be creative. This film claims to have John Carpenter as the Executive Producer and in later publicity material, his association was exploited as a selling point, but this is not a Carpenter film. It does however feel like a Corman inspired project, even though his name is nowhere to be seen. The premise takes an urban legend of a physics experiment gone bad and turns it into a Science Fiction action film with fuzzy science, unnecessary action, but some creative plot points that make it intriguing.

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