REVIEW: The Terminator [1984]

“It’s just him and me” Sometimes the road to success hinges on a series of happenstances and whom you know. Just ask James Cameron: on-set special effects director for Piranha II: The Spawning (former boss Roger Corman produced the first) before it became his directorial debut due to creative differences between his predecessor and producer Ovidio G. Assonitis (who subsequently took it away from Cameron after shooting wrapped). Hardly a glowing experience to warrant handing the not-yet thirty-year old six-million dollars to bring an original script to life, but Orion…

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REVIEW: The Abyss [1989]

“You have to look with better eyes than that” Even the most rudimentary research into the production of James Cameron‘s The Abyss yields horror story upon horror story as frustrations shattered personal lives and behind the scenes decisions fought against its genre, budget, and appeal. There’s the writer/director basing lead character Lindsey Brigman on producer Gale Anne Hurd only to find himself marrying her previous to filming, separating during pre-production, and divorcing months before it’s release date. That opening weekend itself was pushed from July until August to complete special…

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REVIEW: Alien3 [1992]

“We’re on the honor system” After James Cameron reinvigorated the Alien franchise to huge success with his action-packed sequel Aliens, Twentieth Century Fox’s desire to keep going shouldn’t have surprised. Looking to retain the level of craftsmanship and professionalism of the first two installments, they tried bringing original director Ridley Scott back to helm an ambitious two part continuation from producers David Giler and Walter Hill—eventual cowriters with Larry Ferguson also—to no avail. So with sci-fi writer William Gibson hired to script them way back in 1987, Alien3‘s lengthy gestation…

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REVIEW: Aliens [1986]

“Game over, man. Game over!” Leave it to über action champion James Cameron to turn a darkly serious sci-fi thriller into a brutally fun romp successful enough to spawn two more sequels and a separate spin-off series that has kept H.R. Giger‘s grotesque xenomorph relevant today. Fresh off the success of Terminator 2, Cameron joined original Alien producers David Giler and Walter Hill to flesh out a new concept that would take the saga into another genre and wider audience appeal. Proving a strong female lead could carry a film…

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REVIEW: Take Me Home Tonight [2011]

“That was a metaphor. I totally got him.” As this week’s box office shows in contrast to my huge level of enjoyment with Take Me Home Tonight, it appears director Michael Dowse has another cult classic on his hands. Already with It’s All Gone Pete Tong and a duo of Fubar films containing a pretty vocal fan following—how else would what looks like a major low-budget flick in the latter get funding for sequel Balls to the Wall—I’d have to imagine the lackluster opening of his newest won’t get him…

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REVIEW: Terminator Salvation [2009]

“So that’s what death tastes like” I have never seen a McG film before. I avoided the Charlie’s Angels movies and thought We Are Marshall looked pretty mediocre—besides being a based on true events sports flick; not my genre of choice. But here we have him helming the newest entry to one of the best science fiction series in cinema. How would someone that people oftentimes compare to a “hack” like Brett Ratner do with a big scale production containing an existing mythology and fan base calling for greatness? We…

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REVIEW: Grindhouse – Planet Terror & Death Proof [2007]

“These guys got the devil in them” A double-bill, Rodriguez and Tarantino—two of the most entertaining directors working today—faux trailers, and a 70’s pulp aesthetic…can a movie of this magnitude ever live up to the almost Godlike expectations for it? Generally there is no way the real thing can meet the hype, but with the amount of talent and creativity involved here, how could Grindhouse be anything but a masterpiece? Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino know their genres and are never afraid to mix in a little violence or camp…

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