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Antonio Margheriti’s Battle of the Worlds. A Throwback to 60s Sci Fi on Home Video

14 Aug

Release Date: August 9.

The science fiction movies made nearly a half century ago are very different from what we find today. When Battle of the Worlds was released 1961, it wasn’t well received. But when we flash forward to today and look at it from a film historian’s perspective, it has a place in the lexicon worth noting.

The Film Detective was able to make a 4k scan of the original 35mm archival print, and release it as a Bluray. The transfer is only as good as the source material, and therein lies a problem. Watching is is no different from watching it on the big screen back then. There’s a lot of noticable film grain depending on the lighting situation. But as for giving new life to the story, it’s a tough sell.

This movie by Antonio Margheriti isn’t a blip in the radar. Although the direction and tale is very oblique, to watch it from a modern perspective suggests we’ve been spoiled. We get lots of glamour and glitz, and often forget that a solid plot matters a lot more. When compared to other movies made a decade or two later, like Battle Beyond the Stars instead of Battle of the Planets (a completely different genre), budgets matter. And as for where that money is spent by indie filmmakers determines how well their works are remembered.

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[Interview] Songbirds. More Than Just A Museum Displaying Priceless Electric Guitars….

12 Aug

SongbirdsAvailable to rent on Amazon Prime and other streaming platforms.

Now available on VOD is Songbirds, a wonderful documentary about a museum (named after this bird) dedicated to showing how the electric guitar became what it is today. It’s about the people who built this place to what it is now, how the pandemic affected its business model, its closure and when it rose from the ashes like a phoenix to become something even better!

Their goal is to do more than showcase the history and influence of this instrument in 20th century music. Within its doors, people could play with the instruments (after paying a fee), and attend special concerts from those musicians who long to touch that first production telecaster. In its latest form, it’s to teach young children how to play too!

Dagan W. Beckett (pictured below, left) is the creative mind who made this one-hour length film. His love for this establishment is clearly evident from the first frame to last. He delivers not only a beautiful look back at this place’s founding but also hits all the right notes (pardoning the pun) to show us why more places like this need to exist around the world. Dagon BeckettBut even I had a few questions just to confirm a few lingering thoughts. It was a pleasure to correspond with him about this work.

Can we please have an introduction from you for those readers unfamiliar with your work?

I am a filmmaker/director currently located in Chattanooga, Tennessee which is just North of Atlanta. The documentary film, Songbirds, is my debut work and my team and I are so very fortunate to have received a handful of awards for it, as well as an Emmy® for best Topical Documentary.

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From Frightful Predator to Prey, A Comic Book Reader’s Perspective on ther Prequel

12 Aug

Prey Movie PosterSpoiler Alert

Anyone who read Dark Horse Comics‘ Predator series (1989-2020) will be familiar with where Prey is headed. The thought of sending one of these hunters to Earth’s distant past is nothing new, and I’ve read enough of this run to know those times where they’ve intruded upon the past, ranging from 1718 to WW1, is often a bloodbath. No matter which civilization they meet, making peace with this alien species is nearly impossible.

In one corner of the confrontation is the said Predator and the other, a Comanche tribe. Caught in the crossfire are French fur traders, and I had to chuckle. The era this tale is set in is sometime during colonisation, and the land is more than a little wild. Its downright dangerous, as viewers will soon discover. Sometimes, these tales involve two differenct factions having to work together to succeed, but when we’re dealing with a franchise dealing with people dying, nobodhy is going to win! Fans must not forget the Predator usually makes situations worse for the heroes. They are often dealing with other threats and to save their own skin is the least of their worries!

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Gulliver Returns to Lilliput to Save the Day (Again) or Is It for the Ukraine?

10 Aug

Gulliver Returns

Just why an animated sequel to Jonathan Swift’s classic work, Gulliver’s Travels, exists really must be questioned. Just because actor turned Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said, “I have an idea,” doesn’t mean it should be realised.

I recall Ronald Reagan once said, “We have every right to dream heroic dreams.” And while that drives Gulliver Returns, something must have gone wrong during production. It should not only be a story about what Martin Luther King Jr. once said concerning civil rights, but also reflect upon what’s changed since the titanic hero left to become a world adventurer. Continue reading

It’s Summer Lovin’ with GKIDs Deji Meets Girl Theatrical Release Next Season

4 Aug

Deji Meets GirlComing this fall from GKIDS is Deji Meets Girl. After its latest screening at Fantasia Film Festival as a compiled film presentation, anime fans who haven’t seen this high school paranormal romance will get a chance later this year. To note, this anime made its debut at the last year’s event, before being shown on Japanese TV as shorts, and getting another round this year. 

The story takes place over the summer, making this appropriately timed debut even more appealing, and there’s nothing wrong with having an innocent fling, ala Summer Nights (Grease). Where this series shares a similarity to the musical is in how the boy (Ichiro) admits to taking an interest in a girl he meets at a beach (Maise). As for whether she’ll change her approach to winning his heart–we’re not certain. In the episodes I’ve seen so far, they aren’t officially dating.

Ichiro isn’t a greaser. But he does have that John Travolta charm to make me think of this analogy. In what we learn about this stranger is that he’s running away from responsbility. Beneath that cool exterior hides a scared interior. What he’s fleeing from isn’t exactly made clear, either, until the later acts.

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