Friday, October 6, 2017

WHAT AM I WATCHING THIS WEEK? - Edition 4 - 10/6/17

We didn't have the luxury of streaming services in 1996, but we did have video rental stores and you more than likely may have seen these on the shelves of many of them back in the day. Netflix spoiled us for a few years with their catalogue of films, both good and bad. But now Netflix is only interested in being a platform for their own over-hyped and overrated original content. So let's turn the tables and shill for the competition, namely Amazon Video. They don't pay me, I just want to get the word out about a streaming service that still caters to cinephiles. So here are a trio of films from that good year of 1996 to check out.

Star Trek: First Contact - The eighth film in the franchise and the second revolving around the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Borg have gone altered the timeline and have assimilated the people of Earth, so the Enterprise crew, led by Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) follow them into the past to halt the Borg from preventing the first-ever warp flight by man. Meanwhile, the Borg Queen (Alice Krige) has plans to assimilate and take over the Enterprise, leading to some of the best scenes in the movie between herself and Data (Brent Spiner). Maybe the best film in the series and quite a bit more action than your typical Trek story. Top-notch special effects breathe new life into the series.

Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders - *SPOILER ALERT* - THIS MOVIE IS AWESOMELY HORRIBLE. This film is probably best known as being included in the final season of the original run for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Ernest Borgnine stars as a grandfather telling his grandson the story from a screenplay he wrote involving Merlin and guessed it....his shop of mystical wonders. Except the stories are probably inappropriate for young grandchildren, and one of them is a re-cut and edited version of The Devil's Gift, a mostly-forgotten horror film from 1984. So the contrast in fashions and cars varies throughout the film. This is a bad movie, but it is definitely worth a watch for the awesomeness of the second story involving a toy monkey and the evil curse it exhibits on an unfortunate family. This one has to be seen to be appreciated.

Savage - Olivier Gruner made a small niche for himself in the direct-to-video action market in the 1990s. In this film, he plays a rancher named Alex whose family is murdered before his very eyes. He is committed to a mental hospital where he lies catatonic until he hears "Amazing Grace" on a television. Eventually, he escapes into the desert where he ends up in a cave that is lined with ancient drawings. These drawings lead to him acquiring the powers of a savage beast, thanks to a laser show that is .3 level Pink Floyd. and soon after he begins a quest for revenge against the corporation that is responsible for pretty much everything that happens to him. The plot is creative but it's a jumbled mess, with plot points tossed into the mix well after we've asked "what the hell is going on?". It has plenty of action and better-than-average production values for this type of movie. It's also probably for the best that Gruner doesn't have much dialogue.

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