September 26th, 2008

THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (1979) **

After the fallout of the Great Robot Wars, earthlings relocate to a colony on the moon called “New Washington”.  All is well until bad guy Jack Palance pulls a science-fictiony 9/11 on the moon men by crashing a starship into their colony which causes a bunch of model buildings to blow up.  The moon council (consisting of a bunch of various character actors) sits around and worries a lot until they eventually come up with a plan to send some space ace, his girlfriend and a clumsy robot to stop Jack once and for all. 

 

The Shape of Things to Come is neither the first, last, best, or worse cheapjack Star Wars rip-off from the late 70’s.  I would never in a million light years attempt to call this a “good” movie, but it certainly is watchable and even kinda fun in a goofy sort of way.  It sure as Hell went down a lot smoother than several other higher budgeted films I’ve sat through this week, I’ll give it that. 

 

I know; a lot of things about this movie just plain flat out sucks.  I’ll admit that the script is a mess, the actors who aren’t named Jack Palance blow hardcore and the stupid ass robots get on your nerves real fast.  Seriously, I could rip this movie apart if I wanted to.  Maybe it’s just because I’m in a good mood or something, but The Shape of Things to Come’s numerous shortcomings didn’t bother me all that much. 

 

Look, the movie was setting itself up to be a big letdown from the get-go.  I mean I knew it wasn’t going to be very good as soon as I read the Star Wars style opening crawl.  I immediately knew that the stuff that they were alluding to like “robot wars” and “cities becoming wastelands” was going to sound a Hell of a lot cooler than anything that was actually in the movie itself.  I was able to make peace with that and move on.  People who get sucked into the opening titles expecting Return of the Fucking Jedi are only fooling themselves. 

 

Hey, Dune didn’t live up to its opening narration either and this movie is a fuck of a lot better than Dune.

 

I have a soft spot in my heart for cheesy sci-fi movies, so I could appreciate its ineptness.  I especially loved the way that this flick took stuff from the modern day and tried to pass it off as “futuristic”.  Like guys walking around in spacesuits that were really nothing more than asbestos suits.  FUTURISTIC!  Or the spaceship interior that resembled a very 70’s looking boiler room.  FUTURISTIC!   Or the distant planets that actually just looked like some guy’s ranch in Montana.  FUTURISTIC! 

 

People, when you watch as many movies as I do, you have to chuckle about shit like this or else you go crazy. 

 

And c’mon, you have to admit that the effects weren’t the worse you’ve ever seen in a low budget Star Wars rip-off.  Although the sets were ridiculous and the planets looked like bowling balls, the model spaceships weren’t THAT bad.  They sure as shit were a lot more convincing than the ships found in any of the Italian made Star Wars rip-offs like War of the Planets.

 

The Shape of Things to Come really belongs to Palance though.  He looks nuts while running around the piecemeal sets in his silly looking purple cape.  Palance really knows how to chew to scenery and because the scenery was so goddamned cheap in this movie, it’s like a smorgasbord for the man.  Watch him try to keep a straight face during his death scene when the cardboard set is falling apart around him and Styrofoam pillars are landing on his noggin and tell me if it isn’t almost worth the price of admission. 

THE QUIET (2006) * ½

An orphaned deaf girl (the ultra hot Camilla Belle) gets sent to live with her godparents (Martin Donovan and Edie Falco), much to the chagrin of their perfect teenage all-American cheerleader daughter (the ultra hot Elisha Cuthbert).  Since Belle can’t hear a damn thing, a lot of people feel the need to confess all their secrets to her and when it comes time for Cuthbert to confess, it’s a doozy.  It seems that her daddy has been slipping her the Salami Special every night and she’s so fed up about it that she just might be ready to do her dear old dad in.  The twist (excuse my snickering at the term “twist”) is that Belle CAN hear (SHOCKER!) and she uses her newfound knowledge to help Elisha out by strangling her pops with some piano wire.

 

This flick is a clear case of me expecting one movie and getting another.  Looking at the DVD box we see Elisha Cuthbert looking all kinds of hot about THIS close to Camilla’s face as if she’s about to plant a big old wet kiss on her.  Knowing that this was directed by the lesbian who directed the lesbian comedy classic But I’m a Cheerleader, I figured that this flick would have at least one lesbian scene where Belle and Cuthbert go at it like hounds in heat. 

 

Boy was I ever wrong.  There are a few scenes where the girls get real close and snuggle in bed and shit, but their relationship always stays at that “You go girl!” level and never fully crosses the line into full tilt DeGeneresism.  I guess the problem was that the director was going for lesbian UNDERTONES and I was hoping for lesbian UNDERWEAR.  That’s my fault, not the movie’s.  I’ll admit that much. 

 

So if this movie isn’t about Camilla Belle and Elisha Cuthbert mashing clams, then what the heck is it about then?  Not much I’m afraid.  Most of the movie plays like a drawn out CW drama and a predictable one at that.  The “plot” was almost non-existent and the only “surprises” were ones you saw coming a mile away.  Not to mention the movie’s totally ridiculous logic.  Honestly, if minutes ago, you were in the process of being fucked by your lecherous father and then you were rescued in the nick of time by some creepy deaf chick who wrapped piano wire around his neck and strangled him so bad that blood from his jugular spurted all over your face in an orgasmic spray… WOULD YOU STILL GO TO THE PROM? 

 

And another thing I hated about this movie.  I know it’s called THE QUIET and it’s about a DEAF person, but why in the Hell does everybody whisper in this flick?  I felt like I was the deaf one.  No really, I had the 5.1 surround sound on and still couldn’t make out what the heck most of these idiots were blabbering on about.  No wonder it was so easy for Camilla to pretend she was deaf!  Jeesh. 

 

On the plus side, the father/daughter fuck scenes ARE pretty hot, if you’re into that sort of thing.  Otherwise, you’ll be wishing you were deaf, dumb AND blind while watching this movie. 

 

Falco and Donovan were also in the classic Trust together.