WHAT I WATCHED: June 23-29
- This ABC Movie of the Week has a ridiculous-but-awesome concept - on a small Pacific Island an alien force takes over a bulldozer and begins killing off members of a small construction crew. These days it would be played completely for laughs, but there's not even a hint of humour here. Everything is played completely straight. Directed by Jerry London (who also helmed a TV movie I watched in May, MANHUNT FOR CLAUDE DALLAS), it has a good cast, including Clint Walker (TV's CHEYENNE), Neville Brand (EATEN ALIVE) and Robert Urich (TV's SPENSER FOR HIRE). The concept is better than the end result, but for the sheer fact of getting to see people fighting for survival against a driver-less bulldozer, it's worth checking out.
- Fairly innocuous 80s made-for-TV movie about a teenager (Jason Bateman in the midst of his rise to fame on TV's VALERIE) on the run from organised crime. You know the kinds of shenanigans that come with this kind of movie, but the writers and director Chris Thomson (who, like me is a New Zealander) throw enough balls in the air that it stops from being completely predictable. Shockingly, Bateman isn't obnoxious (I can't stand the guy usually), and the rest of the cast are good, from his love interest, Chynna Phillips (of 80s music group Wilson Phillips), to his dad (Tom Skeritt, ALIEN), the hitman (Jack Wagner) and the main bad guy (Richard Dysart, THE THING).
- Back-to-back Tom Skerritt, but here he's the main protagonist in this made-for-TV movie about, well, a string of calendar girl murders. It's fairly basic fare but the acting is really what makes it stand out (a constant pattern with these 70s and 80s TV flicks). Skerritt is always great, and there are prominent roles for Sharon Stone and TV regulars Robert Culp (GREATEST AMERICAN HERO) and Alan Thicke (GROWING PAINS). Stone's role as a model caught in the middle of a murder mystery, trying to seduce a straight-laced cop, make it impossible not to think of Basic Instinct, minus the edginess obviously. You'll see the ending "twist" coming a mile away though.
- I've been meaning to check out this SyFy TV series for a while, so finally got around to watching the movie-length pilot. The concept (male and female secret service agents are invited to join a secret government organisation which tracks and warehouses all of the world's magical and supernatural items) is reminiscent of TV's Friday the 13th: The Series, with aspects of The X-Files, Supernatural and Men in Black thrown into the mix. I like the concept, but it's handled in a more comedic way than I'd like, making everything a bit goofy, but I'll be checking out some more episodes at some point.
- Fairly interesting documentary that follows the daily life of prostitutes in three different countries (Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico). Some very eye-opening stuff. Be warned - for the most part it is frank without being graphic, but towards the end there's some graphic sex involved.
- I know, I know. Why the hell did I go to the cinema to see the fourth Transformers movie? I'll tell you why. I had free tickets to a fancy theatre (leather recliners, meal service etc) that expired at the end of June. This was the only thing showing on the last weekend of the month, so this is what I ended up seeing. I went in with extremely-low expectations, and ended up actually enjoying it. It could be that I saw it without having to pay any money or it could be that I saw it in 3D (my first ever 3D cinema experience), but I found Age of Extinction entertaining enough. I like Mark Wahlberg (yay no more Shia LeDouche!), the Dinobots were cool, the action was easier to follow and a lot of the dumb comedy from the earlier movies was gone. Definitely the best of the series so far.