Keith David


When John Carpenter‘s They Live opened in theaters 25 years ago this week, it had the honor of knocking Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers out of the #1 slot. That’s just too perfect, and also it’s also kind of weird to realize that They Live indeed opened at the top spot on the box office chart for the weekend of November 4, 1988. Maybe even weirder than the fact that a U2 concert film debuted just below it at #2. That was a different time for moviegoing, one where a great start like that meant little at the end of the day when your movie still winds up only the 75th highest-grossing of the year. Although the sci-fi film came and went with little widespread notoriety at the time, They Live did go on to become a cult classic of varying levels, the kind revered by movie geeks for being just enough “cheesy” mixed with just enough “awesome,” recognized by academics for being a very direct social commentary on the Reagan years (and the best horror movie satirizing consumerism since Dawn of the Dead a decade earlier) and continually ignored by the mainstream for looking like a cheap, dated B movie. But it’s also a film that has become even more relevant in recent years (and was therefore prescient, as we’ve covered before) due to how it involves a disappearing middle class while the rich and poor grow on opposite sides of the economy, in wealth and population […]



One of the greatest genre movies ever made is John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing. Though technically a remake of Howard Hawks’ 1951 The Thing From Another World, it is a much more faithful adaptation of John W. Campbell’s 1938 novella “Who Goes There?”. The story follows a group of men in an Antarctic outpost who stumble across a bizarre alien that has the ability to imitate other life forms. During the course of the film, the characters are plagued with paranoia and terror as they discover that those around them may be the Thing in disguise. Soon, it becomes apparent that they have to do whatever is possible to stop the Thing from getting to civilization. Armed with flame-throwers, shotguns, and a hot copper needle, the team at U.S. Outpost 31 try to keep the thing contained, lest it mean the end of the world. Because we are significantly paranoid, this got us thinking: What would have happened if the Thing really escaped?


tampa theatre archive

“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Michael Silva shares one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.   Name: Tampa Theatre Location: 711 Franklin St., Tampa, FL Opened: October 15, 1926, designed by renowned movie palace architect John Eberson (he also did Austin’s Paramount Theatre). Nationally listed for landmark status and reopened in 1978. No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: Anna Karenina


They Live

John Carpenter burst onto the genre scene in 1978 with Halloween, but the bulk of his great films came in the 1980s with classics like The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing, Starman, Big Trouble in Little China and Prince of Darkness. His final film of the decade was a bit of an odd duck though and one that saw his trend of releasing a new movie every year or two come to a halt. They Live was released, not coincidentally, in the last year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Sold as a sci-fi/action hybrid the film is a not-so thinly veiled critique of the growing class divide engendered by a Republican mandate that favored a corporate culture and rampant consumerism. The rich were getting richer, the poor were getting poorer and the middle class were doing very little to stop it all. Roddy Piper plays a drifter who arrives in Los Angeles desperate for work and relegated to live in a homeless encampment. He finds a pair of special sunglasses that reveal a world of subliminal messages and alien invaders masquerading as humans and discovers a stunning conspiracy behind America’s economic and social downturn. And, being Roddy Piper, he proceeds to clean house.


Cloud Atlas Fantastic Fest

Editor’s note: Cloud Atlas finally arrives in theaters today, so please dive deep into it with this review, first published as part of our Fantastic Fest coverage on October 3, 2012. It starts with an old, scarred, and obviously hard-lived man sitting near a campfire speaking to the audience, and it ends with the same scarred old man concluding his story at that same campfire talking to a group of children about past adventures. As the credits start to roll, it evokes a nostalgia that you may have just sat through the kind of immersive and imaginative tale that you wish you could recall all the details to tell it to your children exactly as it was told to you. All that was missing was a stick and a bag of marshmallows. In between these comforting bookends is a story that transcends time, tonal cohesiveness, or convention of almost any kind. Cloud Atlas an elaborate, beautiful, and ever-growing spiderweb of human causality and inter-connectivity that’s woven together by themes that support an idea that we are never unbound from one another or a purpose. Your life is not necessarily your own as you are tied to others in your time, others who came before you, and those who will come long after. What you do is what will define you and will determine the living conditions of those who follow. What you do may seem insignificant, or irrelevant to the plan at large, but most everything matters – and if […]


trailer_cloud atlas

The novels of David Mitchell are densely layered affairs concerned with a complicated multitude of characters facing big and complex issues. Or so I hear. His novel Cloud Atlas is a favorite of many, but even those who would love to see a film version have been adamant that such an endeavor would be a foolish and fruitless undertaking. That opinion didn’t change when Tom Tykwer and Andy & Lana Wachowski announced they had written a screenplay and were looking for funding and distribution. It wavered slightly when the casting announcements started rolling in, but it otherwise stayed steadfast. But now the first official trailer has dropped, and while the possibility of a disaster remains it looks like these three writer/directors have accomplished something amazing. Will it live up to the novel? Who knows, but there’s no doubting anymore that they’ve accomplished something audacious and wonderful here. Check out the extended trailer below (courtesy of Cinema Blend).


Drinking Games

We’re in the middle of October, the month of Halloween, and the scariest new DVD release this week is The Zookeeper. But no one’s seriously planning on renting that film, are they? That leaves possible drinking games for Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (and honestly, what third grader is going to try that?) or The Tree of Life, and a drinking game for that would get me into more trouble than my review did. So considering it’s the month for scares, and the remake/prequel/reboot/reimagining of The Thing comes out at the end of this week, plenty of folks are revisiting John Carpenter’s 1982 classic. So pour your Jim Beam into your Chess Wizard computer and crack open a Coors. It’s time to go drunk retro with this film, available on DVD, Blu-ray and Netflix Instant.



“It’s the size of Texas, Mr. President.” Does it get any better than that? Of course it doesn’t. Armageddon is without doubt one of the finest motion pictures ever created by humans. If that snippet of dialogue made audible by Mr. Billy Bob Thornton himself didn’t convince you, maybe this will. “You think we’ll get hazard pay for this?” I’m going to pretend you’ve been living under a rock since 1998 and summarize one of the greatest summer blockbuster films ever made for you. So Billy Bob Thorton is sort of the head honcho of NASA and one day he’s supervising a standard in-space satellite repair when all of a sudden a meteor shower rips his crew to pieces. We then cut to New York City, which seems to always be the city that gets destroyed in big budget disaster movies, and sure enough the meteors tear through the city demolishing Grand Central Station, decapitating the Chrysler Building [insert Unstoppable joke here] and finally, in a moment fraught with unintended significance, the camera slowly zooms out to show the twin towers of the World Trade Center on fire. Then we’re treated to quickly cut scenes of people yelling and running through hallways and trying to figure out why Keith David keeps calling. Essentially, a giant asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and no matter where it hits, it will wipe out all life as we know it. Jason Isaacs convinces the President that the best plan is to […]



Dinner is over, your parents are asleep. Time to switch on the TV, reach under your bed, and pull out your secret stash of Junkfood Cinema.



Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if The Princess and the Frog, Invictus and The Lovely Bones can make the grade.

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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