They Live

amazon drones

Imagine you’re sitting at home, bored and hungry, and you suddenly get the urge to watch Wet Hot American Summer and eat some Tater Tots. A smile grows on your face in anticipation, but then you remember that not only do you not own this classic comedy on DVD but you’re also fresh out of Tots. (Also you live alone, your car is in the shop, and there are no stores nearby.) What do you do?! If this were the distant future you could probably watch the movie by way of some kind of digital signal stream through your television or wristwatch, but that utopia is not the world we live in my friend. Even if that was possible though, you’d still be Tot-less and hungry. Thankfully, this nightmarish scenario won’t be a reality for too much longer. It seems online retail behemoth Amazon.com wasn’t content with their recent move to rent out the USPS for Sunday deliveries to their Amazon Prime customers, as now they’re looking to get you your merchandise even quicker. Head honcho Jeff Bezos appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes last night and announced that Amazon is testing package deliveries via remote-controlled drones. The goal of the endeavor, currently called Prime Air, is to get purchases to consumers in under thirty minutes. Tiny helicopters, whizzing through the air, racing to and fro with fragile (yet deadly if dropped from a height) packages secured to their belly… what could possibly go wrong? Keep reading for a glimpse into […]

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they-live-scenes

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 […]

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IntroToProps

There are two reasons a movie might re-use a prop: because they have to or because they want to. Sometimes you love a movie so much you want to use or recreate a piece of it to show that love, or – if your budget is in the dumps – you just need something from the prop warehouse to re-paint and use as your own. Whatever the case, iconic is iconic, so if you are watching close enough you just might catch these one-of-a-kind props in films you wouldn’t expect them to be in.

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IntroBadassWounds

So you’ve been shot/stabbed/eaten/burned/dismembered/amputated/face melted by an ancient artifact, what are you going to do next? If you answered, “go into shock while screaming like an asshole” then you’re probably on track. In the movies, of course, that’s a different story – people like to do cool stuff while dying in movies, act all badass for our amusement. Let’s look at 20 such fallen heroes. Spoilers should go without saying. But we said it. Right there. So no one can complain.

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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.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Your Sister’s Sister Jack (Mark Duplass) is still suffering bouts of depression a year after the death of his brother, so when his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who happens to be his brother’s ex, offers up her family’s cabin for a few days of rest he jumps at the chance. Unbeknownst to both of them Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) has also holed up in the cabin after a rough breakup with her girlfriend. Hilarity and romantic complications ensue. Writer/director Lynn Shelton has moved beyond the confines of her early mumblecore career and delivered a film filled with humor, honesty and a compelling romantic triangle. The three leads are at the top of their game and form a trio I would happily marry. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Trailer, commentaries]

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There are a handful of kick-ass specialty labels out there who make a habit of bringing beloved genre classics (and sometimes not-so-classic classics) back to life on Blu-ray and DVD with releases that show real TLC for the films and the fans. Arrow Video, Blue Underground and Synapse are a few of the best, but one that ranks just as high on the list is Shout! Factory. Their mainstay has been older TV shows, but they also offer the Roger Corman Cult Classics line as well as a brand new co-venture with South Korea’s CJ Entertainment. They’ve just announced a new line called Scream Factory that will focus on releasing Blu-rays/DVDs of horror films and thrillers from the 1980’s. The debut releases due this September include Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch, both loaded with extras. As exciting as these will be the best news (for me at least) can be found elsewhere in the list of upcoming titles. Seven additional titles are listed below, but there are three highlights. First up are two of my childhood favorites… The Island starring Michael Caine trying to save his son from modern-day pirates led by the always awesome David Warner, and Death Valley featuring Peter Billingsley being stalked by a serial killer during an RV trip with his family through the Mid-west. And then there’s a little John Carpenter film called They Live finally getting the attention it deserves with its first US Blu-ray… Check below for all the […]

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As someone who lives and breathes for the genre, I think it’s fair to say that action movies have gone soft. Well, that is, American, big studio action films have gone soft. The fight sequences are mostly shot in tight close-up with a volley of cuts that dilute all semblance of impact. Thankfully, foreign filmmakers are still bloodying their knuckles and breaking their backs to bring us action films that leave us as bruised and fighting for air as the sundry characters lying demolished on the floor by the time credits roll. One such actionteur is Welsh director Gareth Evans. That’s right, one of the burgeoning authorities on martial arts action films is from Wales. In 2009, Evans brought us Merantau, the heroic tale of a young man on a journey of self-discovery…who kicks plenty o’ ass along the way. Filmed in Indonesia, with a local cast, the film utilizes the fighting style Silat, indigenous to the island nation. But if we thought we’d seen the full extent of Evans’ talent with Merantau, we were so very, very wrong. This week, Evans will unleash his latest film The Raid upon unsuspecting audiences nationwide. I when I say it will be unleashed, I mean that the intensity and relentless pacing of its violent fight sequences will have you reevaluating the value of human life. The Raid, after garnering huge buzz during Toronto and Sundance, has now been picked up by Sony for both theatrical distribution and remake rights. It’s also been […]

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Presently in Austin, Texas, a ferocious group of movie lovers have gathered at the now even-more-world-famous Alamo Drafthouse to celebrate the John Carpenter classic, They Live. But this isn’t just any screening of the 1988 horror film. Like many great Drafthouse events, this one includes a very special guest who has designed a very special poster. Artist Shepard Fairey, famous for his “Obey Giant” street art, has brought his own passion for They Live to a new poster that will be sold through the Alamo’s art boutique, Mondo Tees. And we just so happen to have a first look at the poster everyone in the movie world will be talking about tomorrow. Check it out after the jump.

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Universal has signed Cloverfield and Let Me In director Matt Reeves to helm a new science-fiction film. Reeves will be adapting a famous Ray Nelson short story called “8 O’Clock in the Morning,” which tells the tale of a man who wakes up one morning and suddenly realizes that a lot of the people around him are secretly aliens, and that they’re controlling the planet. If that sounds a little bit familiar to you, it might be because “8 O’Clock in the Morning” is also the story that inspired the John Carpenter-helmed, Rowdy Roddy Piper starring, B-Movie classic They Live. This isn’t going to be a remake of Carpenter’s film, but instead a more faithful adaptation of the original source material. While Carpenter’s character used special glasses that allowed him to see the existence of aliens, the protagonist of “8 O’Clock in the Morning” has a much more psychological, nightmarish relationship with his newly discovered alien overlords. Reeves says that, “Carpenter took a satirical view of the material and the larger political implication that we’re being controlled. I am very drawn to the emotional side, the nightmare experience with the paranoia of Invasion of the Body Snatchers or a Roman Polanski-style film.” I liked what Reeves did exploring the emotional side of things and various nightmare experiences in Let Me In, so I think this project sounds like it could be very cool. Producer Eric Newman says that Reeves was the right man for this job because of his use […]

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junkfood-theylive

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.

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To paraphrase They Live’s main character, Nada, Hollywood has come to have original ideas and make movies… and they’re all out of original ideas.

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You could forget about the math and the swing states, because the outcome of this election was predicted in 1988 by John Carpenter’s film They Live.

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