Category: Movie Lists
12 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movies To Watch This Year
Love this list of upcoming Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies that will be showing up on the big screen this year. According to the Sci Fi Wire blog, these are 12 movies that you HAVE to watch this year. So little time, so many possibilities...
AFI's Top 10 Fantasy Movies--Part 2
Click here to read the first half of the list. Now on with the countdown...
5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947), starring Maureen O' Hara and John Payne.
Summary: A department store Santa Claus claims to be the real thing. He's put on trial and it's up to a young lawyer to clear Santa's name. A modern fable about love and faith.
Factoid:The first of two Christmas-themed movies on the list, Miracle on 34th Street was remade a total of five times, including a Broadway musical version that was entitled Here's Love. The last remake (note: this is the only feature film version while the rest were made for TV movies) occurred in 1995 and starred Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan McDermott.
4. King Kong (1933), starring Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong.
Summary: Carl Denham is a filmmaker and entrepreneur who leads an expedition to Skull Island where time has stood still. The natives pay homage to the one whom they revere as "Kong", and who is, indeed, king of the island. Denham, together with his beautiful starlet, Ann Darrow, and the crew of the ship, investigate the strange ritual being performed on the island by its native population. Ann finds herself captured by the natives and is to become the bride of the mysterious "Kong." The ship's first mate, Jack Driscoll, who is in love with Ann, manages to rescue her from the clutches of "Kong". Denham then arranges to capture the creature, whom he calls "King Kong" and takes him back to New York.
Factoid:Although the movie has spawned a number of sequels, the movie has only been remade twice. The 1976 version starred Jessica Lange (in her first movie role) and Jeff Bridges. The 2005 version starring Naomi Watts and Jack Black was directed by Peter Jackson, who was still celebrating his enormous success from winning the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars the previous year.
Additional Honors: In 1991, the Library of Congress added the 1933 version of King Kong to the National Film Registry to be preserved for all time.
3. It's a Wonderful Life (1947), starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.
Summary: A man is prevented from committing suicide by an elderly angel, who takes him back through his life to see what good he has done, and how the world would be if he had not been born.
Factoid: The second of two Christmas-themed movies appearing in the Top 10 list, this movie is based on short story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern.
Additional Honors: Like many of its counterparts on this list, Frank Capra's classic was selected by the Library of Congress in 1990 to be preserved for all time in the National Film Registry.
2. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), starring Elijah Woods and Ian McKellan.
Summary: Frodo Baggins, a Hobbit resident of the medieval "Middle-Earth" discovers that a ring bequeathed to him by beloved relative and benefactor Bilbo, is in fact the "one ring," a device that will allow its bearer to manipulate dark powers and enslave the world. Frodo is charged by the wizard Gandalf to return the ring to Mount Doom, the evil site where it was forged millennia ago and the only place where it can be destroyed.
Factoid: Peter Jackson will be writing and producing two prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Guillermo del Toro will be directing the films. For more information about the prequels, check out our previous post with a link to a recent interview given by both men.
Trivia: All three Lord of the Ring movies were nominated as Best Picture for the Oscars. Only Return of the King picked up the honor. In fact, Return of the Kings picked up Oscars for all 11 of its Oscar nominations, tying it with Ben Hur and what over historical epic for the most Oscar wins for a single film?.
Drum roll please....The Number 1 Fantasy movie is...
1. Wizard of Oz (1939), starring Judy Garland and Frank Morgan.
Summary: Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a tornado's path and somehow end up in the land of Oz. Here she meets some memorable friends and foes in her journey to meet the Wizard of Oz who everyone says can help her return home and possibly grant her new friends their goals of a brain, heart and courage.
Additional Honors: In 1989, the film was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. For a complete list of all of the films i the registry and the year it was added, check out the Wikipedia entry.
Trivia: Despite picking up AFI's # 1 spot for Top Movie Songs for Over the Rainbow, the Wizard of Oz came in third for Top Musicals. Which film was chosen as AFI's # 1 musical of all time?
AFI's Top 10 Fantasy Movies -- Part 1
A couple of months ago, the American Film Institute released its Top Ten lists in specific genres, including science fiction and fantasy. Having already showcased the top 10 science fiction movies in parts 1 (#10 to 6) and 2 (#5 to 1), it's now time to turn our attention to the best fantasy movies:
10. Big (1988), starring Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins.
Summary: More than anything else, 13-year old New Jerseyite Josh wants to be "big". That's the wish he makes at an odd-looking amusement pier fortunetelling machine. The next morning, Josh wakes up-only to discover that he's grown to manhood overnight! Still a 13-year-old mentally and emotionally, Josh decides to hide out in New York City until he can figure out what to do next.
Trivia: The movie garnered the Tom Hanks' first Oscar nomination for best actor. Since 1989, he has gone on to garner four more Oscar nods, winning twice for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.
9. The Thief of Bagdad (1924), starring Douglas Fairbanks and Julanne Johnston.
Summary: Until he encounters the Princess, the Thief of Bagdad flouts religious teachings. Pretending to be a prince, he wins her love. After suffering humility and confessing the truth to the Holy Man, he is sent on a quest for a magic chest to earn his happiness. Overcoming tremendous obstacles, he wins the reward and rescues Bagdad and the Princess from the Mongols.
Additional Honors: In 1996, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The film is also considered to have some of the most dazzling special effects of the silent era.
8. Groundhog Day (1993), starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.
Summary: A television weatherman covering the official Groundhog appearance finds his day repeating over and over and over and over.
Additional Honors: In 2006, the Library of Congress added the movie to the United States National Film Registry to be preserved for all time.
Trivia: This is the not the first time that this movie has appeared on an AFI list. Groundhog Day was ranked as the 34th funniest movie in AFI's Top 100 Comedies in 2000. Do you know what movie was considered the funniest?
7. Harvey (1950), starring Jimmy Stewart and William Lyn.
Summary: The movie tells the story of Elwood P. Dowd who makes friends with a spirit taking the form of a human-sized rabbit named Harvey that only he sees (and a few privileged others on occasion also.) After his sister tries to commit him to a mental institution, a comedy of errors ensues. Elwood and Harvey become the catalysts for a family mending its wounds and for romance blossoming in unexpected places.
Factoid: The movie is based on Mary Chase's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, also titled Harvey. The play premiered in 1944 and Chase received her Pulitzer for Best Drama the following year.
6. Field of Dreams (1989), starring Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan.
Summary: An Iowa farmer hears a voice in his cornfield accompanied by a vision of a baseball field. He takes it as a sign to build a baseball diamond which would ennable Shoeless Joe Jackson of the infamous Chicago "Black" Sox to play ball again.
Trivia: The movie went on to garner four Oscar nods in 1989, including Best Picture. Needless to say, the film lost out. Which film picked up the Best Picture Oscar that year?
Don't forget to come back to read part 2 of AFI's Top 10 Fantasy Films!
AFI's Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies--Part 2
Here is part 2 of the Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies. Click here to read part 1.
5. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.
Summary: An alien dignitary comes to Earth to learn why humans can't stop warring amongst each other.
Factoid: Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly will be starring in a movie remake, scheduled for release on December 12, 2008. Reeves has been cast as the alien, Klaatu, while Connelly will be playing a mother, who befriends the alien.
4. A Clockwork Orange (1971), starring Malcolm McDowell and Patrick Magee.
Summary: Sometime in the not-to-distant future, gangs of teenage thugs roam rubble-strewn streets, terrorizing citizens who sequester themselves behind locked doors.
Factoid: The movie is based on Anthony Burgess' book Clockwork Orange, which was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005.
3. E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial (1982), starring Dee Wallace Stone, Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore.
Summary: An extra-terrestrial is accidentally left behind on Earth and is befriended by a young boy and his brother and sister.
Trivia: The movie was nominated for an Oscar in 1983 for best picture. Needless to say, the movie didn't win. What film did win that year? Clue: The lead actor in the Oscar-winning film played a well-known pacifist and also picked up the Oscar for Best Actor that year. Click here for the answer.
2. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
Summary: In a distant galaxy, a long time ago, young Luke Skywalker assembles his motley crew of allies including space rogue Han Solo and two droids C3PO and R2D2 to rescue Princess Leia and the save the universe from Darth Vader.
Factoid: George Lucas is a huge fan of Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa, and especially the movie Hidden Fortress, which tells the story of two peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines and not realizing that their companions are actually a princess and her general. Hmm...sounds kinda familiar, don't you think?
Drum roll please....The Number 1 Science Fiction movie is...
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), starring Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood.
Summary: At the dawn of mankind, a colony of peaceful vegetarian apes awaken to find a glowing black monolith standing in their midst. After tentatively reaching out to touch the mysterious object, the apes become carnivores, with enough intelligence to employ bones for weapons and tools. Four million years later, in the year 2001, Dr. Heywood Floyd, an American scientist, travels to the moon to investigate a monolith that has been discovered below the lunar surface.
Factoid: Like all terrific sci-fi films, 2001: A Space Odyssey was selected by the Library of Congress in 1991 to be preserved for all time.
Trivia: Which came first, the book or the movie? In this case, it was the movie. The book, which was written by the late Arthur Clarke, was developed concurrently with the film (directed by the late Stanley Kubrick) but was published after the film's theatrical release.
AFI's Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies--Part 1
This past Tuesday night, the American Film Institute (AFI) crowned America's 10 Greatest Films in 10 Classic Genres, including Science Fiction and Fantasy. While writing this post, I discovered lots of interesting information on each of the films to share with you that I decided to break the list into two parts. Today, I will count down the top 10 Sci-Fi movies, starting from #s 10 to 6:
10. Back to the Future (1985), starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.
Summary: With the help of a wacky scientist, a young teen travels back to 1955 in a Delorean turned time-machine. Once there, he meets his parents, still teenagers, but his presence throws things out-of-whack and he must ensure they fall in love and get married or else he'll never come to exist.
Factoid: This is the first film in the time-traveling movie trilogy. The second film takes place in the year 2015 while the third film goes way back to the past to the 1880s.
Additional Honors: Earlier this year, the movie was also selected by the Library of Congress as one of the films to be preserved for all time. Read our earlier post about this honor.
9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter.
Summary: Mistaken for insane, a man arrives in San Francisco to inform the world that strange aliens have arrived on earth to overtake human life.
Trivia: Did you know that the film, which is based on the book The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, has been remade at least 3 times? There was the original 1956 version as well as the 1978 version, starring Donald Sutherland (seen in the right) and Leonard Nimoy! The latest film adaptation (released in 2007) was called The Invasion and starred Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Click here to read a review comparing all three film adaptations.
8. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Robert Patrick.
Summary: The cyborg who once tried to kill Sarah Connor must now protect her teenager son, John Connor, from an even more powerful and advanced cyborg.
Trivia: One of the few science fiction movies, whose sequel made it to AFI's original Top 50 list but not the original. What was the name of the other sequel that made it to the list? I will give you a clue. This film is part of a much longer series and was originally based on a short-lived sci-fi TV series. Click here for the answer.
Factoid: In addition to the prequels that are currently in the works, the Terminator franchise recently branched out to TV this year. Terminator: The Sara Connor Chronicles, starring Lena Headey and Summar Glau, premiered on the FOX network earlier in 2008 and has been renewed for another season.
7. Alien (1979), starring Tom Skerritt and Sigourney Weaver.
Summary: In deep space, the crew of the commercial ship Nostromo--comprised of five men and two women--is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules, halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel.
Factoid: The first of two sci-fi films directed by Ridley Scott to make it to AFI's top 10 list. The movie tagline was "In space no one can hear you scream."
Trivia: In the Alien vs. Predator (abbreviated as AvP) universe, which is a crossover between the popular movie franchises, Predator tends to have an upper hand over its foe. Unfortunately, for Predator fans, neither the original or its sequels made to AFI's Top 10 or Top 50 list. That means Alien reigns supreme and the battle continues...
6. Blade Runner (1982), starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer.
Summary: In the year 2019, ex-detective Rick Deckard is called out of retirement to track down and eliminate a team of humanoid androids that have escaped from an outer space mining colony and have taken refuge here on Earth. During his search for the fugitives, he discovers some disturbing secrets about the future plans of the androids' manufacturer, the Tyrell Corporation.
Factoid: The second of two sci-fi films directed by Ridley Scott to show up on AFI's Top 10 list. The film is based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and was selected in 1993 by the Library of Congress for permanent preservation.
Don't forget to tune in for part 2 of the AFI's Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies List!
Yet Another Post About Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies...
Rumour has it that RPL will be launching a new movie blog in the next week or so. In anticipation, I thought it would be nice to come up with a movie list of own, focusing on a favorite topic of many--video games. So enjoy the Video Games Turned into Motion Pictures list. P.S. Let me know I have forgotten any movies off the list.
D.O.A. - Dead or Alive (2007). Directed by Corey Yuen.
A number of fighters are invited to DOA, an invitational martial arts contest. Fighters are pooled against one another in a knock-out style tournament. The plot revolves around four female fighters who begin as rivals, but subsequently find themselves teaming up against another force.
Doom (2005). Directed by Andrzej Barkowiak.
Something has gone terribly wrong in a research facility on Mars as the staff are morphing into something unimaginable. An elite team of soldiers is sent to investigate the situation.
Double Dragon (1994). Directed by James Yukich.
In 2007, New Angeles is ravaged by earthquakes, tidal waves and vicious gang wars. The evil tycoon Koga Shukois obsessed with finding both halves of the Double Dragona talisman which will give him awesome mystical powers. Teenage brothers Jimmy and Billy wind up with the missing half thrusting them into the adventure of their lives.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001). Directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi and Moto Sakakibara.
Earth is a desolate wasteland. A female scientist makes a last stand on Earth with the help of a ragtag team of soldiers against an invasion of Phantoms, insubstantial aliens that extract and devour the spirits of living things.
Click here to place a hold on the DVD from RPL.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005). Directed by Tetsuya Nomura and Takeshi Nozue.
An ex-mercenary is forced out of isolation when three mysterious men kidnap and brainwash the city's children afflicted with the Geostigma disease.
Click here to place a hold on the DVD from RPL.
Hitman (2007). Directed by Xavier Gens.
A gun-for-hire known only as Agent 47 (Olyphant) is ensnared in a political conspiracy, which finds him pursued by both Interpol and the Russian military as he treks across Eastern Europe.
Mortal Kombat (1995). Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson.
Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of Earth.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997). Directed by John R. Leonetti.
In the sequel, a group of martial artists have only six days to save Earth from the forces of Outworld.
Resident Evil (2002). Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson.
A special military unit is sent into the "Hive", a secret facility, to shut down the complex computer system that has released a deadly virus and transforming humans into ravenous zombies. Along the way, they team up with Alice, an amnesiac, who may hold the answers to this catastrophe.
Click here to place a hold on the DVD from RPL.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004). Directed by Alexander Witt.
Alice is back in this sequel as the evil Umbrella Corporation has released the virus onto the unsuspecting inhabitants of Raccoon City and turning everyone into zombies.
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). Directed by Russell Mulcahy.
Survivors from Raccoon City are forced to travel across the Nevada desert to flee for safety. Aiding them is a familiar face and sworn enemy of the Umbrella Corporation--Alice!
Street Fighter (1994). Directed by Steven E. de Souza.
Col. William Guile leads an army of soldiers into the country of Shadaloo to find traces to lead him to General M. Bison and his evil minions.
Tomb Raider (2001). Directed by Simon West.
"Tomb raider" Lara Croft must race against time to recover long-lost treasures and battle against villains who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the artifacts.
Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003). Directed by Jan de Bont.
Lara Croft is back and ready to save the world as she races to find Pandora's box.
Wing Commander (1999). Directed by Chris Roberts.
In the mid 27th century, the Terran Confederation is at war with the Kilrathi Empire. It falls upon the Terran starfighter cruiser to keep their enemies busy until reinforcements can arrive.
Posted by May who is trying master DDR on her Nintendo Wii.