Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


2 Comments

Wasting time at the bottom of the sea: Deepstar Six

movieposterBetween 1989 and 1990 a number of movies were released that had to do with people underwater facing monsters.
The most popular was of course Jim Cameron’s The Abyss, a big-budget production with state of the art special effects. George P. Cosmatos’ lower budget flick, Leviathan featured a good cast but made a smaller splash (ah!)
The others disappeared – but can still be found, and for a while were on rotation on local TV networks.
So two nights ago I went and checked out (again) Deepstar Six, a movie I had completely forgotten.
I am writing this now because I feel the plot might vanish from my memory again soon. Continue reading


2 Comments

Other people’s pulps: Adèle Blanc-Sec

I knew about Adèle well before I saw the movie.
The Jacques Tardi series of comics called The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec had been one of the many I had discovered when, in my early years as a university student, I used to spend a lot of time in the bookstores scattered in the center of town.
With its rough, sometimes unpleasant style and its alternating light and dark plots, the series about an early 20th century adventure fiction writer and adventuress featured dinosaurs, Egyptian mysteries, strange conspiracies and retro-technology.
It was great fun, winking and gently mocking a lot of classics, from Verne to Conan Doyle to Leblanc.

adele_blanc_sec

And yet, when finally the Adèle Blanc-Sec movie was released in 2010, the first of a proposed trilogy, I caught it on the big screen, and I did not like it.
Or, better, I liked it, but not as much as I had anticipated.

Re-watching the film in the silence and heat of the Astigianistan hills, I finally saw what peeved me all those years ago, and I was sort of reconciled with the movie. Continue reading


5 Comments

Wild West Spooks

Selection_614I took some time with a good book this weekend – Undead in the West, that with the subtitle Vampires, Zombies, Mummies, and Ghosts on the Cinematic Frontier is exactly what the doctor ordered to lighten up my current black mood.

Published in 2012 by Scarecrow Press, the 300+ pages volume edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper is a collection of essays on supernatural horror movies and TV series set in the West, and/or using western movie elements or tropes such as John Carpenter’s Vampire$. Indeed, the films set in modern times covered in the book are just as many as those set in classical western age. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Not just another shark movie

forty_seven_meters_down_ver3Nothing better than a good thriller on a hot summer night.
Thanks to my friend Lucy I discovered In the Deep, which is most certainly not just another shark movie.

It’s been long debated how much damage the success of Jaws has done to the marine ecosystem, reinforcing the myht of the evil shark and basically providing justification for people that wanted to kill the evil shark to make soup of its fins.
For certain, Spielberg’s movie established a standard “monster” of modern cinema.
There’s dozens of shark movies out there, some very good, some ok, a lot of then simply horrible.
In the Deep – also known as 47 meters down – is one of the very good ones. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Tarzan as superhero?

0514_tarzanThere’s a new Tarzan movie doing the rounds – I haven’t seen it yet because here in the sticks where I live it will be distributed at some later date, but I plan on seeing it.

Now, one thing that’s leaving me a little bit peeved is, there’s a lot of people out there that go on about Tarzan being a superhero… he is a superhero, he should be treated as a superhero, the franchise should go the whole superhero way…

I am always wary when a movie critic tries to tell me a movie sucks based on the fact that

they should have made it differently

I love science fiction and what-ifs, but if the movie sucks, please tell me why it sucks, not how it would have sucked less in your opinion had you been the director.
And you see, I’m not so sure about this whole superhero business. Continue reading


4 Comments

At the movies for Christmas

Back when I was a kid, Christmas meant a night at the movies, or a night at the circus.
Now circuses are out of fashion, but movies are still all-right.

The only problem is, here where I live, there’s only two cinemas, and they are showing the latest Hollywood blockbuster (you know, the new Star Wars movie) and one of the stupid stupid stupid comedies that are the only thing that gets produced in Italy for the festive season.

But thank goodness there’s the web.
Continue reading