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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Second post of the day: Invaders From Mars!

There's some cool stuff in this Fifties fever dream, but most of it can be found in compressed form in this trailer. Most of the groovy bits are near the beginning and the end: the start is pure fifties Americana and the end is delirious. The picture takes forever to get to the good stuff, marking time with plotty plotting (much of which is charmingly absurd; no one thinks it's strange to throw a kid in jail and keep him there for no particular reason, while the scientist knows a little too much expositionary info about aliens... where does he get his info? From Science?). And the filmmakers assume we just can't get enough stock footage of tanks. Speaking of the military, I've never met a dull soldier, but all the soldiers in this flick are dull, dull dull. Yet once they enter the picture they take over from the little kid and cute lady whom I'd rather watch. The flick's so full of heroic soldiers rushing around and serving as collectivist proletariat heroes that I wondered if Sergei Eisenstein was an uncredited codirector. Finally they bust into the aliens' smoked-glass hideout (where the woman's blouse slips off her shoulder and her hair gets disheveled in the film's one concession to cheesecake sensuality). Alien sociology is pretty simple: Low-level alien slaves look like guys in green flannel PJs with zipperlike spines, tight hoodies and fly goggles. The boss alien is pretty creepy, though, as demonstrated by the trailer, and they have some kind of ray that keeps the pretty doctor lady frozen in a pained pulp-cover pose that the director seems to like as much as I did since he keeps cutting back to it.

Most of the film's final minutes is a double exposure: a closeup of the boy's garishly-lit running face, and a mostly-pointless series of flashbacks to previous bits of the film. The whole movie should have been done as a superimposed flashback.

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