War of the Worlds (1989) – Breeding Ground, and Seft of Emun

The morthren leader Mana (Catherine Disher) is proving to be a real threat as we dive into this week’s installment of War of the Worlds. Breeding Ground written by Alan Moskowitz first aired on 30 October, 1989 and sees Mana coercing a dying surgeon, Emil Gestaine (Gerard Parkes) into experimenting on his patients. In an…

Teenage Zombies (1959) – Jerry Warren

Sometimes bad is so bad that it comes around to being good again, or at least unintentionally funny and enjoyable, and for me that is where the next title in DK Canada’s very enjoyable Monsters in the Movies book falls. This one is just so laughably absurd, trying to marry the teen bopper genre to…

Han Solo’s Revenge (1979) – Brian Daley

A year before we were given the second installment in the Skywalker Saga, Brian Daley gave us the second book in his Han Solo trilogy. Remember, this was long before the film series took off. When this book came out, there was no internet, and as a kid I had no way of knowing that…

Apocalypto (2006) – Mel Gibson

DK Canada’s The Movie Book brings me a fantastic adventure film as the next title on the What Else to Watch list following its recommendation of Aguirre, The Wrath of God. And let’s be clear, no matter what one thinks of Mel Gibson, personally, one has to recognize he does have a talent for acting…

12 Years a Slave (2013) – Steve McQueen

What kind of species are we that we can enslave our fellows? There are two scenes in McQueen’s masterpiece 12 Years a Slave, that shook me to my core. The first was a scene in which Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Solomon Northup is left to hang, while life goes on around him, and another when Solomon is…

Toronto After Dark 2017: Poor Agnes – Navin Ramaswaran

The second feature screening tonight at Scotiabank Theatre as part of the Toronto After Dark film festival is another new favourite. Poor Agnes, having its Toronto premiere this eve, is a disturbing drama that haunts and troubles even as its story captivates. Agnes (Lora Burke) is a serial killer, and she is a master at…

Quantum Leap (1993) – The Beast Within and The Leap Between the States

Sam (Scott Bakula) finds himself in rural Washington state on 6 November, 1972. Despite the fact that he is mistaken for bigfoot in the episode’s opener, we soon learn he’s a Vietnam vet, named Henry, who has been living in the woods. The Beast Within was written by John D’Aquino, who previously played Frank in…

Spartacus (1960) – Stanley Kubrick

Kubrick takes us back to 1st Century B.C.E. for the next stop in the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film. The classic story of a slave that leads a revolt against the Roman Empire, that has become decadent, and indulgent. Leading the cast, and serving as executive producer is Kirk Douglas, who is joined…

Red Rising (2014) – Pierce Brown

  With hints of the Hunger Games, Battle Royale, Ender’s Game and the guise of an educational setting, Pierce Brown’s science fiction novel, Red Rising, the first of a trilogy, is strongly written and completely engrossing. I’ll admit it took me about the first third of the book to get really hooked on the story,…

Doctor Who (Tom Baker) – Destiny of the Daleks

  Welcome to Season 17 of Doctor Who! Terry Nation kicks things off with his four-part story that ran from 1 September to 22 September, 1979. Lalla Ward joins the Doctor (Baker) in the TARDIS this season, as the regenerated Romana. This leads to an interesting question, as she tries on a number of different…

Cabiria (1914) – Giovanni Pastrone

The first recommended title following my screening of Intolerance for the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film is this epic tale set during the Punic Wars. Apparently the director of Intolerance, D.W. Griffith, was highly influenced by this film when he saw it, and created Intolerance to tell his own epic. The film follows…

Doctor Who (William Hartnell) – The Ark

This week, the TARDIS┬átravels far into the future, and happily, I didn’t have to watch a reconstruction of it! This time all of the episodes survived, and it was a fun tale. The Ark was originally aired from 5 March to 26 March 1966, and was written by Paul Erickson and Lesley Scott. Over the…