Air Force One (1997)

I think it’s a requirement for every American action star that they must have at least two movies on their resume that is their “Die Hard.” Harrison Ford happens to have one that’s pretty good, even if it’s about as jingoistic as John Wayne punching a Mexican bandit while talking about Baseball. “Air Force One” is one of the stronger vehicles for Harrison Ford, where he plays James Marshall, an ex-Vietnam soldier with a military background, who is president of the US. He is pushed in to a conflict involving a Russian dictator who is threatening to start a new Cold War, and said dictator has a host of loyal followers that want him freed. As a means of leveraging the release of their dictator, a group of Russian terrorists disguise themselves as American journalists and board Air Force One.

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The Void (2017)

I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to “The Void.” Not only have I not been a fan of what Astron 6 has put out there for audiences, but “The Void” seemed generally like a vain attempt at Lovecraft. I’m glad to admit, though, that “The Void” is so far the best film Astron 6 has ever put out there. While the fan boy winks and nods are still there, it’s considerably toned down and doesn’t bog “The Void” down too much. Directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski are damn good at taking a miniscule budget and building with that, as “The Void” is an incredibly creepy survival horror film that feels like a nightmare from beginning to end. Even when the film has seemingly closed, “The Void” is never done choking you with its mesmerizing imagery of another world, and assures you that it will indeed return to haunt the audience once more.

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Rollerball (1975)

The populace is obsessed with sports that thrive on violence and uniformity. The rich are generally oblivious to the outside world. Sports are corporate funded obsession based around putting its competitors to their limit. Civilization finds the obsession with celebrities more interesting than actual world issues, and the media manipulates the public through culture of competition. That is the stunningly familiar dystopian future presented in “Rollerball,” the future of 2018. Director Norman Jewison’s science fiction action film has a lot to say about the wide gap of social and class structures. As well it presents a grim glimpse at a corporate empire that results in a world much like today, where the media and culture is dominated by a single entity.

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The Running Man (1987)

Beneath Paul Michael Glaser’s action film where Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on gimmicky athletes and ends every bout with a silly catchphrase, beats a movie that is quick as a whip and horrifyingly prophetic. Based on the Stephen King novel, “The Running Man” is simultaneously a vehicle for Schwarzenegger that also sneaks in a lot of commentary about society that would oddly enough come to completely fruiting by the mid to late aughts. “The Running Man” is based around a very popular and deadly reality show, steeped in a world where people risk their lives for cash and vacations for entertainment, and it’s all run by a mad man running a corporation. You can pretty much point that arrow to any one of the men running the world today.

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The Dark Below (2017)

It’s kind of a tough situation with “The Dark Below” that I found myself in. Ultimately I appreciated its creativity, its twist on the stalker thriller, and how Douglas Schulze delivered his premise, but in the end “The Dark Below” is only a slightly serviceable thriller. Despite the film being genuinely creative in unfolding its narrative of a woman fighting to survive underwater in the arctic while evading a killer, the movie itself left me lukewarm and generally unengaged. Douglas Schulze banks a lot on audiences being either claustrophobic, terrified of drowning, and terrified of being alive, as the center of the films premise relies on our protagonist being stuck under a frozen lake while being hopelessly outmatched against a killer in the snow. Schulze does switch up the monotony of this kind of genre offering by creating a film that has absolutely no dialogue.

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Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele has effectively fired off the starting gun of what I think will become an landscape of cinema filled with social commentary about the racial climate, and division among a certain kind of people. As with all horror movements, Peele expertly crafts a movie that reflects the racial relations of modern America, and how there is a thin line between acceptance and cultural appropriation and fanaticism. Peele is a man who has devoted most of his career to brutally sharp and funny comedy, and here he delivers what is a darkly comedic but very scary tale about cults, the racial dynamic and what is arguably the next movement in the racial hysteria in the country. “Get Out” derives a lot of uncomfortable laughter from the audience, but it has a lot to say about the extremes of racism, and the sheer horror of pure ignorance and naivete.

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King Kong Lives (1986)

This is the classic love story of a man and a woman falling in lover under weird circumstances. And a pair of apes that also fall in love under odd circumstances. And their heart transplant that bonds them. Okay, so this isn’t a classic love story, but it is the premise for easily the silliest “King Kong” movie ever made. In a movie that was sort of kind of made to be a spoor, but also meant to be taken very seriously, “King Kong Lives” is kind of the movie that killed King Kong until 2005, and proved that this concept was never meant to go beyond the one and done tale of his experience with Fay Wray on the Empire State Building.

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Drifter (2016)

Two brothers on the run come afoul of one group after the other until they reach a seemingly abandoned desert village.  There they meet a young woman who helps them and meet with a family of crazy cannibals. Written by Chris von Hoffman and Aria Emory, based on a story by von Hoffman who also directed, Drifter is a film about survival in the desert post apocalypse that shows every character but one as bad people.  The “bad guys”, the cannibalistic family unit, are truly bad, while the brothers come off as being bad people out of necessity and desperation.  Only one character seems mostly good but also a victim of some weird form of Standahl Syndrome.  She’s the one who attempts to help the brothers before things really go to shit for them.

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