Jun 22, 2010

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The 5 Greatest Depictions of Aliens in Fiction

Aliens have been some of the most fascinating subjects for movie makers. Be it the dirty, ugly ones or the spectacularly terrorizing ones or even the clueless lost ones, aliens have triggered our creativity like nothing else. Following is a list of movies with The Greatest Depictions of Aliens in Fiction.

5. Dark City (1998)

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These aliens were creepy and impossibly frightening. The movie had it all: Scary mad scientist/doctor, a confused man who’s lost memories of his wife and his life, scary alien depictions, needles, sharp sudden music and running.
The world of the protagonist is run by telekinetic aliens who are scary as crap. Add to it that the sun there never rises and the city is walled off to a limit and you got the perfect scary depiction of aliens.

The aliens here are tall, come with some sort of tele-kinetic powers and they scare the living day lights out of our poor confused hero.

4. E.T – The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

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Not every alien wants to eat you or take over your world. It’s quite hard to accept that notion and it took someone as brilliant as Steven Spielberg to pull that off; and pull it off he did. This went on to become one of the greatest movies ever and the greatest alien movie ever made.
The alien here’s got a profession too. Coming to earth as a Botanist was probably not the best idea seeing how we humans panic at the sight of any alien. The movie makes you want to be a kid again, forgetting all your adult responsibilities and get that impeccable drive in your ideas.

3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

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How can this movie be far away when we talk about aliens? Another one of Steven Spielberg’s great mind, this movie transformed the whole construct of aliens in our minds. The movie was aped my many, including the Director himself, later in his career and M Night Shyamalan in Signs. But nothing could or will ever come close to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

The movie has got one of the greatest and most amazing closing sequences of scenes in the history of cinema. The movie has had so much impact that people never look at a plate of mashed potatoes the same way again, ever.

2. Aliens (1986)

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If Ridley Scott made an awesome movie in Alien, James Cameron had to answer him. Aliens was not one better, it was way better. The gory scenes, the birth of that child especially was absolutely brilliant. A major part of what makes this movie a classic is the depiction of the aliens. There are not many direct face to face scenes. We have physiological glimpses into their minds. He gives us enough to become engrossed in the film, not question or even doubt the logical flow. This is yet another example of a sequel being as brilliant as the original.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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This is one of the corner stones of movies involving extra terrestrials. It took the absolutely unfathomable mind of Stanley Kubrick to come up with this. Tracking the evolution of humans from apes to humans to evolved beings that can travel in space, the movie is mind-numbingly brilliant.

The three-minute silence at the start was deliberate according to the director. He just wanted to bathe the audience in the theater in the darkness and wanted to check out their reaction. The beginning with the apes talks about how we evolved, from being gentle beings in solitude to picking an alpha male to protect the herd.

This has the greatest depiction of aliens in fiction only because we don’t even get to see the aliens. But they’re there, so much is clear. If not, who put the monoliths on earth? Who put them in a distant far moon of Jupiter? Is this connected? Is this a pattern?
While the humans on board the space ship, that’s on a recon mission about the monoliths, struggle with a more visible alien, HAL 9000.

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Jun 13, 2010

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The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid, known as The Kung Fu Kid in China and Japan, and Best Kid in South Korea, is a 2010 martial arts film remake of the 1984 film of the same name. Directed by Harald Zwart, produced by Will Smith, the remake stars Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Principal photography for the film took place in Beijing, China; filming began around July 2009 and ended on October 16, 2009. The Karate Kid was released theatrically in the United States on June 11, 2010.The plot concerns a 12-year-old boy from Detroit who moves to China with his mother and incurs the wrath of the class bully at his new school. He makes an unlikely ally in the form of his aging maintenance man, a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets to self-defense.

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Upon arriving at his new school in Beijing from Detroit, 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) develops a crush on pretty classmate Mei Ying (Wen Wen Han), who reciprocates his attention. But, the neighborhood bully Cheng (Zhenwei Wang), a kung fu prodigy whose family is close to Mei Ying’s, attempts to keep them apart by beating up Dre, and later harassing and humiliating him in and around school. During a particularly brutal beating by Cheng and his friends, the kindly maintenance man of Dre’s building, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), comes to Dre’s aid, revealing himself as a kung fu master who adeptly dispatches Dre’s tormentors.After Han mends Dre’s injuries using fire cupping, a form of Chinese medicine, they go to Cheng’s teacher, Master Li (Yu Rongguang), to attempt to make peace, but the brutal Li, who teaches his students to show no mercy to their enemies, challenges Dre to a fight with Cheng. When Han declines, Li threatens him, saying that they will not be allowed to leave his school unless either Dre or Han himself fights. Han acquiesces, but insists the fight take place at an upcoming tounament, and that Li’s students leave Dre alone until the tournament. The amused Li agrees.

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Han begins training Dre, but Dre is frustrated that instead teaching him how to punch or kick, Han has Dre spend hours taking off his jacket, hanging it up, dropping it, and then putting it back on again. After days of this, Dre refuses to continue, until Han explains to him that the repetitive arm movements in question were Han’s method of teaching Dre defensive block and strike techniques, which Dre is now able to display instinctively when prompted by Han’s mock attacks.As Han’s lessons continue at his home, and in the Chinese countryside, he teaches Dre that the movements he is learning apply to life in general, and that serenity and maturity, not punches and power, are the true keys to mastering the martial arts. During one lesson in the mountains, Dre notices a Kung Fu practitioner copying the movements of a cobra before him, but Han informs him that it was the cobra that was imitating the martial artist, an ability that Dre wishes Han to teach him. Dre subsequently attempts to use this technique on his mother, without success.

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Dre’s friendship with Mei Ying also continues. Mei Ying agrees to attend Dre’s tournament, while Dre promises to attend her upcoming violin recital. They also attend, along with Dre’s mother, Sherry (Taraji P. Henson), and Mr. Han, an outdoor festival, during which Mei Ying teaches Dre about the mythological meaning behind a classical puppet theater show, as a prelude to a shared kiss between them. Subsequently, Dre takes Mei Ying on an excursion in which they skip school for a day of fun and video games, but when she is nearly late for her violin recital, which has been rescheduled for that day, Mei relates to Dre that her parents have deemed him a bad influence, and have forbidden her from spending any more time with him.

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When Dre finds a drunk and despondent Han smashing the car he has been repairing, he learns that it is the anniversary of his wife and son’s deaths, which occurred many years ago when Han lost control of the very car in question during an argument with his wife while driving up a steep hillside. Dre reminds Han that one of Han’s lessons to Dre was in perseverance, and that Han needs to heal from his loss in order to move on in life. Han then assists Dre in writing a note that he reads when he goes to apologize to Mei Ying’s father, promising never again to bring dishonor to their family. Impressed, Mei Ying’s father tells Dre that his daughter told him that she promised to be present at Dre’s Kung Fu tournament, and that as he does not wish a member of his family to break a promise, he accepts Dre’s apology.

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Jun 11, 2010

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Shrek Forever After

Shrek Forever After is a 2010 animated fantasy-family film, and it is the fourth and final film in the Shrek series. It was released in theaters on May 21, 2010 in the United States, Canada, India, on May 20 in Russia and on May 28 in Vietnam. It is scheduled to be released on July 2, 2010 in the United Kingdom.  It was released in 3-D and IMAX 3-D theaters. Like the first three Shrek films, the movie is based on fairy tale themes. The trailer was attached with Avatar. The second trailer was released online on March 12, 2010 and then attached with 3D showings of Alice in Wonderland and then with How to Train Your Dragon. The third and final trailer was attached to Iron Man.

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Just before Princess Fiona’s rescue by Shrek in the first film, King Harold and Queen Lillian seek out the magic deal-maker Rumpelstiltskin for help breaking Fiona’s curse. Harold is about to sign a contract to break the curse in exchange for Rumpelstiltskin becoming king of Far Far Away when word comes that Fiona has been rescued. In the present, a disgruntled Rumpelstiltskin wishes that Shrek was never born.Shrek has grown tired of being a celebrity and his overwhelming family and friends, as well as feeling that he is not a “real ogre” anymore. When they arrive at Far Far Away for the ogre babies’ first birthday, fans ask Shrek to autograph pitch forks and torches, a boy asks him to roar, and the three pigs eat the birthday cake. Coupled with the growing frustration of his repetitive home life, Shrek roars in frustration and everyone applauds. Moments later, he then smashes a new cake and angrily leaves. Fiona talks to Shrek about his anger and his wish to be a real ogre, overheard by Rumpelstiltskin. Fiona tells Shrek he has everything, but does not see it, and returns to the party.

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While out in the woods, Shrek encounters Rumpelstiltskin, who offers him a day when none of his adventures ever happened, a day to feel like a real ogre again, in exchange for a day from Shrek’s childhood which he couldn’t remember. Suspicious but happy at the prospect of a relaxing vacation, Shrek signs the contract, and abruptly lands in a world where he is still feared by villagers. Shrek enjoys casuing ogreish mischief before he sees wanted signs for him and Fiona and discovers that his home has become a deserted tree stump. Shrek is attacked by a group of witches and knocked unconscious. Shrek wakes up in a cage being hauled by Donkey, who does not recognize Shrek. Shrek is brought to Rumpelstiltskin, king of Far Far Away. Because Queen Lilian and King Harold signed the contract to make “all of their problems disappear”, both of them disappeared. Rumpelstiltskin tells Shrek that he will disappear in one day because he took the day of Shrek’s birth. Shrek steals a broom and escapes with Donkey. Though Donkey is initially afraid of Shrek, he returns when he finds Shrek crying over his baby’s toy. They become friends.

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Donkey helps Shrek to determine that the escape clause of Rumpelstiltskin’s contract is true love’s first kiss. After not finding Fiona in the tower, the two discover a secret community of ogres led by Fiona. Fiona has never met Shrek and dismisses his attempts to reconcile with her. Shrek also finds Puss in Boots, now Fiona’s pet who retired from swordsmanship and is fat and lazy. Puss befriends him and realizes there is romantic interest between Shrek and Fiona.Rumpelstiltskin is to lead the nightly ogre hunt throughout the kingdom, and Fiona plans to ambush him. However, Rumpelstiltskin has hired the Pied Piper, who entrances the army of ogres to dance themselves to the castle. Puss and Donkey save Fiona and Shrek. Shrek and Fiona kiss, but since Fiona does not love him their kiss is ineffective. Fiona leaves to save the other ogres.

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Rumpelstiltskin announces that whoever brings him Shrek will get whatever they want with no strings attached. Shrek turns himself in in return for “all ogres going free”. Shrek is imprisoned with Fiona; since Fiona is a human by day, she was not released, but is moved by Shrek’s sacrifice. The two are to be fed to Dragon, but Puss, Donkey and the ogres arrive and battle Rumpelstiltskin’s forces.As Shrek and Fiona escape and the day is almost over, Fiona kisses Shrek, but he disappears. Fiona remains an ogre as the sun rises, and realizes that was true love’s kiss. The contract is destroyed and Shrek is sent back in time to when he roared during his kids’ birthday. Shrek embraces Fiona, his family and friends, and remarks that Fiona saved him when they met.During the credits, Shrek, his family & friends, including the ogre army celebrate the baby ogre’s 1st birthday. In a larger party with Rumplestiltskin being held prisoner & being tormented by the piper, and his pet goose exploded due to Fiona’s singing, Then a curtain calls on the credits with images from Shrek, Shrek 2, & Shrek the Third.

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