Peter Cushing

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Star Wars: A New Hope Trailer


The galaxy is in turmoil. A Rebel Alliance is rising up against the villainous Galactic Empire but they are still marginalised and easily defeated. The Empire has a secret weapon, something that will ensure their continued hold on the galaxy: The Death Star. The giant space station has the ability to destroy an entire planet, although the Rebel Alliance have successfully stolen the secret plans for it. When Princess Leia Organa of Alderan (Carry Fisher) is captured on her way to deliver the plans to the Alliance, she is forced to send them inside a droid to the closest planet - Tatooine. There, a young moisture farmer, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who dreams of something greater for himself, is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, and save the galaxy along the way.

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Star Wars: The Digital Collection Trailer


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The majestic order of honourable, strong Jedi, do all they can to keep the peace in a galaxy slowly tearing itself apart through trade disputes and separatist uprisings. All the while, they are becoming aware of the steady growth of an ancient group of darker, hate filler Jedi known as The Sith, are returning. In amongst their troubles, a young boy is discovered; a boy who could be more powerful than any Jedi that has ever lived. If a legendary prophecy can be believed, he is the one who will destroy the Sith and bring balance back to the Force - the energy which binds all life together. 

Continue: Star Wars: The Digital Collection Trailer

Hamlet (1948) Review


Good
This Hamlet, a Best Picture winner, unfortunately stands as one of the stagier productions of the famous play. Gone are (among other scenes) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; in their stead we get more of Laurence Olivier, who also directed, as the put-upon prince of Denmark. Olivier chews scenery with the best of them, playing the tights-clad Hamlet as a sort of prissy boy who'd probably rather be eating grapes. Olivier's direction is problematic, too, jerky and obvious, drawing your attention to the constant camera pans and away from the action. Still, a solid rendition if the classic play, though not really deserving of its platitudes. (At least, not any more.)

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Review


Extraordinary
When the first Star Wars films came along, they filled a collective need. Movies had gotten too serious -- too much realism, not enough escapism. It was a time when audiences wanted to escape from the headlines -- as we still do -- and return to moral, and cinematic, simplicity. George Lucas delivered the goods.

Watching the first two installments in the series again (Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, also the two best films in the series), the most noticeable thing about them is all the ideas that went into them. Lightsaber duels, the Force, model spaceships, Darth Vader's heavy breathing, droids that deliver annoying repartee, aliens that look like Sasquatch and giant frogs, and wisecracking antiheroes like Harrison Ford's Han Solo -- all these things have entered our cultural consciousness. But the makers of the original Star Wars had to think up all these things (or borrow them from non-sci-fi genres).

Continue reading: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Review

At The Earth's Core Review


Grim
It's another Planet of the Apes/The Time Machine redux as a stuffy scientist (Peter Cushing) and a cowboy-inspired rich guy (Doug McClure) set off in an oversized drill/spaceship en route for the center of the earth. Of course, all kinds of creatures live there, namely large dodo-dinosaur hybrids, their monkey-pig underlings, and a humanoid race of slaves under their thumb. They even speak the Queen's English. While the fire effects are cool, the creatures are unilaterally awful. For 1976, an effects-driven film needs an awful lot more than plastic masks and stop-motion winking. Oh, and the script is lifeless, to boot.

Alexander The Great Review


Grim
God help Oliver Stone if his upcoming Alexander is really a remake of 1956's Alexander the Great, as this film's press notes state.

Put simply, Alexander the Great is a colossal bore. Directed by Robert Rossen (The Hustler, All the King's Men), this visit to the epic well comes off far worse than contemporaries Ben-Hur and Cleopatra. What's the problem? Well, the troubles are legion. Start with Richard Burton, engaging here in the lead role of the philosopher/warrior/conquerer, but given a series of brooding sermons to deliver for well over two hours. Burton doesn't carry the movie as he absolutely has to; the result is an experience not unlike attending a late night lecture. Then there's the warfare. Those of us spoiled on modern epics like Troy will find the playful skirmishes here on the laughable side. Sure, you can stage a battle with just a couple hundred men and no special effects if you shoot it carefully, but if your warriors look tired and on the verge of striking, you won't quite get the necessary effect. My little brother and I had more authentic swordfights when we were kids, using sticks in the backyard. Pretty sad considering Alexander conquered Europe and Asia.

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The Brides of Dracula Review


OK
As "Baron Meinster," David Peel isn't quite Dracula, and these gals aren't really brides either. But Peter Cushing's Van Helsing anchors this campy reimagination of the Dracula story, which has Meinster preying on a girls' school to fill out his pseudo-harem. When the story lags (and it often does), at least you have copious eye candy to feast on.

Continue reading: The Brides of Dracula Review

Hamlet (1948) Review


Good
This Hamlet, a Best Picture winner, unfortunately stands as one of the stagier productions of the famous play. Gone are (among other scenes) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; in their stead we get more of Laurence Olivier, who also directed, as the put-upon prince of Denmark. Olivier chews scenery with the best of them, playing the tights-clad Hamlet as a sort of prissy boy who'd probably rather be eating grapes. Olivier's direction is problematic, too, jerky and obvious, drawing your attention to the constant camera pans and away from the action. Still, a solid rendition if the classic play, though not really deserving of its platitudes. (At least, not any more.)

The Evil of Frankenstein Review


Weak
Hammer Films' third Frankenstein movie is really just more of the same: The broke baron is back to digging up bodies and attempting to animate them (this time with the help of a hypnotist called, ahem, Professor Zoltan). Disastrous results ensue. Won't this mad scientist ever wisen up? Unfortunately, the monster makeup is a little south of corny, which doesn't do much to elevate this film beyond a pedestrian monster flick.

Continue reading: The Evil of Frankenstein Review

Scream and Scream Again Review


Grim
Screaming the first time might be an issue if you can sit through this collaboration among Price, Lee, and Cushing, none of which do much with their roles. While some of the film's boundary-pushing (for 1969) moments of gore are spine-tingling (namely when a serial killer removes his own hand to escape a pair of cuffs). But this odd conflagration of mass murderer, scientific experimentation, and strange neo-Nazi group on the prowl stories just doesn't work. At all.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Review


Extraordinary
When the first Star Wars films came along, they filled a collective need. Movies had gotten too serious -- too much realism, not enough escapism. It was a time when audiences wanted to escape from the headlines -- as we still do -- and return to moral, and cinematic, simplicity. George Lucas delivered the goods.

Watching the first two installments in the series again (Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, also the two best films in the series), the most noticeable thing about them is all the ideas that went into them. Lightsaber duels, the Force, model spaceships, Darth Vader's heavy breathing, droids that deliver annoying repartee, aliens that look like Sasquatch and giant frogs, and wisecracking antiheroes like Harrison Ford's Han Solo -- all these things have entered our cultural consciousness. But the makers of the original Star Wars had to think up all these things (or borrow them from non-sci-fi genres).

Continue reading: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Review

Top Secret! Review


Extraordinary
I don't care what the Zucker-Abrahams-Zuckers say, Top Secret! is the best parody/farce ever made.

On the new DVD's commentary track -- the trio behind Airplane!, Hot Shots, and a few other classic (and less classic) parodies -- the ZAZ crew are candid about being less than happy with their work in retrospect, and while the film is certainly dated, I still think it's a real winner.

Continue reading: Top Secret! Review

Dracula A.D. 1972 Review


Grim
Nothing dates your movie faster than putting the year in the title, and for some reason, Dracula movies attract this special folly. Dracula A.D. 1972 (helpfully noting that we're not dealing with some Babylonian Dracula in 1972 B.C.) finds Dracula (Christopher Lee) revived -- inexplicably, by mixing its metaphors and having a group of devil worshippers resurrecting him -- and hanging out with his cronies in swingin' London, where he feasts on boxum gals in low-cut tops when he's not being pursued by the progeny of Van Helsing (Peter Cushing). Rather awful, this is one of the sadder entries in the Dracula canon, offering nothing much that's new to the genre.
Peter Cushing

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