No, I'm not talking about the 2000 remake starring Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley. That was OK, but nothing to write home about. It's bland at best. If you've seen that version, do not fool yourself into thinking you've seen Bedazzled.

I'm talking about the 1967 original, directed by Stanley Donen and starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. This is a modern (well, 1967 modern) retelling of the Faust legend. Not only can you get serious cuts from the razor wit, it's a viciously wicked satire of religion where God ends up as the villain. This is a brilliant film, a must-see for any fantasy-loving atheist with a sense of humor.

Sample: Peter Cook, as the Devil, has the 7 Deadly Sins working as his servants. Their service, as you might expect, leaves something to be desired. Cook complains, "What terrible Sins I have working for me. Must be the wages."

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There is a 1971 Swedish film whose English title is The Apple War. (Swedish title: Äppelkriget) You have never seen it, probably never even heard of it. It has subtitles. The only actor in it you've ever heard of is (a very young) Max von Sydow, and he has only a minor role. It is not available on video. (If you ever learn that it is, notify me immediately.)

I first saw it at an "art house" movie theater. It was in a double feature with King of Hearts, the Alan Bates film that has a significant cult following. Apple War blew King of Hearts out of the water. I have since seen it a few other times at art houses. A friend of mine who's in touch with such things told me that the distribution rights were snapped up by a Mafia-based organization that doesn't know the treasure it has--and apparently doesn't care. It escapes but seldom.

The story concerns an idyllic little Swedish village noted for its apple orchards. A crude German industrialist, Herr Volkswaggoner, wants to snap up all the property and turn this bucolic setting into Deutschneyland. He dazzles the villagers with a slick pr campaign to sell out to him...all except a young bicycle messenger and a family named the Lindbergs, who decide to oppose him. It turns out that the Lindbergs are a very unusual family, with members who include a witch, some ghosts, some giants, at least one centaur, and other interesting sorts. They decide to fight back--not with violence, but with the most eccentric, roundabout and circuitous techniques you could imagine. The film is wildly inventive and hysterically funny.

If you ever see it listed anywhere, see it! Sell whatever relatives you've got into slavery if you have to, but see it. I guarantee you won't regret it.
The remake was just a silly comedy, not an insightful anti-religious satire.
Dark City, imo much more better than matrix or the 13th floor...
Agreed, Dark City is a fantastic film
I'm gonna say John Carpenter's The Thing. It's more horror than sci-fi, but it's an excellent story about isolation and the sheer terror of the unknown. If you haven't seen it, go check it out. I think alot of people have probably either seen this movie or at least heard of it, but it got crushed by E.T. in the box office. To be honest this pick is kind of a cop out for me because I'm in the middle of writing a review of it.

I guess another great sci-fi film would have to be The Lathe of Heaven. I havn't had a chance to read the novel yet so I don't know how it stacks up. The story is about a guy who can alter the entire world with his dreams, and the consequences of those dreams. For instance, he wishes there were fewer people in the world, has a dream about it and he wakes up in a world where most of the Earths population has died of a plague. His psychologist gets wise to this and tries to control him with hypnosis. Great flick.
And may I add to this discussion, Solaris, with George Clooney in a real departure role for him. You may argue that Solaris is less science-fiction than psychological study, based on an intriguing premise, but I think it is worth your time. Clooney's work is riveting, as are the performances of Natascha McElhone, Viola Davis and the impossibly quirky Jeremy Davies in this small, intense and oddly beautiful film.

Then, too, being enamored of music as I am, I think the soundtrack by itself is worth the price of admission! Please go have a look.
Hmm, missed Solaris while it was in theatres. Just not a George Clooney fan among other things. Might have to put it on the list now.

I too can be swayed by a great soundtrack.
Trust me, Jo, this is a Clooney you ain't seen ... involved in a concept which I happen to think is pretty neat! I missed it in theatres, too, but a friend of mine who is even more of a movie nut than I am showed a bit of it to me on DVD some years back ... and the hook was SUNK!
The problem with Solaris is that it was boring. The book is far better.
Hey, to each their own, Seamonster. I thought it had something to say.
I guess that'll learn me - I haven't read the book ... YET. Hell, got all this time to myself (being unemployed is SO enlightening!), maybe I should hie myself down to the local library....
If you liked Serenity at all, check out Firefly, the Fox TV series from which Serenity sprang. It is great fun and has wonderful cast chemistry, as well as some very good writing. You can get the four-disc DVD set from Amazon for a song these days.

As for Buckaroo Banzai ... well, you know what they say: "Wherever you go ... there you are!"




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