Communion, directed by Philippe Mora, 1989

Whitley Strieber is kind of a nut. He's made a living at being that kooky conspiracy theorist that might corner you at a convention to talk about ancient astronauts or RFID being the mark of the beast. Who better to play him than Christopher Walken? It may be the defining role for Walken, as he turns the 'bizarro' knob up to 10. He's more than a bit eccentric here, playing the part of Strieber himself, and as a result, I have trouble defining Strieber without thinking of Walken's performance.

The story is based on Strieber's own purported alien abductions in the 80's. The claims kicked off a media firestorm, but of course, aren't substantiated. Instead, the film really focuses on how Strieber deals with the events that turn his life upside down. It does it quite well. It's at times funny and bizarre and to most stands as the seminal 'alien abduction' film, even if the details are sketchy as to whether or not they're actually extraterrestrial. In spite of its budget, it spins a fascinating, somewhat quirky yarn. Oh, and it's scary. No, not just scary - it's terrifying.

a href="">Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, directed by Nicholas Meyer, 1982

If you haven't seen this one, step away from the internet and go purchase it. What are you doing here, anyway? Heretic! It still stands as the greatest Star Trek film ever made, not to mention one of the best revenge films in history. Not only is the flick exciting, making even the somewhat naval pace of Trek battles seem thrilling, it has a lot of heart. It blends so many elements, really invigorating the franchise while resurrecting an obscure villain from the original series. Everything is right about this movie, as it gives birth to quotable lines and internet memes 25 years later; from the squirm-inducing ear worms to Ricardo Montalban's scenery-chewing soliloquy to Shatner bellowing, "Khaaaaaaaannnnn!" And sure, the James Horner score sounds exactly like Krull, but hey - if it ain't broke . . .

I'll admit - I still get choked up when Spock tells Kirk, "I have been, and always will be, your friend." Shut up. It's enough to make a Vulcan weep. Something very singular was crafted here, one that the franchise has been trying to recapture ever since. I just picked it up on blu ray for ten bucks. You should do the same.

Equilibrium, directed by Kurt Wimmer, 2002

I know, you've seen Fahrenheit 451 before, but have you seen it with gun fu? Admittedly, this is far from a perfect film. The story is uninspired, one where society's emotions are outlawed. To enforce this, they have Clerics - ass-kicking killing machines with swords and guns and long black robes. With Christian Bale as one of the head Clerics, you've got your reason for watching the film. Bale manages to slowly unveil his repressed emotions as the story progresses. He does it by slicing people's faces off. The action scenes in this are a blast to watch. There are shades of it in the awful Ultraviolet, but Wimmer's follow up effort doesn't come close to the stylish gun play and martial arts chop-socky that fuels Equilibrium. It's message is clumsily delivered and it does suffer at points because of its low budget, but the cast is excellent. It's like watching some boring and tired classic, but with guns and explosions! Sure, there's a bit of sarcasm there, but I pull this out at least once a year to give it a spin.
categories Features, Sci-Fi