5 Great Alien Movies That Have Graced The Big And Small Screen

The new theatrical trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence recently surfaced online (you can see it here: http://www.ageofthenerd.com/2016/04/new-independence-day-resurgence-trailer-arrived/), and while interest may be modest at the moment there is no doubt that there will be significant enthusiasm as the release date draws nearer. There is still some skepticism about how the sequel will retain the mass appeal of the original considering the change in landscape of the ‘Summer Blockbuster’ but it seems that 20th Century Fox has a plan, seeing as a third entry will reportedly be coming our way to turn the franchise into a trilogy.

Movies featuring the narrative of alien invasions and the like have approached in all sorts of genres. Some have been made with the intention to terrorize the audience. Others have memorably touched the hearts of millions. This editorial is going to explore some of cinema’s best and underrated movies that have featured entities foreign to our world.

The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

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Now sadly kind of faded into obscurity, The Mothman Prophecies tells the legend of the mothman, an intimidating winged creature that allegedly once haunted Point Pleasant in West Virginia in the 1960’s. The movie inextricably links those events with the notoriously tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge that actually occurred in 1967.
What makes The Mothman Prophecies effective is it’s chilling atmosphere throughout that also incorporates a sense of mysticism. We never really get to see the creature in it’s entirety. But it’s ambiguity lends the movie decent rewatch value, as the viewer will tend to discover something new on repeat viewings. Richard Gere gives a fine performance as a journalist who mysteriously ends up in Point Pleasant after the death of his girlfriend. He is plagued by strange occurrences that appear threatening. But are they really?

The Mothman Prophecies, although based on questionable real life events, is an underrated modern classic chiller that deserves more more attention than it received.

Fire In The Sky (1993)

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Fire In The Sky tells the account of a group of loggers in the 1970’s who happened upon a landed craft of some kind. One of them is abducted, only to show up again several days later. The rest of the group are at first questioned by law authorities to see if they had something to do with their friend’s disappearance, but events eventually take a much larger turn that seemingly cannot be rationally explained.

Earlier events are told in the form of occasional flashbacks that may be disturbing to those that find UFOlogy meaningful. Others may scoff at them. However, Fire In The Sky is a well crafted thriller that tells the narrative effectively although the viewer will probably end up with more questions than answers by the time the movie ends. Considering the nature of the account told, that was surely inevitable. If one is looking for a UFO film that treats the subject matter with respect then one should not hesitate to see Fire In The Sky!

ET: the Extra Terrestrial (1982)

Quality: Original. Film Title: E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial. For further information: please contact your local UIP Press Office.

Quality: Original. Film Title: E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial. For further information: please contact your local UIP Press Office.

This Steven Spielberg 1980’s classic reaches for the heart strings instead of terrifying the mind. More or less everyone knows the story by now, but here is a brief synopsis. A young boy discovers an alien being stranded on Earth. Eventually he befriends it only to discover that evil government agents want to capture it for research purposes. It becomes a race against time to get the alien safely back home before it’s confined to Earth forever.
You would be mistaken for thinking that the early 1980’s would become an obstacle for Spielberg to produce effects convincing enough to match what ET chronicles. Some even think the shark in Jaws did not look real enough. But the effects to create the extra terrestrial come across as authentic as they possibly could for it’s time! Coupled with excellent performances by Dee Wallace and Henry Thomas, ET: the Extra Terrestrial makes for a good family movie, even though one may find themselves depressed halfway through. How could that possibly be so?
You will know when you watch it, if you have not already!

The Thing (1982)

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Still about the only alien movie that makes this author truly tingle! The Thing is rightfully one of John Carpenter’s visual best. A remake of 1951’s The Thing From Another World, The Thing is one of those rare examples when a remake is superior to their original counterpart. Kurt Russell is mostly known for playing Snake Plisken in the action film Escape From New York, but it’s hard not to think of The Thing when his name is bought up in discussion. Russell plays a researcher who finds himself battling an alien being that can shape shift by replicating human cells. Eventually, him and the rest of the crew are fearing for their lives due to the developing psychosis that forces them to wonder if their colleague really is who they say they are.

Carpenter uses the same approach as he did for Halloween, developing a sense of paranoia albeit with a slightly altered method. The practical special effects are an example of what they can really achieve and do give just about any reasonably well done computer generated product a run for it’s money, especially when you think of movies like the recent cinematic release of London Has Fallen which made a mediocre effort displaying CGI effects capable of persuading the public of any fictional authenticism . There are many standout sequences and Carpenter created a good balance between visually aweing the viewer and creating tension. It’s musical score is something that has been bettered by other works, and dare it be said, does not do The Thing justice but otherwise there is little to complain about.

It is a bit of a misfortune on Carpenter’s part to have already made his mark by breaking new ground with Halloween, which to this day is still stealing the thunder from The Thing.

Aliens (1986)

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James Cameron turned the tonal direction on its head with this first sequel to 1979’s Alien. The original is known for making the most of it’s budget with cleverly concealing the creature until its last moments, making for a film that somewhat resembled 1978’s Halloween in terms of producing unnerving atmosphere by showing anything other than the root of the real terror.

But if Alien is referred to as a sci-fi horror movie then Cameron’s Aliens should be known as a balls to the wall sci-fi action piece. The Terminator director is known to never be one to produce something that isn’t extravagant and Aliens proves that with doubling whatever Alien had to offer. Evidently, a few memorable quips are thrown in for good measure making Aliens an exemplary referential 80’s classic.

Unfortunately, it’s follow up Alien 3 knew it could not live up to it’s predecessor and played it safe by going back in reverse and selecting Ridley Scott’s original approach, something the 1990’s audiences were not ready for.

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Active Voices: The Brandon Easton Interview

Active VoicesThe Creatives are heard again as Active Voices makes its Age of the Nerd and YouTube debut!
First up in our new home is Writer/Director Brandon Easton, who might be the busiest person we know. Not only will he be writing part of Marvel Comics Civil War II arc this year  (which happens to bring back a new version of a favorite 90’s character), but he also will penning Transformers: Deviations for IDW Publishing.
Never one to stand pat, Easton has just spent the last year as a staff writer for ABC’s much loved and lamented Marvel drama, Agent Carter. That’s on top of his Eisner nominated issue of Watson and Holmes as well as his well-received graphic novel Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven.
Let’s not forget he wrote, produced and directed 2014’s inspiring documentary Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century.  This is one creative with knowledge and experience like the deep side of the Pacific.
His take on the state of comics, television, movies is must listening. In this interview, Easton holds court on topics ranging from A to Z, or more precisely, from Batman to WWF Wrestling. Funny, thought provoking and relentlessly insightful, Easton makes Active Voices re-debut a thing to behold.
But now’s the time for you to find that out for yourself…

Active VoicesActive Voices on File: Brandon Easton’s comic book work includes Arkanium and Transformers: Armada for Dreamwave Productions, Shadowlaw, released in January 2012 to an immediate sell-out from Arcana/Platinum Studios for which he won the 2012 Glyph Award for Best Writer; Miles Away, a teen superhero series from Antarctic Press, and multiple titles for Lion Forge Comics, including a critically-acclaimed Andre the Giant graphic novel biography.

As a guest writer for New Paradigm Studios’Watson and Holmes (a reinterpretation of the Holmes mythos set in modern Harlem, NY) comic series for which he received a 2014 Eisner Award nomination for Best Single Issue or One Shot for issue #6. The Eisner Award is considered to be the “Academy Award” of the comic book industry. His work on Watson and Holmes also netted several Glyph Award wins including Story of the Year, Best Writer and the Fan Award. His screenwriting work includes Warner Bros. Animation’s 2011 ThunderCats TV reboot and Hasbro’s Transformers: Rescue Bots, as well as season 2 of the ABC TV series Agent Carter.

In 2014, Easton produced, directed and wrote the documentary Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century that highlights the inspirations, struggles and creations of a new crop of African-American speculative fiction scribes. Brave New Souls was screened at Eagle Con at Cal State LA, Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo and is slated for multiple festivals and comic cons across the U.S.  Brandon regularly incorporates his life experience and knowledge of social science into his projects; delivering potent dramatic sequences built from the intersection of race, class and gender. Check out the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6p9hBVcGmc. Download the documentary at https://gumroad.com/l/VZMe or stream it via Amazon Instant.

Last year, Brandon was named as one of the eight finalists in the prestigious Disney/ABC Studios Writing Program where he was chosen from over fifteen-hundred applicants to receive a one-year position as a writer at the Disney company. In early 2016, Brandon was nominated for the 2nd annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics for Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven.. His latest project is writing Transformers: Deviations for IDW Publishing and Night Thrasher for Marvel Comics Civil War 2 arc.

 

Follow Brandon on Twitter: @BrandonEaston

Check out his podcast: http://writingforrookies.podcastpeople.com/

Listen to him and Brandon Thomas on THE TWO BRANDONS podcast on iTunes and like them on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/THETWOBRANDONS/

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April 30th is National Honesty Day

apinochioNational Honesty Day is celebrated on April 30.  This date was specifically chosen by the author of The Book of Lies: Fibs, Tales, Schemes, Scams, Fakes, and Frauds That Have Changed The Course of History and Affect Our Daily Lives   and former Maryland Press Secretary M. Hirsch Goldberg two reasons.  The first is that April begins with a day of falsehoods as April first is April Fools Day.  The Second is becuase it is the date of the inauguration of the first president of the United States Mr. George “I cannot tell a lie” Washington.

The purpose of National Honesty Day was mainly aimed at politicians who are notorious for not telling the truth.  The History of The United States is filled with men caught in a lie such as Richard Nixon.  This tradition is unfortunately still practiced and there is not a real sense of that ending soon.

National Honesty Day, however, is not just for those in politics.  The day is also for every individual person in our society as a reminder that the truth is always better than a lie.  Society has split lies in to two categories.  The first is “the white lie”; this type of lie is mostly used to spare someone’s feelings.  For instance if you are married and your wife asks you if she looks fat in the dress she has on, it is usually dangerous to day yes, even if you think she does look fat in the dress she has chosen.  This type of lie spares the person’s feelings and also the one who lies avoids an argument.

The second is a “major lie” a major lie is any dishonest act such as stealing and and denying your guilt, or cheating on your taxes.  These types of lies can have ultimately extremely bad consequences.

So how should we celebrate National Honesty Day?  One possibility is to spend the day telling the absolute truth to everyone who asks you a question of any kind.  The second is harder.  The day should be spent in self reflection and then action.  Use the day to think about your life and determine what lies you have told.  These lies can be lies we have told others or lies we have told ourselves and become to believe are true.  After we self evaluate, we must do what is in our power to correct the lies we have told, and the consequences others may have suffered because of them.

One of my favorite expressions is ‘the bottom line”.  The bottom line of this article is that “the truth will set you free.”

April 30th is National Honesty Day was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

AMC Reveals New Images From Upcoming Series ‘Feed The Beast’

(AMC) AMC has released new images from the network’s upcoming original scripted series “Feed the Beast” in anticipation of the series premiere on Tuesday, May 31 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.  The network additionally released the show’s main titles, composed by Pat Irwin and executive producer Clyde Phillips, with vocals by singer Sasha Dobson.

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“Feed the Beast,” adapted by executive producer/showrunner Clyde Phillips (“Dexter,” “Nurse Jackie”) and starring David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess, is a drama about two best friends, Tommy Moran (Schwimmer), and Dion Patras (Sturgess) who take one last shot at their dream of opening a restaurant. Additional casting for the series includes Michael Gladis, as Patrick Woichik, aka The Tooth Fairy, the soft spoken, brutally intimidating local mobster with a penchant for pulling teeth; Lorenza Izzo, as Pilar Herrera, a woman who meets Tommy in a grief group, and is desperately searching for true love; Christine Adams, as Tommy’s late wife Rie Moran, John Doman, as Tommy’s father Aidan Moran, a shrewd and ruthless businessman and unapologetic racist; and Elijah Jacob as Tommy’s ten-year old son TJ Moran.

Arbor Day April 29

Arbor-DayArbor Day is the celebration and the conservation of our trees and Forests.  The history of Arbor Day has its roots in the 1800’s but became of more national significance under the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

Arbor Day is a day to plant trees.  For many years the trees of The USA were used up quickly, and rightfully so, we needed them for housing and for life sustaining fire.  When we first settled this country forests were deep and plentiful and lumbar easy to come by.  But we began to expand and the original 13 colonies became 50 states.  We went from an agricultural society to an industrial society and we forgot that once a tree is cut down a new one does not take its place.  We stripped forests of trees and in so doing endangered many forms of wildlife and at the same time caused erosion and soil issues.

Theodore Roosevelt realized what was happening and began to make wildlife preserves to keep the wonders of natural America intact.

Arbor Day is a day to continue the work of conversationalists on a personal level.  It is a day to plant trees where they are needed, even if it is in your back yard.  It is a day to learn to learn about trees.  Do you know the difference between an oak and a maple tree?  Arbor Day is a chance to learn.  We use oak trees in much of our good furniture and in our buildings.  Maple trees make one of the most delicious and nutritious syrups on earth and yet most of us don’t know one from the other.  Arbor Day is a chance to learn.

So use Arbor Day to learn more about trees or to plant some yourself.  Watching a tree grow from infancy to its full grown glory will be a thrill for years to come.

Think of the literature that has a tree in one way or the other at the center of it.  JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has huge forests that come to life.  He even invented the Ents a race of beings that cared for trees.  Winnie The Pooh lived in a tree.  In Peter Pan the home underground was entered by a tree. Hansel and Gretel found the Gingerbread Cottage is a deep wood.  Dorothy met The Cowardly Lion in a forest in The Wizard of Oz and every December 25th we cut down an evergreen and bring in into our homes and decorate it to honor Jesus.  Trees are a part of our daily existence and yet we take little real notice of them.  Arbor Day is a time to correct that.

Arbor Day April 29 was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

University Of Washington Comes Under Fire For Controversial Cheerleader Tryouts Flyer

(PCM) The University of Washington is receiving a ton of backlash after they posted quite the controversial cheerleader tryouts flyer on their Facebook page. Many are finding the flyer, which has since been removed to be quite offensive and non-inclusive to people various ethnicity.

The flyer features a scantily clad thin, blonde, white woman accompanied by a list of do’s and don’ts for having a successful cheerleader and dance team tryout. Some of those do’s and don’t include make-up tips such as “Do have a bronze, beachy glow” and “Do wear false eye lashes” and “Don’t have nude lips” or “Don’t have dark smokey eyes”.  They also feature hair tips such as “Do wear your hair straight or curled” and “Don’t have a ponytail or trendy colors”!

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The director of programming for the UW student government, Jazmine Perez,  is dumbfounded by the flyers saying “I can’t believe this is real. One of the first things that comes mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate. As a student of color who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive.”

Many feel that students who participate in other sports team do not have to adhere to the same physical/appearance standards. Once the internet began to fire up about the post it was immediately taken down and university officials commented  “that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics.”

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