Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

After the startling success of “Avatar” James Cameron spent almost two decades crafting a sequel. It’s a sequel that is—well, it’s basically “Avatar” all over again with his blue Thundercats. Except it has water. That might seem like I’m undermining the movie but I’m really not. Everything is essentially the same, save for more characters. Cameron injects the same clumsy themes about war, capitalism, racism, the fragility of the environment, and the oh-so-noble savage; except now he’s able to introduce his love for the ocean too.

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The 5 Worst Films I Saw In 1997

I loved 1997, warts and all. It was a really rough, difficult, but fun, and exciting year for me, so I remember it for the good and bad. I can be accused of wearing rose colored glasses for 1997 and in a way you’d be correct, but I just had so much fun that year. Even being forced to attend Summer School wasn’t that bad, when all was said and done.

In either case, these are five of the worst films I saw in 1997.

How was 1997 for you?

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TV on DVD: Cursed Films: Season One [Blu-Ray]/James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction (DVD)

Was “The Crow” cursed? Did “Poltergeist” bring a hex upon the entire cast? Were there real satanic forces behind “The Exorcist”? Did “Twilight Zone: The Movie” conjure up bad luck and ultimately a curse? Well, hell no on all fronts. The thing about Cursed Films (now on Blu-Ray from Shudder and Image Entertainment), is that if you’re a movie buff and horror fan, you’ve heard about literally everything that’s explored in “Cursed Films.” At five episodes and thirty minutes an episode, “Cursed Films” basically goes over the same material we’ve seen or read about a thousand times but in greater length.

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Piranha II: The Spawning (1981): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

James Cameron is one of the many students of Roger Corman who spent a lot of his early career cutting his teeth on doing smaller jobs for Corman and learning the basics. Finally given a shot with “Piranha II,” Cameron delivers a movie that’s terrible, but charming in its terribleness. It’s the beginnings of a blockbuster titan and his ability to serve something up on a grand scale.

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Five Great Bill Paxton (1955-2017) Performances

Bill Paxton could play any character. He could play anyone, at any time, from anywhere. He was a cowboy in the old west, he was a soldier in the future fighting aliens, he was a tornado chaser, a leather clad vampire, a slimy car salesman, an obnoxious big brother, a dad burdened with the knowledge of demonic entities, a punk, et al. He could be anyone. I am one of the many kids who grew up watching Paxton give riveting performances on film, no matter how big or small the role was. Paxton was a man who could appear in any time period on film and you bought his performance and his place there.

By all accounts, Paxton was a very nice and warm man who loved his fans, and treated everyone with immense respect. I was born in 1983, so I was old enough to remember a time where Paxton was in a lot of movies, and was a constant face on film. He’d just pop up, and it was a pleasant surprise every single time. Paxton even helped invent a ton of imitators who would walk around screaming “Game over man! Game over!” over and over and over. It never got old.

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Aliens (1986)

aliensSequels should always strive to be better than the original while paying homage to the film that came before it. James Cameron does a bang up job with a film that, in another reality, would have failed big time. Cameron takes what was a slow burn and gradually unraveling horror science fiction film about a woman battling a phallic alien and transforms it in to a brutally and entertaining action horror film. While some of the more ardent fans of “Alien” might have been thrown off by the change in tone, James Cameron embraces the action genre for a brand new generation, offering an extension of Ridley Scott’s film that compliments what came before.

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Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)


I may not be the biggest fan of James Cameron, but when he approaches sequels, he hits the ground running and aims for the throat. First with “Aliens,” and then with “Terminator 2” in which a full fledged horror science fiction movie, becomes an action horror film with a wider scope and explorations of time paradoxes and the like. While I much prefer the original mainly for its tone and sense of urgency, “Judgment Day” is quite excellent. I saw it in theaters when it arrived, and years later, it’s still a stellar science fiction film from James Cameron.

Set years after the original movie, Sarah Connor raised John Connor to become an apocalyptic warrior. But after the confrontation with the T-800 cyborg at the bomb factory, she’s arrested and placed in a mental health facility. John is raised by his dysfunctional aunt and uncle and is mostly a wayward youth. The evil Skynet is once again intent on ending the war before it starts, sending a new advanced cyborg back in time to assassinate John Connor. Branded the T-1000, this new cyborg is made of liquid metal that can imitate anything it touches.

Just then, a new model of the T-800 is sent back in time, but this time its mission is to find and protect John and Sarah Connor at all costs. Now with the T-800, John races against the clock to find his mother and avoid every clever assassination attempt by the advanced new cyborg that will stop at nothing to end the Connor bloodline. Skynet also plans to initiate a Judgment day by unleashing a nuclear warhead that will destroy humanity and unleash a robotic rule on the planet. Sarah decides the best cause of action is to murder Miles Dyson, a Cyberdyne Systems engineer whose new computer processor will become the template for Skynet.

Where as the original movie was more centered on a behemoth rampaging through civilization to murder Sarah Connor, this time around Cameron opts for a sleeker new villain that really does pose an even more vicious threat to our heroes. B movie actor Robert Patrick gives a fantastic performance as the seemingly inconspicuous T-1000 whose façade of an average beat cop helps him blend in to civilization and infiltrate any strong hold. He’s made even deadlier with his ability to form massive blades, and sharp objects with his constantly shifting metallic body. Arnold Schwarzenneger shifts his title character in to the hero role, now becoming a protector who also gradually learns about humanity and emotions.

Linda Hamilton is also a welcome face as she reprises her role as the iconic Sarah Connor, whose welfare is of great importance to the fate of the world. Cameron approaches the continuation of his storyline well but never quite as seamless as he thinks. One thing that always bothered me is if they can create a robot made of pure metal that can become anything it touches, why not wait a few years and build a robot that can become a weapon of mass destruction? That way it can appear in John Connor’s general vicinity and blow itself up, thus ending the war? And if the robots can’t grasp concepts like emotions and feelings, why can they understand existential ideas of fate and inevitability? While Cameron never quite masters the ideas of time paradoxes, or time travel in general, “Terminator 2” still succeeds in being a raucous, beautifully directed action epic.