Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Christine Spencer, Brenda Cooney, Angus Scrimm
Director: James Felix McKenney
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Fresh off a limited theatrical release and shot in Robo-monstervision, a black-and-white retro style reminiscent of old television series and even older movies, AUTOMATONS is a tip of the hat to the imagination and humanit... more »
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Cool Retro Stuff Lacks Script
J. McHenry | Detroit, MI | 04/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First, don't let the film format turn you off - this looks just like any sci-fi flick from the '50s. The 'bots are cool and there's lots of action (eventually...). The only problem is that there is so little script to work with. It's a shame, because the budget limitations don't interfere nearly as much. Also, notice in the extras how they set up their shoot in an un-air-conditioned space during the summer! Let this be a lesson to aspiring directors - you have to create a survivable work environment. Also, having a troupe of crew laughing like hyenas doesn't augur well from the directorial perspective. I still hope this director, or others, will encourage shooting on film in this inexpensive and visually cool way. Meanwhile, you can surely enjoy a viewing of this little film, it's still fun and different from most other things out these days. It'll tide you over until somebody rereleases Gog And Magog."
Low budget, high concept, dry humor + robots!
bp | USA | 04/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Writer/director James Felix McKenney based this b/w Super-8 project on a faulty childhood memory and it screens like a dreamy low budget Pi channeled through the Outer Limits by way of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Filled with mid-century gadgets, men-in-suit robots and robot puppets, Automatons is a parable about a lonely, heavily-mediated future. Going the standard low-budget route (mostly one set, a few actors, shot silent), McKenney turns his budget into an asset. The slightly-off but trying-hard lip sync and cheap but earnestly designed sets and costumes make the film come off like a memory of a B-movie yesterday that never was. There's not enough material to fill a feature and by minute 24 I was aching to get out of that one set. But that's OK, you can just fast forward to the end. Great music and sound design too. This one's more for fans of directors like Guy Maddin and David Lynch rather than horror or sci-fi buffs. There's a sense of humor at work but it may be too dry for some tastes. Favorite image: the evil leader with a wrist communicator the size of a brick."