Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “Science Fiction

BLADE RUNNER 2049 – “2048: Nowhere to Run” Short

Journey into the world 2049 with a replicant on the run. Dave Bautista is Sapper Morton.

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

The second of 3 Blade Runner 2049 short films.


BLADE RUNNER 2049 – “2036: Nexus Dawn” Short

Welcome to 2036. Niander Wallace introduces his new line of replicants.

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

The first of 3 Blade Runner 2049 Short Films.


Blade Runner 2049: A Time To Live

Revered cinematographer Roger Deakins has ‘never worked on a film with so many different sets and lighting challenges’ as ‘Blade Runner 2049.’

Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 original film looks to be a jaw-dropping mix of visual feats that stay true to both the story and the technical innovation that made Blade Runner an instant classic. Villeneuve acknowledges this legacy, stating “I have massive respect for the world Ridley created. Blade Runner revolutionized the way we see science fiction.”

Villeneuve is likely the right man for the job, as he took science fiction down an entirely new road himself, ostensibly reinventing the hackneyed alien genre with 2016’s Arrival, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award in Directing.

Blade Runner 2049 indeed brings several heavy-hitters to the table to help ensure its success, including no less of a cinematographer than multiple Oscar-nominated Roger Deakins, who also shot for Villeneuve on 2015’s Sicario. No stranger to complex action movies (the James Bond hit Skyfall, for one), Deakins admits in the featurette, “I’ve never worked on a film with so many different sets and lighting challenges. Technically, it’s quite challenging.”

 


Rakka by Neill Blomkamp

Director Neill Blomkamp is known for inventive depictions of extraterrestrial warfare, like in District 9 (2009) and Elysium (2013). True to form, his latest short, Rakka, features a richly textured post-apocalyptic world where humans and otherworldly creatures battle over their entwined fates. And in keeping with sci-fi tradition, the queen of alien ass-kicking, Sigourney Weaver, leads a group of people who have planned a rebellion against the creatures who “came here to exterminate us.”

Rakka does feel somewhat like an extended trailer, and that is by design. The film is the first release from Blomkamp’s new venture, Oats Studios, which is an experimental incubator for feature-length ideas and new storytelling formats. The studio has released the film for free, but asks audiences to support its future work by voluntarily paying for the work in return for some digital assets like scripts, concept art, and 3D models.

Blomkamp told The Verge that Rakka is just the seed of a larger project, whose form is yet unknown. “Rakka feels like it could almost be more of an episodic thing,” he said, “because there’s a lot of avenues to explore. The footage is too unconventional and weird [for a mainstream feature], and the audience has to think of the footage as a snapshot of the window of this world.”


Gallery

Blade Runner 2049


2001: A Space Odyssey – Dave Bowman – Figurine

2001_Dave-Bowman_Keir-DulleaCheck out this incredible one-sixth scale model of Keir Dullea as astronaut Dave Bowman in the Stanley Kubrick classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Available in late 2015 from Executive Replicas HERE

2001:A-Space-Odyssey_Keir-Dullea


The Dead Hour – Horror Shorts

The Dead Hour is a new webseries from the creators of the indie horror film Fields of the Dead. In the tradition of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Tales from the Crypt, The Dead Hour is an anthology series that will bring new original webisodes from the horror, fantasy, thriller, slasher and sci-fi genres to the web every other week. Check them out HERE Season 3 has just kicked off.


Close Encounters – By Mark Englert

Close-Encounters-of-the-Third-Kind_1_Mark-Englert_1Close-Encounters-of-the-Third-Kind_2_Mark-Englert_2


Restoration – Kickstarter Promo

RestorationRestoration is an online miniseries that follows in the tradition of the sci-fi we love : Philip K. Dick, Black Mirror, Twilight Zone, Warren Ellis & many others. We are taking a big sci-fi concept, fascinating characters, and weaving them together to tell a (hopefully) compelling and mind-bending story. It’s sci-fi with a soul. Because that is what we love and what we do.

Restoration explores what it means to be human. In what ways does the mind drive the body, and in what ways does the body drive the mind?

Many of us would’ve experienced that strange moment when you’ve driven home and you realise you can’t remember driving the car there. Now imagine being in a body that you think is yours and it drives your car somewhere else entirely – a place that is completely foreign to you.

That idea is at the heart of Restoration.

2019. A company – RESTORATION LIFE SERVICES – offers individuals the service of having their memories downloaded for backup. So, in the event of death, those memories can be uploaded into a new body, a generic host, nicknamed a “jerry”.

After a routine backup, Oliver Klein wakes up to find that his memories have been restored into a body that is not his own. Trapped in this foreign body, Oliver Klein struggles to reconnect with his family and his life, and must come face-to-face-with the truth that he is not the only Oliver Klein.

And this foreign body? It has its own “muscle memory”*. Soon, Oliver discovers that he is capable of doing things the original Oliver never could and never would.

Check out their Kickstarter page HERE


Coronation of Caesar – By Orlando Arocena

coronation_of_caesar-by-orlando-arocena_vector_2014Awesome new print for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by artist Orlando Arocena, available through Hero Complex Gallery HERE


Rick Baker – Designs for Night Skies

Rick-Baker_Night-Skies_Alien

After Close Encounters of the Third Kind became a hit, Columbia Pictures wanted a sequel. Director Steven Spielberg did not, but the one thing he wanted less than a sequel was for Columbia to make one without him. So he set about developing a much darker, horror-tinged film that would act as a follow-up to Close Encounters. It was originally called Watch the Skies (which was also an early Close Encounters title) and eventually referred to as Night Skies.  John Sayles scripted, and Rick Baker was hired to design the alien concepts.

Rick Baker has been posting images of his designs on Twitter, and they’re wonderful to see. Several will look very familiar, too. Because while Night Skies was never made, the concepts from the film ended up in several other Spielberg projects, E.T. adopted several big ideas, and films such as Poltergeist and Gremlins took concepts and pointers. Courtesy of The Rick Baker and /Film.

Night-Skies_Rick-Baker_01Night-Skies_Rick-Baker_02


Escape From New York – Poster by Gabz

escape-from-new-york-regular-editionescape-from-new-york-variant-edition


The Signal – Trailer

the-signal-poster-r-u-agitatedThree college students on a road trip across the Southwest experience a detour: the tracking of a computer genius who has already hacked into MIT and exposed security faults. The trio find themselves drawn to an eerily isolated area. Suddenly everything goes dark. When one of the students, Nic (Brenton Thwaites of The Giver and Maleficent), regains consciousness, he is in a waking nightmare…

There is also a viral campaign going on that leads you to a website, HERE which features a screen that resembles an old computer terminal asking for a “USER”.  Once you type something in it simply states, error “blank” is an unknown command…R U agitated and then there is a Y/N option. This one could be interesting.


Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktock Man

Repent-Harlequin_Harlan-Ellison_Jim-SterankoFor the first time, iconic sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison has allowed a film to be developed based on Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktock Man, the seminal story he published in Galaxy magazine in 1965. Ellison has granted an option directly to J. Michael Straczynski, whose recent credits include helping to fix World War ZThor, the TV series Babylon 5 and Sense8, the upcoming Netflix series he is doing with Lana and Andy Wachowski. He also wrote the incredible Rising Stars series for Image Comics… much better than the similarly themed Heroes television series.

Repent-Harlequin_Steranko_Harlan-EllisonThe story is about Everett C. Marm, an ordinary man who disguises himself as the anarchical Harlequin and engages in whimsical rebellion against the Ticktock Man. The trouble is that if he is found out, the government could stop his heart at long distance if they learn who he is. Straczynski sees the cautionary tale as especially relevant in a post-Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street environment, or even Edward Snowden, in a story of a man who goes against the system and must pay the price for his actions. Now that the script is done, Straczynski will look for production partners and a director, and the first parties he will approach will be Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. Ellison’s story won the 1966 Hugo Award and the 1965 Nebula Award, among others.


Robocop by my 8 Year Old Son *****

robocop-2014-1280x800Robocop is about a man inside a machine, like what Cyborg says “It’s the man not the machine”. He starts as an agent who is almost killed by a bomb in his car. They put robot armour on him; they then change him by giving him robo vision which he can tell if the guy is a criminal or wanted by the law. He can see whatever crime scene whenever it’s happening.

Robocop_2014_posterThere is lots of action and violence. The film is fun as there is an awesome way to play laser-tag in the movie. The best bit in the movie is when Robocop flies through a door on his motorbike with timed bombs and bullets flying into another room. The room is pitch black and filled with guys with night-vision and machine guns. Robocop jumps out and shoots them all and runs through the room and plays laser-tag!

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.


Day of the Triffids – Walk, Talk, Stalk, Kill Again!

day_of_the_triffidsMike Newell has been set to helm The Day Of The Triffids, the adaptation of the classic Sci-fi book by John Wyndham that was scripted by Neil Cross for Ghost House Pictures. Those sparked about this development know the logline: After a comet shower blinds most of the world’s population, those with sight must battle alien plants, known as triffids, bent on destroying mankind.

The film’s being produced by Ghost House Pictures, Mark Gordon, Don Murphy, and Michael Preger, and Murphy’s Angry Films partner Susan Montford will be executive producer.

The book was previously turned into a 1962 film and most recently a 2009 miniseries that starred Dougray Scott and Joely Richardson.

Newell seems an inspiring choice for the material. The helmer of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Donnie Brasco and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire last helmedGreat Expectations.


Archetype by Aaron Sims

RL7 is an eight-foot tall combat robot that goes on the run after malfunctioning with vivid memories of once being human. As its creators and the military close in, RL7 battles its way to uncovering the shocking truth behind its mysterious visions and past.

Directed by Aaron Sims starring Robert Joy (Land of the Dead, CSI:NY) and David Anders (Heros, 24).


WTF Happened to Horror..?

WTF Happened to Horror

Things sure looked different in my day… Courtesy of sitanshu_arjan at 9GAG


Ray Cusick – R.I.P.

Daleks_Ray CusickRay Cusick, the British TV production designer best known for his work on Doctor Who, passed away Thursday night after a short illness. He was 84. In 1963, Cusick, a staff designer at the BBC, was asked to give form to the race of aliens created by screenwriter Terry Nation for nascent sci-fi series Doctor Who. Cusick came up with the design for the Daleks, mutants encased in studded metal shells who appear to glide over the ground as they move. The villains became emblematic of Doctor Who, continuing to appear throughout the series’ life including in its current incarnation and in other films and TV shows. They’re also well-known for their catchphrase, “Exterminate!” It is often thought that Cusick’s design was inspired by a pepper shaker. He recently said the detail came during a lunch with the special effects expert who would make the Daleks. At the meal, Cusick picked up a pepper shaker and moved it around the table, to show how the Daleks would move. “Ever since then,” he explained, “people say I was inspired by a pepper pot, but it could have been the salt pot I picked up.” Current Doctor Who series actor and writer, Mark Gatiss, tweeted: “Farewell to the great Ray Cusick. His passing is especially sad in this anniversary year but his creation remains immortal. Daleks forever!”


R’ha – Sci-Fi Short Film

Check out this amazing CGI Sci-Fi short film written, directed and animated by by German Film Student Kaleb Lechowski.

R´ha [short movie] from Kaleb Lechowski on Vimeo.


8:47 – Trailer for new One-take Sci-Fi Short

847 Official PosterEngine has launched a trailer for its new film ‘8:47’ directed by Engine’s Nik Kacevski, and produced by Amelia Peacocke and George Kacevski.

8:47 is a sci-fi drama that touches on the theory of what one would do if they had a second or even third chance to make things right. The short film plays with time travel and is tense from the get go.

The decision was made early on to shoot the film in one take. This technique added to the tension but also created many challenges. The approach was treated like a stage production where both cast and crew rehearsed intensively to ensure the story could flow.

The final result is a film that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat from beginning to end, no editing, no hidden wipes or transitions, just a straight sequence of intense performance and intricate choreography. It sounds and looks incredibly interesting, can’t wait for the film to hit the festival network.

8:47 – Official trailer from engine on Vimeo.


Bad Guys… by Robert M. Ball

Awesome artwork depicting various ‘Bad Guys’ through the cinematic ages… by Robert M. Ball296038_425594624142877_290736491_n


Forrest J. Ackerman

Forrest J. Ackerman (born Forrest James Ackerman; November 24, 1916 – December 4, 2008) was an American collector of science fiction books and movie memorabilia and a science fiction fan; a magazine editor, science fiction writer and literary agent, a founder of science fiction fandom and possibly the world’s most avid collector of genre books and movie memorabilia. He was the editor and principal writer of the American magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as an actor and producer (Vampirella) from the 1950’s into the 1980’s, and appears in two documentaries related to this period in popular culture: Jason V. Brock’s The AckerMonster Chronicles!, which details his life and career, and Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man. He was, for over seven decades, one of science fiction’s staunchest spokesmen and promoters.

Also called “Forry,” “The Ackermonster,” “4e” and “4SJ,” Ackerman was central to the formation, organization, and spread of science fiction fandom, and a key figure in the wider cultural perception of science fiction as a literary, art and film genre. Famous for his wordplay, he coined the genre nickname “sci-fi”. In 1953, he was voted “#1 Fan Personality” by the members of the World Science Fiction Society, a unique Hugo Award never granted to anyone else.

Ackerman was born Forrest James Ackerman (though he would refer to himself from the early 1930s on as “Forrest J Ackerman” with no period after the middle initial) on November 24, 1916 in Los Angeles, to Carroll and William Schilling Ackerman. He attended the University of California at Berkeley for a year (1934–1935), worked as a movie projectionist, and spent three years in the U.S. Army after enlisting on August 15, 1942.

Ackerman saw his first “imagi-movie” in 1922 (One Glorious Day), purchased his first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926, created The Boys’ Scientifiction Club in 1930 (“girl-fans were as rare as unicorn’s horns in those days”). He contributed to both of the first sci-fi fanzines, The Time Traveller, and the Science Fiction Magazine, in 1932, and by 1933 had 127 correspondents around the world.

He attended the 1st World Science Fiction Convention in 1939, where he wore the first “futuristicostume” (designed and created by Myrtle R. Douglas) and sparked fan costuming, the latest incarnation of which is cosplay. He attended every Worldcon but two thereafter during his lifetime. Ackerman invited Ray Bradbury to attend the Los Angeles Chapter of the Science Fiction League, then meeting weekly at Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. Bradbury often attended meetings with his friend Ray Harryhausen; the two Rays had been introduced to each other by Ackerman. With $90 from Ackerman, Bradbury launched a fanzine, Futuria Fantasia, in 1939.

Ackerman amassed an extremely large and complete collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror film memorabilia, which, until 2002, he maintained in a remarkable 18-room home and museum known as the “Son of Ackermansion.” (The original Ackermansion where he lived from the early 1950’s until the mid-1970’s, was at 915 S. Sherbourne Drive in Los Angeles) This second house, in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles, contained some 300,000 books and pieces of movie and science-fiction memorabilia. From 1951 to 2002, Ackerman entertained some 50,000 fans at open houses.

He knew most of the writers of science fiction in the first half of the twentieth-century. As a literary agent, he represented some 200 writers, and he served as agent of record for many long lost authors, thereby allowing their work to be reprinted in anthologies. He was Ed Wood’s “illiterary” agent. He kept all of the stories submitted to his magazine, even the ones he rejected; Stephen King has stated that Ackerman showed up to a King book signing with a copy of a story King had submitted for publication when he was 11.

Ackerman had 50 stories published, his stories have been translated into six languages. Ackerman named the sexy comic-book character Vampirella and wrote the origin story for the comic.

Through his magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland (1958–1983), Ackerman introduced the history of the science fiction, fantasy and horror film genres to a generation of young readers. At a time when most movie-related publications glorified the stars in front of the camera, “Uncle Forry”, as he was referred to by many of his fans, promoted the behind-the-scenes artists involved in the magic of movies. In this way, Ackerman provided inspiration to many who would later become successful artists, including Joe Dante, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Stephen King, Gene Simmons (of the band KISS), Rick Baker, George Lucas, Danny Elfman, Frank Darabont, John Landis and countless other writers, directors, artists and craftsmen.

He was married to teacher and translator Wendayne (Wendy) Wahrman (1912–1990) until her death. Her original first name was Matilda; Forry created “Wendayne” for her. Wendayne suffered a serious head injury when she was violently mugged while on a trip to Europe in 1990, and the injury soon after led to her death.

A lifelong fan of science fiction “B-movies”, Ackerman had cameos in over 210 films, including bit parts in many monster movies and science fiction films (The Howling, Return of the Living Dead Part II), spoofs and comedies (Amazon Women on the Moon), and at least one major music video (Michael Jackson’s Thriller). Ackerman was fluent in the international language Esperanto.

In 2003, Ackerman said, “I aim at hitting 100 and becoming the George Burns of science fiction”. His health, however, had been failing, and after one final trip to the hospital, informed his best friend and caregiver Joe Moe that he didn’t want to go on. Honouring his wishes, his friends brought him home to hospice care. However, it turned out that in order to get Ackerman home, the hospital had cured his infection with antibiotics. So Forrest went on for a few more weeks holding what he delighted in calling, “a living funeral”. In his final days he saw everyone he wanted to say good-bye to. John Landis recalled that “Although he was extremely ill he told me he could not die until he voted for Obama for President and he did.”

Forrest J Ackerman died on December 4, 2008, at the age of 92. He is interred at Glendale Forest Lawn with his wife Wendayne “Rocket To The Rue Morgue” Ackerman. His plaque simply reads, “Sci-Fi Was My High”.


Claude Rains

William Claude Rains (10 November 1889 – 30 May 1967) was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 46 years. He was known for many roles in Hollywood films, among them the title role in The Invisible Man (1933), The Wolf Man (1941), a corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Mr. Dryden in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and, perhaps his most notable performance, as Captain Renault in Casablanca (1942).

Rains was born in Camberwell, London. He grew up, according to his daughter, with “a very serious cockney accent and a speech impediment”. His parents were Emily Eliza (Cox) and English stage and film actor Frederick William Rains. The young Rains made his stage debut at 11 in Nell of Old Drury.

His acting talents were recognised by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, founder of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Tree paid for the elocution lessons Rains needed in order to succeed as an actor. Later, Rains taught at the institution, teaching John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier, among others. Many years later, after he had gone to Hollywood and become a film star, Gielgud was to quip: “He was a great influence on me. I don`t know what happened to him. I think he failed and went to America.”

Rains served in the First World War in the London Scottish Regiment, with fellow actors Basil Rathbone, Ronald Colman and Herbert Marshall. Rains was involved in a gas attack that left him nearly blind in one eye for the rest of his life, by the war’s end he had risen from the rank of Private to Captain.

Rains began his career in the London theatre, having a success in the title role of John Drinkwater’s play Ulysses S. Grant, the follow-up to the playwright’s major hit Abraham Lincoln, and travelled to Broadway in the late 1920s to act in leading roles in such plays as Shaw’s The Apple Cart and in the dramatisations of The Constant Nymph, and Pearl S. Buck’s novel The Good Earth, as a Chinese farmer.

Rains came relatively late to film acting and his first screen test was a failure, but his distinctive voice won him the title role in James Whale’s The Invisible Man (1933) when someone accidentally overheard his screen test being played in the next room. The Invisible Man is based on H. G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Invisible Man, published in 1897, as adapted by R. C. Sherriff, Philip Wylie and Preston Sturges. The film was directed by James Whale and starred Claude Rains, in his first American screen appearance, and Gloria Stuart.

Rains portrayed the Invisible Man (Dr. Jack Griffin) mostly only as a disembodied voice. Rains is only shown clearly for a brief time at the end of the film, spending most of his on-screen time covered by bandages. In 2008 The Invisible Man was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Rains’ portrayal of The Invisible Man is considered to be one of the main Universal Monsters and is often listed with the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy and Gill-man.

Following The Invisible Man, Universal Studios tried to typecast him in horror films, but he broke free, starting with the gleefully evil role of Prince John in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), then with his Academy Award-nominated performance as the conflicted corrupt US senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and followed with probably his most famous role, the flexible French police Captain Renault in Casablanca (1942).

The Wolf Man (1941) written by Curt Siodmak and produced and directed by George Waggner; starred Lon Chaney, Jr. as The Wolf Man, with Claude Rains, Béla Lugosi, and Maria Ouspenskaya. The title character has had a great deal of influence on Hollywood’s depictions of the legend of the werewolf. The film is the second Universal Pictures werewolf movie, preceded six years earlier by the less commercially successful Werewolf of London.

In 1943, Rains played the title character in Universal’s full-colour remake of Phantom of the Opera. Bette Davis named him her favourite co-star, and they made four films together, including Mr. Skeffington and Now, Voyager. Rains became the first actor to receive a million dollar salary, playing Julius Caesar in Gabriel Pascal’s lavish and unsuccessful version of Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra (1945). In 1946, he played a refugee Nazi agent opposite Cary Grant and Casablanca co-star Ingrid Bergman in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious.

Rains remained a popular character actor in the 1950s and 1960s, appearing in many films. Two of his well-known later screen roles were as Dryden, a cynical British diplomat in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and King Herod in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). The latter was his final film role.

Rains died from an abdominal haemorrhage in Laconia, New Hampshire, on 30 May 1967 at the age of 77. He is interred in the Red Hill Cemetery, Moultonborough, New Hampshire.