April 9, 2020
Posts by brandon:
In Oblivion Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a drone repairman who is a part of an operation with the mission to extract the last remaining resources Earth can provide after a decades old war. Before Jack’s mission is complete his world is turned upside down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Jack is forced to question everything he knows and the fate of humanity is put in his hands.
This “original” story by Joseph Kosinski (Tron:Legacy) is his love letter to every sci-fi film that came before it. You have 2001, Wall-e, The Matrix, and a dash of Mad Max just to name a few of them. Since this film is wanting to be all of those movies the story feels crowded and the plot becomes muddy trying to fit them all into two hours. The pacing of the film I felt was off balanced. The first half is very slow as we watch Jack do his day-to-day drone repairs with the last half very fast pasted with action set pieces and character revelations one right after another. I wish it was more a bit of both throughout. There is a major plot point that I called out a few minutes into the film. It is very similar to another movie that I will talk about in the spoiler section below. Kosinski says that he wrote the concept for Oblivion before this other movie came out but it still came out before. This plot point is so intwined with the rest of the film that there was no way that he could have changed it. He had to do with what he had. Other wise we would have gotten a totally different film from him today.
As for the writing goes I would say it is meh. Perhaps there were too many cooks in the kitchen. The story was developed by Kosinski as a graphic novel, and written by William Monahan and Karl Gajdusek. In a recent interview with Slashfilm, Kosinski said this about Michael Arndt (writer of Star Wars: Episode VII) being a screenwriter on the film, “He did a couple of weeks on it, more than a couple of weeks. He spent two or three weeks…He did a lot of work at every level from structure to story, character…we worked on every aspect of the film. So to kind of pull out and say, “That’s his,” you can’t do that on a film. It’s such a collaborative thing…” This sounds like all he did on it was a polish. So Ben De Bono, I do not think this would be a good example to judge him by on what we can expect from him on Star Wars.
This film is very good looking. It is very clean. Joseph Kosinski has a background in architecture and it really shows in this film. The architecture of the buildings, the ships, the drones, even the way the civilization of the past has decayed are all portrayed beautifully. I do have to commend Kosinski for using practical effects when he can. Sure there is a lot of CGI in this film but when the film can go with practical effects it does. That is very much appreciated.
Here we have Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise. Is it just me or does it seem like all of his parts in the last decade have all blended together? Not to say that he is a bad actor but it would be nice to tell this character apart from his other parts. Morgan Freeman who plays Beech was a wasted opportunity. I love Morgan Freeman. If I could pay him to follow me around everywhere and narrate my whole life I would. He is not in this film enough. He is only there to tell Jack what the deal is when he discovers the truth. That is about it. Olga Kurylenko plays Jack’s partner Victoria. The way she delivered her lines way dry and cold. You could call her a robot. There was nothing about her character that made me want to like her, though I get the feeling that I was suppose to. Andrea Riseborough plays Julia, the stranger that Jack finds. She was the best of the two female leads but her character felt predictable and was not given much to do.
I give this movie a 3 out of 5 stars all of which go to the production design and special effects. Koninski is definitely a visual director. The general population will like this as the first summer action flick of the year. But for those of you like myself who like your sci-fi to be more deep go watch any of the films that inspired this film.
As I said before there is a major plot point in the film much like another film. I realize by telling you what it is I will be spoiling that film too. But hey what are you going to do? The film is Moon. If you have seen Moon you might have guessed the plot point is that Tom Cruise plays a clone. He even fights his clone somewhere just after the midpoint of the film. While in Moon Sam Bell has memories of life on Earth, Jack Haper from Oblivion has no memories prior to doing drone repairs. Only dreams depicting his past seep through. The thing that made me call it at the beginning of the film was that in both films both main characters have two more weeks of their mission before they can leave.
This is just a nit pick but, in Oblivion humanity has moved on to Titan, a moon of Saturn. Why go there? Would not Mars be warmer? It is closer to the sun and seems like it would be a better place to consider terraforming. Like I said, just a nit pick.
I’ll let this video speak for itself. You can check out more on this here.
Ad men, the American West, zombies, detectives, and meth kingpins. These are some of what AMC has been come to be known for in their original programing. Now AMC has announced their latest original series. Ballistic City is a hard sci-fi drama that has been described as a cross between Blade Runner and Battlestar Galactica (reboot). AMC is looking to pair the show up with The Walking Dead on Sunday nights this October.
The show follows, “a former cop thrust into the criminal underworld of a city housed in a generational space ship destined for an unknown world.” The show is being developed by Travis Beacham, writer of this summer’s Pacific Rim and Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion, Tron: Legacy). Kosinski will be directing the pilot after doing his rounds of promotions for Oblivion that comes out this Friday.
The concept of a generational space ship sounds interesting, especially one that houses a whole city. Just that right there sounds Blade Runneresque. I will definitely be expecting some robots too. I’m also interested to see how AMC handles sci-fi. I have actually been waiting for them to attack this genre for some time. AMC all ready has the geek audience from The Walking Dead which is why they are probably planning on showing both shows on the same night. Seeing that it is due to come out this October I have to assume that this has been in development for some time. It is currently pilot season for next season’s line up of television so the timing of the shooting of the pilot is nothing unusual.
What are your thoughts on AMC taking on an actual sci-fi show that takes place in space?
In this third and final trailer for Man of Steel we get a look at some scenic landscape shots of Krypton and a better look at Russel Crowe as Jor-El and Michael Shannon as General Zod.
Man Of Steel opens June 14th.
Clark Kent/Kal-El (Cavill) is a young twentysomething journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond anyone’s imagination. Transported to Earth years ago from Krypton, an advanced alien planet, Clark struggles with the ultimate question – Why am I here? Shaped by the values of his adoptive parents Martha (Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Costner), Clark soon discovers that having super abilities means making very difficult decisions. But when the world needs stability the most, it comes under attack. Will his abilities be used to maintain peace or ultimately used to divide and conquer? Clark must become the hero known as “Superman,” not only to shine as the world’s last beacon of hope but to protect the ones he loves.
I don’t know about you but I think this movie is going to be great. This is director Neil Blomkamp’s second film. His first was District 9 after the Halo film with Peter Jackson as producer fell through. Knowing Blomkamp’s take on District 9 I am expecting him to keep up with his style of story telling where he deals with political and sociological issues like District 9 did. These kind of films have substance and make for good discussion afterwards. Adding a sci-fi element to the kind of stories we hear about today in the news makes it all the more sweet. Check out the trailer below.
Here’s the synopsis:
In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government ofﬁcial, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
If the title of this post hasn’t already given it away, below we have the first 14 minutes of Syfy’s new show Defiance premiering on Monday, April 15th. The video below is essentially the first act of the show.
As many of you may recall, this is the first time that a television show is teaming up with a MMO game where the show will influence the game storyline and vice versa. I don’t plan on playing the game. I view it more as a world building exercise. I’m going to take on the show as if the game does not exist since the two story lines don’t even take place in the same location or with the same characters. Just take it as it is if you know what I mean. The makers of the show have said in the past that if you watch the show and don’t play the game or play the game and don’t watch the show you won’t feel like you are missing anything. I am however interested to see how the crossover works out. Welcome to your new home Brady Hardin.
In the year 2046, it’s a new Earth – with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his charge, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). As they settle into town – overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and filled with residents like the powerful Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene), enterprising lounge owner Kenya (Mia Kirshner) and the ambitious, alien Tarrs (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray) – events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.
As the events of Defiance unfold weekly on your TV screen, you can see how the residents’ struggles impact the game of Defiance, a high-octane, multi-platform experience from Trion Worlds! For the first time in history, a TV show and a game will exist concurrently in a shared universe, influencing and impacting the other!
In the game of Defiance, players take on the role of Ark Hunters, specialists in survival, combat and tracking who brave dangerous frontiers to retrieve lost relics of advanced or alien origin in return for great financial rewards (The Arks are the ships that brought the aliens to Earth). Players can search for Arks on their own, simultaneously join tens of thousands of other players for missions or just explore the fully realized, future world of Defiance (it’s really, really big). Custom character creation allows players to adopt a human or alien appearance for their Ark Hunter. With weapons, armor and special abilities that evolve with experience, Defiance is a gaming experience that must be played to be believed.
Paramount has released a new motion poster for J.J. Abrams new film Star Trek Into Darkness including elements from both the teaser poster and teaser trailer. I think Paramount made a wise decision in focusing it’s marketing around Benedick Cumberbatch. It’s reminiscent of the use of Heath Ledger’s joker in the marketing for The Dark Knight.
Here’s the official synopsis for Star Trek Into Darkness:
In Summer 2013, pioneering director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes Star Trek Into Darkness. When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
C (299,792 km/s) is a story about Lieutenant Commander Malleck played by Caroline Winterson, who spearheads a mutiny aboard the KESTROS IV along with her co-conspirators to use the ship for a new purpose. However a band of shipmates led by Second Lieutenant Kai intend to take Malleck and the others out.
C (299,792 km/s) is a new sci-fi short film by writer/director team Derek Van Gorder and Otto Stockmeier. The project started out as a Kickstarter project back in 2011. Armed with a budget of $40,000, double what they intended to get, they set out to make this short with no CGI or greenscreen effects. They used tradition special effects such as lighting design, camera tricks, miniature photography, split-screen, and stop-animation to achieve the final result.
The film looks amazing considering the budget and the lack of effects you would expect from a film made in this day in age. I could certainly tell that the ships were models and the backdrops of space and the planet were shot in camera. This is definitely not a bad thing. I feel that this style of film making is for a smarter audience. I have found that CGI cheapens things and dumbs us down as the audience. Studios don’t think we are smart enough to accept an effect that is not CGI. I was able to buy every frame of the short without reservation. The film also has a retro look about it. Another word I would use to describe it would be “analog”. You’ll see what I mean. Everything about it looks like a vision of the future from the past.
I liked the addition of the 1981 era educational film hosted by Dr. Harold Newman played by Damien Langan. This bit serves as the back story as well as explanation of some of the science the story touches on. This was probably my favorite part of the short because even with the 80’s shaky camera effects, scratches on the film and the cheesiness that comes with such educational videos it was authentic to the time it was suppose to be made in.
When I first heard Winterson speak I thought it was GLaDOS from Portal without the synth filter on her voice. It ended up not being her but the cadence of the two actresses voices is very similar. This leads me to the acting. I would say it was goodish, not great. There were some clunky lines here and there, everyone talks in a cold monotone voice and there is almost no expressions on anyone’s face. This film is definitely showcasing the visuals and not the acting. However I did like the concept of the story. By the end of the film I was wishing for this to be made as a feature length film (with better acting) with this short acting as a prologue. I want to see the surviving crew set up a colony somewhere out among the stars.
The music is an interesting element of the film. The 80’s pop synth tracks are not what I would expect to hear in a hard sci-fi film. It does add to the retro feel of the film though.
If you are interested in learning more about this film you can read an interview with Otto Stockmeier here by Wired. Below you can find a short behind-the-scenes video. I give C (299,792 km/s) a 3.5 out of 5.
I just came across this sketch from the hit IFC series Portlandia and I had to share it with you all. In the sketch Doug (Fred Armisen) and Claire (Carrie Brownstein) get pulled into a Battlestar marathon. If you like Portlandia on Facebook IFC will release the whole BSG inspired episode early before it airs on January 6th. If you have not seen Portlandia before you should check it out. Season one just came out on DVD and blu-ray. It’s got just the right amount of off beat humor the indie fans crave. I recommend the show.
The link to the video is below.