Archive for the Science Fiction Category

A Scanner Darkly

Posted in Animation, Drama, Science Fiction with tags on May 31, 2016 by Mark Walker

 
Director: Richard Linklater.
Screenplay: Richard Linklater.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane, Melody Chase, Alex Jones, Lisa Marie Newmyer, Turk Pipkin, Steven Chester Prince.

“What does a scanner see? Into the head? Into the heart? Does it see into me? Clearly? Or darkly?”

(This review was a piece that was originally involved in The Decades Blogathon hosted by Mark of Three Rows Back and Tom of Digital Shortbread. These guys are two of the finest around and I wholeheartedly recommend their sites if you don’t know them already. You can check out their sites and all the Blogathon entries from the links above.)

In 2001, director Richard Linklater delivered a little-seen, gem of a film called Waking Life. Many didn’t pay notice to it which is one of many a film viewers biggest mistakes. Granted, the philosophical material may not have been everyone’s idea of entertainment but this film pioneered a filmmaking technique that, simply, shouldn’t have been overlooked. Linklater approached Waking Life with an animation method called “Rotoscoping”. Basically it was animation added over live actors and it’s a process that can be painstaking to deliver. The results were hugely effective for the material and, five years later, he decided to use the technique again on his adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s paranoid science fiction novel, A Scanner Darkly. Once again, the results are very impressive. Continue reading

The Martian

Posted in Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction with tags on February 3, 2016 by Mark Walker

 
Director: Ridley Scott.
Screenplay: Drew Goddard.
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Aksel Hennie, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Wong, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover, Nick Mohammed, Shu Chen, Eddy Ko.

“I’m the first person to be alone on an entire planet”

Director Ridley Scott has always been somewhat of a mixed-bag and I think it’s fair to say that audiences don’t always connect with his material. However, science fiction has proven to be the genre where he has excelled the most. Alien and Blade Runner are rightly regarded as two of the best but his revisit to the Alien world with Prometheus didn’t hit the high benchmark he had set for himself. With this in mind, I entered into The Martian – his fourth science fiction endeavour – with a mixture of anticipation and reservation. Continue reading

Interstellar

Posted in Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction on March 4, 2015 by Mark Walker

Director: Christopher Nolan.
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn, Wes Bentley, David Gyasi, David Oyelowo, Topher Grace, William Devane, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, Collette Wolfe, Francis X. McCarthy, Bill Irwin, Josh Stewart.

“You might have to decide between seeing your children again and the future of the human race”

With consistent deliveries over the years, director Christopher Nolan has now carved himself a place among the Hollywood elite. His sophomore movie Memento still remains one of my top ten personal favourite films but it was his hugely successful Dark Knight trilogy and the teasingly elaborate Inception that most people identified with. As a result of these blockbusters, there was much anticipation upon the release of his Sci-Fi epic Interstellar. Many were so enthused that they were literally counting down the days till the film’s release. The anticipation was so huge that there was bound to be disappointment as few films can ever truly deliver on such a basis of expectation. Interstellar has become prey to this and I can honestly say that I wish I hadn’t listened to the naysayers and their feelings of deflation. Continue reading

Under The Skin

Posted in Horror, Science Fiction on January 12, 2015 by Mark Walker

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Director: Jonathan Glazer.
Screenplay: Jonathan Glazer, Walter Campbell.
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Adam Pearson, Kryštof Hádek, Joe Szula, Michael Moreland, Jeremy McWilliams, Scott Dymond, Andrew Gorman, Jessica Mance.

“You’re not from here? Where are you from?”

Having been a fan of both Sexy Beast and the underrated Birth, I was happy to hear that Jonathan Glazer’s third directorial outing would be an adaptation of Michael Faber’s popular science fiction novel of the same name. Also (as a Glaswegian myself) I was even more intrigued to hear that this forthcoming story would be set primarily in Glasgow. I was interested in how the city and it’s inhabitants would be depicted and I have to admit that Glazer’s decision to do so, has paid dividends.

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Her

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction with tags on February 14, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Spike Jonze.
Screenplay: Spike Jonze.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pratt, Portia Doubleday, Steve Zississ, Bill Hader.
Voices: Scarlett Johansson, Brian Cox, Spike Jonze, Kristen Wiig.

Love is a form of socially acceptable insanity

After bringing the warped and surreal works of Charlie Kaufman’s “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation” to the screen, director Spike Jonze carved himself a reputation for the off-beat. However, a misjudged adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story “Where The Wild Things Are” followed and I have to admit that doubts were raised about his abilities. I wondered how much of Jonze was in his earlier films or did he actually need Kaufman in order to construct something of substance? On the evidence of “Her“, though, it’s apparent that Jonze is the real deal and fully capable of crafting his own original work.

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Europa Report

Posted in Science Fiction with tags on December 5, 2013 by Mark Walker

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Director: Sebastien Cordoro.
Screenplay: Philip Gelatt.
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Sharlto Copley, Christian Camargo, Anamaria Marinca, Embeth Davidtz, Daniel Wu, Karolina Wydra, Dan Fogler, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Compared to the breadth of knowledge yet to be known… what does your life actually matter?

Being released in the same year as the big-budgeted and visually stunning “Gravity” would normally hinder the successful chances of any other film in the science-fiction genre. However, Sebastien Cordoro’s “Europa Report” actually manages to find it’s own niche and invigoration by relying purely on a strong premise and confidence in it’s delivery. It will, most certainly, not pull in the revenue or audience of “Gravity” but it’s proof, yet again, that coughing up the green isn’t always necessary when venturing into the cosmos.

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Gravity

Posted in Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction with tags on November 22, 2013 by Mark Walker

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Director: Alfonso Cauron.
Screenplay: Alfonso Cauron, Jonas Cauron.
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney.
Voice of: Ed Harris.

Clear skies with a chance of satellite debris“.

In 2009, director James Cameron opened the floodgates on the innovation and possibilities of stereoscopic filmmaking when he delivered “Avatar“. Since then, it has been experimented and tinkered with by many filmmakers but now, four years later, Mexican director Alfonso Cauron has set a whole new benchmark.

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