Lucy

April 2nd, 2014

It's entirely possible that Luc Besson's Lucy, a story of an unwilling drug mule who inadvertently gets dosed with the contents of her package and finds herself gaining what amount to superpowers – will be completely terrible. Goodness knows, the man is a phenomenally uneven director. But then consider how much stylish, pulpy fun his best work has given the world…

.. and contemplate this trailer, and the cast involved …

… and tell me that doesn't look like a pretty fun way to spend a couple of hours of your time.

I know, Besson's best work is mostly back in the 1990s (though I really enjoyed The Extraordinary Adventures… when I finally caught up with it last year) and Morgan Freeman's presence in a film isn't exactly an infallible sign of a quality product, but still. This may not be good, but it sure looks like good fun.1

[Via The Dissolve (again!)]

  1. And yes, the "we only use 10% of the brain" schtick is awful science that would normally make me cringe. But delivered by Morgan Freeman, in the midst of an unhinged Besson action-fest, I'm willing to let it pass.

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Story Of Your Life

April 2nd, 2014

Good news from Hollywood: Amy Adams In Talks To Star In Alien Movie 'Story Of Your Life'

[...] Amy Adams is in early talks to team with Prisoners helmer Denis Villeneuve on Story Of Your Life, the sci-fi thriller based on a short story by Ted Chiang, a top contemporary author in the genre. Scripted by Eric Heisserer, the thriller takes place after alien crafts land around the world. An expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.

Two important points to keep in mind. First, Ted Chiang's story is a lot more interesting and unconventional than that summary makes it sound.1 Second, the role Adams is up for would suit her down to the ground. If the screenwriter and director can translate Chiang's story into something that works on screen, Amy Adams could absolutely find herself finally picking up that elusive Best Actress Oscar.

Or, alternatively, this one goes back into development hell six months from now, Amy Adams gets her reward for another performance, and Ted Chiang never gets to become a household name.2

[Via The Dissolve]

  1. See this old interview with Chiang, published back in 2002 just after his first collection of short stories, including the one that is being adapted for Adams to play in, was published for a sense of how wonderfully varied his work is.
  2. Which, in fairness, would quite possibly be fine by him.

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Time Can Be Rewritten, but is it?

March 6th, 2014

Philip Sandifer's meditation on what The Day of the Doctor tells us about the differing ways Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat see the Doctor is quite fascinating:

As with many fan debates on Tumblr, the immediate fallout of The Day of the Doctor had no shortage of straw men, with people angrily reacting against points that never actually got made. (See also the "legions" of fans who aren't going to watch Peter Capaldi because he's old and unattractive.) Still, there's an interesting fault line that opens up in the question of just how much of a retcon The Day of the Doctor is – one that is revealing in terms of the sorts of details that each argument prioritizes.

Once I've caught up on the comments on his post, I'm going to have to rewatch TDOTD at least one more time and have a think about all this. Good stuff.

[Via The Great Escapism]

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Just Ella

February 8th, 2014

Jim Munroe's short film Just Ella features "perhaps the first cinematic example of autocomplete used for a dramatic reveal." And yet it's still worth watching:

[Via jwz]

1 Comment »

Periodic Table of Storytelling

February 1st, 2014

James R Harris has constructed a Periodic Table of Storytelling and it is awesome.1

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

  1. Warning: contains links to TVTropes. Do not follow that link if you had plans to get anything important done in the next three hours.

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'Either put on these glasses or start eatin' that trash can.'

December 21st, 2013

Glass.

[Via fuck yeah, science fiction!]

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Itty Bitty Orphan Black

December 15th, 2013

Reading Issue 1 of Itty Bitty Orphan Black's Marvel Babies-style prequel to Orphan Black, I'm torn between thinking how nicely the cartoonist has captured Lil' Cosima, Sarah, Helena and Alison and remembering that according to season 1 of the show they didn't know one another existed when they met as adults so how the hell could they all have gone to school together! I'm trying hard to let the former reaction win out.

Little Orphan Black cast (cast)

If you missed Orphan Black then it's well worth catching up on, not just for Tatiana Maslany's amazing performances as about half of the main cast, but also for the way they kept on piling up the complications across the entire first season and teased so many potentially fun plots for season 2.1 Please let the writers not screw it up in season 2 by losing control of their plot.

[Via The A.V. Club]

  1. Me, I want to know more about what Mrs S was involved in back in the day: I'm damn sure there's more to it than Felix and Sarah know.

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Subject: Re: 'Became a zombie' Life Event

November 22nd, 2013

Benjamin Rosenbaum has posted a sharp, blackly amusing short story about how Facebook's users and software developers would react to a zombie plague breaking out, called Feature Development for Social Networking.

Nice work, even though you just know this story isn't destined to end well for any of the characters.

[Via Subtraction.com]

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Yum!

November 2nd, 2013

When making macarons no one can hear you scream!

Macaron with a little something extra

[Via fuck yeah, science fiction!]

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His other time machine…

October 24th, 2013

His other time machine...

If only his TARDIS had a working chameleon circuit, his other time machine could be a DeLorean too…

[Via fuck yeah, science fiction!]

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Frederik Pohl (1919 -2013)

September 3rd, 2013

It's a terrible shame to hear that Frederik Pohl has died at the age of 93. One of the last of that generation of writers and editors and fans who defined the genre of science fiction in the middle part of the last century, he certainly shaped my view of what science fiction was as I started working my way through the Science Fiction section of my local library some forty years ago. Pohl, Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Norton – not a bad introduction to the genre.

Satisfying as Pohl's late burst of creativity in the late 1970s and 1980s was, when he wrote Man Plus and Gateway1 I can't help but wonder if in the long run Pohl will be remembered as much for his influence on the field as an editor. I mean, this is the man who published the stories of Cordwainer Smith (not to mention coming up with the titles for some of those strange, strange stories of scanners and Norstrilia and The Game of Rat and Dragon). That has to count for something, doesn't it?

  1. The sequels to which were enjoyable, but less so as that series went on.

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2,500 tons of awesome

July 6th, 2013

Every time I watch Trailer #3 for Pacific Rim I end up with a big, goofy grin on my face.

What can I say? There's just something about that scene towards the end of the trailer where a giant robot strides purposefully down a city street, dragging behind it a large ship that it plans to use as a club in order to knock seven bells out of the giant monster approaching from the other end of the street just gets me every time.

I don't for a single moment imagine that Pacific Rim is going to be nominated for any Oscars for acting, or for the screenplay, or even for Guillermo del Toro's direction. I do firmly believe that Pacific Rim is going to provide more fun per minute spent in the cinema than anything else I see this summer.1

  1. Elysium might come close, but I suspect that'll be a different, more grim and depressing sort of fun as we watch the 1% of the 1% employ as much force as they can buy in order to keep everyone else out of the ultimate gated community.

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Speciesist

June 2nd, 2013

My favourite comment from the MetaFilter thread about Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who:

Tilda Swinton cannot be the next Doctor. I think there's a rule against casting an actual citizen of Gallifrey.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:38 AM on June 2

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I know that on November 12 2015 at 3:45:41, @justinbieber is going to say 'I'm so, so, sorry.' Why? I have no idea.

May 28th, 2013

A Twitter bug report pivots into a spooky little science fiction story:

Subject: Twitter API returning results that do not respect arrow of time.

This will take some explaining.

It started as an afternoon hacking project with your Twitter API. [...]

[Via nielsenhayden.com Sidelights]

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The Congress

May 13th, 2013

Coming soon: The Congress, a film inspired by Stanislaw Lem's The Futurological Congress. The trailer looks intriguing:

Judging by comments I've read the trailer doesn't give the impression that it's a particularly faithful adaptation, which may or may not be a problem.1 If we're really lucky it'll turn out like when Ridley Scott adapted Philip K. Dick. If we're unlucky, it'll end up more like Lee Tamahori or Christian Duguay.

  1. I've not read that particular Lem novel, so I couldn't say.

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Spock vs Spock

May 8th, 2013

I know that this is just a bit of slick corporate marketing; carefully designed link bait for geeks of a certain age. I do. But how can anyone expect me not to link to Spock vs Spock?

[Via More Words, Deeper Hole]

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TRON: Uprising Art

May 3rd, 2013

I never had much time for the TRON universe: to my mind the original was an impressive technical feat but the story didn't grab me, and I wasn't even slightly tempted by the sequel from a couple of years ago. The animated spin-off from TRON: Legacy was barely on my radar, but I have to admit that this compilation of visually impressive moments from the show, compiled by art director Alberto Mielgo, makes me think that the visual style of the show was a bit special.

I have no idea whether the plot and performances were as strikingly good as the show's look – and judging by some of the comments I see it looks as if the show might not get past a first season so soon it could be a moot question – but it surely was pretty.

[Via MetaFilter]

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Dear Mr Bay, this is how you film giant robot fights…

April 29th, 2013

The Official Wondercon Trailer for Pacific Rim looks sensational:

It's going to be quite a summer for big, brash science fiction action movies. Oblivion looked good and worked hard but fell short in the originality department,1 and After Earth really doesn't look promising,2 but there's still much to look forward to. Elysium will have no shortage of social commentary amidst the gunfire. Star Trek Into Darkness will give us another romp with the modern incarnations of Kirk, Spock and Bones and the crew, with the bonus feature of weeks of fun arguments about how Benedict Cumberbatch's character fits into/breaks Trek continuity. The Wolverine will have ninjas galore lining up to take on a mutant who's the best there is at what he does. With3 a less than completely happy ending for Logan. Man of Steel will have us kneeling before Zod before Superman punches him all the way back into the Phantom Zone.

However nothing – nothing! – promises more pure, goofy fun that Guillermo del Toro spending a couple of hours having giant human-piloted robots engage in punch-ups with giant alien monsters from the deep.

  1. Not to mention wasting a subtle, thoughtful performance by Andrea Riseborough that deserved to be showcased in a much better film.
  2. Even if you ignore the identity of the director – which I don't think I can.
  3. I'm just guessing here, mind, but I think it's a fair bet.

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The TARDIS

April 26th, 2013

Is there any science fictional vessel on TV that can possibly match the TARDIS?

Surely not.

[Via The Great Escapism]

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Time travel

April 17th, 2013

Mr. Dalliard: Time travel in movies. Nice work.

I can't help but notice that the chart's title says "… in movies" but a couple of TV series are included. And yet no Doctor Who. Odd, that.1

[Via The Great Escapism]

  1. Probably fair enough, though, what with the show's treatment of how time travel works is so all over the map that you could probably include it under every single category on the chart.

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