Big Dumb Objects: Science Fiction's Most Mysterious MacGuffins by Damien Walter [The Guardian] “When the unknown is also alien, the mystery only grows more magnetic. Think of that iconic opening to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey: a family of apes wake one morning to find a black monolith looming over them; that had its origins in Arthur C Clarke’s short story The Sentinel. Did some super-advanced civilisation intercede in the early evolution of intelligent life on earth? Or was the monolith just filming a very special edition of Life on Earth? We don’t know, and never find out. But this shiny, looming thing is just one of many Big Dumb Objects [wiki] that have turned up in science fiction over the decades.”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Celebration Reel [YouTube] Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. [more inside]
2001: A Picasso Odyssey - '2001' rendered in the style of Picasso using Deep Neural Networks based style transfer. More details.
Hyper-Reality presents a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media.
On Saturday morning you're given a title, a line of dialogue, and a description of a prop. Exactly 48 hours later, your team hands in a completed 5-minute science fiction film. The shortlisted 5-minute films to win this year's challenge have just been announced, and are free to watch here. Plus, in a new twist for this year, the shortlisted flash fiction (<1500 words) entries based on the same time limit and randomised prompts. [more inside]
Between 1975 and 1977, Paramount and Gene Roddenberry planned to make a Star Trek movie, but it turned out to be anything but easy. What would it be about? Plot ideas included time travel, snake people, God, black holes and the titans of ancient Greek mythology. Writer after writer took a turn at coming up with a story, leaving behind a string of rejected screenplays. In March 1978, Paramount president Michael Eisner announced a film spin-off. The race to make Star Trek: The Motion Picture was on. (Via) [more inside]
By James H. Burns: Recently, a television mini-series based on Arthur C. Clarke’s classic novel, Childhood’s End, debuted internationally. But if the vagaries and fortunes of Hollywood had been just a bit different, there could have been such a production, or a theatrical feature film, far sooner, from Universal Studios - The Lost Childhood’s End: A Tale of Phil DeGuere, The Late 1970s, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Classic Novel
Vimeo user somersetVII has created 10 beautiful, masterful supercut videos. Coens | 30 celebrates 30 years of Coen Bros movies while Stanley Kubrick gets an appropriately moody and atmospheric tribute. Other standouts include Baseball on Film and Cinema: A Space Odyssey, which only a true fan of the genres could make.
The Tracks Go Off In This Direction - a 30 minute Star Wars audio visual mix by DJ Food/Strictly Kev.
Galaxy of Terror, Mutant (NSFW), Contamination and the joy of cheap alien knockoffs. Prefer the sequel? Here's Aliens remade under the name "Terminator 2". Sadly one take on the franchise that will not be seeing the light of day is Alien Identity, a fan film recently shut down by a cease and desist from Fox. Meanwhile the Neil Blomkamp Alien film continues to incubate.
“Derelict is an editing project for academic purposes,” explains Willins. “Prometheus wasn’t exactly an Alien prequel, but this treats it as such by intercutting the events of Alien with Prometheus in a dual narrative structure. The goal was to assemble the material to emphasize the strengths of Prometheus as well as its ties to Alien.”
Predator: Dark Ages Templar Knights are put to the ultimate challenge, to hunt The Predator. Testing not only their skills as fighters but also their faith. Kickstarter funded fan film. IMDB. Facebook page.
Sundays is a beautiful science fiction short film by Dutch director Mischa Rozema of PostPanic Pictures for roughly $50000. The film was also intended to be a concept pitch for a feature, and it worked as intended, sparking a bidding war between Hollywood studios.
Robert Kinoshita, the production designer and art director who created Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot and Lost In Space's B-9 Environmental Control Robot [previously], has passed away at the age of 100.
HAL, Mother, and Father Watching the sixties and seventies through 2001 and Alien.
Sound of Cinema - British Sci-Fi from the BFI Days of Fear and Wonder - BBC Radio 3 talks to film composer Stephen Price about The Shape of Things to Come, Alien, Gravity, and other science fiction soundtracks.
Who designed the tricorder, the flip-top communicator, the Vulcan lute, the the Romulan Bird-of-Prey? Wah Chang. Who made the Gorn and the salt vampire from M-113? Who commissioned the first 500 tribbles? Wah Chang. Who made Tarantula take to the hills? Who built the prototype for the time machine and created a monster too terrible to show on television? Who animated dinosaurs and adorned Cleopatra? Wah Chang, Wah Chang, Wah Ming Chang. [more inside]
A New Wave of Black Filmmaking: Experimental and Black Speculative Indie Films "A brief survey of the contemporary Black independent film scene yields a long and ever-growing list of experimental and Black speculative (including horror, Afrofuturism, sci-fi, fantasy, fan fiction) short cinema, film trailers, music videos and other projects. (/The Atlanta Black Star) [more inside]
Director, writer, and producer Mick Garris releases videos of his interviews with people in the horror and sci-fi entertainment industry at his new website, Mick Garris Interviews. There is also a YouTube channel. An introduction can be found at the about page. According to The Nerdist, interviews will be released at the rate of one per week. Interviews already uploaded: a four-parter with Director John Carpenter (here's Part 1 YT), and one segment with John Badham, director of Dracula (1979) and, incidentally, Saturday Night Fever (1977).
After over a decade in development hell, George Miller's return to the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, has emerged at San Diego Comic-Con with a teaser trailer. [more inside]
Before Firefly, there was the television movie White Dwarf, a far-future pseudo-western scripted by Bruce "Wild Palms" Wagner. The story is essentially Kurosawa's Red Beard relocated to the tidally-locked planet of Rusta, a frontier world split between a Victorian dayside culture and a medieval nightside kingdom. Neal McDonough stars as an arrogant young Earth doctor dispatched to a Light Side clinic to complete an internship under the unorthodox Paul Winfield.
David Cronenberg: a virtual exhibition based on an exhibit at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Just Ella. A short film from Jim Munroe, the creator of Ghosts With Shit Jobs, for the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge. "Just Ella posits a future overrun by gibbering monstrosities. Ella takes refuge in a 'the Ossington Safehouse, a collectively-run space dedicated to human sovereignty.' But despite doing the assigned tasks on the chore list, the Safehouse isn’t safe — the terrors outside are nothing compared to those within." [Via]
Aningaaq is a short companion piece to Gravity, written and directed by Gravity co-writer Jonas Cuaron.
Fragments of a hologram rose: Re-seeing Blade Runner - Tears in rain Memories of missing words, stories and concepts; All-seeing eye Entering picture space with the Esper; The city and the city The architecture of Los Angeles, 2019; Painting the future Syd Mead’s production art; Spinner and gun Tools of the job
The Thoreau Poison - Caleb Crain of The New Yorker takes a closer look at the ideas explored in Upstream Color (spoilers)
Comic artist Chris Weston unilaterally declares it Kurt Russell week and produces a triptych of posters for Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in little China. These are just the roughs.
At the dawn of the millennium, Japanese society has suffered a severe economic collapse, leading to widespread youth apathy and 800,000 students boycotting school. Adult society sought to reassert their authority by passing the Millennium Education Reform Act, otherwise known as the BR Act. - a look at Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale.
District 9 director Neil Blomkamp talks to WIRED about Elysium, District 10, Halo, his desire to buy a skyscraper and almost casting Eminem or Ninja from Die Antwood in Elysium's Matt Damon role.
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
“What I wanted was for kids to see a movie where they don’t need to aspire to be in an army to aspire for an adventure. And I used very deliberate language that is a reference to westerns. I don’t have captains, majors, generals. I have a marshal, rangers . . . it has the language of an adventure movie. I want kids to come out of the movie and say, I want to be a Jaeger pilot! I really think that would be my dream come true.” - Guillermo del Toro on being a monster loving pacifist. Designer Wayne Barlowe talks about Pacific Rim's creatures. But has maneuvering at Legendary doomed the film before it has even opened?
It is an apocalypse tale with no doomsday, a punk movie with no concert, a science fiction story with less than ten seconds of aliens - Repo Man: A Lattice of Coincidence, a look back at the 1984 classic film by cult director Alex Cox, whose current project is a crowdfunded adaptation of Harry Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero.
Inside Secrets of the Making of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and "Space Seed" - of course Benedict Cumberbatch is totally not playing Khan, a genetic superman from 1993, in the new Star Trek movie. Maybe he'll sing a song.
Hollywood Reporter: "Duncan Jones is taking on Legendary Pictures' adaptation of the popular video game universe" [more inside]
The Snipist - a post-apocalyptic nightmare set in a post-rabies Britain (warning: absolutely bleak). A Gun For George - a short film about crime-writer Terry Finch, author of the 70s Kentish fiction masterpieces The Reprisalizer. [more inside]
"It's amazing what can be done with nothing more than a computer, time and a boatload of talent." R'ha is a short film created in seven months by aspiring director Kaleb Lechowski, 22.
The Man who Fell to Earth was Nicholas Roeg's Sci-fi classic featuring a fragile cocaine addicted David Bowie, between his Thin White Duke days and his Berlin trilogy, as a homesick alien falling into despair. Years later Duncan Jones - AKA Zowie Bowie, subject of a sentimental song on Hunky Dory - would make a Sci-Fi film of his own with similar themes of isolation.
"Hello, my name is Allison, and I have never seen Star Wars. Nope, not any of them. " - confessions of a Star Wars virgin as she watches Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.