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I don’t make films myself, but it seems obvious to me there are but two places to learn how to make movies: in the outside world constrained by so-called reality, and in the inside world of the cinema’s darkness, constrained by so-called illusion. Travelogue tales and quotidian reportage being of little interest here, a log for illusionary research and experience, I must duly deliver my film report on the films that came upon me in the darkness of the Melbourne International Film Festival, which ran from July 31 - August 17, and the lessons learned.
Epic of Everest
So many academics and cinephiles alike seem consternated by Walter Benjamin's paen to the the aura of an original artwork, something squandered, lost, obfuscated, or obliterated in the mechanical reproduction of art in post cards, photographic duplicates, and, of course, cinema. But upon encountering at the festival a restoration »
- Daniel Kasman
★★★★☆In his short story The Machine Stops, E.M. Forster proclaimed that humanity, in its desire for comfort, had overreached itself and that 'progress' had come to mean the progress of the machine. With his broad adaptation of Stanisław Lem's The Futurological Congress, Israeli director Ari Folman seeks to add weight to the numerous dystopian imagined futures that have flooded late-20th century art. Following animated documentary Waltz with Bashir (2008), Folman returns with live-action, animation hybrid The Congress (2013), which seeks to address the fears touched upon in western thought, whether they be the deconstructions of Jean Baudrillard or the rancid paranoias of Philip K. Dick.
- CineVue UK
The Strain appears to have turned a corner in this week's entertaining episode. Here's Billy's review...
This review contains spoilers.
1.4 It's Not For Everyone
As predicted by others, the show took a decided upturn this week. From a totally objective viewpoint it shouldn’t have, because what was presented this week was a continuation of what came before. However, a couple of changes really made a huge difference in terms of moving the story along and keeping the viewers engaged. Of these, I’m certain that the critical choice for me was for Ephraim to momentarily forget that he has a horrible ex-wife and precocious child, and that he’s a Cdc man, and actually do his job. That was a relief.
Probably the other major factor was that instead of following each of the survivors and all the other ancillary characters, they only followed one of the three remaining survivors, »
After Kelly Reilly came three Calvary men - John Michael McDonagh, Brendan Gleeson and Chris O'Dowd. With McDonagh, I voyage through his many literary references, from Samuel Beckett to Herman Melville, from Albert Camus to James Joyce, and from Philip K. Dick to David Gates' Jernigan. James Cagney's Shanghai Lil with Busby Berkeley's choreography in Footlight Parade reveals Angels With Dirty Faces as another influence.
Peggy Siegal used her magic to snare O'Dowd, who is starring with James Franco on Broadway in John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men with Leighton Meester and Jim Norton, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. Joyce Carol Oates, who sat next to me during lunch, elegantly sums up Calvary.
- Anne-Katrin Titze
You could do something similar to what editor Robert Grigsby Wilson has done here taking a look at Lana and Andy Wachowski's The Matrix and pointing out all the moments in the film influenced by, or paying homage to, other films, but it is nonetheless fascinating to take such a trip through film and in this case several martial arts features, anime and even a speech from Philip K. Dick. I've included the list of films just below the video, give it a look and enjoy. 0:27 - Fist of Legend (1994) 0:38 - Tai-Chi Master (Twin Dragons) (1993) 0:44 - Fist of Legend (1994) 0:48 - Tai-Chi Master (Twin Dragons) (1993) 0:53 - Drunken Master (1978) 1:02 - Fist of Legend (1994) 1:09 - The Killer (1989) 1:19 - Fist of Legend (1994) 1:21 - Iron Monkey (1993) 1:31 - Once Upon A Time In China (1991) 1:36 - Fist of Legend (1994) 1:41 - Tai-Chi Master (Twin Dragons »
- Brad Brevet
The Spierig brothers wrote the original screenplay, which chronicles the life of a temporal government agent sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to stop future killers.
"Predestination is based on the classic Robert A. Heinlein short story 'All You Zombies.' No, it's not a zombie flick, but it's one of our favorite short stories and is unlike anything you've ever read before," said the Spierig brothers previously. "The short is on many sci-fi lists as one of the greatest short stories of all time and the mother of all time paradox tales. »
- Steve Barton
You’ve seen the work of Gavin Rothery before. His design was a striking feature of Duncan Jones’ debut film Moon and as you’ll see from this teaser for his short film The Last Man there’s a host of beautifully realised images on show. It’s good to see a trailer whose stock is in its atmosphere rather than its staccato-edited money shots, and The Last Man looks like a nicely haunting post-apocalyptic way to spend your day.
The soundtrack is being composed by Charlotte Hatherley, whose website mentions the work and adds the name of Philip K. Dick into the mix which can only be a good thing. You can catch the world premiere of The Last Man at FrightFest in London on the 23rd of August, and thereafter the short will be on the festival circuit.
Check out the trailer and posters below, crank it up to 1080 won’t you? »
- Jon Lyus
Editor's Note: Also be sure to check out Ben's review of the movie from Sci-Fi London
Adaptations of Philip K. Dick stories are commonplace but they rarely manage to be successful, often taking great ideas and sucking out what makes them great leaving an oft glossy but empty shell. John Alan Simon's debut Radio Free Albemuth takes a different approach. The independently produced feature written and directed by Simon, is more prudent in production but keeps most of Dick's ideas in tact and the resulting feature emerges a little better because of it.
How often do we get to see a movie that is utterly unlike anything we have ever seen before? It is rare. For his entire career, from the start with his Sundance breakout "Slackers" in 1991, Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater has worked outside the box. He tracked the couple Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) across 18 years and three "Before" films (1995-2013), opening up the writing collaboration to his two lead actors. Linklater is a generous soul. He doesn't try to control as much as to steer his outcomes, with a great deal of confidence, something he needed with the philosophical rotoscoping animation experiments "Waking Life" and the Philip K. Dick adaptation "A Scanner Darkly." The secret of Linklater's success is his willingness to fail. He left some audiences behind with his earnest attempt to fictionalize Eric Schlosser's nonfiction food expose "Fast Food Nation," which played Cannes. But »
- Anne Thompson
Tom Hanks takes the titular helm of this maritime thriller based on the true story of the Mv Maersk Alabama, an American cargo ship seized by Somali pirates off the coast of Africa in 2009. As the military rescue is mobilised, Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) and his crew must endure a terrifying ordeal at the hands of the volatile hijackers. With Bourne and United 93 director Paul Greengrass calling the shots, it's a jaw-clenching test of everyone's nerve. »
I’ve always felt that instead of asking “what is God” we should be more focused on asking “what is the nature of God?” Should we really be so concerned with who or what such a power is, if we do not truly understand what purpose that power holds in our lives? Watching Radio Free Albemuth is a personal cinematic experience and this is what I feel is at the core of the film’s story.
Based upon science-fiction legend Philip K. Dick’s posthumously published novel of the same name — a story line that first began with Valis (1980) — Radio Free Albemuth is adapted for the screen and directed by John Alan Simon. Originally filmed in 2007, experiencing more than its share of difficulties, the film found itself stranded in post-production in 2010 where it remained until a successful Kickstarter campaign allowed the filmmakers to complete the film for official release. I »
- Travis Keune
Crowdfunding sites have proven a boon to independent filmmakers whose work might otherwise never reach a wide audience. Radio Free Albemuth, an ultra-low-budget Philip K. Dick adaptation filmed all the way back in 2007, is one such example; writer-director John Alan Simon finally turned to Kickstarter in 2013 to fund a theatrical and digital release after nearly seven years of movie limbo. That said, it's easy to glean why this unapologetically niche film nearly died on the vine.
Albemuth is set in an alternate-reality California, where the country's increasingly fascistic president keeps tabs on the population through a uniformed volunteer group named Friends of the American People. Fans of the author will recognize its autobiographical elements: Our heroes are a »
Attention sci-fi fans looking grumpily ahead at the next few weeks' shorts-and-spherical-object-packed TV schedules: radio is your sanctuary.
Specifically, BBC Radio Four and its second season of dystopian and science-fiction drama is your sanctuary. Tomorrow, Saturday the 14th of June, a run of eleven new dramatisations offering "clever, imaginative and disturbing takes on what the future might hold" begins under the umbrella title: Dangerous Visions.
First up in the fortnight of programming is modern sci-fi classic, Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, with Game Of Thrones' Iain Glen voicing the title role, airing this Saturday at 2.30pm. That's closely followed by a new dramatisation of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? broadcast on Sunday the 15th of June at 3pm, featuring An Adventure In Space And Time »
One of the truly nagging difficulties with indie films is that it is often quite a while before you actually get the chance to catch them. Such is the case with Radio Free Albemuth, which made the festival rounds a few years ago now, and is finally getting released. If nothing else, it should be enough for many to know that it is based on a Philip K. Dick work. If that isn’t enough, it managed quite a lot of praise from those who caught it during that festival tour.
Any Sci-Fi fans out there need to take a look at this one, and make sure you get to it if you can. Philip K. Dick stories may sometimes get twisted around in the film adaptation, »
- Marc Eastman
In case you missed it, check out the trailer.
It’s 1985 in an alternate reality and Berkeley record store clerk Nick Brady (Jonathan Scarfe, Perception) begins to experience strange visions transmitted from an extra-terrestrial source he calls Valis. He and his wife (Katheryn Winnick – Vikings) move to Los Angeles where he becomes a successful music executive with a secret mission to overthrow the oppressive government led by Us President Fremont (Scott Wilson – The Walking Dead).
- Michelle McCue
So, remember back at the beginning of May when it was reported that Michel Gondry had dropped an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's "Ubik"? Well, you can scratch that. It turns out that no long after that, he spoke with Den Of Geek and said the movie was still in play, though adapting it was proving to be a challenge. "I'm not sure yet," he told the site when asked if he was going to direct the project. "I'm still working on it, but it's taking forever." But again, the transition from page to screen seems to be a tricky one for the director. "It’s a very strong and dark story. There’s a lot of surprises. The book takes you to places you don’t expect to go. It makes it very hard to adapt, so I’m a bit scared at the moment!" he explained. So »
- Kevin Jagernauth
London told Variety that producers are aiming to begin shooting next spring.
The film is inspired by the true story of Bruce Lee’s historic 1965 duel with Wong Jack Man, China’s most famous kung fu master at a time when San Francisco’s Chinatown was controlled by Hong Kong Triads. The story of the match is told from the perspective of Steve Macklin, a young disciple of Lee, who ultimately joins forces with Lee and Wong to battle a vicious band of Chinatown gangsters.
The team of Wilkinson and Rivele, whose credits include “Nixon” and “Ali,” came »
- Dave McNary
Readers with long memories may recall that Sir Ridley Scott has been mulling over the notion of making a sequel to his 1982 science fiction classic, Blade Runner, since last year; they may also remember that towards the tail end of 2012, that film’s star, genre icon Harrison Ford, expressed a modicum of subdued interest in reprising his role as the android-hunting Rick Deckard. As much as the film is self-contained, Scott seems to have more story to tell within the dystopian world Phillip K. Dick invented on the page in 1968.
What, exactly, that story happens to be about remains an enigma. Scott hasn’t made more than a peep about his script, or even the ...
- Andy Crump
It's official: Harrison Ford has been offered to reprise his iconic role as Rick Deckard in the sequel to "Blade Runner." The film is a followup to the 1982 classic by the now-very busy Ridley Scott -- who was just announced to direct Matt Damon in "The Martian," as well as having "Prometheus 2" in the pipeline in some capacity -- and will be written by Hampton Fancher (who co-penned the original, adapted from Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?") and Michael Green. Scott has been attached to the project since its original announcement in 2011. While it's unusual for producers to go public with their news of an offer to an actor, they're probably hoping that an emphatic reaction, online or otherwise, from fans would sway Ford, who's also starring in the latest "Star Wars" installment, into taking the bait. There hasn't been any word from Ford's camp yet. »
- Beth Hanna
The original film was based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by celebrated science fiction author Phillip K. Dick, writer of the source material behind Minority Report, Total Recall and Payback.
“We believe that Hampton Fancher and Michael Green have crafted with Ridley Scott an extraordinary sequel to one of the greatest films of all time. We would be honored, and we are hopeful, that Harrison will be part of our project.”
Scott is said to »
- Paul Heath
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