Posts Tagged ‘star wars’

*** This review contains galactic spoilers ***

An unlikely group of freedom fighters team up to steal the Death Star schematics.

An interesting mix of exciting heroic and tragic characters. Director Gareth Edwards Monsters, Godzilla) and team are careful not to take anything away from the iconic 1977 classic Star Wars and successfully add to it, i.e the Death Star here doesn’t blow up planets in this instalment not to take any impact away from its destructive powers in A New Hope. Still it shows it’s immense firepower as Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso goes about finding her father in a sea of defectors, rebels and insurgents including Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). With great Star Wars action setups and battle scenes, that one could only have dreamed of recreating with toys as child this Star Wars story has plenty of thrills.

Loaded with nods to the series and standing on its on two feet. The costumes effects and sets are fantastic and it captures the feel of the originals and bridges the prequels, Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) adds to this. Michael Giacchino’s music complements John Williams’ previous scores. Edwards creates a sense of urgency here which helps reinforce Episode IV stakes including the famous first ’77 on screen appearance of Darth Vader. It’s also co-written by John Knoll, who joined Lucas Industrial Light & Magic 30 years ago and worked on Willow (1988). J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens captured the original trilogy’s spirit holistically, but Edwards manages to conjurer up the feel of the 1977 Star Wars Magic.

The CGI characters of dead and favourites while not technically perfect are executed well enough too excite fans, namely the appearance of Tarkin (a resurrection of the great Peter Cushing’s character) and a pivotal female favourite who appears in the closing. Some X- Wing pilots, Red and Gold Leader have clever cameos. As well as an array of droids, littered throughout are the likes of the Cantina’s Ponda Babba and Dr. Evazan, R2D2 and C3PO. Extended purposeful meatier character appearances included General Dodonna, Mon Mothma, Vader himself (in three important scenes) who does not disappoint.

Director Edwards doesn’t get hung up on on these cameos of sorts and keeps his eye on creating a wonderfully crafted grittier Star Wars film. The acting arguably surpasses its predecessors with too many actors to mention. Hardened rebel Andor played by Diego Luna cements a place in Star Wars history but Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Îmwe steals scenes as a blind warrior. There’s plenty of heart courteous of Mads Mikkelsen and lead Jones’ Erso. Notable is Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO who provides some great one liners as well as a memorable emotional moment. The star though is debatably Ben Mendelsohn as villain Orson Krennic, with the bureaucratic gravitas and emotional depth to leave a lasting impression.

What it comes down to is that Edwards like Lucas manages to put on screen a Shakespeare-like tragedy mixed with Flash Gordon wonder that has all the familiar simple themes which makes stories great.

Solid Star Wars entertainment all the way.

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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thirty years after the second Death Star’s destruction, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, has vanished. An unlikely group get drawn into search for the Jedi before the First Order, a successor to the fallen Galactic Empire find him first.

J.J. Abrams flourishingly takes over the reins from George Lucas for Disney. The production values, effects and music are outstanding with writers Lawrence Kasdan, Abrams and Michael Arndt successfully handing over the baton to the new characters without leaving the beloved ones behind. John Boyega’s Finn has depth and is very likable, as too is Daisy Ridley who is simply outstanding and steals the show as Rey. Oscar Isaac’s X Wing pilot Poe Dameron is memorable and somehow manages to encapsulate the look, swagger and feel of the original Star Wars spirit.

If I were to nit-pick the Andy Serkis’ Supreme Leader Snoke hologram and the monsters hiding and attacking the Millennium Falcon as it hums back to life CGI is not without its problems. That said, it’s doesn’t distract from the overall great quality of the effects throughout, from the impressive practical and visual effects right down to jolting storms troopers, desert creatures, spaceship base interiors, sweeping planet topography and beyond. 

With droids housing information, space battles and giant weapons with weaknesses, yes, it’s partly a rehash of the first film with a few welcomed twists and surprises but it’s a really visual and emotional treat, with great sets, costumes, make-up and locations. The action set ups, shoot outs, spaceship dogfights and sabre duels are fantastically staged. There’s plenty of Han Solo gunplay and humour on display.
The mix of new and old characters returning works and there’s array of familiar faces and quality actors including Max von Sydow and a hidden Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma. Well loved characters, not just the likes of R2-D2, Han, Leia, Chewie and C-3PO but lesser known ones like Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb also return. As the rebels face another threat, bigger than the Deathstar it manages to remain engrossing and grittier than its predecessors.

There’s the emotional loss of a main character and Mark Hamill’s Luke screen time is fittingly limited which allows Ridley to shine throughout as she develops her skills along with droid BB-8. Adam Driver’s misguided Vader obsessed Kylo Ren is interesting.

Overall, the young cast carry the beats you wanted and expected from a sequel to the original trilogy but it also excels as Abrams manages to fashion an atmosphere of his own while retaining the Star Wars feel and magic. The force is strong with this one. Highly recommended.

 

 Watch this excellent Star Wars anime style short film Tie Fighter. http://youtu.be/PN_CP4SuoTU

Paul Johnson’s seven minute short movie with an amazing guitar track is a dialogue free battle in space, set a longtime ago in a galaxy far far away, between Imperial and Rebel forces. 

It was made by Johnson over four years worth of weekends. The Tie Fighter is film is packed with dogfighting action, wonderfully drawn and smoothly animated, it impressively captures the original Star War magic I felt as a kid. 

With Lego so popular there’s always an underdog, click the link and take a look at these playmobil play-sets from Star Wars to Exodus my son and I created so far of famous films and characters:

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I had the pleasure or pain of watching the Star Wars Holiday special. It’s one of the creepiest surreal-like things I’ve seen a long time, a long-time. Directed by Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special’s Steve Binder, the 97 minute program focuses on the family of Chewbacca waiting for the walking carpet himself coming home for’ Life Day’. However, Chewie and Han Solo are held up by the Galactic Empire.

You get to see the 70’s Wookie style version of Family Ties or modern equivalent ‘In The middle’ as Chewbacca’s wife Malla tell off their son Lumpy for pinching Wookie cookies. Lumpy looks like a cross between Teen-Wolf, Cornelius from Planet of the Apes and an Ewok. I should point out that Chewie’s father Itchy is a grey Wookie with a chilling face. This nuclear-like family doesn’t capture anything Star Wars.

Sponsored by GM motors with intermittent plugs The Holiday Special is made up of several oddly toned segments. One includes Blazing Saddles‘ Hedley Lamarr , Harvey Korman himself dressed up as a female TV cook while Chewie’s wife follows a recipe that needs more than two hands. There is a completely outlandish scene where Itchy dons on some head gear to have some kind of sensual cyber encounter with Carol Diahann reminiscent of Sly Stallone in ‘Demolition Man’. There’s a chessboard ala New Hope that has dancing holograms accompanied by eerie dreamlike music. By this time you’re thinking is this for children.
It compasses everything about 70’s bad TV, it’s looks like a game show, even the nostalgic Top’s of the Pops type special effects can’t make it more palatable. It all serves as an excuse to string together a series of musical dance numbers, celebrity cameos, including Art Carney and Bea Arthur. While Malla contacts the gang from a hidden monitor, she speaks to Mark Hamill who looks as odd as the Wookies, eyes piercing blue, nothing wrong with that but with his short blonde hair and bad make up he looks like Bowie in ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. Also Princes Leia, C3PO and R2D put in an appearance though Malla’s video phone.
The scenes are cringe worthy and it feels a lot longer than it actually is. The music score a watered down romanticized version of the original themes annoyingly plays throughout and I’m sure parents couldn’t wait to switch off and watch Dallas.
Surprisingly Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher grace the screen in this car wreck too. Harrison’s Han Solo is punished by having to deliver possibly the worst misplaced sounding dialogue ever in TV history., “That’s the spirit! You’ll be celebrating Life Day before you know it!” and “You’re like… family… to me,” spring to mind. Or Luke Skywalker saying “Come on Mala, let’s see a little smile. Come on…”
It could have been a bit of cheesy fun but it’s so painful, nightmarish and elusive you can’t help but feel acid trip scared. If only some horrors got the under the skin this effectively. Carrie Fisher sings the closing number (quite well) before we get drowned out by some more Wookie action and noises. The only saving grace is the animated segment which features Boba Fett and the main cast voiced by the original actors – even if Solo is drawn like Mr. Magoo and Luke’s eyes are like blue plates.
Taking some horror time out, what seems like a long, long time ago I opened up my Star Wars Blu–ray Saga set expecting a cardboard fold out like the Alien set, however, I was surprised to find them (the UK release at least) stacked like a book of blue plastic. From the off I should state it’s not the originals it’s the reworked 2004 with ‘some’ tweaks.
There’s some nice are work on each of the discs and as a bonus behind a little booklet with some more nice artwork I found concealed a Limited Edition Sentiype that contains a unique 35mm film. The film frame is mounted on postcard (right) that features the artwork from the Star Wars Blu-ray box. The Senitype is numbered for authenticity. A nice surprise as I didn’t realise it came with the set that was ordered.
Limited Edition Sentiype
The biggest problem with the set is not the 2004 updated effects (hated by diehard fan boys of the original) still light-years better than the 1997 release. But the real dilemma is which do you watch first? IV- VI then I-III. Mix it up a little as flash backs and forwards watching I,IV,II, V and so on or watching the documentaries first then the films. Oh my I am a Star Wars geek after all.
The menus look great and the bonus discs are broken up into films and sections, with headings – Hoth, Tatoonie, Endor and so on. Make sure you push left on the remote as it’s easy to think there’s no more, but the menus revolve round revealing more sections. In those sections are the deleted scenes, concept galleries, documentaries and so forth.
Even though there are three discs of extras what I would say is hold on to your original DVD’s if you have them and are a fan of extras as not everything has been shifted over. The Blu-ray is not a definitive collection which is a shame given that the majority of extras are of standard DVD quality. I don’t think it would have hurt to slap everything on.
The package
The first bonus disc covers I Phantom Menace – III Revenge of the Sith, the second New Hope – VI Return of the Jedi and the third disc includes spoofs, a 2010 doc about Empire, Dewbacks and more. Interviews are short and end abruptly. In the Star Wars there’s a handful of deleted interesting scenes including Biggs and an unknown male and female with Luke debatably drunk. You can’t help feel sorry for those actors in the deleted takes who may have gone onto do other things if they’d been included. There’s a very short snippet of an old woman on a dusty road and black a white rough cut of the Cantina that includes Han kissing a woman. If included this would have added three more women to George’s at the time predominantly male world of Star Wars.
There’s a lot of new stuff notably the aforementioned Empire documentary with Lucas, Kasdan and Kershner (R.I.P) , the fly through the Lucas ranch and archives are quite insightful. There are tones of documentaries that give you a broad insight into the making of the Saga over the three discs.
In any case I waited for the sun to go down to avoid glare on the screen and popping in Star Wars I got quite excited. The picture is great and new details are uncovered that could not been seen in other formats. Jabba still looks odd but sits into the scene better and to be honest his inclusion solidifies Hans motivation to leave in the final act. The Han who shoot’s first is corrected and doesn’t look out of place. There’s some new changes to this Blu-Ray notably R2-D2 hiding further behind newly inserted rocks, Obi-Wan’s Krayt Dragon call and some audio changes in the Yavin battle – none of which spoil the fun.
R2-D2 change
However, picture wise the Tatooine scenes are a mixed bag and a good as can be expected but Star Wars really kicks into eye-popping gear on the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star with vibrant colour, great depth and contrast. There are still some inconsistencieswhen Luke is using the lightsaber but the training laser ball now looks spot on. You notice how worn and dirty the Falcon is dispelling that everything is glossy in the world of Lucas. That said, the Death Star is pristine, reflections on the board table, shinny floors, glowing and flashing lights. The scene with old Ben switching of the tractor-beam, humming noises and green lighting are humbly exceptional. As too is the duel the lightsabers now corrected. The whole rescue to the final explosion has never looked so good, probably better than in 1977 theatre.

Watching Star Wars on Blu-ray felt fresh, it took me off autopilot, I found myself laughing out loud at some of the dialouge and action along with my children and enjoying Star Wars a lot more than I had in a long time. For some reason Star Wars had turned into a journey that you do so often you can’t remember the journey itself and Blu-ray injected something new. (and I’m not a Lucas film employee!)
Biggs where are the women?
The best thing is that my children want to watch them and I’m sure that their children and their children’s children will too. Despite the changes to Star Wars it has never looked so good and until something better than Blu-ray comes along this is it geeks.
Now I just have to decide which one to watch again next.

There’s an easter egg of sorts. ‘easy to miss. It’s a Boba Fett cartoon from the ‘Holiday Special’
1. Go to Disc 8, Episode V
2. Go to Pursued By The Imperial Fleet
3. Go to Collection
4. Go to Boba Fett Prototype Costume
5. Watch “First Look”

Watching the Boba Fett cartoon from the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, it’s clear that when Lucas said he’d changed the original trilogy editions because he couldn’t do things at the time and had always intended the additions he wasn’t doing a Pinocchio. For example, the flying searching droids that aid the Stormtroopers which appear in the special editions are also are present in the 1978 cartoon. Conforming that Lucas wasn’t just adding things on a whim. Kudos to the beard.

Picture notes:

Phantom Menace – while the picture quality is adequate it lacks clarity especially in some shots on Tatoonie. New CGI Yoda looks impressive, with a tone and look more true to Empire than what’s offered in still the excellent incarnation in II and III. (As a side note in the Naboo forest and in the desert Ewan still looks particularly odd with his ever changing hair and weight.)

Attack of the Clones – fairs a lot better than PM but at times the effects around the live characters leave a glowing blur.

Revenge of the Sith – excellent clarity, it looks the crispest of the bunch most likely due to lessons learned on the first two and that it was shot digitally.

New Hope – as mentioned Tatoonie segments differ from shot to shot but is excellent while in space. Music queues and sound are fantastic.

Empire Strikes back – as well as can be expected. Details are brought out for the first time.

Return of the Jedi – oddly the worst of the of the bunch, some scenes look mucky with a lot of noise that lack clarity. That’s said, the briefing scene amongst others look really good.

If you weren’t old enough to have seen the original Star Wars trilogy and The Phantom Menace was your first introduction to Star Wars then many will envy your fresh eyed look at the films from 1-6.

Yoda Movie Poster (11 x 17 Inches - 28cm x 44cm) () Style A -(Mark Hamill)(Carrie Fisher)(Harrison Ford)(Billy Dee Williams)(Alec Guinness)(David Prowse)“That face you make.
Look I so old to young eyes?”



For the rest and the die hard, extreme countless legions of Star Wars fans you maybe disappointed with the Blu-Ray release.
Star Wars 3.75 Vintage Figure Boba FettI’ll always remember going with my dad to the dankest cinema watching the original films back to back – it was a highlight, even coming out flee bitten it didn’t seem to matter. Recreating Hoth in a kitchen bowl with snow (as it was too cold outside), getting as much play in before it melted, using paper cups to build new spaceship oh the joy of and innocence of Star Wars. The only thing that I remember about disliking the original is that the Millennium Falcon was a horrid uncool looking ship, lacking sleekness, however, overtime that seems to have dissipated.
BLADE RUNNER HARRISON FORD 11X14 PHOTOVHS came and went, then George Lucas began his tinkering with the record breaking classic(s). The 1997 re-released special editions had their faults, some of which the 2004 DVD tried to correct. Now you probably think I’m going to join the legions that are boycotting the Blu-Ray release, not a chance. And between you and me they’ll still buy it. They’re Fanboys. They wont be able to resist the power of the dark-side.

With remakes flooding the market at least Lucas controversial revisiting has saved fans from that. Contentiously regardless of tinkering much of what Lucas has done simply enhances the films. And looking back at the original, originals (no, not a typo) as ground breaking at they were I’m content with the digital corrections and replacements. In the same vain as Blade Runner corrections, lip-syncs, removal of wires and stunt doubles to names few it helps solidify the film, even igniting new interest for an new generation with the publicity that comes with it.

King Kong (Two-Disc Special Edition)Watching Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future complete with it’s original optical effects in tact; would a digital bastardised version have destroyed the story? or make the film better? There was a missed opportunity that would have been more fitting than Steven Spielberg’s E.T from guns to walkie-talkie incident but it was Zemeckis and Spielberg’s call respectively. Should 1933’s King Kong be digitally replaced? Well if Directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack were still alive and wanted to do so, why not eh? If Spielberg replaced Bruce with a photo realistic shark I must say I’d be happy with that as he’s simply now a distraction from the great performances.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (Two-Disc Widescreen Enhanced and Original Theatrical Versions)If the creators are still alive and decided to undertake arguably unorthodox changes let them I say. So long as studios have their blessing.
Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) [Blu-ray]In Star Wars case you could say the studios and George are missing a money making opportunity especially by not releasing the original trilogy unaltered but is there really a need to go as far as saying Lucas “raped my childhood” as countless bloggers have posted. There’s a lot of hate there.
If you are that cut up about it go and track down the bonus DVD released in the 2 disc special edition. As Yoda put it, “Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Meanwhile the rest of us can watch blinking Ewoks, Vader shouting ‘Nooo’, new monsters and an array of slight correction in peace.

Starting at the bottom has never been easy, but now it’s never been so competitive. I’ve covered the ‘who you know’ angle previously.
Starting my own company to support untapped talents has given me rewards, but none- financially. That said, I’ve met and worked with some cracking people and some in the most unlikely of industries. Some of which have gone onto do much bigger things. I know my limits and some of my promotion stuff is beyond what I could ever have produced.
I received a survey from an individual for a project as part their degree. It was about the UK film Industry pre and post 2008. It’s not through trying but I must admit I’ve never been supported by any UK bodies (and it’s a sad for the UK) but all my film has been US funded. Surprisingly, even viable commercial ideas are passed on in favour for ‘quirky’ films that have ‘named’ talent attached even though they have little return or success.
That’s fine don’t get me wrong art is art and other stories should be told, but as it is the public’s money,dramatic bold and different films can be made and can also appease a wider audience. It is a business after all. Again there are lots of angels and opinions on this and once again this up for debate, I’m speaking from my own experience. My hat goes off to ‘self financed’ indie-film makers who do there’s research and pre-pro and go out –  putting it crudely, in simplistic terms, just make it, and make a film well, like David Paul Baker and Oklahoma Ward to name a few.

Terminus

Presently, I’m looking to sell some of my foreign rights but it’s a back rubbing exercise that I’m just not willing to play.  People talk about being transparent but there’s almost no such thing.  So I’ll wait until the right sub-agent or literary Agent  one comes along. I’m not looking for Michael Landon’s Jonathan Smith to turn up and say hey we’ll do your horror travel reads in thirty-three other languages, I just don’t want another unscrupulous suit to make me an offer.
So when we talk about retaining rights and so on what do we mean?  I’ve said many times I’m happy for my work to be played with by the right creative people. Sean P. Parsons Terminus was wonderful and I’m proud to have been a part of it.

Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) [Blu-ray]The Hobbit: 70th Anniversary Edition

So what ‘s that got to do with the The Hobbit and Star Wars? Well if you are are fan of either you’ll probably know there’s a lot of fan made stuff out there, some good, some bad, some legal and some not. (Never support anything illegal, it costs people jobs, seriously). Those who are fans of the aforementioned and have missed these are in for a treat.These are fan made films in the truest sense and are not for profit or to infringe on the rights of the official films… Enjoy.
Makazie One is set in the Star Wars universe during the time period between Episodes III and IV, an elite soldier has been sent to track down and destroy a known threat to the Empire. http://www.makazieone.com
Award winning unofficial prequel to The Lord Of The Rings dramatising Aragorn &Gandalf’s long search for Gollum. This 40 minute film, made by fans for fans is based on the appendices of LOTR and was painstakingly shot on a low budget as a homage to Peter Jackson’s trilogy and the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Like horror, enjoy reading, suffering technophobe? Don’t read on…

Call me old-fashioned but I liked using a circular dial on a phone, listening to it chink, chink, chink and speaking to an operator. These days we have mobile phones, touch phones and who know what the future holds. I’ve listen to an audiobook in bed, but never read a book for enjoyment on a PC or an electronic device unless editing or typing my own work. I may sound like a crusty old man, out of time but believe it or not I’m of the Star Wars and He- Man generation. Nevertheless, I do enjoy the tactile feel of a book in my hands, turning the pages the but times have changed… You can curl up on a dark night, grab your latest Herbert or King and not physically have to turn a page as such.  

Blood Hunger was published in June 2010. Times have certainly moved on since, woodblock, typewriters and Spirograph, everything has a cross over medium and choice for the consumer is paramount. Already there is an audio book on version of my vampire horror in iTunes, read by a lovely actress Sarah Leigh.

Moving swiftly on  Blood Hunger was released on Kindle. Kindle? I must admit I didn’t really know what it was, it’s been around for a while, I’d heard of it but never gave it any attention during my web surfing (which consists of usually keeping update with horror and film news). So what is Kindle? A Kindle is a thin electronic device used to download e-books and some magazines wirelessly and read them.

What is Blood Hunger? Blood Hunger is my latest horror offering, inspired by the spirit of Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula’, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella ‘Carmilla’, ‘Hammer Horror’s’ film series and cult horror ‘The Hunger’.

An explorer makes a discovery in Romania, dubbed the ‘Ice Prince’ find it is significant enough to put him and his girlfriend Lucia Ferrara in the media spotlight. Iliana and her sister’s journey to the United Kingdom, news that the ‘Ice Prince’ had been discovered ceases their many years of blood abstinence and they unleash a bloodthirsty terror on humankind leaving a trail of death from London to the Welsh countryside.

From the fall of the vampire and the Dracul brothers in medieval Europe to their return in the present day. Prepare yourself, their first bite will be your last! A definitive and fresh reinvention of the vampire legend.

Kindle is not a one trick pony, it’s much more that you  can no get Kindle on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, Android and Blackberry! This allows you to read books on the go if you wish. 

Blood Hunger on Kindle click below for:

Science fiction, a long, long time ago in space the final frontier…
Way back in the USA 1916 a pioneering underwater film based on Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was made. In social commentary contrast the European Metropolis(1926) followed. Then the atomic bomb caused a renewed interest in science, a boom in science fiction happend in 1950’s,  1968 saw the Planet of the Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey and the rest is history as they say. Is so difficult it pick out sci-fi films because there are so many and they such an array of topics.
I’ve covered some of the mainstream ones, including Alien, Blade Runner, Moon and Stars Wars in in my previous posts
and

So below are some modern notable Sci-fi films that are either underrated or overstated, that is in my personal opinion.

Ultraviolet (2006)
The opening few minutes of Kurt Wimmer’s Ultraviolet is a rip roaring, pulse pounding set up of action sequences and chases. Then the film calms down for a little breather until the next amazing fight sequence.
Following a holocaust some humans have become Hemophages, a sub-species with enhanced physical abilities. Violet, must protect a nine-year-old boy who has been marked for death by the human government.
In the wake of 2005’s disappointing Aeon Flux, underrated Kurt Wimmer director of Equilibrium (2002) writer of The Recruit (2003) and Salt (2010) set about creating an up-to-the-minute Sci-fi.However, after shooting wrapped Kurt left after being pressured to deliver less emotional PG-13 rated film. In turn, Ultraviolet was completely re-edited by the studio and unfortunately this lowered the quality of the film significantly. Acting wise, William Fichtner puts in an unusual performance, Sebastien Andrieu and Nick Chinlund both seem unsure what’s going on.
With an abundance of forgettable bad guys, Milla Jovovich excellently plays Violet who has enhanced speed, incredible stamina and acute intelligence. Her character at first seems very one dimensional as she plays her usual Resident Evil kick-ass self. But even in the short running time her character develops, you’re given glimpses into here past, as she bonds with six played well by Cameron Bright.
There’s great effects, stunts and a thumping score. A lot of reviews have criticised the CGI usage, however, it’s stylised, hyper-real and sleek. It’s not meant to be faithful representation of a real world. Holograms, swords, a new invented language, gun-fighting and martial arts. It’s science fiction entertainment, set 21st century, nothing more, nothing less.
It’s fast, it’s fun – Ultraviolet is an pleasing sci-fi action but possibly could have been so much more if Wimmer was allowed to deliver his cut.
The Road (2009)
The Road is a touching film of a father bonding with his son in post-apocalyptic setting where stealing, gangs and cannibalism has become the norm’.
John Hillcoat delivers a breathtaking dark vision, and while the story is emotionally engaging it never becomes captivating. It is excellently written and Viggo Mortensen is first-rate as the troubled father, who tries to educated and prepare his son for this new harsh world. However, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce are sorely under utilised.
Its not a film to be enjoyed and you need an acquired taste. Nevertheless, it is arguably the most truthful and touching post-apocalyptic film to date, but also the least rewarding.
Thirteenth Floor (1999)
Made the same year as The Matrix, Thirteenth Floor was lost in ‘bullet time’, leather coats and guns and sadly failed to be appreciated or reach a large audience.The set decorations are of a high-quality, the CGI effects are very subtle and mostly used to recreate L.A.
The cast are excellent, notably Armin Mueller-Stahl as Fuller and the charming Gretchen Mol. Writer/Director Josef Rusnak delivers a perfect vision of a virtual reality simulation of 1937 Los Angeles against the distinguished cold sleek computer enterprise. The contrast of the past and present is astounding, this murder mystery oozes atmosphere.
Craig Bierko plays Douglas Hall who cannot recall the night his colleague was murdered. Now a suspect he tries to uncover the truth, but the reality is harsher than he could ever imagine.With a twisting script based on the book by Daniel F. Galouye it is a well made grounded sci-fi that is sorely underrated and overlooked.
It’s must see for those who don’t need big bangs and explosions in their Science fiction.

Æon Flux (2005)
Æon Flux was lost in the flurry of 2005’s sci-fi films, including Doom, Star Wars: Episode III, Serenity and War of the Worlds. Not even Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd or Charlize Theron in tight outfits (even though less revealing than in the cartoons) could draw in the crowd.
Looking back fans of the MTV animated Æon Flux felt short changed, and I don’t blame them. The character of the film adaptation is very different to what fans had grown to love, an amoral, egotistical, volatile and sharp Æon. Where as the movie incarnation of Æon is plain moody and vulnerable. However, if you view Æon Flux as a standalone movie it’s a more rewarding experience.
Æon is assigned to assassinate the leader of last city on earth, but she uncovers a world of secrets and conspiracies. Packed with styled sets and costumes, there’s plenty to enjoy on screen. It’s different to most films set in the future, no grit, everything in 2415 is bright and hopeful but there is an atmosphere of something lurking under the facade.
There are some great special effects and action sequences. Marton Csokas is the perfect protagonist and Theron delivers a physical performance that she clearly put a lot of time and effort into. Nevertheless, the usually great Pete Postlethwaite is wasted and Jonny Lee Miller appears subdued throughout.
The film is competently directed by Jennifer’s Body’s (2009) director Karyn Kusama, it’s packed with some great sci-fi idea’s, including an array of weapons, genetically enhanced characters and gadgets. However, the screenplay is full of clichés and some jarring editing that’ll make you feel a lot of interesting stuff maybe on the cutting room floor.
While Kurt Wimmer’s Ultraviolet (2006) is slightly better and more fun and if you put aside the fantastic animated series, Aeon flux is still entertaining.
Avatar (2009)
Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) as Neytiri is fantastic, as usual Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) is well cast in a strong lead role. Giovanni Ribisi, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez’s brief appearances are welcomed. Also Stephen Lang, as the tough Colonel Miles Quaritch gives a great performance.
Avatar is a visual spectacular with great acting and effects. It’s a moralistic tale, of following orders or protecting an alien world. However, the story is lazy, reminiscent Cameron’s own Aliens, Dances with Wolves, Apocalypto and Pocahontas to name a few. It mirrors Custers last stand, Vietnam and many other conflicts throughout history.
While the effects in creating the moon Pandora are mind-blowing, the lack of originality leaves you disappointed. I’m sure teenagers will teens love it, it’s the perfect money maker. James Cameron is a fantastic director and is instrumental in pushing industry movie techniques forward. However, in all the special CGI effects the great writer Cameron appears to have forgotten about his older fans, who wanted a meatier, original and complex story.

Carriers (2009)
Carriers follows a group of young survivors who make some tough choices after an infection has spread worldwide bringing civilisation to its knees.
There are a few harrowing and emotional parts in Carriers but it fails to connect with the viewer. Unusually pretty Piper Perabo and Chris Pine (of Star Trek fame) leads an excellent small group of unknown actors in a well directed virus survival film. However, Carriers is simply an anomaly, there’s no gloss, it has the spirit of big budget ‘The Road’.
The cinematography is great, the music and the script are fine but it feels too long and flat. It’s missing that impending doom atmosphere considering the characters hopeless situation.It is by no means a bad film, it explores morals and values, however, its just not very engaging or entertaining.
I’m sure directors/writers Àlex Pastor and David Pastor will go on to do something really great, but this just isn’t it.

Star Trek (2009)
J.J. Abrams incarnation of the phenomena known as Star Trek, wisely sticks closed to the spirit, look and fun of the original TV series. It follows the young James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew-members as they battle in space against a time travelling alien species.
With a star studded cast including Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, funny man Simon Pegg, reliable Karl Urban, and the exquisite Zoe Saldana as Uhura, it really is a pleasure to watch.
If you’ve never seen Star Trek it doesn’t matter as the story can be viewed as a stand alone sci-fi adventure film. However, die-hard fans will love the references to earlier Star Trek stories and characters.
Recommend, new version of a sci-fi classic.