Tag Archives: sci-fi

The force is strong

I’ve never been a huge Star Wars fan,  but it’s hard not to get caught up in all the excitement about the premiere of the latest installment…

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Especially since I helped capture a stormtrooper last weekend outside a museum near Chicago.

Typical Sunday morning kinda stuff,  you know how it is.

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The media has been talking so much lately about the movies that are really bad (Hot Pursuit, Paul Blart 2) that we haven’t heard nearly enough about the great ones.

Like Ex Machina.

Ex-Machina-cast-bannerSci fi? Yes.

But it’s so much more. And I challenge any of you who may have dismissed its AI premise to give it another look.

For one, the performances are stellar. Alicia Vikander as the robot Ava is stunning. You can completely understand why Caleb, played by the equally compelling Domhnall Gleeson, is so taken with her, because you are, too. (And does anyone remember that the two were also romantically paired in the wonderful Anna Karenina? #PointsMe)

Oscar Isaac is also the most wonderful kinda crazy as Ava’s inventor.  “Isn’t it strange,” Ava asks him, “to create something that hates you?”

The cat and mouse game in this movie is wonderful. The film is filled with monsters, and it won’t be too long before you don’t know which is which. You’ll leave the theater talking about this film long afterwards.

For the right reasons.

Missing Who

I’m watching the season premiere of Doctor Who on BBC America.

Of course, it’s not just a new season, but an entirely new doctor — Scottish actor Peter Capaldi now portrays the regenerated Doctor Who, replacing the very beloved Matt Smith.

Peter-Capaldi-Doctor-Who-Time-of-the-Doctormatt smith doctor who

 

 

 

So far companion Clara is having trouble accepting the ‘update’…and I have to admit, so am I.

I started watching the series with Matt at the helm.  While I’ve seen clips from past shows and different doctors — and think I would have enjoyed David Tennant’s take on the role —

I don’t want another doctor.

Of course, it’s been less than one episode. I know on an intellectual level that Capaldi will make the role his own, and, with time, I’ll probably be on board. Still…

Change is so hard.

 

By Grabthar’s hammer

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a Star Trek fan.  But not so big that I would attend the annual Creation Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas (or even notice an article about it until months later).

But notice it today I did.

Trekkers at the convention attempted to rank all the movies in the franchise from best to worst.  It’s no surprise that Star Trek II Wrath of Khan topped the list, and even less that the most recent Star Trek Into Darkness landed at the bottom.  After all, these are the most rabid fans.

And the movie these Trekkers placed in the #7 slot?

Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest, a hilarious 1999 send-up of the series and its fan base.

During the convention, Quest held the #1 and #2 spots early in the voting before slipping to the halfway mark to split the other 12 Star Trek movies.

Makes me like these geeks even more!

Heavy

I rushed to the theatre to see the movie Gravity for two reasons:

  1. the terrifying space collision that we get a tantalizing glimpse of in the movie trailer; and
  2. Sandra Bullock’s performance, which has received rave reviews and early Oscar buzz.

The views of space are breathtaking, and the accident that drives the plot drains whatever air remains in your lungs.  I saw the movie in 3D, and its use is at once seamless and highly effective.

gravity posterGeorge Clooney is his usual playful self in his scenes with Bullock, but I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say she appears alone onscreen for a majority of the movie.

Tom Hanks goes solo on an island in Castaway, and Robert Redford on a crippled yacht in the upcoming All is Lost, so it’s about time an actress — especially one of Bullock’s caliber — gives it a try.

But while Bullock’s Dr. Stone is well-acted — and I was on the edge of my seat time and time again — I left the movie feeling very little emotional connection to her character.  I just expected…more.

Let me know what you think.

The ol’ switcheroo

Sometimes two wrongs do make a right.

Or at the very least, a laugh.

When TNT was switching between commercials tonight, the beginning of a promo for Noah Wyle’s series Falling Skies began and was then quickly covered up by another TNT promo for Hot in Cleveland.

And oddly enough, it worked.

Noah Wyle Falling SkiesNoah Wylie’s character — whose name I don’t know since I have never watched the sci-fi series — was giving a ‘rally the troops’ speech.

I only heard the very start of it, but he clearly said…

“We must fight.”

Then the network switched to the HIC ladies sitting in a terminal, complaining about the services available at the airport. They were talking about TV viewing, but if you’ve ever spent any time waiting in airports, Noah’s speech made a lot of sense.

hot in cleveland airport promoWe must rise up against the machines!

 

 

 

Back to the future (no — the other future)

I watched The Terminator during lunch yesterday.

terminatorThe movie is almost 30 years old, but certain things still hold up.

1. Arnold is scary.  When he forces his way into Sarah Connor’s home and kills her roommate and boyfriend, that still totally freaks me out.  I can remember coming back to my apartment after seeing The Terminator in 1984 in the movie theatre and lying in bed, mapping out my escape route if a cyborg broke in.

We’re talking sleepless nights, people.

2. Michael Biehn (Kyle Reece) is hot.  He comes back from the future to save Sarah Connor, so he’s already a good guy…and then we all know what happens next.  (Cue the sexy music.)  But here’s a tip — don’t go looking at his current photo on imdb.com like I did.

It has been 30 years, after all.

3. Linda Hamilton has bad hair. I’m pretty sure I thought that at the time as well.  And I really think it now.  We’re talking serious helmet head.  But she is the mother of John Connor, who saves the planet…

So I will cut her some slack.

He really is ruggedly handsome!

My sister and her husband stayed home last night — on a Friday night, no less — to watch the sci-fi classic Serenity starring Nathan Fillion.

It was a gift from me.

Castle Captain Mal

Not the movie itself — I’m sure they caught the film on Netflix or Hulu. No, their fascination with ‘all things Fillion’ started during their Christmas vacation with me here in New York City.

I took them to a Broadway show. To Jazz at Lincoln Center. To movies and restaurants and shops. Santa even visited my apartment.

But the gift that has continued to ‘keep on giving?’  An impromptu Castle marathon on the last day of their trip, when we all agreed that lying on the couch sounded like fun.

The day Lou and Chuck discovered the charms of Nathan Fillion.

Now they are catching up on episodes of Castle and learning all about his past as Captain Mal in Firefly and Serenity.

I love to watch an obsession come together!

No zombies for the zombies

The 2013 Oscar nominations for Best Director had just been announced — the words were still hanging in the air in a cartoon word balloon — when Steven Spielberg announced his plans to suspend production on Robopocalypse.

Surprised?  Not me.
Robopocalypse-Movie-570x805I’ll bet Anne Hathaway, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and slated to star in the long awaited sci-fi extravaganza, seconded the notion.

No doubt she and Spielberg — both frontrunners for their work in Les Miserables and Lincoln respectively — remember what happened to Eddie Murphy a few years back.

He was considered a sure thing for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the movie Dreamgirls…and then Norbert happened.

And the Academy said, “No way, no how.”

The nominations this year have shown what a old group of fuddy duddies the Oscar voters can be.  (No Best Director nod for Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow — are you serious??)

Steven Spielberg is just playing it safe.

Geek song

I accidentally caught a rerun of the brilliantly ridiculous sitcom “Third Rock from the Sun” today.  I was working, and the show’s opening theme song caught my ear.

If you don’t remember it, here’s the full open.

It’s a great one — that John Lithgow is genius — and reminds me a bit of the truly exceptional opening credits for “The Big Bang Theory.”  Don’t know it?  Take a look-see.

Amazing, huh?

Which also brought to mind the “Star Trek” television series and its legendary song and opening sequence. (I know you remember this one.)

Which begs the question…

Why do all the sci-fi geek shows have the best opening themes?  Are they simply smarter…so they know how important a great opening number really is?  Or is a strong opening even more important for these type of shows because their content is riskier?

Or do they just try harder?

I vote for number three.  Go geeks!