Jan 182015


Directed by David Semel.
Starring Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank.

Now, this was unexpected. A TV adaptation of Philip K Dick’s classic scifi novel of the same name, The Man in the High Castle has been produced (by Ridley Scott!) with its pilot just been released (FREE) and is definitely worth watching!

For those unfamiliar with the novel, in The Man in the High Castle, Dick imagines an alternative reality where the Axis powers won WWII and split the USA between them viz. Japanese Pacific States (West Coast) and Greater Nazi Reich (East Coast). The plot revolves around the daily life of the inhabitants of this reality in 1962.

Overall, the pilot is rather slow paced but it builds the world imagined by Dick brilliantly. One is kept guessing throughout this episode but it lays down sufficient groundwork to keep interest high. Especially with the twist at the very end, I can’t wait to watch the rest of this ambitious series.

Jan 132015

Screen shot 2015-01-13 at AM 10.20.44

The 2nd trailer for the much anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron is out now. Although Ultron is set up to the villain of the piece, it does appear – based on this trailer – that internal strife within the Avengers ranks is the real enemy. If so, this plot point would lead us nicely into Captain America: Civil War.

Date of release: 30th April (Singapore)

Jan 072015


Our first proper look at the Ant-Man movie is a teaser trailer that comes with a Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) voice-over, as Pym attempts to convince the convicted felon Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to become the Ant-Man (or ‘Ent-Man’ as Douglas pronounces it!).

After the speech, Lang responds with typically Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) light humor and whilst the action montage does not seem that exciting (the special effects of Ant-Man and trademark flying ant was underwhelming), it’s too early to draw any conclusions.

Evangeline Lilly looks hot as Hope Van Dyne (Pym’s daughter with Janet Van Dyne) but everything else is a blur. No clue as yet how they are going to handle this idea of Pym being a elder gentleman and how the MCU history will handle the original Ant-Man and even Wasp. All to be revealed on 17th July.

Jan 062015

Peanuts_GoogleP_Cover copy

Now, here’s one that I am looking forward to! As a kid, I loved Charles M Schulz’s timeless comic strip although at the time, I thought it was named after it’s main character, Charlie Brown. I remember all the animated movies when I was younger as well – all good fun. Finally, a proper 3D movie adaptation will be released in November this year and based on the trailer, it looks pretty much faithful to what has gone before. Produced by Blue Sky Studios, the folks behind Ice Age and Rio, the Peanuts Movie promises to be excellent fare for all ages!

Jan 042015


Directed by Carl Tibbets. Written by Charlie Brooker.
Starring Jon Hamm, Oona Chaplin, Rafe Spall, Natalia Tena. 

Black Mirror is one of the smartest sci-fi horror TV anthology series ever produced – “a Twilight Zone for the Twitter age” as a reviewer aptly put it. The series debuted in 2011 on BBC and thus far six episodes (three in each season) have been made covering issues relating to the impact of technology on modern life. Without wanting to spoil anything, let’s say that these six episodes are essential viewing for geeks everywhere.

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Jan 042015


Fans will recall how Marvel released an ant-sized teaser trailer a couple of days ago? Well, enough of the PR gimmicks, here’s the full-sized teaser, with the proper trailer coming out on 7th January.

Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly & Michael Douglas and will be in Singapore cinemas on 16th July 2015.

… still there’s more … 


Jan 012015


Directed by Sergei Bodrov
Starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore. 

Generally speaking, fantasy movie adaptations do not perform well at the box office, the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit and Harry Potter films, notwithstanding. Ironically, the very elements that made the original books popular are usually the first things to be changed in a movie adaptation, leaving the film an empty husk, full of cliches and tropes.

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Dec 232014


Our look at the geek movies of 2015 continues with the 2nd half of the year dominated by the return of the Star Wars movie franchise with Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. Nothing even comes remotely close between that and Avengers: Age of Ultron – which means serious moolah for Disney, doesn’t it? Not many trailers to feature here but will update as and when trailers are released. Check out Part One here.

Terminator: Genisys (1 July)

Cameron’s Terminator gets rebooted with a couple of twists & turns along the way. Most ridiculous thing is that Arnold is back as an aging robot! A non starter but might be good for (unintentional) laughs.

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Dec 212014


In this day and age, when computer-generated imagery (CGI) is able to create the most outrageous special effects for movies, it is ironic that instead of engendering more creativity, CGI has become a crutch for film studios/producers/directors. Thus, CGI has replaced effective story-telling, dazzling audiences with visual gimmicks that provide superficial gratification for the eye without anything left over for the soul.

Whilst CGI has certainly benefitted the super-hero movie genre the most, it has also at times marginalized the strength of super-hero stories to begin with – strong characters and plot. Recent casualties of this trend include Man of Steel and Amazing Spider-Man 2, where the sheer massive scale of the battles begins to wear on the filmgoer and taxing that tenuous suspension of disbelief. And please do not get me started on the Transformer or Hobbit movie franchise.

Invariably, scifi geeks (like yours truly) have had to search for high concept flicks with low budgets where directors & writers have had to resort to creative means to tell an effective story. Thankfully, there have been quite a few in recent years that fit this description. Here’s a handy list for your reference (not necessarily in order of merit).

District 9 (Directed by Neill Blomkamp)

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Dec 192014


Directed by The Spierig Brothers
Starring Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook & Noah Taylor.

Brilliantly conceived, this film adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s 1960 short story “All You Zombies”, is a delightful ‘mind fuck’ movie that will have viewers rapt in attention to decipher the clues that lead to the twist at the end. Suffice for me to say that the twist involved the concept of time paradoxes and leave it at that.

On the surface, the plot revolves around a Temporal Agent’s quest to capture a murderous killer (the “Fizzle Bomber”) but of course, it is much more than that. Unlike, most time travel stories, Predestination avoids jaded cliches commonly attached to the ‘genre’ and transcends the standard tropes to deliver a thought-provoking fantastical tale.

A low budget film supported by Screen Australia, Predestination punches well above its weight shaming blockbusters like Transformers: Age of Extinction with story-telling and performances that are amongst the best of 2014. Don’t miss this!

Predestination is in cinemas now!

Dec 052014
(c) Paramount Pictures

(c) Paramount Pictures

Another summer, another franchise reboot. This time it’s  the turn of the Terminator movie franchise to be refreshed for a new audience, with the last movie Terminator Salvation appearing in 2009.  Based on the recently released teaser trailer below, Terminator: Genisys is combining ideas from the first two movies with certain twists along the way. Interestingly, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the titular character (albeit as an aging robot!) while Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Jai Courtney take on the roles of Sarah Conner and Kyle Reese respectively. All in, this sounds like a bad idea but the trailer at least does a good job in making the concept appealing. For now, anyways.

The film is scheduled to be released by Paramount Pictures on July 1, 2015.

Nov 282014

Directed by Don Hall & Chris Williams

With all the super-hero properties available to Disney Animation upon the acquisition of Marvel Comics, Disney opted for an obscure book titled Sunfire and Big Hero 6. The subsequent film adaptation is only loosely based on the comic, severing all links to the Marvel Universe – except for the utterly pointless Stan Lee cameo.

When you consider that the sequel to the vastly superior The Incredibles remains in limbo, one would have thought that Disney should have left super-heroes well alone. The result is predictable – very poor superhero tale that is high on sentimentality but light on plot.

That said, one cannot fault the character designs, the top notch animation and likeability of Baymax. However, the clunky narrative, the one-dimensional supporting characters and Baymax-size plot holes prevent Big Hero 6 from being taken seriously. Obviously aimed at young children, that is the only reasonable way of approaching this dumb flick.

Nov 072014


Directed by Christopher Nolan. 
Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan.
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine and Bill Irwin.

Familial love. Is there anything more important than that? How about the survival of the human race? What would you do to save the world? In his latest original scifi film, Christopher Nolan takes the notion of the protagonist fighting to see his children again (last seen in Inception) to almost ridiculous levels.

Structurally, the story is rather simple. Cooper (McConaughey) is given the opportunity (in rather fortuitous manner) to save the human race from extinction but to do that, he has to risk never seeing his children ever again. Thus, throughout his mission, his main priority is returning to the Earth and his children.

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Oct 302014

Screen shot 2014-10-30 at AM 12.22.42

Yes, my dear fellow superhero movie geeks, the next six years are going to crazy! In the last couple of weeks both DC and Marvel have announced their schedule of movies covering 2015 to 2020 and together with superhero movies from Fox and SONY promises to bring down upon our heads the great superhero movie glut of the 21st century.

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Oct 182014


In bygone days, it was common for superheroes to be placed in life threatening situations with readers being confident that the hero would somehow escape the clutches of death. But that concept was first challenged in X-Men #137 (1980) when Jean Grey (aka Marvel Girl/Phoenix) took her own life in order to protect the universe from the Phoenix force that possessed her. In an unforgettable sequence, Jean Grey paid the ultimate price in order to save the universe.

Death Of Pheonix

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Oct 072014

Directed by Gary Shore.
Starring Luke Evans, Sarah Gordon, Dominic Cooper & Samantha Banks.

There was a time Dracula was portrayed as a monster. Nothing suave or romantic about him, for sure. But of course, in these modern times, the vampire has become a sex symbol and Dracula is the King of Vampires! Eschewing any reliance on Bram Stoker’s classic storyline, the producers of Untold have opted instead to create an origin story for Dracula set in the 15th century. A good idea that has seldom been examined in the movies but sadly, the execution is an absolute letdown.

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Sep 092014



The Generation Gap! The stuff of endless arguments about who’s music was better etc etc etc. What about comic books? I personally believe that after the Marvel Age of the 60s with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, the finest era of comic books is the Eighties, when writer Alan Moore was changing the industry.

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Sep 082014

HBO’s The Leftovers has polarized both viewers and critics with an unflinching look at the impact of loss on a small community. The main supernatural factor of the series relates to the critical event of the Sudden Departure – similar to the Christian concept of The Rapture.

In ten episodes, the series delved into the response of the town folk of Mapleton, New York, the individuals most affected and the social phenomenon that developed to make sense of it all, specifically The Guilty Remnant, a cult group whose main purpose is to ensure that the Sudden Departure is never forgotten.

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Sep 072014

TIME TRAVEL: in the beginning…

All that discussion about X-Men: Days of Future Past made me think about how much I love time travel in movies. Even though it can be a major pain in the arse somethings (in the wrong hands) but overall, some of my favourite movies have involved time travel in some shape or form.

My very first exposure to this scifi concept was in the 60s when as a child, I watched two seminal time travel films on TV. The first one was of course, The Time Machine. Released in 1960, this loose adaptation of HG Wells’ classic scifi novel by director George Pal is still one of the best time travel movies (forget about that awful remake). The movie ending played on my mind as a child and I remember not being able to sleep as I analyzed the movie over and over again. Brilliant. Here’s a video review of the DVD below.

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Sep 062014


Marvel’s Original Sin mini-series wrapped up with issue #8 and raised even more questions than providing definite answers to the questions raised earlier in the series. But then, that’s typical super-hero comic book fare, isn’t it? At its core was the mystery of the Watcher’s murder, which as it turns out was brought about by Midas and Nick Fury but not in the way first suspected. The hook of the series was the discovery of hidden secrets that once revealed would have a massive impact on the Marvel Universe (where have we heard this spiel before, erm?) and to a certain extent we did. Fury – now an old man, like Captain America – acted like the Men in Black, taking care of external threats to the Earth in clandestine manner and had to take appropriate action to keep the truth from coming out. At the very end, Fury is seemingly dead (or is he?) and Bucky Barnes takes over Fury’s mantle. Presumably, this will allow Fury’s son – an African-American – to be the de facto Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe? Yup, that’s about the sum of those 8 issues. And Deodato’s art design was cool. NEXT!


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Aug 242014


Peter Capaldi makes his debut as the new Doctor Who in the latest episode of the long-running BBC scifi TV series. The main talking point about Capaldi’s casting has been his age. At 56 years old, he is the eldest Doctor since the re-launch of the series in 2005 (after an absence of 16 years) and this episode – “Deep Breath” places a lot of weight on the age of this latest regeneration of the Doctor.

At the end of the episode, it is clear that this new direction is a wise one as it sets up story ideas especially concerning the relationship between the Doctor and current companion Clara Oswald. There are also hints that the latest Doctor may have a character twist that somewhat at odds with his previous incarnations.

The primary story itself (for the Season 8 opener) finds Doctor Who and Clara in Victorian London wherein a T.Rex is rampaging after the Doctor indadvertedly brought it from prehistoric times with the TARDIS. The duo encounter the reptilian Madam Vastra and gang, clockwork repair droids stuck in the past, not to mention a tenuous relationship that needs re-building.

A good start, overall.