GEEK OUT! LOOPER [REVIEW]

Time travel has provided some of the most inventive scifi movie concepts in history. For me personally, two of my favourite movies involved time travel viz. 12 Monkeys and Back to the Future. Unfortunately, time travel as a concept can also be highly problematic and has ruined many a promising scifi movie – Star Trek: First Contact comes quickly to mind.

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GEEK OUT! LOOPER TRAILER #2

The more I see of writer/director Rian Johnsons’s time-travel flick, Looper, the more I think that this is going to be one of the best scifi films of the year. Already, I am totally sold on the fact that the two leads – Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – play the same person at different ages in a life-and-death struggle with each other! All possible through that wonderful scifi device called time-travel. Wonderful!! Check out the trailer. Looper opens in late September.

 

GEEK OUT! TOTAL RECALL TRAILER

Remakes can be tricky. Early on, the producers talked up the new version of Paul Verhoeven’s classic Total Recall as being more a adaptation of Philip K Dick’s short story We Can Remember ItkFor You Wholesale rather than a straight remake of the original movie. WRONG! As it is clearly apparent from this latest trailer, this is a straightforward remake of the movie as there are no three-breasted ladies or actual trips to Mars in the short story. Fact is, the short story would make a boring action movie if faithfully adapted. So is there any point to repeated the whole exercise once over again. Well… I think so. Based on the trailers, the effects and action sequences look pretty good and having Bryan Cranston on board as the villain of the piece never hurts. Also, the combined eye candy of Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale should make up for Colin Farrell’s anticipated over-acting. I mean come on, look at the image above and not picture Arnie in that chair. Try…

 

GEEK OUT! PROMETHEUS

DEJA VU?

It is epic, visually dazzling and most definitely, the prequel to director Ridley Scott’s first movie, Alien, released back in 1979. Yes all that nonsense about Prometheus not being an Alien prequel but instead being set in the same universe was simply a distraction. In fact, Scott pretty much sets out the film’s narrative based on that found in Alien.

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GEEK OUT! PROMETHEUS

IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?

With John Carter, The Avengers and MIB3 out of the way, the serious contender for your hardcore scifi fan attention arrives in 5 days time as Prometheus opens in Singapore on 7th June. Marking director Ridley Scott’s return to scifi, Prometheus promises to be an epic horror-adventure flick to keep your senses and your mind engaged.

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GEEK OUT! MEN IN BLACK 3

TIME AFTER TIME (AFTER TIME)

The expectations for Men in Black 3 were nowhere as high as for The Avengers, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises or even The Amazing Spider-Man. In addition, the basic premise of the movie – Agent J (Will Smith) goes back in time to save Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones)’s life and therefore deliver the Earth from an alien invasion – seems trite and hackneyed. So rather surprisingly, despite its dodgy premise the movie succeeds in providing good old fashioned scifi-based comedic entertainment, never taking itself too seriously and generally being a big ball of FUN!

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GEEK OUT! FRINGE SEASON 4

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY TOGETHER…

(Spoilers abound, so beware!)

About a year ago, I grumbled and lamented that the Season 3 finale had been so disappointing. Basically, I opined that removing Peter from existence did not make any sense whatsoever and was wondering how the writers would resolve this in Season 4. Well, over the course of the 22 episodes of the excellent Season 4, I’ve had to eat my words numerous times.

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GEEK OUT! AKAN DATANG*

With the resounding box office success of The Avengers, the summer blockbuster season has gotten off to the perfect start. To date, the Joss Whedon-helmed superhero movie spectacular has already grossed over US$800 million worldwide and there appears no reason to suppose that it will not surpass the billion dollar mark.

With science-fiction and fantasy themed movies capturing the imagination of the movie-going public, let’s take stock of what is the come in the months ahead and let’s speculate upon how well (or poorly – remember John Carter?) they will be received.

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IN TIME

Andrew Nichol is responsible for two of my favourite sci-fi movies. The director-screenwriter from New Zealander scripted the Peter Weir-helmed Truman Show and Gatttaca. Nichol has proven himself deft at using sci-fi narratives to provide allegories for real world themes. Truman Show pre-figured the advent of the reality show (aside from its religious themes) and Gattaca touched on the arguments over eugenics – both delivered their messages through vivid artistic visions.

In Time is set in a dystopian future where everyone stops aging at 25 but is only given one more year of life. However, time is now the currency required for living and this time can be transferred among individuals, its availability being displayed on an implant on a person’s lower arm. When that clock reaches zero, one dies instantly. Society is divided by social class living in specialized towns called, ‘Time Zones’. Clearly, the film concerns itself greatly with the income gap which is becoming more and more prevalent in the modern world.

Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives in the ghetto with his mother (Olivia Wilde). He lives from day to day and barely gets by. One night Salas saves Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) – a rich man obviously from the wealthy Time Zones with a century of life indicated on his arm – from robbery. The next morning, Salas wakes up with 100 years extra and witnesses Hamilton ‘time-out’ and commit suicide. Before Salas can make sense of his situation, his mother ‘times out’ due to a sudden increase in public transport fares (how Singaporean eh?) – in Salas’ arms no less – and Salas vows revenge.

Sala’s anger brings him into New Greenwich (a wealthy timezone) where he meets millionaire Phillipe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser), falls foul of the Timekeepers – this era’s police force, led by Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) and kidnaps Weis’ daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). Inevitably, the couple fall in love, morph into Bonnie and Clyde and change the world!

All well and good but the film simply does not make enough sense for any coherent message to get through. For one thing, the entire concept of the transfer of time between individuals becomes ludicrous after awhile – imagine a person carrying thousands of dollars on his or her person – as scenes of criminals simply stealing time from people attest.

Also, there are many portions of the film that are simply too convenient – take for example the robbery of the Weis time bank by Salas and Sylvia which the couple achieve without any resistance whatsoever. In a later scene, Weis is shown to have over twenty personal bodyguards but his bank has zero security?

In addition, everybody in the ghetto seems to dress inordinately well despite being steeped in poverty – it’s all too stylized to be a realistic slum. And despite the ploy of diminishing life illuminated on the arms of Salas and Sylvia, one never gets the sense that their lives are ever in danger – Salas (a mere factory worker) comes across incredibly like James Bond for much of the film. At the very end, Salas and Sylvia embark on yet another bank robbery – high heeled and dressed to the nines – it’s almost as if Nichol did not want his audience to treat his film too seriously. If so, and based on the evidence here, he will certainly get his wish.

Avoid.

GEEK OUT! : PLINKETT’S REVIEWS

I spent most of last night’s waking hours watching Plinkett’s reviews of two of those dreadful Star Wars prequels. These are featured at Red Letter Media, a no-holds barred film reviews site which I have recently discovered. Over at the Plinkett’s reviews section, we have video reviews of the Star Trek and Star Wars movies, which believe me will have you splitting your sides in uncontrollable laughter. But seriously, it is obvious that the maker(s) of these videos has put in considerable effort to come up with such detailed analysis. But be warned once you start, you will be addicted in no time at all! Not convinced, check out the trailer below. You have been warned!

FRINGE SEASON 3

I have been championing Fringe quite a bit for its daring exploration of alternate realities within the scifi TV drama. But this season 3 finale left me cold. At the end of the last episode, Peter Bishop finally got into the Doomsday Machine and re-appeared 15 years into the future. Was this another alternate realty or did Peter’s consciousness move forward in time? Disappointingly it turns out to be the latter.

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GEEK OUT!

V1K1 teaser trailer

Finally a Singapore sci-fi flick to geek out about. From the wild imagination of director Tzang Merwyn Tong.