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checking tumblr in public
Looper - A loop of time travel consequences
2044. Thirty years from there, time travel has been discovered, and bodies cannot be hidden from the police anymore, which leads to a logical traffic : bad guys send the people they want killed back in time where “loopers” kill them and destroy the bodies. Sometimes, loopers “close the loop” by being sent their future self to kill. When Joe lets his future self escape by mistake, a chase will ensue with Joe trying to kill Old Joe so he will not be punished by his employers, and Old Joe trying to kill the child who will become his wife’s murderer in the future.
Yes, it seems super messy. But it’s actually pretty clear in the movie !
So I found the story interesting in itself, but this movie has other great qualities : it presents us a fascinating set of time travel consequences, and although the setting is in the future, the story mainly takes place in the countryside, where we are not blindsided by techporn and lensflare (ok I love those, but a SciFi movie without them can be welcome one in a while). Also, the cast is perfect !
[Directed and written by Rian Johnson]
[Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt]
Contact - The complications of the First Contact
Ellie Arroway has been in love with space for as long as she can remember. Brilliant as a student, she surprisingly chose to take a boring job in a SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) observatory, where she listens to possible transmissions from space all day. When she finally picks up a message, which gives Earth the plans to build a giant machine, complications arise. Should we build this unknown machine, how can we be sure the aliens are peaceful, who will be the one to use this machine first ?…
Although the fascination for space and alien civilizations is omnipresent in this movie, it’s almost more of a politic movie than a science-fiction one. But it’s really interesting because although a lot of people are anxious for the First Contact to happen (count me in), we don’t tend to think a lot about the possible consequences of such an event.
My only negative point for this movie is the love story : the guy is really annoying with his whole “I want to stop the woman I love from fulfilling her dreams plus she is an atheist ugh”, and the relationship is really unhealthy. But this side of the story doesn’t take too much screen-time so don’t let that stop you from watching this movie !
[Directed by Robert Zemeckis]
[Written by J. V. Hart and M. Goldenberg, based on a book by Carl Sagan]
[Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt]
Galaxy Quest - A Star Trek parody almost better than the original
Before I hear your cries of rage, let me establish something : Star Trek The Original Series is my favorite tv series of all time and I’m also in love with the Star Trek movies (both originals and reboot). So this title’s point wasn’t to be insulting. At all. The fact is that, loving Star Trek, I can only love a movie which is not only a parody of my favorite series, but also a real tribute to it.
So, Galaxy Quest. This is the name of what was once a Star Trek-like TV show, and the movie begins in a Comic Con where all the actors are present. Some are still drunk on success, others are disappointed to be only known for some SciFi show. The real fun starts when a group of real aliens, which watched every episode thinking they were archive images, decides to hire the cast for a spatial adventure where all the spaceships and weapons are reproductions of the ones in the show. Teleportation, phasers and warp, the actors will discover that everything they ever imitated with special effects was real… As well as the bad alien guys.
As a Star Trek fan, seeing the adventures I love become reality, plus the fact that at some point the cast contacts some fans for knowledge help on their universe, just feels really good.
But, non-Star Trek fans, don’t back away ! It’s much more than that ! It’s a really good comedy, unforgettable catch phrases (Never give up, Never surrender !), it’s seing Alan Rickman out of his usual Oxfordian self (he plays an equivalent of Spock), and one of the best good humorous SciFi movies.
[Directed by Dean Parisot]
[Written by David Howard]
[Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman]
Soylent Green - You already know the ending but it’s still perfect
Who doesn’t know the end of this movie ? Well if you don’t, I won’t spoil it so no worries. But if you do without having watched the movie, watch it anyway because it’s totally worth it !
So this movie takes place in a fictional New York, year 2022. It’s over populated, you’re lucky if you have a room to live so let’s not even talk about electricity and running water, and nobody remembers what a vegetable looks like or what meat tastes like. People simply eat Soylent Yellow and Orange, concentrated tasteless food made out of soy, and the brand new Soylent Green, full of proteins from sea plankton. When a rich politician is murdered, Robert Thorn decides to investigate despite his orders to abandon the case, but his search for the truth will lead him to way more informations than the ones he was looking for…
So this is an obvious criticism of society, as most of scifi movies are. It especially shows the fear of industrialisation which could lead to a world where all the little things which make life enjoyable and comfortable have gone (and to generalized extreme poverty). And talking about dystopia, there are even suicide centers in this world ! Yeay ! But despite the ugliness of its world, this movie is really good so… watch it ?
[Directed by Richard Fleischer]
[Written by Stanley R. Greenberg, based on a book by Harry Harrison]
[Starring Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Edward G. Robinson]
Dead Set - Big Brother + Zombies = Fun !
Charlie Brooker already proved that he was a daring writer with Black Mirror, and this new Channel 4 miniseries, Dead Set, just confirms it.
So basically it’s a fiction about Big Brother, created by the channel who created Big Brother, and with Big Brother celebrities making appearances as themselves. That, plus zombies. This is real, I’m not even kidding.
The plot is quite simple : as the candidates are cut from the world, they don’t realize there has been a zombie outbreak outside their secluded flat ; and even when an outsider manages to enter their little fortress and tell them about it, they obviously think it’s just another part of the TV show. They will soon realize that this is no game, and organize to fight for their lives.
It doesn’t reinvent the genre, but the cliche reality TV characters, shallow and stupid, struggling to survive, are quite fun to watch. Also, it’s really really gore. Do not watch while eating.
Obviously, this is the kind of TV show to watch if you want to know which errors to not make in case of a zombie outbreak. And this is always useful.
[Created by Charlie Brooker]
[Directed by Yann Demange]
[Starring Jaime Winstone, Kevin Eldon, Andy Nyman]
Equilibrium - Why isn’t this movie way more famous ?!
So I started watching this movie because a few friends told me it was quite good, and I ended up almost crying during most of it, partly because there are some very emotional moments, partly because the fights were so beautiful,
and partly because I had never noticed Christian Bale’s hotness before and it hit me hard in the face.
This movie takes place after the Third World War, during which a LOT of people died. A totalitarian regime is now in place with one clear purpose : stopping wars by stopping humans from feeling emotions. For this purpose, every citizen has to take an injection once a day which prevents him from feeling, and all works of art are forbidden (books, paintings, music…). The main characters are High Clerks trained specially to fight against the rebels who try to hide works of art, and to destroy them. Unluckily, one of them seems to have lost his way and is beginning to feel…
Wow. Just. Wow. This movie has everything : the interesting world, the utopia wannabe which turned into a dystopia, the badass and sexy heroes, the beautiful fights (seriously, it beats Matrix on this level), the sort-of love story which is so light that it can’t turn cheesy. E-ve-ry-thing. So why ? Why isn’t it famous ?!
There is only one way to solve this problem. Act now. Watch it. Watch it and spread the word. Seriously, you won’t regret it. Watch it and enjoy.
[Directed and written by Kurt Wimmer]
[Starring Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Emily Watson, Taye Diggs]
Black Mirror, S1- Wow, that’s what I call change on TV !
Black mirror is a British mini series consisting of 3 episodes of one hour each, absolutely unrelated to each other (different characters, different stories, different realities). An episode is realistic, another is pure science-fiction, and the third is in between.
They all deal with certain uses (or rather misuses) of technology and the more or less heavy consequences resulting from it.
This show is very radical, proving that we can still be shocked (or at least surprised) by some things on TV. It makes us think about our world, our appeal for technology, and about the power of tools we use everyday such as the Internet.
Here are quick sum ups of the three episodes, spoiler free.
The National Anthem
England’s Princess is kidnapped and it is announced that she will be executed a few hours later if the Prime Minister doesn’t have a sexual intercourse with a pig live on TV.
No science fiction here, but the power of social networks is highlighted, and the things we write on them carelessly are compared to our reactions when something very real happens.
15 Million Merits
Your life ? Riding your mechanical bike all day to gain some ‘merits’, that you will have to spend later in your room to skip porn advertisement and bad music.
In a world where technology is mandatory, people are alone and live their lives through TV reality shows. But what really happens behind these shows ?
The Entire History of You
What if an implant allowed you to record every second of your life and to rewatch it whenever you wished. Great, isn’t it ? But being able to analyse and reanalyse every thing your employer said to you or the way your wife looked at this guy wouldn’t make you somehow… paranoid ?
A single technology and our world is changed. What are worth the memories which aren’t recorded ? Can you record everything ? How can you lie when all the other has to do is asking for the proof he knows you have ?
[Created by Charlie Brooker]
[Directed by Otto Bathurst, Euros Lyn & Brian Welsh]
[Written by Charlie Brooker, Hanak Huq & Jesse Armstrong]
[Starring Rory Kinnear, Daniel Kaluuya, Toby Kebbell]
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - Like a regular anime, but with time travel
So this is the story of a regular Japanese schoolgirl, telling us about her life and her friends. Until one day, she discovers she can leap through time… She can go whenever she wants, it’s quite precise. So, what will she use this ability for ?… Well, to avoid her friend to tell her he wants them to go out, or to help a girl ask out her other friend, or to manage to cook good tempuras. Okay… And then she learns that she had a limited number of time leaps available, and she starts to worry. A bit too late.
Yes, it disappointed me. You may not see the science-fiction yet, but it’s revealed at the end that it was a technological device from the future that allowed her to time leap.
It really is like a basic shojo ; I mean, the girl’s main problems (and use of her ability) is “Should I go with this guy or not ?”. They didn’t use the full potential of her ability (far from that, actually) and thus it doesn’t have a real interest. Luckily, it’s not a silly kind of shojo so it wasn’t unbearable.
There are also some giant plot holes (or things I just didn’t understand ? Given the simplicity of the general story, I hope not), like her aunt telling her that time leaping is an usual ability for girls her age and that she did it herself when she was younger - but she hadn’t any device, so what ? Was she lying, or did the screenwriters changed their story along the movie ? I just don’t know…
[Directed by Mamoru Hosoda]
[Written by Satoko Okudera, based on a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui]
A Scanner Darkly - Beautiful and disturbing
A few years from now, a governmental organisation is trying to fight against drug addictions, by using infiltrated agents whose identities are known by no one but them thanks to the “scramble suits” they wear when they’re at the office. Robert Arctor is one of these infiltrated agents, but he has gotten addicted to the dangerous substance D. He is so addicted actually, that we don’t really know if he realizes his superiors asked him to monitor… himself (as they don’t know his identity, this can happen) ; he is so addicted that he is also becoming unfit for work. And during the time this side of the story develops, other appear : the identity and role of some minor characters are revealed, and we discover the organisation behind the production of the Substance D.
The technique used for this movie is very strange because there are actual actors (among whom Keanu Reeves and RDJ), but it looks like a cartoon. I found the result really good !
So, about the movie. If you don’t like bugs, if you don’t bear seing people really high or talking nonsense all day, or if in general you don’t like unsettling and disturbing things, I would not advise it to you. For instance, the first 5 minutes of the movie consist of a bad trip where a guy thinks he and his dog are covered in bugs.
If you’re okay with these kind of things, the movie is quite good. I liked the fact that there are two very distinct parts : the nonsense chat between stoned people who will argue for hours on futility, and the lucid moments, whether it’s from drug addicts or from the organisation fighting them.
The movie is rather short, and most of the revelations come at the very end… Speaking of which, there isn’t a real end. We have hints of answers for most of the questions, but no resolution to speak of. But we don’t really need it. I wonder if it’s the same thing in K. Dick’s book.
[Directed by Richard Linklater]
[Written by Richard Linklater, adapted from a Philip K. Dick novel]
[Starring Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Winona Ryder]