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Showing posts from July, 2013

So we have a stowaway on board after all.

Cargo (2009) Debut directors Arnold Buchner and Ivan Engler have clearly bust a gut with this low budget Swiss science fiction film (heralded as the country’s first such genre entry). The problem is, it never stops reminding you of the (usually) better movies that are its inspiration. And it’s not just one movie, the way Trancers is a cheap and cheerful rip on Blade Runner . A steady stream of genre films are evoked during Cargo , as if the makers want to cram it full of homages to their favourite SF ideas and produce a coherent and serious-minded feature in its own right. The year is 2270 and Dr. Laura Portman (Anna Katharina Schwabroh) hopes to join her sister on the planet Rhea. The Earth is toxic and deserted, and the population that hasn’t yet moved to Rhea live on crowded space stations in her orbit.  To pay her way there, Laura takes a job on cargo ship carrying construction materials to a distant station. The trip is four years there and four years

Has the whole world lost its mind?

Box Office Comment May-July 2013 The summer box office season has only a month left to it, and there are few winners and losers left to tally. Elysium , The Smurfs 2 , Planes and 2 Guns are all likely to decent business during August, with a serious question mark over whether The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones can attract the teen crowd or will turn out as just the latest young adult fiction flop. So what of the summer so far? My amateur punditry, the sort of thing Nikki Finke regularly rages at in her box office columns, has thrown up some fairly major howlers over the past three months. In my defence, I made my predictions at the start of the year so there was no opportunity to amend my thoughts as the wind on certain releases began to blow in different directions. The prosecution might attest that I gave movies a fairly wide margin for error by making estimates with upper and lower limits. First up, Star Trek Into Darkness . In the US at least

Good people, it is my pleasure to present to you the one and only Number Six!

The Prisoner 4. Free For All We want information. Number Two persuades Number Six to run in the Village elections. Six is to be assisted by Number 58 (who speaks no English). He accuses the town council of mindless complicity and as is consequently forced to undergo the Truth Test . When he emerges he begins to crack and mounts an escape bid. Following a stint in the hospital he begins running an effective campaign . Despondent again, he is led to a bar in a cave that serves real booze, where Number Two is having a tipple. Six is drugged again and awakes on polling day. He firmly grabs the vote from a bowdlerized Number Two. However, when he arrives in the control centre he discovers that power is not his. He is beaten up and brought before the actual Number Two, who was 58 all along.

We are here to get annihilated.

The World’s End (2013) (SPOILERS) It’s perhaps inevitable that The World’s End should be the Pegg/Wright/Frost film where the hype finally catches up with them. They’ve been in the vanguard of can-do nerds for a long while based purely on past glories; the third part in their Cornetto trilogy has assumed a status of legendary anticipation. And, for many, they can do no wrong (hey, as a collective they had a three-for-three success so I was buying into it). The problem with that assumed weight is that they’ve decided they’re not just funny guys but artists too, so they need to make sure there’s a commentary in their movie; it’s about something. It can’t just be a witty genre riff with lip service to an emotional undertow. So they find themselves testing their mettle like never before, and the result is a bit of a mess. The ever-expanding status of Wright and Pegg as uber-geeks du jour in the States has embedded them in fan consciousness as a duo that can do