Archive | December, 2014

Grunting at the Screen (167)

20 Dec

The information age isn’t finished with us.


Following up on the report from the last grunt. Ridley Scott has now said he might want to direct Blade Runner 2 after all.


My comment is when will he find time? He cannot do it and also do The Martian and Prometheus 2. There is just not enough time.




We first mentioned Bruce’s Willis current project Vice back in Grunting (142).

Strangely enough very little has come out since then. Until now.

Well a trailer has emerged.

And the release is in about a month,

But I have to ask, why have we heard so little about it?

Maybe because it’s not the sequel of a reboot of a thirty year old franchise.

That said, it is not the freshest thing out there, bloggers are comparing it to Westworld at every turn and even I am not sure what it can bring to the old robot rebellion genre that hasn’t been warmed over a couple of times.

Well we will find out on January 16th,




Looks like Keanu Reeves will no longer be playing the biggest douche-bag in space.

Sony Pictures have now acquired rights to Jon Spaihts’s screenplay, Passengers; you will recall it is about a traveller in a starship, the lone one awake in a ship full of hibernating colonists, he wakes up one woman to be his companion on the trip (of course this means they both will grow old before the ship arrives at destination).

It previously was with The Weinstein Company, there is no word on who will be direction but we know Sony will start from scratch with none of the former personnel attached to the project.




We have word of a couple of science fiction features with New Year openings.

First off is The Phoenix Project: four young scientists develop a method to revive the dead, with inevitable consequences.

Directed by Tyler Pavey it is out in the US from January 16th, 2015


And Alien Outpost directed by Jabbar Raisani: a documentary style feature; a film crew is embedded with an army unit. It is the most hostile place on earth, the last outpost against an invasion of the alien “Heavies”. It gets a limited US opening from January 30


Which brings to mind the similar title, Alien Rising, directed by Dana Schroeder: an ex Homeland security agent goes to a remote island t help unlock the secrets of alien technology: look for the US DVD release on January 20, 2015



Automata has received an American DVD release. Things are moving so fast.



Also out on disk in the UK: Sin City A Dame to Kill and Ari Folman’s the Congress.











Tsukamoto. Is. Back.


Shinya Tsukamoto, director of that key cyberpunk artefact Tetsuo, has a new film.


Fires on the Plain is his return to the historical genre he so powerfully mastered back with Gemini.

Fires On The Plain is an adaptation of the novel of Japan’s occupation of the Philippines, written by Ooka Shohei, a veteran of that campaign,


Tsukamoto is starring as private Tamura.

The film opened at the Tokyo FILMeX Film Festival.


No word on when or whether it will get a western release.

Check it out on Twitch—tsukamoto-shinya-talks-fires-on-the-plain.html



Following up on the last issue of Grunting: “Drafted” from Mark Powers.

I knew it reminded me of a classic Science Fiction short story and I just remembered (actually Google remembered for me).

It was the “The Liberation of Earth” by William Tenn from 1953. It was originally a satire on the Cold War but it has wider application: Vietnam War, War on Terror, anywhere depicting the relationship between a superpower and a client state.



Hero of this issue is Duncan Jones, Director of Moon and Source Code.

On being linked to the forthcoming Star Trek 3 he tweeted “Very flattering being on short list for Star Trek, but won’t be doing it. Absolutely MUST make my own thing next, or I’ll die of old age,”

By “my own thing” I presume he means some movie not remake, reboot or sequel. I presume he means something more like the first two films he directed. OK he might also mean not an adaptation (he is working on Warcraft at this moment). Anyway; my hero.



This one slipped by me. Uncanny from director Matthew Leutwyler; an artificial intelligence begins to display disturbing behaviour when its creator starts dating a reporter.


What surprises me is how far along it is; it is in the can and has a trailer. More when reviews start coming out.




The Anomaly (review)

It moves along quickly and its structure as a series of ten minute interludes between off screen plot gives it a propulsivness.

I like it a lot,

The Anomaly is cheap, but it does not look that way, it underlines the fact, there are no excuses, even low budget films can have great cinematography and art direction.

Noel Clark is convincing, it looks like he really wanted to make use of all of that martial arts training from the MMA movie he never got to do, they are a whole bunch of fights all exciting, best of all they are shot, full body, continuous shot like an Asian movie: I hate the fast cutting in current action movies, you need to see what is going on.

The story is OK, we have seen this kind of thing before, but it does not feel like a knock off.

There are some cool ideas and the characters doesn’t behave like total idiots.

Catch it if you can, if you don’t want to spring for disk, rent it.




And if you want some real movie news you know what to do.

And if you want to walk the wild side of genre video try Starburst’s review section





I’m Jack Eris and if you know me, you know Jack.


Grunting at the Screen (166)

6 Dec

The information age isn’t finished with us.

Hero of this posting is Jonathan R. Betuel, writer and remakes-rights holder for The Last Starfighter.

He ain’t selling. He has refused the sell the rights to remake or sequelise his movie and I wholly support him.

The original is no classic but it is fun and sweet and would not benefit a wit to be remade with newer FX and a cuter cast.

I wish there were more like him.

Arch recycler Mark Millar never stops working; his latest comic is Chrononauts… wait, why am I talking about a comic? Well everything Millar does gets optioned as a movie. There is no deal in place at the moment but it is a sad inevitability.

It’s co-created by Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy and treats time travellers like astronauts.

Watch this space for the forthcoming film deal.

We mentioned the Japanese manga adaptation Parasyte back in Grunt 156,

well, a review has emerged.

First of all, it’s in two parts and only part one is out.

According to review it is a bit on the slow side but it builds up to an impressive finish before part 2 gets going.

What concerns me is that it appears to have a lot of body-horror aspects but achieves those visuals via CGI… which can be problematic.

I have found someone whose passion for cheap straight-to-disk movies far exceeds my own. It’s Film Critics United.

(Yeah… not so much separating the wheat from the chaff as the high protein chaff from the low protein chaff….)

Casper Van Dien just won’t quit, just as well, because his latest project is Garrison 7, an Australian SF feature due out in 2015.

He plays the commander of a Special Forces unit: his family is murdered by a military conspiracy; he himself is hunted down by them, hunted across the galaxy.

(Hme, sound like they will need way more money than they budgeted by.)

Director is Ryctor…or as his mother named him “Scott Andrew Allard”. More as it emerges.

Philip K. Dick’s The Crawlers is getting a film adaptation, director is to be Jason Lapeyre, Kalen Egan and Travis Sentell are writing the script.

Has Daniel H. “Robopocalypse” Wilson strayed from the iron path? He certainly is succeeding by any measure, his books are being adapted as films, he has a very good sequel on the shelves now (Robogenesis, read it), and now he graduated to selling his pitches.

Why write a whole book when you can sell an outline.

His latest sale sounds strangely robot free (yah boo!) “Alpha” and is described as a “Science fiction survival story” This is vague as hell and I hope it has neglected to mention the killer robots.

Wilson is not getting away scott free, he is writing the screenplay.

Anthony Scott Burns will direct and Brad Pitt is producing.

Look out for Outpost 37, we are not entirely sure but we think it is a documentary-style science fiction feature directed by Visual FX expert Jabbar Raisani.

An alien invasion has barely been beaten back. The main force has been defeated but pockets of Alien activity remain, the most dangerous zone is guarded by human Outpost 37, a documentary crew is sent in to record life in the most hazardous place on earth, but they learn the first invasion was just the tip of the iceberg.

Outpost 37 was out in the summer in the US and will get a British DVD release early in 2015.

Back in Grunting 159 we promised more on Jamin Winans’s feature “The Frame”, well we have found a review.

But I can’t tell you anything much, because the review is so oblique. They don’t want to spoil anything o I guess the basic idea is germane to the outcome. What we can say is there is a thief with a heart and an EMT. They come together, and something happens.

They reviewer describes it as an urban fantasy but it is clear there are science fiction ideas in here.

Oh, go see the review yourself.

Doesn’t look like there is a release date as of yet

Ari “Waltz with Bashir” Folman Wants To Make Jodorowsky’s Dune. Not just Dune but the Jodorowsky version of it.

I would not get excited, the Frank Herbert estate controls the rights to all adaptation, they are litigious … no sorry, I did not say that, what I meant to say is they have been known to vigorously defend their intellectual property rights and from what I know Jodorowsky’s version of dune was not the most faithful (not the direction the Estate has been going in).

Incidentally Folman was thinking of an animated version.

And in brilliant news.

Jodorowsky’s Dune the documentary by Frank Pavich has been nominated for an Oscar. Of course it is going up against real competition including Roger Ebert biography “Life Itself” (and I suspect Hollywood will want to congratulate itself), but to get this far is really heart-warming.

This is a pretty good month, there have been a number of Science fiction projects ether starting or completing. Latest one is “Drafted “a comic adaptation from Mark Powers and artist Chris Lie,

Humanity has been contacted by a race of aliens called “The Benefactors”; they are just in time to help us fight against an undefined alien enemy. The human race has been drafted for war.

Anyway at Benderspink Productions have bought the rights, Mark Powers is co-writing the script.

The Much Better Considered Cyberpunk Special

What do we know about Robert Rodriguez’s Nerveracker?

We first started hearing about it in 2009.

For years it was Rodriguez’s “next project” but it kept being delayed.

It didn’t help that Rodriguez started comparing it to the Science fiction classic Blade Runner and the disparaging that beloved work as “Blade Walker”.

By 2010 the word was it was delayed because Rodriguez was waiting for a particular actor to become available.

Back then he said the film was ready to go. All of the pre-production was complete, even the costumes were done (Rodriguez claimed he was wearing the hero’s jacket)

Not much has been revealed about it but we do have a synopsis.

It is 2085, Joe Tezca is in an elite anti-crime unit trying to end a crime wave in the otherwise perfect society. In doing so he learns of the Nerverackers, who are attempting to take control of the whole city and the city elite a covering it up.

Not much to go with. There is an impression Rodriguez is going for a gritty urban near future look.

As the years went by Nerveracker blew release dates and other projects pushed it out of the way, but in 2014, after Rodriguez finished Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, it seemed he finally was ready to start filming it.

He said he had turned in a new draft of the script and the Weinstein Company was eager to have it, it was fully financed and it would be his next feature.

Very little is being revealed.

Because it has been so long in gestation he is highly prepared and he imagines it will film pretty quickly.

He said he would be working with actors he had previously hired, and also it would be filmed both live action and greenscreen.

Let’s take another look at Park Chan-Wook’s Second Born.

We have two elements: the neural chip that stores consciousness, and the black market it allows.

Technically all that is needed for a cyberpunk narrative. Of course we have no indication Chan-Wook and screenwriter David Jagernauth are going in that direction. In fact the indications are even worse than for Elysium which promised so much.

Idea wise we have been here before.

With Freejack back in 1992 (a perilously loose adaptation of Robert Sheckley’s 1959 novella Immortality, Inc.)

But that was a while back and it is time we had a fresh spin on the old idea.

Looking at cinematic history the vast majority of body swap films have been comedies and most of these have been romcoms. I truly hope we will be seeing a more extrapolative take on the sub-genre.

Second Born is not the only body swap movie in the works, way before we see it will be the release of Selfless directed by Tarsem Singh and staring Ryan Reynolds. In this one an elderly dying man transfers his consciousness into a young body.

We were thinking it would be months before the next Cyberpunk special but major news has dropped.

You probably have heard this already, but Ridley Scott will not direct Blade Runner 2.

This blog has been saying for months that Scott’s dance card is so full that something would have to give and it emerges that the follow up to this science fiction classic is what is giving.

Although it does not seem that Blade Runner 2 has a fixed starting date, it is planned to shoot within a year.

Although he is out as producer he is remaining involved in his producing capacity.

No new director has been announced.

Harrison Ford is still in the cast but his roll is now almost a cameo, he will not appear until the last third of the movie.

Ridley Scott is working on The Martian right now and there will be extensive post- production once he has done shooting. There is also the matter of Prometheus 2 which has been promised.

Let’s put our cards on the table: I don’t think anyone should direct Blade Runner 2, the Original should be just left alone. However, if that is not an option than Scott, as original director would make less of a balls-up than anyone else.

This development means all speculation on what Scott would have done in a sequel is moot. There is no chance of seeing what he would have done to update the iconic look of this 1980’s landmark.

I fear we might get an unsatisfactory attempt to mimic the look and the themes of the original… Anyway. Time will tell.

What do we know about Blade Runner 2

The basic idea for the story was worked up by Ridley Scott and Screenwriter Hampton Fancher (who wrote the first draft for the Original BR). (It can be safely assumed that very little of original author Philip K. Dick’s themes or elements will make it into this revival).

It has had a rewrite from Michael “Green Lantern” Green. Green also worked on Scott’s current film Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Scott has expressed a disturbing amount of confidence in the script.

It is very definitely a sequel not a prequel or reboot.

The story has a female protagonist, a hardboiled feel, is set several years after the first movie ends and involves the search for Rick Deckard.

Scott has vociferously giving his opinion that Deckard in the first film was a replicant (in fact he has said that the bounty hunter is a “Nexus-6”) and it seems he is going that way in the sequel.

There is an odd quote which may be a clue about the feature or just some random rumour. Ridley Scott was location scouting in Australia and it was assumed he was looking for locations for Blade Runner 2. He said of the landscape “vast farmland where there’s no hedges or anything else in sight…where you can see for miles, but it’s dirt.”

Now we know he is making The Martian (also requiring big desolate spaces) but if he was indeed referring to Blade Runner 2 it suggests a return to the abandoned introduction to the original Blade Runner which starts way out in the country with a bounty hunter killing replicant in a remote cabin.

To be honest, we do not know a lot at all.

How about a speculation: in Blade Runner Deckard tells Rachel he wound come looking for her “but someone would”. Let’s speculated that Blade Runner 2 is about that someone. A female bounty hunter who is now hunting Deckard (I am assuming there is no part for Sean Young and therefor no Rachel.) Let’s assume she catches up with Deckard far outside the city (where the couple were heading back in 1982) and this is where the climax happens.


We know we will not get the original director, although we will get the original star. But Blade Runner is all about the many elements: what about the music? Ridley Scott worked with composer Vangelis twice: on Blade Runner and on 1492. Is there any likelihood of getting him back?

We have confirmation that Harrison Ford has signed up for Blade runner 2.

Now here is a thought. Until the 25th year anniversary Harrison Ford was reluctant to even talk about Blade Runner in interview. It is no secret that Harrison Ford was unhappy with the filming of Blade Runner and particularly with Ridley Scott. It seemed with the anniversary and the acknowledgement of respects and classic status the film has earned that all had been forgiven.

What if that was not true?

Ridley Scott declines directing duty and Harrison Ford is officially cast. In that order. It could be coincidence. It could be a clear message form the money men: Harrison Ford is a bigger attraction than Ridley Scott.

I’m just saying.

One last thing…

Edgar Wright has already picked his top films for 2014 (looking at December’s line-up… I don’t blame him), I’m not going to comment on his picks but he did say something close to my heart: We need to make more original movies and audiences would do well to support original movies, for the future of the medium. I tire of franchises, remakes, and endless sequels.”

Preach Brother! Preach!

And if you want some real movie news you know what to do.

And if you want to walk the wild side of genre video try Starburst’s review section

I’m Jack Eris and if you know me, you know Jack.