Archive | April, 2015

Grunting at the Screen (178)

29 Apr

The information age isn’t finished with us.

We have some data on the Sci Fi London lineup. This is not the full lineup, just the names that have been released.

Roland Joffé’s THE LOVERS,

Previously called Singularity, (and not to be confused with any other Singularitys – there are a lot of them out there) four characters, two time periods and an impossible love affair. It takes place in 18th century India and current America and involves two couples. So far the science fictional element is not clear.

THE VISIT (Or How to Prepare for an Alien Encounter)

A pseudo documentary about alien contact.


A failed sculptor finds a talking hole in the wall with the power to grant his wishes.


initially it was hard getting information about this, but it emerges the premise is a fictional web series where the host is doing his Bear Grills style outdoor survival gig for the camera when he encounters an unexpected adversary.

They are not saying what it is, but since it is science fiction I suppose it is an alien, cyborg, or perhaps alien-cyborg or time-travelling cryptid or something.

Directed by Adam Massey.


We covered this before Grunt (167); an artificial intelligence begins to display disturbing behaviour when its creator starts dating a reporter.


Liza is frustrated and lonely, the carer of the ambassadors widow for decades. Then her charge is suddenly murdered… by the ghost of a seventies pop star. And this is just the beginning.


Australian feature produced by Shane Abbess, directed by Marc Furmie. We covered it in

Grunt (161).

“A small town mechanic who makes a shocking discovery which may affect the fate of the fate of mankind.”


A detective finds himself swinging back and forth between the past and the future, constantly surrounded by people who need redemption.


Kim, an immigrant from 400 years in the future, seeks an easier life in our era.

The full lineup will be announced later.

Sci Fi London runs from 28th May – 6th June 2015

It is the season for short film success. Following on the acquisition of The Leviathan and Sundays Fox just bought the feature film rights to Saman Kesh’s short film Controller: New-Taipei in the future. A powerful psychic is held captive; she engineers her escape by controlling the mind of boyfriend and turning him into the perfect killer.

Fox has hired writer Alev Aydin to stretch it out to feature length.

Of course the usual caveats apply: very few shorts actually make it to feature length. Even after optioning.

Footage from The Martian has been screened at CinemaCon 2015, and the word is good.

The industry is exited, and from the reactions it is the story which has captivated them, the drama of Mat Damon marooned on Mars having to use every bit of ingenuity in him to survive long enough to be rescued.

And oh yes, they think the visuals are great too.

Jeez, I thought Area 51 had already been released… ages ago. But apparently it hadn’t.

It has been hanging around since 2001 but only this May will it see the light of day.

It is a found footage film, from the maker of Paranormal Activity.

As you can guess, it is based in the notorious Area 51, where UFO parts are reputed to be stored.

The trailer is now out.

Now Valiant Comics have announced they want to build a cinematic universe just like Marvel and have kicked off with announcements for Bloodshot and Harbinger movies.

They have now joined the select club of Comic Publishers angling to be the next heavy hitter in Hollywood: Dark Horse, Image, and Boom! Studios are all reaching for that same brass ring.

In the midst of this month’s big releases it is easy to miss news of Shane Abbess’

Infini. The trailer is out and I’ve seen it, not quite as 80s as I expected. It is – and I don’t know if this quite makes sense- 80’s updated.

Anyway looks like your standard “menace on a spaceship scenario” putting us solidly into Alien/Event Horizon territory.

It opens on May 8 in the US.

Finnish TV series Lovemilla is going for a feature adaptation. It is bonkers. Milla lives with her zombie parents and her cyborg boyfriend, Aimo.

Aimo has swapped most of his body parts for machinery so Milla steals his heart… literally.


We have no news of director, schedule or even if it will get a release outside of Finland.

Reviews for Avengers: Age of Ultron are out. And surprisingly they are mixed.

The good news is that they are mixed in different ways. A few are deliriously positive, some have misgivings, none are overall negative. They disagree in detail too: it is not Joss Wheldon enough, it is very Joss Wheldon, it does not do the characters justice, it is excellent on character.

To me this indicates we will get something interesting.

Box Office

It looks like Avengers: Age of Ultron is breaking records at the box office.

World wide it opened at over $200m.

Pundits are projecting a US opening of 230m, smashing the record of its own predecessor Avengers in 2012.

Avengers: Age of Ultron


It’s good. What? You waiting for more? Well yes, it’s good.

Some caveats: yes its structure is kind of loose because it tries to cram in too much, and yes the action is again cut too quickly and you can hardly tell what’s going on.

But there is real quality here, some good humour, and real pathos, mature emotions. Especially between Bruce Banner and the Black Widow.

It fits together: it makes sense that Tony Stark creates Ultron,

Every one of the main characters has their moments (not just one but several) and there is a real story here: based around Tony Stark’s hubris and the group’s ability to overcome the forces that would tear them apart.

It should go without saying that the FX should be immaculate, and it is.

And as for spectacle, Marvel tries to raise the scale with each movie and they have succeeded in droves, it is mind bogglingly huge.

As for the Marvel Universe there are some intriguing tabs leading to future films: the conflict between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers leading into Captain America: Civil War, the dark vision of Thor leading on to Ragnorok and the business with Loki’s sceptre leading into Avengers: Infinity War. At the same time these foreshadowings do not distract from the core story.

The newcomers Wanda and Pietro Maximoff are solid although it is Elizabeth Olsen who shines here.

By the end it is all change, a harbinger for fresh things to come.

Age of Ultron is as good you expected. And no more, but what more do you want?

And now for spoilers. Stop here if you don’t want to know.

The kicker here is I’m only talking about things rumours that did not pan out:

There is no Spider-Man; in any form or fashion.

We do not go to Wakanda though vibranium is a big part the plot, we do go to Africa, and meet the notorious enemy of the Black Panther: Ulysses Klau (yes, not “Klaw”)

The Hulk does not go grey.

There is a new Avengers team at the end, although it there are no big surprises here, no Ms. Marvel does not appear.

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 (177)

21 Apr


The information age isn’t finished with us.

Looks like we have a DVD release date for Automata. It is May 11th.

Here is a review from Starburst

You may think you want to see WWII fighters going up against Nazi dragons, but you don’t.

Starburst magazine gives a cautionary review of P51 Dragon Fighters here.

The DVD is out now.

Getting all sorts of coverage is Aurora, a feature film directed by Robert Kouba;

Andrew is hit by a car, sixty years later he awakes to a world where most of humanity is extinct and robots dominate.

He encounters a woman, Calia, and together they make their way to Aurora, the last human stronghold.

But Andrew is not human.

I’m kind of interested. It has giant robots.

What is exciting the blogosphere is that this feature is Kickstarter funded.

It’s also well put together, some good cinematography and acceptable CGI.

Aurora opens on July 7 in the USA.

I will be looking out for reviews.

We are in luck this month Jose Padilha has signed to direct Mindcorp, a Science Fiction feature. Details are scarce; I will have to quote you from Coming Soon website: “Next-generation mind-body experimentation and a priest who becomes responsible for the survival of humanity.”

Well that is crystal clear.

Warner Bros. is the studio, Dwain Worrell is writing it from a story by Padilha himself.

Surprise surprise, Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy has been optioned.

Following hard on the heels of the Chrononauts acquisition, this comic has been snagged by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, he is currently looking for a writer so it will be a while before we see much movement.

Jupiter’s Legacy shows us conflict between the world’s greatest superheroes and their children.

It has been some time since Hollywood did it in the style of the Greeks… but we are hearing that director Francis Lawrence and writer Peter Craig are taking on one of the most substantial of all Hellenic stories, The Odyssey. If those tow names seem familiar to you they are the ones behind the last three “The Hunger Games” movies.

I am interested in their take on the material.

Production is due to start next year.

The Signal has now finished its short cinema release and is now out on DVD.

Reviews are mixed, it has good production values, and an intriguing premise but the ending has confused everyone.

Back in Grunt (166) we mentioned Outpost 37, well don’t go look for it under that title because it is now going under the name of MANKIND’S LAST STAND. The review is quite enthusiastic but I am made cautious by words like “gentle”, “subtle” and “Ken Loach’s Battle Los Angeles”.

As you can guess it s an Alien Invasion film.

Here is the Starburst review:

I am also not enthused that it is another documentary style movie.

Anyway. It is out on DVD, and by the sound of it is slightly different to your usual straight to disk movie.

We didn’t mention the science fiction project Rupture because there wasn’t enough detail.

Now we can tell you that Steven Shainberg is the director  Brian Nelson is writing the script and just drafted to star is Noomi Rapace.

Not much is known about the plot: a single mother raising her son is abducted by a shadowy organisation, when she gets away from them she learns a secret about herself, she has powers.

They are looking to start principle photography in June.

Here is the Attack on Titan trailer. It is madder and more stylised than any previous footage from this feature.

This one snuck up on me, but it is done and out on DVD this week.

A British science fiction feature called Frequencies; on an alternate earth where each person has a ‘frequency’, (high frequency people have all of the luck, but if you are low nothing you do is right) a high frequency woman is pursued by a low frequency man, but every time they are together the weirdest stuff happens.

Here is Starburst’s review.

This actually sounds fascinating. Reviews have being going nuts, acting and ideas are supposedly superb.

The trailer has just emerged for Residue, variously described as a British paranormal or Science fiction thriller. It comes from writer John Harrison and director Alex Garcia.

In the near future a British city has been destroyed by a mysterious catastrophe. It perimeter is sealed off, but from the ruins a strange psychic phenomenon emerges,  Jennifer is tasked with discovering the course of these phantoms and the truth behind the catastrophe.

You can see it right now, it is streaming on Netflix (well here in the UK, I have no idea if it available in the US)

Ultron is coming.

Box office projections are better than those for the first Avengers movie. Reviews are unable to publish yet but are hinting that it’s both different and good.

We are days away from knowing…

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 (176)

4 Apr

The information age isn’t finished with us.

As predicted back in Grunting at the Screen (166), Mark Millar’s comic Chrononauts has got a deal.

It has only just hit the stands as a comic, but work on the film deal has been going on for months.

Universal is the studio and Producer is Chris Morgan who wrote and produced Millar’s other hit Wanted. No word on whether Morgan will write the screenplay this time around. No word on director, cast or schedule, so far.

The plot features two American adventures hopping through time, meeting historical figures and wrecking the time/space continuum in the process.

John Woo has been making historical films lately, but he is back in the action game with a remake of the 1976 Japanese film, Manhunt.

A prosecutor is framed for robbery and rape, he has to clear his name while taking down the persons responsible for framing him.

John Woo… doing a remake….ooooh.

Here is a little footage (actually very little) of the forthcoming Attack on Titan Live action feature,

Hopefully there will be more later.

For the last couple of weeks interest has been bubbling over Ruairí Robinson’s project The Leviathan.

Robinson is known for his short films: he made a splash in 2007 with a short called “Silent City” and ever since then there has been keen anticipation for his feature.

He delivered The Last Days on Mars last year to an underwhelming reception. But his fortune seems to have turned around with the proof of concept video for The Leviathan.

Robinson directed it, Jim “Fight Club” Uhls wrote it.

It’s pretty nutty; in the future interstellar travel has been made possible by harvesting exotic matter from the eggs of these massive cloud-dwelling monsters. It’s tough, dangerous work done by forced labour.

It started as a proof of concept video on the net. It accumulated hits and speculation on the film blogs. Now it has been picked up.

Here’s a look if you haven’t seen it yet.

…Hmm looks like Dune meets Moby Dick…

Simon Kinberg has signed up as producer.

More interestingly Neill Blomkamp has signed as executive producer.

Hot on the heels of that news we learned that 20th Century Fox has acquired ‘The Leviathan’.

No schedule as of yet.

I haven’t mentioned Sundays before because for a long time it was a short film.

The saga started way back in. 2012 when Twitchfilm was showing teasers from a short by Amsterdam based film maker Mischa Rozema, it was accompanied by a press release all about the singularity and computer intelligence surpassing humans’.

Over the next few years there were a few more notices. Including word of Kickstarter campaign to finish the project.

This year it actually emerged, 14 minutes long and compared to the Matrix and District 9 (NB, the director of District 9 got his start the buzz from his own short film).

With it came a much more cogent synopsis: Ben has a recurrent dream of the end of the world, and he keeps dreaming a woman too, a woman missing from his life. As he seeks the truth, finding more confusion he realises he is stuck in a terrible and dark reality.

Rozema is a keen visualist, take a look.

I still would not have mentioned it, except the short film has stirred interest. There was a bidding war between three studios and eventually Warner Bros. snagged the feature rights.

Rozema has a plan for a feature length story, but Warners are bring in their own writers. Where it will go from there is anybody’s guess.

I am hearing that Eli Roth’s Green Inferno opened in March but there is very lithe sign of it.

Certainly The Signal is finally opening.

What interests me is Robot Overlords. It’s a Young Adult movie, but it hasn’t been adapted from any book and, hey, it’s got robots.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is bearing down on us. It is about a month off.

Of course I am going, the last one was good, I expect this to be at least watchable.

The live-action Robotech is an “on” project again. They plan a whole series of films. Sony is the studio and Michael Gordon is writing.

Steven Spielberg to not Direct Ready Player One. Actually the news is that he will. But when we look at his recent record with genre projects, well we doubt. We think he will consider it for a year, then pass it onto some other director just like he did with. Interstellar and Ghost in the Shell (I would also say Robopocalypse but he has not officially put it into turnaround, despite having put BFG, and Bridge of Spies ahead of it in the queue).

So, I look forward to hearing that someone else has taken over Ready Player One in six months to a year.

When we last caught up with Time Lapse in Grunting at the Screen (146) it was in connection with Sci Fi London. Well it has a US release now: it comes to theatres and Video On Demand on May 15, 2015.

The plot is the same: three friends discover a machine that allows them to see 24 hours into the future, as they keep looking the images become more and more disturbing.

Predestination, the adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “All you Zombies” has a release on disk; April 6th. I might try it.

This one seems to have slipped me by; Inverse, written and directed by Matt Duggan; a man emerges from his swimming pool with no memory. The first thing he learns is that everyone thinks he is dead.

From there on it whirls into a drama of amnesia and quantum mechanics with twists, until all is explained.

It won the Best Science Fiction Feature prize at Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival, it has attracted wildly, mixed reviews, and it is available on disk now.

We mentioned back in Grunt (142) David Boxenbaum and Jeff Krelitz deal to buy Heavy Metal and start making TV shows and movies.

Well they are up to a running start with Hoax Hunters; two TV ghost debunkers are secretly part of an organisation that suppresses the truth about the world’s dark forces.

Hme, sounds a little Ghost Busters, a little Men in Black.

Don Murphy will produce. Craig Titley will write the script.

It is an adaptation of a comic by Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley; interestingly enough the very first stand-alone comic from Heavy Metal, and out now.

And I would have liked to have reviewed Robot Overlords, but the release is so narrow I just can’t get to it.

Maybe later, on disk.

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.