Archive | June, 2015

Grunting at the Screen (182)

27 Jun

The information age isn’t finished with us.


Cyberpunk Special; Summer

Well you remember Duncan Jones’ Mute. No?

Back in 2009, after his debut, Moon, Duncan Jones announced his intention to make Mute: a near-future thriller based in Berlin.

There was a piece of conceptual artwork, knocking about: highly reminiscent of Blade Runner.

Well, it didn’t work out, Jones had trouble raising money, in fact he could not convince the financiers about the movie; it was a future-set film that did not depend on its future setting. They did not get it.*

Well the project was put on the back-burner while Jones directed Warcraft. In the meantime he decided to turn the screenplay into a comic.

I don’t know how I missed this one, but it has been hanging about for a couple of years….

…whatever is happening here, it seems to involve a lot of animals.

It’s a sound tactic, making screenplays into comics has worked for Darren Aronofsky (both for The Fountain and Noah) and Joe Kosinski (for Oblivion). Like I’ve said, film execs can’t read, just give them some pictures to look at.

Anyway, neither the comic nor the film are showing any indication of appearing, but you have more pretty pictures to look at.

Talking of Blade Runner, looks like Blade Runner 2 is refusing to die. It is casting now, and rumours are flying all around it.

Further evidence comes from the announcement of Roger Deakins as the cinematographer.

This is particularly important. Blade Runner is an intensely visual film that was shot by one of the best in the business.

Roger Deakins is a highly nominated cinematographer, whether he can bring the necessary nuance to the project remains to be seen.

The live Ghost in the Shell movie now has a target for principle photography: January or February 2016 and a release date of March 31st 2017.

Richard K. Morgan is under the impression that the Altered Carbon movie is still in play.

Mythology is the production company and Laeta Kalogridis is developing the screenplay.

We’ll see.

On the Neuromancer front nothing was happening for a year. Suddenly we find that the former production company (Seven Arts) does not seem to be involved anymore.

The company now dealing with Neuromancer is GFM Films. What is more, they have combined with Chinese film development company, C2M Media Group, to bring Neuromancer to the screen.

Vincenzo Natali is no longer involved, his screenplay has been thrown out and they are looking for new people all around.

And we have Deus Ex news from producer Adrian Askarieh. They have left CBS films and Roy Lee and are teaming up with an unnamed partner. There will be “big” announcement soon.

Well it’s kind of news.

And Also….

I am calling it the “Tomorrowland Effect”: because since Disney’s last original SF film crashed and burned, the media are now pretending original SF does not exist. There is plenty of coverage for the latest rehash, anything else is studiously ignored.

However I have dug out some fresh news.

June: a girl shares her body with an ancient supernatural being intent on destroying mankind (What, that does not sound very science fiction)

Anyway the project has just been acquired by RJ Entertainment, Kennedy Brice and Casper Van Dien have been cast. Director is L. Gustavo Cooper. No word of deliver date.

Jeese, while I was not looking the SF movie Passengers has been cast. You know the plot: A man on a centuries-lasting space voyage wakes up, and rather than spend decades alone he wakes a fellow passenger, who will live the years out with him.

This cosmic douche is now being played by Chris Pratt, and his tragic space wife will be Jennifer Lawrence. It is inspired casting. Prat is reputedly impossible to dislike, so it solves the problematic premise.

Eli Roth has been signed up to direct the long in gestating giant shark movie, Meg.

Doesn’t sound like his kind of thing, but maybe Roth always had a little Spielberg in him.

It just won’t die.

Despite taking all the abuse you can imagine, Akira, the live-action adaptation will not lay down.

The latest development is a new screenwriter. The latest schlub- sorry lucky professional is Marco J. Ramirez, the new show runner for the Daredevil TV series.

Let’s hope he has better luck than Gary Witta.

A couple of Months back Amazon signed a deal with Terry Gilliam. Now it emerges he is delivering Man Who Killed Don Quixote for them.

He has made multiple attempts to get this film made and this looks like the best bet yet.

Timur Bekmambetov is producing a historical feature about the space race called First Time. And yes the bloggers are using the “G” word- Gravity.

First Time chronicles the ground-breaking first space-walk by cosmonaut Alexei Leonov.

It is due out in 2016

Frank Herbert was most famous for writing Dune and his sequels. His next most significant literary achievement, in my opinion was his mainstream novel, Soul Catcher.

The feature adaptation has been in development for a while, and now has a director.

None other than the mighty John “Brother from Another Planet” Sayles is writing the screenplay, and Chris Eyre will direct.

We look forward to good things.

Fantasia Film Fest debuts a number of genre films fresh to us, included is

Synchronicity; a scientist goes back in time to prevent the theft of his invention.

Directed by Jacob Gentry.

We are also hearing about the new British SF/ horror feature The Scopia Effect;

a woman is treated with hypnosis for depression, but it unearths secrets best left buried. I gather there is some reincarnation involved.

This is the debut for director Christopher Butler and the unique selling point here is said to be the spectacular cinematography.

No word on a release date yet.

And it seems like Eli Roth’s Knock Knock has been released in the UK. Seems like it is an erotic thriller, I’ll report back when I get some reviews.

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.

*Me neither


Grunting at the Screen (181)

13 Jun

The information age isn’t finished with us.

Our Hero for this week is Josh Trank, he’s been getting a lot of stick this month for quitting the Star Wars spinoff. He has broken his silence and explained his decision.

He wanted to do something original.

He joins a small number of directors who have rejected the endless runs of rehashes to venture into the unknown.

Unfortunately he also said he wanted to get from under “under public scrutiny”. Hme, with his noisy exit from the Lucasfilm/Disney plantation there is no chance of him living a quiet life.

RZ-9 frustrated the hell out of me.

It appeared on the supermarket shelves and I could not find anything substantive about it on the net.

The back cover blurb read like: “The US has suffered a major terrorist attack. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have been annihilated by weapons of mass destruction, and the US government has declares martial law. America hires private soldiers, and develops a state-of-the-art drone patrol system to monitor its citizen and locate any new terrorist activities.”

Well it is not important.

Most films try to push as much information as they dare to sell the film> RZ-9 was curiously reticent. There was not even much on its director Iain Carson.

Thankfully our old pals Starburst have come though.

The word is, inevitably, not good.

We last reported on Gaiking back in Grunting (109),

here is a surprise, the Live action Adaptation is apparently still in play.

Gaiking was the original Japanese name for the Shogun Warriors anime.

It spawned a line of toys that are still collectable.

Toei Animation announced the project was still on and Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment is still producing.

There is no word of screenplay, cast or director.

Talking of anime adaptations there will be one for Beyblade. Mary Parent will produce it at Paramount.

Robert Rodriguez has been searched out to direct “Johnny Quest”.

This was a 1984 cartoon about a boy who investigated scientific mysteries with his father. It only ran one season but has been much revived.

The feature is based at Warner Bros. Terry Rossio will write the script.

No word on cast or schedule.

This is all fair enough but Rodriguez was due to adapt Fire and Ice or Nervewrackers, which now puts both of these in doubt.

Still at the deal stage is Utopia, an adaptation of the novel by Ahmed Khaled Towfik; the wealthy live in a high tech development called Utopia, the poor in Cairo. One day a pair of Utopians go hunting… in Cairo. Rami Imam is producing and directing.


Tron 3 has been cancelled.

Some are saying it is in response to Tomorrowland’s disappointing performance, but it has been on the cards a while.

The shock is that Disney took so long to announce it. The Tron revival didn’t break any records and there was doubt about a follow-up.

Well at least director Joseph Kosinski can now breathe a sigh of relief

(now if they cancel the Black Hole reboot Kosinski will be totally off the hook.)

Green Inferno at last has a release. It has a US release on September 25.

It’s a good news bad news situation

There’s a new Science Fiction movie in development called Time Salvager, well that’s good news.

It’s to be made my Michael Bay. Oh Gawd, the guy behind the Transformer movies? That said he did a nice movie with Ewan McGregor a while back. On the other hands… he’s Michael bay.

The other thing is it is adapted from a forthcoming novel by Wesley Chu; now I read a novel by him, The Lives of Tao. It was quite fun. We’ll call that Good news.

We even have some word on the plot: the future, Earth is abandoned, a space convict is given the opportunity to go back in time to gather resources needed to re-occupy earth. On the way he meets a woman and feelings occur (because nothing says “I love you” like a big, dangerous physics experiment.)

OK, love and time adventure, it only sounds like half a Michael Bay movie. Will we get 12 Monkeys meets The Rock?

No cast or script announced yet.

A few more words of Fury Road.

No artistic strategy is carved in stone. George Miller returned to the Mad Max universe and reaped great success.

I’m not going into details of his strategy and how it worked. But I am moved to express caution towards anyone who wishes to emulate him.

Producers get a lot of stick for remaking, rebooting and sequelising beloved classics. Most of them would sell their mothers to get the kind of praise and respect Miller attracted (they wouldn’t mind the box office either.) Recreating this achievement is no trivial matter`; aside from the years of development, retention of original director and artistic freedom he was offered there are factors not quite so quantifiable: Fury Road was a labour of love, on the part of the director and much of the crew, they knew just where to respect the original, and where to load on innovation. This is not something you can buy.

Just now I have realised another forthcoming film faces similar challenges: Legend of Conan. They are sequelising a beloved original, which has a history going back nearly thirty years, using many of the original elements. Whether they can even get close to the success of Fury road remains to be seen.

It looks like the feature adaptation of Wool is still in play. They hired a writer Nicole Perlman, who wrote Guardians of the Galaxy.

Ridley Scott is still producing, but probably not directing.

Out this week on UK DVD: Vice, that other robot movie, they one no-one went to. Now, I am sure it can’t be as bad as they say.*

*On legal grounds I am obliged to tell you it can actually be as bad as they say, even though I say without having seen 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.