Archive | March, 2016

Grunting at the Screen (200)

31 Mar




The information age isn’t finished with us.





Just happened upon The Discovery, Written by Charlie McDonnell and Justin Lader and directed by Charlie McDowell. It is set in a world where the afterlife has been scientifically proven, leading to a rash of suicides in the race to the other side.


Hme, this is the latest in a slight trend in proven afterlife movie projects: Heaven is for Real, Proof of Heaven, First Phone Call from Heaven. For Goodness Sake! Have some faith?


Anyway, The Discovery will star Rooney Mara, Robert Redford and Jason Segel, and starts shooting this month.





Reviews are coming through for Batman V. Superman. Not the love fest Warner Bros. might have wanted.


Truth is the reviews are mixed, but only mixed in how they dislike it. Some hate it because it is busy, loud and thoughtless. Some because it is long, talky and boring.


Of course, I’m going to see it, although I am at a loss to explain why…


Hardcore Henry is coming, and it sounds mad, mad, mad.


For those who came in late this is the film co-starring Sharlto (District 9) Copley and directed by Ilya Naishuller, it is a first person point of view action film which some are saying is everything the Doom movie should have been.

Ah yes. The thing with the shaky first-person cam is you may well get just a little (OK, more than a little) nauseous.


So for those with a strong inner ear, you may want to check it out.




Simon Pummell’s Identicals (formerly Brand New-U) is now out in US cinemas. The only reason I care at all is that he promises to adapt Dogfight by William Gibson and Michael Swanwick.

We’ll see.





Computers are evil, this goes without saying; movies have been telling us this from the beginning of the personal computer revolution;


We know that the internet is evil. No, it is, countless low budget movies say so.

The only question is… why?


I was reminded of this considering Unfriended and also finding a film called The Den. (girl murdered on webcam).


Now, we are not talking mundane evil: catfishers, pedos, doxxers, drug dealers and blackhats of all kinds. That’s neither here nor there.


I am talking spiritual evil. The internet is spiritually wicked (don’t forget, cheap DVDs tell us).


Social media is especially evil.


Which brings us to Friend Request from Simon Verhoeven (yes, he is related to someone famous). We don’t have details yet but I don’t doubt… it’s evil.


It opens in the UK on April 22.








High Rise



The only thing that does not ring true is the Margaret Thatcher quote at the end. It feels forced.


High Rise was published in 1975, and there is a world of difference between the mid seventies and the end of the decade. Those who were there will tell you.



I can even accept the punk track over the end credits, 1976 was just a year away.


High Rise is an odd film.


You should know the set up. Dr Robert Lang lives in a residential skyscraper, gradually social order in the building breaks down and the people decent to savagery.


There is nothing about the story, or the basic idea that presents a problem.


The performances, particularly from Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons are exceptional.


The production design is just perfect. The building, itself the major character, begins in Kubrickean pristine condition before descending to a post-holocaust nightmare.


Even the evocation of the seventies (within the body of the film) is peerless, the characters evoke classic British seventies personalities, Wilder looks like Peter Wyngarde , and another character looks like Richard O’Sullivan.


The costume design and hairstyling else is just pinpoint correct.


It is certainly effective; the atmosphere creates a constant feeling of disquiet.



So why do I have misgivings.


A couple of technical matters; the decent from civilisation to brutality is shown in montage and I think the audience deserves better.


More importantly, the style that director Ben Wheatley has used, with lots of quasi dream sequences, and similar oddness pulls away the directness of the story.


The end result is that I am left wondering that the director intended. I am pretty clear on JG Ballard’s intent: the pressure of over civilised society itself crates its own backlash in the form violent returns to earlier forms. What is suppressed must be expressed.


What Wheatley is trying to say is less clear, I am left bemused, although this may not be a problem with you.











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





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



Grunting at the Screen (199)

12 Mar

The information age isn’t finished with us.




Cyberpunk Special- “Spring”


We had planned on waiting until May, but, despite the chill and blustery days we have to release this now because there is news that will not hold.



True Skin is an “on” project.

Not as a feature film but an online series from Amazon Studios.


We could not be more pleased.


True Skin was one of the more visually inventive short films that got picked up for a feature adaptation, it was dropped, but now it has returned for the small screen.

The playing field has tilted in the last ten years and much of the more interesting and even prestigious material now appeared on television rather that the Theatres.

And the coming of streaming services has produced Original TV rivalling that of HBO.


With an Amazon series True Skin has the opportunity to stretch out and be as original and fresh as it can be.


There is also a hidden advantage, recently original Science Fiction film has come up against resistance, especially in the face of entrenched science fiction franchises. Streaming TV gives the audience the chance to discover new material over time.


We have just one caveat. The producer continues to be Scott Glassgold who has scooped up nearly a dozen of the better short films as feature adaptations and not one has appeared. Hopefully he has better luck with TV.


Just in case you’ve forgotten, here is a look at the original True Skin Short Film


The saga of True Skin began way back in 2012 when the short film hit the net.

The director Stephan Zlotescu had previously been responsible for music videos by Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga. He shot the short in Bangkok, but by the time he got through loading on Special FX, the visuals were rivalling Blade Runner.

It impressed everyone and it was picked up as a feature film adaptation by Warner Brothers with Zlotescu staying as the director.


Then we waited and waited.


The Warner Brothers feature film failed to appear.


We heard that the film studio had dropped the project and the original director planned to complete it as an original feature.


Now out of the blue Amazon has acquired the project for its streaming service. They are looking for writers for the series.




Since the storming Winter Special there have been developments: Blade Runner 2 is an “on” project. It’s is scheduled to shoot in July in the UK and Hungary. Director is Denis Villeneuve, with a screenplay from Hampton Fancher and Michael Green.

Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling have been locked in for the cast.

It looks like this one is actually happen.. We even have a release date January 12th 2018…but then anything can happen before principal photography begins.

It is planned to shoot it on Hi Definition Video, which suggests they are going for an updated look rather than a duplicate of the original.



Altered Carbon is scheduled to be a 10 episode series from Netflix.

Laeta Kalogridis is the showrunner.

We now have two streaming cyberpunk series in the making.



Robert Rodriguez has been contracted to direct Battle Angel Alita: although we don’t know just how Cyberpunk that one will be.



The Ghost in the Shell live action film is an on-project, it has a release date- March 31, 2017- and it has already started shooting.

It seems to be following the plot of the TV series: The Laughing Man (highly recommended, see it if you can) rather than the original manga or the anime feature film.

Rupert Sanders is directing. Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, and Michael Pitt have been cast.


For once things are looking good.


Ghost in the Shell also has cast Kitano Takeshi as the section 9 boss Arakami Daisuke. No doubt this is to avoid accusations of totally “white washing” the film.

Let’s see how that works out.





But we have been here before. At various times it looked like we were about to enter a golden age of cyberpunk, only to be disappointed.



What else can we look forward to?

There are some small projects that brush the edge of the Cyberpunk sub-genre.

We mentioned The Call Up back in Grunt (163), it is now complete, it has a trailer and we are waiting for word of distribution. So many small films get no distribution at all, but then again we didn’t think it would get made at all.

We have had word of a Swiss film called Polder, that some have been calling “cyberpunk.”: NEUROO-X is a corporation is testing a new virtual reality game

Ryuko is sinking deeper and deeper into it, losing the ability to tell reality from the game, then Walter, her son disappears into the games parallel reality and she has to fight to rescue him.

I’ve seen the trailer, I’m not convinced.

Swiss science fiction movies are hard enough to come by (the last time we encountered one was Cargo- Grunt 80) so we hope it will be a good one.



We’ve seen neither hair nor hide of the Technotise Edit and I DVD. But obviously some has been able to find it. Here is a review.



And of course there is the Neuromancer film project.

Since GFM announced its ownership in spring 2015 the silence has been deafening. We have heard none of the indications that it is an “on” project: no announcement of a screenwriter, nor a director. No start date, no release date and no sign of concept art.

We are beginning to doubt there is any intention of making this film at all.

The one proviso is the Chinese partnership. GFM have engaged the C2M Media Group on this project, and in the Far East they don’t just make deals, they make films.

If there is to be any progress it will be from that quarter.





In Other News



Hungarian writer-director Isti Madarasz is completing his Time Loop feature Hurok.

No word on a release date yet.



Sam Raimi is starting World War 3; I always thought a film director would be the one to doom us… no wait he’s directing a film called World War 3. It is based on George Friedman’s futurological book “The Next 100 Years”. The War on Terror ends, China declines, Mexico rises and the old rivalry between the US and Russia returns.


Hopefully this will be better than Red Dawn.

But, from what I read of “The Next 100 Years”, power in the mid-twentieth century depends on the control of the oceans… so we may end up with something more like “Battleship”. Battleship meets Red Dawn? That would so cool.*

The book actually posits the decline of Russia and instead a war between the US and a Japan-Turkey coalition; but fighting a war in the Near East or the Far East would be ridiculous…wouldn’t it?**. So it’s the Russians, again.

The book leaves Raimi with a bunch of toys, if he wants them: space stations, moon bases, powered armour, and hypersonic missiles. Lots of visual candy for a high-tech war.

Anyway, if we can judge from the time it took to ruin, sorry make World War Z and the delays behind World War Robot, it may be some time before Raimi gets to declare hostilities.







It looks like shooting is underway for the UK film iBoy. Oh, what is iBoy? As I mentioned before… Oh, I didn’t mention. Just as well. This project has been in play since 2013.

It is an adaptation of Kevin Brooks’ superhero Young Adult novel satire of the same name: a teen boy is bulled, subsequently an accident blasts pieces of his iPod into his brain endowing him with superpowers allowing him to seek revenge on his bullies.

The feature stars Bill Milner and Maisie Williams, and is directed by Adam Randall




This is interesting. We mentioned Ickerman in Grunt (197). What I did not realise is that the film makers, Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard, were also behind Kaydara, a Matrix fan-film.

We would have blogged a lot more about Kaydara, it is very well made, except it’s a derivative fan film.

However the film-making skill indicates that, should it be made, Ickerman may be something special.






We have some trailers from some Anime to Live action adaptations.

Hentai Kamen 2:



…And Terra Formars.







*That would be so uncool.

** What? What?

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





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