Archive | August, 2016

Grunting at the Screen (210)

23 Aug



The information age isn’t finished with us.


The summer has petered out in a desultory way, and we find ourselves wondering what is left for the remaining year?


Initially I was not encouraged but it turns out there are a few things left, good things? Well we will see.



And how could we forget Morgan. Last Blogged in Grunt (205). Luke Scott (son of Ridley) is the director. We were initially dismissive calling it this year’s Ex Machina. But we’ve seen the trailer, read some stuff and it seems there are interesting differences.

The directing style is very much 80s Ridley Scott. Which is his right. Lots of slow tension, it puts clear blue water between this and the usual summer blockbuster.

In interview the director has said this is not your usual robot movie. For a start the titular “Morgan” is not a robot, she’s a biological replicant. The film makers are examining the ethics of genetic tech.

Morgan opens on September 2, 2016.



Dr. Strange. You all know about this Marvel movie. Their first serious foray into the world of Magic. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

We will have more to say about it closer to release.

It is out October 28.



The Story of Your Life is now known as “Arrival” and it is out in the US on November 11. We last blogged this one in Grunt (207). It is getting some traction, they are putting out trailers and multiple posters, looks like it is getting a bit of a push; Amy Adams play a linguist tasked to decipher the language of alien visitors, do they come in peace, or will it be interesting?




The Space Between Us was last blogged in Grunt (187), it is out on December 28th. We have seen the trailer, looks very much like the Martian. Stars Asa Butterfield (who I think was very acceptable in Ender’s Game); An astronaut on the first manned mission to mars is discovered to be pregnant, she gives birth and her son is the first and only kid on Mars.

Gardner Elliot, as he is called has only known the Red Planet and the astronauts, until he forms a long distant relationship with a girl on Earth, so he leaves Mars so he can visit her.

Seeing the trailer and reading the summary you know, this sounds a lot like Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land (you know, without the psychic powers and cults…)




Passengers. Due to the cast; Chris Pratt And Jennifer Lawrence, it has been getting heavy buzz. Me, I am disappointed they perverted the original premise, but I am still interested in seeing what they make of it. It opens on December 28, 2016




Suicide Squad seems to be doing quite well. I has had the biggest August opening and is going on to make back its money and then some more.

This is in the face of some serious and increasing intense negative word from the critical community.

Increasingly some films have been seen as “critic proof”, they will succeed no matter what the press say.

It did not seem Suicide Squad would be one of them; it was a new franchise, an unknown without hoards of fanatical supporters to bear it above the critical tide. At first it seemed Suicide Squad would bear the same fate as many new films: Gods of Egypt, Jupiter Ascending etc.

To be honest it looked like the critics united to destroy this film.

I was thus heartened to see the audience make its own mind up. It opened bigger than Guardians of the Galaxy (an overrated film) and did well overseas as well.

Given the satisfying opening (which is the number most important to the studio) I expect a sequel, plus the much rumoured Harley Quinn spin-off.

Suicide Squad may not be great art, but at least they are making an effort.




I’d tell you more about the post-holocaust feature Daylight’s End except it’s just another zombie movie. As usual they don’t say it is, I mean there is a virus and the victims become blood thirst maniacs, so not zombie at all. Director is William Kaufman, it opens on August 26.



Let’s Be Evil will run at Frightfest this year, we have come to realise it is a horror movie with a science fiction premise.

There is a facility beneath LA where Genius Children are kept and experimented on.

Their method of training is an Augmented Reality system. An artificial intelligence system named Ariel assist in training the kids but there are three adult trainers.

In the course of the training things quickly spin out of control.

The style is found footage, we see the action unroll from the Augmented Reality POV itself.

This is a British production (despite the American setting), director is Martin Owen.

Let’s Be Evil is already available on demand.




We’d like to make a comment about Peru’s first SF feature, El Huaquero, so consider it made.

Directed by Jonatan Relayze; a grave robber finds an artefact that sends him tumbling back in time. It promised both ancient civilisations and aliens (oh!) Relayze promises a ton of digital effects (which we hope is a good thing).

We don’t even know if it will have a release outside of Peru.




I opened my copy of the Metro newspaper, amazed to find a half page spread for Andron on DVD. We last blogged this on Grunt (161); starring Alec Baldwin, Danny Glover and is that Skunk Anansi singer, Skin? Yes it is.

Directed by Franceso Cinquemani; it’s the future (again) the earth is under a tyrannical regime which controls the population with sport called The Redemption Games (hmmm),  but the contestants think they can use the games to bring about a revolution. I’m not going to comment here.

Well it is out on disk, I had a check, and sorry to say it has attracted a bunch of two star reviews.

So what is the problem?

Aside from the fact that it seems to have a familiar premise, the way it is shot does it no favours, it is set in dark tunnels, the action is murky, no-one can see what is going on. They say the dialogue is cheesy and risible, the directing incoherent and chaotic.

On the other hand they do say it has weird moments, but sadly they are mostly board.

Which begs the question: what merited it a half-page ad in London’s premier free newspaper?




Guillermo Del Toro has settled on his next project, it’s The Shape of Water (which sounds disturbingly like the origin of Abe Sapien from Hellboy) and it starts filming this month.




We are hearing about Ecstasia, a science fiction feature by Wayne Kramer writes and will direct: a world where love no longer exists. Hme, I’m sure they will find a way to stuff it back in again.

I hunted around on-line an as I expected there is a little more to the story; in a world where love no longer exists you can get it back, if you buy a gadget and get it installed in your head. However one couple has their gadget fail.

Hme. Sounds like an Andrew Niccol movie, and not in a good way.*

It is set to shoot next year in South Africa.




This one seems to have appeared out of nowhere: Time Raiders. It’s from China.

I had a check and it seems this is some kind of Indiana Jones/ Lara Croft rip off.

Oh, Time Raiders. (I was hoping for some kind of Time Travel thing, but you know.)

It opened in Australian cinemas on August 18.

Directed by Daniel Lee





*Just kidding, there is no good way to be an Andrew Niccol movie.

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




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Grunting at the Screen (209)

11 Aug



The information age isn’t finished with us.



The DVD of High Rise is out and surprise, it has some extra features including a director’s commentary.



We’ve seen the trailer for League of Gods. The CG looks pretty good, they are comparing it to X-men for some reason but it looks more like the 1970s Wuxia classic Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain, with all of the classic kung fu, super powers and monsters.

Directed by Koan Xu starring Jet Li, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Fan Bingbing, and Louis Koo.

It has Chinese release at the end of July


Now this is odd; Sion Sono’s The Whispering Star; humans have been eliminated only androids are left. The android Yoko travels the universe alone delivering packages to humanoids on desolate planets.

The review suggests it is kind of quiet and contemplative.

It is in festival stage now, no word on a release date.



We last spoke of Rupture back in Grunt (177), to be honest we could not speak much about it: “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.”

However it is finished and a review from the Fantasia festival is out and we can tell you… very little more.

It seems there are elements that one should not reveal.

It does seem to be science fiction, and the reviewers are pretty happy with it.

No general release date yet.





About every decade/decade-and-a-half there is an Isaac Asimov adaptation.

The feature film for the twenty-teens will be Caves of Steel; based on his 1953 novel that fuses the classic whodunit form to the Three Laws of Robotics.

Akiva Goldsman is the screenwriter, the studio is Fox

(I was reminded that there was a previous BBC TV adaptation.)

No schedule, director or cast announced as yet.



Videogame company Ubisoft has been moving aggressively into feature production, its first feature Assassin’s Creed is well under way. next up is Tom Clancy’s The Division (which is apparently now just “The Division”.)

New York has suffered a devastating viral outbreak, a special forces unit has been dispatched to restore order.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain are starring.

More details as they emerge.




Ah, news at last for Phantasm: Ravager.


We first heard of this back in early 2014, but at long last it is ready for release. The US release date is Oct. 7.

I can only say thank goodness. Although this is the fifth sequel, this is a series born and sustained by love and not the quest for another buck. Some of its entries have been bona-fide horror classics.

Most of the familiar element are back, the main villain, the Ice Cream man, the Lady in Lavender and it’s got balls, big silver balls with prongs.

With this entry we are likely seeing the climax of the saga, after all Angus Scrimm, the actor playing its iconic Villain: The Tall Man. has passed away. As to whether all (or any) of the outstanding questions will be answered… Oh, I very much hope not.




We like Eli Roth; he has not had a lot of luck lately either commercially or critically but that has not kept him down.

It seems he has quietly been film making and the fruit of his labours are beginning to emerge

And it’s Science Fiction… OK Science Fiction Horror, but that that is still something.

Most details are still under wraps, here is what we have learned so far.

The name is Mission: Fear and it is set in outer space.

It even has some release information; April 2017

I’m hoping for an Alien style space horror.

More as news emerges.






Ah, real news.

The Recall starring Wesley Snipes directed by Mauro Borrelli.

Five young friends partying in a house by the lake… hmme, nothing good happens in the woods and that goes twice to out by the lake as the friends of Mr. Voorhees would tell you, but anyway. While they are getting wasted and high the earth is being invaded and subject to mass abduction.

What is interesting is that this feature will be filmed in panoramic as a VR production.

This film is already shooting in Canada.

More news as it emerges.




Suicide Squad


Seeing Suicide Squad is a no-brainer. Sure it has had mixed reviews, but with the competition being the current thirty year old sequel of a reboot of a TV show why not take a risk on something we have not seen.

I took out the time to read some of the original comics, they are not tremendously original, but they are robust, violent fun.

So what about the film.


It’s very loud, very busy, lots of CGI stuff flying around.

But you expect it.

And it is a silly film, but most comic book movies are.

But…it’s fun.


You know the plot outline; Amanda Waller has a vision, in these dangerous times the government needs to have special people to do the jobs that need to be done, and if they cannot get these people by legitimate means then dubious ones are necessary: Task Force X consists of individuals, metahumans who have broken the law and are imprisoned. Using leverage, . persuades then to become a government team, one that will do the jobs others will not or cannot do.

Look out for a couple of superhero cameos, you might even spot that man.

In tone this is a different animal to your usual superhero movie; they aren’t heroes, they are damaged minds, they a psychopaths, sociopaths, mutants and “other”. The result is that they have personality, they are really fun to watch. And the visual style is an endless carnival of motion and colour. Combine it with a soundtrack of bouncy (and often on-the-nose) pop music (do we really have to use Sympathy for the Devil on a soundtrack yet again?) and the feel is distinctive This ain’t the avengers, for a start not every member has their moment in the sun, it is largely a Deadshot and Harley Quinn show.

Jared Leto as the Joker is good too. For a start they never use the name Joker, they call him “Mr J” and the thing between him and Harley: he speaks in an old time Chicago gangster voice, she has a southern accent. I’m confused until I realise; they are doing Bonny and Clyde (without the bullet ridden sedan in the backroads ending: SPOILER!)

The plot is ramshackle, though nowhere near as incoherent as other reviews suggest, the performances are adequate, (some of the minor characters get short shrift,) and of course we have the slam bang FX filled climax (which cannot be avoided).

That said, silly as it is, it is not insulting and the pace is enough to boredom at bay.


I walked in with low expectations that were pleasantly exceeded. Go see it.











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.

Index Page


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