Archive | September, 2016

Grunting at the Screen (212)

24 Sep



The information age isn’t finished with us.



We are hearing about a forthcoming Science Fiction feature called Riot Girls. Jovanka Vuckovic is to direct and it is penned by Katherine Collins; after a plague kills all of the adults, a young girl sets out with her girlfriend and a boy to save her brother.

No cast or shooting schedule yet.



We have more news about alien invasion film, Extinction; a man has recurrent dreams, where his wife is assaulted, he wakes up to an alien invasion (I’m not getting the connection, you getting the connection?)

We blogged about this way back in Grunt (140). Back then they were being more forthcoming about the plot. Described as “The Sixth Sense meets Cloverfield”, the protagonist gives up 6 years of life to relive one day. (Wait a sec that does not even slightly jibe with the first description, now I really don’t get the connection).

Brad Caleb Kane, Spenser Cohen and Eric Heisserer wrote the script, they are still looking for a director and cast.




We blogged Colossal back in… wait, we haven’t covered it…

Reviews are coming in and the verdict is …Huh?

This is another film from Nacho (Timecrimes) Vigalondo.

See, it is a giant monster movie where the focus is on the personal relationships (and not between giant monsters). It is not because of this aspect but the very particular way the story has been told that is leading to reviewer’s bemusement.

This film attracted some controversy when the pre-sales crew went to Japan and got into legal problems through mentioning Godzilla in their sales patter.

Colossal is at the festival stage, more when it gets general distribution.




Capsule (“the British Gravity” notwithstanding that Gravity was filmed in the UK, and assessed as a British film by the BAFTA committee…) is now out in supermarkets. They are still insisting it is based on a true story. And if anyone knows which true story that might be, feel free to tell me.



What Happened to Monday?” -Grunting (135)- which has apparently been knocking around since 2011 will finally be made. What makes us so sure? Netflix just bought it and they don’t play.

Improbably enough Noomi Rapace is still attached, also cast is Glenn Close, and Tommy “Dead Snow” Wirkola is to direct. The plot is pretty much as before: a dystopia where every family is allowed just one child, but one enterprising couple has had a sextuplet of girls, each comes out on a different day of the week which is all fine until Monday goes missing.

More as it emerges, but I suspect it will follow the usual Netflix route of a short cinema release before being streamed.



We are hearing about a feature in planning, ISRA-88; two astronauts take a voyage in search of the edge of the universe, one goes mad.

Director will be Thomas Zellen, Sean Maher is to star.

It is set to shoot this month.



I stumbled on Iron Danger, while looking for something else. It’s from Finland. This is a feature from director Sami Timonen based on the epic, poem the Kalevala.

However it’s no elf and dwarf story. It’s been updated; how can we put it: Mechs verses superpowers.

Take a look yourself.

OK, the CG is a bit ropy. But it does the job.

Iron Danger will rise

Expect a 2017 release. No world on International distribution.



Last Grunt we intimated of an exciting new project from the director of District 9.

Ah, it appears the New Project Neill Blomkamp is involved in is, in fact, an advertisement, in-fact a sequel to a series of web advertisements starring Clive Owen and his black BMW from a few years back.

Pity… I was hoping for a movie.




The live-action Attack on Titan is definitely in shops now. I have seen it. It is in two separate parts, neither DVD has extras.

As mentioned before, it has attracted unambiguously bad reviews… but then there are some cool visuals…



The Girl With all the Gifts opens this week, this one has attracted unambiguously good reviews, however it is a zombie movie (kind of) if you like the Kind of zombie genre that 28 Days later pioneered (but with a twist) then it may be for you




What’s Ridley Doing? No Really?

Yes Ridley Scott is buying projects again.

This time he is buying a book from one of my favourite Crime writer’s Don Winslow.

Winslow wrote the Power of the Dog and The Cartel, His novel Savages was made by Oliver Stone and several other of his novels have been optioned.

Warner Bros., on behalf of Ridley Scott have optioned Winslow’s latest unpublished manuscript. Check this, it is so far untitled.

Man I hate “untitled”, drives me nuts.

Anyway, this one is based in the world of the NYPD, and is centred on a dirty cop. (I like it already). Winslow is calling it his masterpiece (and that is saying something). But for godsake; give it a title.

But anyway, this “untitled” projects takes its place in line with the other projects Scott has lined up.

Thankfully he has unloaded a bunch of projects onto other people: The Forever War, and Monopoly have been passed on and The Wolf of Wall Street was also one of his.

This still leaves a bunch of films he has been sitting on: The Prisoner, The Cartel (he hasn’t made that Winslow feature and he’s just bought another!), The Devil in the Kitchen, Wool, and Fae (this is far from comprehensive).

Well at least it is unlikely he will be making that film about sports concussions because Will Smith already made that film.

But, but, we can’t complain*; Ridley Scott’s last film was Science Fiction and will his next one also be. I am happy, no, really, this is my happy face.









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


Grunting at the Screen (211)

9 Sep



The information age isn’t finished with us.



Sixty years dead, yet those pesky Nazis are still causing trouble.

If you cannot wait for Sky Sharks (and I certainly can’t) console yourself with the latest Nazi shenanigan. It’s The Time War from director Neil Johnson.

Hitler goes back in time to rewrite history (again?) It has Christopher Lee doing the opening narration.

No release date as of yet.




The latest Comic Book adaptation is The Monolith from Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; Lionsgate is the studio, Dave Wilson will be the director.

Alice is a junkie, her roommate is an ex-hooker and there is a golem in the basement. Alice, the roommate and the golem get to fight supernatural threats… you know like you do.

No word on when principle photography begins.



Another new Science Fiction feature has been announced: Captive State from director Rupert Wyatt. Fox is scheduling it for a 2017 production. Aside from this there is no detail: plot, cast, shooting date, release date? Ehh…



It is a golden age of low-budget British Science Fiction,

Simon Pummell’s Identicals is now out on DVD, and lo and behold it has some extra features.

Here is a review from Starburst

It’s a body swap movie; the Brand New-U company will transfer your mind into an identical body to yours so you can fulfil your potential.

Our hero’s girlfriend takes the Brand new-u option. But it is suspected she has been murdered, and the hero is the chief suspect.




Say how about you did a gladiator movie, only as a science fiction story where your hero could fight all sorts of futuristic warriors… that would be a good idea… if it hadn’t already been don’t by every comic book there is and made into a Straight to Video movie called Arena in the eighties.

That however has not deterred director Olivier (Transporter 3,Taken 2, Columbiana) Megaton. Who is bringing us The Champion with a script by Hal Ozsan, it is due to start filming in early 2017.


So you are tired of the old Prisons in Space movies*, how about a Prison on Earth? That didn’t come out quite right. What if Earth was a prison for the universes most malcontent?

This is the proposal  David Winkler and Roger Mincheff have come with for the Prison Earth movie (Hme… title’s a little on the nose…)

They are planning a 2017 release.

More detail that that they are not giving: are there aliens among us? Are we the aliens and we just don’t know it? When there is more we’ll let you know.






The first reviews have appeared for Denis Villeneuve’s  first contact feature Arrival -Grunt (210)- and the news is good. It has screened at the Venice Film festival and the verdict is it is a thoughtful science fiction feature with interesting and fresh ideas.



These days we look for our feature films in all places, and one such place is Netflix which is debuting the Science Fiction feature Arq straight to streaming.

We are in familiar territory here:  Renton and Hannah are garage scientists who have discovered a whole new source of energy. This attracts the unwelcome attention of some hired masked thugs, as the pair fight to save their invention they find themselves thrown into a time loop that has them reliving the day over and over.

This one was written and directed  by Tony Elliot.

It streams from September 16.



Kin sound like it actually might get made. It is a science fiction feature based on a short film named  Bag Man.

Two brothers find an ancient alien weapon, unfortunately this kicks off pursuit from the FBI and some soldiers of very mysterious origin.

James Franco, Zoe Kravitz, Jack Reynor have been cast, screenplay has been written by Daniel Casey, and principle photography is due to commence in October.


This year’s Raindance Film Festival starts 21st September


There are a few science fiction films on offer;


Worm; Directed by Keir Burrows, they are calling it a science fiction take on Alice in Wonderland. Ana, Nate and Liv, accidentally invent a wormhole generator.

On the day after an experiment Ana wakes up unable to form new memories.

The rest of the film is Anna trying to figure out what went wrong.


Orion; directed and written by Asiel Norton.

We first covered this in Grunt… hey wait a minute! We haven’t covered this at all.

It’s a post-holocaust feature ; in a desolate future a wandered seeks to save a virgin mother from a cannibal shaman, and searches for the city with the earth’s last survivors.

(If the last one was Alice in Wonderland this one sounds like The Wizard of Oz!)








Neill Blomkamp is working on new things. He said it on his twitterfeed he also says it is currently not Alien.

So this is not a rumour.

What could it be?

Last thing we heard him working was The Gone World; an adaptation of Thomas Sweterlitsch’s Time Travel book. We will see.









Reviews for Morgan are coming through. The verdict is not good. A constant theme through the reviews is that we are looking at something familiar, we have seen this kind of thing with Ex Machina, and it was better then.

The themes have been well worked over from Frankenstein to Blade Runner and the director brings very little new to the table.

There are also questions about the story with suggestions that it does not know what it is saying.

On the other hand they say it has a great cast and the performances are good.

Morgan opened in Cinemas on September 2.



Morgan, Review



Let’s get the elephant out of the room. Morgan is directed by Luke Scot, Ridley Scott’s son and is Scott Free Production: Ridley Scott’s production company. Morgan also deals with themes covered by other Ridley Scott films.


Most reviews have emphasises that Morgan shared many themes with films we have seen already and claim this makes it predictable.

I am glad to say this is not the case.

Yes it shared the themes with Last year’s Ex Machina, Vincenzo Natali’s Splice, and most significantly with Blade Runner.

But it  is not these associations that are a problem.

The setup is thus: Kate Mara plays Lee Weathers  corporate risk assessment specialist who has come to a remote lab to determine the future of a project. The project is Morgan, a genetically modified young woman who lately has exhibited some very violent aberrations.


This set up is painfully similar to that of Ex Machina’s which also featured, an assessor, a remote lab and an otherworldly individual.


Of course it turns out that Morgan is far more dangerous than anyone has expected, all maybe breaks out and we have several doses of the old ultraviolence (we would have been disappointed if it was not so).


The opening is rather engaging, we see the inciting incident that shows Morgan’s capacity for violence, we also see her humanity, the way she feels deeply and there are indications that this film will deal in depth with the themes of humanity, artificiality, and the responsibility of the creator. In the first half hour it looks like this will be an intelligent film discussing real ideas.



But that never happens.


The problem is that having set up a strong, if unoriginal premise. Every one of the characters becomes an utter idiot.

Every one of them is aware of Morgan’s capacity for violence, and they all put themselves in the position to be her victim. The majority of the incidents take place right in front of the research team while they stand around with their mouths open.


As a viewer you feel you have been deprived of an extended opening scene that shows Morgan is a kind  and gentle soul and this violence is utterly unexpected; but there has been no such lead up. In fact all we have seen is Morgan’s instability.


So the problem is not that Paul Giamatti’s Psych evaluation which has direct correspondence with the Voit-Kampf test in Blade runner. It is not the parent-child relationship between scientist and genetic experiment a la Vincenzo Natali’s Splice.  No the problem is a group of scientists dealing with a dangerous subject who do nothing to ensure their own safety, this is a cabin in the woods story where horny teenagers have been replaced by the dumbest smart people you ever encountered. If all scientists were like this Ebola and smallpox would have devastated the world decades ago.


I swear at one point I shouted in frustration at the screen.


As for the violence, it is the definition of gratuitous; we learn nothing from it , it does the characters no good, and it’s not even fun.


Oh yes, there is a twist. I saw it coming twenty minutes in advance, it was so clearly telegraphed.


If you have a chance to see this movie, go see Gods of Egypt instead; as bad as that film is it is more fun than this frustrating disappointment.



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



*I’m not!


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