Alex Garland


Alex Garland is an excellent writer. The screenwriter behind Never Let Me Go, 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd has tremendous range, and the fact that he can go from breaking your heart with a tragic Kazuo Ishiguro adaptation to writing a ridiculously good action movie shows he has discovered few limits so far. Some may argue he has a problem landing third acts, but those final 30 minutes of Sunshine are completely built up to and valid. Seriously. Garland tackles high-concepts with real humanity, and his characters are generally as fascinating as his big ideas. He may strike that balance once again with his directorial debut, Ex Machina. The sci-fi film stars Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Domhnall Gleeson (In Time) and Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina). Gleeson plays Caleb, a coder who wins a contest to spend time with a private CEO, Nathan (Isaac), and his A.I. creation. When Caleb arrives at Nathan’s home he’s awe-struck by what he finds… but that sense of wonder soon turns to horror. Checkout the trailer released by A24 to see why.


Fantastic Fest: Alex Garland

In many ways, Alex Garland is not dissimilar from Judge Dredd. He’s tough, he’s fearless, and he doesn’t mince words. Arguably, no one was more qualified to reboot the 70s comic book antihero than Garland. Not only is he a fan of the source material, but he’s also proven time and time again to be one of the most interesting voices in cinematic sci-fi. Films like Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, and now Dredd form quite the imposing catalog. When we sat down with Garland during Fantastic Fest, like Dredd walking into Peach Trees, we got more than we bargained for.



Karl Urban is the law. And finally, that’s something that matters. Since 1995, the only world we’ve ever known for the character of Judge Dredd, the motorcycle-riding judicial system created by the British writer/artist team of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra in the late 1970s, has been the overly silly vanity project starring Sly Stallone in 1995. Stallone’s Dredd was, at best, a parody of the original comic character. And while it delivered a bit of fun at the time, history does not look fondly on the attempt. It wasn’t the film that such a character deserved, despite the unfamiliarity American audiences had with him. Enter writer Alex Garland and star Karl Urban, who set out to make Dredd 3D a worthy adaptation. For that matter, lets just forget the past and say what really matters: Enter Dredd. The real one.


Dredd 3D

“Judge Dredd” started as a comic book series in 1977 and eventually became so long-lived and popular that it spawned a really bad film adaptation in 1995. Get that movie out of your head now – pretend like it never happened – because Dredd 3D is a completely new take on the character; one the values hard-hitting action over comic book camp, one that has no interest in wacky side kicks or studio mandated love interests. The story is simple: in the far future, humanity has started living in gigantic city-states the size of small countries that are densely populated and densely developed. What with so many people being piled on top of one another, poverty has run rampant, crime is ubiquitous, and street gangs rule the day. The only line of defense between innocent people and complete chaos are the Street Judges, a group of dangerous and highly trained operatives who prowl the streets on their big motorcycles while carrying their big guns, acting as judge, jury, and executioner all in one. Our story centers on a Judge who goes by the name of Dredd; he’s pretty much the most badass one.


Lena Headey in Dredd

The first trailer for Dredd – starring Karl Urban, Lena Headey and Olivia Thirlby is just a taste of the inevitable slow motion to come. In the story, Headey’s character Ma-Ma controls all the manufacturing for a new drug that makes the user feel like time is going at 1% of its normal speed. Because when you want drugs, you want something that will make your life feel 100 times longer. Instead of launching a bunch of well-made PSAs about the dangers of the drug, Judge Dredd and his rookie Judge infiltrate the highrise where Ma-Ma is operating in order to take her down. It’s Bale’s Batman with a huge helmet on. Enjoy it for yourself:


Oh, the old kiss of death for any film. There are those that might claim that a director being forcibly removed from the final phase of authorship is not necessarily the sign of a bad picture, but results like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time speak for themselves. Then there are examples like Jonah Hex and X-Men Origins: Wolverine where new directors were brought on to “consult” for reshoots. No matter what, switching horses midstream is a dangerous move that stinks of desperation. Just how much desperation is coming off of Judge Dredd remains to be seen, but the LA Times is reporting that Pete Travis is no longer involved with the production, with writer/producer Alex Garland taking over his chair in the editing bay in a serious way. Here’s where it gets weird. Apparently, Garland is also contemplating petitioning for a director’s credit on the film, despite not having shot any of it, because of how involved he is in the post-production phase. Reshoots are a possibility as well, but like all of the rest of the reporting, it’s been claimed by people unwilling or legally unable to give their names. So who knows. Of course, like anything with movies, all the juggling could lead to a successful flick. However, it’s important to note that if all of this is the case, it’s not the producers not having confidence in what Travis churned out that almost ensures a bad movie – it’s the lack of a singular, focused storytelling […]


Never Let Me Go is many things. It’s a tale of young love; it’s a dystopian sci-fi nightmare; it’s an existentialist drama, and it’s a disturbing social commentary that looks deeply into the notion of what it means to be human.



In which two men, one having never seen a zombie film and the other a casual fan of the genre, create the best zombie flick since Shaun of the Dead. And in which, I get the scoop of the century on who will be playing Venom.



Danny Boyle’s production company is still continuing to develop Judge Dredd. Now, it appears as if an old friend is stopping by to write the damned thing.

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published: 12.17.2014
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