Sci-Fi

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? By looking into the future that combines Google glasses, our app addiction and a cranial connection to the information superhighway, the team behind Sight has made something that stands out miles above its peers. In it, a program built right into the eyes delivers games and information directly into the visual field – something that one young man takes advantage of while out with a reluctant date. The look is sharp – evoking a world where there’s no need for decorations because white space is needed for in-eye displays, but the real reason it works is that there’s a brain to go with the story’s beauty. It’s a terrifying one, questioning a dependence on technology and showcasing what our lack of control might mean. It’s as coy as a lamb to the slaughter, with a version of ourselves thrust into a future that comes with cool convenience and unimpeded danger. This is short filmmaking at its best. Hat tip to our own Brian Salisbury for sending it my way. What will it cost you? Only 6 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? See what happens when a filmmaker edits down 10 hours of NASA footage into 8 minutes colored by a touching voice over from a sentient robot named Robbie who is dying. Tears are natural. Neil Harvey has made something unique and haunting that captures the heart. Hat tip to Ben L. and Short of the Week for sending it in. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Tyler Perry

Speaking exclusively with BlackFilm about Madea’s Witness Protection, Tyler Perry segued from saying he was disappointed in Prometheus to teasing a science fiction film that he’s writing. He declined to say anything specific about it, but it theoretically won’t contain any cross-dressing. “I love Sci Fi, I love the Alien movies and the Alien franchise. I was very disappointed with Prometheus, but I love that whole franchise. Those are my favorite movies. I’m actually working on a sci-fi movie right now,” said the writer/actor/director. To his credit, this came moments after talking about how The Wiz was the first movie he remembers seeing in theaters, and it caused him to dance all the way home. So, at least we know he’s human. On the inhuman front, Perry has been incredibly successful with his Madea franchise, he’ll be seen as a thriller star in the upcoming Alex Cross, and apparently he’s got a sci-fi flick in the works. Looks like he’s definitely branching out. Hopefully he can make a sci-fi film that won’t disappoint.

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The first look we got at Rian Johnson’s upcoming time travel action yarn, Looper, did a solid job of setting up the story and teasing the action. A curiously lantern-jawed Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing our hero (or, at least, the closest thing we get to one), a hitman for the mob who gets paid handsomely to wait in a field that exists many years in the past, shoot the people the wise guys send back in time as soon as they wink into existence, and then dispose of the body where no future authorities can find them. The wrinkle comes when his latest clean-up job gets sent back in time and a quick locking of the eyes reveals that he’s an equally lantern-jawed version of himself from the future (Bruce Willis). What to do? The new international trailer for the film gives us a bit more of an idea of what is going to be done. Future Gordon-Levitt has come to the past with a plan. And, as you might expect out of a hitman, his plan involves killing someone. Will he be able to set everything right and fix his future, or will his past self – who’s going to be in deep trouble if he doesn’t take his future self out – stop him before he can put his plan in motion? Lots of interesting questions about destiny and how much we can control our future seem to get asked. But, more importantly, everyone involved is shooting guns […]

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? With ominous, sweeping shots of a city caged, David Gidali‘s short shares a bleak look at an Israel of the future where different cultures are kept apart. In the middle of the night, a mysterious event brings two silent figures face to face (without a wall in between them). This is the definition of simple-yet-effective filmmaking. It’s beautifully epic and conveys an idea with laser focus – stunning science fiction with a cultural compass. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? There are few things as creepy as British people talking about science, which is just one small reason why Matt Westrup‘s The Gate is so damned chilling. It features some gruesome creature design and some solid CGI – especially for an independent outfit. Plus, it’s based on reality. That’s right. Our own DNA is a mysterious, messed-up jungle of unused genes that are waiting to mutate and strike. Enjoy your weekend! It was announced last week that Wayfare Entertainment would be financing a feature version, and after checking it out, it’s easy to see why. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Michael Bay Transformers

On a gut level, a lower budget seems like it would be the best thing for the next Transformers movie. The franchise has made an absurd amount of money, sure, but the quality of the movies has always been hampered by excess. A little constraint can actually mean a lot of freedom. Of course, the normal laws of physics might not apply to Michael Bay. In an excellent feature by Geoff Boucher at Hero Complex, Bay opens up the new theme park ride alongside someone in a large Bumblebee costume and lays down some notes about the fourth installment (the one which he said he absolutely wouldn’t return for before absolutely returning for it). Among the details, a lower budget by $30m. That would bring Transformers 4 down to the earthly range of $165m or so, counteracting the tide of bloated blockbusters that can’t seem to nail down two hours worth of action without spending at least $200m. It feels strange to praise Paramount and this franchise for being sensible, but credit should go where credit is due. At the same time, Bay said that the action might take place in outer space. “That feels like the way to go, doesn’t it? I want to go a little off but I don’t want to go too sci-fi. I still want to keep it grounded.That’s what works in these movies, that’s what makes it accessible.” Of course, no matter where the action is, the true significant change will be the cast.

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Pixar Wall-E Commentary

Oh, those geeks and their wonderful ways of storing minuscule tidbits of information and pulling them from their mental storage unit to spur on debates. What must it be like to listen to a group of them talk about a movie they love? How about a movie they’ve all worked on? That’s exactly what Disney and Pixar did for WALL*E. They’ve pulled four of the geekiest minds on the production crew, minds that would analyze every, minute detail of a film and test it for accuracy, and let them talk all over the film. And, like any good geek conversation, the pop cultural references come with each, nerdy breath. So, without any further ado, it’s time to find out what this Geek Squad has to say about WALL*E.

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The Best Short Films

Waltz for One from INTELLECTUAL PROPAGANDA on Vimeo. Why Watch? A shrill emergency buzzer is the last thing you want to hear while floating in orbit around the Earth inside a tin can. You’ll get to know that beeping bastard well in John Merizalde‘s latest work. The director, alongside his Intellectual Propaganda team have joined in the stunning tradition of Kubrick and Tarkovsky and Moon to craft a disturbing, absolutely gorgeous film about the solitude of space. It was co-written by Takashi Doscher, who should be familiar if you read this column regularly. It’s more proof that he (and that particular production house) are talents to keep a very close eye on. Check out more of his work here. What will it cost? Only 10 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? This sweet movie from Sandy Widyanata features a young boy who steals a busted up video game controller from a young girl. She chases him through their neighborhood junkyard, and what happens when he pushes a few buttons is a pleasant surprise. Shot to perfectly capture the endless summer day of youth, the CGI is seamless and the story is so familiar that it tells itself (except for the last few moments of course). This excellent gem is like a cool sip of lemonade on a hot day sweetened with sci-fi. What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Nacho Vigalondo Extraterrestrial

Let’s face it. When the alien invasion comes (and it will), most of us are going to be useless to help fight them back. We’re either going to be hiding or running for our lives into government-run bunkers. Nacho Vigalondo gets this, which is part of the reason why he chose not to focus on the heroes for his latest film, Extraterrestrial. His follow-up to TimeCrimes is a sci-fi flick married to a conversational screwball romantic comedy. He was gracious enough to give us a glimpse of his madcap mind – explaining his love for guilty characters, celebrating Invasion of the Body Snatchers and explaining the connection between his latest movie and the TV show Moonlighting. Extraterrestrial is out Friday, June 15 in select theaters, and you can demand it through Tugg.

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Back to the Future

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Back to the Future (1985) The Plot: 1980s styled Michael J. Fox (see: feathered hair, acid washed jeans, high tops) stars as every-kid Marty McFly who accidentally gets sent back to the 1950s via a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his eccentric cohort, Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd, in one of his best scene chewing roles to date.) While going back in time may seem like a cool idea, Marty quickly realizes that altering the past can have serious effects on the future. Finding himself suddenly 30 years in the past, Marty discovers he must keep his now teenage parents’ relationship on track or else he will risk erasing his own future. As Doc would say: “Great Scott!”

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Ridley Scott Alien DVD Commentary

Prometheus is Ridley Scott‘s latest magnum opus, a groundbreaking cinematic achievement beyond our wildest imaginations. At least that’s what we’re all hoping for with the film. At the very least we’ll take a return to the sci-fi terror Scott unleashed on audiences earlier in his career, but Prometheus is a film moviegoers all over will be talking about. We’d love to hear Scott talk about it, probably along with screenwriter Damen Lindelof. We’ll take Jon Spaihts just because he comes with the package deal, but it’ll be a commentary that delves into the depths each man had to go to craft yet another legendary, sci-fi tale. That will be amazing. Anyway, here’s the commentary for Alien. Seriously, though. How can you introduce Alien?

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Twilight Zone

According to Variety, Matt Reeves‘s Twilight Zone has captured another writer who is no doubt currently wondering why he’s back in Abraham Lincoln’s time and unable to convince anyone of the assassination. Jason Rothenberg wrote the original draft, which was tackled by Anthony Peckham (Sherlock Holmes), and now Joby Harold (All You Need is Kill, Awake) will take an ink-filled stab at it. The most fascinating thing about the Warner Bros. project is the idea that Rod Serling‘s show will essentially be stretched into a feature film. Previous movies based on the iconic television show were serials, and the show itself got paper thin when it tried to fill an hour-long time slot, so two full hours of being in the Zone could be a bigger challenge than most expect. After all, how much clever brow-beating can we handle? The answer to that question lies in watching every episode. Tread carefully, but there’s still hope for this project. Despite Hayden Christensen’s strange take on playing a motionless guy, Awake was a clever little flick (that Harold also directed). With any luck, his talent will be the final polish it needs to get shoved in front of cameras.

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Ridley Scott on Alien Set

Of the directors we’ve covered in this feature, Ridley Scott might be the most forward. He’s brash an unorthodox, and when speaks, you get the sense that he threw his filter in the trash years ago. At this point, brass buttons are well-deserved. Alien, Blade Runner, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, and a popcorn bucket-full more prove the man’s vision as a storyteller. A movie fan from a young age, Scott first found success as a commercial director. His first flick, The Duelists, was hailed at Cannes but made it to few screens beyond. It was a science fiction journey featuring a seven-member crew woken from stasis to explore a strange signal that made him a major name, and this weekend he dives back into that world with Prometheus. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a bloke from South Shields.

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Star Trek 2 Teaser

Update: So, yes. This is a fan-made trailer. But it’s insanely good. And it must have taken a lot of effort. Apologies for posting it as official. The Klingon picture on the other hand, is definitely confirmed as real. Original Post: Benedict Cumberbatch appears to be stuck in a sci-fi beehive in the new teaser trailer for Star Trek 2. Or it might be some sort of rejuvenating bath. Either way, the trailer boasts an eerie, technologically ambitious voice over which promises to find the final solution for all of our problems. Usually when someone seeks that out, a bunch of people die. That’s probably why Chris Pine‘s Captain Kirk looks so concerned. This is Christmas in June for Trek fans, because this trailer is excellent, and because J.J. Abrams just sneaked an image of a Klingon into some recent footage. Check out both below:

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Channing Tatum

There’s good reason to believe that Channing Tatum‘s starring in The Wachowski‘s Jupiter Ascending won’t make it completely dull. According to MTV, the actor is confirmed for the role, but where this might have been bad news a year ago (a massive original sci-fi work from directors who made an indelible mark on the genre teaming with a “star” being hoisted upon us all), there’s hope now. Why? Because Tatum’s turn in 21 Jump Street helped to prove he had a personality beyond what blockbuster blandness was forced into the grinder. Plus, the Wachowskis took Keanu Reeves (the king of soporific acting) and made him into an iconic character). Plus, Magic Mike might do a lot to show off a glittery body butter-coated version of Tatum’s personality as well. In the forthcoming Jupiter, Tatum will play an alien of incredible intelligence sent to kill a character played by Mila Kunis. Unsurprisingly, he’s unable to kill her because, come on. Seriously. Could you? Instead, he falls in love. Most likely, bad things ensue. Hopefully a dance battle.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Yesterday, we wrote about the theory that sites like YouTube and Vimeo would make festivals obsolete for independent filmmakers looking for an audience. In the age of the internet, they can directly connect. It’s no surprise that Freddie Wong‘s work has connected, because he makes accessible, unbelievably good CGI-driven, geek-friendly films. Video Game High School is his latest work – a project that was funded on KickStarter to the tune of over $270,000. All they were asking for, was $75k. That’s what internet popularity can get you. Fortunately, the work doesn’t disappoint. Granted, it’s not exactly a short film, but they’re releasing it in installments online so definitions are hard to come by here. It’s a feature length film, being told as a serial. Regardless of what Webster’s will do, this film is the future in more ways than one. What will it cost? Only 12 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Nic Mathieu Cadillac Turbulence

Paramount and J.J. Abrams are planning a super secret sci-fi project, but they’re not the only ones in the game. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warners is staying in the science fiction business with The Wind – a script from David Koepp (Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds). It takes place in a space colony, and that’s all that’s known, which means we know more about it than the Abrams gig. It will be the feature directing debut for commercial talent Nic Mathieu. In checking out his work, The Wind will most likely involve a healthy amount of fantastic CGI concepts (see link and above). As for the hiring, conventional wisdom says that studios like commercial directors because they’re more easily controllable, but Warners is remarkably hands-off with projects like this. Although, that also depends on the budget. The studio hasn’t been exploding with sci-fi in the recent past, but their future looks spacey. Gravity, Pacific Rim and Cloud Atlas are on the horizon, with this and hopefully more to come. The science fiction Renaissance continues.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Yes, there’s some great CGI at work in Clark Baker‘s Vessel, but it’s a movie that also celebrates atmospheric horror greats with its practical creature design. That blend is the bedrock for a solid science fiction trip. It follows a group of passengers on an airplane that come into contact with another ship midair and end up fighting back a group of tentacled baddies who definitely aren’t from around here. “Here” being, you know, our atmosphere. Everything about the short is pro-level. The score and strong performances from leads Brandon Bales and Julie Mintz are among the highlights, but it’s all here. Right on down to the sound design. Baker isn’t afraid to put his creatures front and center, and the design definitely pays off as the giant gooey roach/pig mutants are a thing of terrible beauty. Plus, the  script from Ross and Matt Duffer has just the right amount of chemistry and chaos. Overall, it’s an excellent film with plenty of fear and adrenaline. What will it cost? Only 12 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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