Tag Archives: cinema

The only way to change your past is to steal someone else’s

I get a fairly regular flow of emails about independent film projects. Most of them, to be honest, bounce straight off me – which says less about their quality than it does about my own taste in cinema. Independent cinema – like independent music and literature – has lots of promise over the long term, but a lot of what I see is people trying to replicate Hollywood aesthetics on a budget, rather than turning their back on Hollywood and seeking something new, something different. Which is fine, of course. Just doesn’t push my buttons enough to mention it, is all.

Anamnesis, however, looks very different. They’re looking for postproduction funding on Indiegogo (which is a Kickstarter equivalent); take a look at what they’ve done so far, what they plan to do, and why they want to do it. Then chuck ’em a few dollars if you think you’d like to see it finished the way they want it.

Last Tuesday: How to Make an Art House Video Game

0. Bending the Knee to the Silver Screen

There is something incredibly endearing about video gaming’s continued inferiority complex with regards to film. Indeed, despite some experts asserting that the gaming industry is now larger than the film industry and blockbusters such as Inception, Avatar and Sucker Punch lining up to replicate the ‘gaming experience’ on the big screen, video game designers repeatedly bend the knee to films whenever they want to be taken seriously. You can see it in their tendency to ‘borrow’ characters from films and you can see it in the way that their cut scenes desperately try to capture that ‘cinematic’ look and feel.  This inferiority complex also filters through into how the video games industry sees itself.   Continue reading Last Tuesday: How to Make an Art House Video Game

Hellacious Acres

Please excuse yesterday’s null output, folks; I was out on the road, chasing after a very interesting employment opportunity. As a result, today is a catching-up-with-stuff day, and job number one is hoovering out the ol’ email inbox. I’ve already deep-sixed an email linking to a Squidoo lens which begins with a pencil diagram of a perpetual motion machine and ends with a long rant about Barack Obama, the Illuminati and their mutual role in the global liberal conspiracy, which apparently involves infiltrating the Federal Reserve and – quite literally – burning dollar bills in order to create the otherwise-totally-fictitious climate change phenomenon – a rather spectacular counter-counter-bluff of last resort, I think we can all agree. I don’t know how I’ve managed to be taken in by this cruel and callous hoax for so long!

Ahem. Anyway, also in the inbox was a link to this trailer for a “sci-fi black comedy feature film” called Hellacious Acres: The Case of John Glass. Here’s the blurb and the trailer:

John Glass wakes up in a desolate barn from a long cryogenic slumber, to be informed that not only has the planet been devastated by a third world war, but also reduced to little habitability by a subsequent alien invasion. He learns that in order to help reestablish a livable atmosphere for what’s left of humanity, he’ll have to go on a solitary mission to retrieve important codes dispersed throughout remote locations. Soon enough he’ll encounter more than he “bargained” for: aliens, crazy survivors, inadequate equipment, LOTS of walking and a pretty unhealthy dose of bad luck…

I like the sound of the concept, though I find myself hoping that the film proper contains a bit more action than the trailer. There’s also a BorkFace page and a website (the latter of which has a layout that doesn’t cope well with wide browser windows, FYI).

There seem to be a lot of new indie genre cinema projects bubbling up of late, and that’s a fine thing in my book, as I can count the annual number of Hollywood-generated product-placement vehicles I have any interest in seeing on the fingers of one mauled-by-a-boltcropper-wielding-debt-collector hand…

Anyway, that’s all for today, folks. Futurismic will return to what passes for a normal broadcasting schedule on the morrow.

Sucker Punch: Video Games and the Future of the Blockbuster

One of the great failures of 20th and 21st Century film criticism has been the failure to recognise that Blockbusters are a genre unto themselves. Forged in the 1970s by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Blockbusters borrow the trappings of other populist cinematic genres – such as science fiction, fantasy, espionage, war and disaster movies – but their aesthetics are entirely divorced from the concerns of the genres they borrow from.

In this column, I would like to examine the nature of the modern Blockbuster and argue that the next source of genre material for Blockbuster film will be video games. However, while there is much promise to be found in the idea of a film/game stylistic hybrid and Zack Snyder’s latest film Sucker Punch hints at much of that promise, it seems that the form of video games itself is as yet too underdeveloped to provide film makers with anything more than another set of visual tropes that will be used, re-used and eventually cast aside as the Blockbuster genre continues its predatory rampage through popular culture. Continue reading Sucker Punch: Video Games and the Future of the Blockbuster

36 years of weird: Boston’s Sci-Fi Film Festival

Love science fiction cinema? Live near Boston? Well, lucky you! Read this press release:

Although the final schedule for 2011’s Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival has not yet been announced, festival director Garen Daly has already noticed a jump in ticket sales. The festival, which began at the Orson Welles Cinemas, began as a 24 hour science fiction retrospective in 1976 and now stretches ten days, taking place at the Somerville Theater.

Like many other festivals, the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival uses OpenFilm to collect submissions. The deadline this year is January 31st, but Assistant Curator Liz Pratt maintains that she and Daly will have plenty of time to finalize the selections. “We want to make sure we can receive as many submissions as possible,” she explained, “because this festival is a great jumping-off point for young directors and lower-budget films. And since we have so many hours to fill with the ‘Thon, we can always find room to fit in something great that we’ve found at the last minute.”

The festival has announced two official selections so far, the first being the original Battlestar Galactica. Daly has also acquired an extremely rare print of 2,000 Leagues Under the Sea, dated 1916/17 and directed by Stuart Patton. The film has not been shown in Boston since the 1920s and will be a one-in-a-lifetime chance for serious film fans. Director David Fincher has just announced he will be remaking the Jules Verne classic.

The tradition of the 24 hour ‘Thon, as it affectionately became to be called, remains. Although Daly admits that “sharing one room for 24 hours will do strange things,” loyal festival goers are expected to arrive from around the country to indulge in a marathon of all things science fiction. Many of them have attended every year of the festival, which includes feature films as well as animation, vintage movie trailers, and other unannounced surprises.

What does Daly say is the most important thing for attendees to remember? “As we like to say, we’re old enough to know better but young enough to stay up.” He continued, “Bring extra deodorant, mouthwash and a change of socks. We also suggest you bring some eye drops and your sense of awe.”

About the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival…

The 2011 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival describes itself as “the oldest genre film festival in the country (we think.)” The festival will be held from February 11 to February 21 at the Somerville Theater, 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA. The ‘Thon will begin on Sunday, February 20 and noon and will continue for 24 hours. Tickets and passes can be purchased at www.bostonsci-fi.com or at the theater. Friend them on Facebook or follow news and updates on the website.