My top 10 SF and fantasy picks for the big-screen treatment

Science fiction and fantasy are taking over the realm of the Hollywood summer blockbuster, no question about it. Marvel Studios is gearing up to launch the Avengers franchise into space with the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film, Neill Blomkamp’s about to wow audiences with his sophomore full-length feature, Elysium, and Christopher Nolan’s next movie is […]

The Cabin in the Woods

I’ll try and keep this spoiler-free, because I think it goes without saying that spoilers are the film buff’s bane, but I will need to at least hint at a few key aspects of the story in order to properly criticize it in the manner I intend to. Which is to say, I didn’t really […]

Jingoism and the Culture of Fear in Star Trek Into Darkness

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cn4A5IZg1k&w=570&h=321] Having seen Star Trek Into Darkness twice now, and having very much enjoyed it, my aim is to avoid spoilers here whenever possible, for the sake of those readers who might intend to see the film but haven’t gotten around to it yet. That said, if you’re really worried about it, I’d say […]

Django Unchained: A Brief Word

I think Django Unchained is one of the ballsiest, most badass flicks I’ve seen in ages — significantly more mature, artful, and honest than Tarantino’s own Inglorious Basterds, I’d argue. Its unflinching portrayal of the acts committed against an entire culture for centuries, exposing the ugliness beneath America’s blood-soaked rug, is beyond commendable. Academy Award winner […]

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 as Critique of Techno-Darwinism

Iron Man Three surpasses its predecessor, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, in one very exciting and fundamental way: it feels more like an actual comic book than any single Marvel flick before it—hell, maybe more than any comic adaptation, period. It celebrates the humor and cool-gadgetry flair of the first two Iron Man flicks while simultaneously […]

Alone on the Moon

I’m sitting with a group of friends in the Seminary Street Pub, familiar faces here and there casting shadows upon near-forgotten memories, making plain the slippery nature of time and life. Red neon lights drench the dark paint of the walls. I watch my last beer swirl, dizzying, half-gone, inside a green glass bottle as […]

Oblivion: Yet Another Heady, Action-Fueled Science Fiction Epic Falls Short of Its Ambitions

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQcgiZwLxVM&w=570&h=321] Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion (2013) is a love letter to every science fiction film you’ve already seen, and a pretty beautiful one, at that, but it nearly collapses under the weight of its own ambition. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable movie, filled with the kind of eye- and ear-candy you’d expect from the man who […]

Like Tears in Rain

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_hYs1jBy8Y&w=570&h=321] You can almost smell the rain, feel it hammer the leather of your trenchcoat. Hear the harmonic buzz of blue neon all around you. You can taste the Tsingtao, bubbly and cool on your tongue. If there’s a single flaw worth noting about the Blu-ray transfer of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: The Final […]

Individualism, Atheism, and the Search for God in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

The following essay originally appeared in issue number 111 of the quarterly journal Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, edited by Graham Sleight. Revised and expanded, 2nd ed. Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel The Road exemplifies both the acknowledgment of essential human goodness and the flaws inherent in the Emersonian individualism that has grown to […]

The Safest Place There Is

“The safest place there is. . . .” It’s a dubious, quizzical line, delivered by Lois Smith near the end of her one unforgettable scene as the self-proclaimed mother of Precrime. Dubious because we’re talking about the reliability of the human mind; quizzical because it’s a Philip K. Dick adaptation. But it’s a line, I’d […]

David Fincher’s Alien 3, and What It Can Teach Us

According to my extensive academic research over at Wikipedia this afternoon, the third installment in Fox’s Alien Quadrilogy (’Cause why use the word tetralogy, right? What a lousy word . . .) went through development hell for several years, and despite the criticism it’s received since from longtime fans and critics alike, it should’ve ended up a much worse film […]

Prometheus | thesocietyforfilm.com

The Fire Must Be Kept Burning

Last Saturday, I spent my morning on the couch with a debilitating migraine, wondering what karmic injustice I’d committed in order to deserve being so miserable on my weekend off. But like the glass-half-full seeker of silver linings that I am, I whipped out the Prometheus 4-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray I’d gotten as a gift […]

Nintendo 3DS XL | nintendo.com

Nintendo’s 3DS XL

We geeks love our gadgets. Can’t live without ’em. Granted, I have a dumbphone and a laptop—neither a tablet nor smartphone to boast of. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t rather own a Galaxy S-III or MacBook Air or Microsoft Surface. But unfortunately, money is sometimes a concern. As someone who is both a young, introverted […]

Argo

Metadrama and Science Fiction in Affleck’s Argo

I had given some thought to doing an Oscars recap this week, tallying the various gains and losses of the science fiction and fantasy fields within that most prestigious of movie awards ceremonies. But given the controversy surrounding the show’s perceived undercurrent of sexism and other ugly mentalities, primarily attributed to the show’s host, I […]

The Lost Boys

The Lost Vamps: Bloodthirsty Flicks that Actually Don’t Suck

Vampire flicks have been all the rage since Twilight flooded the box office with sticky, coppery crimson in ’08, and have proven a solid moneymaking strategy ever since, with each of the saga’s four sequels averaging about three hundred million dollars per film, according to IMDB’s Box Office Mojo. But for some of us — […]

J. J. Abrams | starwars.com

All Your Rebel Base Are Belong to Us: In Defense of J. J. Abrams

(Or, Why Your Beloved Franchise Is About to Become More Powerful than You Could Possibly Imagine.) Since the news that J. J. Abrams will be directing the seventh installment of Star Wars hit a couple weeks back, fandom has been more or less polarized. While some rejoiced in the knowledge that their beloved franchise is […]