In the opening sequence of Oblivion, the voice of Tom Cruise (playing the film’s protagonist, Commander Jack Harper) creeps onto the soundtrack and painstakingly explains the precise details of the film’s backstory. The year is 2077. The Earth is all but abandoned. An alien population known as Scavengers (Scavs for short) invaded the moon, which in turn nearly destroyed the earth. Most humans have moved to a space station. Drones and technicians like Harper roam the earth, and so on and son on. A metric ton of exposition is slammed into that opening sequence, but here’s what’s peculiar: at the beginning of the second act, after Jack discovers a hibernating astronaut (Olga Kurylekno) and saves her, he sits her down and gives her the whole spiel again. Why? Is this a safeguard in case people showed up late? Do they think we didn’t get it the first time? … Read More
Quantifying success can be problematic, especially when it comes to a subjective art form such as cinema. That hasn’t stopped us from looking back through film history and examining the directors we felt have been overlooked or underestimated in terms of their importance, contributions, and artistry. In many cases, lack of commercial appeal can prevent a filmmaker from finding the critical success they deserve — especially since Hollywood measures its greatest achievements by the almighty dollar. Other directors’ films display an unheralded genius too frequently unnoticed. Here are ten underrated filmmakers for your consideration. Feel free to chime in with your own picks, below. … Read More
Halloween may still be a few weeks away, but if you were anywhere in the vicinity of New York’s Javits Convention Center this weekend, you’d be forgiven for thinking it came early. With the annual return of the New York Comic Con, midtown Manhattan’s west side was swamped with comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy fans — over 100,000 of them over the course of the event’s four-day run. Among those multitudes was a significant contingent proudly decked out in costume, representing characters from just about every genre, medium, and realm imaginable. The best of the best earned themselves a place in our exclusive NYCC 2012 photo gallery. And hey, Halloween really is still a few weeks way, so if you’re looking for inspiration, look no… Read More
We all know about the plight of independent and specialty bookstores, so we won’t lament it again here. Suffice it to say, fellow book and bookstore lovers, that all is not lost! We recently found out about Singularity&Co, a new specialist Sci-Fi bookstore opening up in Brooklyn with a specific mission: to rescue and preserve vintage, out of print sci-fi titles. We’re so excited about this shiny new (and also very old) bookstore that we decided to round up a few more awesome bookstores specializing in everything from murder mysteries to the sea, just waiting to fill your every need. Click through to see some of the coolest niche and specialty bookstores in the world, and since no list like this can ever be really complete, be sure to pitch in with your own favorites in the comments. … Read More
It’s happened to everyone — suddenly, you’re seized by a vague, faint memory of a book you read somewhere, sometime, but can’t put your finger on what it was called or who wrote it, or even enough of the plot to Google your way to the answer. But have no fear, nostalgic re-readers! i09 has tipped us off to What Was That Book?, a Livejournal community (remember Livejournal?) dedicated to helping you piece together the scraps of your recollection. But even if you don’t have a forgotten novel tugging at the back of your brain, we suggest taking a look — we immediately got sucked into reading through the requests themselves. Not only is it interesting to see what details people hang on to, but now we definitely want to seek out and read these books ourselves. We’ve pulled a few of the weirdest, most awesome-sounding queries and excerpted them after the jump. If anyone figures out what books they belong to, do let us know in the comments. … Read More
Today at Flavorpill, we loved this short stroll through the fashions of “goomahs, molls, and mob wives.” We thought this intern incentive was interesting. (The first floor sounds scary, though.) We melted over Henry the flying baby. We said goodbye to guitarist Christopher Reimer from Women and The Dodos.… Read More
Chris Marker’s haunting, fractured memory tale La Jetée is getting a Criterion Blu-ray release tomorrow (along with experimental essay Sans Soleil). Dubbed “one of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made … ” Marker’s 1962 black and white film is composed almost entirely of still photographs, using voice-over narration to tell the 28 minute-long tale about a man held prisoner after World War III who traverses time, sees the future, and uncovers the secrets of his past.
The film’s themes are palpable in modern science fiction, where the exploration of time travel as an agent of self-discovery, use of looped narrative and multiperiod storytelling, experimental filmmaking, dystopian themes, and more have been carried into the present. Just look at Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, which is directly inspired by Marker’s film.
With that in mind, we wanted to celebrate a few other influential sci-fi movies that have made their mark on filmmakers and cinemagoers throughout history. Check out our picks below, and share yours in the comments section. … Read More
Before Comic-Con expanded to become a mecca of geek culture (and advertising) in recent years, there were events like Westercon at the Hyatt International in 1980. Dik Daniels shot photos of cosplayers at the convention, which the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society recently shared on their website. It’s an interesting snapshot of sci-culture that reminds you how much things have changed since the advent of the Internet. Some of the more fantasy-driven costumes recall when sci-fi was often lumped together with the genre, despite being a different animal. While the Star Wars influence is evident in Daniels’ images, it’s cool to see some lesser-known titles represented like Saturn 3 (slide eight), and Karen Kuykendall’s The Outer Regions (slide ten — an image of Karen herself). Check out Yoda, Ripley, and company past the break. … Read More
Swedish illustrator, animator, and graphic designer Kilian Eng creates surreal, sci-fi fantasies that combine psychedelic and technological anomalies. Reminiscent of 1980s anime, but more elegantly rendered and imaginatively composed, his strange architectural spaces — that are ultimately human — illuminate dark mindscapes with shocking Technicolor. Powerfully graphic and seemingly influenced by classic intergalactic cinema, Eng’s work recalls the best of the best in 1970s illustration — including French legend, Moebius. His first monograph is due out in December from Floating World Comics, but in the meantime, click through to see more of his work, and let us know what you think. … Read More