The Terminator

Where Are All the New Sci-Fi Movie Franchises?

Well, there’s going to be a new Alien movie, and for some reason, this is good news. Word broke yesterday that Neill Blomkamp, writer/director of District 9 and the forthcoming Chappie, closed a deal with 20th Century Fox to helm a new film in the sci-fi/monster franchise, and everyone is very excited, somehow ignoring the fact that Ridley Scott’s 1979 original has yielded exactly one good sequel (James Cameron’s Aliens) and no fewer than five more that are varying degrees of terrible (Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, Alien vs. Predator, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, and Scott’s own Prometheus). That’s a 16 percent sequel success rate, kids, so let’s maybe keep it in our pants for a minute — particularly as Variety is reporting that the Blomkamp Alien is “separate from Prometheus 2, which Fox is still making with Ridley Scott.” Oh, cool, so they’re making like a whole Alien Cinematic Universe, awesome idea, A-plus you guys. But here’s the more pressing issue: in this era of mega budgets and limitless effects possibilities, why has science fiction fallen so specifically prey to the endless sequel-remake-reboot machine? Where are the new sci-fi franchises? … Read More

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A Brief History of Hollywood Being Totally Terrified of Computers

“Our world interconnected. Our systems interconnected. Our identities vulnerable.” So goes the on-screen tagline in the trailer for Michael Mann’s new cyber-thriller Blackhat, and as the word “identities” is replaced by “security,” “homes,” “secrets,” “money,” “privacy,” “safety,” and the like — along with a giant close-up of a cable plugging in — it’s easy to chuckle along with Hollywood doing one more fear-mongering thriller about hackers taking down sacred cows and exposing private information, as if such a thing were actually plausible. (Oh, wait.) Yes, the Sony hack suddenly made Blackhat’s potentially worrisome January release suddenly timely and relevant, but it’s part of a long tradition of films that looked at the capabilities of computers, artificial intelligence, and the Internet — and shit their collective pants over it. … Read More

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Video Essay: “How Time Travel Works”

About halfway through Looper, Rian Johnson’s electrifying new time travel actioner, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who play the same man thirty years apart, sit at a diner and try to hash out their situation. The younger version of “Joe” starts asking questions about how his actions will affect his elder version, particularly now that they’re both in the same place, but before that conversation can get anywhere, Willis shuts it down: “If we start talking about it, we’re gonna be here all day, talking about it, makin’ diagrams with straws.”

It’s a fair point: it seems like every time travel movie — and there are plenty of them — is required to throw in a scene where some egghead tosses around a lot of jargon about the “space-time continuum” or something in order to explain how time travel works. Other movies keep it simpler: “This is what makes time travel possible: the flux capacitor!” Whatever your preference, we’ve pulled clips from over two dozen time travel movies to present this month’s video essay, “How Time Travel Works.” Check it out after the jump. … Read More

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The Movies People Need to Stop Quoting

Earlier this week, while running down the worst performances of some of our favorite actors, we were reminded again of that unfortunate moment back in 2000 where Robert De Niro cashed in the chip of one of his most iconic performances for a cheap laugh in a Rocky & Bullwinkle movie. That’s only one way of looking at it, of course — it could also be argued that everyone else had been quoting Taxi Driver for years, so De Niro was just getting in on the action himself. There is something to be said for the notion that, cinema classic though it might be, we’ve probably all had enough of people taking the opportunity whenever they look in a mirror to do a Bickle-esque smile/smirk and inquire, “You talkin’ to me?”

Taxi Driver is one of many great movies that have been trod upon by the corrupting influence of movie quoting, that unfortunate social phenomenon by which pop culture obsessives, unable to communicate with their own words, end up speaking primarily in dialogue lifted from their favorite films, rendering said dialogue tiresome and unwelcome. We’ve assembled over a dozen movies we’re sick of having quoted back to us, but we’re sure we left some out — and that’s what the comment section is for. Check them out after the jump. … Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Round in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we finally found out why Marty McFly was hanging around with Doc Brown in Back to the Future. We wondered why cool things like this impromptu Shakespeare performance never happen when we’re riding the subway. We wished that the baguette ATM would come stateside. We read… Read More

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Will Schwarznegger Save Humanity Once More?

Will Arnold Schwarznegger legalize and tax pot in California to help lessen his state’s deficit woes? At this point he’s only open to discussing it, so we’re in for a bit of a wait. In the meantime, let’s take a look at his track record — on the big screen, that is. After the jump, five films where Arnold single-handedly did us a solid. Note: our beloved Kindergarten Cop didn’t make the cut — in that movie he goes undercover to find a drug dealer. It just didn’t seem appropriate. Even if we were dying to link to this. … Read More

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