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Ten lessons modern science fiction films can learn from 2001: A Space Odyssey

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Being a fairly hardcore space nerd it’s my opinion that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest science fiction film ever made. With good science fiction movies rather thin on the ground, I thought I’d look at the lessons2001 can teach modern filmmakers about how to make a great sci-fi film.

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1. It doesn’t need to be an action movie

Sure, explosions can be fun to watch, as can mech-suit battles. But it’s always disappointing when a promising plot devolves into a generic action movie.

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2. There are visionary sci-fi authors everywhere. Use them

Arthur C. Clarke’s short story ‘The Sentinal’ was the jumping off point for 2001, Clarke worked with Kubrick on the screenplay and wrote an accompanying novel at the same time. Clarke had brilliant ideas about what contact with alien life would be like, and what the future of computers would be. Kubrick took these concepts and wrapped them up in his unique vision. There are so many great authors in the science fiction genre these days that it’s almost criminal how under-utilised they are in science fiction cinema.

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3. Special effects aren’t the most exciting part of the movie

George Lucas once said that ‘special effects are a tool’ (many years later he became a special effects tool himself). While the look of the film has to be right, it shouldn’t be the sole reason for the film’s existence. Space effects can be very cheap and easy, and there are some model shots from 2001 that hold up to this day.

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4. Think about what our future may be like, don’t just make stuff up

One of the strengths of 2001 was that Kubrick and Clarke thought about and researched the future, rather than just imagining a new society. They thought about what the space program would look like and what life in a space-faring society would resemble. And sure, they may have been off by quite a few years, but their predictions about what a manned mission to Jupiter would look like could still come true.

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5. Accurate space scenes are more thrilling than inaccurate space scenes

The scene where Dave Bowman tries to rescue Frank Poole takes places in darkness and silence, and is still 100 times more thrilling than the opening space battle of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

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6. Aliens don’t need to be evil

Too often in Hollywood movies, we meet aliens with a similar desire for resources that we have, and a similar military structure, and war ensues. Or the aliens are horrific monsters that just want to kill everything. But surely a race of beings that have mastered interstellar travel are interested in more than just mining and warfare?

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7. In fact, aliens don’t even need to be understandable

They are aliens, so why can’t their motivations be just as alien as their appearance?

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8. The audience doesn’t need everything spelled out for them

2001 has one of the greatest endings of any film, an ending that is still talked about and debated almost half a century after it was initially released. While there is a clearer version of what happened in the 2001novel, the film is hugely ambiguous and leaves it up to the audience to interpret.

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9. Space is beautiful 

The opening moment of 2001 is an image of the sun rising over the Earth rising over the Moon. It’s silent, slow, and reveals the beauty and majesty of the universe around us.

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10. Science fiction stories can take a long time to unfold – that’s where the awe kicks in

2001 takes place at the ‘Dawn of Man’ and concludes with an idea about the next phase of evolution. The time span from the discovery of the monolith on the Moon to the conclusion of the Jupiter mission is years. Space is big, and evolution is slow. There’s no magic chamber that speeds things up, no warp drive that makes the distances in space seem negligible. And the result is that you get a sense of the age of the universe, what it means to grow as a species, and just how isolated astronauts can be when things go wrong.

So here’s hoping that Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity and Christopher Nolan’sInterstellar can live up the 2001 legacy.

in Momentum


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‘Helix’: Get a First Look at Ron Moore’s Syfy Drama

“The Killing’s” Billy Campbell stars in the 13-episode drama about a team of scientists from the CDC investigating a disease outbreak.

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Billy Campbell in “Helix”

Battlestar Galactica‘s Ron Moore returns to the small screen with Syfy’s Helix, his first series following the conclusion of prequel spinoffCaprica, and The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive first-look at the drama.

Helix, which bypassed the traditional pilot stage and was picked up straight to series in March, centers on a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who travel to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak. There, they find themselves in a terrifying life-and-death struggle that holds the key to mankind’s salvation or total annihilation.

STORY: Comic-Con: Syfy’s ‘Helix’ Sets Key Cast

The Killing‘s Billy Campbell stars as CDC pathologist Dr. Alan Farragut, who first and foremost is a man of science, having dedicated his life to understanding and containing infectious diseases.

Moore will executive produce the drama alongside Lynda Obst (Contact), Steven Maeda (Lost, The X-Files) and Cameron Porsandeh, who wrote the pilot script for the Sony Pictures Television entry.

The mastermind in charge of the top-secret research happening there will be played by Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine, Revenge, Lost). Walker, the estranged former wife of Campbell’s character, will be played by Kyra Zagorsky, while Balleseros, the U.S. military liaison to the CDC with a dangerous agenda of his own, will be played by Mark Ghanime.

Moore said at Comic-Con that the series launches with an outbreak and the CDC team learns that the “research that they’re involved in has both the potential to save humanity and destroy humanity.”

Helix premieres in 2014. Check out the first-look photos above, and below, and hit the comments with your thoughts. Will you watch?

 


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50 Sick and Disturbing Horror Movies

1 – Martyrs
2 – The New York Ripper
3 – Calvaire
4 – August Underground’s Mordum
5 – Dumplings
6 – Inside
7 – Ichi The Killer
8 – Faces of Death
9 – Strange Circus
10 – Nekromantik
11 – Irreversible
12 – Tokyo Gore Police
13 – Haute Tension
14 – Audition
15 – Men Behind the Sun (1988)
16 – Cannibal Ferox
17 – THE BUNNY GAME
18 – Three Extremes
19 – Braindead
20 – Anti-Christ
21 – Suicide Club
22 – Maniac
23 – Bloodsucking Freaks
25 – Philosophy of a Knife
26 – The Beyond
27 – Begotten
28 – A Serbian Tale
29 – Last House On The Left
30 – The Human Centipede
31 – Nekromantik 2
32 – Visitor Q
33 – Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
34 – I Spit on Your Grave
35 – Guinea Pig 2 – Flores De Carne E Sangue
36 – Cannibal Holocaust
37 – Murder-Set-Pieces
38 – The Exorcist
39 – Texas Chain Saw Massacre
40 – Evil Dead
41 – Aftermath
42 – Slaughtered Vomit Dolls
43 – Grotesque
44 – Pink Flamingos
45 – Thriller – A Cruel Picture
46 – Funny Games
47 – Zombie
48 – Nightmares In A Damaged Brain
49 – In My Skin
50 – House by the Cemetery


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Curtas por Andreia Torres: Floating Dragon

 

 

Floating Dragon – Um dos melhores trabalhos de Peter Straub sem dúvida — em contraste com Mr. X. um exercício de algum narcisismo exagerado. Um livro ( muito ) inteligente de horror sobrenatural em “grande escala”. Aqui tudo parece tecido com cuidado milimétrico e essa teia agarra-nos desde o primeiro instante. O ritmo… é adequado e as personagens são intrincadas e inesquecíveis, não sendo apenas figurantes “carne para canhão” – como geralmente acontece nos livros de contornos “body count”. A ideia de ser um calhamaço desaparece para quem suportar bem o peso dos artifícios necessários ao suspense. Imagine-se que até as personagens femininas são credíveis e isentas dos estribilhos habituais! Além do mais, este livro é realmente bizarro e arrepiante – sendo nestes aspectos até superior a King. Mas não direi mais para não ser spoiler! Prepare-se para sentir arrepios…


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When Worlds Collide (1951)

 

David Randall is a carefree ladies man and skilled pilot who finds he has been let in on the greatest and most terrible secret in the world when he is paid to deliver some mysterious pictures from one eminent astronomer to another. The recipient, Dr. Hendron, confirms the awful findings of the sender: the planet Zyra will collide with Earth and wipe out all of humanity. Despite widespread disbelief, two philanthropists give Dr. Hendron some of the money he needs to build a rocket ship that will, at least theoretically, take them to Zyra, which may or may not be habitable for humans. The rest of the money comes from Sydney Stanton, a wheelchair-bound old man, who insists he come along, despite the severe limitations on the number of passengers and amount of cargo. Meanwhile, as doomsday approaches, Randall is surprised to find himself in a love triangle with Dr. Hendron’s daughter and her fiancé. Humanity is in peril, and only a modern-day Noah’s ark, and the continued need of a man.


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Curtas por Andreia torres: Nómada/Host – Stephenie Meyer

 

    Só alguém muito desatento poderá encontrar alguma originalidade na base desta história de “Ficção Científica” – o que isto me custou escrever! Não conhecem o trabalho de Jack Finney ou, pelo menos, uma das adaptações cinematográficas de Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Nem a Jadzia Dax do Star Trek Deep Space NineAnimorphs? Então voltem cá depois de terem aprendido alguma coisa…

      O pior é que Meyer cola nesta história a sua fórmula acéfala de Twilight – uma afronta a qualquer mulher inteligente e um péssimo modelo para as jovens – para mais um disparate que não passa de umas centenas de páginas de mais um “livro para tontinhas” – infelizmente há muitas e isto acaba por ser receita para o sucesso… O Péssimo é passar a filme! Tristes tempos estes…

     Lá temos uma história de amor doentio “meyeriana” (que se lixe o fim da humanidade…) e viva a estupidez masoquista! A história dos invasores também é ridícula, com claras falhas.

    Previsível, monótono, com uma prosa repetitiva, personagens planas e com personalidades irreais, sem profundidade, etc – all Meyer, portanto! Se tiverem dois dedos de testa e amor-próprio evitem mais este disparate!

    Querem algo “a sério”? The Possessors by John Christopher!

 

 

“If being a brainless fucktard was a crime, Stephenie Meyer would be going straight to the electric chair. No trial.”


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Women of the Revolution – Kira Cochrane

When hundreds gathered in 1970 for the UK’s first women’s liberation conference, a movement that had been gathering strength for years burst into a frenzy of radical action that was to transform the way we think, act and live. In the 40 years since then, the feminist movement has won triumphs and endured trials, but it has never weakened its resolve, nor for a moment been dull. The Guardian has followed its progress throughout, carrying interviews with and articles by the major figures, chronicling with verve, wit and often passionate anger the arguments surrounding pornography, prostitution, political representation, power, pay, parental rights, abortion rights, domestic chores and domestic violence. These are articles that, in essence, ask two fundamental questions: Who are we? Who should we be?
This collection brings together – for the first time – the very best of the Guardian’s feminist writing. It includes the newspaper’s pioneering women’s editor, Mary Stott, writing about Margaret Thatcher, Beatrix Campbell on Princess Diana, Suzanne Moore interviewing Camille Paglia, and Maya Jaggi interviewing Oprah Winfrey; there’s Jill Tweedie on why feminists need to be vocal and angry, Polly Toynbee on violence against women, Hannah Pool on black women and political power, and Andrea Dworkin writing with incendiary energy about the Bill Clinton sex scandal.
Lively, provocative, thoughtful and funny, this is the essential guide to the feminist thinking and writing of the past 40 years – the ultimate portrait of an ongoing revolution.