Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ridley Scott going back to the" Brave New World"

Ridley Scott—who recently signed on to direct a prequel to his original Alien movie—is taking on another high-profile sci-fi project, producing and directing a film version of Aldous Huxley's dystopian SF novel Brave New World, The Hollywood Reporter's Risky Biz blog reported.

Scott will produce with Leonardo DiCaprio, who will also star, the blog reported.

It seems like a natural fit for Scott, who's well acquainted with dystopian futures, having directed Blade Runner.

Here's what the blog says:

The studio has brought on Apocalypto scribe Farhad Safinia to pen the script; he's expected to be working shortly.

Scott and DiCaprio also will produce via their respective Scott Free and Appian Way banners, with Michael Costigan also producing for Scott Free and George DiCaprio producing at Appian. Peter Cramer is overseeing for Uni.

Scott has mentioned casually in interviews that he's interested in the 1931 novel, which Appian Way owns, prompting a flurry of rumors on sci-fi and other blogs over the past year. But the studio details as well as DiCaprio's personal involvement always have been murky.

Now, with a writer on board and Scott Free and Appian execs meeting frequently during the past six months, the project has more momentum, though several people familiar with it emphasize that it remains at the development stage.

Brave New World is set in the year 2540 (632 A.F. in the book) in London, an egalitarian dystopian society of strictly controlled reproduction, consumerism and sexual promiscuity, seen at the time as partly a critique of the emerging Americanization of world culture. The book has previously been adapted for television but never for the big screen.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Leo's Big Gothic Red Riding Hood

Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way banner is developing a Gothic reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood with screenwriter David Leslie Johnson, Variety reported:

The Warner Bros.-based banner partnered with Johnson on horror pic Orphan, which has grossed $28 million in its first 11 days. ...

The best-known version of the story—in which a wolf disguises himself to fool a girl delivering food to her sick grandmother in the forest—was published in the 19th century by the Brothers Grimm. Earlier oral versions of the tale, which date back to the Middle Ages, are far darker and sometimes involve a werewolf rather than a wolf; the first published version, by Charles Perrault, concludes with Red Riding Hood eaten by the wolf, with no happy ending.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Watch It With Hulu:(But Only if You Live in the US!)

A month or so ago, I heard about a TV show that I'd like to watch. The show, "Warehouse 13," sounded like a mixture of "Indiana Jones," "National Treasure," "Moonlighting," etc. The only problem was that it was already into its third or fourth episode and it was on the SyFy channel.

I used to like to take an occasional look at SyFy (yes, it was Sci-Fi until recently) but since I have cut back my cable subscription, I haven't seen it lately.

There are many places that you can get rebroadcasts of TV shows and movies online. The obvious place for this one is at, which is where I first found it. When I was talking to a friend about it, they suggested a site named Hulu, ( where you can get many shows, movies and other media. I remembered the site and found that I had joined it a year or so ago when it was just starting and didn't have much to offer.

Now all of you geeks out there don't have to blast me about other, better sites as I know there are many similar sites out there. However, I think this is a good place for the online TV newbie to start exploring. If you want to offer a friendly tip that is fine with me.

Here's a few things to know about Hulu. First, you don't have to be a member, although it is free. Oh , and you have to be streaming from within the US. When you join, the system can keep up with what you have watched in the past, make suggestions about what you may want to take a look at, etc. If you download their desktop player as a member, ( it will keep track of where you left off. For example, I was watching a show one evening, fell asleep, turned off the application and my computer, then went to bed. When I came back to the Hulu desktop a day or so later, it remembered where I was in the show and started playing from there. This is almost as good as my DVD player and may be better.

They do run advertisements during the shows. The majority of the ads are from 15 to 30 seconds long and you usually get one at each break. If you see an ad that interests you, click a link and go to the advertiser's Web site and check it out. You may then return to the show/movie and go back to the ad afterward. You can also visit the advertiser's site and, with another click or two, return to your movie.

Some of the people I have talked to about Hulu seem to think that they will start charging to use this service. However, I believe that if people click some ads and buy some products, it may continue to be free. If anyone from Hulu happens to read this and can comment, let me know.


By Ron Doyle

Monday, August 3, 2009

Battlestar Galactica: Your Next Boxed Set!

Battlestar Galactica has it all: depth, darkness, beauty, brains, nuance, romance, planet-sized plot twists – and robots who look exactly like underwear models. If you think you hate sci-fi, now is the time to get over it. Suck up the spaceships; they are integral to the plot. Just give it four or five episodes, same rule as for any other box set.

The place to start is the 2003 TV miniseries. If you skip that, or indeed if you skip about at all over the course of the five series that follow, then (as the great Charlie Brooker once put it) BSG will make as much sense as a wool piano. Early on there are a few duff, missable episodes, but mostly you need to pay close attention. The plot is devilishly complex. At times it flirts with incomprehensibility. But in a good way.

The basic premise is that robots called Cylons – originally created by humans, now very much their own people – turn up after 40 years in the wilderness to nuke humanity. Only a few humans are left to flee, aboard the good ship Battlestar Galactica. Then they realise that Cylons have evolved from the shiny metal things they once were: they look human now. And some of these Cylons are living, unidentified, among them. After that, trying to guess which of our flawed heroes is a Cylon becomes a big part of the fun.

On top of that, there's a whole myth-arc about destiny and history; there are some very big space battles; and the humans have to piece together a political system that makes sense when you're on the brink of extinction. In fact, BSG is pointedly political throughout. The fighter-pilot lead character Starbuck (who was a man in the original 1970s series that started it all ) is a woman, and the whole show is stacked with powerful female characters. Series three is one big metaphor for the war in Iraq.

Oh, just buy the lot and watch them. These people deserve your money


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Review of Biography Channel's Harry Potter Kids DVD!

Personally, I enjoy The Biography Channel so I was very excited to have the opportunity to watch this DVD since I missed the original broadcast. And I was not disappointed. I just wished it could have been longer than 50 minutes.

The program begins with the background story of the Harry Potter books and the author J.K. Rowling. Warner Bros. bought the rights six months after Scholastic Books published Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The search for the child actors to play Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger happened in 2000. 40,000 children were considered. In this program, J.K. Rowling compared the search to the one for an actress to portray Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind in 1939.

The program continues with a brief account of Daniel Radcliffe who was officially announced to be the one to play “Harry Potter” on August 21, 2000. There are a few interview clips of him through the years. His other acting projects like December Boys and Equus are also mentioned. I enjoyed a clip of a scene he did with Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall) in his first film, BBC’s David Copperfield.

Emma Watson was the next “Harry Potter” kid to be mentioned. After a short review of her background, there were a few comments from media sources on how she evolved into a young woman through her years of acting the part of “Hermione Granger” in the past five Harry Potter films. Her college plans were mentioned. At the time this program was filmed, the Deathly Hallows kiss was more of a future consideration than it is now.

Then, Rupert Grint and his background were discussed. Positive comments were made about his acting as “Ron Weasley”. His movies Thunderpants and Driving Lessons were mentioned.

Although a lot of the information is already well-known to Harry Potter fans, there were a few details I enjoyed discovering. For example, I didn’t know the Bloomsbury Publishing office was above a Chinese restaurant. From photos of his parents that were shown in the program, I can see Daniel Radcliffe’s resemblance to his mother. And poor Emma Watson had to wear dentures in the first two films because she lost some of her baby teeth during shooting. There are a few more details, but I think a fan of the “Harry Potter Kids” should get the DVD to find out what they are.


District 9 director already thinking about a sequel

Neill Blomkamp, the South African writer-director of the upcoming sci-fi drama District 9, has yet to find out whether his movie will catch on with wider audiences the same way it did with folks who saw footage from it at last week's San Diego Comic-Con.

But the filmmaker said that he would be happy to return to the film's universe if it became a box-office smash. "If this film is successful, if audiences want another, whatever, District 10, I would love to do it," Blomkamp said in an exclusive interview this week in Los Angeles. "It's a very personal film, and it's a universe and a place that I find incredibly creative. I'd love to go back to that universe."

The movie deals with the arrival of a million insectoid aliens, derisively called "Prawns," in a massive ship over Johannesburg, South Africa, and the uneasy coexistence between humans and aliens 28 years later who live in the grinding poverty and violence of a township-like camp. The action is set in motion by a low-level bureaucrat, played by newcomer Sharlto Copley, who heads an armed force that enters the slum, District 9, to make way for a forced relocation of the aliens. When things take an unexpected turn, Copley's Wikus van der Merwe finds his life turned upside down, and he is forced to question his assumptions and forge an uneasy alliance with an alien and his young son.

Blomkamp said that if audiences wanted something different from him, he was working on something else that would no doubt appeal to the same audience, even if the project went in a slightly different direction.

"I have another science fiction film now that I want to write for the rest of the year," Blomkamp said. "That I think may be the next one, and I'm incredibly into [it]. It's quite different, and it's a unique idea, but I'm very into it."

Describing the tone, he said it would feature a similar combination of grand ideas and great action set pieces: "It's similar," he said coyly. "I mean, it's a very different film, but it's a very similar genre, I suppose."


Friday, July 31, 2009

In the works: a movie starring subatomic particles and two Star Trek captains! has posted an interesting review of a new movie that highlights the study of space and touches on particle physics in a unique and fun way.Dave the Photon Courtesy of Jupiter 9 Productions.

Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey blends education and entertainment though the use of 3D computer-generated animation and footage from seven NASA space missions, including the Cassini Huygens mission to Saturn.

Audience members will get a tour of the outer planets and moons of our solar system while meeting the movie’s cast of characters, which includes a photon, neutrino, proton and an evil genius, The Void, who represents “nothingness” and seems to have traits similar to dark matter and dark energy. A number of celebrities lend their voices to characters, including former Star Trek captain William Shatner as The Core, a figure that represents the sun and knowledge, and, arguably, all visible matter.

From a press release:

The full voice cast includes Chris Pine (Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams’
upcoming “Star Trek XI” feature film), Samuel L. Jackson (”The Spirit,”
“Pulp Fiction,” “Star Wars”), Hayden Christensen (”Jumper,” “Star Wars”),
Amanda Peet (”X-Files Movie 2,” “The Whole Nine Yards”), Robert Picardo
(”Stargate Atlantis”), Jason Alexander (”Seinfeld”), Tom Kenny (voice of
“Sponge Bob Squarepants,” “Transformers”), Sandra Oh (”Sideways,” “Grey’s
Anatomy”), Brent Spiner (”Independence Day,” “Star Trek: Next
Generation”), James Earl Jones (”Star Wars”), William Shatner (”Boston
Legal,” “Star Trek”), Mark Hamill (”Star Wars”), Neil Armstrong, Doug
Jones (”Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Abe Sabien - Hell Boy”), Abigail Breslin
(”Little Miss Sunshine,” “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl”), Spencer
Breslin (”The Happening”), Gary Graham (”Alien Nation,” “Enterprise”),
and Janina Gavankar (”The L Word”).

The movie features the voices of two Captain Kirks (veteran William
Shatner and Chris Pine, star of JJ Abrams’ upcoming “Star Trek” movie)
and two Darth Vaders (James Earl Jones and Hayden Christensen) — a firstfor Hollywood and a first for the galaxy.

The movie is expected to appear in theaters worldwide sometime in 2010 in IMAX and conventional 3D format. It is the brainchild of Jupiter 9 Productions producer Harry Kloor, who has Ph.D.s in physics and chemistry and has written for the Star Trek franchise.

The movie was initiated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as part of the outreach program for the Cassini Huygens space mission in 1996. About once a week for the nine months leading up to the film’s release, its creators will post video clips and supplemental educational material on the film’s Web site.

The main Web site has limited movie clips available so far, but computer-generated images posted with the story look amazing. It doesn’t look anything like your typical education-based film, and the story definitely seems worth a read.