Showing posts with label blade runner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blade runner. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 September 2022

Blade Runner 2099 greenlit by Amazon

Not content with making the most expensive streaming series ever made in the form of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (exclusively on Amazon Prime), Amazon Studios is producing a Blade Runner series set 50 years after Blade Runner 2049.

“We recognise that we have a very high bar to meet with this next instalment [sic],” Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, co-CEOs and co-founders of Alcon, said in a statement. “Together with Silka and our partners at Amazon, and Scott Free Productions, we hope that we can live up to that standard and delight audiences with the next generation of Blade Runner.”

Amazon Studios’ head of global television, Vernon Sanders, says Sir Ridley Scott’s (Alien) original 1982 film is one of the greatest and most influential sci-fi movies of all time.

“We are honoured to be able to present this continuation of the Blade Runner franchise, and are confident that by teaming up with Ridley, Alcon Entertainment, Scott Free Productions and the remarkably talented Silka Luisa, Blade Runner 2099 will uphold the intellect, themes and spirit of its film predecessors,” Sanders said.

Personally, I loved Blade Runner 2049 as evidenced in my review of director Denis Villeneuve's (Dune) superlative sequel to Scott's Blade Runner. There were tears of joy in the rain.

Are you looking forward to Blade Runner 2099? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Alien and Blade Runner series teased

An Alien spin-off series is already in development for FX on Hulu and Star on Disney+.

However, Sir Ridley Scott (Gladiator), speaking to BBC Radio 4, has confirmed a live-action Blade Runner spin-off series is also in development.

Scott told the BBC's Today programme: "We [have already] written the pilot for ‘Blade Runner’ and the bible. So, we’re already presenting ‘Blade Runner’ as a TV show, the first 10 hours.”

Scott's Alien and Blade Runner film franchises have spawned sequels, and these upcoming series should further expand their lore.

Are you looking forward to the Alien and Blade Runner series? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Ask Astrid

Digital assistants are no longer the stuff of Star Trek or Tony Stark's lake house laboratory.

Amazon announced Astro, an Alexa-based autonomous home robot, last week. The love child of WALL-E and an iPad is a far cry from my original Omnibot.

Tomy's programmable toy robot was an attempt to capitalise on the popularity of Star Wars' R2-D2 during the Atari age. With its built-in cassette deck, remote control and tray, Omnibot hinted at future app-enabled devices such as Astro and Sphero.

Ambient computing is as cool as it sounds and broadly describes smart devices used in everyday life. From wearables to automobiles, there's no escaping this omnipresent technology and privacy threat therein.

Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, explores the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and the trials and tribulations of filming during a global pandemic.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Despite months or even years of preparation, filmmaking doesn’t always go as planned. It’s impossible to anticipate every setback. Ask Astrid, a new sci-fi short filmed in Florida, is a case in point.

There I was merrily making movies with my friends, setting up what is known as the ‘martini shot’ – the last setup of the day – when a lady popped her head through a curtain of black velour onto the set and asked what we were doing. I explained and, off the cuff, asked if she wanted to help out?

Her husband barged in and shoved a cell phone in our faces, telling us to remove our COVID-19 masks and give him our names, threatening to call the police. He was right to be shocked – imagine coming home to find an uninvited movie crew in your living room!

I had arranged to film in this cranky man’s office via a management company. I had written permission to use the property, I had met with a representative and I’d visited the location twice during preproduction. But the company had neglected to tell the private owners of the office space.

The red-faced man asked me why we were making a film and that was a deep question for me. The reasons are many: creativity, the social aspect; we do it for fun, to develop our skills and give opportunities to actors.

I called the management company, smoothed things over with the owners and befriended them. My crew packed up its gear and left the office considerably cleaner than we’d found it. Most importantly, we finished the film.

In hindsight, I should have carried the location agreement paperwork in my hand all day in case we were challenged. But how was I to know we’d be interrupted? Every film has its surprises, and this was the shocker reserved for Ask Astrid.

Astrid (voiced by Power Rangers’ Ann Marie Crouch) handles surprises very well. She is an AI device that sits in your home, answers your questions, takes shopping lists from you and tells jokes. Unlike Alexa or Google Home, Astrid has human colleagues collecting your data and hitting you with targeted marketing… OK, maybe Astrid isn’t so different after all.

Ask Astrid is set in the near future where digital assistants have advanced enough to become almost human. Marcy (Megan Caulfield), an office worker, bonds with the machine and teaches it to become even more of a ‘person.’

Gadgets have been a longtime fascination with our generation, as we yearn for the high technology of films like Aliens and Blade Runner but fear the dystopia that could come with them. A machine-driven future looks lonely – Ellen Ripley and Rick Deckard live in solitude, no picket fences or garden parties for them. Ask Astrid explores our risky over-reliance on gizmos but also heralds their great potential; when Marcy and Astrid overhear a crime being committed, they work together in an attempt to save the day.

I was determined to tell this story even though production had ground to a halt in Florida due to COVID-19. In order to complete the film, I trimmed the on-camera cast down to one (Megan) but involved as many actors as possible by asking them to record their voices from home. They played the homeowners and customers that Marcy and Astrid listen in on. That way I could highlight their comedic and dramatic skills while focusing on Marcy and her relationship with Astrid.

With Marcy’s office as our central location, we had to get the look of the film precisely right. Director of Photography Kevin Almodovar lit the office space with blue and green hues, just the right side of future-gloomy. Set designer Brandon Alan Perdue mixed traditional mahogany furniture with future tech cobbled together from laptops, an intercom system and even equipment from an abandoned chicken farm, making the most of our limited resources.

Since hitting the circuit in May, the film has been screened twice at the Pensacon Short Film Festival and was part of the FantaSci Short Film Festival as well. Audiences have been intrigued by Ask Astrid’s concept and the execution. They appreciate the way the movie explores an all-too-plausible future and how humans handle a world where friendship is artificial but still existent. After all, what else are friends – mechanical or otherwise – for, if not to tell each other entertaining stories?

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Dune is this year's Star Wars

With the nine-part Skywalker Saga complete there's a box office vacancy this holiday season. Hopes for director Denis Villeneuve's two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune are high - perhaps more so given the global pandemic.

The first official trailer suggests Villeneuve's follow-up to Blade Runner 2049, one of my favourite sequels, will deliver an epic space saga starring Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides.

Here’s the official plot synopsis:

"A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence — a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential — only those who conquer their fear will survive."

As I've written previously, David Lynch's adaptation of Dune (1984) failed to capture my imagination despite an excellent soundtrack composed by Toto. Dune reunites Villeneuve with Hans Zimmer who scored Blade Runner 2049 to industrial-sized effect.

Dune is scheduled to be released in cinemas on 18th December.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Ridley Scott's Raised by Wolves on HBO Max

Director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) continues to examine the relationship between androids and humans, a venerable trope most recently explored in Star Trek: Picard and HBO stablemate Westworld, in his upcoming sci-fi series for HBO Max, Raised by Wolves.

The Alien prequels met with mixed reaction from fans (myself included) of the franchise. Raised by Wolves suggests a return to a form last seen in The Martian and comparisons with I Am Mother are inevitable - machines raising endangered organic life - albeit in the aesthetic of Scott's Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.

Raised by Wolves is produced by Scott Free Productions, with Scott, Aaron Guzikowski, David W. Zucker, Jordan Sheehan, Adam Kolbrenner and Mark Huffam executive producing.

The 10-episode series begins streaming, with the opening two episodes directed by Scott himself, on HBO Max on 3rd September.

Sky recently inked a new first-run deal with Warner Bros. So, Raised by Wolves will probably be on Sky Atlantic in the UK although no official announcement has been made.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Cyberpunk 2077 trailer channels Blade Runner

CD Projekt Red has released an official trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. The long-awaited role-playing video game adaptation has been delayed until November. Positive comparisons with Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and Blade Runner franchises are inescapable.

New gameplay footage was revealed, showcasing extensive character customisation options (a staple of RPGs), alongside unanimously rave reactions from hands-on impressions.

As part of yesterday's Cyberpunk 2077 - Night City Wire event, an anime series tie-in from Netflix was announced for 2022.

"Wherever there are nerds, there's gonna be anime fans," Saya Elder, a Japan-based producer on the show, says in a preview video. "When we began this project, we were certain that we didn't want to make a recreation of the game," she adds. "Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a standalone story set in the same universe. The stage is still Night City, but everything else is totally new: new characters, new story."

The developer behind The Witcher 3 has, justifiably, garnered goodwill from the gaming community for consumer-friendly practises. So, I've pre-ordered Cyberpunk 2077 digitally for Xbox One X. The upcoming title is optimised for Xbox Series X at no additional cost.

Cyberpunk 2077 is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

First look at Timothée Chalamet in Dune

Vanity Fair has released the first enigmatic photo from director Denis Villeneuve's (Blade Runner 2049) highly-anticipated Dune remake depicting Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides. The role was previously played by Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) in David Lynch's movie adaptation of Frank Herbert's novels.

Chalamet instantly reminded me of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) from the Star Wars sequels. The Dune novels influenced George Lucas' space opera.

“The immediately appealing thing about Paul was the fact that in a story of such detail and scale and world-building, the protagonist is on an anti-hero’s-journey of sorts,” Chalamet told Vanity Fair.

“He thinks he’s going to be sort of a young general studying his father and his leadership of a fighting force before he comes of age, hopefully a decade later, or something like that.”

In the movie, Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) and Rebecca Ferguson play Paul's parents Duke Leto and Lady Jessica Atreides respectively, whilst Josh Brolin (Avengers: Endgame) is Gurney Halleck, a veteran soldier mentoring Paul in the ways of war.

“Dune was made by people from all over the world. Many of these people are like family to me, and they’re very much in my thoughts,” Villeneuve said. “I’m so proud to showcase their hard work. I look forward to a time when we can all get together again as Dune was made to be seen on the big screen.”

Dune, part one of two instalments, is in cinemas 18th December. Hopefully, it will fill the void vacated by Star Wars more successfully than Lynch's film in 1984. Infamously, Dune merchandise piled up in toy store bargain bins as kids (myself included) had no interest following the conclusion of the Star Wars saga the year before with Return of the Jedi.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

I Am Mother is a maternal Chappie

I Am Mother is the best Netflix original genre film since director Alex Garland's Annihilation. Like Garland's previous film, Ex Machina, I Am Mother shares the same sense of encroaching claustrophobia and mines a rich seam of sci-fi tropes (at times inverting them) with post-apocalyptic aplomb!

Set in the aftermath of an extinction event, I Am Mother could have been a pedestrian retread of overly-familiar themes. Instead, it is elevated by stunning cinematography, taut direction from first-time film director Grant Sputore with a background in commercials like Ridley Scott and David Fincher, Weta's wizardry - Mother is a memorable robot performed by Luke Hawker - and an inspired casting trifecta. Hilary Swank (Woman) channelling Linda Hamilton, Rose Byrne as the sensitive voice of Mother, and Clara Rugaard (Daughter) who is the revelatory driving force and evokes a young Natalie Portman.

I Am Mother weaves a philosophical tale of artificial intelligence raising human life, a prevalent sociological theme as digital assistants become increasingly integrated into our daily lives. What are Mother's motivations and is Daughter in danger from her gleaming guardian or the mysterious woman? There are nods to Alien, Blade Runner and Terminator as Sputore and screenwriter Michael Lloyd Green explore allegorical subtext with greater subtlety than Neill Blomkamp (Chappie).

Where I Am Mother stumbles is in the third act as the story moves from a confined space into an open world decades after a cataclysmic war. Yet, despite that unexpected narrative stutter, the ending is ambiguous and thought-provoking. It is easy to see Sputore going on to direct for Marvel Studios and a galaxy far, far away...

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Warner Bros. reboots Logan's Run

Seventies sci-fi classic Logan's Run is getting a modern remake from director Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Dark Phoenix) and The Hunger Games screenwriter Peter Craig. This version of Logan’s Run will feature a woman in the lead role. Warner Bros. is hoping for another successful revival in the wake of Blade Runner 2049.

Like The Planet of the Apes (coincidentally also scored by Jerry Goldsmith), I saw the Logan's Run television series spin-off, written by Star Trek alum including Harlan Ellison, before seeing the theatrical original on rental home video in the early eighties. I wasn't prepared for its chilling dystopian depiction of a future foretelling mandatory euthanasia at the age of 30 (21 in the original novel) due to dwindling resources.

The original film centred on Logan (Michael York), a Sandman tasked with terminating runners evading 'renewal' by Carousel, who ultimately sympathises with the rebels and escapes with Jessica (Jenny Agutter). The movie's cliffhanger ending suggested further sequels, and I was disappointed to learn that none were made.

So, what do you think about a Logan's Run reboot with a female lead and who would you like to see in the titular role? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Detroit: Become Human arrives on PS4 this May

PlayStation exclusive film noir Heavy Rain (2010) remains one of my favourite games from last gen and I'm looking forward to David Cage and Quantic Dream's next opus. A neo-noir thriller 5 years in the making - it began life as a PS3 tech demo entitled "Kara".

Detroit: Become Human.

The latest PlayStation exclusive taps into the familiar trope of sentient artificial intelligence and its moral implications, most recently explored in AMC's Humans, HBO's Westworld and Blade Runner 2049.

“Detroit is by far the most ambitious title ever created by Quantic Dream,” said writer and director David Cage. “With this game, we wanted to push our limits by creating the most bending game we have ever made. Your actions have real and spectacular consequences.”

“Each story is almost as unique as your DNA,” added Cage. “It is the result of the choices you made — the minor ones and the important ones — because in Detroit, all choices matter.”

It remains to be seen whether it's more QuickTime (QT) events sans motion controllers, but I'm fine with that within the context of compelling character-driven choices and a branching storyline. It'll pass the time whilst waiting for CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077.

Detroit: Become Human is released on 25th May. Pre-order from Amazon. This is an affiliate link and as such, I may receive compensation for any referrals (at no extra cost to yourself).

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Blade Runner 2049 is an existential masterpiece

Director Denis Villeneuve's follow-up to Ridley Scott's seminal tech noir opus Blade Runner is a transcendental sequel that brings the cerebral to Hollywood.

If you're looking for high-octane action; you would do well to look elsewhere. Villeneuve artfully unpacks the enigmatic core of the original Blade Runner at a languid pace, befitting a transformative museum tour, that respects the source material and audience's intelligence in Blade Runner 2049.

Villeneuve presents a central protagonist, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who embarks on a rerun of Rick Deckard's (Harrison Ford) mission to retire a replicant 30 years later. This blade runner is in a romantic relationship with a holographic personal assistant called Joi (Ana de Armas) that recalls Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) in Spike Jonze's Her.

Ultimately, K's journey is a Pinocchio parable as explored in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence and that's not the only reference to the late Stanley Kubrick as fans will discover.

Harrison Ford reprises a fan-favourite role a la Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, all I'll say is that his performance as an ageing Deckard is mesmeric and a career-high. Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks and Jared Leto are all phenomenal. Hoeks bears an uncanny resemblance to Sean Young who played Rachael in the original Blade Runner.

Sweeping vistas are wrapped in an industrial soundscape with callbacks to the original score, composed by Vangelis, and Sergei Prokofiev's childhood classic Peter and the Wolf.

It's a treatise on existentialism in a neon-drenched dystopia and a heartbreaking love story between an android and an app achingly distilled by Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas.

Blade Runner 2049 left me melancholy and, conversely, optimistic by its enchanting end. Amidst the deafening roar of nihilistic blockbusters, there are compelling stories of the human condition being told like in fairytales of old. That's worth tears in the rain.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Blade Runner 2049 prequel starring Dave Bautista

Warner Bros. has released the second of three prequels to Blade Runner 2049.

The short film follows Sapper Montan (Dave Bautista) a replicant on the run. 2048: Nowhere to Run is the second of three short films that will fill in the timeline between the original Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

This is the official synopsis for Blade Runner 2049:

"Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years."

Blade Runner 2049 is in theatres 6th October.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Blade Runner 2049 prequel starring Jared Leto

Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to director Ridley Scott's iconic Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford, is released in theatres this October with Ford reprising the role of Rick Deckard alongside Ryan Gosling as LAPD Officer K.

Collider has posted an exclusive prequel short film starring Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream) playing Niander Wallace. 2036: Nexus Dawn is one of three short films that will fill in the timeline between the original Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.

This is the official synopsis for Blade Runner 2049:

"Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years."

Blade Runner 2049 is in theatres 6th October.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Blade Runner 2049 gives a knowing wink to Star Wars

Ridley Scott's second foray into sci-fi was Blade Runner. An enigmatic film noir touchstone possessing a visual flair much copied and unmatched since its original release in 1982.

Scott's dystopian vision was the antithesis of the summer blockbuster with Harrison Ford, famous for Star Wars and Indiana Jones, playing Rick Deckard. A police officer charged with hunting down replicants. All the while possibly a replicant himself. Because unicorn.

The prospect of a sequel left me cold until the latest trailer for Blade Runner 2049 dropped with Ford reprising the role opposite Ryan Gosling.

The tone is pitch perfect and lush visuals promise to be as memorable as those seen in the original. The minimalist approach evokes Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey). At least it's a feast for the eyes and listen out for the Star Wars in-joke from The Empire Strikes Back.

If you've never seen the original Blade Runner. May I suggest The Final Cut from 2007.

Looking forward to Blade Runner 2049 this October? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

The Macra: Masters of Terror

Last Saturday's episode of Doctor Who, Gridlock, refreshingly brought back the dreaded Macra, the celebrated crab-like enemy that Patrick Troughton's Doctor faced, four decades before, in 1967.

This riveting adventure, framed against an homage to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (Scott was commissioned to design the Daleks (Terry Nation only provided the scantest of descriptions), but passed duties to Raymond Cusick)), reintroduced the Face of Boe and the 'revelation' that the Doctor is not the only Time Lord to have survived the last great Time War with the Daleks!

This lends further, possible, credence to online speculation that The Master is set to return. As noted previously, I remain hopeful that John Simm will indeed play the role!