Posts tagged science fiction

Attack-the-Block-005

Review: Attack the Block (2011)

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Since Halloween is steadily approaching, I figured I would suggest a few films that are definitely not made for children but have taken both the horror and sci-fi genres to a different level within the last few years.

I had the absolute pleasure of going to see Attack the Block earlier this month in Plainville, CT. I follow Edgar Wright on twitter and when he announced that the release was widening into my area, I had to go. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World instilled a little faith in Mr. Wright.

Each movie was a genre movie. It wasn’t a comedy trying to itch that genre niche. They are genre movies that have incredibly funny moments in them. They show a great nod to comedy, but display an intense love for the genre in the storyline.

I’m sure some people are saying “he only produced Attack the Block”. You’re correct. I still have faith in something that Edgar Wright would put his name on.

Faith bolstered, Mr. Wright.

Attack the Block is a science fiction thriller written and directed by Joe Cornish. It is the tale of a teenage gang that takes it upon themselves to defend their council housing in Lambeth from alien invaders.

The first few minutes of the movie established how unsavory the youth had become when we witness them mugging a nurse as she is walking home. The mugging is interrupted by something crashing from the sky into a parked car. The gang leader Moses goes to check it out and is attacked by a creature that he kills with the help of his friends.

What proceeds is absolute chaos. Throughout the area, the sky is lit up with fireworks, masking the illuminated single creature transporters crashing against the Earth and everything built on it.

Joe Cornish’s directorial debut is not something to be missed. His vision is well executed with phenomenal performances by John Boyega (Moses), Jodie Whittaker (Sam), and Luke Treadaway (Brewis, who I had taken to calling “British Butters”). The cinematographer, Thomas Townend, kept the pace with dynamic shots and exceptional angles.

I am beyond pleased with this movie. The aliens were actually alien and something that I had never seen before. Initially, when I saw the second alien in the movie I threw my hands up in the air because I thought it was so cheesy. Then it opened its mouth and I screamed “AWESOME!” in the theater.
(Make note: I am a horrible person to go to a movie with.)

All of the special effects were marvelous as well. Some scenes were perfect homage to scenes from the past. There are moments where you know what’s happening to these characters off the screen is more terrifying than the blood spatter you see. My favorite weapon was only used briefly as a defensive maneuver (motorbike).

The ending was exactly what needed to happen and I was not disappointed at all. I absolutely loved Sam and how she spoke with the boys in the gang. Brewis was the character where you could see someone following him just to play a sad trombone “wah wah” whenever he opened his mouth. Nick Frost was hysterical as the skeezy drug dealer for the block. There is a moment between him and Brewis where the entire theater laughed.

I loathe spoiling any of the story for you, so I suggest you get your hands on it. Attack the Block is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Attack the Block will kick you in your face with awesome.

The SF Squeecast: Five Science Fiction Professionals Premiere a Podcast of Positivity

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Official Press Release

 

DeKalb, IL- Science Fiction and Fantasy professionals Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, and Catherynne M. Valente will be premiering a new monthly podcast called the SF Squeecast on June 30, 2011.

In every SF Squeecast episode, our contributors (and occasional guests) will each bring SF works that make them happy — both new discoveries and old favorites — for group discussion. Other elements in the podcast include an irreverent question and answer segment and the occasional topical discussion over a virtual cup of tea.

The SF Squeecast combines humor, passion, and professional experience in the SF field into a never-ending convention panel discussion of “don’t miss this” science fiction and fantasy works in all formats. Our regular contributors include two-time Hugo Award-winning and Theodore Sturgeon Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear (The Jenny Casey Trilogy, The Jacob’s Ladder Trilogy), Hugo-nominated New York Times Bestselling television, comic book, and prose writer Paul Cornell (Doctor Who- “Human Nature,” Action Comics), Campbell Award-winning, Hugo-nominated New York Times Bestselling author and musician Seanan McGuire (October Daye series, Feed as Mira Grant), Hugo-nominated editor and curator Lynne M. Thomas (Chicks Dig Time Lords, Whedonistas), and Hugo-nominated, Tiptree and Andre Norton Award-winning New York Times Bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente (Palimpsest, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making).

For more information about the SF Squeecast, please visit http://sfsqueecast.com or email us at sfsqueecast@gmail.com

Artwork by Lee Sullivan

Check Out 'The Ministry of Chance'

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Artwork by Lee Sullivan

Yesterday, a new science fiction audio drama called The Minister of Chance was officially released. I’d like to share with you my review of Episode 1 (originally posted on Geeky Pleasures), as I think it is something many of the readers here at NiB will enjoy.

If you were going to spend £1.49 today, or any day for that matter, then I highly recommend you spend it on Episode 1: The Broken World of The Minister of Chance (@ministerchance).

Officially released yesterday, The Minister of Chance, is a masterfully produced audio drama from the UK. Superbly acted, with an amazing cast of characters, and with rich, lavish, immersive soundscapes, you are magically hurled into the reality that is this story.

In Episode 1, you’ll hear the voices of:

  • Julian Wadham – The Minister
  • Jenny Agutter – Professor Cantha
  • Lauren Crace – Kitty
  • Paul Darrow – Lord Rathen
  • Stuart Fox – Porcher
  • Richard Garaghty – Match Werming
  • Lloyd Hutchinson – Menin
  • Gareth Jones – Corporal Sona
  • Petra Massey – Gurk
  • Sylvester McCoy – The Witch Prime
  • Paul McGann – Durian
  • Kane Sharpe – Rosta

The Minister of Chance is a work of wonderful science fiction, in which science has been outlawed in favour of magic, scientists are imprisoned by the ruling magic class in order to fashion weapons of mass destruction and war has broken out. The story may not be new but the way in which it is delivered certainty is. It is a wonderful commentary on many of today’s current issues in the world; from the battle between superstitious thinking and science, the struggles in the Middle East for democracy and freedom and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. When Episode 1 was recorded last summer, the struggles of Northern Africa had not yet begun, however the Iranian protests were not a distant memory.

Entertaining and engaging, I found myself having to re-listen to Episode 1 a few times, as there is just so much going on and layer upon layer of rich sounds, which caused me to get lost in them and caused me to want to listen one more time, in order to hear all that was going on. Then that one more time became another, until I had realised I was listening to it for the forth time.

For a brief glimpse into Episode 1, listen to the trailer found here.

Normally, my brain has issues listening to audio-only which requires active listening (audiobooks as an example) rather than passive listening (music as an example). I do not do well when read to, unless I am following along with the reader. Unless I am engaged in conversation or watching a presentation, my mind gets bored and I wander and drift away into other worlds. Listening to The Minister of Chance, I never got bored as it allowed me to wander and drift into the world of Tanto and drink up the atmosphere. I could smell, taste, see and touch the environment.

Aside from the wonderful sound and voice acting, the dialogue is brilliant. It is witty, charming, intelligent, humourous and you may not want to sit down with grandmum over tea to listen. There is some not suitable for work language, however it is never gratuitous. Every thing is purposeful and I think it serves its purpose well.

I am not sure how much I want to get into the events of the first episode. I am afraid that if I did, it would end up being a spoiler. I will tell you, this is a must purchase and listen. I think The Minister of Chance will be enjoyed by all, not just science fiction fans, as the story and production is engaging enough to entertain audiences of all forms.

Before you , you will want to listen to the Prologue: The Pointed Hand. There are important bits to the plot which come to light in the prologue. It is free for download.

I do not think I can stress enough that this is a must . Not only is it highly entertaining but after Episode 2 is released in April, there will be no future episodes produced until enough funds are raised. You see, this is a completely independent project, with no outside advertiser funding, grant funding or BBC funding. There will be multiple seasons, each consisting of 6 episodes. Each episode will be produced as the proceeds from direct sales allows. It really is a wonderful sales model, but it does depend on your support.

And remember, tonight, Friday, March 18, 2011, beginning at 7 pm PDT, 10 pm EDT, 2 am (Saturday) GMT, my interviews with Lauren Crace (Kitty) and Sylvester McCoy (The Witch Prime) will air on the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show on The Force 925 (@TheForce925). We discussed a little bit of the making of, the plot and how it can be related to today’s global events, character development, other projects they’ve worked on and are currently working on and more.

About Lauren Crace

Lauren graduated from RADA in 2008. During her final year she was cast as series regular Danielle Jones in EASTENDERS for which she was awarded the TV Quick & TV Choice Best Newcomer award and two Best Storyline awards. Her Theatre credits include Cécile de Volanges in Toby Frow’s production of LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES at Salisbury Playhouse and Young Dee in AND I AND SILENCE at The Finborough. She appeared in the GREAT GAME, part of the BBC’s recent and critically acclaimed SHERLOCK series and later in 2011 will be seen in the role of Joan in Aisling Walsh’s ROOM AT THE TOP for BBC4, as well as a guest lead in HOLBY CITY and the forthcoming BBC legal drama SILK.

 

 

 

About Sylvester McCoy

Sylvester came to prominence as a member of the comedy act THE KEN CAMPBELL ROADSHOW. His best known act was as a stuntman character called “Sylveste McCoy” in an entertainment entitled AN EVENING WITH SYLVESTE McCOY THE HUMAN BOMB where his stunts included putting a nail up his nose, stuffing ferrets down his trousers, exploding a bomb on his chest, and if the audience behaved themselves, setting his head on fire. As a joke, the programme notes listed Sylveste McCoy as played by “Sylveste McCoy” and, after a reviewer missed the joke assuming Sylveste McCoy was a real person, Kent-Smith adopted this as his stage name, some years later adding an ‘r’. Well known for playing the seventh incarnation of the Doctor in the hugely popular TV series DOCTOR WHO, he then revived the role in the Doctor Who television movie with Paul McGann as the eighth Doctor. Notable television appearances before he gained the role of the Doctor included roles in VISION ON (where he played Pepe/Epep, a character who lived in the mirror), an O-Man in JIGSAW and TISWAS. His stage performances range from the title role in The National Theatre’s production of THE PIED PIPER and The Fool in Trevor Nunn’s KING LEAR alongside Ian McKellen for the Royal Shakespeare Company to Mushnik in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and Puck in Welsh National Opera’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. He has just finished playing ‘Grimes’ in a highly acclaimed production of Evelyn Waugh’s DECLINE & FALL and also portrayed, on the stage, two famous movie comedians: Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton. He recently guest starred in an episode of the BBC’s series DOCTORS playing an actor who once played the time-travelling hero of a children’s television series called The Amazing Lollipop Man, especially written for Sylvester. He will shortly start filming in New Zealand in the role of ‘Radagast The Brown’ in Peter Jackson’s movie versions of THE HOBBIT.

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