May 18, 2009


Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2009

Film by: Ben Zasadzki

Key Cast Members:

  • Maya: Kay Teevan, Amanda Bates, Ashley Pontius, Lucia Correira (Voice)
  • Doctors: Kenni Wright, Daniel Nethery
  • Guards: Barrie Connell, Baikal Librian, Alfredo Cardenoas Flores
  • Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

    Rating: 7 out of 10

    Maya (final Cut) - Funny videos are here

    Synopsis: With Terminator: Salvation coming this Thursday, it’s time I got my review circuits ready by doing a short review of a short movie, Maya. I found this short while searching for cyberpunk music on YouTube. A vid for a song called “Organics (Slowmotion Mix)” by Evil’s Toy had a link to MetaCafe and Maya. Note: The version embedded and reviewed here is the Final Cut version.

    The film starts out with Maya, decked-out in some near-future laser-tag gear, stalking a structure with some guards. She manages to take out one guard, but winds up getting shot dead, only to awaken back in reality… or what we think is reality. From there, we witness Maya “reawakening” with different outcomes, like a dream within a dream. [Obligatory “Yo, Dawg!” goes here]

    While the philosophical use of VR is nothing new, this piece does make the best of its ten minutes of low-budget cyberpunk. It certainly fills a need for a shot of cyberpunk when you need more than a music video but you don’t have the appetite for a feature-length film.



    Here’s the video that lead me to Maya. Lady-bots and gentle-borgs, I give you German EBM band Evil’s Toy with “Organics (Slowmotion Mix).” Enjoy!
    This post has been filed under Amateur Film Production, Internet Find, Internet Short, Man-machine Interface, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009, Cyberpunk Theme by Mr. Roboto.

    High-end VFX production house, 1st Avenue Machine, has created some ads depicting robots and cyborgs as machines that can be atomized into similarly sized parts. As advertising often attempts to reflect simplistic notions of how society understands things, I wonder if this idea is coming in vogue regarding robots and cyborgs. This first sexy little piece was done for Saturn, a Best Buy-like electronics store in Europe:



    Far less exciting, but specially interesting is 1stAveMachine’s ad for Adidas:



    While definitely cool looking, both of these ads show a fairly strange notion of robots. Nope, no functional decomposition here - its all holographic interchangeable parts, folks. Anyone see this trope emerging anywhere else?

    This post has been filed under Internet Short, Cyberpunked living by SFAM.

    Welcome me back folks. BTW, here’s a cool little youtube video floating around now that uses the Matrix to make a commentary on Windows. Considering I just installed Ubuntu on my EEE PC, I thought it appropriate:


    EDIT: Regarding the quality of this short, its terrific. Both funny and wonderfully thought out. I found myself laughing numerous times!

    This post has been filed under Internet Short by SFAM.

    Movie Review By: SFAM

    Year: 2008

    Directed by: David Nutter

    Written by: Josh Friedman

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Medium

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

    Key Cast Members:

    • Sarah Connor: Lena Headey
    • Cameron: Summer Glau
    • John Connor: Thomas Dekker
    Rating: 6 out of 10

    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture

    Overview: OK, so the Terminator franchise was pretty much killed off with the storyline train wreck that was T3, right? Think again. The luminaries at Fox have decided to wipe the thought of T3 from our collective memories to try again. While I would have preferred something taking place in the fucked-up future, this was not the direction taken (clearly the budget for a futuristic TV series would be cost prohibitive). This one takes place in modern times, with a potential bevy of bad terminators once again attempting to waste John Conner while he, mommy and their cute little teenage Terminatrix sidekick try to force crib death on Skynet before it becomes self-aware. While the initial pilot was less than inspiring, the second episode was significantly better – so much so that its worth giving this thing a viewing or two.


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    The Story: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles takes place after Terminator 2, and ends up pretty much obliterating the Terminator 3 storyline from existence. Starting in 1999, in this “version” of the future past, Sarah (played by Lena Headey) and John Conner (Thomas Dekker) have settled down to a life of sorts, where John goes to school and Sarah waitresses and falls in love with a regular guy. While they have kept out of sight of the police, Sarah never feels safe, an decides to leave when her fiancé gives her a ring. Soon after settling in their new digs, John befriends a nice girl at school named Cameron (Summer Glau), and then almost gets blown away by his substitute teacher who turns out to be a Terminator. Luckily for him, that cute girl he befriended ends up being his protector teenage Terminator chick.


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    Cameron informs them that the new world expiration date (when Skynet becomes self-aware) is April 19, 2011. After a bit of terminator action, Sarah, John and Cameron agree to find out how Skynet gets revived. Strangely, this involves raiding a bank built in 1963 to find weapon parts that can kill the current “red shirt” terminator (there appear to be lots of them), and then use the time machine left there to transport them to 2007. Cameron “supposedly” did this to ensure they would be safe – NOT.


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    As the second episode ensues, Sarah, John and Cameron are working to get legit-looking IDs, meet up with a bunch of Connor’s staff from the future, who also came back to 2007, and then to eventually stop Skynet. Unfortunately, it turns out that another Terminator has already wasted three of the four warriors from the future. Even worse, the red-shirt Terminator wasted with the cool ray gun in episode one somehow had its parts scattered into the future when the time travel occurred – now he’s rebuilding himself.


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    Evaluation of The Cast:

    • Cameron: Most of the early buzz around the Sarah Connor Chronicles concerns Summer Glau’s staring role as the mysterious but good terminatrix chick. In the pilot episode, she has a very mixed – mostly off – performance. Her deliverance of the signature “Come with me if you want to live” line had a quavering voice – hardly the stuff of terminators. Further, the awesome fighting we associate from her Serenity performance wasn’t on display. That said, Summer was significantly better in the second episode. Her face was more terminator-like, and she seemed to grow into the role more in a number of ways. Still, Summer is clearly not your Aaaahhnold’s Terminator - the bad guy terminators don’t even recognize her model number, for instance. She doesn’t even seem to have the same basic instruction set in that she seems to process information differently. There are already allusions to her having a very close relationship to John in the future, including a slight amount of sexual tension between Cameron and John. She could evolve into an interesting Data-like version of a “what dose it mean to be human?” terminator, or she could end up being John’s hawt android sexbot who just happens to pack a nice punch - who knows at this point?
    • Sarah Conner: Lena Headey plays a fairly interesting character, but is one which bares very little resemblance to the character played by Linda Hamilton. This Sarah Connor is a waif who struggles to be tough enough to do what is necessary. Emotions are always just under the surface for this character. In truth, Headey plays a Sarah Conner FAR closer to the first Terminator instead of after the second one. I don’t know if I like the change, but besides the occasional English accent switch, Headey does a decent job playing whoever this character is supposed to be.
    • John Conner: Thomas Dekker’s John Conner is FAR preferable to the monstrosity played by Nick Stahl. So far, Dekker is by far the most believable character. He seems pissed off, tough, smart and screwed over – exactly like we’d expect from the kid from Terminator 2. I’m interested to see how he “grows” into his leadership role.
    • James Ellison: Ellison is an FBI agent played by Richard Jones, who seems to be discovering that the future that psycho-Sarah seems to have told everyone might actually be coming true. So far, he hasn’t had enough face time to be relevant, but there appears to be some interesting possibilities.


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    Problems With The Dress Code: OK, call me crazy but Sarah Conner in skirts and the Terminatrix in miniskirts just doesn’t work for me. Here’s a thought – I know its cliché but how ‘bout we try making Summer look tough. How? Hmmm, I dunno, how’s about using the traditional black leathers motif? That seemed to work for Kristanna Loken, not to mention virtually every other female action star since Catwoman in Batman Returns. Considering the number of clichés they’ve used already, this one seems like a “slam dunk.” And just another thought – have they considered possibly combat fatigues (or something similar) for Sarah Conner? Whatever they choose – PLEASE – stop the skirts.


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    Forget the T3 Fate - Now the Future Timeline is Fucked Up: Similar to T2, the message again is that the future is unclear. That said, if the future is sooo unclear, how is it that John Conner in the future is able to keep sending back his cronies to different times (1963, 1984, 1991, 1999, 2007 so far)? You’d think there would have been “some” change on the future, especially since apparently the 1963 machine is the way people can go back to the future. Again, one has to ask, if Skynet has the ability to send a significant number of people back (they always seem to be able to create that “one” more time machine…), why not send someone back to Sarah’s mother’s time and wax John’s grandmother? But far more troubling is the idea that all these things in the past simply haven’t affected John’s actions in the future. The world expiration date has now been pushed back to 2011 - how did that affect the people alive when John originally sent his father Reece back to 1984? Such questions are clearly beyond our understanding, but it just goes to show, that we can modify the signature line of the series (“We’re never safe”) to “We’re never safe from sequels in a previously successful franchise. Given this reincarnation, its only natural that the timeline issues so wonderfully explored in the first Terminator are now totally rendered nonsensical and silly.


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    They Actually Ripped Off Hardware!!! Yes, that long, lost, forgotten low-budget cyberpunk flick from Richard Stanley has been ripped off here. In Hardware, set in a dystopic future, a guy finds a cool looking robot head which he brings back home to give to his girlfriend. The head ends up being a low-budget Terminator-like robot (yes, it ripped off the original Terminator, so go figure), who ends up being able to slowly rebuild itself. Once it does, it wreaks havoc on the the wierdos living in this truly bizarre apartment building (I highly recommend this movie). The red-shirt terminator who gets wasted in the first episode apparently didn’t really get wasted (so much for the red-shirt analogy). Instead, he slowly rebuilds himself in a very cool zombie-like way…


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    The FX: Similar to T3, the Sarah Connor Chronicles are rescued by high quality FX – far better than we should expect from a TV series in fact. The time travel Terminator bubble looked excellent, as did the initial world destruction dream sequence. For the most part, the damaged terminators look decently realistic, and the battle sequences believable. Nice touches like the open arm and leg shots really do serve to finish this off. However, some stunts like the stupid terminator not noticing the 200 mph car hitting them have already been way overdone (twice so far). Truly terminators have learned how to look both ways before crossing at this point, ey? It looks cool and all, but give it a rest already.


    Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles screen capture


    The Bottom Line: For the pilot episode, I’d give it 4 stars at best. The second episode rates at least 6 stars – probably 7. While the pilot was really problematic, the possibilities exist for this to become a pretty good series. Some of the minor characters and plot points might end up working well. The whole mysterious terminator thing that Summer Glau engages in could end up being very interesting, or, if they pursue the whole love interest with John thing, it could turn into a truly sour dud. And even though the show has problems both in minor plot issues and believable characters, the well-known Terminator score really helps build suspense. We “know” what the music should sound like when a bad guy terminator approaches – we aren’t disappointed here. Bottom line, the series is worth giving a watch at this point. I’ll re-evaluate as the 12 episode season gets to its mid-point.

    This post has been filed under TV Episodes, Made for TV, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009 by SFAM.

    January 14, 2008

    Sarah Connor Chronicles: Post Your Thoughts

    Sarah Connor Chronicles Screen Capture


    So its finally here. The Sarah Connor Chronicles, staring Summer Glau, Lena Headey, and Thomas Dekker has been widely anticipated, and appears to have a decent budget. I’ll wait to give my review until tomorrow night, but I just wanted to know what you thought about the first night.

    Summer Glau of Firefly/Serenity fame is one of my recent favorites, so I’m eagerly anticipating this. Feel free to discuss spoilers in the comments. Thoughts?

    This post has been filed under TV Episodes by SFAM.

    December 5, 2007

    Virtual Obsession (Host)

    Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

    Year: 1998

    Directed by: Mick Garris

    Written by: Preston Sturges, Jr. and Mick Garris (teleplay), Peter James (based on his novel “Host”)

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Moderate

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Moderate

    Key Cast Members:

  • Dr. Joe Messenger: Peter Gallagher
  • Karen Messenger: Mimi Rogers
  • Juliet Spring: Bridgette Wilson
  • Albert: Tom Nibley
  • Rating: 5 out of 10


    Overview: Originally, it was a made-for-TV movie that aired on ABC (who said “It makes Fatal Attraction seem like a walk in the park.”), now it makes its rounds on cable under the name Host.

    I came across this little ditty a few weeks ago at a local flea market. By the way the cover looked, and the story description on the back of the case, I had the impression that this was a cyberpunk movie. After doing some research and discovering it was made by Hallmark Entertainment, VO suddenly went from possible cyberpunk movie to “chick-flick” … not what I was looking for. Still, the plot description kept nagging me to watch it. So I did…

    It’s definitely a direct-to-TV-quality melodrama, but there are some undertones of cyberpunk, especially with technology redefining humanity.


    Synopsis: Dr. Joe Messenger has created the ultimate super-computer to run Salt Lake City’s power grid, but “Albert” (as in “Einstein,” who appears as a holograph at times) has a greater purpose: Cameras, microphones, and other sensory-input devices from around the city… and the world… feed Albert data constantly, helping it learn about humanity. Joe is looking to create the first post-biological consciousness.

    Joe hires Juliet Spring to assist him, but her life is threatened by an inoperable aneurysm. She is desperate to use Albert for a project of her own: Juliet wants to upload a human brain (hers specifically) to achieve immortality, or at least until they discover a way to operate on it while she is in cryogenic sleep. Juliet begins an affair with Joe, putting a strain on his marriage, and slowly becomes obsessed with him. Just before she dies, she uploads herself to Albert and her body is frozen. While in deep-freeze, people start making demands for her body and eventually it is destroyed (the sad finale is when Karen discovers Juliet’s head in the basement freezer and, after confronting Joe, tosses it into the street where it shatters into chunky pieces). Juliet begins using Albert’s connections to take revenge, and demands that Joe joins her in her “Eden,” going so far as threatening his family.


    Fatal Attraction, fer sure! The only thing missing is the obligatory “I’m not gonna be ignored, Dan!” line. From the first time we see her during the interview at the Artificial Intelligence Center, we can tell Juliet is targeting Dr. Messenger for something. Even after her death and destruction, she is still desperate to have Joe with her.

    If it wasn’t for the Lawnmower Man-like idea of uploading a consciousness into cyberspace, this would just be another psychotart-gets-wet-panties-for-cuckold film.


    Now for the good parts! Fortunately, the more memorable scenes and lines in the movie deal more with the impact of technology on the meaning of humanity than on one girl’s obsession for a married man:


    “We’re trying to create a new consciousness… We’re trying to crate a mind. Something aware of itself… A being that can think and choose for itself, on its own terms.”

    “We’re not living in a science fiction movie, Carl. Post-biological man is to be pure intelligence. There wouldn’t be any selfish interest….”

    To test Juliet’s theory, they try to upload a rat’s brain into Albert. They succeed, though the rat dies with a high-pitched shriek:


    “Here’s my hypothesis. The rat brain is downloaded and at time point zero, it becomes conscious. It responds to its newborn consciousness with that sound. And somewhere between zero and 21-point-734 seconds it senses competition with the living rat, the organic rat, and kills it.”

    “What if silicon consciousness is unbearable to creatures that were once alive, once organic? What if stripping the consciousness from the body is agony?”

    After uploading herself to Albert and “seeing” her meat body be destroyed, Juliet undergoes some major personality changes, becoming almost god-like (or goddess-like):

    “Maybe you can’t separate the body from the mind. Maybe there’s something that binds us to the flesh. Loose the body and you loose the humanity. Destroy the container and you destroy the soul.”

    “Imagine what an active intelligence with spontaneous access to all of mankind’s recorded knowledge is capable of.”


    What do you call a computerized brain that turns a city’s light grid into a message board? Insane in the mainframe.


    Conclusion: While not the most “hard core” in terms of cyberpunk themes and visuals, there is enough cyber-transhuman philosophizing to make this made-for-TV chick-flick interesting for guys to check out… IF you have stomach for such fare.

    This post has been filed under Made for TV, AI (no body), 5 Star Rated Movies, VR Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by Mr. Roboto.

    November 11, 2007

    The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis

    WARNING: The following blog contains information that the Powers That Be do not want disclosed. Cyberpunk Review cannot be held liable for appearances of unmarked vans or black helicopters around one’s residence, readers being blocked from accessing our site, or visits from the Men in Black resulting from reading this blog. Reader discretion… and a full-body Faraday-cage suit… is advised.



    “The Secret Government is an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and superpatriots, who, for a variety of motives, operate outside the legitimate institutions of government. Presidents have turned to them when they can’t win the support of the Congress or the people, creating that unsupervised power so feared by the framers of our Constitution. Just imagine that William Casey’s dream came true. Suppose the enterprise grew into a super-secret, self-financing, self-perpetuating organization. Suppose they decided on their own to assassinate Gorbachev or the leader of white South Africa. Could a President control them and what if he became the enterprise’s public enemy Number One? Who would know? Who would say no?”


    I first heard these words during a Mental- Escher Cyberpunk Radio podcast. Out of curiosity, I searched the net and found the source: A PBS broadcast of a Bill Moyers report about a shadow-group who have been secretly influencing American policy and society in the name of “national security.” This show sounds like it was done recently during the Duh’bya regime, but SURPRISE, The Secret Government came out in 1987! It was released just after the Iran-Contra hearings, yet still holds relevance today as our own “government” continues the trend of secrecy in the name of “national security.”

    There are two versions of this video out on the net: The full 90-minute version on Google Video and a 20-minute YouTube version. The full version is also available for download via torrent.

    If you do a websearch, you will find numerous links to the videos, along with additional information, excerpts of the short version, the short version split into two parts, a book based on the piece (excerpts here), and even theories about who is at least part of “The Secret Government.” You may want to add the phrase “The Constitution in Crisis” or “PBS” when searching to filter out UFO conspiracies.


    The Beginning of The End. The downward spiral started with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, leading to the creation of a National Security Council… and the shadowy secret government of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    The CIA was tasked with gathering foreign intelligence, then to take on covert operations in an effort to combat Communism, which America of the time saw a threat. Any hint of communism would be enough to trigger the CIA into action… and in 1953 Iran, they took action. The legitimate leader wanted to nationalize the oil fields, which were run by British companies. But Washington thought this was the first step to communism, so the CIA took action… bribing the army, police, and mobs to drive the Iranian Prime Minister out, and replacing him with the Shah, even training and arming his secret police. This allowed American companies to take control of the oil fields, and the British got screwed.

    Seeing their success in Iran, the CIA went on to attempt other coups: Guatemala in 1954 (whose legitimate leader nationalized over a million acres of land over the objections of the United Fruit Company), Cuba, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, …practically every hotspot in the world was created by the CIA’s covert actions in the name of “national security.”

    Not all of the CIA’s operations can be called successful; the Bay of Pigs, Ayatollah Khomeni, Ten years of Vietnam quagmire, … Yet, the CIA still continues to operate “behind the throne” without any real oversight or restrictions to keep them in check. Even after the fall of communism, the CIA was still in full effect, looking to expand their powers, and looking for any “enemy” to go after.

    They would get their wish in 2001. Some say they let the events of 9/11 happen to justify their plans for an American police-surveillance state, and perpetuating the war-driven economy they have come to depend on for the past sixty years.


    A rose by any other name… Ironically, the Secret Government may have been outed as early as 1961 by outgoing president Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address:

    A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Being a former General, Eisenhower was aware of the dangers of a war-driven society and government. But it wouldn’t be until 1975 when the Secret Government/Military-Industrial Complex would be investigated. There, they would learn of such CIA activities as deals with the Mafia, poisons, drugs, and the overthrowing of legitimate governments.

    Recently, ZDNet’s Robin Harris blogged about his opinion of net neutrality while creating a new term for the MIC of the information age: the Governmental-Communications complex. He cites Qwest’s CEO’s “legal” problem when he refused to go along with the government’s post-9/11 domestic invasion-of-privacy program.


    Who else is part of The Secret Government? While the CIA has been confirmed as a member of the “enterprise”, there has been some speculation (read: conspiracy theories) about who else is part of the shadow sect. One group to consider is FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who have powers via “Executive Orders” like the ability to move entire populations, seize whatever they need or want, and even cancel the Constitution if needed. Here’s what a couple of people found out about FEMA.

    There can be others who can considered part of the Secret Government, whether directly or indirectly: AT&T, Apple, The Federal Reserve, the oil companies, the health and drug cartels, the auto industry, the popular media factory, and don’t forget about the Blackwater mercenary corps!


    The Power of The Secret Government.

    … the secret government had also waged war on the American people. The hearings examined a long train of covert actions at home, from the bugging of Martin Luther King by the FBI under Kennedy and Johnson to gross violations of the law and of civil liberties in the 1970s. They went under code names such as Chaos, Cable Splicer, Garden Plot, and Leprechaun. According to the hearings, the secret government had been given a license to reach, as journalist Theodore White wrote, all the way to every mailbox, every college campus, every telephone, and every home.

    Sound familiar yet? Just add the Internet and “every computer.” And it may not even be limited to domestic spying, either. There have been conspiracy theories linking the Secret Government to the assassinations John Kennedy and even Martin Luther King, Jr. If they have the capacity to assassinate or ruin foreign leaders, why not troublesome citizens. As for telling the truth, forget it. As long as they see “enemies” here and abroad, they are going to try to keep their secrets in the name of “national security,” including suppressing the TRUTH and crating a virtual reality for the media and news outlets to spew on the masses (ask Dan Rather).

    Imagine the following: Two presidents tell lies. One lies about having an affair with an intern, the other lies about a foreign nation, whose leader may have been installed by the Secret Government, developing nuclear weapons and starts a war that mirrors Vietnam. The adulterous president faces impeachment, while the warmonger president openly violates the Constitution using the “national security” blanket to justify his criminal actions, but is not facing any charges and now wants immunity for his co-conspirators. Secret Government at work? No? Here’s a clue to consider: A lie about a blowjob didn’t kill 4000 American soldiers or thousands of Iraqi citizens.


    Can it happen again? You bet it can!

    The apparatus of secret power remains intact in a huge White House staff operating in the sanctuary of presidential privilege. George Bush (senior) has already told the National Security Council to take more responsibility for foreign policy which can of course be exercised beyond public scrutiny. And a lot of people in Washington are calling for more secrecy, not less, including more covert actions. This is a system easily corrupted as the public grows indifferent again, and the press is seduced or distracted. So one day, sadly, we are likely to discover once again that while freedom does have enemies in the world it can also be undermined here at home, in the dark, by those posing as its friends.


    Those are the closing words of the short version by Bill Moyers. Prophetic? If not, you must have been born recently, or been asleep since 2001.

    Just watch the videos, and I won’t blame you if you want to hide in your bunker, or take up arms for a revolution. Remember: No fate but what you make.

    This post has been filed under Internet Find, Made for TV, Documentary, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

    July 28, 2007

    A Clockwork Orange

    Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

    Year: 1971

    Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

    Written by: Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel by Anthony Burgess

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

    Key Cast Members:

  • Alex de Large: Malcom McDowell
  • Frank Alexander: Patrick Magee
  • Dim: Warren Clarke
  • Gerogie: James Marcus
  • Rating: 8 out of 10

    Overview: Unquestionably, A Clockwork Orange has to be among the most recognizable names of pre-cyberpunk works, invoking surrealistic images of the old ultra violence, sex done to the William Tell Overture, models of naked girls as tables and beverage dispensers, chemically induced behavior modification, the threat of Karma,… and a bit of Beethoven for good measure. It has often been cited as inspiration for cyberpunk novels, and even Rob Zombie salutes the film in his video for “Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy).” The subject matter, while speculating about 1995 from a 1960’s view, is still surprisingly relevant for 2007. With themes of street gangs, youth against the elderly, and forced behavioral changes against free will, one can swear the movie was more recent.

    But can it be called a cyberpunk movie? There’s no question about the “punk,” but in all honesty, it’s a little thin on the “cyber” since there’s no ubiquitous access to information or man-machine fusion, though Alex does undergo a “reprogramming” in a skull-cap wired to machines to monitor his vital functions. The lack of “cyber” isn’t Mr. Kubric’s or Mr. Burgess’s fault, since nobody in the 60’s could have predicted the impact of computer technology when 1995 rolled around. It still doesn’t subtract much from this piece of cinema goodness that many agree is a timeless classic.

    So grab a glass of milk mixed with your narcotic of choice, pull up a naked model table, brush up on your Nadsat, and vidi well, little brothers.


    The Story: Starting at the Korova Milk Bar, Alex De Large and his “droogs” tear up the streets of a future England city, beating derelicts, fighting other gangs, raising hell on the roads, invading homes, raping women, then returning to the Korova for a nightcap when we learn Alex also has an ear for Beethoven. His fun comes to an end when, during a failed home invasion. Alex kills a woman and is ambushed by his droogs, leaving him for the police to capture, convict of murder, and sentence to forty years in prison.

    Two years into his sentence, Alex learns of the Ludovico treatment. He wants to volunteer, but the Prison Chaplain expresses his doubts and tries to talk Alex out of it.


    “The question is whether or not this technique really makes a man good. Goodness comes from within. Goodness is chosen. When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.”

    When the Minister of The Interior visits, he selects Alex for the Ludovico treatment. The treatment involves Alex being injected with an experimental serum and made to watch videos of violence and rape, where the serum causes unexpected results.

    Dr. Brodsky (During Alex’s first “treatment”): “Very soon now, the drug will cause the subject to experience a deathlike paralysis together with deep feelings of terror and helplessness. One of our early test subjects described it as being like death. A sense of stifling or drowning. At this period we have found that the subject will make his most rewarding associations between his catastrophic experience, environment and the violence he sees.”

    During one “treatment,” the doctors use Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as the background music while a Nazi propaganda was viewed. Alex objects to the use of the music, but the treatment continues, causing him to become conditioned to the piece.


    “Stop it! Stop IT! STOP IT! Stop showing NEW ROSE HOTEL! IT’S NOT CYBERPUNK!!!!!

    After the doctors show Alex’s treatment worked, he’s released back into society. That’s when the Universe plays the Karma card…


    Whose Pawn Is He Anyway? The theme of free will versus society’s programming is quite dominant with the implications of the Ludovico treatment, but an underlying theme of people being used as pawns for political and personal gain is noticeable, especially when Alex returns to the home of Frank Alexander, whose house he and his droogs invaded and whose wife they raped. At first, Frank only recognizes Alex as the boy who went through the Ludovico program and calls a friend who can use him:

    Frank Alexander: “He can be the most potent weapon imaginable to ensure the government is not returned in the election. The government’s big boast, sir, is the way they have dealt with crime: Recruiting young roughs into the police, proposing will-sapping techniques of conditioning. We’ve seen it before in other countries. The thin end of the wedge. Before we know it, we’ll have the full apparatus of totalitarianism. This young boy is a living witness to these diabolical proposals.”

    Frank doesn’t realize that Alex is the one who raped his wife until he hears Alex singing “Singing in the Rain” in the bath. He manages to get Alex to drink drug-laced wine to knock him unconscious. When Frank’s co-conspirators arrive, they lock Alex in an upper-floor room while playing Beethoven’s Ninth, causing Alex to attempt suicide. While recovering in the hospital, we see the old amoral Alex return when a nurse shows slides. The Minister of the Interior visits Alex to apologize for the treatment and offer a government job.

    Alex used the people he encountered for his own amusement, including his own droogs. After undergoing the treatment, he’s unable to defend himself as those he tormented and attacked gain a measure of revenge on him. Then he’s used as a political pawn.

    Conclusion: A Clockwork Orange is a difficult movie to describe. It’s not an easy view with it’s ultraviolence, rampant sex, and drug use, but it makes for an interesting movie nonetheless. It’s a sick, twisted, demented, deviant, weird, and totally fucked-up view of the future. In other words, a real good movie.

    To show A Clockwork Orange’s place in history, I’ve edited the AFI 100 years, 100 movies post.

    This post has been filed under Dystopic Future Movies, 8 Star Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Surreal Cyberpunk Movies, Cyberpunk movies from before 1980 by Mr. Roboto.


    I found this juicy little tidbit at JWZ’s blog. As a viral video, I think it works wonderfully. It’s simple, well produced, and sexy enough to suck you in. It was produced by Wyld Stallyons and Lascivious (lingerie), who on Wyld’s site state:


    The Doll is a short film about death, desire, and robots; made for boutique lingerie label Lascivious in 2007 by moving image company Wyld Stallyons.

    Lascivious approached Wyld Stallyons in late 2006 with the idea of producing a collaborative short film which would act as a viral campaign for them, and also a promotional piece for Wyld Stallyons.

    Inspired by the infamous Real Doll sex toys, a token dollop of Greek myth, and countless teenage evenings watching straight-to-video sci-fi b-movies of dubious quality, Wyld Stallyons quickly developed a concept based around the idea of a mail order sex robot, delivered in parts. Once assembled, the robot becomes sentient and takes a shine to its owner’s lingerie, with fatal consequences.


    The whole “sentient robot wants to kill you” trope is definitely well understood by all at this point (the blue and red eyes switch most recently show up in I,Robot), so the connection is pretty solid. However, I’m not quite as thrilled about the usability of Lascivious’s website (pictures are too small to see the quality, and the cart works strangely). But the video definitely drew me there, so thumbs up to Wyld.

    This post has been filed under Internet Short by SFAM.

    June 18, 2007

    Exterminator City

    Movie Review By: SFAM

    Year: 2005

    Directed by: Clive Cohen

    Written by: Clive Cohen

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Low

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Low

    Rating: 2 out of 10


    Exterminator City Screencap


    Overview: So you’re really into big breasted chicks getting gored by robots, ey? If this is the variety of fetish porn you’ve been hankerin for, then Exterminator City is probably an automatic buy decision. One word of caution - you aren’t really getting robots, you’re getting a cheaper version of the old Muppet’s skit, Pigs in Space-style robot puppets. Basically you get shiny plastic robot heads (are these supposed to be metal?) with movable jaws, mounted on dressed clothing racks. A real person wearing gloves is shemping the hand movements, while the lower jaw goes up and down to mimic talking (robots MUST have working jaws, right - I mean who would believe that robots would have speakers embedded in them!). Outside of this small, select market segment of geeks lusting after robot puppets bloodily whacking big breasted chicks off-camera, Exterminator City will probably get a hearty “WTF” from everyone else.


    Exterminator City Screencap

    In the one intentionally funny moment of the film, Julie Strain dies by being bludgeoned with an Oscar statue (which occurs off-camera of course, as I don’t think any of these girls even knew they were in this flick until after it was released).


    The Story: In the near future (2027), the population is solely comprised of deranged robot puppets and big-breasted chicks who can’t stop rubbing themselves. Worse, these chicks don’t seem to be able to keep clothes on. Robot puppets handle all the work in society, while the bare-breasted chicks hang around their apartments waiting to get randomly gored in some bloody, off-camera moment. While this doesn’t seem like all that successful a society on the face of it, we can only wonder what happened in the previous 20 years that led to this!

    Exterminator City Screencap

    Unfortunately, the poor pesticide robot puppet has nightmares about hell. His response to the rubber demons? He treats them like big breasted chicks and chops them up!


    Enter our star - the deranged robot exterminator puppet. For his day job, he’s supposed to be killing the large rubber cockroaches that keep frequenting the bare-breasted chicks’ apartments, but due to a eeeevil after-market robot parts salesman, now he looks at these chicks as bad girls who need his special services. But this is no ordinary deranged robot exterminator puppet. He’s also a master hacker and top micro-electronics expert - he can create his own robot bugs that break into bare-breasted chick apartments! Better yet, he can instantaneously rip out a wall in the exact size of his human-sized robot puppet body, but can also shrink small enough to sneak through the small air ducts that permeate every big-breasted chick abode.

    Exterminator City Screencap

    Exterminator City Dialogue Moment:
    Police Detective Robot Puppet: “I knew this girl.”
    Mad Psychologist Robot Puppet: “You did?”
    Police Detective Robot Puppet: “I put her away on three counts of drug violations.”
    Mad Psychologist Robot Puppet: “I’d say she’s cured.”

    Meanwhile, a bumbling police detective robot puppet is on the case. He may seem useless but he’s sure he’ll catch the bad guy. What’s his strategy for success? He hangs out with a mad psychologist robot puppet (who used to have the pest control robot puppet as a patient) and discusses each gruesome murder after it takes place. Usually they like to mount the most recent dead, bloody and now skinned big-breasted chick on a poll between them (see above) so they can discuss the specifics of her death.


    Exterminator City Screencap

    This is the “Blade Runner” police HQ. Yes, in fact it does look like a cardboard box with squares cut out, covered with overlapping strips of spray-painted construction paper. But at least the light stays on, and the zippy things, which are supposed to be the police car, wiz by fast enough that you never get a good look at them.


    The Pacing: The pacing in Exterminator City mimics standard porno movie. There is a brief, incoherent beginning scene, followed by a series of action shots that are broken up by brief, incoherent interludes. In this case, robot/bare big-breasted chick slasher porn comprises the action shots. The ending resolution ending scene bookends the front in that its also an incoherent moment that nobody cares about. Between each slasher porn sequence, he interlude shots in Exterminator City always start off with a fast light-car zipping past the cardboard building above followed by an inane puppet dialogue moment. Most often, the dialogue moment involves ridiculous conversations (or sword fights) between the detective robot puppet and the mad psychologist robot puppet, but sometimes we get a “hell” fantasy from the mind of our anti-hero pest control robot puppet. I’m guessing Cohen was trying for a “Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast” type feel for the interludes, but this is just a guess (he failed).


    Exterminator City Screencap

    You can tell this scene is still early in the movie because the chick is hawt, can scream well and eventually takes off her top. Later on we get semi-ugly chicks, chicks that can’t scream or worse, ones that won’t disrobe!


    Where Did the Big Breasted Chick Footage Come From?: While I know nothing about the making of this movie, I’d bet money that director Clive Cohen has never met any of these chicks. Far more likely, I’m guessing that Clive contracted with some cheesy modeling agency that had pre-made clips of all their “actresses” in a horror-scream type setting. In NONE of the 20+ bare-breasted chick killing scenes do we get any sense that they have a clue what’s going on. Basically, each of them are in some kind of current-day house setting (working out, taking a shower, watching TV, etc.). After a few seconds of relaxation, they look toward the camera and start screaming. The scene then cuts to the deranged robot puppet axing, chopping, chainsawing or bludgeoning through fake skin of some kind. Julie Strain is the only one given more than 40 seconds screen time (she gets like 3-4 minutes). What’s truly funny about this approach is how bad these chicks really are - not only in acting, which is expected, but in screaming. Some are truly horrid.


    Exterminator City Screencap

    Robots need keyboards to hack into the police database!


    Exterminator City Dialogue Moment:
    Police Detective Robot Puppet: “He ain’t coming back here no more”
    “What makes you so sure?”
    Police Detective Robot Puppet:”He had a trace on our trace. He knew we were watching him.”
    “So he won’t hack the system again?”
    Police Detective Robot Puppet: “He don’t have to. He downloaded all files on route to the kill.”
    “So no stopping him now?”
    Police Detective Robot Puppet: “You must be sooo proud.”
    “No detective. I am not.”
    Police Detective Robot Puppet: “I’ll get him”
    “How can you know that?”
    Police Detective Robot Puppet: “That’s my job, bitch.”


    Exterminator City Screencap

    And then a random plastic sword fight breaks out between the police detective and the mad psychologist. Why you ask? Um, don’t ask why…Incidentally, in the close-ups of both puppets, they each have those crossed swords behind them (apparently the walls move quickly to keep the crossed swords in the shot). I think this is to help the viewer recognize that they are having a sword fight.


    The Bottom Line: Often when watching a truly horrid flick, you find yourself wondering, “What did this director really want to accomplish?” In this case, its pretty clear - Cohen wanted to make robot slasher porn. Unfortunately he didn’t have a budget, so he settled for robot puppet slasher porn that occurs off-screen. As bad as this “movie” is, I must say that a good number of the big-breasted chicks look really good. And I suppose there’s something to be said for having massive quantities of big breasted chicks to make up for the monstrosity that is this movie. I honestly doubt that anyone besides Cohen actually worked this thing.

    But give Cohen some credit: like any good porn movie he knows to keep the better action shots near the beginning, as most will tire of the movie long before the ending comes. As we get to the last third of the movie, the women are either uglier, really awful screamers or won’t take off their clothes. For this organization philosophy, I’m giving Cohen an extra star in my rating (which brings my review to a grand total of 2 stars!). Unfortunately, this approach also means that near the end, we’re stuck with a higher dose horrid dialogue between the detective and psychologist, along with the occasional rubber hell monster. Bottom line, if you do have a hankerin for big bare-breasted robot puppet slasher porn and need to see this, don’t feel guilty in turning it off just after the halfway point.

    This post has been filed under Horror, 2 Star Movies, B Cyberpunk Cinema, Android Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009 by SFAM.
    Made with WordPress and the Semiologic CMS | Design by Mesoconcepts