Overview: Our resident Cecil B. DeMille, Lazlo Kovacs, and his pals at Key Pixel have brought us the follow-up to the short underground fave UCF: Toronto Cybercide. The second chapter, Abstract Messiah, continues the story of Toronto’s rebuilding struggles as a new enemy come to the forefront determined to stop the cyborgs.
Kovacs said that the movie was about 98% complete and wanted to send a screener to preview. From what I’ve seen, it looks fairly ready for prime-time. Like many low-budget films, there are some issues to deal with, but they’re easy to overlook as long as you’re not expecting Blade Runner-quality fare.
Duct tape is just a good as a band-aid.
The Story: Pax is called back to Toronto to retrieve the body of his former partner, and gets to meet up with his UCF mentor, a history professor. The professor is reported as kidnapped when he misses an appointment. Pax and company are called in to investigate when a member of the Luddites is considered the prime suspect. The investigation leads the UCF team to a prison for cyborgs where the Luddites plan to use the inmates in their ultimate plan; To use retrieve the nanotechnology in Pax’s deceased partner.
The game. A recurring theme is the chess game; Specifically, how the action is equivalent to moves and counter-moves on a chess board.
If that’s true then Equilibrium’s gun-fu scenes should be considered hands of Texas Hold-Em.
Seriously, every action movie would like to be compared to chess; That all the gun-play and violence has some intellectual reason and not just eye candy. For Abstract Messiah, they take the comparison to a new level starting with a real chess match between Pax and his Foundation mentor.
“While you were watching us learn, we were watching you teach.”
Such back and forth banter isn’t uncommon in action movies, as each side tries to impart their vision to the other. But when the two are bitter rivals, diametrical opposites of each other, that’s when the chess game quickly becomes an NBA-style trash talk fest, right before everyone STFU and lets their guns speak for them. Fortunately, Abstract Messiah doesn’t get to the trash-talk even though Crom does come off as the right-wingnut zealot type (nicely played). In fact, I keep getting this feeling that this movie is just one minor move in a much larger game.
Knuckle dusted. If there was a major problem with Abstract Messiah, it was the fight scenes. The fisticuffs weren’t all that convincing, but when a limited budget limits the use of professional stunt people you just have to use what you got and keep them safe for a possible part three.
“The Luddites refuse to be slaves to the cybernetic machines, and I refuse to continue being a slave to the machinations of the Foundation.”
Conclusion: Since the original UCF short was released back in ‘06 there was a call for more of the Luddites. This should satisfy them for a good 80 minutes as the Luddites are now front and center.
Everyone should consider getting Abstract Messiah even if just to support indie movie makers like Key Pixel. Even with amateurish production on a shoe-string budget they still manage to make a movie that’s more watchable than what some major distributors with trillion-dollar purses have been cranking out lately.
One has to wonder what UCF 3 would be like, especially if they get a larger budget. Dare to dream… until Kovacs sends a PM saying he has a screener ready to preview.
Welcome to 2011! With the new year upon us, let’s take a look at some movies expected to come out in the next 12 months… At least, according to the IMDB they’re expected to come out. As always, some will get pushed back to 2012… or later, some may end up direct-to-video, and some may never see a theater or home screen. If you feel up to it, you can check out IMDB’s Feature Films (to be) Released in 2011 and see how many of the 5744 you might want to watch and/or have reviewed here. I should warn you, most of the films listed are categorized as in development, that is, they’re still working on stuff like cast and script and haven’t started shooting yet, and may be canceled outright if such details cannot be ironed out. Better bookmark those links if you want to follow them.
Comics are serious. The wave of comic-book based movies continues, and for cyberpunks some good choices are waiting in the wings. The coming year will see the likes of Y: The Last Man,Aphrodite IX,Ex Machina, and Deathlok make the jump from the comic pages to the big screen.
If you want to sing Megadeth’s “Psychotron” for the Deathlok movie, go right ahead.
It’s in the books. Several novels are slated for 2011 movies, including two from cyberpunk godfather William Gibson. The seminal Neuromancer is on the in development list. That means another change of director, another change of script, another delay… Maybe we should forget Neuromancer for now and concentrate on Pattern Recognition. It’s in active development, and looks like it will be in theaters long before Neuromancer.
Also in development is How To Survive A Robot Uprising, which is about… something. Currently in post-production is Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s epic about a railroad tycoon facing a culture of self-destruction all around her. People say that the novel closely resembles the current economic situation. Not cyberpunk stuff, but I might see it just to give myself a laugh… or cry.
Movies to watch for? With all the apparent rehashes, prequels and sequels, TV spin-offs, and what could be best described as Hollywood’s continued loss of originality, I have found some movies that I would like to see and review this coming year. Your mileage will vary:
Real Steel: Hugh Jackman plays Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots - with real robots! Could be this years KO… literally.
Fard Ayn: “A passionate look at humankind’s commitment to a dark future. One man is bound by loyalty. One woman is trapped in a technocratic state. The two stories are a dramatic parallel saga of what could be humankind’s dangerous future society.” It’s already been tagged as a cyberpunk movie, but we’ll see if it lives up to it.
Future Fighters: Mechs in space, boldly going where no one has gone before… except the Macross/Robotech and Gundam franchises.
Offline: People look to mass-media to escape the reality of a dying Earth, but someone is unwilling to be a good little sheeple.
Bad Pixels: For women in the future, life is a bitch. But one girl and her homemade synthesizer is going to rock the system.
Flashback: Once the gleaming jewel of 32nd century Hollywood, Flashback Films now suffers decay due to corporate corruption.
Deus Ex Machina: Heaven and Hell DO EXIST! The government has made them from VR technology.
Branded: A “personality model” receives pirated upgrades and is drawn into a world of illegal corporate greed.
Cold Sea Rising: Another pre-branded “cyberpunk” thriller about a bounty hunter hired to steal emergent technology from an unknown company.
That’s just my shortlist. Plus some videos of past years yet to be viewed and reviewed, along with the other media to check, and 2011 looks like it’s going to be pretty busy.
If you’re into Tetsuo and Machine Girl, have I got a treat for you; A trailer for the upcoming movie RoboGeisha, due to hit theaters this fall… at least in Japan… hopefully for the rest of the world as well. There’s already a RoboGeisha website to browse. Not much there for now, but bookmark it as new info will become available in the near future.
I’m not going to try to explain this, as there’s not much info available for now. All I can say is, watch at your own peril… and use some eye bleach if needed. Meanwhile, I’m going to look for Machine Girl and Tetsuo 2 to review. Enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: Cyberpunk Review is showing this trailer for your personal information only. We cannot be held responsible for your welfare if what you see cannot be unseen. Viewer discretion is HIGHLY advised.
Not safe for work, church, school, families, PTA meetings, governments, children, pets, prudes, conservatives, Republicans, religious zealots, right-wing nutcases, robophobes, or weak stomachs, hearts, or minds.
Sci-Fi site io9 has posted its list of movies for 2009 to watch… or avoid; Some 30 such movies expected over the next twelve months. While some are predictable blockbusters (J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, a live-action Dragonball, and the Wolverine movie), there’s a few we’ll be keeping an eye-cam out for and possibly reviewing so you can go watch… or avoid… as necessary.
Here’s what’s coming up, chronologically:
Terminator: Salvation (May 22). The latest of the series (this time sans-Schwarzenegger) looks and sounds like a big rebound from the T3 fiasco.
At least the Harvester is impressive.
Game (Sept. 4). Imagine playing your favorite FPS or shoot-em-up using REAL people and REAL weapons. For some convicts with controller chips in their heads, it becomes all-too REAL. Early reviews say it REALLY sucks, but we’ll give you our view of it… for REAL.
9 (Sept. 9). The machines have succeeded in exterminating humanity. Now, only one stands in the way of total mechanized domination… a RAG DOLL???!!!???
Believe it or don’t, this Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov production may have something to show John Conner in terms of fighting against killer robots.
This 11-minute short by Shane Acker should give you a little hint of what to expect from the full movie.
The Surrogates (Sept. 25). In a world where “going out” means firing up your robot (a “surrogate”) and maneuvering it through reality like playing an FPS, Bruce Willis finally snaps from cabin fever and exclaims:
SCREW YOU GUYS! I AM OUTTA HERE!
And he does just that… he goes outside… physically outside! It is based on a little-known graphic novel (I’ve got to look for it!), and has some real potential for reviews here.
Astro Boy (Oct. 23). Another classic anime get the Hollywood makeover, and a Pinocchio-esque storyline to boot. Might be worth a laugh… and a brief review… maybe.
But wait… There’s more! Not only will these movies be reviewed… maybe… but there are some from the past year, and earlier years, I and my fellow reviewers will try to review for you. I have 6 DVDs planned for viewing and reviewing, so we’ll be busy getting the best of cyberpunk cinema to you this year.
I just stumbled across what I believe is the first poster for the upcoming adaptation of Gibson’s awesome novel Neuromancer, and while I love the looks of it, I still wonder if ANYONE could pull of even a remote interpretation of this?
I do have to wonder if this is for real since QE doesn’t mention where he found the poster, and QE also refers to Case as “Cage” in his description of the movie. Still, the poster… IF it’s for real… does show promise.
NOTE: This is an enlarged version of the JPEG from Quiet Earth.
Jon Cooksey has been signed to write the script for the first feature based on “ReBoot,” one of the earliest computer-animated episodic TV series.
“ReBoot” is being redeveloped as a trilogy of feature-length films by Rainmaker Animation. Originally produced in 1994, the series was created by MainFrame Entertainment, which was acquired by and renamed Rainmaker in 2006.
The news comes as part of a relaunch that includes a comic series and a marketing campaign to “engage the fans.”
This has to come as good news for fans of the CG TV series; The prospect of three more ReBoot movies to add their collection of the series and three movies (Daemon Rising, My Two Bobs, and The Ride) is going to have fans looking to make more room. There’s already a page on IMDB waiting to be populated once the first movie is released.
The movies is currently scheduled to be released in 2010, so you’ll need to fill the time by checking out the ReBoot website and staying tuned for the latest from the project.
Warner Bros. has acquired North American distrib rights to “Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins,” triggering an early 2008 production start for a film that seeks to reinvent the cyborg saga with a storyline to be told over a three-pic span.
WB plans to distribute “Terminator Salvation” in summer 2009.
“The Phantom Menace” part deux? After the debacle that was T3, and the upcoming “Sarah Conner Chronicles” series, one has to wonder if the Terminator franchise as any high-powered ammo left. Also, seeking to “reinvent the cyborg saga” may turn away hardcore fans of T1 and T2 who not only want the action, but a solid and compelling story behind it. If we learned anything from Star Wars I - III it’s that effects don’t mean dick without a good story or intriguing characters… and it really won’t mean dick if we have to face a robotic Jar-Jar Binks who can only kill by annoying everyone!
“As governor of California, I order you to make this better than ‘Attack of the Clones.’ Don’t make me legislate your ass!”
As always, when T4 (and “The Sarah Conner Chronicles”) is released we will have a review of it. Hopefully, it will be worth watching to write a review.
About a month ago, Variety came out with a story stating that Indie producer Peter Hoffman was going to be making William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and that it had been greenlit with a $70 million budget (First Showing also reported this). Then the other shoe dropped - Torque director Joseph Kahn, also known for his Britney Spears Toxic video, has been penciled in as the director. So what, was Michael Bay already busy fucking up some other movie franchise, and therefore wasn’t available? Surely Uwe Boll could have been persuaded, right? Seriously, you gotta wonder what criteria was used in making this selection. OK fine - when the previously unknown Peter Jackson was thrust in the role of directing a movie of a genre-creating sacred novel, he emerged a cinematic genius; but lets face it, Braindead and Heavenly Creatures at least showed real talent, whereas Torque…
We know that there have been a variety of attempts to turn Neuromancer into a movie before, most notably by Chuck Russell and later by Chris Cunningham, but for whatever reason, the projects never got off the ground. With this in mind, William Gibson on his blog put this issue in perspective.
Discussing said possibility, earlier today, with Cory Doctorow, he said:
“I’ve noticed that everything in Hollywood always appears to be in a liminal state of nearly there, with enormous, gallumphing enthusiasm all around, then long periods of indifference. I get almost weekly calls about the amazing things that are just about to happen for me. I go to studio meetings with people who tell me about the amazing things we’ll do together. Somehow, nothing much comes of it… It reminds me a little of bubble-era tech entrepreneurs, especially the business development people who always seemed about to close a GIANT DEAL.”
In looking into this, it is interesting to note that Peter Hoffman’s company, Seven Arts still has no listing in its “Coming Soon” section for Neuromancer. If the movie has been greenlit and is being rushed into production (never a great sign), you’d think they’d already be hard at work on the advertising. As of just yesterday when I checked, there was no IMDB listing for Neuromancer, so I was ready to believe this was all just vapor. However, when now I look, we do find a new, fairly empty IMDB Neuromancer listing (if anyone has an IMDB Pro account, please let us know what additional info is listed!). By no means does this make Neuromancer a done deal (and happily, it doesn’t yet list the director), but it does indicate progress toward a real attempt of a project. Lets keep track of Seven Arts’ website for updates.
And its not that I have anything personally against Mr. Kahn - perhaps he’s just waiting for the right opportunity to show his genius nature. But I think I might be happier if, say, someone in the ballpark of Chris Cunningham or Ridley Scott were making this - you know - someone that had already proven their Scifi brilliance. Especially considering its apparently gonna be a “rush” job, I guess all we can do now is hope for either a miracle or early termination.
Sometimes I really hate being a stupid American (meaning only knowing one language). France seems intent on punishing US cyberpunk fans by putting out a number of great French cyberpunk flicks and then not getting them released here in the US (yes, I’m being facetious - it seems that most great recent foreign Sci-Fi films can’t even get DVD deals here until years after their release). Potentially, we have another one called Chrysalis, directed by Julien Leclercq, which Vesper posted on the Meatspace Forums. Unfortunately for me, the film makers don’t want to waste their time translating information about the film into English. I did take this site into Babelfish and extracted a few interesting tidbits:
The action proceeds in Paris, in 2025. The body of an immigrant young person is found with strange scratches around the eyes. David is in charge of the investigation. In the heart of the private clinic high-tech of professor Minkowski, Manon, his daughter, raises the same scratches. To the sides of his assistant Marie Becker, David will have to establish the bond between these two universes. Believing to go up the wire of a vast traffic of bodies, David will actually find itself in search of his own memory.
Enki Bilal of course provided us with the Nikopol Trilogy graphic novel and Immortel. Here’s the trailer, which certainly looks cyberpunkish…(go here for a larger widescreen trailer):
Here’s where I hope some cool French speaking dude or chick will take pity on me and do some research to give me the low-down on this movie (Please!). I’ve already come to grips with the fact that it won’t be getting a US release this year (or ever), so I’ll be getting my copy on Ebay, just as I did Renaissance and Immortel (no, US distributors, I’m not planning to wait for your lame asses to get around to giving me a legit R1 copy - release it when everyone else gets it if you want me to pay YOU for it).