Archive for February, 2013


Here is my review of “Looper” which I saw on BT Vision recently (Released on 28th January 2013).  Please don’t read if you have not seen the film, spoiler alert.

The film is set in the future, in 2044, and also 30 years further ahead than that. In 2074, time travel is invented, and at once made illegal by a nervous government; at the same time, surveillance technology and CSI-style forensic skills make killing people very difficult, so crime syndicates (somehow) get hold of a time-travel device and use this to “remove” troublesome people. Victims are whooshed back in time 30 years where lowly paid assassins blast them with shotguns and get paid in silver bars strapped to the victim’s body. But there’s a catch. The killers are known as “loopers”, because one day they must close the loop. Their future middle-aged selves must be liquidated, because they have amassed too much information about their employer, so are sent back in time for assassination with the special retirement payoff of gold bars strapped on. The younger self must then pull the trigger, and accept, with as much zen calm as possible, his disappearance in 30 years. One of these loopers is Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt  – but when his older self, played by Bruce Willis, comes back, he somehow evades the execution and Joe has to hunt himself down.

We are left with the young Joe chasing old Joe, and the whole looper crew (led by Jeff Daniels) chasing both Joe’s, and a few five-year-olds standing in the way of life returning back to normal, or as normal as it can be. There is a lot of chasing.

However, it’s not your typical chase film as it’s not long before young Joe and old Joe are sitting down together in a diner and discussing the options.  The old and young Joe tussle with what they want from the future, one having lived it, the other hoping to change it. Sometimes they are on the same side and then a decision has to be made about which future will become a reality and we are kept guessing up until the end as to who and what might be the outcome.

Although the film’s “present” is 2044, it’s not a flashily futuristic world. With the odd flying motorbike aside, Looper is very grounded. Ties, books and vinyl records still exist, and wider societal changes are only hinted at.

The film eventually moves to the timeless environment of an American farm. If you didn’t know any better it could be the 1950s. This is where we find Sarah (Emily Blunt) and Cid (Pierce Gagnon) who live a simple and somewhat difficult life. The young kid fluctuates between piercing intelligence (for a five-year-old) and uncontrolled rage, and by the time Joe steps into the little family’s path, a can of worms has been opened up that will lead to a story that rapidly spirals out of control, until we reach the ultimate finale.

I quiet liked this film. This was a very unusual time travel film. The time travel aspect is just the means to an end and not the most important part of the film. It was very exciting and bit confusing at the same time. And the ending appears at first glance a satisfactory one if unexpected. Along the way there are some brilliant action sequences, good effects and some surreal grisly moments where we see the effects of torture on a young looper sweeping through the decades and affecting his older self.  So well worth a watch in my opinion.

But what did you think? Do you agree?

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My New Novel

Posted: February 23, 2013 in My Novels and Short Stories

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know that I have started working on my next novel.

Its called the Zaganort and is basically a science fiction story set in the future about the destruction of earth and survival of the human race.

More to follow

 

 


Here is my review of “Dredd” which I saw on BT Vision recently (Released on 28th January 2013).  Please don’t read if you have not seen the film, spoiler alert.

I have been looking forward to seeing this remake of Judge Dredd and anticipated that it would be a better effort than Sylvester Stalone’s effort.

In this version, Judge Dredd (played by Karl Urban), Mega-City One’s top law enforcer, is reluctantly paired with psychic rookie Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) as her assessor for the day – a day that quickly sees them trapped in Peach Trees, a 200-storey mega tower block, by psycho Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who, with her hordes of minions, is dealing in a new drug called Slo-mo. Their only way out: up. And what follows is an action packed adventure of blood, gore, bullets and more bullets.

After an opening chase that lays out the Judges’ rules of engagement (see someone committing a crime: kill them) we meet Anderson. She failed the Judge aptitude test, but due to a childhood bordering the radiation containment zone, she’s a “mutent” and has psychic powers. She’s given one day to prove herself as Dredd’s ride-along. As it happens, this is the day they’ll stumble into the roughest block in the city — the Peach Trees.

The Peach Trees is ruled by  Ma-Ma – a ruthless gang-leader with a monopoly on Slo-Mo, the hottest new drug in this miserable future. The drug (whose delivery method is the same as an asthma inhaler) causes the brain to perceive time at 1% normal speed. This makes for a number of shootout scenes that look pretty awesome.

The shootouts come once Ma-Ma puts a lockdown on the Peach Trees and orders all of its 75,000 inhabitants to either kill the two lawmen or stay the hell out of the way. Dredd must therefore make his way to the top level and take out the boss if he’s ever to escape. I wont say much more just in case you want to watch it, suffice to say there is a lot of blood and gore.

I really enjoyed this film. even with the limited budget the film looks very impressive. Its pretty gruesome and violent at times, for example a machine gun reduces a head to a pulp. The murky green/brown colour scheme, along with the brief opening in Mega-City One , clearly show that this post-apocalyptic world is rundown, seedy, and gone to pot.

Dredd is brilliant he has no personality or humour (just like the comics). There is a grunt here, a monosyllabic response there, and that is it. Urben is excellent in this role. And unlike Stallone, the helmet stays on. In addition, there is no soppy back story, Dredd it transported straight from the comics onto the screen. With Dredd unchanging, and Lena Headey’s quietly chilling villainess, Ma-Ma, proving equally monomaniacal, the emotional arc is given to Thirlby, whose engaging Anderson has to grow up quickly as the bullets start flying.

So well worth a watch in my opinion. I hope there is a sequel.

But what did you think? Do you agree?

Are you looking for science fiction and horror comics, books and collectables? Then please look at the science fiction and horror online shop.  For the free monthly science fiction and horror newsletter, please subscribe here free.