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Tag Archive: Paycheck


predestination-poster01-predestination-poster-2

Finally the Australian film Predestination will be making it to the States.  The Aussie Spierig Brothers direct this loose adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “All You Zombies.”  Bringing some genre street cred to this independent film is Gattaca’s Ethan Hawke as the lead.  Hawke is a time travel agent in the business of preventing crimes before they happen, and in good film noir fashion he is on his final case to hunt down that one criminal who got away.

If the plot sounds familiar, it should.  Predestination is just the latest entry in the sci-fi time travel trope, in the vein of the Philip K. Dick inspired films The Adjustment Bureau, Paycheck, and Minority Report, and the Bruce Willis/Emily Blunt rollercoaster ride Looper.

predestination

Predestination was filmed in Melbourne, and comes from that same stylized sci-fi tradition that brought us the cool post-apocalypse film The Quiet Earth.  Released in Australia back on August 28, 2014, it finally has a U.S. release date.

After the break, check out the trailer for Predestination:

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All You Need is Kill

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Live. Die. Repeat.

One of these lines is in the 2004 Japanese military science fiction novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The other line gives away some of the surprise of what the novel–soon to become a major motion picture–is about.  The movie, renamed the far less interesting title Edge of Tomorrow, stars Tom Cruise as a foot soldier (Kaiji Kiriya in the novel, Lt. Col. Bill Cage in the movie)and Emily Blunt as powerhouse super soldier Rita Vrataski in a future battle with an alien incursion that takes place on Earth not too far from now.  Based on the brief previews we’ve seen, the film appears to be different enough from the novel so that reading the novel will not entirely give away the movie, and it’s full of enough classic sci-fi riffs that you may want to read it first as a separate experience.

Sakuraska’s novel will likely conjure elements from some of the best of classic science fiction.  It’s a great look at day-to-day military encounters, with real world elements from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Richard Marcinko’s Rogue Warrior, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, and Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.  It has its own thought-provoking “warning-sign” messages found in classics like Logan’s Run and THX-1138, that adversity in the face of certain doom as in Pacific Rim, and the “what the heck is going on” feel from any number of Philip K. Dick short stories (“Paycheck” and “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” come to mind).  It also borrows a lot from the endless onslaught of future military video games—it helps to know the author’s background is in information technology and he’s an avid gamer.

All You Need is Kill Edge of Tomorrow tie-in novel

As the movie’s tagline reveals, the now iconic Groundhog Day time-loop plays a part in the story.  Searching for what role the time-loop plays is the real quest Sakurazaka takes us through.  Each new year seems to bring a new take on that sci-fi device, and the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Cause and Effect” best illustrates the physics “causality loop” if you’re not familiar with it and we discussed several other examples here at borg.com back in 2011.  If you’re stuck repeating the events of a single period of time, can you ever hope to break free from it?  What do you do in the meantime?  The time-loop element is pervasive even in the future world of the novel—Keiji loosely recounts once watching Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s time-loop comedy 50 First Dates, which finds Barrymore’s character with amnesia every morning so she must start each day all over again.

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Expatriate Erased original poster

When was the last time we saw Aaron Eckhart as lead actor in a movie?  As adman Nick Naylor trying to save big tobacco in the brilliant Thank You for Smoking? Eckhart is such a great lead actor-type that you wonder why he isn’t headlining more movies.  He’s the guy that had us all wearing “I Believe in Harvey Dent” badges after his performance as Two-Face in The Dark Knight.  He drew some critical acclaim for his role opposite Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich.  And he served as a great bad guy opposite Ben Affleck in the superb Philip K. Dick adaptation Paycheck.  Finally Echkart gets his own action movie in Erased, a flick whose launch date was originally set for last year but now seems to be finally set for May 10, 2013.

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Last Thursday we posted the short teaser for the full length trailer for the new Total Recall movie, due to hit theaters August 3, 2012.   The full trailer has finally been released and here it is:

We like seeing John Cho here, the actor who is the new Sulu in the Star Trek franchise and Harold from the Harold and Kumar movies.

Kate Beckinsale seems like an odd choice for the role originally played by Sharon Stone.  But we like the idea of Jessica Biel as Quaid’s old spy partner:

The big action sequence after the memory implant seems a bit off, but we can chalk that up to initial trailer-itis–that inability of Hollywood to get their marketing guys to really nail a good preview from the millions of dollars of film footage.  Colin Farrell will take some getting used to, filling Arnold Schwartzenegger’s shoes.  Still, the cop outfits look great so far:

The trailer looks like this might be a bit in the vein of Paycheck, the Philip K. Dick short story adapted to film starring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman–and a very fun film at that.  Here is the official movie poster for the film:

There seems to be a lull in getting some good sci-fi, fantasy, or superhero movies into the theaters right now.  Maybe it’s this crazy early spring but it seems like we’ve been waiting for some new movies for a while now… waiting and waiting… Bring on the summer blockbusters!  Avengers isn’t out for another month!

Everyone has to start somewhere.  For Philip K. Dick, it was working in a record shop.  He thought he would have worked in that shop his whole life, but for writing one story, and one sale that gave him a bigger vision of his own future.

We all know Philip K. Dick now from his most popular works–posthumously, his short story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” became Ridley Scott’s cult sci fi favorite Blade Runner.  And after that his short story “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” became Total Recall

Then his short story “Paycheck” was made into a move of the same name.  Then Minority Report

Then his novel “A Scanner Darkly” became the film of the same name.  And now The Adjustment Bureau made it to theaters this year based on Dick’s short story “Adjustment Team.”   Previously other Dick works made it to the big screen:  Screamers starring Robocop‘s Peter Weller was based on Dick’s short story “Second Variety;” Impostor, starring Gary Sinise, based on the short story of the same name; and Next, starring Nicholas Cage, based on Dick’s short story “The Golden Man.”  In his lifetime Dick achieved fame first in 1963 with The Man in the High Castle, which won the Hugo Award for best novel, and then Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, which won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 1975 and was nominated for both the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award.

But back in 1951, Philip K. Dick worked in a record store.  Record stores and characters working in record stores would be revisited time and again in Dick’s works.  Dick wrote his first story, titled “Roog.”  Originally titled “Friday Morning,” Dick sold his first work of fiction for $75, to friend Anthony Boucher, editor of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine,  in October 1951.  It was first published in that magazine as the last entry in the February 1953 issue, with no mention of the unknown writer on the magazine’s cover.  Dick later described the impetus for his first story, his neighbor’s dog named Snooper.

“Snooper believed as much in his work as I did in my writing.  Apparently, his work was to see that no one stole the food from his owner’s garbage can.  Snooper was laboring under the delusion that his owners considered the garbage valuable.  Every day they’d carry out paper sacks of delicious food and carefully deposit them in a strong metal container, placing the lid down firmly.  At the end of the week the garbage can was full–whereupon the worst assortment of evil entities in the Sol System drove up in a huge truck and stole the food.  Snooper knew which day of the week this happened on; it was always on Friday. So about 5 am on Friday, Snooper would emit his first bark.  My wife and I figured that was about the time the garbagemen’s alarm clocks were going off. Snooper knew when they left their houses.  He could hear them.  He was the only one who knew; everybody else ignored what was afoot.  Snooper must have thought he inhabited a planet of lunatics… I was more fascinated by Snooper’s logic than I was annoyed by his frantic efforts to rouse us.  I asked myself, ‘What must the world look like to that dog?’  Obviously he doesn’t see as we see.  He has developed a complete system of beliefs, a world view totally different from ours, but logical given the evidence he is basing it on.”

“Roog” is a great, emotional story, among five volumes of short stories of ideas-ahead-of-their-time still in print today.  Dick called Roog “a serious story.”  “Roog” can be found in several out of print compilations like The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford and Other Classic Stories (The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Vol. 1) .

And without Snooper, and without writing his first work and selling it to Anthony Boucher, we would probably never heard of Philip K. Dick and his vast imagination, his speculative works, his great ideas.  Dick said in 1978, “Without [Boucher's] help I’d still be in the record business. I mean that very seriously.”  Dick was pleased with his first publication, and it caused him to wonder if he could quit his job at a record store and work full-time as an author.

Lucky for us, Philip K. Dick made that first sale.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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