6 SF Movie Masterpieces

When in comes to SF movies, there’s a guilty pleasure constantly hovering above our heads. Admit it or not, there’s at least one SF movie we keep in our hearts, despite our not being the type who would enjoy such a movie in all circumstances. They are so diverse, that they cannot hit a nerve. Let’s take a look at 6 SF movie masterpieces.

They go way beyond space ships and aliens. They can be metaphysical, indeed, and also the perfect guide to personal revelations as they constantly nurture our imagination and accurately predict the future.

1. STALKERAndrei Tarkovsky, 1979

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Based on the novel Picnic By The Roadside, written by brothers Boris and Arkady Sturgatsky, Tarkovsky’s film follows an absorbing character as he is guided by the “stalker,” who leads people into a secluded room that’s said to turn dreams into reality. But don’t expect dream sequences full of visual effects. Tarkovsky creates a hidden tension and revelation using various color schemes and editing tricks. But this movie is a must-see. It’s revolutionary without making a boast; it’s science fiction without the visuals.

2. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND – Steven Spielberg, 1977

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According to this film, aliens are friendly beings, despite first impressions. Spielberg, who both wrote and directed Close Encounters, answered the eternal question “Are we alone?” with an optimistic: “No, and we’ve got some pretty adorable and friendly neighbors beyond those stars.” Back in 1977, that a daring position to take, especially since UFO interest was at its peak and Hollywood was full of paranoia that took advantage of this newly installed movie inclination that only nurtured it and increased its impact.

3. METROPOLIS – Fritz Lang, 1927

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Credited as being the first feature-length movie in the sci-fi genre, Metropolis is the cultural legacy of Lang’s visions of the future that cannot be over stated. That’s a good thing, considering it took a budget worthy of 20 pictures of the day therefore easily making it the most expensive movie made at the time. It’s all about the urban dystopia and it’s a feast for the eyes, inspiring awe with its large-scale cityscapes, overcrowded set pieces, and iconic shot of a female robot given life through Frankenstein-style electrical experimentation.

4. 2001-A SPACE ODYSSEY – Stanley Kubrick, 1968

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Divided into four main parts, the monkeys, proto-Roy Scheider Heywood Floyd’s mission to the moon, the Discovery One’s Jupiter flight, and the LSD finale, the film’s plot is about an alien monolith that is discovered by astronauts, and how it leads to a close encounter of the third kind. But it also discusses our evolution, where we are heading; this film could never become outdated. It’s simply overwhelming.

5. SOLARISAndrei Tarkovsky, 1972

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Tarkovsky started work on an adaptation of Stanis?aw Lem’s philosophical science-fiction novel in 1968, novel that posited the existence of solaristics – the study of an outlying star system that had bizarre effects on human psychology. Tarkovsky took this idea, and turned it into an interrogation on faith, memory and the transfiguring power of love.

6. BLADE RUNNERRidley Scott, 1982

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It is based on Philip K Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It also borrowed its title from William S Burroughs. Blade Runner follows a detective called Rick Deckard as he hunts down a group of replicas. The magic of this movie is that it’s technically anything but old school, despite its noir influences. It explores all the major themes of humanity, from environment to religion. Blade Runner, however, was completely misunderstood when it was released.

The list goes on and on, that’s for sure. But all of the above, despite being classical, are life-changing due to their being so full of meaning, tension, questions and introspection. Except for Blade Runner, they are perhaps less known by the younger public. That’s why they should definitely be given a chance.

6 Documentaries that will Change Your Life Forever

6 Documentaries that will Change Your Perspective on Life Forever1Documentaries are a useful perspective on the world for you to consider. They not only open our minds, but take to places and times we are unable to reach by ourselves as well. Here’s a list of some mind-blowing documentaries probably less promoted than the mainstream ones that I consider to be life-changing. Here are 6 documentaries that will change your perspective on life forever.

#6.  Jodorowsky’s Dune

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Some of you may not be familiar with Alejandro Jodorowsky’s movies, such as El Topo and Holy Mountain. They are a bit hard to digest, but once you get the taste of them, they are incredible. It appears that one of his greatest dreams was to make a film abot the 1965 Sci-fi book Dune, written by Frank Herbert. Starring his own 12-year old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, featuring music by Pink Floyd and art by some of the most provocative talents of the era, Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel was intended to change the cinema industry forever. But what his dream turned into is worth finding out by watching this touching documentary.

#5.  Roger and Me

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This is Michael Moore’s 1989 debut that takes a look at the closing of a GM plant in Flint, Michigan. It is a touching look on Moore’s hometown, with exec Roger Smith as an obvious character how ruined it, Bob Eubanks, “Flint’s most famous native son”, or Rhonda Britton, a neighbor who sells rabbits for “pets or meat.”

#4.  The Up Series

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Since its first 1968 episode, the Up documentary series has traced the lives of a group of British children from a variety of backgrounds and different areas of the UK, returning at seven-year intervals to take snapshots of their lives. Directed by Michael Apted, its last released episode was 56 Up, in which all but one of the original 14 participants takes part. It’s fascinating to see what has remained from the dreams of a bunch of 7 year olds, how they were as children, teenagers and adults. And these are real people we’re talking about here. You must watch it. It’s absolutely inspiring and sad at the same time.

#3.  Night and Fog

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This one is all about human violence and exploitation, with an overwhelming hidden anguish. Ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, filmmaker Alain Resnais documented the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz. Made in 1955, it’s one of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust. Night and Fog (Nuit et brouillard) contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ with haunting wartime footage. A survivor, Jean Cayrol, was the narrator, who spoke in detached tones of an empty and decrepit Auschwitz.

#2.  Sans Soleil

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In this 1983 documentary called Sunless in English, we’re joining a world traveler as he moves between locations, from San Francisco to Africa, from Iceland to Japan. A female narrator speaks over the images as if they were letters home. It’s very personal and touching and it’s an incredible perspective on the world we live in.

#1.  Shoah

6 Documentaries that will Change Your Perspective on Life Forever

Shoah is Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 documentary, a nine-hour look at the Holocaust that cannot be watched without personal involvement. It interviews survivors, bystanders, witnesses and even SS officers directly responsible for genocide. But the questions posed by the director are so good that they send chills down your spine. Not to mention the answers he gets. One of the most memorable scenes reveals a graying man singing a quiet tune on a rowboat floating downstream, with lost eyes. We learn that as a 13-year-old Jewish captive, he was loved by his SS guards for the incredible voice he had.

I don’t think popcorn is suitable for watching these, but make sure to have your loved ones around. You’ll need their support.

There Will Be a Female Version of Thor Soon

Fans of comics and of superhero movies, prepare for something which will blow your mind in the near future: Thor has been announced to switch gender pretty soon. The decision has been made as part of an effort to bring credible female role models into the world of comics and superheroes, and we can be nothing but excited by the decision to promote stronger female characters. But the most interesting and intriguing detail about this upcoming change is its narrative twist, which is announced to be more than a “what if Thor was a female?” exercise of imagination. No, the story will not simply be a saga of the Northern god in his feminine version, but it will involve actual change, most probably by a female secondary character picking up the hammer of Thor after his retirement, thus sparking her transformation.

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According to Marvel, the classic Thunder God will no longer be able to wield his mighty hammer, which is why the future heroine will step in his shoes and become an awesome female version of Thor. This change is already being written for comics by Jason Aaron, and Marvel has also confirmed that the new character will eventually be featured in a new Thor movie as well. We already have a few great actresses in mind for the part and we’re super excited about the moment, but our appetite will probably first be sated with a few comics releases before we can see the first movie trailer.

The old female version of Thor

There was an older attempt to feminize the Northern God in the Marvel universe, under the form of Thor Girl (born sometime in 2000 and only present in some not that mainstream editions of comics). But that character should be seen as something closer to a classic sidekick than a proper and full-fledged female version of Thor. Named Terene, the girl first gains the help of Thor and Orikan to fight for her destroyed homeland, and later manages to evolve into an Asgardian goddess herself and fight by Thor’s side as his helper. She then takes the name “Thor Girl” as a means of gratitude to him, and continues to basically play the sidekick. The upcoming female Thor will actually involve a complete transfer of power and identity from the old Thor to his new feminine counterpart.

Things we’re excited about with the upcoming change

Well, first of all, this isn’t the only upcoming change meant to create a stronger move within the Marvel universe. Other news report that the female version of Thor will be just part of the shifts, alongside similar shocking changes to the identities of Captain America and Iron Man. Although strong changes always risk alienating some of the fans, we can’t help feeling excited and curious about what’s to come.

Another thing we’re excited about is, of course, the awesomeness of the kick-ass actress who will get to play the part in the movie set to come out eventually. Although we’ve recently berated the movie Lucy (2014) for different reasons, there are few things we enjoy more than a badass female character setting the world straight. We’d also really like to see some romance where the godly action hero is the feminine element of the couple, and the man she becomes involved with does not feel threatened by her awesomeness. That’s one of the main points of such a feminist shift of story, right?

One of the things we’re less excited about is watching Chris Hemsworth leave the role, but we hope the character retires into having lots of gorgeous babies and living happily ever after with his lady mad scientist played by Natalie Portman. And as long as Loki played by Tom Hiddleston remains very much present in the story, we are definitely not complaining, if you know what we mean. All in all, we can’t wait to find out more about the female version of Thor, even if it’s just in the comics at first.

Lucy (2014) and the 10 Percent Use of Brain Theory

Perhaps some of you managed to see Lucy (2014) recently, Luc Besson’s newest movie release. It stars the lovely Scarlett Johansson, who, although the movie was kind of disappointing for reasons we will discuss below, proved she is a very talented actress and also much more than her otherwise stunning looks. In spite of her successful and complex appearance though, coupled with the also fascinating presence and role of Morgan Freeman, the movie is a lukewarm promotion of a pseudo-scientific theory which a lot of people seem to believe, since it circulated from way before the movie under the form of an urban legend. The myth in case is the 10 percent use of brain theory, which science has repeatedly argued against.

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The plot

At the beginning of the movie, Lucy (played by Scarlett) is a naïve and vulnerable young woman who gets caught up in a dangerous situation and forced by the Korean mafia to transport some new drugs sewn into her abdomen. When one of her captors kicks her for resisting rape, one of the drug bags gets punctured and the content is released into her blood stream. Over the course of the next hours and days, this prompts in her a gradual expansion of her brain’s capacity, or, better said, causes her to use more and more of her brain, starting from the premise that we usually only use 10 percent of it. This effect causes her to become more in control of her bodily functions, then of the functions of others as well, as well as gaining superpowers and so on. Eventually, she transcends any humanity whatsoever as well as her own body, dissolving into thin air and remaining present “all around”.

Of course, every movie director has the right to promote whatever fictional account or fantasy idea he or she wants to, but the problem here is that a lot of people already tended to take this idea seriously, and it’s even more so since the movie’s premiere. Moreover, beyond promoting this somewhat fascinating idea of the partial use of brain, the movie’s plot and narrative structure are pretty weak, as many critics also said after the premiere. Here is what popular culture has to say about this theory and what science has to say afterwards.

The 10 percent use of brain theory

This theory is actually present throughout popular culture in more than one variant: some of them say we use only 10 percent, some say we use 20% and so on. It is often mis-attributed to famous people, including the one and only genius figure, Albert Einstein, but it’s all made up, unfortunately. Of course it’s pleasant to believe that we have the potential to be much more than we are – especially intellectually speaking, since reason is the trait we choose to define our humanity through – and that if we could only learn how to access and harness this potential, we could expand our minds to a godly status.

But science has always proved the 10 percent use of brain theory to be nothing more than a poetic form of wishful thinking. You can find a detailed and accessible account on this from a Washington-based university professor here, explaining how we actually use 100% of our brains at all times. Somehow, we get why this can be disappointing news, but we still shouldn’t allow an uninformed viewing of a movie to promote false scientific ideas as truths. As a conclusion, this is why Lucy was a somewhat of a disappointment (not as much as these, of course), or, even if it wasn’t and you actually enjoyed the movie a lot, this is why it shouldn’t be seen as anything more than a pretty piece of fiction.

2 Sides of the Robin Williams Story

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When it comes to perspectives, in Robin Williams’ case they were totally different. There was a sort of sorrowful perspective when it came to his seeing life through his own eyes. And there’s a lot of gratitude and laughter when it comes to other people’s perspective. He was a sad clown, that’s for sure… However he was a very funny one. Here are 2 sides of the Robin Williams story; one that belongs to the ones who knew him, and another one that belongs to him.

Celebrities on Robbie Williams; RIP messages and nice memories

Robin Williams made the world laugh & think. I will remember & honor that. A great man, artist and friend. I will miss him beyond measure. – Kevin Spacey

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams. Robin, yours forever did. – David Copperfield

Robin Williams made the world a little bit better. RIP. – Steve Carell

“The first time I met him, he showed up at the Improv. I was supposed to go on next, and they told him he would go on next, and he said, ‘Let Gilbert go on, because there are some people in the audience and I want them to see him.’ Then, when I got off stage, I was very pleased that he was laughing and rubbing his eyes. He went, ‘Oh, you really baked my cookies.’ I wasn’t quite sure whether to take it as a compliment.” – Gilbert Gottfried

Thank you to the beautifully original + brave artist that is ?#RobinWilliams. You taught us how to stand on the edge, fearless, + shine. – Jared Leto

I can’t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I’m heartbroken. – Ellen DeGeneres

So sad so funny http://www.whosay.com/l/hrp90iT – Chris Rock

“I will always remember you as one hell of a friend. I love you and will miss you terribly.” – Lance Armstrong

The last lines of this post go to Christopher Reeves, who wrote a touching incident about Williams in his book, Still Me: “Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist, and that he had to examine me immediately…it was Robin Williams…for the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.”

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Robin Williams on life and death in general

•“But only in their dreams can men truly be free. It was always thus and always thus will be.”

• “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the staff you weren’t paying attention to.”

• “Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. Some get it as a graduation gift.”

• “You have this idea that you’d better keep working otherwise people will forget. And that was dangerous.”

• “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn.t lose it.”

• “Ah, yes, divorce… From the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.”

• “God gave me both, a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”

• “Reality is a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.”

• “Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.”

• “We had gay burglars the other night. They broke in and rearranged the furniture.”

• “If you masturbated with your left hand, would it be like being touched by a retarded person?”

• “Men wearing pants so tight that you can tell what religion they are.”

• “If you can remember the sixties, you weren’t there.”

• “Well, you just try and keep it in perspective. You have to remember the best and the worst. In America they really do mythologize people when they die.”

11 Reasons to Say Good-bye to Robin Williams

I’m sure this post made you laugh. Robin Williams accomplished his mission. Now we are on our own.