July 22, 2014

The Evolution of a Blu-ray Review: Transcendence


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Mind over matter

By Ben Mk

When discussing science fiction, there's something to be said for the distinction between hard and soft sci-fi. So-called hard sci-fi stories are typically grounded in tangible fields of scientific study, whereas soft sci-fi tends towards the spectrum of the hypothetical and the speculative. So what does this say about Transcendence, the debut film from Wally Pfister, the protégé of Christoper Nolan, which takes the hard sci-fi concept of the technological singularity and extrapolates a head-spinning what-if scenario from it? The answer may be surprising.

July 18, 2014

One-Night-Only Film Review: The Purge: Anarchy


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From dusk till dawn

By Ben Mk

If movies like Saw and Paranormal Activity — and their respective sequels and prequels — have taught us anything, it's that the notion of yearly installments is a viable one (at least with respect to horror films). You'd think that the practice would only accelerate franchise fatigue, but moviegoers seem to genuinely embrace the annual ritual. The filmmakers behind The Purge franchise have certainly taken this to heart, and they've even gone one step further, by incorporating the ritualistic aspect into the story itself. Welcome to the world of the Purge. Prepare for anarchy.

A Film Review for the 99 Percent: Snowpiercer


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All aboard for director Joon-ho Bong's wild ride

By Ben Mk

The world is a big place, but movies help make it a little smaller by placing the viewpoints of filmmakers far and wide within our grasp. Still, that doesn't mean cultural and language barriers don't oftentimes prevent films from reaching their widest possible audience. Rare is the film that can be all things to all people, but Snowpiercer might just be that kind of rarity: directed by South Korean filmmaker Joon-ho Bong, based on the 1982 French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige, and starring an international cast, it taps into universal themes of humanity for its story of a post-apocalyptic train ride gone off the rails.

July 11, 2014

A Film Review in G Minor: Begin Again


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Once again

By Ben Mk

Following up a film as musically heartfelt as Once — a film that not only garnered an Oscar win for best original song but also spawned a Tony award-winning Broadway musical — is no easy feat. A lot has changed in the seven years since writer/director John Carney's sleeper hit first met with the eyes and ears of moviegoers: its stars, musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, rose to stardom, released two albums under the moniker The Swell Season and then parted ways. However, the spirit of that film lives on, as is plainly evident in Carney's latest, Begin Again.

Bioengineered Blu-ray Review: Helix: The Complete First Season


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Going viral

By Ben Mk

For those who don't know his name, Ronald D. Moore has been involved in some of the most seminal science fiction television programming of the past two decades. From Star Trek: The Next Generation to the revamped Battlestar Galactica, he's helped to shape the landscape of modern sci-fi TV as we know it. And with his latest project, Helix, he's teamed up with the filmmakers behind Lost and the upcoming Interstellar to bring a new vision of sci-fi terror — in the same vein as The Thing, The X-Files and Resident Evil — to the small screen.