Isle of Dogs Official Trailer

Wes Anderson’s next movie Isle of Dogs is coming to theaters March 23, 2018.

ISLE OF DOGS tells the story of ATARI KOBAYASHI, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.


[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]

Trimbles Walk the Red Carpet at Star Trek: Discovery Screening

Nichelle Nichols and Sonequa Martin-Green

The first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery were feted in a Hollywood premiere at ArcLight Cinemas on September 19. CBS has posted a gallery of photos of the cast and celebrities in attendance — “Red Alert! All The Red Carpet Arrivals At The Star Trek: Discovery Premiere”. (Pay no mind that the carpet seems to have been blue — let’s consider it a term of art.)

CBS’ photo gallery includes Bjo and John Trimble, recognized for leading the letter-writing campaign that saved The Original Series in the Sixties.

In addition to the stars of Star Trek: Discovery, present at the premiere were William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, Nana Visitor, Terry Farrell, Adam Nimoy, Jonathan Frakes, Bill Nye, Greg Jein, Rick Sternbach, and Mike and Denise Okuda. (Not all those named here are in the photos.)

Bjo and John Trimble at Star Trek: Discovery premiere.

Pillar of the Community:  Warming up to 451ºF

Bill Oberst Jr. in Pillar of Fire

By Mark L. Blackman: Many of us first encountered the term “Pillar of Fire” in the Book of Exodus, where it was a manifestation of God accompanying the Hebrew wanderers. In Ray Bradbury’s 1948 sf/horror novella of that name, it is starkly literal, the towering stone Incinerators into which cadavers are consigned, like so much trash, both the newly deceased and ultimately those long-buried. The disinterring of the last cemetery on Earth (appropriately in Salem) disturbs the grave of one William Langtry (died 1933), who “[comes] out of the Earth hating.”

He finds himself in the sterilized, debatable utopia of 2349, where, in the name of sanitation and mental health, not only are the dead cremated, but so too have been all dark or disturbing influences, such as horror literature like the “ghastly” works of Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft (“the Great Burning”). (Bradbury once described the story, which he also adapted into a play, as “a rehearsal for Fahrenheit 451.”)  Crime – theft and murder – and fear have been eliminated and become inconceivable, but, Lantry discovers, so has the spirit animating humanity. “Declaring war on an entire world,” “the last dead man on Earth” embarks on a spree of murder and the destruction of Incinerators, hoping, in his madness and loneliness, to restore fear of the dark and to create others like him (“new friends”).

On September 17th, actor Bill Oberst, Jr. brought his one-man performance of Bradbury’s Pillar of Fire, directed by Ezra Buzzington, to the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York, in the Studio Theatre at Theatre Row (Off-Broadway), after two sold-out runs in Los Angeles. Additionally, his staged theatrical reading of the novella won an Ernest Kearney Platinum Award and was named Best Solo Show Of Hollywood Fringe Festival in the Best Of Los Angeles Theater 2015 roundup at The one-night New York run, it should be noted, sold out as well.

The Emmy and Lon Chaney Award-winning fan favorite indie horror actor, whose scarred face is perhaps most familiar from tv’s Criminal Minds (where he was an Unsub who got away) and Scream Queens, calls the piece a hymn to Halloween. “From the opening sentence: ‘He came out of the Earth hating,’ Bradbury is defending Halloween and horror against those who want a world without superstition. In 2349, burial is banned – they burn people’s bodies like trash. There’s only one dead man left, and he’s pissed! Only Ray Bradbury can make you cheer for a zombie terrorist.”

Bill Oberst Jr. after the performance. Photo by Mark Blackman.

Commanding the bare stage, firmly gripping the audience, Oberst breathed sympathy, melancholy and tragedy, along with “graveyard dust” (after all, one can’t breathe life into the respiration-challenged walking dead), into the character of Lantry (whom, face it, is impossible to “cheer”). Clad in rags (Oberst was aware that clothes would not have survived 400 years of burial), didn’t – despite it being labeled “a theatrical reading” – merely recite Bradbury’s text, but performed it as a dramatic monologue, only occasionally referring to a copy of the story in an old edition of S is for Space. (The production was edited and abridged from the original novella, rather than being a staging of the aforementioned play. Bradbury’s beautifully descriptive and powerful language thereby were retained largely intact to fuel the piece.) Accented by lighting, brief music and sound effects, it remained a one-man presentation, with several other characters’ dialog emerging illusory in loudspeakered pre-recordings. (I’m uncertain if that idea worked. Was it intended to render the living into the Voice of God?)

The production clearly was a labor of love for Oberst. “‘Pillar of Fire’ was the first piece of Bradbury I ever read. It’s dear to my heart,” he told me, relating how, years ago, he’d found of S is for Space in the woods. It’s still his “go-to book.” I have a feeling that the copy that he was clutching was that very one.

No spoilers here – read the story.

Star Trek Roundup

Curated by Carl Slaughter: (1) Star Trek: Specter.  Slow burn Star Trek mystery animated movie with lots of physics and a very personal angle.

(2) Star Trek:  Retribution.  Romulan-Human brink-of-war Star Trek animated movie.  A sequel to Star Trek: Specter.

(3) Two “First Contact” documentaries

(4) Insurrection deleted scene

(5) Star Trek – The Motion Picture – theatrical vs. director’s cut part 2

(6) Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country – theatrical version vs. Director’s cut

(7) Star Trek proposals that never made it to the screen

Up to the Minute

Curated by Carl Slaughter: From fans and reviewers, the latest about the latest.

(1) Unlike the other Star Trek movies, which are pretty much self-contained stories, J.J. Abrams’ offering paid true homage to the franchise, if often with Easter eggs.

(2) Discusses role of Klingons in Discovery and the role of religion in Star Trek.

(3) Just as Doctor Who fans are gang piling on Moffat now that he has left the show, Game of Thrones fans are gang piling on Dan and Dave, the show’s producers, now that the show is headed toward its last season.

(4) “The Battle of the Bastards” is considered one of the great achievements of the Game of Thrones television series.  According to this video, all is not what it seems in this legendary episode.

Did You Miss Me?

Curated by Carl Slaughter: In case you missed these rather obscure television series. (And afterwards, check out our popular post on Threshold.)

(1) Earth:  Final Conflict

(2) Starman

(3) Project S.E.R.A.

(4) Adult Wednesday Addams

(5) Time Cop

(6) Otherworld

(7) Lexx

(8) The Visitor

(9) Space 1999

(10) Time Tunnel (unaired pilot)

(11) Ultraman

(12) Ultraman USA

(13) The Tick

(14) The Silver Surfer

Shape of Water Trailer and Analysis

Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water comes to theaters December 8.

From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.


And here’s an ambitious bit of speculation about a previous version of the movie’s trailer:

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

Fourth Annual PKD European SF Film Festival

The Fourth Annual Philip K. Dick European Science Fiction Film Festival, which celebrates the talent of independent filmmakers and honors Philip K. Dick’s worldwide legacy, convenes at venues in Germany in late October and France in early November.

The Philip K. Dick European Science Fiction Film Festival launched in October 2013 and has screened events in Lille, France, Cologne, Germany and Lódz, Poland. Organized by individuals and filmmakers who understand both the challenges and rewards of telling a unique story in an independent environment, the festival represents the deep analyses and philosophical views of internationally renowned novelist Philip K. Dick, whose work has inspired generations of writers and filmmakers all around the world. In spotlighting such genius, this is a festival created for filmmakers by filmmakers.

This year’s festival is being held at Filmclub 813 e.V. in Cologne, Germany from October 27-28, 2017 and at L’Hybride in Lille, France from November 2-3, 2017.

The list of films being shown follows the jump.

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Sci-fi Literary Essay Roundup

Curated by Carl Slaughter: (1) Forbidden Planet  and Shakespeare

(2) Why Buckaroo Banzai is Today’s Most Important Superhero

(3) Why Babylon 5 is awesome

(4) Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and daddy issues

(5) Feminist / gay Trek

(6) Golden Age of Science Fiction Television  –  1987-2009

(7) James Cameron and Ridley Scott gave us Ripley and Conner.  Neither of these characters had super powers, neither had training for the task.  Wonder Woman is a goddess with a magical sword and a magical lasso.  Gal Gadot is a supermodel wearing a skimpy outfit.  The Wonder Woman movie was designed for teenage boys.  Etc, etc, etc.