:: The Machine (2013)

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During a recession, with the West in a state of Cold War with China, a British secret projects unit begins looking into creating ways to return terribly injured soldiers to the front line.  Working in parallel, scientist Vincent (Toby Stephens) is searching for a way to save his dying daughter, while looking for a way to make the project to rebuild soldiers safer. To this end he interviews scientists specialising in Artificial Intelligence under the guise of the Turing Test: can the AI convince Vincent that it is self-aware, or is it just going through the motions?  Enter Ava (Caity Lotz) a genius who has built a quantum computer capable of actual thought and growth.  Vincent brings her into the project, but she is horrified when she finds out about the human experimentation.  Nevertheless, she continues, and uses her own brain as a model for the new computer system.  Love seems to be blossoming between serious Vincent and bubbly Ava…

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…until she is murdered by a Chinese hit-squad.  Vincent grieves in his own way, by building a fully functional cyborg in her image and mapping her brain-print onto its new-born mind.  For Vincent, the cyborg is a surrogate child, and he treats it as such.  However, for his boss Thomson (Denis Lawson) the machine is the perfect weapon, and he intends to use whatever means necessary to get it to kill on his orders.  Unknown to both of Thomson and Vincent the soldiers that they have been experimenting upon are communicating via the chips in their brains, and for these veterans, the cyborg may be a messiah…

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The Machine is a great bit of mid-budget sci-fi.  Formed around a sound science fiction concept, the question of artificial intelligence, it looks at what it means to be human, and what it means to be made obsolete. 

:: Afflicted (2014)

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Two friends, Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, have been filming their lives since they were little kids.  However, now Derek has been diagnosed with a problem in his brain that could potentially burst at any moment and cripple or kill him.  Staring mortality in the face, he and Clif decide to go on a world tour and film every step of the way, uploading everything to the internet as they go.  For Derek it could be a way of leaving his life with something to show for it; for Clif, it is an opportunity to be with his friend for as long as possible.  They set out, and begin to see what the world has to offer.  In Paris, Derek meets a girl…

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…and things start getting strange.  She vanishes from their hotel room, leaving Derek covered in blood, a strange lesion on his arm.  As Derek recovers, he gains strength and speed, and it seems that somehow he has developed superpowers.  Unfortunately for Derek, there is a dark, vicious side to these new powers…

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Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, two Canadian film-makers essentially play fictional versions of themselves in this excellent found-footage style genre-piece.  Clif is caring and earnest; Derek is fun loving and sweet.

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The initial travelogue is engaging, and both come across as warm, friendly people having one last hurrah before Derek succumbs to his brain aneurysm.  In order to give the audience access to the meat of the film, they do fall into using a conceit: a chest mounted camera.

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However, if this is the “magic item” that will allow us to experience Derek’s tribulations, then it is acceptable.  They have found a way to erase a major sticking point within the POV found-footage subgenre, and for this we as an audience should be grateful. 

:: The Walking Dead “A” Episode Recap/Review

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The Walking Dead

“A”

Episode Recap/Review

By Jessica Dwyer

I had to take a day or so to figure out exactly how I felt about the season 4 finale of The Walking Dead.  And in the end I liked it, but was still disappointed with the flow of a season that felt like two really rushed ones stuck together.

“A” as the episode is called follows Michonne, Carl, and Rick as they head towards Terminus…which I think by now everyone has figured out is full of the cannibals we knew would be showing up eventually.  This episode though takes a cue from Lost and has multiple flashbacks to a happier time at the prison and allows us to see Scott Wilson once again as Herschel.   It hurt a lot to see Herschel again and I can’t help but wonder if this was show runner Gimple regretting the decision to kill off the character.   I know I regret them killing him off.  But that’s just me…and 90 percent of the internet.

This flashback is happening to a very bloody and shaking Rick.  We find out what has caused his shaking hands and the blood that’s covering him.  Daryl’s new friends Joe and his gang (along with Daryl) have finally caught up to Rick and company who they are still pissed at for killing their friend a few episodes ago.  In a scene that stirred the net into a frenzy of “take a bit out of crime” memes we see Joe’s crew attack our heroes.  One of them decides that Carl is just his type.  While they beat the hell out of Daryl who tries to stop this all from happening the guy starts attacking Carl while Rick is forced to watch.

:: Knights of Badassdom: Blu Ray Review

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Knights of Badassdom

Blu Ray Review

By Jessica Dwyer

Knights of Badassdom was a long time coming to fans of the epic trailer and idea behind the film.  Take crazy LARPers played by genre favorites and mix in horror and comedy  in equal measure and you’ve got the makings of an awesome movie.  But then something happened and the film was pushed back for nearly 4 years (it began filming in 2010.)

There were rumors of the studio not liking the directors cut and Joe Lynch’s version of the film being edited to death.  The film was held up until it finally premiered in 2013.  What version we finally have now on DVD I’m not sure of.  All I do know is that the film seems short at 86 minutes, not even hitting the hour and a half mark.

Knights of Badassdom stars some of the most well known names in the world of genre friendly TV.  Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Ryan Kwanten, and Danny Pudi to name a few.  The premise, to go a little deeper into the plot, involves LARPers who kidnap their buddy played by Ryan Kwanten after a bad break up, to role play in the woods over the weekend.  Everything turns bad however when the “spell book” prop turns out to be real and Steve Zahn’s wizard summons a very real succubus demon into being, in the guise of the evil ex-girlfriend.   People start dying bloody and horrible deaths as the friends have to find their true courage as the battle against the forces of darkness has become very real.

Sounds like a perfect premise for a fangirl/fanboy favorite right?  But something happened and Knights of Badassdom is a perfect example of how tone and balance in a film can make or break it.  

:: TMNT: Not surprising news

So if you were under a rock…or a shell if you will…you didn’t see the newly released trailer for Michael Bays “why god why” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  The trailer has inspired its own new level of hate for the film, with the many Shrek inspired memes mocking the new look of the turtles.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is.

Okay, horrified yet?  Well apparently you aren’t alone as apparently RESHOOTS are happening.  And not just a tiny amount according to the source reporting to Geeks of Doom.  1/3rd of the film which is scheduled for a late summer release is being redone with Bay himself heading up the reshoots.  Is this due to the trailers less than stellar response?  Should we laugh at the lack of surprise most of us have to this?  I think all are valid.  But I’ll go down on record right now with this film probably being the biggest bomb of the year.

Seriously…April’s “father” was the guy in charge of the Turtles being “made”?  Who’s putting money on Shredder is her dad?

Why….?

:: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Apes on Horseback!!! AT LAST

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is helping me along my happy retro phase this year for films.  Between the Apes and Godzilla I think those of us who grew up loving those old school Sci-Fi epics are going to have a great Summer.

The newest Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer is fueling that fire as in this brief 45 second trailer we see the Apes step closer to the battle armor wearing variety as they are on horses.  I love these movies.  I can’t wait for this.

:: Your Marvel Rumor Mill Moment: Daredevil

As we know a slew of Marvel made for Netflix series will be hitting next year.  While many of these are in the planning stages, the casting of these series are in the works as well.  Now out of the blue (or red if you will) is this latest rumor that Dexter himself, Michael C Hall is set to play Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil.

Now Hall is a great actor and I loved him in Dexter, even when that show went South.  He’s got a great voice and a glare that can cut glass.  My only wonder is how well he can handle the physical aspects of this role if in fact this is a true casting choice.  I know the guy can move and he’s got a physique.  It’s an interesting choice if true and one I can actually get behind.

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Thanks to Nerdbastards for the heads up.

:: The Walking Dead New Promo for S5

The review is on it’s way while I sort through my feelings on the season 4 finale.  But before that here is the Season 5 promo picture that was just released by AMC on their Twitter feed.  It’s a haunting image of Rick with one single and important word (and not one mention of the series name…but by gum we have the AMC logo there.)

The Walking Dead Survive

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