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Texas Book Festival 2018: Alternate Realities: Sci-Fi in 2018
V.E. Schwab and John Scalzi ponder the point of writing sci-fi
DAILY Arts  October 29, 2018, by Elizabeth Cobbe
"...The panel “Alternate Realities: Sci-Fi in 2018” revolved around one amusing but disturbing question: Why bother? Specifically, why do we need sci-fi or fantasy or any kind of fiction in a world that serves up absurd and horrific headlines? (An example of the former was the 8-year-old Swedish girl named Saga who pulled an ancient Viking sword from a lake.)..."

Seven Sci-Fi Rock Flicks
Bowie, Kiss, Flaming Lips, Guitar Wolf, Frank N. Furter, and Marty McFly: celluloid rockers
Music Story  July 25, 2008, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...The appeal of this 1975 low-budget, low-rent, sci-fi musical about a bawdy transsexual from another planet (Tim Curry) who builds his own Frankenstein, seduces both members of a white-bread couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick), and kills schlock-balladeer Meat Loaf in barely more than 90 minutes eludes me. That it hasn't been pulled from theatres in more than 30 years and still inspires lunatics around the world to waste their Saturday nights dressing up in costume and re-enacting speaks for itself, as does its soundtrack..."

Sci-Fi Classics
Screens Story  December 10, 1999, by Marc Savlov
"...Sci-Fi ClassicsThe Wasp Woman, The Brain that Wouldn't Die, The Killer Shrews, First Spaceship on Venus, The Giant Gila Monster..."

DVDanger: How to Date in a Sci-Fi Universe
Premature and The One I Love probe romance
DAILY Screens  November 8, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...There's a much more mature take on the perils of romance in a sci-fi setting with another release this week. You should read Marjorie Baumgarten's review of The One I Love, the feature debut from director Charlie (son of Malcolm) McDowell, which puts Sophie (Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men) and Ethan (UT grad Mark Duplass, Cyrus, Jeff, Who Lives at Home) as a couple very much on the rocks..."

Sci-Fi Week
Paramount Theatre Summer Classics
Screens Story  July 25, 2008
"...It's Sci-Fi Week at the Paramount Theatre! See "Special Screenings," or for more info...."

Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Greg Beets
"...Copping their handle from the humanoid alien protagonist in 1951's The Day the Earth Stood Still (a Keanu Reeves remake is due this December), Toronto sci-fi prog rock outfit Klaatu had a brief brush with stateside fame in 1977, after a journalist insinuated they were the Beatles in disguise. Klaatu refused to perform live or reveal their identities, which only fanned the rumor..."

Forbidden Zone: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Audra Schroeder
"...I saw Forbidden Zone on Night Flight as a kid, and it deeply fucked with my Catholic-schooled head. A sci-fi musical? Animated art porn? Frog people? Only years later did I come to appreciate its low-budget genius and black humor, but it was the score to the film's savage Sixth Dimension, where Hervé Villechaize's the king and Susan Tyrrell his dirty-dealing queen, that turned the black-and-white film neon..."

Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Michael Bertin
"...And, seeing how it houses a future so dystopian that the simple discovery of a musical instrument threatens to destroy world order, there better be a Syrinx on the world map in the next 10 years and huge temples going up shortly thereafter. So maybe it's just half a sci-fi concept record, since 1976's 2112 suite only encompasses what was once side one of the record..."

Ennio Morricone
Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Raoul Hernandez

Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Austin Powell

The Flaming Lips
Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Michael Bertin

Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered
Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Doug Freeman

Grateful Dead
Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Jay Trachtenberg

Music Review  July 25, 2008

The Police
Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Daniel Mee

Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Daniel Mee

Public Enemy
Music Review  July 25, 2008, by Chase Hoffberger

Sci-Fi 2008
We pay tribute to avant-garde chefs by reviewing the molecular gastronomy trend, as well as pioneering Pop Rocks and pastry chefs
Food Story  July 25, 2008, by Mick Vann

Sci-Fi Book Reviews
Deeper: My Two-Year Odyssey in Cyberspace
Books Story  September 19, 1997

Days of Future Past
The history of Salvage Vanguard Theater's unlikely sci-fi success, The Intergalactic Nemesis
Arts Story  July 25, 2008, by Robert Faires
"...A science-fiction radio serial, let's not forget. For SVT, whose work up to then had been all rock & roll and ragged edges, wasn't the pressed pants and pocket-protector geekiness of sci-fi a little out of character? Not according to company co-founder and Artistic Director Jason Neulander: "Those of us who were there at the beginning of SVT shared both a punk rock ethos – raw emotion, do-it-yourself, jagged edges – and a love for Star Wars and Raiders..."

Battle: Los Angeles
Aliens fight the U.S. Marines in a gritty urban war. Viewers are the losers.
Film Review  March 11, 2011, by Marc Savlov
"...Their mission, such as it is, is to find and rescue a group of civilians trapped inside a police station behind alien lines before a wing of B-52s obliterates all of Santa Monica. Viewed purely from a sci-fi angle, Battle: Los Angeles is even less remarkable..."

The Chronicles of Riddick
Vin Diesel revs up the sci-fi franchise.
Film Review  June 11, 2004, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Vin Diesel, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Judi Dench, Karl Urban, Alexa Davalos, Linus Roache and Keith David. The Chronicles of Riddick, David Twohy’s sequel to his surprise sci-fi sleeper hit of 2000 – Pitch Black – is the opening salvo in what the director and Universal Studios are betting will be the jump gate to a new sci-fi franchise..."

The nations of the world are at war with a faceless, merciless enemy intent on their complete obliteration. Paranoia and fear govern the actions not only of the populace but...
Film Review  January 4, 2002, by Marc Savlov
"...Worse, the enemy has taken to using the good citizenry of earth as human time bombs, capable of infiltrating the highest levels of government and committing shocking acts of terrorism. Director Gary Fleder (Don't Say a Word) has turned to legendary sci-fi writer Philip K..."

Alien Trespass
Taking its cues from several classic 1950s sci-fi films, Alien Trespass is a deeply affectionate homage to the era when every kid on the block knew what "Klaatu borada nikto" meant.
Film Review  April 3, 2009, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Eric McCormack, Jenni Baird, Robert Patrick, Dan Lauria, Jody Thompson, Aaron Brooks, Sarah Smyth and Andrew Dunbar. Taking its cues from several classic 1950s sci-fi films – the superlative, eerie It Came From Outer Space chief among them – Alien Trespass is a deeply affectionate homage to the halcyon Red Scare era, when every kid on the block knew what "Klaatu borada nikto" meant and Saturday afternoons were made for flying-saucer matinees and Ray Bradbury's red planet, Mars..."

TV Eye
BBC America celebrates its HD premiere with a week of sci-fi programming
Screens Column  July 17, 2009, by Belinda Acosta
"...I'm not sure why, but sci-fi, supernatural, and fantasy series seem to go with summer like paletas and a swelteringly hot day. I'm not talking series with the apocalyptic seriousness of Fringe or Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – which I love – but lighter, slightly quirkier fare such as Eureka and Warehouse 13 (both on the newly rechristened SyFy channel) and NBC's Merlin, with the marvelous Anthony Head (aka Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame)..."

Minority Report
Vastly superior to Spielberg's last sci-fi outing, the woefully pedantic A.I., this adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novella is closer in spirit to both Dick's own Blade Runner and Fifties...
Film Review  June 21, 2002, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Patrick Kilpatrick, Neal McDonough, Samantha Morton, Lois Smith, Kathryn Morris, Colin Farrell, Steve Harris, Max Von Sydow and Tom Cruise. Vastly superior to Spielberg's last sci-fi outing, the woefully pedantic A.I., this adaptation of Philip K..."

The Time Machine
It's rarely a good sign when a production's original director calls it quits 18 days before the end of shooting and has to be replaced. That was the fate of...
Film Review  March 8, 2002, by Marc Savlov
"...That was the fate of Simon Wells, though, who ceded the reins to Gore Verbinski (The Mexican) after being diagnosed with “extreme exhaustion.” What's more, the “exhausted” director (who here makes his live-action debut after a career in feature animation) is no less than H.G. Wells' great-grandson, which in hindsight may be why this version of great-granddad's landmark sci-fi/futurist novel The Time Machine seems to have arrived onscreen with precious little of the elder Wells' stunning imagery and Swiftian proclivities intact..."

Lazer Team
The first feature film from Austin's Rooster Teeth gang is a hoot
Film Review  January 29, 2016, by Marc Savlov
"...Austin’s Rooster Teeth Productions, best known as the creators of the long-running Red vs. Blue series, which repurposes the first-person shooter Halo video game as a uniquely weird, comic space opera, enters the feature-film realm with this sci-fi action movie, semi-satire..."

Endhiran (Robot)
This extravagant Indian/Tamil production is an apocalyptic science fiction rom-com with elaborate dance set-pieces and music by A.R. Rahman.
Film Review  February 25, 2011, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Danny Denzongpa, Karunas, Santhanam and Delhi Kumar. Endhiran is an absolutely crackers Indian/Tamil sci-fi/action import..."

This Robert Rodriguez-produced film doesn't try to be a sequel to the Schwarzenegger picture but, instead, is a new story about humans hunted by the merciless Predators.
Film Review  July 16, 2010, by Marc Savlov
"...Bring your best (or, lucky you, first) gal/guy, settle back into your crimson leather seat-belt-less backseat, put the top down, pull her/his top down, and get some. Badass retro sci-fi cinema, that is..."

What the Filk?
Sci-fi and folk combine for one weird subgenre
DAILY Music  July 25, 2008, by Doug Freeman
"...It’s science fiction week here at the Chronicle, which means, musically, we’ve digested enough Theremin, Moog, and Bowie to last us the rest of the year. You expect to find a decent dose of sci-fi musing in electronica, prog, and, odd as it may seem at first listen, hip-hop, but country and folk music are surely planted in a bit more solid ground..."

What matters most about Transformers isn't subtext (this is Michael Bay after all), but what happens when big, loud, heavy things bang into other differently colored big, loud, heavy things.
Film Review  July 6, 2007, by Marc Savlov
"...Bay's big-budget adaptation of the eternal battle between good (the Autobots, led by big-cheese Optimus Prime) and evil (the Decepticons, fronted by the towering, glowering Megatron, who, frankly, have nothing on indie-pop darlings Le Tigre's righteously catchy tune) is vastly more entertaining than you might suspect. It's a stripped-down, chopped, locked, and loaded Bay-gasm – a sensory overload of action/sci-fi clichés that works, mostly, thanks to some ingenious CGI work courtesy of Industrial Light & Magic and the full-bore, whining, grinding, whirring, and screeching sound design of Erik Aadahl, which transforms what could have been just another chunk of overlong, overloud summer crud into a fully immersive action mindblower..."

This superhero sci-fi farce drags its feet, while the sappy sweetness will make you wince.

Film Review  August 18, 2006, by Toddy Burton
"...When Jack gets pulled out of retirement, his job is to train four fledgling superheroes (Breslin, Cassidy, Mara, and Newman) for an impending attack by former good guy turned bad (Zegers). If you're expecting something on par with the genuine hilarity of Allen's previous sci-fi farce, Galaxy Quest, think again..."

Men in Black II
It's tempting to view this sequel to the 1997 sci-fi comedy -- which then as now featured Messrs. Smith and Jones as a pair of earthling cops keeping the planet's...
Film Review  July 5, 2002, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Patrick Warburton, Tony Shalhoub, Rosario Dawson, Johnny Knoxville, Lara Flynn Boyle, Rip Torn, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. It's tempting to view this sequel to the 1997 sci-fi comedy -- which then as now featured Messrs..."

In the 21st century, scientists have found the perfect solution to dealing with elderly invalids: the Z-001, a high-tech “Superbed” that mechanically cares for the physical and emotional needs of...
Film Review  April 5, 1996, by Joey O'Bryan
"...In the 21st century, scientists have found the perfect solution to dealing with elderly invalids: the Z-001, a high-tech “Superbed” that mechanically cares for the physical and emotional needs of the aged, and thus removes that bothersome responsibility from selfish friends, family, and doctors. But what happens to these people as they become increasingly shut off from all human contact and grow closer and closer to the machine with which they are forced to share their every moment? These are a few of the intriguing, thoughtful ideas behind Roujin-Z, an almost seamless combination of cynical humor and slick sci-fi action that proves to be both enlightening and entertaining..."

Introspective sci-fi drama packs a punch.
Film Review  November 11, 2016, by Marc Savlov
"...Arrival is a thoughtfully realistic depiction of how such an event might play out, and with Adams in the lead, it’s also a deeply soulful film, shot through with loss, regret, and hope. Like almost all great sci-fi films it’s less about the alien unknown than it is about the human condition..."

Other Worlds Austin Has The Answer
Writer/director Iqbal Ahmed talks identity before Texas debut
DAILY Screens  May 18, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...Sometimes The Answer to your problems is right under your nose. After years of struggling to get movies made, writer/director Iqbal Ahmed quit trying to pitch projects and just made his sci-fi thriller in his own..."

In the year 2154, the rabble live on the garbage dump of Earth while the elite live in the perfect Elysium in the sky; Matt Damon is a mad Max who breaks on through.
Film Review  August 9, 2013, by Marc Savlov
"...South Africa-born director Neill Blomkamp’s debut film in 2009, District 9, is one of the best – and most socially conscious – sci-fi movies in at least the past 20 years. Utilizing a mix of flawless, gritty CGI and heart-on-sleeve social commentary, District 9 riffs on everything from apartheid to global xenophobia, and mixes those meaty subtexts with a main storyline that pits a believably mad military-industrial complex against actor Sharlto Copley’s lone everyman..."

Repo Men
Jude Law and Forest Whitaker play repo men in this future world where body parts can be bought and sold but also repossessed.
Film Review  March 26, 2010, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Liev Schreiber, Carice van Houten and RZA. Where has all the fun science-fiction filmmaking gone? I mean the kind Ray Bradbury dreamed up, the sort of thing with zippy flying cars and the cool bebop bounce and throb of post-millennial jazz? Instead of "what if?" cinematic sci-fi has morphed into "WTF?" and now all of our futures, most of them already closely enough wound, are dystopian hellholes on par with Sarajevo, circa 1992..."

Planet 51
In a switcheroo, animated aliens fear the human in their midst.
Film Review  November 20, 2009, by Marc Savlov
"...That in itself is not always a bad thing, of course. Tim McCanlies' marvelous The Iron Giant flawlessly manages to incorporate the hoary (but no less relevant) tropes of genre masterpieces, such as It Came From Outer Space and Invaders From Mars, into one of the best sci-fi-oriented animated kids films of all time..."

Bruce Willis is a cop in a future society where human beings live in isolation and interact through robots.

Film Review  October 2, 2009, by Marc Savlov
"...In a Philip K. Dickian twist on Ram Dass' "Be here now" slogan and thanks to robotic surrogates and fancy tanning-bed/Barcalounger virtual reality units, the characters in this sublimely silly scrap of sci-fi filmmaking can be somewhere else now..."

The Day the Earth Stood Still
Soundtracking unknown worlds with sci-fi instrumentation
Music Story  July 25, 2008, by Graham Reynolds
"...To avoid the carbon-dating pitfall, some of the most famous sci-fi soundtracks approached the challenge from the flip side. In making music of the future, they turned to a timeless style using instruments that have been around for hundreds of years: classical music and the symphony orchestra..."

Night Watch
Russia's highest box-office grosser (until the release of its sequel) is a stylish sci-fi thriller that's filled with adrenaline-fueled pacing, an abundance of gory effects, a death metal soundtrack, and a convoluted narrative that puts The Matrix to shame.
Film Review  March 3, 2006, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Starring: Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov, Valery Zolotukhin, Maria Poroshina, Galina Tunina, Yuri Kutsenko, Aleksei Chadov and Zhanna Friske. AFS@Dobie The most illuminating thing about the Russian sci-fi import Night Watch may be its demonstration that the divide between American and Russian youth cultures is growing ever slimmer and more irrelevant..."

'Primer' Time
Sundance winner Shane Carruth's sci-fi vérité
Screens Story  October 22, 2004, by Marc Savlov
"...The film is Primer, the debut effort from writer/director/co-star and Dallas native Shane Carruth, who snagged the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2004 with this utterly unique slice of sci-fi cinema vérité: It's as densely layered with resonant ideas about the nature of time, friendship, and the process of invention as it is with the minutiae of the engineering field its characters inhabit...."

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
An affectionate parody of 1950s sci-fi movies, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra spoofs ’til it poops out.
Film Review  February 20, 2004, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Larry Blamire, Fay Masterson, Brian Howe, Andrew Parks, Susan McConnell and Jennifer Blaire. A knowing and affectionate parody of 1950s sci-fi movies, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra works just fine for the first half hour or so, but quickly devolves into a case of too much affection and not enough affliction..."

The Butterfly Effect
Ashton Kutcher lays to waste a promising script involving time travel and unforeseeable consequences.
Film Review  January 23, 2004, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Elden Henson, Eric Stoltz and Melora Walters. Taking the meteorological/chaos-theory tenet that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in one part of the globe will incite vast, unforeseeable consequences in another part to its sci-fi extreme is a ripping good premise for a classic time-travel film..."

Red Planet
If names like Blish, Simak, and Asimov mean more to you in a science fiction context than that of Keanu Reeves, this unabashedly retro, hard sci-fi adventure may be just...
Film Review  November 17, 2000, by Russell Smith
"...Starring: Simon Baker, Benjamin Bratt, Terence Stamp, Tom Sizemore, Carrie-Anne Moss and Val Kilmer. If names like Blish, Simak, and Asimov mean more to you in a science fiction context than that of Keanu Reeves, this unabashedly retro, hard sci-fi adventure may be just your speed..."

Battlefield Earth
Simply put, Battlefield Earth is the worst film I've seen in over 10 years, and believe me, that's saying a lot. It's a hideous masterwork of style over substance, formula...

Film Review  May 19, 2000, by Marc Savlov
"...Simply put, Battlefield Earth is the worst film I've seen in over 10 years, and believe me, that's saying a lot. It's a hideous masterwork of style over substance, formula over form, and Travolta's fanatical devotion to the teachings of Scientologist/sci-fi author L..."

The Matrix
A blend of pop psychology, cyberpunk lore, and stunning visuals.
Film Review  April 2, 1999, by Marc Savlov
"...Rarely have so many startlingly original images been thrown into a single storyline, many of them featuring a new process called “bullet-time photography,” which utilizes “dynamic camera movement around slow-motion events approaching 12,000 frames per second.” Enough of the tech stuff, though. Really, the only thing you need to know is that The Matrix doesn't just raise the bar on sci-fi and action films, it rips that sucker off and sends it spiraling into the sun..."

Solving a Mystery That Should Stay Unsolved in Doe
Other Worlds Austin screens amnesia thriller with a twist
DAILY Screens  October 16, 2018, by Richard Whittaker
"...If we don't know who we are, can we ever truly be contrite for the crimes we may have committed? And if we are no longer ourselves, do our sins still really belong to us? Those are the key questions at the heart of sci-fi thriller Doe, screening this week...."

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