"His heart can't handle our gravity… It's too risky!" STX has released a new trailer for the film The Space Between Us, arriving in theaters December, about the first boy ever born on Mars who returns to Earth and must experience the planet (and young love) for the first time. Perfect timing to launch this trailer, with Elon Musk discussing his plans for colonizing Mars. Asa Butterfield plays the boy, who at age 16 finally returns to Earth. The main aspect of this movie is the love story angle and he falls for a "street smart girl in Colorado named Tulsa", played by Britt Robertson, but has his own physical struggles. The cast includes Carla Gugino, Gary Oldman, BD Wong, Janet Montgomery, and Jenny Gabrielle. As much as I want to be excited to see this, it just looks so schmaltzy and goofy. I hope to be proved wrong when it opens.
Aren't they just adorable? This sci-fi short film titled Planet Unknown features two cute explorer robots discovering a new planet for the first time, attempting to figure out if there are enough resources to sustain life. Chinese writer & director Shawn Wang admits he was inspired by Wall-E, which is obvious with these robots, but that wasn't his only key inspiration for this CG animated short. "The idea started back in 2014 when Interstellar was released. I was deeply impressed by the movie and was inspired by the two robots TARS and CASE. The idea of intellectual robots exploring space developed from there." This isn't totally groundbreaking, but it is fun and does make you dream about the possibility of life on other planets. Enjoy.
"What are you?" Paramount has debuted a series of mysterious 15-second teasers for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell live-action movie, starring Scarlett Johansson as The Major. Each teaser has a tiny snippet of footage and provides a very interesting introduction to this movie. Three of them feature Johansson, in iconic scenes that anime fans will likely recognize. One of them features Takeshi Kitano playing Daisuke Aramaki looking pissed as hell firing a revolver then dumping the shells. And one features a mysterious kimono woman with a mask, potentially the villain who wants to sabotage Hanka Robotic's AI technology. I have to admit - I really love these teasers, they're unique and the perfect way to introduce the world to this movie. The way they glitch in and out is awesome. I want more promos like this. "This is just the beginning."
"What do we do now?" Sony has finally released the first full trailer for the sci-fi movie Passengers, from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts, directed by Morten Tyldum (of The Imitation Game previously). The story is set far in the future entirely on a passenger ship carrying thousands of people to a colony on the other side of the galaxy. Chris Pratt stars as a mechanic whose sleep pod malfunctions, leaving him awake and alone and unable to last the 90 years left on the ship's journey. The cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne. This project has been in development for years and years, once with Keanu Reeves attached to star, and I'm glad we finally get to see it. From the footage in these first trailers below, the movie looks like it's going to be wonderful. So glad it looks this good. Really can't wait to see this.
"Outside of these walls, there are no guarantees." Another outstanding short film to watch. Dust is a sci-fi, fantasy short film produced by Ember Labs and directed by Mike Grier. We originally featured the teaser trailer for this short film way back in 2013, a year after it was on Kickstarter getting funding. Now it's finally complete and it's gorgeous, some of the best short film cinematography I've seen all year (by Michael Nie), with some incredible world-building and mythology to draw you deeper into the story. This was shot on location in remote areas of Japan with VFX added later. The film follows a tracker who takes a black-market merchant out into the wilderness to find the source of the "dust" that is poisoning the air. There's all kinds of cool flora and fauna hidden throughout this, and the main character (named Irezumi) is awesome. Enjoy.
"Before man makes it to Mars, he must conquer the Arctic." IFC Films & Sundance Selects have debuted a trailer for a film called Passage to Mars, an experimental doc with narration by Zachary Quinto retelling some of the stories from the crew on NASA's Arctic expedition. As a test to see if astronauts could survive on Mars, NASA sent a team of six people on a 2,000-mile journey up into the Northwest Passage in the Arctic - this film recounts their voyage. "As an expedition that was supposed to take weeks stretches into a two-year odyssey, the crew must overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and life-threatening conditions if they hope to realize their dreams of someday reaching the Red Planet." James Cameron even loved this film.
The journey for Star Trek on the big screen hasn't always been going at warp speed. For the most part, the films have had a difficult time appealing to both the general audience and to the hardcore faithful (known as Trekkies). That changed, however, in 2009 when J.J. Abrams rebooted the film series with the simply titled Star Trek. For the first time in a while, Star Trek was accessible to both mainstream audiences and hardcore Trekkies alike. However, as the series progressed with Star Trek Into Darkness, some Trek fans started to dismiss the new films as being too action-oriented, as well as missing the philosophical essence that made Star Trek the groundbreaking success it was when it first aired on this day 50 years ago. So as Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary today, let's explore why I believe that all changed with the latest installment, Star Trek Beyond, and why I believe it is the best Star Trek movie in nearly two decades.
Before returning to our condo and beginning this review, I stopped for a few minutes and stared up at the stars. Here in Telluride you can view them so clearly, but this time I felt a renewed sense of wonder after emerging from one of the most intelligent alien sci-fi movies since Contact. It's a major milestone in sci-fi, the next step in the non-stop evolution of this exciting genre of cinema. Arrival is a phenomenal film, an extremely intelligent yet captivating story brought to life in the most invigorating way by director Denis Villeneuve. It's one of those brilliant movies that actually makes you appreciate all that sci-fi can offer, making you think intensely about life, the choices we make, and what place humans have in the universe.
"You don't have to believe me, but I need you to trust me." Netflix has debuted the first trailer for a sci-fi film called ARQ, produced by Netflix as one of their smaller productions (similar to Christopher Guest's Mascots). The film is about a unique technological device called the "ARQ", which an engineer invents and keeps in his own house. Apparently it can "deliver unlimited energy and end the wars that have consumed the world", but one day he wakes up and finds masked men in his house. They shoot him and leave him to die, but he wakes up alive repeating the same day, like Groundhog Day (the clock is an obvious reference). Robbie Amell stars with Rachael Taylor and a cast including Gray Powell, Jacob Neayem, Shaun Benson and Adam Butcher. This actually looks pretty cool, I'm very curious about checking it out. Enjoy.
Now this is unique marketing. Fox has partnered with IBM to create a special trailer for the sci-fi Morgan, about an artificially created being. It was made by IBM's Watson and is the first-ever AI-created movie trailer. "Utilizing experimental Watson APIs and machine learning techniques, the IBM Research system analyzed hundreds of horror/thriller movie trailers. After learning what keeps audiences on the edge of their seats, the AI system suggested the top 10 best candidate moments for a trailer from the movie Morgan, which an IBM filmmaker then edited and arranged together." The film stars Kate Mara as an expert called in to analyze the realistic aspects of an artificial person known as "Morgan", played by Anya Taylor-Joy. They've been pushing some really fantastic marketing for this film, I just hope it all pays off. Have a watch.
"Max - you can use your energy in many different ways: you can run faster, be stronger." Another toy movie! Open Road Films has debuted the official US trailer for the Max Steel movie, adapted from one of Mattel's popular line of toys. The movie is about the adventures of teenager Max McGrath, played by Ben Winchell, and his alien companion Steel - when they combine powers they become "Max Steel". The movie also features Josh Brener, Ana Villafane, Andy Garcia, Maria Bello and Mike Doyle. The villain seems to be some other weird alien force that comes after Steel and the people of Earth. This is some serious sci-fi and I'm glad they don't hold back in that aspect, but the rest of it seems a bit too cheesy for my tastes. I have no connection to the toys, but I kind of wish this looked better than it does, but alas what can you do.
"The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too." Get ready for the return of the Terminator movie we all love. James Cameron's 1991 sci-fi classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day is being re-released in theaters in 2017 in 3D. The Facebook page for the T2 movie confirmed and released a poster to go along with the news. If, like me, you went to one of the Universal Studios theme parks as a kid you probably fondly remember the Terminator 2 ride in 3D (called "T2 3-D: Battle Across Time"), pretty much the best use of 3D up until Cameron gave us Avatar. Here's to hoping this 3D conversion is as good.