The prologue to Alien: Covenant. With Michael Fassbender in one piece

Monday, 27 February, 2017

Alien: Covenant, the sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, graces cinema screens in May. In the meantime, director Ridley Scott has released a prologue to Covenant.

Here, those aboard deep space vessel Covenant are enjoying a final meal, before going into cyrosleep for the long voyage to a planet in a distant solar system, that they intend to colonise.

All looks to be well. But is it?

Michael Fassbender features, as you can see. But wasn’t he in several pieces, when we last saw him in Prometheus? Scott has hinted though that Fassbender plays two roles in Covenant.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Covenant and Prometheus will tie together.

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Animal agriculture, the primary cause of environmental destruction?

Monday, 27 February, 2017

Seven “earth-like” planets, including three that may be habitable – to some forms of life – might be orbiting Trappist 1, a dwarf star about forty light years from the Sun.

It is unlikely any of these planets are remotely similar to Earth though. The planets in the Trappist 1 solar system are not a destination we can pack up and move to, if the human race needed to, for whatever reason. Even if we were capable of travelling there, which we are not.

The message is simple. We have to look after our own planet, in order to ensure our survival.

That’s a point also made in Planet Earth – As We Eat Our Way To Extinction, a clip produced by Zeezee Branson, and Gary-TV.com, an Israeli video production company. The argument here is animal agriculture, and meat consumption, is the primary cause of environmental destruction.

Whatever your opinion there, environmental conditions continue to deteriorate on Earth. There is, quite literally, no escaping these problems, they have to be dealt with.

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Still-motion animation of Otto Lilienthal, the flying man, in flight

Friday, 24 February, 2017

The exploits of Otto Lilienthal, a German aviation pioneer living in the nineteenth century, who made the first successful flights in a glider aircraft, have been brought to life. In a sense.

Amsterdam based filmmaker Johannes Hogebrink assembled photos taken during one of Lilienthal’s flights, and created a still-motion animation of the endeavour.

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And the winners of the Oscar’s Best Cinematography award are…

Thursday, 23 February, 2017

Not long until the Oscars now, this weekend in fact. Last week I posted a supercut of the winners of the Best Visual Effects award since 1927, and now here is one for all the Best Cinematography winners since 1927, again put together by Burger Fiction.

By the way, the nominees for this year’s Best Cinematography award are Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight, and Silence.

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Last Train, a short documentary by Matt Knarr, and Will Snyder

Wednesday, 22 February, 2017

Last Train, in this case the last service of the day on a suburban line in the Canadian city of Toronto, is a short documentary directed by Matt Knarr, and filmed by Will Snyder.

Catching the last train of the day is a world removed from travelling during the day, or the morning and evening commuter peaks. The silence of the almost deserted platforms is eerie. The fluorescent lights of the trains and stations seem harsher, to the point they’re bleaching.

But there can also be a certain camaraderie amongst last train of the night travellers, an experience that’s elegantly captured here.

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Trailer for Alone in Berlin, with Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson

Wednesday, 22 February, 2017

Otto (Brendan Gleeson) and Anna Quangel (Emma Thompson), a working class Berlin couple, become disillusioned with Hitler and the Third Reich, after their son is killed in battle, in Alone in Berlin, trailer, the latest feature of Swiss actor and director, Vincent Perez.

They covertly embark on a campaign of civil disobedience, leaving hand written postcards around the city, urging Berliners to resist the Nazi regime. Based on the book of the same name, written in 1947 by Hans Fallada, “Alone in Berlin” opens in Australian cinemas on 2 March.

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Learn about film production and storytelling from Pixar, online, free

Tuesday, 21 February, 2017

Pixar in a Box is an online series of tutorials in the making of animated films, compiled by US computer animation film producers, Pixar, in partnership with Khan Academy. The course looks quite extensive, and would make for a good grounding for anyone interested in film production.

Here is the introductory video to The Art of Storytelling segment. An art not to be under-appreciated. As Pete Docter, director of Up, and Monsters, Inc., says, it takes years to make a movie, but it all starts with a story.

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Trailer for Before I Fall, a story a little like Groundhog Day

Monday, 20 February, 2017

Samantha (Zoey Deutch), a popular, well off, high school student, is fated to relive the day of her death, repeatedly, until she untangles all that is wrong with her life, in Before I Fall, the fourth feature of US director, Ry Russo-Young.

Based on the 2010 novel of the same name, by US young adult author Lauren Oliver, the trailer conjures up thoughts of Groundhog Day, though there seems to be a little more mystery to this story. “Before I Fall” opens in Australian cinemas on 2 March.

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The trailer for Miss Sloane, starring Jessica Chastain

Thursday, 16 February, 2017

Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is a hard nosed, formidable, and much sought after political lobbyist, working in Washington, D.C., in Miss Sloane, the latest feature from British director John Madden. It opens in Australian cinemas on 2 March 2017.

The trailer looks promising, and I can’t think of a film Chastain’s been in that I didn’t like. All going well, I’ll be going along to a preview screening next week, and all things permitting, will write a review before it opens.

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A new trailer for Ghost In The Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson

Wednesday, 15 February, 2017

A new trailer for Ghost In The Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson as a cyborg policewoman who is pursuing a computer hacker. Set about thirty years in the future, the film is based on the book of the same name, by Japanese manga artist Masamune Shirow.

The film opens in Australian cinemas on 30 March.

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