Tag Archive | "Philip K Dick"

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A Scanner Darkly: The Movie: Richard Linklater

a scanner darkly movie cover poster image screenshotPsychedelia For The 2000s

A Scanner Darkly is the long awaited adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, directed by Richard Linklater. I say long awaited because it was in post production for something like two years, having the animation/rotoscoping added. Was it worth it?

I never managed to see this at the pictures (that’s a Brit word for Movie Theatre) because it was only on for a fleeting moment. So I can only imagine what impact it had on the viewing audience. Even on quite a big viewing screen, it is absolutely-focusyoureyes-wonderful to watch. The technique used is called rotascoping and involves painting over each frame with bright colours and taking some of the detail out. Each frame. Every single one of the eight umptillions (lots of) frames had to be converted by hand.

As there was such a huge team working on this task, they had have ‘rules’ which governed how certain angles looked of whichever person they were working. For example, Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves) had a whole set of rules like the size of his beard, how scratchy it looked, how he should he look from the side etc etc. On your first viewing you’ll be too busy watching the effects to take any notice of the story.

A Scanner Darkly in itself is a wonder to watch; from the opening credits you get a sense of a cartoon feel, but a few seconds in and this dissipates. The stills you might have seen don’t really do the motion any justice. The images kind of ooze and wobble ever so slightly. No, personally, I’ve never done anything remotely like Substance D, which is the drug at the centre of the story, but I can imagine that if I ever did, it would have that effect on the visual cortex. (You get a good idea of how much is ‘added’ to the visual impact when you see the un-rotascoped footage; it’s just bland.)

The Scramble Suit effect is very pretty, with its constantly changing images of faces, bodies and clothes. If you watch closely (very closely - hovering on the pause button) you’ll see an image of Philip K. Dick himself. Think Yellow Submarine, but in a 21st Century way.

Unusually, I thought, was the line up for this film, simply because the main players are well known. There’s Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves) as mentioned before, Ernie Luckman (Woody Harrelson), Donna Hawthorne (Winona Ryder), and James Barris (Robert Downey Jr.) at the centre of the story, in which Arctor is an undercover narcotics agent, in just a little bit too deep, who is ordered to spy on himself. The interplay between Reeves and Harrelson is priceless - just check out the ‘gears on the bike scene’.

This is most definitely a film which you will either understand straight off, or just sit there scratching your head. And if you’re like me, and tend to watch for visual details in a film, you’ll be watching this film over and over and over again… . . . . .

Substance-D. Don’t Do It!

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Interzone 206

Interzone Issue 204 BI Monthly SF Scifi Magazine UKInterzone 206 September/October 2006

With thanks for Roy Gray / Interzone

As any self respecting SF enthusiast knows, Interzone is published by TTA Press.

This issue is packed out with goodies, just look at this list. Even the ads are worth a look.

Cover Art (Which I’ll put up soon!)
Fahrija Velic, BSFA Award nominated for his Interzone 201 cover (of which Richard Hawkins wrote “Blimey, this artwork is the best I’ve seen yet in any issue of Interzone; vibrant colour, well drawn, a bit vague, it almost looks like a photograph. The artist does himself proud.”) reappears with the powerful “Droid”.

The Beekeeper by Jamie Barras. It’s a traditional biopiracy expedition but on an alien planet. The natives are traditionally restless, very restless, and alien. Time for plan Bee.
illustrated by Stefan Olsen

Distro by Tim Akers. You are a distributed personality running on a multiplicity of platforms across America. But your hardware and wetware don’t mix easily and the enemy is both without and within.
illustrated by David Gentry

The New Chinese Wives by Will McIntosh. Child sex selection brings China rebellious bachelor hordes and virtual women. But, when family is all, a patriarch needs more than Confucian wisdom to ensure another generation.
illustrated by Jesse Speak

Karel’s Prayer by Chris Beckett. If you don’t know who you are you’re infant, insane or injured and if none of the above you’re in real trouble.
illustrated by Rik Rawling

The Ship by Robert Davies. The aliens arrive and Boston Harbour is the scene of first contact. No one expected it to be the scene of last contact.

The Nature of the Beast by Jae Brim. Clark and Clio were clones of the same man, and in competition to become that man.
illustrated by David Gentry

• Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn sf’s wittiest film critic covers 10 recent releases.
• David Langford’s Ansible Link (news & gossip)
• John Clute’s Scores, this issue on authors Scott Westerfield and Keith Donohue.
Bookzone edited by Sandy Auden: reviews of books by Gene Wolfe, Neil Williamson, James Patterson, Mary Rosenblum, Frank Schätzing, Cramer & Hartwell, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Alma Alexander and a page of Philip K. Dick including the graphic novel of A Scanner Darkly and Brian J. Robb’s on Dick’s Counterfeit Worlds.
Life Under Latex: David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London) and Camden Toy (Buffy and Angel) interviewed by Sandy Auden on 25 years of make-up fx.
James Patterson interviewed by Paul F. Cockburn
Radiozone by Maureen Kincaid Speller on BBC Radio 4’s Imagining Albion: The Great British Future
Mangazone: Sarah Ash on manga, anime and CLAMP’s Chobits.

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Bill Pullman As Philip K. Dick?

Philip K Dick Portrait ImageBill Paxton Pullman Paxton Pullman Might Almost Get To Play With A Sick Stick

These people have said that Bill Pullman is in talks to land the role of playing Philip K. Dick.

And I quote:

Details are thin as the producers of this indie production haven’t yet seen fit to list the film in IMDb’s database. The movie is currently entitled Panasonic (very non-PKD) which will be hell for them come search engine marketing time. Shooting is scheduled to begin next month with musician Matthew “Break My Stride” Wilder taking the director’s chair.

And I end quote.

Check it out. Made me laugh.

By the way, that’s Bill PULLMAN from the ever so cool Brain Dead, not Bill PAXTON from the ever so not cool Big Love. Saying that, they both starred in Brain Dead.

Now the serious questions is: Who will star in a biographical film of the life of Philip K. Dick? (I bet you a vanilla ice-cream the PKD Society won’t let it happen. Ever.)

Let us know who you think would be able to do the PKD biz with the feedback form, and we’ll make you a bit famous - or something.

To be honest, I was going to put up some ideas, but my mind is a blank…

Blimey, you could almost get confused (with the Bills), like when people talk about the Gregs: Greg Bear, Greg Egan or Greg(ory) Benford.

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