Solaris / The Red Turtle

I watched two movies last night: First the science fiction film Solaris starring George Clooney and Natascha McElhone, and secondly the moody animated feature The Red Turtle.

Solaris is underrated. Having enjoyed the Lem novel immensely, I was excited to see the film when it first came out. Disappointed, however, was I in the lack of positive reviews by both peers and the media.

As with most adaptations, changes were made and elements were cut from the novel. The overall mood and themes remained intact, however, and it was in these that the film shines. Clooney and McElhone are both fantastic, and behind the camera Soderbergh does what he always does well, which is to match score with visuals and to force actors to produce moments away from the action. Scifi as a genre is intrinsically well suited for themes of morality and decision making, and Solaris is no exception. You will quietly question ethics and human nature without any heavy-handed metaphors or preaching. Clean visuals compliment the experience nicely.

The Red Turtle is a French Studio Ghibli joint that delivers breathtaking visuals, top notch sound and foley work, and all the gut-wrenching minutiae of a successful character study. There is absolutely no dialogue in this animated film, and yet I found myself entranced and emotionally invested. The spiritual tone, whimsical nature, and anthropomorphic animals you come to expect from Studio Ghibli are all present, but it takes a more profound and serious edge. Themes of destiny, family structure, and forgiveness are addressed, and will stir emotions in the watcher, and at least in my case, tears.

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Dark Matter

Ugh. I just found out that Dark Matter was cancelled. Welp, I guess it’s time to join in on a fandom campaign to bring it back! If you haven’t watched the show, go to Netflix immediately to watch Seasons 1 and 2, and XFinity OnDemand to watch the most recent Season 3. If you ARE a fan, please join us in this campaign on social media by getting our hashtag trending, or by sending requests to other services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video or Hulu to pick the show up (it seems that there is very little change of SyFy picking it back up as they don’t actually own the show.)

Use the hashtag #TeamRaza every Friday (at certain times depending on your region.) We need closure!!!

GenCon Film Festival

Are you gaming at GenCon in Indianapolis this weekend? Well take a break this evening to check out my Scifi Comedy feature film Dead Drift!

It’s playing tonight, Saturday August 19th at 9:30 PM in the Westin Ballroom IV.

And for those of you who aren’t there, watch it online at http://deaddriftshow.com

Lots of scifi/fantasy/gamer culture references and goodness!

Meredith’s Beacon – Sample Chapter

Wyatt let the sabre relax in his hand now that the beast was no longer moving. Black rancid blood covered the blade, matching the stains in the dead sawgrass at his feet. He absentmindedly rubbed his shoulder where an old scar showed through a tear in his cotton shirt. It didn’t really ache, but it […]

via Meredith’s Beacon – Sample Chapter — Malaise Contender

Scifi Supplemental

Here is a short guest spot I did on the fantastic podcast Scifi with Jesse Mercury, in which I attempt to talk about my relationship with the show Firefly, but end up talking about all the other shows I’ve ever seen instead.

Check out www.jessemercury.com for some amazing scifi goodness!

http://jessemercury.com/scifi-supplemental-matty-on-scifi-85