Tagged: Blade Runner

Box Office Democracy: Blade Runner 2049

I often cite the original Blade Runner as my favorite movie.  I also think having one favorite anything is kind of silly so it’s always been less of a true answer as it’s been an indication of what I like.  I like cyberpunk, I like hard-boiled detective stories, I like being asked to think about things, and I like a movie that can spawn a conversation 30-some years after it came out.  I don’t know that Blade Runner 2049 has the legs for that last part but it hits all those other bits and so I have to say I liked watching it a great deal.  It’s a challenging movie and it makes some colossal missteps along the way— but it’s been fun to think about and talk about so far.

Denis Villeneuve is quickly becoming my favorite director.  I’ve spent a lot of time both here and in my personal life gushing about Arrival and this is such a big departure from this.  Arrival felt like a quiet movie and is practically art house next to the unending spectacle at play here.  This is a stunningly beautiful and well-composed movie.  You can see all the money they spent on this movie on the screen and you can see that someone with an actual eye for cinema was composing the shots.  The urban landscapes evoke the original film while borrowing from all the cyberpunk things that movie itself inspired in a ouroboros style self-inspiration.  The baseline test they subject Joe to are an incredibly harrowing cinematic experience and that’s incredible when you think that it’s really just a white room and a skewed perspective shot.  I could talk about different things I loved about the movie all day from the images of a blasted out Las Vegas to the flyover of a Los Angeles that is so overbuilt it almost looks like farmland but the thing that most consistently got me while watching it was the view from outside Joe’s apartment window.  It’s hard to explain but between the color and the proximity of his neighbors and the way it looks like my childhood window and also most definitely the far future proved this was good science fiction.

I don’t think it’s worth getting too far in to the plot because it’s a twisty winding kind of plot and it’s best experienced in person.  Also I feel like it would take forever to recap, and I would read it back and think I was a crazy person.  It feels overly complicated and subplots start and stop seemingly at random and some of the more interesting ones are just discarded never to come back.  There are countless screenwriting books that advocating putting your story beats on index cards to get a better map and it sort of feels like Blade Runner 2049 had seven cards they knew they wanted to hit and the rest of them didn’t matter and were just made as quickly as possible.  I want more from the plot, but a lot of the individual scenes work so well.

I don’t know what Ryan Gosling does differently than other actors when playing quiet roles but he’s on a whole other level.  He doesn’t have a ton of dialogue in this but he makes every word count and the work he does with expressions and movement is superb.  It’s like he took the quiet menace from Drive and turned it in to something that works all across the emotional spectrum.  Gosling is perfect for this role, for this movie.  I’m honestly not sure any other actor could have made this movie work but he does it.  He’s better than Harrison Ford in this.  He’s better than Ford was in the original.  It’s an amazing performance that will never get the attention of a movie like La La Land but shows so much more technique.

The gender politics in Blade Runner 2049 leave an awful lot to be desired.  Every woman in the movie seems to be trying to speak to some thesis about the commodification of women and their sexuality.  This is a fine point to make a movie about but it’s not what this movie is about, so it’s an observation with no critique which ends up looking an awful lot like just doing the thing you imagine they’re against.

I don’t know that Blade Runner needed a second chapter.  I don’t know that this movie needs to be so stuck in the past; it would probably be a better film if Deckard never showed up.  I wish so much that they had done more interesting things with basically every character.  This is a beautiful movie filled with missed opportunities, but for an almost three hour movie I was almost never bored.  There’s a lot to think about, there’s a lot to look at.  I appreciate that this is an attempt to make a deeper movie instead of a quick cash-in.  I look forward to watching this movie grow in time (and seeing the inevitable director’s cut) and seeing how I think about it in a few years.  If we had to revisit this world I’m glad we got as complex a take as this and one that pushes so many visual boundaries.

Box Office Democracy: Morgan

There are a lot of forgivable sins for thrillers. They can have thin characters, they can be completely implausible from premise to execution, and they can even be internally inconsistent if the result is a good amount of tension, but they cannot be boring. Morgan is a boring movie. Not all the way through but overwhelmingly and even in a third act tripping over itself to twist the audience every which way, I never quite got over the fact that the movie had never made me care.

When I first saw the trailer to Morgan, I thought it looked like they were trying to remake Alien but with a much lower budget. There were all these tight corridor shots and a seldom seen monster but instead of a spaceship it was in a house and instead of an elaborate monster it was a pale girl. It’s very possible I was primed to see these similarities because of the “produced by Ridley Scott” credit. I’m happy to report that Morgan is not the Alien remake I thought it was. There’s a dinner scene that sure seems evocative and the way everyone is always talking about directives from a nebulous “corporate” but it more or less ends there. There are some parts heavily borrowed from Blade Runner and those are a little more troubling, but I suppose if I was a first time director and my famous father was paying for my first movie I might do some things I’d know he liked.

I shouldn’t be so hard on these moments of borrowing from old Ridley Scott films, because figuring out why scenes seemed familiar was the most interesting part of the film. Put that aside and you have a lifeless thriller with a mostly muted color palate and there’s just nothing to be entertained by. Paul Giamatti has a small part and it’s a shame, because his big scene is easily the best in the film. He seems willing to pick an emotion and go with it, which is more than the rest of the film can say when every emotional response peaks with a stray tear after a big speech. I also want to give the movie and Rose Leslie credit for having a character react to the kind of intense trauma a supernatural thriller puts a person through by being overwhelmed, shutting down, and kind of leaning in to a Stockholm syndrome kind of response. It’s an interesting response in a movie dying for interesting. Without these flashes of above average we have a movie with predictable scares, obvious twists, and bland visuals. What else is there for a movie to offer?

I struggle to dump on a movie so heavily when it’s the first effort by a director in a low budget film, and then I remembered that I had just seen the directorial debut of Travis Knight. Comparing this movie to Kubo and the Two Strings feels unfair, especially when you compare the budgets ($8 million to $60 million) and maybe it is— but animation is more expensive than two sets and some woods. And you can’t buy storytelling or tension or fun, and one movie had it in spades and the other is picking over scraps. Morgan is a movie I left wanting to talk about the allusions to Ridley Scott films and how intentional they were but secretly thankful that, statistically, I’ll never meet anyone else that’s seen it because I don’t want my family, friends, and acquaintances to have suffered through this movie like I did.

Emily S. Whitten: The Minds of Philip K. Dick

Before I get started on this week’s musings, here are a couple of housekeeping items:

1) Have I mentioned lately how great the other writers here at ComicMix are? It’s probably been awhile, so let me take a quick minute to do so (again). If you somehow found ComicMix via me and primarily read my column here on the site, a) Cool, thanks! and b) I highly recommend you give the other folks here a try. Even in just reading through the last few days of columns, from Mindy Newell’s thoughts on Battlestar Galactica to Marc Alan Fishman’s discussion  of guarding one’s creative integrity versus going for a payday and wider success, to Molly Jackson’s rejoicing over the awesomeness that is Agent Carter, I am reminded of how quality the folks who write for this site are, and how lucky I am to be amongst them. Anyone reading this site probably knows that already; but just in case you’ve missed out – check out my fellow columnists. You won’t regret it.

2) Speaking of Agent Carter (and I wholeheartedly agree with your column, Molly), I mentioned previously that I’ve recently taken over the duties of co-hosting (with Cleolinda Jones) a long-running podcast, Made of Fail, which is all about geek culture and properties. It’s taken a little while for us to get our first solo-hosted podcast in the can, but we’ve finally recorded Episode 76 of Made of Fail, and it should be up any time now. We talk about current TV shows, including Agent Carter, along with some movies we’ve seen recently and various and sundry other topics. So please don’t forget to check that out in the next few days if you’re in the market for a fun (we hope) new podcast to listen to!

And now, on to today’s topic, which is the works of Philip K. Dick and the movies we keep making from them. During the 53 years that he lived, Dick wrote 44 published novels and at least 121 short stories, and a remarkable majority of them revolve around the same themes: the sense of a greater intellect or system watching and controlling the small, in comparison, life and actions of a protagonist; actual conspiracies that the protagonist only realizes too late, or perceived conspiracies that are the result of paranoia; a character’s confusion at what is happening and inability to determine reality versus illusion; humanity evolving or devolving in ways that destroy or replace the status quo (often through changes in science or technology); and the examination of free will versus inevitability of future events.

In the same way that Raymond Carver’s stories, different as the plots or characters might be, share the feeling of dirty realism, Dick’s stories, despite great plot variation, feel universally grim or oppressive, with a general sense of something ominous threatening existence, and with a focus on the singular importance to events of one person’s perception and the choices guided by that perception. They do often, however, also contain the flicker of hope that comes from realizing that a struggle against what might feel inevitable can bear the fruit of winning back control of one’s choices, or a greater understanding of one’s place in the universe.

Perhaps that is the reason why, despite the ominous feel of Dick’s works, we keep making them into movies; and pretty popular movies at that. Among the most well-known are Blade Runner (based on Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep); Total Recall (based on the short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”); A Scanner Darkly (based on the novel of the same name), The Adjustment Bureau (based on the short story “Adjustment Team”); and Minority Report (based on the short story “The Minority Report”). As a culture, it seems we find appealing the idea that if there is a greater, if ominous, design behind what happens in our lives, we have the ability to choose to upset that design once we recognize the patterns of it and its effects, and the responsibility to strive towards doing so.

Minority Report is a particular favorite film adaptation of mine, probably in part due to the believable but still fascinatingly futuristic technology shown, which was grounded in and extrapolated from the tech of the time. It also strikes a chord through the major themes of both story and film, which revolve around free will versus determinism, and the idea that our every action is informed by the information we have at the time, which may or may not be “true,” as well as the idea that we can choose what kind of self we want to see or be.

In brief, the story is of a PreCrime unit of law enforcement, which uses three individuals with precognitive abilities to anticipate crimes before they happen and prevent them by arresting the criminals before they commit the predicted crimes (thus before they actually become criminals).

The action kicks off when the chief of the unit, Anderton, intercepts a prediction that he will kill someone he’s never met. He begins trying to unravel how this could happen, and in the process realizes that the predictions reported by the “precogs” sometimes differ, and that even though the computer analyzing their predictions collates data to produce the often-accurate majority report, there remains a possibility of a “minority report” in which the outcome is different. This suggests the idea of multiple future time paths, and the ultimate unpredictability of a world with so many changing variables, including each instance of human choice based on each new bit of information received.

Interestingly, the film differs greatly in its ending from the story, to the extent that (SPOILER ALERT) in the film, Anderton is framed by the antagonist to protect the PreCrime system, but PreCrime is dismantled after Anderton chooses not to commit the predicted murder, and it’s proved that the system is imperfect and an individual’s actions can change depending on the information received.

Conversely, in the story, the villain is trying to discredit PreCrime by showing that Anderton didn’t kill even though it was predicted he would; and once Anderton realizes this he chooses to kill the antagonist in order to save the PreCrime system. Ultimately, however, the theme and effect of the story is the same, in that once the individual is made aware of what he is predicted to do, and has a chance to examine the reasons behind why he may or may not want to, he chooses which path to take based on that, and the prediction turns out to be incorrect.

Of all of Dick’s themes, the examination of free will versus determinism is one of the most interesting to me; but I also have given some thought to which other Dick stories could be the next big screen adaptation; and have come to the conclusion that “The Last of the Masters” would have great potential in that arena. If you haven’t read it, it is an exploration of the conflict between the need for control, lack of empathy, and indifference to the individual that can burden a larger governing system, versus a valuation of individualism, humanity, and the desire for freedom that is so strong it can spur anarchic revolution.

One quote from the story which particularly highlights this theme is from the anarchist Silvia, in talking to the “government integration robot” who controls the local government: “My God,” she said softly. “You have no understanding of us. You run all this, and you’re incapable of empathy. You’re nothing but a mechanical computer.” In this examination of the dangers inherent in establishing a system of control, the story seems almost the next logical step after a movie like Minority Report – moving from the question of an individual’s freedom and the importance of choice there to the question of a society’s need for freedom versus its desire to maintain structure and the benefits and evils that are inherent in asserting control.

I feel that of all themes, this might be the one Dick struggled with the most, for in his stories I repeatedly find both the threads of desiring and recognizing the importance of individual freedom and empathy, and the apprehension that the result of giving individuals choice will inevitably be an attempt to establish or maintain a greater controlling body that will then remove some level of choice.

There’s a question of how to create an ideal balance underlying his writing that, despite his great volume of works, never seems to be fully answered; and perhaps that’s because it can’t be wholly resolved. It’s a conflict that, for all of the surreal or fantastical qualities that surround Dick’s works, is very real, and could make for a damned interesting story to explore on film. I’d like to see that someday.

In the meantime, I’m going to be checking out the newest entry into the on-screen world of Philip K. Dick adaptations, The Man in the High Castle (the new TV series that is available on Amazon Instant Video, yay!).

So until next time, Servo Lectio!

John Ostrander: Late To The Party

OStrander Art 130714I’m not often the firstest with the mostest. Ask Mike Gold. I was resistant to getting a computer despite his urging until, of course, I got a computer. Then I was gung-ho (and remain so). Friends back in the day told me that I had to read Lord of the Rings. My reaction was – no, I don’t. Until, of course, I did read The Lord of the Rings and became a huge fan.

There’s a couple of movies that were like that for me. For whatever reason, I resisted looking at them while they were in the movies theaters. Later, I caught them (or part of them) on TV and then discovered I really liked them. I now own DVDs of these films (yes, I’m resistant also to Blu-Ray so far; we all know how that will end but I remain stubborn at the moment).

The first of these is Disney/Pixar’s Cars. You’d think I’d be first in line because I was (and largely still am) a big Pixar fan. Part of me still prefers 2D animation but Pixar absolutely won me over with its stories and characters and the wit of their scripts. But Cars just struck me as pandering to NASCAR (another cultural phenomenon to which I remain resistant) and I passed . . .until I saw it on TV.

D’oh! (Did I mention I was also resistant to The Simpsons for a long time?)

Cars is every bit as good as any other Pixar film and has a great cast. It has Paul Newman in his last performance, for crying out loud! Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shaloub, Cheech Marin, and George Freakin’ Carlin all contribute. It even has Tom and Ray Magliozzi from NPR’s Car Talk (highly appropriate but such a nice touch). The animation is first rate with some absolutely stunning backgrounds and a story that involves and tugs at the heart. Love the film and would have loved seeing it on the big screen )if I hadn’t been so danged snobbish and stubborn. That’ll teach me.

No, it won’t.

There’s also The Adjustment Bureau, adapted from the short story “Adjustment Team” by Phillip K. Dick, who has had a stellar record providing grist for Hollywood’s mill – Bladerunner, Minority Report, and Total Recall (twice) among others. It stars Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and features Terrence Stamp (a favorite of mine). It’s odd that I missed it – I really like Matt Damon and would usually watch anything with him in it but this got mediocre to tepid reviews for the most part.

I can see why. There’s a cosmic plan involved and guys in dark suits and fedoras who may or may not be working for someone who may or may not be God. Possessing a fedora allows you to travel through certain doors and wind up in a different part of the city. Damon and Bloom play very star-crossed lovers whom the cosmic forces are trying to keep at bay. It all gets a little arcane and hard to swallon.


Damon and Blunt are terrific together. They have such a natural chemistry that, for me, it sells the film. I want these two people to be together no matter what cosmic forces decree they should not. So I bought the DVD.

Which leads me to another Matt Damon film, We Bought A Zoo, directed and co-written by Cameron Crowe. The film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, and a lovely supporting cast. It’s the story of a widower with two kids who ups and buys a struggling zoo and tries to renovate and re-open it. It sounded a little Hallmark Channel to me, especially the title.

My bad. I’ve gone through the grieving process for a spouse (albeit without children) and the film feels true to me, as does Damon’s performance. Again, great chemistry with his co-star, Scarlett Johansson. I’m leery of films that focus on kids and animals –they can come off cloying and/or annoying – but the children and the beasties come off very well. Again, I think the reviews were tepid and the title probably kept some viewers away (it kept me away). That’s unfortunate; I think many folks – like me – have discovered it since its initial release and enjoyed it.

There are other films that I ignored in their first release – Amelie comes to mind – that I discovered later. Thanks the powers hat be for DVD.

Or Blu-Ray. Which I’ll get around to owning.





THE LONG MATINEE races along the edge with BLADE RUNNER!

THE LONG MATINEE-Movie Reviews by Derrick Ferguson

BLADE RUNNER: The Theatrical Version
Warner Bros.
Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by Michael Deeley
Screenplay by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples
Based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick
There’s a good reason why BLADE RUNNER is still hailed as a masterpiece of science fiction/neo-noir/detective pulp filmmaking today.  It’s just that good.  This is the movie; along with “Alien” released two years earlier defined the look and feel of science fiction movies for the next thirty years.  BLADE RUNNER is innovative in a lot of ways but most of all in the way it presented the future.  Of course, for us living in 2011 which isn’t so far away from the 2019 depicted in the movie we can get a chuckle at how far off the movie is in predicting where we would be.
But you look at the movie and what pulls you in is how lived in it looks.  This is no sterile “Logan’s Run” future where everything is clean and shiny.  This is a nasty future with dirt, grim, filth, machines that are made to be functional not pretty.  People wear real clothes with wrinkles that need to be washed.  There are billboards everywhere urging you to buy, buy, buy.  The streets are clogged with pedestrians that walk too fast who cuss at cars that honk at pedestrians who walk too slowly.  All the people don’t look pretty. In fact they look bored, worn down, used up, tired.  Kinda like the people you pass everyday on your way to and home from work, right?
Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is enjoying his retirement.  Once an honored member of L.A.’s Blade Runner Squad, he got sick of it and quit.  You see, his job was killing.  Killing Replicants.  Genetically engineered humanoids created by The Tyrell Corporation as slave labor for Earth’s off-world colonies.  The Replicants are stronger, faster and smarter than humans.  In fact, The Tyrell Corporation claims that their new Nexus-6 models are “More Human Than Human”.  And maybe they are.  Six of them prove resourceful enough to make it back to Earth and Los Angeles.  Which is where the Blade Runner comes in. 
Deckard is pressed back into service by his old boss Bryant (M. Emmett Walsh) and Bryant’s brown-noser Gaff (Edward James Olmos) to hunt down and retire the Nexus-6 Replicants.  It won’t be easy as they’re the most advanced Replicant models.  And they are determined to get to their creator Tyrell (Joe Turkel) and find a way to extend their four-year life span.  Deckard has to navigate through a minefield of humans and Replicants, all with their own agenda and their own plans to discover the truth of what being human means.  At the end of this tangled road is Rachel (Sean Young) a Replicant who believes is human and puts her trust and love in Deckard.  A man who comes to question his own humanity as the line between Human and Replicant becomes more blurred in his relentless pursuit of his quarry.
I love BLADE RUNNER.  That’s the simplest and best way I can put it.  I saw it during its original theatrical run and I love it now.  Mostly because of the way that it looks at the future by looking back.
Let me explain: even though BLADE RUNNER is a movie about the future, there are a lot of throwbacks to the past which make the movie look even more futuristic simply because we haven’t seen stuff like this in movies in a long time.  Rachel’s hair styles and clothing, inspired by Joan Crawford’s look of the 1930’s.  Deckard’s clothing and trenchcoat, inspired by private eyes of the 50’s.  The gritty, noir-ish look of the city with it’s rain-swept streets.   The reto-technology.  And I love the multi-cultural look of the movie which implies that Los Angeles of the future is a Third World culture unto itself.
At the time this movie was made Harrison Ford was #1 at the box office.  And why not?  He was starring in two major movie franchises and he took the BLADE RUNNER job to expand his range.  And I think he pulled it off extremely well.  There’s a real Humphrey Bogart-ish quality to his performance in this one.  The role of Deckard is obviously meant to be a throwback to Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe and it works.  Again, the whole success of this movie lies in the setting and technology reaching to the future while the clothing, attitudes and style of filmmaking reaches to the past.  It an extraordinary melding of past and future that many films have tried to copy but only BLADE RUNNER captured and captured exceedingly well.
Sean Young quickly got a reputation in Hollywood as being exceeding difficult to work with which I think is a shame.  She’s astoundingly good in this movie and I again point to her Joan Crawford-influenced make-up, wardrobe and style of acting as to why.  Rutgar Hauer steals the movie in terms of acting.  As Roy Batty his final speech has gone down in movie history.  And rightly so.  Few movie characters have died in such a memorable fashion as Roy Batty. 
So should you see BLADE RUNNER?  Chances are you already have.  At least one of the several versions available.  There’s a Director’s Cut.  A Final Director’s Cut.  An Ultimate Final Director’s Cut.  An Ultimate Platinum Final Director’s Cut and who knows how many others.  Last I heard there were seven versions available.  My recommendation?  Start with the Theatrical Version so you can see it the way we saw it back in 1982 and then go from there.  But any way you see BLADE RUNNER, but all means see it and enjoy it.  
Movie Review: ‘RED’

Movie Review: ‘RED’

For those of you who haven’t read the three-issue comic book miniseries Red, by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, don’t worry. The movie version is to the comic book as [[[Blade Runner]]] was to Philip K. Dick’s novel [[[Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?]]] That is, Red takes the comic book’s basic concept—a retired CIA assassin, Frank Moses, finds himself under attack and comes out of retirement to deal with the problem—and then spins it off in a new direction. In this movie’s case, that direction is a fast, fun film with a fantastic cast, great action, great lines, and more than a little bit of humor.

Let’s start with the cast. You’ve got Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren. That’s a fantastic lineup all by itself. But then throw in Mary Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Brian Cox, and Richard Dreyfuss, and this movie could be about pretty much anything and it would still be fun. Hell, I’d watch that group doing an improv of strangers meeting in a supermarket checkout line!

But don’t worry about the plot. It’s there. Oh, is it there. And it all works. It’s straightforward enough to follow without a problem, but has plenty of depth to keep you interested. There aren’t any of those cinematic asides Hollywood is so fond of these days, either—I think there’s all of one flashback, and it’s short and to the point.

There’s also a lot of humor to this movie. Plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, especially with Willis and Mirren’s droll delivery, Freeman’s cheerful amiability, and Malkovich’s off-kilter antics. If anything, Malkovich steals the show, but only barely. This isn’t a group you can steal much attention from.

There’s a lot of violence, of course. But no real gore. No nudity either, and not much profanity. Plus the light tone and the romantic element offsets all the talk about killing and killers. The film’s rated PG-13 and I think that’s fair.

One of the best things about this movie is that you can tell everyone had a great time making it. Willis is definitely on as the calm, cool, slightly amused Frank Moses. Malkovich is perfect as the addled but still deadly Marvin. Parker is delightful as the confused but sweet Sarah. Mirren is wonderful as the wickedly serene Victoria, Freeman is endearing as the easy-going but utterly competent Joe, Urban is excellent as the focused and competent Cooper, and Cox is charming as the smooth-talking Ivan. And watch for a cameo by screen legend Ernest Borgnine.

Red is definitely a movie well worth seeing. If you’re anything like me, you’ll walk away grinning—and with a new appreciation for postcards from cities around the world.

Al Williamson 1931-2010

Al Williamson 1931-2010

Al Williamson, the youngest artist in the acclaimed EC stable of artists, died yesterday after a long illness. Born in 1931, he was raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Williamson was attracted to American comic strips, notably Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, before relocating to the United States at age 12. As a teen, he attended Burne Hogarth’s Cartoonists and Illustrators School, meeting several future colleagues, notably Wally Wood and Roy Krenkel.

After assisting Hogarth on the Tarzan Sunday pages, he made his first professional sale in 1951, selling a story to Adventures into the Unknown #27, cover dated January 1952. Just a few months later he arrived at EC, contributing to Tales from the Crypt #31. His photorealistic style and strong brush line led him to contribute primarily to the science fiction titles including Weird Science and Weird Fantasy. His other clients included Avon Publications, Fawcett Comics, and Standard Comics. When EC folded, he went to work for Atlas (before it became Marvel) and then reteamed with many of his EC pals at Harvey Comics, where he did noteworthy inks over Jack Kirby features.

Williamson achieved a dream when he took over writing and drawing Flash Gordon comic books in the 1960s, which were collected only last year. These stories earned him the first of many awards, the 1966 National Cartoonists Society Award for Best Comic Book. Throughout the 1960s, Williamson produced stories for the Warren black and white magazines in addition to advertising work.

In 1970, he and writer Archie Goodwin, who became one of his closest friends, took over Raymond’s Secret Agent X-9 which was eventually renamed Secret Agent Corrigan. The duo reteamed to produce the early years of the Star Wars comic strip in addition to producing adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Blade Runner. On his own, Williamson adapted the Dino DeLaurentiis Flash Gordon movie and completed his work on the space hero with the 1995 Marvel miniseries (written by Mark Schultz).

By the 1980s, Al was having doubts about his ability and sought the less stressful demands as an inker, notably over Curt Swan’s Superman for DC and later over John Romita, Jr. on Daredevil work which won the team the Harvey Award multiple times.

By the 2000s, Williamson was already ill and slowed his output until he was inking just Spider-Girl and completed an illustrious professional art career around 2005. He was voted into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 2000.

The subjective of at least six retrospective books, Williamson’s influence as an artist and a professional continues to be influential on the current generation of creators. He made his home in Pennsylvania with his wife Corina, until his death.


Judge Dredd Ramps Up Towards 3-D Production

Judge Dredd Ramps Up Towards 3-D Production

Judge Dredd’s return to the silver screen has accelerated with DNA Films cutting a deal with India-based Reliance Big Entertainment and IM Global to finance a 3-D film. The 2000 AD star last was seen in the movies via the 1995 Sylvester Stallone bomb.

According to an exclusive report at Deadline, the movie has a new script from Alex Garland (The Beach), and will be directed by Pete Travis (Vantage Point).  The report indicates the film creators are going back to the original 1970s adventures as envisioned by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra.

This version is budgeted at under $50 million which will be stretched by the needs of 3-D production.

One of the reasons the first film failed is that the vision of Mega City One and the world of Judge Dredd had been usurped years earlier by Ridley Scott in Blade Runner and had been oft-imitated, making the adaptation seem dated. Additionally, the things that made Dredd Dredd were largely absent.

No casting or release date for the new film was announced.


The Point Radio: Edward James Olmos on ‘Battlestar: Galactica’ vs. ‘Blade Runner’ and the Big Apple Con!

The Point Radio: Edward James Olmos on ‘Battlestar: Galactica’ vs. ‘Blade Runner’ and the Big Apple Con!

In a few days, BATTLESTAR:GALACTICA fans are treated to the DVD release of THE PLAN – but did you know that there is a connection between BSG and Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER? Commander Adama himself, EDWARD JAMES OLMOS, draws the connection for us in our exclusive interview.

Meanwhile, join THE POINT RADIO broadcasting LIVE all weekend long from the floor of THE BIG APPLE CON (Sponsored by Wizard Entertainment) in New York City. Check broadcast times & updates on our website.

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‘Crazy Sexy Geeks’ returns with Edward James Olmos, Rob Zombie, and David Alan Mack

‘Crazy Sexy Geeks’ returns with Edward James Olmos, Rob Zombie, and David Alan Mack

After a small hiatus, the geek talk series is back with a vengeance!

This week, hosts Alan Kistler and Carrie Wright talk with Halloween director Rob Zombie, Battlestar Galactica and Blade Runner actor Edward James Olmos and novelist David Mack, talking about remakes, reboots and sequels:

And if you want to see what else is in store for the series, check our cool trailer!

Every week, “Crazy Sexy Geeks: The Series” will discuss topics such as super-hero fashion, the best time travel stories, movie monsters, mythology in comics, gay characters in media, and what makes a good adaptation. You can find new episodes right here and on the YouTube channel “CrazySexyGeeksSeries.”