Sunday 20 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Science Fiction


None July 16th, 2009


As a movie setting, outer space is most often used to create a free-for-all frontier in which good and evil can battle it out with a minimum of rules or limitations. Think "Star Wars," "Buck Rogers," "Flash Gordon" or scores of other space adventures.

Less common is the use of space as an illustration of how closely our identities as humans are tied to our original environment. Think "2001: A Space Odyssey," the first and best example, and its cinematic descendants, including "Alien," "Solaris" and "Sunshine."

"Moon" continues, with a slightly less sterile aesthetic than "2001," in this tradition, illustrating the fragility of human identity while further exploring the alienating effect of technology at the same time.

The film follows Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell, "Frost/Nixon") during the final days of his three-year stint manning a corporate mining base on the moon. In the future "” although it's not made clear how far into it "” a process is used to mine a type of helium from the sun-soaked far side of the lunar substrate. The helium is retrieved by Sam from the harvesting machines and then launched back to Earth, where it is used to fuel the majority of the planet's fusion energy.

Sam's only companion in his lonely outpost is GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey, "21"), a ubiquitous robotic intelligence that moves around the base, offering food, drink, pain relievers and advice. GERTY is reminiscent of "2001"'s murderous HAL 9000, but he's less rigid about his programmed directives. With only an animated cartoon face that switches between half a dozen facial expressions, GERTY provides a well-meaning, but very limited form of company for Sam.

While Sam's psyche is tattered, he's kept going by video messages from his wife and daughter. He spends his downtime building a scale model of his hometown, dreaming about resuming his life there.

But things aren't what they seem. After crashing his rover while trying to retrieve a container of helium from a harvester, Sam wakes up in the infirmary. What follows is the ultimate identity crisis. Without including spoilers, it's only safe to say that who Sam is will be called into question.

While "Moon" doesn't carry the iconic or existential gravity of "2001," it does present a more cohesive and engaging story. Directed by David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, "Moon" uses the sterility and inherent danger of the lunar environment to contrast with Sam's humanity. This helps us more closely relate to him and sympathize with his highly unusual situation. Rockwell turns in a highly skilled performance, which further helps us relate to and care about Sam. Again, without spoiling anything, the plot creates certain challenges for Rockwell as an actor, which he carries with ease.

"Moon" wasn't graced with a wide release, and it might not be for everyone. Most people go to the movies to turn off their brains, but "Moon" will make you think. If escapism is your thing, go see "Transformers" again.

"”Mike Robertson

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