Showing posts from June, 2015

Bright Eyes [Review: Humans episode 3]

I'm enjoying Humans more with each episode. I like the easy Asimov references. I like the way different characters get to show new depths or aspects of their personality each week - and the way, each week, we get a more disturbing version of what synths can do, whether limited to their original programme like NHS droid Vera (Rebecca Front) or whether illegally modded or freed like Niska (Emily Berrington). Last week Niska discovered she could kill - this week she makes her bid for freedom and starts to explore the world. It turns out she has some scruples, or at least limits on what she's prepared to do.

Emily Berrington as Niska
Anita (Gemma Chan) is still the central character. It's becoming clear how good she is at lying and manipulating her owners - but she's different from the other synths, and when Mattie (Lucy Carless) tries to hack into her system, just for a few seconds we get a hint of what she really is. It's compelling viewing, gradually building into a c…

The Sci-Fi Gene Music Video Playlist

I present The Sci-Fi Gene music video playlist: a carefully curated museum of music videos that have caught my attention, inspired or amused me, plus a few of my own productions thrown in for good measure. The list will be updated from time to time whenever I come across new music videos that make the grade.

Plastic Man [Review: Humans episode 2]

A man lives at the corner of the street, And his neighbors think he's helpful and he's sweet, 'Cause he never swears and he always shakes you by the hand, But no one knows he really is a plastic man.
(Ray Davies / The Kinks)
There's some kind of tournament going on amongst the synths in episode 2 of Humans - who's the king of Uncanny Valley? Anita is her usual, cheery-creepy self: "I am watching you too, Laura. You're right in front of me!" But she also shows her soft-hearted side, and of course no-one who loves spiders is ever truly evil. Will Tudor's Odi, Dr. Millican's outdated and malfunctioning synth, is also in the running, but the race leader has to be Rebecca Front's NHS synth Vera, both for her cold efficiency and for the script which makes clear just how easy it is for the human secondary user to lose control.

Still not sure where this series is going, which is a good thing. Is it an analog of the Russian revolutions via Rossum's U…

Shiny Unhappy People [Review: Humans episode 1]

Synths - synthetic humans - are the new iPhones. They're cheaper than a car (with the discount), anyone can buy one, and they can do more or less anything. They're the perfect addition to your family. Watch the advert here - they're not creepy at all, are they?

Channel 4's new drama Humans is based on the Swedish drama Real Humans. The first episode revolves around Joe Hawkins and his family. Laura, his wife, is a lawyer and spends too much time away from home, so Joe buys a synth, Anita, to tidy up at home and help him look after the children. The fun begins when Laura gets home... but meanwhile, sinister events are occurring elsewhere, and Anita may not be quite the first-hand, new model she appears to be.

Humans is well written, produced and acted. The synths are brilliantly almost-human with perfect skin, shiny eyes and expressions that are slightly too slow and controlled. Watching synth Anita (Gemma Chan) freak out Laura (Katherine Parkinson) is compelling. Predict…

Festival Music Video Highlights Part II: St. Albans Film Festival

Six music videos from St. Albans Film Festival, including five of my favourites plus my own video for John Anealio's song "Steampunk Girl".

The St. Albans selection included some beautiful videos, such as "Robin" and "Silver Girl", as well as some videos featuring talented young singers - Gaby Polcino's power ballad, and the Magician's Nephew Band who at just 8 and 10 years old are already so good at sticking it to the Man that they have been sued by Peppa Pig. True story (via the Telegraph).

"Robin" (Efrat Ben Zur) No words to describe how beautiful this is.
"Ice Cream" (Magician's Nephew) "Silver Girl" (Vanaka) "Judgement" (Gaby and 2ouche) "Steampunk Girl" (John Anealio) "Toadlickers" (Thomas Dolby) This is not good clean fun. Features adult themes and language and some extremely naughty puppets.

Festival Music Video Highlights Part I: London Independent Film Festival

Five of my personal favourites from the London Independent Film Festival music video event. However cool I try to play it, having my video for John Anealio's "Steampunk Girl" screened alongside these songs and videos was absolutely awesome.

"In Our Band" (Kentish Fire) Hilarious idea, clever lyrics, cool 360-degree video. "Dolphin Man" (Louise Gold) Beautiful song - and just watch and enjoy the story of this video. "Taste It" (Little Boots) This Little Boots track has a dark side and the video is not for the faint hearted. "All I'm Saying" (James) Superb, atmospheric animation for this melancholy James song. All I'm saying is, bring some tissues. "Lady Doctor" (The J. Evans Band) Funny, and also not entirely politically correct.

The Fast And The Furiosa [Review: Mad Max Fury Road]

Survivalist and all-round lizard-eater Max (Tom Hardy) is captured by the steering-wheel worshipping dwellers of the Citadel and destined for a deadly fate - but when Furiosa (Charlize Theron), one of the cult's most trusted warrior-drivers goes rogue, steals a "war rig" and heads west taking with her the cult leader's five most valued "breeders", Max might just get his chance to escape.

For the first part of the film though, Max remains a captive - chained to one of the Warboys and stuck to the front of one of their vehicles, so while he does little more than grimace, Furiosa takes centre stage. She's an extraordinary character creation, and played with aplomb by Theron, but her real story has all occurred before the start of the film. I would imagine there's a prequel to be made here. Fury Road is still Max's story - at the start of the film he is at rock bottom, basically an animal focussed only on his survival; by the end he has recovered so…