Posts Tagged ‘Dystopian’

PODCAST:

S4E8P – Preview Episode (Screamers)

SUBJECT MATTER:

“Second Variety (1953)” by Philip K. Dick (short story)

“In the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war between the United Nations and the Soviet Union, sophisticated robots nicknamed “claws” are created to destroy what remains of human life. Left to their own devices, however, the claws develop robots of their own. II-V, the second variety, remains unknown to the few humans left on Earth. Or does it? (from Goodreads.com)

“Jon’s World (1954)” by Philip K. Dick (short story) ++ bonus story++

“An expedition back in time shall get hold of the papers written by Schonerman for his artificial brains that were responsible for the success of the Claws described in Second Variety, but this time to the betterment of civilization. (from ISFDB.com)

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“Screamers (1995)” by Christian Duguay (Peter Weller) (movie)

“A rebel commander (Peter Weller, Robocop, 1987) must protect his outpost from the programmed weapons that are mutating into killers of all human life.” (from Amazon.com)

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

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PODCAST:

S4E7M – Metropolis (silent film)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we go off the rails and head straight for the weeds. This proves to the longest episode yet for No Deodorant In Outer Space. I am joined once again by former co-host and original founding member of NDIOS, James Rauch a/k/a Beam, as well as a new guest, amateur historian and genre fan, Richard Bacon. We discuss one of science fiction’s earliest depictions on the screen while enjoying libations and sitting around a crackling bonfire near a soybean field. 

For the most part, Beam did not think this movie was fun to watch as it wasn’t a talkie. That said, he did find that the film made him think about the world he’s living in, and how it compared with the world in which the film was created. In that sense, Beam felt the film was artistically successful.  Ryan found the movie just short of perfection, and was profoundly impressed with the attention to detail that the director brought to life. Ryan and Beam disagreed with the amount of melodrama depicted during the course of the film. Rich explained that reading the book added a lot to the viewing experience, and he expressed that silent films are their own medium which should be considered on its own merits as a separate film category. Rich also felt the imagery he watched would stay with him for a long time despite any shortcomings in the content.

A lot of history was discussed during our recording. This film was created after World War I during the lead up to World Word II, so there was a lot to think about there. The director made a lasting impact in the film industry worth noting, and the film itself had a life of its own due to a somewhat recent found footage discovery and restoration process. We got into all this and more during our critique which lasted well into the night. We also got into the beer. 

Things got pretty interesting, a little repetitive, slightly weird, somber serious, and perhaps even silly by the end. All told, however, this rather long episode was a fairly thorough review worthy of the film’s epic and ambitious aspirations. Please enjoy our drunken babbling! We (probably) did!

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN MOVIE REVIEWS:

“Metropolis (1927)” by Fritz Lang (Alfred Abel) (silent film)

Ryan: 4 1/2 Stars “…A bombastic production complemented by subtle silent performances made with painstaking and innovative attention to detail, that come together in a glorious twentieth century fable which changed film forever…

Beam: 3 Stars “…“Well, I guess if you like movies where there is no talking…I mean if you went back in time like a hundred years and tried to film something and create some sort of artistic imagery, you imagine the complicated nature of that–this movie, it was transcendent in that regard…

Rich: 5 Stars “…A visual masterpiece. It is a scifi classic, and it is something that everyone should see certainly select portions of, if not the whole thing…

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Rotwang admiring his mechanical hand while Maria the Robot looks on.

During our discussion we talked about the fascinating restoration of the film. A documentary on this process called “Voyage to Metropolis” directed by Artem Demenok can be found as a playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLioOe7PCjX1Tze5-sj31_7e0mXei1oY8O. The official Kino Lorber website has more on the production, resurrection, and restoration of this amazing work: https://www.kinolorber.com/sites/metropolis/restoration.html#rest.

American filmmaker, William Friedkin, interviewed Fritz Lang back in 1974. During this interview Lang recounted his infamous tale of fleeing Germany after being asked by the Nazi’s to make films for them. That interview, which was mentioned on the show can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or0j1mY_rug&feature=youtu.be. Fritz Lang was a larger than life personality and was notorious in Hollywood for being difficult. A video from Renegade Cut recounts “The Eight Most Insane Direction Decisions by Fritz Lang,” which is found here: https://youtu.be/4m0e4f7W7cE.

Rich compared this silent film story telling as being akin to traditional Japanese Kabuki Theater. It’s interesting to note that this form of dramatic story telling gained popularity in the Yoshiwara, a red-light district of what would later become Tokyo. Both the author and director utilized this place name for a night club in Metropolis. This is a web article on the Yoshiwara connection with Metropolis: https://documents.uow.edu.au/~morgan/metrov1.htm. Also, here is an an UNESCO article on Kabuki Theater which contains audio and video components demonstrating the art and providing a brief explanation: https://documents.uow.edu.au/~morgan/metrov1.htm.

The influence of Metropolis is still evident today. Rich mentioned that the gloved mechanical hand of Rotwang in the film influenced the use of the glove by the title character in Stanley Kubrick‘s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Shmoop’s did an article relating to this: https://www.shmoop.com/dr-strangelove/mechanical-arm-symbol.html. The metal act Sepultura named their thirteenth studio album from a quote in Metropolis: “The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart.” The pop singer Madonna‘s hit song “Express Yourself” was influenced by the movie and also included a direct quote at the end of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsVcUzP_O_8. Lastly, the famous rock band Queen designed their music video for the song “Radio Gaga” mimicking and utilizing actual elements from the movie version of Metropolis. Check it out:

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E7B – Metropolis (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we dissect the hybrid tie-in book “Metropolis,” made in conjunction and simultaneous creation with its filmatic counterpart. This episode was recorded on the edges of agriculture and industry with a warming heart-fire of human ingenuity crackling in the background for added ambiance. I am joined by former co-host and original founding member of NDIOS, James Rauch a/k/a Beam, as well as a new guest, amateur historian and genre fan, Richard Bacon.   

All three of us generally found this book to be a laborious read. Our discussion focused heavily on the plethora of different story themes the author crammed into this relatively short work. Both Rich and Beam cited the historical context in which the work was created, however the class struggles inherent in the book that might have been exemplary of the author’s contemporary time seemed to be too buried to provide much insight. Rich ultimately felt that a revenge plot ran strongest through the book, which was the only thing he could grab onto solidly. Ryan saw familial relationships and conflicts put up against the artifice of machine as the central conflict. Beam struggled to finish the book and just didn’t like it, but thought it had cultural importance and influence. 

The episode runs longer than usual, but this otherwise difficult book provided great fodder for debate and discussion. Enjoy the ambiance of the bonfire and grumblings of civilization purring in the distance as my comrades and I imbibe spirits and pontificate on the ambitious meanderings of this lesser known twin origin piece for one of science fiction’s earliest efforts on the screen.

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“Metropolis (1925)” by Thea von Harbou (book)

Ryan: 3 Stars “…A romanticized class struggle colored by religious and occult mythology with implacable villains full of old world venom and heroes in glorious melodrama – all set in the vast mechanized metropolis, a city dug as deep in the ground as it towers in the skies…

Beam: 2 Stars “…Melodrama…it was a very over dramatic almost theatrical book in a lot of ways…the style of the writing, the verbosity of it was almost intimidating to me…I didn’t really enjoy reading it…

Rich: 1 1/2 Stars “…Rotwang wants vengeance on the two men who stole the love of his life. One stole her heart. The other stole her life…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Rich felt that one of the author’s strengths was her ability to invoke images in the mind with her writing. Strangely enough this reminded him of well known comic writer, Mike Mignola, who’s eponymous character, Hellboy, is also set in a similar era as this work. Rich vehemently recommended that any and all check out this comic author’s work.

Though not acknowledged during the recording, Rich also managed to slip various references from the Simpsons into the episode. Here is Homer’s Simpson’s famous Bee Monologue from Season 6, Episode 2 “Lisa’s Rival, ” part of which got snuck in at some point: https://youtu.be/97M1X13XvOk.

During the episode we mentioned that the marriage of Thea von Harbou began and ended with affairs. Unfortunately, the director’s first wife caught the author and him in the act and took her own life as a result.–or did she? A website exploring “The Mysterious Death of Lisa Rosenthal,” which Ryan mentioned during the podcast can be found here: http://www.williamahearn.com/lisa.html. This same website contains the reference Ryan also mentioned about Thea having confusing decorating tastes hanging on her wall at home at the time of her death with alleged depictions of both Ganhdi and Hitler: http://www.williamahearn.com/thea.html.

One of the various myth/occult references the author used in this narrative, the Seal of Solomon,  or the Star of David, or the Pentagram was brought up in our previous podcast reviews of the cult-based works: “The Devil Rides Out (Black Magic #1) (1934)” by Dennis Wheatley (book) and “The Devil Rides Out (1968)” by Terence Fisher (Christopher Lee) (film).

Lastly, Ryan also cited a eview of this work from a Marxist perspective. That video “Metropolis – Marxist Theory”  by Renegade Cut can be found here: https://youtu.be/DJjbfaEtPN0.

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E7P – Preview Episode (Metropolis)

SUBJECT MATTER:

“Metropolis (1925)” by Thea von Harbou (book)

Metropolis is a 1925 novel by the German writer Thea von Harbou. The story is set in 2026 in a technologically advanced city, which is sustained by the existence of an underground society of labourers. The son of one of the city’s founders falls in love with a girl from the underground society as the two societies begin to clash due to the lack of a unifying force. The novel was the basis for Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis. (from Wikipedia.com)

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“Metropolis (1927)” by Fritz Lang (Alfred Abel) (silent film)

“The most influential of all silent films, this astounding new version of Fritz Lang’s visionary masterpiece includes 25 minutes of newly-discovered, digitally restored footage and Gottfried Huppertz’s magnificent original score – the closest version ever seen since the film’s 1927 Berlin premiere. METROPOLIS takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century, many of which presage such sci-fi landmarks as 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and BLADE RUNNER. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and modern science fiction style, Metropolis stands today as the crowning achievement of the German silent cinema.” (from Amazon.com)

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E5M – The Screwfly Solution (TV episode)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we get into an earnest discussion about this campy, pseudo-80’s-style visual adaptation of our subject science fiction horror story. I am joined again by Erika Doyle (artist: https://doyleaudiovisual.wixsite.com/erikaestefaniadoyle) and Amanda Andros (playwright: https://www.instagram.com/scribblergrll/).

While Erika thought that the nudity was done well she found the acting lacking and the level of gore morbidly humorous. Amanda thought that the way the violence was depicted undercut the disturbing nature of the tale. Ryan pointed out that the story was developed mostly from epistolary sources, and that despite this it was translated pretty decently on screen and very close to the source material.

Everyone seemed to feel that while b-style camp and dark humor was not in and of itself problematic, the way in which it was utilized here detracted from the deeper themes which the author explored in the original short story. This, as Ryan mentioned, despite the director and screenwriter being well-accomplished with their previous efforts.

Take a listen as we laugh and reflect on this well-intentioned, but over-the-top take on a horrific story!

-Ryan

 

 

WRITTEN MOVIE REVIEWS:

“The Screwfly Solution (2006)” by Joe Dante for “Masters of Horror” (Jason Priestley) (TV episode)

Ryan: 2 1/2 Stars “…A creepy adaption of a science fiction horror tale. which manages to focus and update the storyline while remaining still faithful to the original narrative…

Erika: 2.13 Stars “…It was really a lot of blood…it was kind of funny and the acting was terrible…

Amanda: 2 Stars “…there were subtle differences in the storyline, but overall it was extremely horrifying, but also a bit low budget in its representation…

 

 

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

On the show we talked about director Joe Date’s collaborative web-series “Trailers from Hell,” which invites industry insiders (such as other famous directors) to provide commentary about existing movie trailers. It’s a sort of curation site that aims to provide some discerning guidance to modern audiences about the ever increasing back catalog of film content that has been developed over the years. Below are some links to content from this site regarding movies that Joe Dante worked on very early in his career as either an editor or director and while still under the tutelage of Hollywood’s famous b-movie producer Roger Corman. Check it out:

 

Another podcast mentioned by Ryan which discussed this work and pointed out the feminine aspects of the depiction of the aliens is: “Greetings from the Mirror” – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/greetings-from-the-mirror-zone/id1294039118?mt=2&i=1000394970628. Also, the story written by James Tiptree, Jr., that Ryan couldn’t remember the name for was: “The Women Men Don’t See” The novelette was nominated for a nebula award before it was revealed that James Tiptree, Jr. was actually a woman, and she withdrew the work from the ballot: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Women_Men_Don’t_See.

 

Lastly, below is a picture of Erika painting a mural in Chicago for which she was commissioned. Fun fact: Her helper is frequent show guest and theme writer (her husband) John Doyle a/k/a Dole.

 

 

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E2M – Never Let Me Go (movie)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein Dan Gonzalez and Margret O’Reilly rejoined me late at night from a Chicago skyscraper to explore this faithful and tonally similar adaptation of the book. Our conversation pointed out how the movie was uniquely subtle from a sci-fi perspective, and yet more revealing and advantageous for grounding the viewer in the setting and world. We also recognized that the film focused more on the “love-triangle” aspect of the book, but couldn’t quite decide on why. Margret was particularly impressed with the Japanese aesthetics the director incorporated into the film, which complimented the narrative well. The meaning of the title was explored as well as a few of the more obvious differences between the two works–in particular we discussed the changes in the scene from which the title originated. Ryan and Margret got into the existential dilemmas of clones and how that reflects on what it means to be human, while Dan wondered what one would take away from this film as opposed to the book. Lastly, Margret expressed her genuine appreciation for how in-sync the director was with the author’s underlying work and wanted to put both of them in a room and play some Bob Dylan to see what might happen. A good time was had by all (except the clones) !!!!

-Ryan

 

Dan, Margret, and Ryan (likely not clones)

 

WRITTEN MOVIE REVIEWS:

“Never Let Me Go (2010)” by Mark Romanek (Keira Knightley) (movie)

Ryan: 3 1/2 Stars “…a fair enough adaptation that manages to capture the breathless quality of a very nuanced novel…”

Dan: 4 Stars “…a general adaptation which focused more on the dynamic of the relationships between Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy as opposed to the general theme of the [book]…”

Margret: 3.85 Star “…a thoughtfully interpreted adaptation to the book with a focus on the relationship aspect…”

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Sisero

Check out Facebook pages for our guest Dan Gonzalez’s now defunct musical groups “Sisero,” and “Beautiful and the Just.” You can listen to music by the latter on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/beautifulandthejust?fbclid=IwAR306SoFcwXDNJnU16oLLAljetusQBGog98Fhy4w-FCrJPV_2w1ymulKehQ.

During our discussion we mentioned certain Japanese aesthetics, which the Director chose to incorporate into the film to better illustrate the narrative. Some of these are detailed in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/japanese-aesthetics/. Romanek discussed this choice a bit in a Vanity Fair article (“Mark Romanek Talks About Adapting Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go for the Big Screen”) which can be found here: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2010/09/mark-romanek.

On the show we also talked about the Director’s impressive resume of music videos he directed. In particular, we mentioned the acclaimed Johnny Cash cover version of the song “Hurt” originally recorded by industrial act Nine Inch Nails. Romanek previously worked with the original artist on their videos for “The Perfect Drug” and the more controversial and infamous “Closer.”

Here is the Johnny Cash version directed by Romanek which compliments the mood captured in our subject movie:

 

Be sure also to check out the fine arts instagram account  of our guest Margret O’Reilly (@nueroart). Here is a painting of the famous Star Wars character Yoda:

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E2B – Never Let Me Go (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein returning guest Daniel Gonzalez (“The Martian” (S2E10) and NDIOS voice-over announcer Margret O’Reilly join me in a discussion of melancholy and ill-fated love juxtaposed against a subtle horrifying dystopian reality. We discuss the author’s cross-cultural biography, its probable influence on the temporal themes explored in this novel. Dan pointed out how different this novel is for the themes and genres it touches upon when compared to recent coming of age dystopian books like the YA works “Divergent” (S2E3) and “Hunger Games.” This work goes in a different direction of somber reflection and acceptance rather than revolution. As we got into the various character motivations and muted tensions underlying the narrative structure we all came up with a deeper appreciation for the work despite our general agreement that it starts slow and we began reading (for right or wrong) with preconceived notions that the conflicts would resolve in more typical action-based resolutions. All this is cast against a lively ambient soundscape of city noises recorded high above the traffic nightlife in a Chicago skyscraper–safely towered away from the terrors of “cloning” and “donations” and the desperate quest for “deferments” which abound in the English countryside of fictional Hailsham.

-Ryan

 

Dan, Margret, and Ryan set in their tower above chi-town's nightlife. Dan, Margret, and Ryan set in their tower above chi-town’s nightlife.

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

Never Let Me Go (2005)” by Kazuo Ishiguro (book)

Ryan: 4 1/2 Stars “…A touching wail uttered into the emotional void that dwells between those frayed wires which hold together the complex relationship between the individual, community, and society…

Dan: 3 Stars “…In hindsight, I appreciate that it was a dystopian world, however the author was trying to show us a different side…the mundane, the banal, the everyday life–to what it feels like to live in this world…”

Margret: 3.85 Star “…Overall it spoke to the constructs of realizing one’s fate and accepting one’s fate…there was kind of a melancholic resoluteness…it was more of a metaphor for reality…”

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

FUN FACTOIDS:

Beautiful and the Just

Beautiful and the Just

Our guest Dan Gonzalez is a musician and some of his more notable musical projects are the now defunct groups “Sisero,” and “Beautiful and the Just.” You can check out some music by the latter on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/beautifulandthejust?fbclid=IwAR306SoFcwXDNJnU16oLLAljetusQBGog98Fhy4w-FCrJPV_2w1ymulKehQ.

On the show we talked about how the author received a Nobel Prize for Literature (see Vox article “The 2017 Nobel Prize in literature goes to Kazuo Ishiguro, author of Never Let Me Go”  at: https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/10/5/16428754/2017-nobel-prize-literature-kazuo-ishiguro-never-let-me-go-remains-of-the-day). However, he was noted as a talented writer early on  in his career and included in a 1983 list of writers to watch by editor Bill Buford: Granta’s “Twenty under forty.”  This 2013 Guardian article “Then and now: Granta’s best young British novelists” from takes a thirty year look back at those authors and includes a reprint of the old press photo which includes a young Kazuo Ishiguro: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/apr/06/then-now-granta-best-novelists. For further reference, here is webpage from the British Council which provides a brief biography of the author, a bibliography, and a list of awards: https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/kazuo-ishiguro.

Also, our guest Margret O’Reilly occasionally expresses her creative side through the fine arts. Some of these are posted on our instagram account (@nueroart). Check out this painting which seems fitted to our subject topic on this episode:

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.