“Pontypool” was produced as both a motion picture, and as a radio play. Both versions of “Pontypool” were influenced by Orson Welles‘ infamous radio production of “The War of the Worlds.” The radio play was broadcast on the BBC’s Art & Culture section of their World Service website. It is approximately 58 minutes long, as opposed to the film’s running time of 95 minutes.
timespace coordinates: 1999, turn of the century (near-future) Los Angeles (racial war zone / New Year’s Eve party)
Strange Days is a 1995 American science fiction thriller film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, written by James Cameron and Jay Cocks, and produced by Cameron and Steven-Charles Jaffe. It stars Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, and Tom Sizemore. Set in the last two days of 1999, the film follows the story of a black marketeer of SQUID discs, recordings that allow a user to experience the recorder’s memories and physical sensations, as he attempts to uncover the truth behind the murder of a prostitute.
Blending science fiction with film noir conventions, Strange Days explores themes such as racism, abuse of power, rape, and voyeurism. Although the story was conceived by Cameron around 1986, Bigelow found inspiration after incidents such as the Lorena Bobbitt trial and the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict.
Strange Days was a commercial failure and almost derailed Bigelow’s career (…) Nevertheless, the film’s critical standing has improved over the years, with many fans feeling that the film has been overlooked by a casual mass audience and misguided critics.
The scene where the crowd celebrates the turn of the new century at the end of the film was shot at the corner of the 5th and Flower streets, between the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and the Los Angeles Public Library. Over 50 off-duty police officers were hired to control an assembled crowd of 10,000 people, who had to pay $10 in advance to attend the event. The film-makers also hired rave promoters Moss Jacobs and Philip Blaine to produce performances featuring Aphex Twin, Deee-Lite, as well as “all the cyber-techno bands they could garner”.
In 2015, The Washington Post editor Sonny Bunch felt that Strange Days was still relevant, comparing the imagery captured by the SQUID units to that of first-person shooters or cellphone videos on YouTube. He added that events such as Jeriko One’s murder and the subsequent coverup of the crime contribute to activist movements like Black Lives Matter, and that their media documentation amplifies their reception and consequences. (read more: Themes)
timespace coordinates: American financial crisis and presidential election campaign, the fall of 2008Killing Them Softly is a 2012 American neo-noir crime film directed by Andrew Dominik and starring Brad Pitt, based on George V. Higgins‘ novel Cogan’s Trade (1974). The film is about three small-time crooks who rob a Mob-protected illegal gambling operation, which prompts the Mob to send in two hitmen, Jackie (Pitt) and Mickey (James Gandolfini), to deal with the perpetrators. (wiki)
Southland Tales is a 2006 science fiction comedy-drama thriller film and the second film written and directed by Richard Kelly. The title refers to the Southland, a name used by locals to refer to Southern California and Greater Los Angeles. Set in the then-near future of 2008, as part of an alternate history, the film is a portrait of Los Angeles, and a satiric commentary on the military–industrial complex and the infotainment industry. The film features an ensemble cast including Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mandy Moore, and Justin Timberlake. Original music was provided by Moby. The film is an international co-production of the United States, Germany and France.
timespace coordinates: On July 4th, 2005, in a fictionalized United States alternate history reality, two towns in Texas (El Paso and Abilene) were destroyed by twin nuclear attacks, killing thousands and triggering a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, sending America into a state of anarchy and hysteria, as well as a Third World War (a fictionalized version of what the nation may have become under the War on Terror), with the US government re-introducing the draft. The PATRIOT Act has extended authority to a new agency known as US-IDent, which keeps constant surveillance on citizens—even to the extent of censoring the Internet and requiring fingerprints to access computers and bank accounts. In response to the recent fuel shortage in the wake of global warfare, the German company Treer designs a generator of inexhaustible energy, which is propelled by the perpetual motion of ocean currents, called “Fluid Karma”. However, its inventor Baron von Westphalen and his associates are hiding the fact that the generators alter the ocean’s currents and cause the Earth to slow its rotation, and that the transmission of Fluid Karma to portable receivers (via quantum entanglement) is ripping holes in the fabric of space and time.
In near-future 2008, Los Angeles (referred to as “The Southland” by locals) is a city on the brink of chaos overshadowed by the growth of an underground neo-Marxist organization. The film follows the criss-crossed destinies of Boxer Santaros, an action film actor stricken with amnesia; Krysta Now, a psychic ex-porn star in the midst of creating a reality TV show; and twin brothers Roland and Ronald Taverner, whose destinies become intertwined with that of all mankind.
Southland Tales was initially planned to be a nine-part “interactive experience”, with the first six parts published in six 100-page graphic novels that would be released in a six-month period up to the film’s release. The feature film comprises the final three parts of the experience. A website was also developed to intertwine with the graphic novels and the film itself. The idea of six graphic novels was later narrowed down to three. The novels were written by Kelly and illustrated by Brett Weldele. Kelly wrote them while making the film and found it very difficult as it pushed him “to the edge of my own sanity”, as he remarked in an interview.
- Part One: Two Roads Diverge (May 25, 2006)
- Part Two: Fingerprints (September 15, 2006)
- Part Three: The Mechanicals (January 31, 2007)
They have been collected together into one single volume:
- Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga (360 pages)
The titles of the parts in the film are:
- Part Four: Temptation Waits
- Part Five: Memory Gospel
- Part Six: Wave of Mutilation
The film remains enigmatic to many viewers and even some of its makers. In a 2011 interview, Justin Timberlake himself said, “To me, Southland Tales is performance art. I still don’t know what that movie is about [laughs].”
In a 2013 interview, Kelly said he considered this work as “the thing that I’m most proud of, and I feel like it’s sort of the misunderstood child or the banished child.” (wiki)
timespace coordinates: Philadelphia 2024 / 1988 / 1997 / 2006 / 2015 In the Shadow of the Moon is a 2019 American science fiction (genre-blending) thriller film directed by Jim Mickle and written by Gregory Weidman and Geoff Tock. It stars Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman, and Michael C. Hall. The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 21, 2019. It was later released on September 27, 2019, by Netflix. (wiki)
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (also known as John Wick: Chapter 3 or simply John Wick 3) is a 2019 American neo-noir action thriller film starring Keanu Reeves as the titular character. It is the third installment in the John Wick film series, following John Wick (2014) and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017). (wiki)
timespace coordinates: 1945 – 1975 Cleveland / New York CityPredestination is a 2014 Australian science fiction thriller film written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, and Noah Taylor, and is based on the short story “—All You Zombies—” by Robert A. Heinlein. (wiki)