10 Sci-Fi Gadgets That Actually Exist

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Fox Developing Sci-Fi Drama From ‘Vacation’ Team (EXCLUSIVE)


Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley

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Fox is developing a one-hour sci-fi drama from “Vacation” co-writers and co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan GoldsteinVariety has learned exclusively.

Currently titled “Proxy,” the project is centered on a technology that allows online followers to live voyeuristically through the experiences of hedonistic young “Proxies” on a remote island paradise. Fox has ordered a script for the project with a penalty attached. Daley created the series and will write and executive produce, with Goldstein executive producing. Should the project move forward, Goldstein will also write. They will both executive produce through their GoldDay banner. Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar, who has also executive produced “13 Reasons Why,” “The OA” and the upcoming series “Maniac” for Netflix, will also executive produce “Proxy” along with Anonymous’ vice president of television and features, Ashley Zalta. Twentieth Century Fox Television will produce along with Anonymous Content and GoldDay.

Daley and Goldstein made their directorial debut on the 2015 installment of the “Vacation” franchise, with Ed Helms taking over the role of Rusty Griswold. They also wrote the scripts for box office hits such as “Horrible Bosses” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” They are also set to direct the upcoming Warner Bros. comedy film “Game Night,” which counts Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, and Jesse Plemons among its cast.

This new project is also the continuation of Daley’s longstanding relationship with Fox, with the actor having previously appeared on the long-running Fox series “Bones” as well as the short-lived comedy series “Kitchen Confidential” and the high school drama “Boston Public.

Both Daley and Goldstein are repped by UTA and Fourth Wall Management.

(Pictured: John Francis Daley, right, and Jonathan Goldstein, left.)


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Top 10 | David Letterman Battlestar Galactica Top 10 list

Top 10 | David Letterman Battlestar Galactica Top 10 list
Top 10 | This was from Wednesday March 19th 2008 with the cast of Battlestar Galactica doing the top 10 count down.

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‘Observer’ Review: The Mind-Bending Sci-Fi Game Made Me Doubt Reality


I press a buzzer on a dingy apartment door, and a single pulsing eye appears on the intercom screen. My voice comes out frail, disappointed, all age and regret. “KPD,” says the visitor, meaning Krakow Police Department. “I need to talk to you for a moment.” The voice that responds is incoherent, rambling, paranoid. I find myself wondering if it’s even real.

That’s not the kind of question I often ask myself in videogames, but Observer is something special. The first-person experience by Polish studio Bloober Team features one of the most convincing realities I’ve seen in some time—and the devs build it for the express purpose of breaking it apart. Normally, I happily let games go where they want to without stressing over the integrity of the world they inhabit. After all, it’s not real; the difference between hallucination and objectivity isn’t an essential one. But Observer, a cyberpunk meditation on the frailty of perception and the tenuous bonds that tie people together, made me question my own eyes.

In the game, you play a titular “observer,” a type of futuristic detective who gathers information by plugging into the neural implants of victims. You begin in a patrol car, receiving an unexpected, abrupt phone call from your son. The game moves to an apartment complex in the slums. The complex goes on lockdown for unknown reasons not long after you arrive, trapping you inside with all the tenants. What follows feels like Die Hard if it had been written by Philip K. Dick and directed by David Cronenberg, where the only way to escape is to solve an existential mystery about the nature of reality.

What’s really important here isn’t the plot, but the presentation. As you jack into the implants of the dead or dying to determine what’s going on and where your son might be, reality gets fuzzy. The world is already unstable, dotted with holographic augmented-reality displays that warp space with a mixture of advertisements and propaganda—but once you jack in, everything changes.

The memories of a dying person aren’t pleasant. In harrowing segments full of fragmented hallucinations and broken spaces, Observer pulls you through entire life stories as they flash through collapsing minds. I found myself inside a prison cell with a convict enduring withdrawal, only to jump to his apartment, where he lies dying. As I move through it, it loops and fractures, and I’m back in prison, walking down an endless hallway. In another memorable segment, I’m in a cubicle farm that slowly morphs from a metaphorical labyrinth into a literal one; piles of retro-style computers and servers jut from the walls, glistening as if alive.

After experiences like that, nothing quite feels real anymore. And when hallucinations from the mental world start seeping into the real one, the entire landscape of the game finds itself in unstable territory. Is any of this real? Whose hallucinations are these? Bloober Team sells these questions with a stunning devotion to space and presentation. They’re not new ideas, and the story Observer tells isn’t original, but space and time shift before your eyes in uncanny and unsettling ways. Technology and flesh blend in creepy ways. The apartment complex’s navigable corridors and rooms turn into genuinely impossible mental landscapes with a stunning, unsettling clarity.

Obsever sells the sense that you don’t know what’s coming next, and it invests its environments with such dense detail that I found myself genuinely invested in knowing what parts of my experiences could be mapped to an objective reality—if any. This is Observer‘s best trick: I wanted to understand this place even as it fell apart around me.

The game, on PC and Xbox, isn’t likely to reach a wide audience, and many who do play it might be turned off by its rough edges. It tosses unnecessary and tedious stealth segments into its cyberpunk haunted house for no compelling reason, and Rutger Hauer’s central vocal performance is awkward and wooden (though it does sell the sense of a deeply disengaged, alienated noir protagonist). Several of its individual pieces don’t work. But it flows beautifully as a whole.

Late in the game, you’re offered a choice. You can jack into the brain of one more victim, enter one more broken world, or you can move on. Hesitating might cause you to miss key information, but who knows what will happen if you forge ahead? Each psychic journey is a violation of objective reality, and one too many could break your observer. Could break everything.

The brilliance of Observer lies in this simple detail: I hesitated, because I was genuinely afraid of what might happen. Any game that accomplishes that is a game worth playing.


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The 7 Best Sci-Fi Movies You Can Stream Right Now, From ‘E.T.’ to ‘Ex Machina’


Science fiction gets a bad rap in some circles for being a genre with nothing but a bunch of spaceships and robots. But it’s so much more than that. It’s also got drama, action, and even some romance. It’s also full of spaceships and robots and if you’re not really into those things, well, the door is over there. If you do adore droids and contraptions that fly through the cosmos, though, we have something here that’s just for you. Below is a selection of the best sci-fi movies you can currently stream on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Tune in and trek on.

The Matrix (1999)

The sequels ultimately watered down the impact of the original, but The Matrix is still a classic. Melding visionary direction, a thought-provoking script, and action sequences that people still talk about (remember “bullet time”?), the Wachowskis put themselves at the vanguard of the sci-fi scene with this one. Folks haven’t looked at spoons—or Keanu Reeves—the same way since.

Where to stream it: Netflix

Ex Machina (2015)

Whereas a lot of sci-fi goes big and then goes home, this gem from writer-director Alex Garland never leaves the house. In Ex Machina, a programmer named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) goes to the isolated estate of tech magnate Nathan (Oscar Isaac) believing that he’s going to help his boss work on a new project. What he finds when he gets there is a beguiling humanoid robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander) whose intelligence, artificial or otherwise, might be outpacing her creators’.

Where to stream it: Netflix

Metropolis (1927)

Fritz Lang’s iconic sci-fi film is a boy-meets-girl tale—but in this case the boy tries to help the girl upend the social strata of a futuristic society causing the boy’s dad to create a robotic version of said girl to tamper dissidence. Though it was released 90 years ago, Lang’s early stab at a silver screen dystopia still feels amazingly fresh. Maybe that’s because the silent film has been reworked a handful of times since its original release, most recently in 2010, when a 16mm negative of the film was discovered in Buenos Aires, allowing filmmakers to restore the bulk of what Lang had intended his audience to see. Or perhaps it’s because the issues the film tackles—the divide between rich and poor, the potential hazards technology can pose to society—are subjects people are still wrestling with today. It could also be that the film’s visual design was so far ahead of its time that some genre filmmakers still haven’t even caught up. Whatever the case, pretty much every sci-fi film released after 1927 owes a debt of gratitude to Metropolis for showing filmmakers that anything is possible.

Where to stream it: Netflix

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Five years after examining the psychological toll a UFO sighting might have on an otherwise average American family man, Steven Spielberg flipped the script to look at the world from the alien’s perspective. While investigating a disturbance in his own backyard, a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) discovers E.T.—a strange little creature who was mistakenly left behind by his fellow glowing-finger alien friends. Elliott doesn’t know what E.T. is exactly, but he knows that he’s lost and that if any grown-up discovers him he’ll never be allowed to find his way back home. So Elliott hides him in a closet and eventually enlists the help of his older brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton) and little sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) to keep his secret. Just because you loved the movie as a kid doesn’t mean that it’s childish. In the ‘80s, E.T. made kids—and their parents—feel like anything was possible. It still does.

Where to stream it: Netflix

Dark City (1998)

If ever there were a movie that stood as proof that style over substance is not necessarily a bad thing, it would be Dark City, Alex Proyas’ Metropolis-inspired follow-up to The Crow. That’s not to say its narrative isn’t intriguing; just that it’s complex, and is aided significantly by its imagery. Though the movie falls firmly into the sci-fi category, its unexpected elements of film noir and gothic horror make it unique among the genre’s other offerings. It’s a dark (literally and atmospherically), dystopian tale in which an amnesiac man (Rufus Sewell) wakes up in a hotel room, discovers he’s wanted for a bizarre series of murders, and spends the bulk of the movie trying to piece together his past. In the midst of this, he discovers that he has a wife (Jennifer Connelly) and some impressive mind powers that he’s able to use to evade a group of men known as The Strangers, who are trying to track him down. If it sounds convoluted, that’s because it can be—but even in those moments where the story gets confusing, the jaw-dropping visuals are enough to keep you intrigued.

Where to stream it: Hulu

Cloverfield (2008)

Just when you thought you’d seen enough found footage movies to last a lifetime, producer J.J. Abrams, director Matt Reeves, and writer Drew Goddard collaborated on what would become one of the most innovative uses of the POV camera technique yet. The night before a young New Yorker named Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is set to leave for a new job in Japan, his brother and friends plan a surprise going-away party. But the real shocker comes when a monster attacks the city, and puts a quick end to their revelry (and some of the partygoers’ lives). Though the group knows they need to get the hell out of Manhattan in order to get to safety, they also need to make a quick trip uptown to save their friend. If The Blair Witch Project and Godzilla had a baby, this would be it.

Where to stream it: Hulu

The Road (2009)

With his dense prose and sentences that go on for days, the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy might not seem ripe for big-screen adaptation. But if the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning 2007 film No Country for Old Men proved one thing, it’s that—in the right director’s hands—McCarthy’s deft understanding of the human mind (both good and bad) can make for one hell of a movie. For The Road, John Hillcoat and screenwriter Joe Penhall remained faithful to McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic story of a man (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) making their way across a ravaged American landscape in the wake of an environmental disaster. Toward what? The coast, but even they don’t know if that will offer any refuge. But with nothing but the clothes on their backs, a pistol for protection, and all the time in the world (at least what’s left of it), what else are they supposed to do? The film seemed to fly a bit under the radar upon its initial release, perhaps because of its unrelenting nature and bleak view of the future. But hey, if you’re looking for a happy ending, go try the comedy section instead.

Where to stream it: Netflix


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UFO Caught On VIDEO 2017 UFO Sightings Over Jerusalem #Technology



Sarajevo: Semih Kaplanoğlu on Sci-Fi Human Condition of ‘Grain’


Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoğlu, who won the Golden Bear in Berlin for his 2010 film “Honey,” opens the Sarajevo Film Festival with the world premiere of “Grain.” The contemplative sci-fi drama is set in an apocalyptic future in which drought, starvation, the refugee crisis, genetic modification of crops, and human arrogance have ravaged the planet.

In advance of the film’s premiere, Kaplanoğlu spoke to Variety about the film, which stars Jean-Marc Barr and Ermin Bravo.

What drove you to tell this story?

After completing “Honey,” I had the opportunity of engaging in a long journey to myriad and sundry regions and continents. One of the things I realized during this hiatus was that there is absolutely no difference between the people who live in those countries we traditionally believe to be the most developed, and those that are from the poorest and most “undeveloped.” I also grew to understand that man is – and has always been – the same: the same as in the past, as he is now, and will be in the future. I saw that merely possessing more knowledge, more technological advances, or the ability to lead more comfortable lives does not make us more of a person. Arrogance, egotism, and ambition are all the same: everywhere and in each era. While living in Mecca during a hajj interval, I saw the people who had flocked here from every corner of the world to perform the sacred rites at the Kaaba. These hundreds of thousands of pilgrims included rich and poor from every ethnic group and race. It was this experience that led me to begin to form the story of “Grain.” This huge crowd of people had all come here with the same purpose: to face their own egos and their own weaknesses, and to be reborn in a cleansed state. The story of Erol [the main character] is how he too came to face his own ego and his assumptions as to what he knew to be true. To do this he had to find someone that could lead him on this journey, one in which he would be first demolished as a person and then re-forged. All the hardships that can befall a person internally, now also befall the travelers externally: drought, hunger, wars, refugees, genetic modifications. I hold that the internal and the external are intertwined and that we cannot fix that which is happening around us until we first fix those onslaughts that are happening within us. “Grain” thus represents my attempt to convey that interconnection.

As in your past work, nature is presented here as something divine, something that connects us all. Do you see nature as being in constant threat by modern civilization?

Yes, I truly believe that there is absolutely nothing in our universe that does not carry intrinsic sacred connotations. And it is for that reason that nature in its pure form holds as much value as any other component of the universe. The more that man distances himself from his own innate nature and from nature as a whole, the more distant he also becomes from all other living creatures. Because he has lost sight of his own unique nature, he also becomes blind to the true essence of humanity itself. Thus, every harm rendered to nature constitutes a blow against humanity.

There is a lot of religious symbolism in the film. The two main characters, searching for the salvation of mankind in the desert, are like prophets. To what extent do religious texts influence you as a filmmaker?

I have a deep interest in all religions. Islam affirms that all of the prophets that lived throughout history are true prophets. The Quran devotes a great deal of space to the Prophet Moses and includes many parables about him. The journey undertaken by Erol and Cemil in “Grain” is based on a parable from the “The Cave” (al-Kahf) Sura of the Quran. Through the ages this parable has been analyzed by many Islamic theologians, but in this film I have tried to use the interpretation of this surah as delineated both by Ibn-Arabi in his work, “Fusus al-Hikam” (The Seals of Wisdom), and that based on my own understanding. I believe that the text of these sacred books are not merely stories from the past, but continue to be relevant to the lives we live. Human truths, after all, can never be regarded as something that is relegated to past times.

Jean-Marc Barr and Ermin Bravo deliver powerful performances. How did you go about casting them?

From the very start I considered Jean-Marc Barr as the essential choice for the role of Erol. He is an actor whose work I have long been following. We hit it off from our very first meeting, and this harmony continued throughout the entire film-making process. I found him to be both highly disciplined and highly intuitive, and willing to do everything possible so as to achieve the best outcomes. Not only is he a very brave actor, he has also become an extremely close and irreplaceable friend. Finding an actor for the role of Cemil, however, became a long and protracted search effort, one that took us from Turkey to the Middle East and then to Palestine. But we finally found Ermin, with whom I was acquainted from his Bosnian films. I don’t think he found this process an easy one, but I am very satisfied with the end result of our work.

The film presents a very strange world with extremely different locations and a multi-ethnic cast. How did you end up selecting Detroit for the future city?

While I was still working on the script I decided to carry out a preliminary search for the kind of city that would work as a backdrop for the future as portrayed in the film. The sacred texts that I studied wrote of a city in ruins. I couldn’t obtain permission to shoot at Chernobyl. In 2012 the city of Detroit was the first to come to mind as a city that had fallen into ruin over time and that was eventually deserted. As I drove from New York City to Detroit I saw first hand some of the abandoned automobile factories and steel mills, and industrial sites that were in utter states of ruin. What I was especially searching for was a forefront city whose architecture reflected more classic examples than those with early Modernist lines and whose background was one of a disintegrating industrial region. I carried out the same kind of preliminary search in the Ruhr region of Germany where I found old steel mills and open mines. I then shot the film in certain locations of Detroit and its surroundings and in selected areas in Bonn, Bochum, Cologne, Wuppertal, and Düsseldorf. Shooting in these many different locations transformed the work into a kind of puzzle-solving venture, one whose creation of the desired atmosphere took a full two years to attain. There are two locations that I would especially like to note as they both caused some still-lingering regret. There was one scene that I really wanted to shoot at the desert location of the Burning Man Festival as I felt it would be perfect for the pagan dance sequence. I was, however, unable to receive permission to film there and so I ended up deleting this scene from the script. And then it was due to lack of funds that I was unable to shoot the scene of activists hiding in an old steel mill in a location I had chosen in Germany, so I shot that scene at the ruins of an antique city in Turkey. But that shoot was not satisfying so I ended up cutting it out as well.

The Wall plays a very significant role in the story – to what extent does it symbolize the world in which we are currently living?

Borders, both the kinds we see and those we don’t. We humans keep creating new and unbreachable borders. We build these walls, these borders, in the name of security, even though we are not even aware that what we are actually doing is building prisons for ourselves. And then we end up tearing down these walls and then building new ones. So long as we fail to finally destroy these walls, to breaching them, we will never be able to reach the treasures we carry within ourselves. These treasures are strewn about these broken down walls.

What kinds of challenges did you face on this production?

As you can probably guess, finding the money to fund a film of this kind is no easy task. At the beginning of the project, the biggest problem we faced was one of maintaining and sustaining the integrity, the coherence, of the world of a film that is shot on three different continents and in locations of varying climates and geographical make-ups. To achieve this I had to discipline myself, both in terms of my eyes and my heart. Logistics ended up being one of our biggest concerns. The 700 costumes created by our film’s production designer, Naz Erayda (with whom I have worked on my earlier films), along with all of the accessories, weapons, and other special objects, had to be packed in scores of huge crates and then moved from Istanbul to Detroit, from Detroit to Anatolia, and from there to Cologne in Germany. We managed to do this without damaging any of the contents. And naturally enough, working with American and German crews was also difficult in terms of learning how to work harmoniously with one another and working as cohesive teams. We managed to overcome all of these problems thanks to the tremendous efforts of our producer Nadir Örperli and our partner producers. Another difficulty was involved with remaining true to the original idea for five long years and to carry it here and there and do so without twisting it into something else, and finally to transform this idea into a film. For me this process of film making became a kind of rite of worship.

This is your first film in English – was it a very different process working in a different language?

Because I wanted the film to include a variety of races and different ethnic identities, I did my best to cast individuals originating from various world geographies and cultures. Despite this, for the film to succeed it was imperative that everyone had to speak a common language. And that is why I chose to film in English. It was this that drove me to shoot in English, and not any wish to produce an international or English work. This decision was driven by the need to ensure that the world I was creating was a faithful representation of a real and existing world. The fact that English is not my native language sometimes hampered my communication with the actors, but even when I am filming in Turkish, I never stick to the script or the dialogue, but rather follow the actors’ feelings, body language, and eye communications.

What made cinematographer Giles Nuttgens ideal for this project?

I was already acquainted with Giles Nuttgens from his work on the Deepha Mehta and David Mackenzie films. Even though these films were shot in very different geographical settings and also differed in terms of genre, when we look at the work he has done thus far we realize that he is a cinematographer who creates a very fine visual unity, one that stretches from the first frame to the last. The fact that Giles has long experience in working on films in India, in Hollywood, and in Europe was also an important factor for me. During our early correspondence relating to my ideas for “Grain,” it became clear that we share very similar views about film. Having the opportunity to share with Giles both the most difficult and most rewarding memories amassed during this long journey constitutes both a great joy and a rewarding experience for me.

Did you always intend to shoot the film in black and white?

Shooting in black and white represented the best way to integrate dissimilar spaces and atmospheres, differing climates and geographies. This idea came to me as I was in the midst of my sole journey to find and finalize locations. I also chose to shoot with negative film as this is the material I have used in my prior films and the one with which I am most familiar. I am convinced that I would not have been able to achieve the same tones with digital film. I should state however that to achieve certain visual effects I also shot certain scenes with color negative film.

The Sarajevo Film Festival runs Aug. 11-18.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 


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