Time Travel in Film: An Attempt to Explain the Science of Time Manipulation

Time travel is a trope that has existed in fiction for over a century. From the days of H.G. Welles’ novel The Time Machine, audiences have been captivated by the idea of traveling through time. And really, why not? The idea of being able to travel back or forward in time-to see the times of old or look into a future that awaits us-is a fascinating concept. It has also raised questions as to how the mechanics of time travel and changing timelines would work. I am going to attempt to explain some theories of time travel, which films use these theories and how they apply.

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Come with Me if You Want to Live: The 35 Year Legacy of The Terminator

It’s not very often that a film comes along that will launch the career of one of the most financially successful directors of the modern age of cinema. It’s even rarer that it will also make the star of the film a household name, especially with a name that was so difficult to pronounce, he had been told that he would never be a star because of it. But that is exactly what The Terminator did to James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The original idea came from a fever dream James Cameron had in March 1982. Cameron had collapsed onto his bed with a temperature of 102 degrees, and in his sleep he conjured up an image of a chrome skeleton emerging from fire, torn in half and dragging itself across the floor with a kitchen knife. Cameron sketched the image down and one of the first things he thought was how he hadn’t seen anything like that in a movie before. That image then inspired him to start writing a treatment, which was initially just called Terminator. Cameron wanted to appeal to the kids who go to the cinema to see a cool action film, but also the older academics who would think there was some sort of socio-political significance hidden behind all the action: An intelligent Sci-Fi Action film with a stylish slasher-movie edge to it.

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Remake Fever

WE AS A CULTURE ARE FASCINATED WITH REMAKES, BUT MAYBE WE SHOULDN’T BE.

It seems that a lot of cinema today is either a sequel, part of a wide cinematic franchise, or a remake/reboot/re-imagining of an existing property. The term “reboot” has become the go-to phrase for when studios want to remake an older film. In my opinion, the only thing that gets “rebooted” is a crashed computer, but that’s just me.

Remake fever is kicking into high gear again, with Disney remaking their old animated films as live action ones and remakes of male-driven films with female leads, and it has been announced that Ben Affleck won’t be returning as Batman in the next Batman film, which is sure to lead to a reboot of the character, again. But it’s not just films: TV series are going through this as well, with the recent remakes of Magnum PI, MacGyver and many others, as well as talk of a reboot of Lost, which has been off the air for fewer than ten years. It got me thinking about this fascination with remakes.

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Captain Marvel: Review

To fully review a movie like Captain Marvel you need to spoil some things.  It’s inevitable and necessary. For those of you who wish to go in as blind as I did, I’ll keep this first part spoiler free.  My version of spoiler free, which means ZERO plot and character details.

Anyone who has ever listened to my podcast or read any of my work knows I’m very critical of Marvel.  I feel that too many people grant them a pass on all their problems and grade on a curve. When movies like “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are getting 7s and 8s out of 10, I feel like I missed a round of kool-aid.  Not saying that it was a bad film at all; it was a blast. Was it Captain Marvel? Absolutely not. Captain Marvel is exactly the movie I wanted and avoids nearly all the pitfalls I was afraid of. I haven’t been this impressed with a Marvel outing since the first Avengers.

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Composers and the Movies that Don’t Deserve Them

THERE ARE SOME GREAT MOVIE SCORES OUT THERE ATTACHED TO SOME REAL DUDS.

I am a huge fan of Film, TV and Video Game scores; easily 90% of my music is made up of them. I have several composers that I will listen to no matter what they do, and I have even watched films based on the music they composed for them. What I have come to notice throughout all of this is that some films do not deserve the music composed for them.

When it comes to music in films it is usually the last thing that is done. The film is almost out of money and people are brought in to create incredible compositions to compliment the visual feast of what is on screen. That’s not always the case, however. Sometimes the music doesn’t compliment the visuals, but rather supersedes them because the visuals just aren’t that good to begin with. The music in a film can create emotional responses as well as physical. I remember sitting in the cinema watching Avengers: Infinity War and the moment where Thor arrived in Wakanda brought a huge smile to my face. A huge part of that excitement came from that bombastic orchestral score. I have listened to it numerous times but I will repeatedly listen to a track called “The Forge” which contains the moment that Thor arrived in Wakanda. When that music kicks in I feel like I can do anything. Music has a way of instilling these raw emotional responses and film music is charged with doing that whilst also complimenting the visuals.

Because of my love of film scores I take note of particular composers and seek out their work without ever having watched the film they are written for. Sometimes when I finally get around to watching the film it’s…well, to put it politely…not good. I’m left with a sense of disappointment, not because the film is bad, but because the music I listened to was far too good to be associated with the terrible film I just watched. And that, my friends, is disappointing.

A perfect example of this phenomenon was the 2012 feature remake of The Sweeney. Lorne Balfe composed the score and at the time I had only heard his Assassin’s Creed III score, which was spectacular. When I listened to the music from The Sweeney I was blown away by how good it was. The experience was intense, ratcheting up the tension before opening up and becoming a bombastic action score that to me rivaled some of the biggest names in Film Composition. It was so good that I thought the film would be worth watching. So, I did just that, for about 40 minutes. What an awful mess with terrible dialogue and acting. The only saving grace was the music but I didn’t have to watch the terrible film to listen to the incredible music. I went back to listening to the music and tried to forget about the terrible film it was associated with, and in my mind made up a much better one.

This was the first time I had thought about the quality of the music vs the quality of the film. In recent years, big budget blockbuster films have had incredible scores composed for them while the films themselves have been by the numbers summer VFX films. Hans Zimmer has a name as a big blockbuster composer and it’s interesting listening to the music he composes for big budget blockbusters compared to the stuff he composes for the more story-driven films. Films like Interstellar and more recently Blade Runner 2049 feel like they have more thought put into the music, whereas his action scores are, whilst exciting, very much by the numbers, much like the films they are written for.

Rawr.

The most recent example of a bad movie having a great film score was the 2017 reboot of The Mummy. Brian Tyler composed a unique and interesting score that mixed Middle Eastern instruments with traditional orchestra, all of which lead to a very original sound. Mixing the two cultures expertly in the music created something that was much better than the film it was supposed to accompany. What was also extraordinary about Tyler’s score was that for the most part it was a live orchestra which is becoming more of a rarity with the advances in music synthesizers and the need to cut costs wherever possible.

Terrible films aren’t going away any time soon, but at the very least their scores will be top notch. These composers who are putting in the work will go on to bigger and “hopefully” better things, almost like some kind of composer rite of passage. If they can compose amazing music for these terrible films, then imagine what they could do with something of a higher caliber. Without terrible films needing talented but unknown composers, people like Brian Tyler, Lorne Balfe and Ramin Djawadi may not have been able to build a portfolio of work that got them their well deserved A-List assignments.

Mystery Men (1999)

A LOOK BACK AT A DUMB, IRREVERENT SUPER HERO FILM THAT REMAINS MY FAVORITE.

Man, 1999 was such a vibrant year for film. You had movies like Being John Malkovich, The Matrix, 10 Things I Hate About You, Office Space, American Pie Fight Club, The Mummy, and even Kubrick’s last film Eyes Wide Shut. A veritable cinematic feast, if you will. I can’t think of another time period that such an impact on my taste, humor, and sensibilities.

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From Bomb to Modern Classic: The Shawshank Redemption 25 years later

A LOOK AT A BOX OFFICE BOMB THAT WOULD BECOME A MODERN CLASSIC.

Stephen King is mostly known as a horror writer; however, he has ventured into other genres on numerous occasions, although mostly with shorter stories. He wrote an anthology of short stories that made up the collection Different Seasons. One of the stories in this collection was called “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”, which writer and director Frank Darabont would option for $5,000 and turn into one of the most celebrated motion pictures of all time.

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Boondock Saints

A LOOK BACK AT A MOVIE THAT, WHILE FUN, DOESN’T QUITE HOLD UP.

Twenty years ago a little movie from reportedly douche bag director, Troy Duffy, hit the scene.  For years to come shitty posters have lined the walls of undergrad male’s dormitories, while they all scream about how great this movie was, and how you should see it, because only they have seen it, and they want to introduce you to its amazingness… If you listen to them, and sit down with a brew to watch the movie, you’ll be entertained, sure, but that’s about it.  I still don’t get what was so damned special about this movie, and I was TOTALLY caught in the storm of it. 

For my research, I’ll look the trailer.  Like the majority of you, I only ever saw the trailer on the DVD copy my mom bought me.  At the time, I thought it was awful.  It shows the whole movie!  It shows the best scenes!  It gives nearly everything away!  And to the 16 – 25 year old crowd this movie is singularly targeted for, this is horrible.  To everyone else, thank god the trailer shows as much as it does, or no one would ever watch it.  The movie is a hard sell to the most receptive crowd, so in my opinion, the trailer does its job.  This isn’t some religious propaganda movie, nor is it insulting religion, we get that.  This movie will have fun violence that is shot differently, we get that too.  The movie has a pretty good sense of humor, we kinda sorta get that.  All in all if this was a movie coming out today, and I saw this trailer I’d see it.  I’d wait for video, but I’d see it.

I realize I came across really negative on the movie… uh… I regret nothing. 

Also I still own the DVD.

That my mom bought for my birthday…

A bird? A plane? It’s 40 years of Superman!

Imagine a time when comic book movies were not even a genre and the idea that they would dominate the box office would be laughable. Imagine a time when a film based on a comic book was seen to be a huge risk. That time is 1978 and a film was on the horizon that would change American Cinema forever. That film was Superman. At this point the most well known comic book adaptation was the live action Batman starring Adam West. The campy series was the exact opposite of what producers Ilya Salkind, Alexander Salkind and Pierre Spengler wanted to achieve. The development of Superman is the stuff of legend and borderline insane.

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Alternative Christmas Movies

Need some alternative holiday films? Matt has got you covered!

As the time of turkeys, trees and tinsel descends, also does the time of cheesy movies about Santa, hyperactive elves and reindeer. Not everyone is a fan of these kinds of films but they’re hard to avoid, so I decided to give you a list of five alternative Christmas movies you can watch this yuletide season.

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