Friday, 21 January 2022

Planet of the Apes (1968)

An imaginative ground breaking sci-fi film with biting cultural commentary

Happy New Year to everyone! I thought that I might begin the year with another Charlton Heston post-apocalypse sci-fi film, The Planet of the Apes (1968), the first of the three films that also features, The Omega Man and Soylent Green.


Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
Screenplay by Michael Wilson, Rod Serling
Based on “Planet of the Apes" by Pierre Boulle
Produced by Arthur P. Jacobs
Cinematography: Leon Shamroy
Edited by Hugh S. Fowler
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Production company: APJAC Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Running time: 112 minutes
Budget: $5.8 million[2]
Box office: $33.4 million


Charlton Heston as George Taylor
Roddy McDowall as Cornelius
Kim Hunter as Zira
Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius
James Whitmore as President of the Assembly
James Daly as Honorious
Linda Harrison as Nova
Robert Gunner as Landon
Lou Wagner as Lucius
Woodrow Parfrey as Maximus
Jeff Burton as Dodge
Buck Kartalian as Julius
Norman Burton as Hunt Leader
Wright King as Dr. Galen
Paul Lambert as Minister
Dianne Stanley as Stewart

Thrust into the year A.D. 3978!
Three astronauts emerge from deep hibernation…
Their vessel crash-lands on a mysterious planet!!
One of the crew has accidentally died in space!
The space craft sinks under the waters of a lake.
The three survivors head off to explore their new home:

With limited rations
A hostile arid desert plain,

They trek in search of food, water and evidence of life,
Only to discover that they are not alone,
and that their troubles have only just begun…….

Read on for more......

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Soylent Green (1973)

An intelligent and engaging sci-fi detective story with a disturbing vision of the future.

Directed by Richard Fleischer
Screenplay by Stanley R. Greenberg
Based on “Make Room! Make Room!” by Harry Harrison
Produced by Walter Seltzer, Russell Thacher
Cinematography: Richard H. Kline
Edited by Samuel E. Beetley
Music by Fred Myrow
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Running time: 97 minutes
Box office: $3.6 million


Charlton Heston as Thorn
Leigh Taylor-Young as Shirl
Chuck Connors as Fielding
Joseph Cotten as Simonson
Brock Peters as Hatcher
Paula Kelly as Martha
Edward G. Robinson as Sol Roth
Stephen Young as Gilbert
Mike Henry as Kulozik
Lincoln Kilpatrick as The Priest
Roy Jenson as Donovan
Leonard Stone as Charles
Whit Bissell as Santini
Celia Lovsky as the Exchange Leader
Dick Van Patten as Usher #1


• 2022 AD: A dystopian future world beset by climate catastrophe in the form of dying oceans; year-round greenhouse-caused heat and humidity; air, land and sea pollution; poverty; overpopulation and depleted resources.

• Population of New York City: 40.000.000

• Only the elite can afford spacious apartments, clean water and natural food at exorbitantly high prices. Their homes are gated and fortressed and they are provided with private security, bodyguards and slave / concubines referred to as "furniture."

• The bulk of the population has to contend with shortages of food, water and housing.

• NYPD detective Frank Thorn is tasked with investigating the murder of the wealthy and influential William R. Simonson, a board member of the Soylent Corporation.

• What is eventually uncovered could be more than Thorn or anyone else had bargained for…..

Read on for more......

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Sci-Fi Future Is Here & Now (Part 17): Who's To Blame?

Just A Pleasant Valley Sunday

As an addition to the disturbing future direction our society is moving in, there is the matter of blame as was raised in the film, The Omega Man in the previous post. Who or what is to blame for the way things turn out?

Scenario 1: A bloke in his mid 60s goes off on his weekly visit to the cemetery to pay his respects to his deceased parents. He stops off at the cemetery’s florist to purchase flowers for their grave-site as he has done for the last decade. He waddles up to the entrance to be greeted by a 20 something door “marshal” who requests that a QR code be scanned for Covid trace and tracking purposes. Annoying yes, but the task is completed and the rationale behind it can be understood but is somewhat debatable as of late, not mention its mass surveillance implications.

UPDATE: Mass Surveillance and by implication PRIVACY implications as almost exactly one month later we have the following report......

Personal information shared with Victorian contact tracers not fully protected

Ah, but the “marshal's” eagle eye has noticed that the digital vaccination passport has not been presented. The “marshal” is calmly told that the mid 60’s bloke who although fully vaccinated does not wish to participate in a system that actively discriminates against individuals and groups of people and as a result refuses to download or present said passport.

The "marshal’s" Sunday morning is suddenly thrown into confusion. Will the mid-60s bloke go angry old man all over his ass? Will he have to call the authorities? All he can say is that he’s sorry and that it’s “mandatory.” A bit like saying, “the computer says ‘no.’”

The mid-60s bloke tells the agitated and perplexed “marshal” that he’s so sorry but he just can’t help the young fella with his current dilemma and wonders off minus the flowers for his parents’ grave and away from a shop who he would normally do business with on a weekly basis.

Now, is this the kind of society we want? Is this the future we’re heading towards? Who or what is to blame? The virus? The cantankerous mid-60s bloke? The 20 something “marshal?” The passport-verified compliant customers in the nearby café sipping their cups of decaffed smug self-satisfaction? The government and its issuing of nonsensical edicts? Individual complacency? Our collective addiction and dependence on technology? Fear of punishment, sanction and social ostracism?

Seems to me like there’s enough blame to go around for how things turn out now and in the future.

Scenario 2: After mid 60’s bloke leaves the cemetery, he decides to do a spot of Sunday shopping on the way home and drops into the supermarket. No QR code scanning evident, not everyone wearing a mask and no “marshals” to check vaccination passports, supermarkets being deemed an essential business, no doubt. No contradictions evident so far, right?

After picking up his required items and passing the vaccinated and possibly non-vaccinated alike, the mid-60s bloke approaches the checkout. On this occasion, however he finds that the personnel, some of whom he knows by name, are no longer there! In their place are automated “self-service” aisles with only one harried young lady showing those who are obviously confused and inept the correct procedure for processing their goodies.

Well, it wasn’t long before the customers like good little automatons, adopted the oh so efficient clockwork mechanical and efficient motions necessary to perform the privilege of sorting, scanning, packing and paying for their own goodies. Hup, two, three four and of you go, out the door!

In the interests of cost-saving and profit maximization, people are being increasingly removed from the equation and replaced by technology. The mystery remains: where did the people go? Where did the jobs go? Will such jobs as they performed no longer be available for young people in the future?

The unblinking eye of the supermarket’s security camera perhaps caught the image of a bloke in perhaps his mid-60’s wandering disconsolately out of the store lugging his supposedly reusable and recyclable laden shopping bag. A perfectly pleasant Sunday clouded by concern for what the next day might bring, and knowing who and what might be to blame….

NB: This all did happen and as you guessed, the mid-60s bloke is yours truly!

Update: Vaccination status passports are as of 16/12/21 no longer needed to gain entry to non-essential retail shops. Sure I can now buy flowers to put on my parents' grave but that is not the point. The disquieting fact remains: So many just sat by and allowed (colluded with) the government to issue edicts legitimizing discrimination against a minority segment of the population by denying them access to the economic and social life of the community. Under punitive threats of enormous fines, businesses were forcibly co-opted to act as enforcers of the government's discriminatory edicts. That is why as a fully vaccinated person, I refused to participate in such a system by not obtaining a vaccination passport and presenting it to gain entry to retail and other premises.

When we look back in history and wonder how and why whole populations participated in and condoned heinous acts against minority groups, we might not have to look too far or too hard for an answer. Nor can we feel smugly confident that such things will never happen again in the future. 

©Chris Christopoulos 2021

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

The Ωmega Man (1971)

A time capsule of a sci-fi movie that is enjoyable to watch but lacks the impact and sincerity of its 1964 predecessor, "Last man On Earth"

Directed by Boris Sagal
Screenplay by John William Corrington, Joyce H. Corrington
Based on “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson
Produced by Walter Seltzer
Cinematography: Russell Metty
Edited by William H. Ziegler
Music by Ron Grainer
Production company Walter Seltzer Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Running time: 98 minutes
Box office: $4,000,000


Charlton Heston: Neville
Anthony Zerbe: Matthias
Rosalind Cash: Lisa
Paul Koslo: Dutch
Eric Laneuville: Richie
Lincoln Kilpatrick: Zachary
Jill Giraldi: Little Girl
Anna Aries: Woman in Cemetery Crypt (not actually shown in the film)
Brian Tochi: Tommy
DeVeren Bookwalter: Family Member
John Dierkes: Family Member
Monika Henreid: Monika Henreid
Linda Redfearn: Family Member
Forrest Wood: Family Member
Rachel Benson: Family Member
Stewart East: Family Member
Steve Goldstein: Last Boy
William Henry: Stricken Man
Henry Kingi: Family Member
Tanya Samova: Family Member
Fred Trombley: Family Member


(Spoilers Follow Below......Please excuse the liberties taken with characters, dialogue and events!)

Robert Neville’s Audio Diary


Another day and another way to blow off steam and sooth my nerves by burning rubber in my (now deceased) convertible. Popped in an 8-track tape and let the music and the breeze flush the cares away when instinct suddenly slammed on the brakes and long practiced intent fired a few rounds of automatic fire at a shadowy figure flitting by a window inside a building.

Anyway, off I roared in the convertible but soon after I rounded a corner and as I tried to avoid junk lying scattered on the street, I crashed the car and got a flat tire for my troubles. Well, never mind. Cars are there scattered around ready for the taking, much like everything else: money, gold, you name it. No value, no-one to guard it all and no body to clean up the goddamn mess!

Not to worry. Just a short stroll to a dealership and hey presto – a new car! I found myself a nice little convertible in the showroom but “can’t say I’m crazy about the paint job.”

I also wasn’t too crazy about the corpse sitting at his desk in the showroom or the sight of the three-year old 1975 calendar mockingly marking the final days of civilization, together with the picture of a scantily clad woman. How may more reminders do I need that I’m the last remnant of humanity and of my solitude and loneliness?

Nothing like a visit to the cinema to cure feelings of loneliness so off I went to catch “Woodstock” screening "for the third straight year." Sure I know all the words and the goings on in the film by now – but I also know what those young, poor, naïve, dumb bastards on the screen and those in the audience back then didn’t know. All the peace, love, happiness and flowers in the hair, the new explanation, the people in motion; ALL of it would soon turn to shit ‘coz no-one bothered to listen or see what was goin’ on. And now the message of youth is endlessly repeated to an audience of one in a deserted cinema.

“The fact that if we can't all live together and be happy; If you have to be afraid to walk out in the street; If you have to be afraid to smile at somebody, right? What kind of a way is that to go through this life?” Well, we sure as hell found out, didn’t we? “They sure don't make pictures like that anymore.”

As I sat alone in the darkness of the cinema pondering and ruminating on what has come to pass, sure enough I failed to notice the approach of darkness outside with the setting of the sun. Night-time always heralds the approach of something too dark and terrifying to contemplate – something which can only be held at bay by the light!

Read on for more.....

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Sci-Fi Future Is Here & Now (Part 16): DYSTOPIA RIGHT NOW!

Political Correctness Policed By A Bot

Yet another brick in the edifice of our emerging dystopia, is the advent of a new 'trigger warning' device for schools that sounds a 'bothersome' two-minute long alarm when it detects offensive speech. No, this is not science fiction! This device for censoring ‘offensive’ language is called “Themis” and is being trialed in classrooms and universities as a debate moderator.

What the device does is to sound an 'extremely bothersome' alarm when it detects slurs, crude jokes and ‘offensive’ speech. Apparently, we are now handing over to technology the power to determine what constitutes being “offensive” in terms of language use. As language is so intertwined with thought, this development should set alarm bells ringing.

Could such a lamp-sized 'trigger warning' detector, ostensibly to be used to moderate debate in classrooms and universities, result in stifling freedom of thought and speech while fostering the spread of political correctness and ‘group think?’ Could “Themis” (Greek goddess of justice and order) signal the death of freedom and independence of thought and speech along with the stifling of discussion and sharing of opinions – the cornerstone of any worthwhile education and democratic society?

Yes, I have brought this up on many occasions in other posts, but such a development as Themis may wind up leading us further down the path toward George Orwell's dystopian science fiction novel, “1984,” which provides the reader with a warning of the dangers of government censorship, mass surveillance and control.

When such technologies as Themis (that employs speech recognition and sound sensors to detect offensive language through its microphone) become normalized, we run the danger of self-critiquing and censoring our own thoughts before even uttering a word. Combine this with mass surveillance and facial recognition technologies that have the effect of causing people to self-monitor and regulate their own movements and behavior. Is this the kind of world we want to live in - emotionally brittle, constantly monitored, self-censoring, intellectually timid, compliant and creatively bland, all under an AI algorithmic tyranny??

©Chris Christopoulos 2021

Next Post: The Ωmega Man (1971)

Thursday, 28 October 2021

“Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon” by Eve Cabanel


A wonderful and captivating story for youngsters!

Eve Cabanel’s debut 44 page children’s picture book, “Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon,” is an imaginative fantasy story of a moon elf’s journey to reverse a dragon’s curse.

The story is set in a beautiful, mysterious and enchanted forest, Cucuruzzu, where lives a moon elf named Eli, along with her friend Luna. The story starts off with Luna’s baby bunny, Doudou turning into hard rock candy by accidentally falling on one of the magic sugar crystals that coat the forest at night that were created from a sad dragon’s tears. Then begins a journey through lands of unicorns, fairies, magical rainbows and dragons to reverse the terrible curse…...

The story is most suitable for children aged 3 to 8 and is very well written without talking down to them at all. The story is extremely well-supported by the wonderful colorful illustrations of Ekaterina Ilchenko. Young children would love to have this story read to them while following it by looking at the illustrations and the accompanying map.

“Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon” illustrates to young readers valuable lessons about the power of friendship, love, acceptance, courage and belief in oneself.

Hopefully another installment of the story might emerge in the future which focuses on the characters, the forest and the curse prior to and leading up to the events of “Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon.” I see the potential for a children’s series.

Author Eve Cabanel was raised in the French countryside by the woods where she played in suspended tree houses amongst wild forest animals, like her story’s character Eli. She had a goat and pet chicken that would follow her everywhere and encountered foxes, deer, and hedgehogs in her daily forest adventures. A writer and beauty blogger, Eve is the published author of an adult non-fiction self-help book, “Organic Beauty Recipes by Eve – The complete guide to DIY natural beauty.”

“Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon” has been recently released on Amazon:

Full title: Eli and the mystery of the Hallowshine dragon
Category: Fantasy Picture Book
Author name : Eve Cabanel
Publisher/Imprint: Twenty Two House Publishing
Pub date: Oct 23 2021
Page count : 44 pages
Picture book illustrated
Price: Paperback$14.99 / Ebook $9.99
ISBN Paperback 978-1-7779088-1-2
ISBN Ebook 978-1-7779088-0-5

Eve Cabanel

Our mailing address is:
Eli Picture Books
600 Rue Osborne
Verdun, QC H4H 1X2

Monday, 18 October 2021

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

An important and innovative sci-fi classic film but one that is often overrated


Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke
Produced by Stanley Kubrick
Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth
Edited by Ray Lovejoy
Production company: Stanley Kubrick Productions
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Running time: 142 minutes
Budget: $10.5–12 million
Box office: $146 million


Keir Dullea as Dr. David Bowman
Gary Lockwood as Dr. Frank Poole
William Sylvester as Dr. Heywood Floyd
Daniel Richter as Moonwatcher, the chief man-ape
Leonard Rossiter as Dr. Andrei Smyslov
Margaret Tyzack as Elena
Robert Beatty as Dr. Ralph Halvorsen
Sean Sullivan as Dr. Roy Michaels[3]
Douglas Rain as the voice of HAL 9000
Frank Miller as mission controller
Edward Bishop as Aries 1B lunar shuttle captain
Edwina Carroll as lunar shuttle stewardess
Penny Brahms as stewardess
Heather Downham as stewardess
Alan Gifford as Poole's father
Ann Gillis as Poole's mother
Maggie d'Abo as stewardess (Space Station 5 elevator)
Chela Matthison as Mrs. Turner, Space Station 5 reception
Judy Keirn as voiceprint identification woman (Space Station 5)
Vivian Kubrick as Floyd's daughter, "Squirt"
Kenneth Kendall as BBC announcer

Opening sequence

The film opens with pitch blackness – a complete absence of light and matter as if at the moment before the universe came into being. On this science and religion can agree: in the beginning there was darkness until...until….until, and that is what the sustained musical note sets us up for as it gradually rises to a crescendo of sound.

Our expectation is then met with the view of our planet suspended in the inky void of space with the sun seeming to emerge from behind and above it. Celestial gases and gravity have long worked their magic gradually coalescing to form light and life-giving stars and planets and solar systems, so many of which come together to form constellations.

By some miracle, this single planetary jewel (perhaps one might be forgiven thinking - the only one in the universe) has been blessed with the addition of a single seemingly unique and miraculous element – LIFE!

Read on for more