29 March 2013

FWS News Flash: New Concept Art for Bungie's DESTINY!

 Wow! Double rainbow, cherry on-top, unicorns jumping frakking WOW! Bungie has just released a ton of mother frakking sweet concept art for their upcoming, next-gen shooter game, DESTINY. FWS has been following the development of the game, and if history is any predictor than DESTINY could be one of the next great MSF video game series! Enjoy the art...I know I am!

27 March 2013

FWS News Flash: No Story for the PROMETHEUS Sequel?!

 Do you have an idea for how the journey could continue for Dr.Shaw and David in Prometheus 2? Good! Because you need to call up Ridley Scott, he's needs an idea. Former LOST producer Damon Lindelof was bought in after the studio had doubts about the original Prometheus script penned by Jon Spaihts due to his inexperience, more directly connecting Prometheus to ALIEN, and not allowing for a sequel. The original script by Jon Spaihts, entitled, 'ALIEN: ENGINEERS', actually did happen on LV-426, and the crashed Engineer ship we saw in ALIEN and ALIENS, would have been from this new prelude film. Damon Lindelof, expanded the film, making an window for more films, and changing the planet to LV-223.
Now, that FOX is eyeballing an sequel (rumored to be called 'Paradise'), there are issues, Damon Lindelof is out, saying that he has other commitments, and no word if Jon Spaihts will be tapped, and Ridley is 'freaking out' according to sources about the ending of the film and how to continue it. Some are blaming Ridley Scott for the ending that places himself into a corner, others blame David Lindelof, who bowed out, and told interviewers that he wants 'fresh ideas' for a sequel, and he also said that he is working Tomorrowland and Ridley has got two films in pre-production...and not one of them is The Forever War! During my writing of this, David Lindelof responded to Bloody Disguising, and told them that he believes there are writers out there  that can continue the story, and much is being made about this for attention, and he is happy with the film as is.

My Two Cents
I really liked Prometheus, and feel like it could use a sequel, but, only if the idea is there and good. With the track record of ALIENS films, FOX needs to be careful, and heed the warnings of the fans...we do not want an ALIEN 3. If you going to fuck it up, then leave Prometheus alone. If the studio chases a cash-cow, and puts out canned dog food, then we fans, will rebel, and eat your cash-cow.
One of the lanes of thought I had on a sequel was that the Engineer homeworld should be infested with the xenomorphs, and be their homeworld now, not the Engineers. This would key with the central message of the ALIENS films. Any sequel We need to see why the Engineers never sent another Juggernaut to Terra to finish us off, or how another Engineer vessel crashed on LV-426, and why the Engineers were pointing to their bio-weapons research site in those cave printings...a warning to humanity? It could be that Prometheus needs to be a single film, with some mystery to give the fans something to talk about for years, like who or what Starbuck was at the last episode of BSG. What Prometheus needs is a James Cameron to expand the world seen in the first movie, and let us see what our markers have been up to since the outbreak on LV-223. Anyone got any ideas?
Here is the original news story:

26 March 2013

FWS Movie Review: HUNTER PREY (2010)

After watching The Outpost on DVD in 2010, I decided to see what other great B-movies I was missing out on, and after an lost afternoon on youtube, I discovered the trailer for a cat-and-mouse chase sci-fi film featuring soldiers in sweet armor. That film was Hunter Prey, and I finally was able to watch a few months ago, then found the DVD at a local Movie Trade World, and decided that Hunter Prey was worth of an FWS movie review.

The Plot of Hunter Prey
The military transport vessel, the Prometheus is damaged and crash lands on an unclaimed and uncharted desert world. Within minutes of the crash, the small elite military team comes under fire from their former prisoner, killing one and wounding another. The military command HQ, 'Alpha Base' orders the team to pursue and capture the target. However, all is not well with the unit of three. Since the prisoner was a VIP, the brass sent Commander Karza to lead the mission, while the unit commander, Centari 7 is bitter about losing the majority of his team on a black op that he knows nothing about, while Karza wants simple obedience. Now, the team has less than 100 hours to re-captured the target prior to exfil. For the next 100 hours on this rock, three will hunt one, and a choice will be made that will alter the balance of power in the galaxy.


Let me save those the time that don't want to slog through my normally wordy review...this film is very good, one of the better sci-fi movies I've seen in years, and this film is proof that budget does NOT equal quality. Filmmaker Sandy Collora has turned in a solid military sci-fi chase movie with twists and turns all on a hellish desert world (was filmed in Mexico) that is much a character has the human cast. When it comes to cast, only the voice of the 'Clea' portable computer is a familiar name, Erin Gray of Buck Rogers, the rest are composed of alumni of Collora's other fan-films, but all delivery solid performances that does not break the audience from the fictional world.
That fictional world is explored through banter between Centari 7 and Jericho, and is interesting and densely chewy, allowing the viewer to be intrigued about the back-story. I also greatly enjoyed the director's reference's to ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, and Enemy Mine. Much praise should be given to Collora's choices in script, makeup, the limited use of CGI SFX in favor of more real (old-school) elements, and the ingenious plot that gives the audience more than a typical film. Hell, this film more original than AVATAR! Speaking to that originality, Hunter Prey's combat armor, weapons are all impressive, especially since Collora weathered them, giving a nice 'lived-in' feel.
This Sedonian combat armor suits, called 'live suits' in the film, allow for medical treatment and biological environmental adaption via an portable computer system, similar to Cortana. This was a nice little touch that I enjoyed, because the armor was given some thought One thing I very much liked was how the realism of leaving the footage of the actors fighting with their gear, weapons, and the environment rather than editing it out. Too many film show an unrealistic relationship between the soldier and their gear. Anyone who has been in the military or even played milsim paintball knows that sometimes you have to work around the gear. It is these little touches, from props, dialog, to realistic events, that allow Hunter Prey to shine.  

I'm not going to run down Hunter Prey for having a budget of less than $500,000, it is what it is, and I'm not going to be a douchebag like some other reviews I've read. One thing that bugged me throughout the film was that the alien Sedonians used human Greek mythological names, and thats seems totally out of place. I know that Collora wanted the audience to believe that the armored hunters were human, and their prey was an alien, but there could have been a different way. One plot element I wished had more developed, was why unit commander Centari 7 has the beef with Commander Karza?
Other reviewers online have an issue with actors' voices while they are wearing the helmets and the fact that the Sedonians resemble the Tau from Warhammer 40K. I normally watch this on my laptop with earbuds, and maybe because of this I don't have an issue. The issue I did have, was the Sedonian helmet HUD view, which was muddy and a piss-yellow color, to boot. Another issue brought up by other reviewers is that the DVD is barebones...Hunter Prey is not AVATAR . While working on this review at work, some people asked me if they should see this movie, and I tell them that they have to be into sci-fi in a serious way. Great science fiction is one that often transcends genre and becomes accessible to those that wouldn't normal watch an 'space alien movie'. While I regard Hunter Prey has a good MSF movie, but, it is more geared towards the established fan of sci-fi films.

Once again, this contains major spoilers for the central plot of the film, and involves an underdeveloped element. Throughout Hunter Prey, Jericho had several opportunities to kill Centari 7, and didn't do, and when Centari 7 has the same chance he doesn't take either. While Jericho's actions are explained in the film, and are logical, Centari 7 is more of a mystery, especially considering the what is at stake for the Sedonian people if these alien soldiers fail in their mission to bring the prisoner back to Alpha Base.
The spoiler is that Centari 7 knowingly gives Jericho the coordinates for their homeworld, allowing the Earthman to delivery the world-bomb to its target and wiping out the majority of the Sedonian people. We are also led to believe that portable AI Clea willingly helps Centari 7. While there are elements within the story that could have fueled Centari 7's betrayal, it isn't enough to warrant the complete extinction of his own people. I've seen this movie several times now, and I just don't see it. It would have worked if Centari 7 wasn't a Sedonian, but had been member of subjected race of the tyrannical foreign policy of the Sedonian Imperium.

Should You Watch Hunter Prey?
This film is a brave piece of military science fiction that is both simple and complex at the same time. There is much more going on in this alien desert than meets the eye. If you are a fan of science fiction, than this is a good film to waste 90 minutes with. I would ask that you to preview the film online, but buy the DVD, so Sandy Collora can make some money to support another project. While FWS has a limited purchasing budget, I felt that the DVD to Hunter Prey was a good investment.    

The portable computer intelligence, 'Clea' is voice by none other than Erin Gray from Sliver Spoons and Buck Rogers! Move over Cortana!

The primary Sedonian battle rifle weapon is a
repainted and dressed up Nerf N-Strike Longshot CS-6 toy rifle. The Nerf N-Strike line is further used for their sidearm , that was redressed and slightly modified Nerf Maverick REV-6 blaster.

The alien bounty hunter hired by Sedonian central military command is none other than the director of the film, Sandy Collora!

While Centauri 7 and Jericho have voice communication, they banter back and forth about why humanity lost the war, and another alien race is mention by the name of 'Drac'. The Drac were the primary hostile race in the 1985 MSF film Enemy Mine and was played by Louis Gossett Jr.

Clark Bartram who plays Orin Jericho has also played Batman in Sandy Colloro's Batman: Dead End and World's Finest is mainly known has a stunman in the business, along with being seriously ripped (I mean seriously ripped, dude!) and selling fitness DVDs.

23 March 2013

FWS News From the Front: Incoming Comics and other things...

I worked late Friday at my hospital job, when my wife called me saying I had box from Lone Star Comics, and Saturday morning, after some pancakes for the family, I was smiling ear-to-ear by all of the comic-MSF-goodness that was spread on my kitchen table! FWS has a budget, all be it a small one, for acquisitions, and I spend this month's cash was spent on MSF comics that will be appearing on FWS in the coming months.
In about a month, FWS will have its first interview with the creators of HEARTBREAKERS and BOILERPLATE, Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett! We will talking all about HEARTBREAKERS, one of the first MSF comics with well done female soldiers and one my favorite Dark Horse Presents stories! I'm uber excited about this opportunity that these two great creators have given to FWS! Hopefully, NBM publishing, that printed The Forever War graphic novels, will be grant our request, and become our second interview. There is an new series of blogpost on FWS that will be premiering later next month, the Forgotten Weapons series. This will cover real-steel weapons that have disappeared from the collect conciseness. I got the idea while attempting to reformat and reedit my old SR-47 assault rifle blogpost, and decided that I wanted to write more like this. If you've got a Forgotten Weapon you would like to see on FWS...send it to me!
Also, some of you may have noticed some changes to the layout of FWS. I've started a random MSF image that will be updated frequently, and there is a link to Benjamin Curtis hospital fund. Ben's band, SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS, is my favorite band, and has been a wonderful element in my life since 2009. When I heard the news that Ben (a fellow Oklahoman and inspiration for my new haircut) was battled cancer, it broke my heart, and that link is just my small attempting to repay all of the light and love they've given me over the years. If you've never heard SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS music, then prepared to be amazed.
And those that are interested in the FWS T-Shirt endeavor, than I'm disappointed to report that the effort is going slowly. I've been turned down by one of my two artists, and still waiting to hear from the second. If that fails, then I'm going to post up an open request for an artist.
One of my current favorite SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS songs that they performed at the Dr.Marten's Store in Union Square in January, 'Low Times'  ENJOY!
Okay...back to reading comics and playing some BLACK OPS: II!


22 March 2013

My Favorite 10 B/Unrated Sci-Fi Films!

Next week, FWS will be reviewing the low-budget military sci-fi gem, Hunter Prey and I thought in perpetration for that blogpost, I would put my list of my favorite B/Unrated films.  I love films. It has been that way my entire life. From watching Siskel and Ebert every week, to raiding the video store, making my parents drive to Tulsa to go to a better theater  or watching cable late at night, movies have surrounded my life. In 1997, when I was at TCU, my Introduction to Film teacher told me I had talent and a future in film, nearly causing me to move to Dallas for film school. During this period, I helped on a few very low-budget films and scripts. Even today, when I write books, it's a very visual experience, and I imagine my books as films. Despite this love of films, I was never much on renting shit-films, and I generally only rented good movies. However, not all scripts can be directed by Francis Ford Coppola or be funded by billion-dollar studios. After all, there are the Kevin Smith's and Quentin Tarantino's of the world...

1. SLIPSTREAM (1989)
While Mark Hamill,  Sir Ben Kingsley, and Bill Paxton are known for much more well-received films that this lost 1989 dystopia road-movie about bounty hunters, lost civilians, rouges, and a murdering British androids. However, they all give such great performances that allow Slipstream to be endearing in the minds of those that have seen it. While portions of Slipstream are disjointed and there are doses of 1980's cheese, Slipstream is just one of those movies I love, and is my favorite B-movie of all time. If you are a fan of Mark Hamill, than this a must-see for his role has Tasker...makes you think that Luke would have been cool if he had joined Vader!   

2. THE OUTPOST (2008)
If there is a Citizen Kane of Nazi-Zombie movies than 2008's British-made The Outpost is it. This is one hell of a film, complete with good acting, correct military tactics, well-crafted story, and interesting Nazi Zombies with an original origin story. I was unsure of this film at first, especially since I'm not much for traditional horror flicks, but it has guns and Nazi-Zombies, so, I was onboard. I was also impressed by the level of dialog presented in this film, along with the characters themselves. The Outpost is one damn good film that has gone on to spawn a sequel and a cult following. See it if you haven't!

3. DOG SOLDIERS (2002)
If there is a Citizen Kane of modern Werewolf movies than 2002's British-made Dog Soldiers is it. While on a training mission in rural Scotland  a small unit of British soldiers encounters aggressive werewolf-like animals that tear the unit to bloody pieces. This is one of those films that is an honestly great horror film that makes the most out of its limited budget and great script and good actors. This film has a line I still repeat when I play Xbox Live: "I hope I give you the shits!" Epic.

4. HUNTER PREY (2010)
Next week, FWS will be reviewing this gem of low-budget MSF films. However, in the meantime, I can tell that Hunter Prey is a great sci-fi film with a dense story, good acting, and shows promise for the entire genre. We need to see more of this type of work in MSF films.

5. FLASH GORDON (1980)
This movie is sooo cheesy that it should have been served with a side of tortilla chips and sold at Football games! In 1980, Dino de Laurentiis attempted to bring the old Flash Gordon of the 1930's into reality, gather some of the best actors of the time into a campy space opera film that is fun and does honor the style of the original films and cartoon productions. I watched this movie a great deal back in the early 1980's, because we had cable and HBO ran into the dirt! I watched it prior to this blog entry...and...well...you can never go home again. However, the hawkmen assault on the Imperial Warrocket Ajax is still every bit if campy greatness! If you've never seen this mega-flop of a sci-fi flick, rent it or steal it, pop some pop-corn, grab an Jack 'n' Coke and prepare yourself for one of the best made B-movies of all time, that comes complete with the single best soundtracks of all time...because it was done by mother fucking Queen!

Hokey, corny, and it's all 1980's Disney glory, it was Earth Star Voyager! This was a two-part made-for-TV-movie aired on ABC during their 'Wonderful World of Disney' Sunday Night programming. Back in the 1980's, Sunday was normally a night for networks to air their family friendly movies and programming. With the success of Star Trek: TNG, Disney and ABC wanted a weekly science fiction that would appeal to families and encourage science education, and thus, Earth Star Voyager was born. Taking place in the year 2088, Earth is dying, and a probe has returned data on a possibly habitual world called 'Demeter' in orbit around the fictional star of 'Berenson's Star' that lays some 20+ light-years from Earth.
The government starts on construction of a exodus fleet that will transport the bulk of humanity to Demeter, which will take 40 years to complete. The space academy took their best and brightest to crew the new semi-FTL explorer vessel, the Earth Star Voyager has the round trip would kill an older, more experienced crew. But, the mission to Demeter is not what without perils. I watched this in 1988, and I was the right age to be excited over this TV movie. At this time, I wanted nothing more in life than to be an astronaut and if someone had offered me a mission to a distant star, would have leaped at it like a spider-monkey! This has never been released on DVD, and only international release on VHS, but nothing for the America...I guess Disney was embarrassed by the film, and tries to pretend that it does not exist. Every once and while, it appears on youtube (sometimes in English) and is taken down quickly. I've wondered if the 2009 Virtuality pilot-movie by RDM does not contain some DNA from Earth Star Voyager.

7. MAD MAX (1979)
Okay, I actually saw Road Warrior first, and there were details I wondered about until I caught the 1979 origin film one late night on TBS....and boy, was I not ready for what this movie showed me! While Road Warrior is a brutal, stark, and violent film, it didn't depress me the way Mad Max did...but I liked Mad Max and upon later views, the film bewitched me. I must confess that when I pull this one of the archives, I skip around, and avoid a bulk of this odd, twisted, and violent film. There are few films with the power and talent on display in 1979's Mad Max, and the sequel's post-nuclear wasterland story line came out of left-field when compared to the original. Oh, and Max Mad has the best movie car ever!

8. THE LAST CHASE (1981)
In the far-future, there is a nation-wide pandemic, killing millions. On top of this, the global supply of fossil fuels is exhausted, forcing the new, more draconian American government to outlaw fuel-burning vehicles, replacing them with green public transportation and electric cars. During this mess, California breaks away, and former ace race-car driver, Frank Hart (Lee Majors) loses his wife and child along with his career. He is assigned to be the PR man for the mass transit system, and in public, he tells the public about the evils of privately owned cars, while he restores his 1972 917/10 Porsche (Replica) race car, and blasts out of New York City, bound for Free California. The movie becomes an odd, slow, road film with one of the last fighter pilots in pursuit. Much like Flash Gordon, The Last Chase was heavily repeated on HBO in the early 1980's, and must half seen in a dozen times.
While this film is slow, overly dramic, and suffers from plot-holes, there is something about this 1981 B-movie that strikes a cord with me...maybe because there is a Porsche at the center of the film? One of the elements that this sci-fi film gets badly wrong, is how electric cars operate. Most the government-mandated electric cars were rented golf carts, and because their limited speed, they could not  give chase to Hart's Porsche. Seriously? As someone who is about to buy an electric car (the Nissan Leaf) and has test driven a few electric cars, I can testify that they haul electrons off the line.

9. THEY LIVE! (1988)
John Carpenter's film-making career has some real marvels like the Thing, Star ManEscape from New York, but by the late 1980's, he had fallen down the ladder, and 1988's They Live was made for three million dollars he had to raise. The end result was one of the better Twilight Zone style-clones that mixed, sci-fi, action, comedy, and political mockery that was much better than one expects. Even to this day, They Live is hard to ignore, especially, it's warns of being a passive sheep. I mean...could there have been Duke Nukem without this movie?

10. VIRTUALITY (2009)
I do not regard 2009's Virtuality TV movie pilot by Ronald D. Moore as a B-movie, but more of an unrated film that should be viewed by all fans of sci-fi and one of my most-watched DVDs. Around the 2160's, Earth is about a century from being uninhabitable for human life, and another home must be found. This news breaks as the first extra-solar system spaceship, the Phaeton is on its ten-year long mission to Epsilon Eridani. The mission is change from one of exploration to interstellar house hunting (that show is in the works for HGTV!). With an excellent cast, SFX, and dialog, the pilot moves along with various storylines being revealed. The maddening element about Virtuality is that FOX did not pick up the show, and our answers will never come.

Clerks came a critical point in my life when I finally saw in early 1996, and changed my point-of-view on what I was doing with my life and where I was going. Within a few short weeks of viewing Clerks, I moved to Dallas from Ponca City, and restarted my life. To this day, I cannot buy eggs, hear the number '37' or the phase 'best of both worlds' without thinking of this masterful independent film.