Predestination (2014)

Running Time: 97 minutes
Rating: R
Genre: Sci-Fi
Who the Devil Made It: The Spierig Brothers
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
Screenplay: The Spierig Brothers
Cinematographer:
Ben Nott
Budget: $9 million
Tech Info: Shot on Arri Alexa
Where Can I Find It: Here

The Plot: Based on the 1960 Robert Heinlein short story “All You Zombies” (which you can read in its entirety here), Predestination stars Ethan Hawke as a time-traveling crime fighter whose latest assignment finds him in a 1970s New York dive bar being regaled with the unbelievable life story of a strangely androgynous customer.

Ramblings: Ethan Hawke has joked that he wanted the advertising tagline to read “Predestination: Go Fuck Yourself.” Once you’ve unraveled the film’s time-is-a-flat-circle mind-screwery, you’ll get the joke. It’s the latest from the Australian directing duo The Spierig Brothers, whose last film Daybreakers (2009) used a futuristic vampire plot as the armature on which to build an allegory of the rich literally feeding off the poor. Predestination is another high-concept genre flick with something on its mind, a “period piece” sci-fi traversing six decades to touch upon ideas both social (gender roles and patriarchy) and philosophical (to simplify, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”).
It’s an utterly singular film that rather depressingly played in only 20 theaters.

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Tales From the Crypt (1972)

Running Time: 92 minutes
Rating: PG
Who the Devil Made It: director Freddie Francis
Cast: Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins, Ian Hendry, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Nigel Patrick, Patrick Magee
Cinematographer: Norman Warwick
Studio: Amicus

A woman is attacked on Christmas Eve by an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa Claus. Now imagine that same scenario, only the woman has just murdered her husband with a fire poker. That turn of the screw defined the worldview of EC Comics’ pulp horror rag Tales From the Crypt during its run in the 1950s. The victims of the macabre morality tales usually had it coming, an idea which extends to Amicus’ 1972 anthology film version. Unsurprisingly, considering this adaptation’s British roots, that comeuppance is often inflicted upon a member of the monied class. Continue Reading ›

A visual breakdown of the sci-fi western Young Ones (2014)

Director: Jake Paltrow

Cinematographer: Giles Nuttgens (check out our interview with Nuttgens here)

The Plot: Told in three chronological chapters (think American lit, not Tarantino), this sci-fi western follows the saga of a farmer (Michael Shannon) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) struggling to survive the harsh lives of a drought-ridden dystopian future.

Technical Details: Shot on 35mm anamorphic film in South Africa. Nuttgens pull-processed the film to flatten out the contrast and desaturate the image and lit Young Ones’ first section with available sunlight to emphasize the harshness of the setting.

Where to See It: Currently on VOD Continue Reading ›