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Blade Runner News Archive - 2005 (Jul-Sep)

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Please note that most links are not revised. Although correct when originally written, the nature of news means that I cannot guarantee that any particular link will still be valid today.

30 Sep 2005 Edward James Olmos fans will surely want to check out the new book "Walk, Don't Run" by Steven Johnson. Documenting the lives of Rusty Johnson, Eddie Olmos, and Joey Zagarino from youth, rock band and the trail blazed for Hispanic actors that followed. Press release. Official website.
14 Sep 2005 I admire anyone with great enthusiasm for what they do, even if it is customizing cars (not my thing). And so I don't apologise for mentioning Chip Foose for the second time in a few months. He worked with his father Sam on creating the BR cars amongst others. Now with his own TV show, he will be a star at the 16th annual Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous (according to sbsun). As many have said before me (albeit more prosaically), if your work and your hobby are the same thing, you'll be a happy camper.
12 Sep 2005 I sometimes wonder why people read this page (sometimes 3,000 people a day). I know many are coming here hoping to find the announcement that the BR:SE DVD set has finally been made, (which makes me sad because it is always a disappointment). Some maybe are just interested in how Blade Runner affects the world. Perhaps a few are like me and amused by the odd thing I discover in BR-dom. And maybe you just find it is one of those places where you hear about obscure films that might interest you that are not widely publicized, but where the casual BR reference has bought attention from me. Like "Kakurenbo". Active Anime reviews this short anime film and highlights the visual style of the background like BR and GitS (itself influenced by BR). In this story "the lights of Kakurenbo are even a "character" in themselves".
p.s. If you feel like writing in about why you like visiting this site, I'm always happy to get your e-mails. I am Netrunner - e-mail me at the address in the left column.
12 Sep 2005 The fact that William Petro had joined SEGA as Senior Vice President of Product Development didn't seem worth mentioning on this page when I first read it. Sure he was a programmer on the Blade Runner game at Westwood Studios, but that is a little obscure a reference even for me. Then I read this Business Wire press release. SEGA "today announced a partnership with developer Petroglyph to create an original Real-Time Strategy (RTS) franchise for the PC. Most Petroglyph team members are former employees of Westwood Studios, where they worked on the company's titles including Blade Runner." Okay, now I'm interested. "Petroglyph will collaborate on creating a Modern Military / Sci-Fi themed RTS franchise" and from other tiny fragments I've heard about this, I think it is definitely one to watch out for.
07 Sep 2005 Does America hate its cities? Is New York Press correct in this assertion? Is the dystopia of BR's L.A. simply a prediction? A week after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, I see the news and watch dead bodies still floating in the water. I see Bush and his type blathering excuses why they haven't helped more. I see many making accusations of racism on a grand scale. I see the utter poverty in parts of the USA that rival many poor nations. I see Bush smirking as he announces how much money other countries have contributed to help - even those still recovering from the Tsunami. And this is the richest nation on the planet? Immediate rations shipments from a globally spread help-network is expected. But cash donations from countries where the average income is literally 100 times less than in the USA? I'm trying hard not to bring up the whole Bush-con after 9/11 and the rest of what he has and hasn't done as this isn't a political page, but when I look at a whole city smashed and the response from government, it is difficult. Thank goodness there are lots of ordinary 'normal' people rushing to help. Blade Runner dystopia? Perhaps 2019 really is far enough in the future to believe it can happen - so much of it is already here.
02 Sep 2005 I was wondering what TV series "Firefly" or the film coming out of it "Serenity" had in common with Blade Runner. blogcritics has the answer - it is 'The future is old' concept. That is, just because it is 2005 now doesn't mean everything around you was made in 2005 - some of your stuff might be 5, 10, 20 or more years old. How old is the building you're in? 20, 50, 100 years old? 50 years ago, too many SF filmmakers made everything look 'futuristic'. But some of the stuff around us already existed back then. That is what we see in Blade Runner - new stuff surrounded by old stuff. And Firefly caught the concept.
28 Aug 2005 Mick Farren asks in the LA Times, "For L.A., utopia or dystopia". As city planners try to build cities and predictions of the future by inevitably miss the unpredictable or otherwise get things wrong, how does a city like Los Angeles cope? My PoV is there is no point aiming for Utopia, because it is unachievable. But that doesn't mean we have to settle for Dystopia.
26 Aug 2005 Sometimes the Blade Runner influence isn't directly on a product, but homage is paid in the name, such as the Nexus6 Smartinhaler. According to the New Zealand Herald, Nexus6 director Garth Sutherland did name the company after the Reps in BR. I wonder if he gets many people putting on their best Chew accent and asking him, "You Nexus, huh?".
25 Aug 2005 "ASIAN POP Robot Nation - Why Japan, and not America, is likely to be the world's first cyborg society." A fascinating article on SFGate that looks at the differences in attitudes towards consumer robots between Japan and the USA, referencing some of the bots I've mentioned here recently. Then extrapolates what that might signify in the near future. And what of Britain? Always carving out part of the tech future and in some ways more akin to Japan than the USA.
24 Aug 2005 reports "Restoration Set to Begin on Wright's Ennis-Brown House". If you're a regular reader of the news here, you know that the house (used for external shots of Deckard's apartment and inspiration for the internal design) has suffered badly over the years and is in danger of collapse. Seems it may yet be saved.
22 Aug 2005 How can you trust flying cars when you can't trust flying bicycles? The Spoof explores the issue.
22 Aug 2005 Comic Book Resources interviews Rick Remender about 'Fear Agent' and he really goes back to first principles about SF and so this is worth a read even by non comic book fans. After talking about how Science Fiction "has lost its stones", he goes on to list a few influences that are worthy. Blade Runner is of course first on the list.
17 Aug 2005 Room 2046 or year 2046? The Film 2046 - "Every once in a while a train leaves to a place where lost memories are remembered. But no one has ever returned from 2046. Except me." Is it past or future? Read Metroactive's review to see why I'm including this film here. Made with some of Hong Kong's best filmmaking talent and set in a tired future with BR overtones - see why I'll be seeking it out.
16 Aug 2005 David Peoples added some significant elements to the Blade Runner screenplay, but didn't stop there as he contributed to 'Ladyhawke', did some more SF, created 'Unforgiven', then with wife Janet wrote the screenplay for Gilliam's 'Twelve Monkeys' and of course 'Soldier' - the "sidequel" to Blade Runner. 'Nico' isn't SF, but it is a David and Janet Peoples screenplay. Suicide Girls interviews assigned director David Mackenzie about current film Asylum and his upcoming projects including Nico.
15 Aug 2005 Every so often, someone laments the future promised by old SF that never came to pass. This WSJ article does at least acknowledge some pretty cool things have happened in recent years. But they still leave older SF fans with a sense of shouldn't there be more? Well, as David Caldwell says in response to the age-old lament of the future, "The future never was what it used to be." Or perhaps we should adopt David's other great quote, "Learn from the past, plan for the future, but LIVE in the present." Off-World? - It was probably a lie even within Blade Runner - you don't have to oversell something everyone wants.
15 Aug 2005 "Rising Elephant" - a book about the growing clash between India and the US over white collar jobs - sounds like it hasn't got anything to do with Blade Runner. Well it doesn't. The second book reviewed by The Hindu Business Online does though - called "The Philosopher at the End of the Universe", it uses SF films, including BR of course, to explore philosophy. (This is a good thing.) Read some pages. Actually that Rising Elephant warning of jobs leaving the US may be relevant to BR after all - could BR's L.A. 2019 be set not after a physical worldwide catastrophe, but instead after a prolonged US economic decline?
14 Aug 2005 "For my money, 1982's Blade Runner still stands as the best sci-fi film ever." So says Steve Tilley in the Edmonton Sun as preface to saying how difficult the same question is applied to video games. But Diablo II is a contender and Dungeon Siege II emulates that quality.
14 Aug 2005 "Fragile Machine" sounds like it might be an interesting short film - anime with a BR and GitS influence, cyberpunk music and video melded. fps magazine, who concentrate on animation, rates it as notable. See trailer and much more at the official site.
14 Aug 2005 Difficult to summarize this - I could write my own article on it. Rutger Hauer starred in a great set of Guinness ads back in 1984. Now while we get annoyed at ever more blatant product placement in movies, how about a film inspired by Guinness ads? Sadly, the enigmatic "Pure Genius" Hauer character, (who I loved in those ads), didn't make it into a film, but more recently, the character in a series of ads across Africa (Guinness' second largest market) has made it to film. Played "by an imposing bald black James Bond-style character known on and off screen as Michael Power." The film, "Critical Assignment", has 'critical acclaim' and has spread through the international film shows to make it onto home video. Read the Times Online article. Or why not buy the DVD?
07 Aug 2005 If you're anywhere near San Jose in the next few months, the News is you should drop by the Museum of Art to see "Brides of Frankenstein": A female artistic viewpoint on genetic engineering. The very varied media have been carefully selected, representing 15 women artists from around the world and the "personal, emotional and existential issues" of genetic engineering they explore. See more and check times at the Museum site.
07 Aug 2005 The St.Petersburg Times performing arts writer takes a view on travel - to L.A. Not surprisingly, he enjoys dipping into the literature, music and film of any place he visits. And with L.A. there is plenty to see - the Bradbury Building for example!
29 Jul 2005 Film and Sound interviews Ridley Scott on his past and future career with some great insights. When asked, "Are you surprised that a film like Blade Runner still infuses so many videos and features?", RS replies, "In a way, because I got such a thrashing after Blade Runner that I thought I'd really screwed up, although in the making of it and mixing and editing I knew I'd made a good movie. Looking back, I feel that at that particular moment in time, the movie was too dark and the visual information was too dense. One of the problems was that the world we created was so different that it overpowered what was a fairly straightforward story. But then after seven or eight years, I noticed that it started to leak into other movies and into music videos, and MTV really clarified it. Musicians got it, and all these rock videos used rain or some other image I'd recognize. It was always bloody raining in these videos [ laughs ]. Now I'm amused by it."
27 Jul 2005 BBC News reports that "Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet - a "female" android named Repliee Q1Expo." Flexible skin, plus sensors and motors make for a spookily 'human' appearance, down to emulated breathing. Its designer, Professor Ishiguro, has created many robots before, the previous one having the appearance of a five year old girl. It appears to me that "Repliee" may be derived from the French for Replicate - Replicant 2005 perchance? Read more about robot development at the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory site (and watch the demo videos!).
21 Jul 2005 Daryl Hannah, who of course played Pris in Blade Runner and was more recently famous in Kill Bill, has announced that she will retire after her next film. She wishes to 'save the planet and other living creatures.' Or rather to do it full time - as I have mentioned here before, she does a lot of work along those lines already, such as promoting the use of vegetable oil for running a car. All I can say is good luck Daryl, the planet is in dire need of saving.
21 Jul 2005 I'm tired of reviews of "The Island". There is my usual complaint about mainstream reviewers and how it is often pointless to read their reviews of SF films as many of them simply don't get it. Then there is this film, which in its cloning, etc. is unashamedly derivative of many films, but mainstream reviewers seem to delight in showing how many old SF films they can list, the more obscure the better (though obviously BR gets mentioned a lot). Comments like "The film isn't nearly as clever as it thinks it is" coming from reviewers who aren't half as clever as they pretend to be and probably never even heard of THX 1138 until decades after Lucas became famous. And then, as this is a Michael Bay film, far too many of them whinge on about him blowing shit up. Well, who really cares? If you think you might like it, go see it and you will probably enjoy it. If you must read a review, The Buffalo News has one that is moderately intelligent.
20 Jul 2005 A funny article about sex toys. [Warning: contains Adult content. Also, there is a danger it may make you laugh.] Finishes with a lament for Rachael - I would agree!
20 Jul 2005 There can be no doubt what influenced Juan Maclean when naming his robot-pop album "Less Than Human." Retro-future synth dance music? The reviewer at soundgenerator thinks it is excellent.
20 Jul 2005 Nothing to do with BR, but thought I'd say a word on it - James Doohan, who played Scotty in Original Star Trek has beamed up for the last time. However, he has left behind a character that is etched permanently into the fabric of space-time. BBC report.
20 Jul 2005 The Sydney Morning Herald is running a series on Ideology vs Technology. In this article, Susan Hopkins examines gender, cyborgs, cyberspace and cyber feminism. And where is it all leading?
16 Jul 2005 The Boston Globe reviews Ben Munisteri's unusual choreography which his dance company performs - including "Turbine Mines" which uses BR Vangelis music (including HF voice talking about Reps).
14 Jul 2005 The next PKD story to reach the screen is "A Scanner Darkly". Sneak peeks were on offer at Comic-Con alongside a panel interview. And surprising the audience, the PKD robot seen at NextFest was part of the panel and answered questions. Although 'he' doesn't seem to have done too well with the answers. Read about it at ComingSoon and AICN.
11 Jul 2005 James Pinkerton at Tech Central Station has obviously mulled over seeing that PKD robot at NextFest (see 4 Jul) and has extrapolated to view the significance not just of the robot's existence, but of Dick's influence and significance to the world in which we now find ourselves living.
09 Jul 2005 "Blade Runner shag pad"? (For those not familiar with English slang, that would be a place to take your new 'friend' for intimate relations.) But who said it and what does it refer to? Would you believe a hotel review in the British Sunday Times? Ah, but no ordinary hotel - this is the new Puerta America in Madrid where 17 of the world's leading architects and designers were given the freedom to design a floor or public area how they liked. However they liked ... with the money to back it up. Fantastic! No doubt the descriptions in the article don't do justice to actually experiencing it, so I know where I'll be looking to stay on my next visit to Madrid!
06 Jul 2005 "Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory" is a new computer game. Game Daze reviews it - the background established for the game sounds great - android armies created to fight in a war instead of people, then after the war is over, what to do with them? Put them in Purgatory - a giant tower - where they fight for human entertainment. Problem is them becoming self aware (sound familiar). Sadly, the reviewer was much less impressed with the actual gameplay.
05 Jul 2005 In Moscow, biker gangs are proliferating, but while they look the part, they have their own special attitudes, (including Russian traditions and Christianity) to inform how they behave. Particularly interesting is the main place they hang out - the Sexton - "a cross between Blade Runner and a gothic castle, all dark corners, iron pipes, rusting turbines and what look like giant-sized bicycle chains" according to the Scotsman.
05 Jul 2005 If you're interested in unique cars, you may be interested in Chip Foose, (who once helped build the vehicles for Blade Runner). He is now a successful designer who has won many awards for his cars and has a TV show called Overhaulin'. His new collaboration with Unique Performance to create a series of performance cars is highlighted in businesswire.
05 Jul 2005 Battlestar Galactica season 2 is on its way - and I'm certainly looking forward to it. For those who have yet to see it, it has Edward James Olmos in charge and the creators fully acknowledged aiming in part for a Blade Runner feel when making it. SyFy Portal brings us a taste.
04 Jul 2005 NextFest.2005 took place in Chicago last month. Hosted by Wired Magazine, it had more than 100 exhibits about the future of exploration, entertainment, transportation, science and medicine, communication, design, defense, and imagination. A strange appearance was made by Philip K. Dick. Well, obviously not the real PKD who died in 1982, but a robot recreation of him - a pre-replicant if you like, that not only has an appearance of PKD, but a mathematical extrapolation of his mind - that allows it to answer questions in a pseudo-PKD fashion. Here is the Wired preview. Read what others think about this creepy robot: Technovelgy thought it eerie, philipKdickFans has more pics, WSJ's OpinionJournal thought it obnoxious and Chicagoist were spooked in the head.
03 Jul 2005 Occasionally BR fans need to look at the real world of robotics and cybernetics. Are there really JF-types out there? Well yes, there are! Check out Globeandmail for a view on really building actual robots.
03 Jul 2005 The LA Times talks of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Ennis-Brown house and the problems of decay ... and how it was designed that way in the first place.

If you see a Blade Runner article not listed, please send me the link so I can add it.