The ones that caught my eye:



Release Date: December 6, 2013

What it’s about: On the last day of the first manned mission to Mars, astronauts make a horrifying discovery.

What it’s got working for it: It’s SF with a mystery angle.  Sounds intriguing.

What’s it’s got going against it: Cool new scifi movie or Alien retread?  We’ll see.



Release Date: December 11, 2013

What it’s about: A documentary that focuses on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and posits whether something like it could happen again – with far worse consequences.

What it’s got working for it: A focused account of the tragedy, offering details and information the general media failed to convey.

What’s it’s got going against it: The danger of being perceived as a “message” film. Hopefully, the events portrayed will speak powerfully for themselves.



Release Date: December 18, 2013

What it’s about: A lonely man falls in love with a state-of-the-art operating system.

What it’s got working for it: Writer-director Spike Jonze is a unique storyteller.

What’s it’s got going against it: Not exactly the most original premise.  The trailer looks a somewhat…unconvincing.



Release Date: December 25, 2013

What it’s about: The dramatization of a true-life covert mission to neutralize an al-Qaeda operative that went horribly awry.

What it’s got working for it: Based on a book by the mission’s sole survivor, Marcus Luttrell.

What’s it’s got going against it: The temptation to Hollywoodize.  Will the movie stay true to its source material?

18 thoughts on “November 24, 2013: Upcoming under-the-radar movies to look forward to! Or not!

  1. Hey Joe, Happy Football Day! Any Snow Monkey updates? I’m mostly happy with the outcomes of today’s games…congratulate Rob for me on the Cowboys win.

    And thanks for the movie briefs. I wasn’t aware of The Last Days on Mars…looks interesting. Although, it does seem to be a cross of 2001 and Alien (and maybe a little Jeff Carlson ala Frozen Sky thrown in with the “falling in the suddenly opening chasm” scene). I might add it to my movie list.

    On more domestic things, I baked a pecan pie today. I’m front-loading a number of Thanksgiving tasks due to the surgery. Today was pecan pie and tomorrow is brining the turkey and making the stuffing. I’ll have my son stuff and load the bird on Wednesday and load it in to the oven on Thursday morning. It’s all looking good so far.

    @Airelle and Tam Dixon:

    Thanks for the well wishes! I appreciate the thoughts and prayers.

  2. Those look more interesting than the ones from yesterday, although I’ll still probably not see them in theatres.

    Windchill temps here this morning are -16C (temp -8C) BRRR! Winter is finally here I guess. Although the temps for Wednesday are supposed to be +14C! Welcome to the Maritimes Winter Weather Rollercoaster!

  3. The Last Days On Mars caught my eye too. There have been so many movies that go out to a planet and have something terrible, find something terrible, be eaten by something terrible, or be something terrible.

    Is it just me, or has there been a dearth of decent science fiction films of late? I don’t know why, but I prefer science fiction films over all others and the last year or two have left me feeling empty and unfulfilled.

    Do most SF films not make money, or not make as much money as a horror or romance or comedy?

    No new Stargate show and probably never will be and Fringe is done. I could watch Anna Torv all day and night. I’m hoping I’ll get the Blu Ray set of Fringe for Christmas.

    I see J J Abrams has his fingers in a lot of pies. So far I like Almost Human. Revolution just peeves me off, especially the Aaron Pittman Character who’s such a whiner and can’t make up his mind.

    Oh, any new decent Anime out this year? I’ve been watching but so far the only one I’ve found is Accel World on Hulu, and I’ve only seen the first 18 minutes of that before I fell asleep last night.

    BTW, if you are not in America and you subscribe to, the service makes it look like your computers IP address is from the US, UK, or one of many choices around the world. Then you get more choice from Netflix and you can watch Hulu without being blocked, as well as the Anime portal from Hulu.

    I’m sure many people know, but I thought I’d mention it.

  4. The only thing I love more than Liev Schreiber (and Pablo Schreiber) is Joaquin Phoenix, both their films are right up my alley. I’m on a Doctor Who high today, got to finally watch yesterday.

    And I join many others in wanting to be standing behind this chick in case of a zombie apocalypse; I think her name is Darylita:

  5. “What it’s about: A lonely man falls in love with a state-of-the-art operating system.”

    Nope, I’ve never, ever asked Siri what’s she’s doing for the evening. Nope, not even once…

  6. I feel sorry for the people of Futaba, what a fate.

    But what the one man sad:

    Do something for us.
    All we have to eat are bento box lunches every day.
    Let me go home!

    I imagine that’s exactly what you used to say during your time in Toronto.

  7. “The Last Days On Mars” reminds me of the Dr Who episode called ” The Waters of Mars”. I might watch it on rental though.

  8. I like the based on another planet premise, even Mars. This was one of the things that made Prometheus appeal to me, the whole atmosphere, the setting, the way it slowly unravels. I don’t like gory movies but love the Scifi stuff lol

    Gravity was quite good.

  9. “What’s it’s got going against it: Cool new scifi movie or Alien retread?”

    Either way, I’m in. They all look enteresting, but not enough to go see at the theater or buy the DVD. I’ll wait until they make it to satelite. How do you fix that attitude, Mr. Producer?

  10. Just popping in for a sec to say hello. Joe & Akemi, I really look forward to your/our trip to Tokyo with you every year. Joe, how is your tum and your hip/back after flying long hours? No more ramen-yas for you for a while! Lo-o-o-oved all things sushi and the art/design/light shows. Did Akemi take any pictures of passersby and street fashions?

    I really want to see the Hobbit, enough to be tolerant of a few vagaries. Well, we’ll see. 😉

    JeffW! Praying for an uneventful, fantastic surgery with excellent healing, and resolution of pain issues. Way to plan Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time. Sorry about the couch. Will Lucy keep you company? Some friends and I will be up in Chicago-land the first weekend in Dec. for a wolves hockey game. Will wave hello and send good wishes!

  11. to Mike from Canada:

    Do most SF films not make money, or not make as much money as a horror or romance or comedy?

    they cost more to make, therefore they need to make more money to be considered a hit. also, if one ore two do badly the studio people point and them & say: “see? people don’t like sci-fi movies!” and don’t want to take a chance. unless it’s based on a proven property, like a popular book or star trek.

    to shinyhula;

    i think i’ve seen that vid before. she’s fast alright.

  12. Hey Joe
    You might want to skip Last Days On Mars.
    It’s a


    Zombie movie.


  13. None of them appeal to me enough to see in the theater, but I would probably watch Last Days on Mars on Netflix. I agree with Tam Dixon about the plot, thought.

    Hey, JeffW! Good luck with the surgery – we’ll have to get together and share war stories once you are back on your feet. Sending prayers and positive thoughts for an uncomplicated operation and a speedy recovery

  14. @Elminster:

    Dag nabbit! And I don’t have the zombie gene!

    for the love of Becket:

    Thanks for the prayers! On the Thanksgiving planning; I’m a planner by nature, so yeah, I already had a timeline in mind when the surgery date was setup. Now success will depend on how well I can delegate the turkey and sweet potatoes to my son. It should make for a memorable Thanksgiving!

    The couch is a not a big hardship (it folds out into a bed) and we have a full shower on the first floor, so no real issues. As for Lucy, she stays by me until I’m asleep and then she heads over to her doggy bed (near a warm vent) after I’m asleep…she’s no dummy! 😉

    Enjoy the Wolves game! Who’re you rooting for?

  15. I wonder if Nuclear Nation will explain the massive extent of the tragedy that killed tens of thousands (the Tsunami) or if it will over-hype the incident that killed no one (Fukushima) and sent the world hurtling backwards to dirtier forms of energy generation (Germany, Japan itself, etc.).

  16. JeffW — I’ll be rooting for the Chicago Wolves. (They’re playing the Oklahoma City Barons Sat. night.) My company’s headquarters are in Chicago, and they’re terrific people to work for. Also, a couple blog friends live there. 🙂

    Can’t wait to hear your Thanksgiving stories this week. Tell your son being a great cook does impress the ladies (one day). What a good dog, Lucy! My doggie girrrl, because of her sled dog’s double coat, would seek out the coldest part of the room, or the bathroom tile floor, up until she had sore joints in her old age. Then she loved a warm bath.

  17. Wow, I am REALLY behind here. I think Last Days on Mars is what Prometheus SHOULD have been. I’ll see it. I will most certainly see Nuclear Nation. And ABSOLUTELY will see Lone Survivor. Michael P. Murphy, who went to my middle school and high school well after i did, was in his team. Here is more about him:

    I did not know about him personally but our town has a very connected bunch of people in it. When they have reunions up there, people from other classes show up to them because as we always say, if you graduated from our high school we are all connected and we are all family. I wish I had known him. Another autism mom I know very well here knows Marcus very well. I don’t know if Marcus’ story inspired her other son to want to be a Navy seal. I don’t know if he is still in training or if he tried and didn’t make it. I guess she isn’t allowed to say to protect him, only that he is a Navy man. The kid broke records here on the swim team.

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