Posts Tagged ‘Phillip K. Dick’


Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about TV shows to watch this weekend including Viggo Mortensen’s father-and-son drama “Falling” (select theatres, rent or buy on the Apple TV app and other VOD platforms), the trippy “A Glitch in the Matrix” documentary (VOD), and the unfiltered Netflix romantic drama “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix).

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 18:45)


Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Viggo Mortensen’s father-and-son drama “Falling” (select theatres, rent or buy on the Apple TV app and other VOD platforms), the trippy “A Glitch in the Matrix” documentary (VOD), and the unfiltered Netflix romantic drama “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix).

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including Viggo Mortensen’s  father-and-son drama “Falling” (select theatres, rent or buy on the Apple TV app and other VOD platforms), the trippy “A Glitch in the Matrix” documentary (VOD), the unfiltered Netflix romantic drama “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix) and the Australian sheep story “Rams” (Vortex Media, VOD/Digital).

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX: 3 ½ STARS. “a new wrinkle on an old question.”

“A Glitch in the Matrix,” a new documentary now available to rent or buy on the Apple TV app and other VOD platforms, is a mind-boggling collision of religion, philosophy, conspiracy theory and science fiction. Taking its lead from a 1977 speech by “Total Recall” author Philip K. Dick, it’s a study in reality; what’s real and, more importantly, what’s not. Is life what we experience or is it all an elaborate computer simulation? “People claim to remember past lives,” Dick said in the speech. “I claim to remember a very different present life.”

The simulation theory at the heart of the film is an unprovable hypothesis that boils down to the idea that everything, the Earth and its occupants, might be a computer simulation. It’s not a new idea. In the seventeenth century philosopher René Descartes said, “It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false.”

How do people know they’re in a simulation? That’s the glitch, like in the Keanu Reeves film “The Matrix” where an anomaly, something that has no logical explanation, happens. In the doc someone tells a story of setting simple goals, like seeing an orange fish in the next ten minutes. Sure enough, on a street he’s never been down before he spies a giant orange neon fish sign.

Coincidence or a glitch?

Science fiction writers like Dick have played with the idea for decades, but director Rodney Ascher takes the idea out of the realm of sci fi, interviewing a series of people, often disguised by digital avatars, to discuss whether simulation theory has merit or if it is a coping mechanism that easier way to deal with the complexity of human existence.

Ascher explores the real-world consequences of this otherworldly theory with a long, chilling passage narrated by Josh Cooke, a 19-year-old who dressed in a long black trench coat, like Reeves’s character Neo, and believed he lived inside the Matrix. With a gun modelled on the one used in the film he shot his father and mother before calling the police. It’s an effective sequence that brings the story to life, over Cooke’s monotone retelling, with Matrix-inspired graphics. Cooke’s story also cuts through the doc’s occasionally pedantic tone.

There are, of course, no answers in “A Glitch in the Matrix,” just lots of thought-provoking questions.

Whether we live in a counterfeit world or not, the ideas presented here reflect existential quandaries people have mulled over for centuries, but here they have a twenty-first century twist. Like all other speculation regarding our existence, no one is going have any answers until they’re dead. What happens then? According to one of the doc’s avatars, “It’s possible that after you die, you wake up in an arcade in the year 3000, put another quarter in and do another life on earth in the year 2019.” It’s a new wrinkle on an old question that even Neo can’t answer.



minority_report_interface1Based on a 1956 short story by sci-fi guru Phillip K. Dick, Minority Report is the first collaboration between two of Hollywood’s most powerful figures, Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg. Best described as cerebral science fiction, the movie is a feast for the mind as well as the eyes. The script tackles complicated moral issues while astounding us with spectacular action sequences. Spielberg has created a dazzling future world of hard glass and talking billboards (conveniently allowing for shameless product placement in the movie), but doesn’t get lost in the special effects and forget to tell the story. Tom Cruise plays police chief John Anderton, head of the Pre-Crime Unit. His specialty is using a series of high tech computers and three human ‘precogs’ to determine when crimes will happen, and stop them before they happen. Then one day he is accused of a committing a murder in the future, goes on the lam, and is hunted by the same people he once worked with. It’s not really a “who-dunnit,” as much as it is a “will-he-do-it.”  Cruise does a nice job of carrying the action, but it is Max Von Sydow as his friend and mentor Director Burgess who adds depth. Once again, after being nominated for an Oscar as the mute Hattie in Sweet and Lowdown, English actress Samantha Morton proves that she can outperform most of the actresses in Hollywood, and barely say a word on screen. Minority Report is smart, action packed and thrilling fun. Not only one of the best films of the summer, but one of the best of the year.

Phillip K. Dick feeds Hollywood’s sci-fi machine In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: March 02, 2011

the-adjustment-bureau-copyFor someone who once famously said, “You would have to kill me and prop me up in the seat of my car with a smile painted on my face to get me to go near Hollywood,” writer Phillip K. Dick certainly has a good Tinsel Town track record. Films based on his novels and short stories have made more than $1 billion, a figure that is bound to increase with the release of this weekend’s The Adjustment Bureau.

Based on Dick’s short story Adjustment Team, the film stars John Slattery as a mysterious Adjustment Bureau agent who must keep star-crossed lovers Matt Damon and Emily Blunt apart. It follows along with at least one tradition typical of Dick’s Hollywood adaptations—a title change.

Blade Runner was based on the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale became Total Recall and Next, the Nicolas Cage movie, was loosely based on the short story The Golden Man.

“Phil often commented that he couldn’t write good titles,” said Dick’s ex-wife, Tessa. “If he could, he would have been an advertising writer instead of a novelist.”

Blade Runner is arguably Dick’s most famous film, but an early draft of the script so displeased Dick he went on the offensive, deriding it as “Phillip Marlowe meets The Stepford Wives.”

Later, however, when shown 20 minutes of special effects shots, the author came on board, saying the footage of Los Angeles in 2019 looked “exactly as how I’d imagined it.” Ironically, director Ridley Scott later let it slip that he had never even read Dick’s book.

Total Recall also had a similar rocky development from page to stage. Early on, David Cronenberg was attached to write and direct but walked from the project when producers told him they wanted to change the story into something akin to “Raiders of the Lost Ark Go to Mars.” Eventually it was made as an incredibly violent Arnold Schwarzenegger film Roger Ebert called “one of the most complex and visually interesting science fiction movies in a long time.”

Despite the fact that Dick died in 1982 of a heart attack, interest in his work remains unabated. Disney is planning an animated adaptation of King of the Elves and Ridley Scott is reported to be producing a mini-series based on The Man in the High Castle for the BBC.


A_Scanner_Darkly_4In 1977 sci-fi writer Phillip K. Dick wrote a nightmarish novel about drug-fueled paranoia, Big Brother style government surveillance and personal rights based on his own experiences as a drug addict. Prolific director Richard Linklater has taken pains with this material, turning the counter culture A Scanner Darkly into an intriguingly entertaining animated movie.

At the base of the story is a highly addictive drug called Substance D, so named for causing “dumbness, despair, desertion and death”. It appears that the government is weaning addicts off other drugs so they can then become hooked on the moneymaking Substance D, which the government controls the rights to. Caught in the web of the drug are the main characters, played by Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr and Woody Harrelson.

The actors didn’t simply lend their voices to the film, as is the case with most traditional animation. In this case the entire movie was shot on video and then rotoscoped, a time-consuming process in which each live-action frame is painted by hand. The result is a lurid dreamscape that lends an appropriately surreal tone to the story. The look of the “scramble suit,” a psychedelic cloak that alters the wearer’s appearance, is nicely rendered by the rotoscope process.

On the downside the animation flattens some of the performances. Reeves and Winona Ryder seem to get lost under the layers of paint. Only Robert Downey Jr’s manic performance can really transcend the animation. His energy is based on something more than simply his years of real-life experience with drugs; it is a funny, sad and intelligent performance from one of the best actors working today.