Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

4/4.5 out of 5 stars

Nebula Nominee

If I had a vote or a voice for this year’s Nebula Award (specifically the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation), this movie would get mine.  I’ve watched it twice now and I loved every minute of it.

The film is based on a short story called “The Adjustment Team” written by Philip K. Dick published in the Sep/Oct 1954 issue of Orbit Science Fiction.  I cannot compare the film adaptation to the original short story, as I have not yet read it, but I can see the hand of PKD in the themes exhibited.

What appealed to me most about this story is the questions it raises, about fate and free will, and how we live our lives.  Science fiction doing what it does best.

Movie Review: Hugo (2011)

Hugo (2011)

4 out of 5 stars

Winner of 5 Academy Awards including Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects

Nebula Nominee

I squeeed with delight when I got the e-mail from Netflix on Monday afternoon that they were shipping me the BluRay of Hugo.  I really thought I would be forcing myself to watch the remake of Conan the Barbarian (starring Jason Momoa of Stargate: Atlantis fame).  Since Hugo wasn’t slated for release to the public until Tuesday, I was very pleasantly surprised when Netflix opted to send it to me the day before the official release date (although I didn’t actually receive it until Tuesday, so perhaps that makes it okay).

I got home from work a few minutes early to find Terry concocting a new pasta dish with butternut squash and broccoli. He already had an appetizer in the oven so I removed myself to the great room to do some exercising while dinner finished cooking.  I wanted to make sure that my evening was completely free of obstructions so Terry and I could watch Hugo in peace.  I even remembered to feed the dogs.

I enjoyed Hugo and especially the story of Georges Méliès, excellently portrayed by Ben Kingsley.  I knew of Méliès’ famous film (often billed as one of the first science fiction films) Le Voyage dans la lune (or A Trip to the Moon for us English speaking blokes).  But Hugo exhibited more steampunk and fantasy elements than true science fiction, being based in a 1930s Paris railroad station.   I would really categorize this as a historical fiction piece, since most of the information on Méliès is accurately portrayed.  I did love seeing Christopher Lee again, albeit in a cameo-esque role as the bookshop owner.  Terry remarked after the movie that he recognized the actor portraying the Station Inspector (played by Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat fame – ugh).

Now that I have seen all of this year’s Nebula Nominations for the Bradbury Award, I can make my selection for what I think the best of the lot.  But not in this post.

I don’t want to detract from the magic that is Hugo.  I highly recommend you watch this film.  You won’t be disappointed.

Nebula Nominations for Dramatic Presentations

Today, the president, John Scalzi, of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA for short) announced via his Whatever blog this year’s (or last year’s depending on your point-of-view) Nebula Award nominations.  Sadly, I have yet to read any of the novels, novellas or novelettes nominated, but I will review my GoodReads friends’ reviews and ratings to see if any of them might appeal to me.

I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I had seen all but two of the nominations for dramatic presentations, one of which (Hugo) I had already added to my ‘to watch’ list and saved in my Netflix queue.

Here are the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation:

  • Attack the Block, Joe Cornish (writer/director) (Optimum Releasing; Screen Gems)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers), Joe Johnston (director) (Paramount)
  • Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales) … I actually preferred a different episode last season, but here are my original thoughts on ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ when it aired last May.
  • Hugo, John Logan (writer), Martin Scorsese (director) (Paramount)
  • Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen (writer/director) (Sony) … I just watched this recently and you can read my thoughts on it here.
  • Source Code, Ben Ripley (writer), Duncan Jones (director) (Summit)
  • The Adjustment Bureau, George Nolfi (writer/director) (Universal)

I am completely unfamiliar with the first listing, so I plan to do some research on it and, if possible, add it to my queue.  Then, I can do my own internal voting and compare it to the results arrived at by members of the SFWA.