Annihilation (2018) -- Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, dir. Alex Garland, based on Jeff VanderMeer's book

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Maybe? Not per se minding a glossed-up "Roadside Picnic"/Stalker riff though I guess more people will think of comparing it to Arrival as a contrast now (and does remind me I need to give Tarkovsky in general a long overdue rewatch). Anyway, first trailer:

Separate thread on ILB re VanderMeer's work and earlier discussion of the film plans.

where lies the strangling fruit...Area X - The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 27 September 2017 18:39 (three years ago) link

looks great. loved Ex Machina + good cast. (I can't stand Tarkovsky but that's another thread)

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 27 September 2017 18:49 (three years ago) link

all that rainbow lens flare makes me feel a bit ill

maybe that's the intention

Number None, Wednesday, 27 September 2017 18:51 (three years ago) link

good book that was screaming to be turned into a movie. i trust ex machina guy to not fuck it up the way villeneuve steamrolled everything interesting abt story of your life, both because material is less fuckup-able and bc ex machina was simple and measured in its creepiness. sequel sucks though so they should just stop after #1

flopson, Thursday, 28 September 2017 00:45 (three years ago) link

The book series went nowhere, is basically a faux literary riff on the TV show Lost

calstars, Thursday, 28 September 2017 00:52 (three years ago) link

the tv show lost is more resonant that ever

lag∞n, Thursday, 28 September 2017 01:13 (three years ago) link

I thought Ex Machina was dumb as shit, and couldn't make it through this book even though it was only like 80 pages long. But Natalie Portman has the perfect doll face and glassy stare to convey Meaning in this kind of thinks-it's-smart prestige SF, so there's that.

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 28 September 2017 01:58 (three years ago) link

<3 <3 <3 Gina Rodriguez <3 <3 <3

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 28 September 2017 02:00 (three years ago) link

screaming to be turned into a movie

― flopson, Thursday, 28 September 2017 01:45

I think that's usually a sign that a book did not deliver, so maybe it was just screaming to be a better book. I haven't read it.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 29 September 2017 13:06 (three years ago) link

The book was interesting and atmospheric but ultimately unsatisfying (maybe the sequals rectify this?). I will watch the film but don't really know what to expect.

chap, Friday, 29 September 2017 13:21 (three years ago) link

good book that was screaming to be turned into a movie.

Boy, I would have said "good book whose strengths are weirdnesses of word choice and prose style that have no analogue on the screen." I don't see how they make this a movie without making it a "what is the spooky creature in the spooky zone" movie which would be .... nothing like the book, or rather, the kind of thing the book is explicitly a reaction against

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 29 September 2017 14:25 (three years ago) link

dir Alex aaaaaaaand i'm outta here

be the cringe you want to see in the world (Noodle Vague), Friday, 29 September 2017 14:47 (three years ago) link

Book was at #4 on Amazon bestseller chart yesterday!

My novel now seems like it's commenting on some of the other books. Anyway, thrilled it looks like our contributions to eco causes goes up.

— Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer) September 28, 2017

めんどくさかった (Matt #2), Friday, 29 September 2017 15:36 (three years ago) link

(maybe the sequals rectify this?)


flopson, Friday, 29 September 2017 19:09 (three years ago) link

Boy, I would have said "good book whose strengths are weirdnesses of word choice and prose style that have no analogue on the screen." I don't see how they make this a movie without making it a "what is the spooky creature in the spooky zone" movie which would be .... nothing like the book, or rather, the kind of thing the book is explicitly a reaction against

― Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, September 29, 2017 10:25 AM (four hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i'm not sure what the book is about or a reaction against aside from eco sci-fi with some heavyhanded pomo slabbed on thick, but the whole time i read it i had a feeling that Vandermeer had a film adaptation in mind. also c'mon [SPOILER] there are some good spooky scenes also some action iirc

flopson, Friday, 29 September 2017 19:31 (three years ago) link

some books r just cinematic, i wonder what that quality is exactly

lag∞n, Friday, 29 September 2017 19:40 (three years ago) link

anyway im there for this i loved ex machina

lag∞n, Friday, 29 September 2017 19:42 (three years ago) link

same here *unbookmarks thread*

Nhex, Friday, 29 September 2017 23:00 (three years ago) link

I don’t think the books were unsatisfying. They were each pieces of a puzzle that didn’t totally add up, but suggested a cosmic horror rooted in overgrowth/environmental cancer/corruption/body-doubling/ineffectual bureaucratic conspiracy. All three of the novele brought different perspectives to a situation that was implied to be beyond human comprehension, while kicking the story just a little further down the road.

The tv show “lost” is a facile comparison.... some combination of “the prisoner” and “the thing” and Lisa Frank seems more apt.

rb (soda), Saturday, 30 September 2017 00:42 (three years ago) link

This looks awesome, can’t wait. Loved the book(s)

The Marmadook (latebloomer), Saturday, 30 September 2017 17:56 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

Interesting if familiar story -- as a friend said on Twitter just now, regarding the reaction of the initial test audience, "Make it NOT the book."

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 7 December 2017 21:09 (three years ago) link

I try not to judge a book by its cover but holy cow does David Ellison have severe jerkface

Dan I., Friday, 8 December 2017 02:47 (three years ago) link

Oh, it's Larry's son. Say no more.

Dan I., Friday, 8 December 2017 02:49 (three years ago) link

I like the logic of 'This film is too complex, let's dumb it down to be more like Geostorm, which was a big failure for us!'

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Friday, 8 December 2017 03:53 (three years ago) link

I try not to judge a book by its cover but holy cow does David Ellison have severe jerkface

― Dan I., Friday, December 8, 2017 2:47 AM (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The Spilling of a Sacred Beer (latebloomer), Friday, 8 December 2017 05:49 (three years ago) link

holy shit

attention vampire (MatthewK), Friday, 8 December 2017 11:22 (three years ago) link


Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 8 December 2017 11:40 (three years ago) link

First I've heard of Geostorm.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 8 December 2017 13:09 (three years ago) link

Annnnd new trailer

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 16:45 (three years ago) link

Interesting contrast to the first trailer!

Brad C., Wednesday, 13 December 2017 16:59 (three years ago) link

Good interview w/Garland

The Spilling of a Sacred Beer (latebloomer), Thursday, 14 December 2017 22:05 (three years ago) link

he's familiar with stalker but still thought annihilation was genuinely original?

Einstein, Bazinga, Sitar (abanana), Thursday, 14 December 2017 23:12 (three years ago) link

Garland is not exactly a great interviewee is he... I feel somewhat deflated and standoffish now and I didn't even read the whole interview.

fields of salmon, Friday, 15 December 2017 05:05 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

early reviews seem generally positive so far... I'm dialing up some cautious optimism and will try to catch it this weekend

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Thursday, 22 February 2018 00:28 (three years ago) link

this is going to be another one of those amazing sci-fi megabombs that lasts like 3 weeks in the theater isn't it

El Tomboto, Thursday, 22 February 2018 00:32 (three years ago) link

The poster and the font and Portman all make me think this is some kind of Phantom Menace sequel with M16s instead of lasers guns

calstars, Thursday, 22 February 2018 00:36 (three years ago) link

Gotta say, that movie title sells itself in this moment in time.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 22 February 2018 00:37 (three years ago) link

Queen Amidala in "Stalker 2018"

Rabbit Control (Latham Green), Friday, 23 February 2018 21:10 (three years ago) link


calstars, Friday, 23 February 2018 22:21 (three years ago) link

Queen Amidala’s double in Predator 2049: Return to Tatooine

calstars, Friday, 23 February 2018 22:22 (three years ago) link

Endor, that is

calstars, Friday, 23 February 2018 22:23 (three years ago) link

If the book is a combo of Roadside Picnic & Mountains of Madness, I’m curious how much of that will translate to the screen.

Glower, Disruption & Pies (kingfish), Saturday, 24 February 2018 12:47 (three years ago) link

Would prefer Marble Madness

calstars, Saturday, 24 February 2018 12:54 (three years ago) link

Saw this last night. I really liked it. It’s a verrrrrrrry loose adaptation but it does capture the general atmosphere of the book.

There’s a lot of stuff in here that is going to reward repeat viewings.

The Spilling of a Sacred Beer (latebloomer), Saturday, 24 February 2018 14:37 (three years ago) link

no uk cinema release wtf

lana del boy (ledge), Saturday, 24 February 2018 20:50 (three years ago) link

wait waht

NEW CHIMP THREAT (bizarro gazzara), Saturday, 24 February 2018 20:58 (three years ago) link

apparently this is being released only in the US, Canada, and China, with other rights already sold to Netflix

Brad C., Saturday, 24 February 2018 21:04 (three years ago) link

Man this guy loves Tarkovsky. Liberally rips off Stalker & Solaris in almost equal measure (mostly Stalker, but the final scene & the whole idea of being able/unable to love a simulacrum of your dead spouse- I mean give me a break). Still, you could do worse when ripping people off. I liked it a lot, and it had a fairly rowdy matinee audience totally gripped and silent, and there was no moaning or groaning when the credits rolled without a lot of questions answered or threads resolved. But having seen Solaris and Stalker, I'm not left with much to think about. Garland not only took the exact imagery of those films, sometimes down to specific shots (underwater seaweed just like the opening shot of Solaris), but all of the ideas are Tarkovsky's. So I'm not sure what to make of it, glad it's out there, it's very well made and paced and it's nice that there's more "intelligent" sci-fi out there that could be successful (posters and advertising and the shit title - i know it's based on a novel - made it look like some Hunger Games shit), but... what's the point if you've seen Solaris and Stalker?

flappy bird, Sunday, 25 February 2018 21:59 (three years ago) link

In fairness the Stalker homage is baked into the book

change display name (Jordan), Sunday, 25 February 2018 22:12 (three years ago) link

i liked this well enough. I certainly found the visuals very memorable. I read the book afterward, and liked that as well. I canj't say I'm enjoying the second book much at all though.

akm, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 19:45 (two years ago) link

more for the weird fiction thread but yeah...

as a reader of the weird vandemeer is extraordinary - he's read everything and thought as deeply as anyone living about what makes it tick and out of that has developed some really deep and powerful concepts of his own.

as a writer of the weird... he's either not interested in spinning a yarn or writing compelling sentences, or not capable. the first southern reach book is probably as close as he's ever come to doing justice to his own vision.

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 19:55 (two years ago) link

I preferred Borne to the Southern Reach books. Seemed like he was having more fun

Number None, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 19:57 (two years ago) link

def seemed like he was having more fun but also like the pages evaporated as you read them... left absolutely no impression

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 20:15 (two years ago) link

sanpaku you may have misunderstood the bechtel test, considering portman's only apparent motivation is figuring out what happened to her man

the late great, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 20:58 (two years ago) link

dykes to watch out fort

sans lep (sic), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 22:39 (two years ago) link

sic did u make it to Fun Home the musical when it went up here? I saw it on Broadway and liked it quite a bit

Norm’s Superego (silby), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 22:43 (two years ago) link

ehhh, I think Portman's character goes on the expedition as a sort of penance. Not strictly for her infidelity, but there's something inherently broken with her life. not that I'm pulling that out of thin air, it's pretty much spelled out

I appreciated this a lot more than others here, but perhaps because the openness in the plot worked for me -- it's a group that's looking for answers and the area they go into seems purpose-made to dissect the sense of self

mh, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 22:52 (two years ago) link

I assume you mean Funt Home, the bioplay about the loveable Candid Camera creator

sans lep (sic), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 22:58 (two years ago) link

xp: The Bechtel test criterion, as I understand it, is is simply that two women talk about something other than a man. That so few movies pass even this minimal test is an indictment of the film industry.

Whether Portman's character is motivated by the disappearance of Issac's character doesn't really enter into it.

dancing the Radioactive Flesh (Sanpaku), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 23:12 (two years ago) link

it’s called the bechdel test, folks

“I'm the sexy gorilla and I'm going to hell“ (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 23:17 (two years ago) link

Is this the test to determine whether a particular movie has the right ratio of white roux and milk?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 23:25 (two years ago) link

Sorry, not the most important "bechXel" in my life experience. Also, I'll blame muscle memory for all my sins.

dancing the Radioactive Flesh (Sanpaku), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 23:31 (two years ago) link

I believe thats the color the company wants to leave the seas with...

dancing the Radioactive Flesh (Sanpaku), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 23:32 (two years ago) link

Fun Home is great but left me a bawling mess

fuck the NRA (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 23:59 (two years ago) link

oh yeah sorry too many nights studying at (the same) bechtel hall

the late great, Thursday, 24 January 2019 00:56 (two years ago) link

six months pass...

haven't read books

really liked this, would happily fight most of ye about it tomorrow.

ito ex machina, arrival, this comparisons they were all good-to-great tbh

thought themes/metaphors were obvious and done very plainly, but more than reasonably deftly. maybe a long time since i found a 'do u see' message within a psychological/fantasy refreshing and resonant as opposed to being a showy frustrating reveal

portman is a bad actress tho this is true

phil neville jacket (darraghmac), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 00:49 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

good book that was screaming to be turned into a movie.

now that I've read the book I find this sentiment baffling. Like Naked Lunch or Crash or The Story of Your Life, I feel the opposite - that it's screaming *not* to be made into a movie. so much internalized narrative, with a fixation on the inaccuracy of perceptions/senses, and the non-linear structure (ok I guess you could just jump-cut between a lot of flashbacks but...)

The book is way better, obviously.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 26 September 2019 20:31 (one year ago) link

I just watched this yesterday since I really liked the books. I wish someone had pushed the novel into the hands of David Lynch, as I feel he would have accurately translated what I liked about the novel: identities slipping away, the detached tone of the narration, the increasing strangeness of Area X (not just visually, but the off-ness of even the mundane parts of the environment). Maybe would have been better as a high budget tv series, where it could linger awhile.

blatherskite, Thursday, 26 September 2019 21:19 (one year ago) link

I just don't think film is the ideal medium for unreliable-narrator-syndrome type narratives

Οὖτις, Thursday, 26 September 2019 21:24 (one year ago) link

I'm trying to think of film examples where it's done successfully but usually they involve dumb gotcha/reveal endings (Usual Suspects, Fight Club, etc.)

Οὖτις, Thursday, 26 September 2019 21:26 (one year ago) link

Not a huge Vandermeer fan, but I was pleased by this today:

Wow. Nice one, Dan Simmons. What a jerk.

— Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer) September 25, 2019

Our generation of speculative fiction fans really need to view past generations of right-wing anti-environment sci-fi authors with a critical eye.

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Thursday, 26 September 2019 21:57 (one year ago) link

didn't realize simmons was a right wing loon. that's ok though because i could barely finish Hyperion and it's sequel and decided he is not for me.

akm, Thursday, 26 September 2019 23:00 (one year ago) link

apparently he’s always personally been an asshole but was of many who ramped it up and took it public after 2001

mh, Friday, 27 September 2019 02:19 (one year ago) link

Loved Hyperion/Endymion and some of his other books even though he's a right wing loon.

Flashback however is fucking abysmal and the one where his shitty views are on prominent display.

groovypanda, Friday, 27 September 2019 09:06 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Needing some distraction from the news, so I'm watching Annihilation again...geez, why does it start out like Arrival, fer fuck's sake...?!?

— Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer) January 4, 2020

Personally, I think the director had things he wanted to address that included Stalker and my book was just a convenient vehicle for that. Which created complications for me, given my book is not at all influenced by Stalker/Roadside Picnic.

— Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer) January 4, 2020

Number None, Saturday, 4 January 2020 10:10 (one year ago) link

that first tweet is a thread

Number None, Saturday, 4 January 2020 10:10 (one year ago) link

not sure if serious

wasdnuos (abanana), Saturday, 4 January 2020 17:29 (one year ago) link

no, it’s definitely a thread

hot nuts (small) (bizarro gazzara), Saturday, 4 January 2020 17:34 (one year ago) link

New show from Alex Garland. Pretty sure I'll be watching this:

DJI, Friday, 10 January 2020 01:44 (one year ago) link

"(Playback ID: 7MsQp_v670f9y-sv)" is an episode of Mr Robot iirc

don't care didn't ask still clappin (sic), Friday, 10 January 2020 04:22 (one year ago) link

groovypanda, Friday, 10 January 2020 07:42 (one year ago) link

interesting cast. dunno about longform fiction from this guy tho'.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 10 January 2020 20:08 (one year ago) link

maybe it's fine in context but characters who say "nothing ever happens without a reason" (more usually "everything happens for a reason") and writers who write those characters can, unless the character is obviously meant to be a grade A idiot, fuck right off.

the next line "everything is determined by something prior" - reasons are not causes.

Paperbag raita (ledge), Friday, 10 January 2020 21:46 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

any talk about his new show Devs? just starting it

just sayin, Saturday, 14 March 2020 08:35 (one year ago) link

“ my book is not at all influenced by Stalker/Roadside Picnic.”

sure brah

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Saturday, 14 March 2020 09:16 (one year ago) link

yeah, the cancer without radiation is taken directly from roadside picnic.

wasdnuos (abanana), Saturday, 14 March 2020 09:32 (one year ago) link

Devs is getting a little more interesting. It feels like a cross between Ex Machina and a few others, with a slow roll-out

mh, Saturday, 14 March 2020 15:06 (one year ago) link

I’m really digging Devs. The camera work is gorgeous, and I think some of it is shot at UCSC. Don’t want to spoil anything though.

DJI, Saturday, 14 March 2020 15:27 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

We just binge watched the first 5 episodes of Devs, and it's pretty good, yeah. Some of the themes feel maybe a bit too well-trodden in sci-fi, but the look and sound of the show is consistently great, Salisbury and Barrow have done as great a job with the music as with Annihilation. And some of the visual details they've put into creating an eccentric tech geek's paradise are neat, love those ring lights around the trees, and the Dev team headquarters look amazing.

Tuomas, Saturday, 28 March 2020 21:51 (one year ago) link

no idea what Devs is but maybe it should have its own spoilers thread so ppl idly scrolling thru here don't get them...

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 29 March 2020 00:20 (one year ago) link

I’d be down for a thread

It’s a new show on FX/Hulu from Alex Garland fyi

mh, Sunday, 29 March 2020 00:41 (one year ago) link

Devs is an eight-part miniseries created, written and directed by Garland, currently airing weekly, that I'd intended to start until the spoilers above.

Dollarmite Is My Name (sic), Sunday, 29 March 2020 00:42 (one year ago) link


Dollarmite Is My Name (sic), Sunday, 29 March 2020 00:43 (one year ago) link

Sorry about that, though the stuff we discussed happens in the second episode, and it's not really a big spoiler regarding the main plot... Like I said, this is not really a mystery show, they show they cards almost right from the start.

Tuomas, Sunday, 29 March 2020 08:55 (one year ago) link

I'll start a new thread and ask the mods to delete the spoiler posts.

Tuomas, Sunday, 29 March 2020 08:56 (one year ago) link

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