Blade Runner (1982) posterIn a dark and depressing Los Angeles future, former cop Rick Deckard is a “blade runner.” These blade runners have one assignment, to terminate “replicants”, advanced androids that look like real humans. Deckard’s one last assignment is to terminate a group of replicants that committed a bloody mutiny in an off-world colony and now hide in the city. While locating the replicants, Deckard meets Rachel, an advanced replicant, and makes him question his own identity and motives in this dark world.

Back in my hometown during college, I frequented a local video-renting shop and usually “borrowed” science fiction films. Because of the Internet, my interest in science fiction grew, and I discovered that some of those films were adapted from science fiction novels. One of those authors with works adapted into films I have already watched is Philip K. Dick. I have already watched Total Recall (1990), Minority Report (2002), Paycheck (2003), and The Adjustment Bureau (2011). Surprisingly, I haven’t watched the first one: Blade Runner (1982). Since the sequel Blade Runner 2049 (2017) is on its second week (or probably third) run in Philippine cinemas, I have to rectify that.

Wikipedia summary:

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The script was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. It is a loose adaptation of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

I chucked when it was revealed that this film is set in Los Angeles in 2019. There is an announcement about living in off-world colonies, and there are flying cars. It will not be possible to attain those within two years. To make this acceptable in my head, I set this move in a parallel world instead.

Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner (1982)

The movie’s overall feel reminded me of Dark City (1998) and Minority Report (2002). I just discovered this is called tech noir, a blend of film noir and futuristic sci-fi.

As this is my first viewing of the film, I don’t have much opinion. Another viewing might help in the near future.

A line from Rachel, the advanced replicant, stayed with me:

That Voight-Kampf test of yours. Have you ever tried to take that test yourself?


This line suggests that we might never be sure if someone is replicant.

Quick rating: I like it. (3 out of 5 stars)

I also put Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? on my reading pile.

What’s next: I hope to catch Blade Runner 2049 (2017) in the cinema.


In 2013, I put on my reading resolution to read science fiction classics. Finally, I am picking up The Time Machine for my weekend read. This book also fits my recent trend of time travel-related shows, films, and prose.

The Time Machine (1895) TN

The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells
First published 1895
Published May 2011 by Atria Books
ISBN 978-1-4516-5886-6

The Time Traveler, a dreamer obsessed with traveling through time, builds himself a time machine and, much to his surprise, travels over 800,000 years into the future. He lands in the year 802701: the world has been transformed by a society living in apparent harmony and bliss, but as the Traveler stays in the future he discovers a hidden barbaric and depraved subterranean class. Wells’s transparent commentary on the capitalist society was an instant bestseller and launched the time-travel genre.

This may be source material for all the time-travel stories I read or watched. This was also adapted in films multiple times. The one that I watched was The Time Machine (2002). I can now see why the original material is short. The film has to add more material to flesh out scenes and add characters. While I can see the enthusiasm of the Time Traveler, which was unnamed in the book, almost all characters are unrelatable. The story uses the first person point of view, with which the point of view character is not the Time Traveler. Because of this, the Time Traveler narrated his adventures instead, and Wells used this to inject his social commentaries. I prefer “show,” not “tell”. And I like my commentaries subtle, not out there.

Overall, I still liked this book. I will continue reading classics.

Quick rating: 🌕🌕🌕 3 out of 5. (I like it.)


Source Code (2011) TNI think I just made a rewatch-and-review category for my blog. For my second post, I rewatched Source Code, a 2011 science fiction thriller directed by Duncan Jones and starring Jake Gyllenhaal. I first watched this with my Mandaluyong housemates on my birthday weekend. The film contains science fiction themes (or reminiscent of themes) that I liked: time travel, time loops, time viewing, alternate history, and parallel universes. I was one happy birthday boy.

Army Captain Colter (Gyllenhaal) finds himself disoriented on the train, and eight minutes later, the train explodes. It turns out that Colter just relieved the last minutes of a train explosion victim, and he is on a mission under the supervision of an agency to find out who caused the explosion. He then repeats the process until the task is complete. Will he complete his mission in time when every minute counts?

Spoilers ahead.

I was reminded of various science fiction works when I first saw this, and this recent rewatch. The relieving of another consciousness reminds me of the television series Quantum Leap (1989-1993), including the mirror effect. While the time loop effect is reminiscent of Groundhog Day (1993), the film’s main plot is reminiscent of the television series Seven Days (1998-2001).

Scene from Source Code (2011) TN.jpg

My recent rewatch clarified questions that lingered when I first saw this film in 2011. That Colter is inhabiting the body of Sean Fentress (the explosion victim) of an alternate timeline. The “Source Code” uses the input from Fentress’s memories to access a similar alternate timeline that branched off. This reminds me of my recent read, Dark Matter.

What would you do if you were given a second chance? In this movie, Colter is allowed to speak with his father even if he can’t say his actual situation. I find this touching.

Colter Stevens: Christina, what would you do if you knew you had less than one minute to live?

Christina Warren: I’d make those seconds count.

Quick rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗 4.5 out of 5. (I very much loved this.)

Next on “Rewatch and Review”: Looper (2012).

The Butterfly Effect (2004) TNContinuing my alternate timelines streak, I rewatched The Butterfly Effect, a 2004 psychological thriller supernatural fiction movie by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart.

Evan Treborn, a college student, discovered he could time travel when he read journal entries around the time he had blackouts during childhood. But when he makes slight changes during his time travel, it causes a massive change in his present, for the better or worse. Each huge difference also damages his brain, which might prevent him from traveling further. Can he make his life or those around him for the better?

Spoilers ahead.

Let me quote the article from Wikipedia: The butterfly effect is a concept that states, “small causes can have larger effects.” This is a staple on all-time travel or alternate timeline stories I encounter. I also like this kind of story; it makes me think of “what if” and its repercussions. Every small change must be considered, but sometimes, it is not feasible because of too many variables. When the main character, Evan, travels, he does not think things through. I know that he only has a small amount of time to affect the change, but, come on, when he decides to re-do things, he does so impulsively, thus affecting an even worse scenario. (“Affected much?”)

The Butterfly Effect (2004) cast TN

I realized I was watching the director’s cut when I rewatched this. It contains extra scenes and a different ending from the theatrical edition that I initially watched more than a decade ago. I preferred the end on this cut. Not every movie should always have a feel-good ending.

Quick rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌗 (3.5 out of 5 stars. I very much like it.)

What’s next? I might rewatch Source Code (2011). More time travel!


ASIN-B01096BO90-TN.jpgI always read more than a book at a time. Lately, I have not been satisfied with alternating between two long (longish?) books, so I’ll try reading shorter works alongside longer ones instead. This week, I picked The Disappearing Client, the first episode of Spirelli Paranormal Investigations, an urban paranormal series by Kate Baray, first published in 2015.

The story opens with Jack Spirelli, a junk shop owner who has soft-launched his investigating agency. He is human but connected to the magic-using community and the Inter-Pack Policing Cooperative that gives him gigs. He floated the idea of hiring an assistant investigator, and along came Marin, a human slash dragon, applying for the job. After she was hired, off they go for their first job together. Their supposed bodyguarding job was changed to search and rescue when their client was nowhere to be found. What happened to her, and could they find her in time?

Paranormal investigators, of course, remind me of the Harry Dresden series. The “episode” format fits because this is short, and like police procedurals on TV, the main story is self-contained. The character stories, I hope, might continue with the series as I am interested in revisiting the characters.

Quick rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌕 (4 out of 5. I very much liked it.)

ISBN-1101904240-COVERI was introduced to the concept of the multiverse and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics through the television series Sliders (1995-2000). In the series, we met four travelers traversing the seemingly unlimited worlds of the multiverse and trying to get back home. I found the concept intriguing, and when a story touches upon parallel worlds, I grab it and watch or read it (as evidenced by my last book review). But this review is not for Sliders (I will post reviews of its episodes when I start my rewatch.), this is a review for Dark Matter, a 2016 science fiction-thriller book by Blake Crouch, which, like Sliders, features the multiverse.

The book revolves around Jason Dessen, a college physics professor, a husband, and a father. He was abducted one night and then woke up and found out that he was now a famous scientist, just like he always dreamed, but he was not married to his wife, and his son had never been born. Realizing that this is not his world, he will find a way to get home to his wife and son by passing through world after world.

I liked the pace of the story. Though this is a science fiction book, you need not know the complexity of quantum mechanics and neurology to follow the plot, although I appreciated the well-placed info dumps. There is also a romantic aspect to it by way of Jason’s love for his wife, Daniela, and this love fuels Jason’s desire to get home. I found the scenes on their romance a bit off—just a bit.

In this next section, I might get to spoil something (but not the book’s ending).

The many-worlds interpretation implies that all possible alternate histories are real, each realized in their world in their corner of the multiverse.

It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches off into a new world.

In this book, the alternate world branched off fifteen years ago when Jason decided to continue the relationship and build a family with Daniela or continue his work as a scientist and make a breakthrough. I always play the “What if” game: what if I did this? What if that happened? At the end of the game, I always tell myself, at least somewhere in the multiverse, that a version of me will get what he wants. In life, there are no do-overs – there are no time machines, yet — but it is harmless to dream once in a while.

I liked how the central conflict of the book was written. I was surprised because I haven’t seen the branching of worlds affecting the main character in other multiverse stories.

Quick rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗 (4.5 out of 5; I very much loved it.)


A Darker Shade of Magic - CoverI am fascinated with the many worlds concept both in theoretical physics and fictional worlds. To read recently released paperback books (I usually buy used books released years ago), I picked up A Darker Shade of Magic. I wanted to know how the concept of parallel worlds is used in a fantasy setting. Previously, I read fantasy stories with only two worlds, the mundane and the magical. Now I get to read four worlds in one.

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first of a trilogy written by V.E. Schwab. This is my first book from her. This book was first released in 2015.

This is the story of Kell, one of the few remaining Antari. They are magicians that can traverse in between worlds. There are four worlds with one thing in common: all have a city named London. These Londons are designated by color: Gray, Red, White, and Black. Kell is from Red London. He grew up with the royal family but was not a part of it. He considers Prince Rhy, his brother. Officially, Kell is the ambassador to the White and Gray London. (Traveling to the Black London is forbidden.) Unofficially, he is a smuggler for items only found in other Londons. One day, he came across a dangerous artifact that, in the wrong hand, could be used to destroy the walls separating the Londons. He crosses paths with Lila, the pickpocket from Gray London, and together, they set things the right way.

A Darker Shade of Magic - Photo

Kell is the best-written character. Other characters, including the antagonists, are not as much. I liked how the differences of the Londons were written. I, as the reader, can easily tell which London is which. The plot lines are tied in the end. I can end reading now or pick up the next books.

I recommend this book for those who like to mix and match their genres. I haven’t read the blurbs of the next books, but I will pick them up, but not anytime soon.

Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌙

Next in the Shades of Magic series:


Kong Skull Island (poster)After the Vietnam War in a remote South Pacific island, a team of explorers attempted to discover the island’s geology by dropping bombs. The island’s resident, a giant ape named Kong, halted their exploration. Is Kong a menace to the world to be stopped at all costs? Is this just the beginning?


As with the previous movie I watched, I came in blind. I did not bother to do some digging on what this movie is about other than this is a remake of the classic King Kong movies. So, I will discuss it as it is.

As a science fiction fan, I expected science to be at least plausible. Well, it is not. The “science” presented here is Hollow Earth, which is, eh? I wanted to know why Kong got so big and why he was on an island surrounded by electrical storms. But no scientific “explanation” was given, so I considered this fantasy instead.

Kong Skull Island (characters)

I did not sympathize with any human characters, except for World War 2 pilot Hank Marlow, played by John C. Reilly, who was stranded on the island. His story was resolved in a mid-credits extra scene. The cast includes Tom Hiddleston playing the tracker James Conrad and Brie Larson playing photojournalist Mason Weaver. Their backstories did not resonate with me. Also, Samuel L. Jackson plays Lt. Preston Packard, the movie’s explorers’ military escort leader. He is so obsessed with war that he is an annoying character. The other characters, sad to say, are not memorable to me.

The movie’s star is, of course, Kong, the giant ape. I haven’t seen the other recent big monster movies to make a comparison. I must rectify that. I liked how it was animated, especially the fight scenes like Kong against the humans in helicopters and against other giant creatures. As always, Kong is fascinated with a female human and saves Brie Larson’s character at one point in this movie.

The plot is light, so it is a good movie to pass the time. I was informed that I should watch extra end-credit scenes. In this bonus scene, it was presented that this movie and Godzilla (2014) may be set in a “cinematic universe” ala Marvel.

In short:

Kong Skull Island (quick review).jpg


“This planet doesn’t belong to us. Ancient species owned this earth long before humanity. I spent 30 years trying to prove the truth: monsters exist.” – Bill Randa (John Goodman)

As of posting time, Kong: Skull Island is still showing in Philippine cinemas.


Logan (2017) movie posterLogan, a member of the X-Men, is a limousine driver earning money to support himself and the ailing nonagenarian Professor Charles Xavier. In a world where mutants seem to be extinct, Logan now has diminished healing ability, and the adamantium in his body is slowly poisoning him. He met a woman and a little girl asking for help transporting them to North Dakota. She said a group was following them and wanted the girl. Who is this girl, and what would be Logan’s role in the future of mutantkind?


I will try not to spoil that much. You’ve been warned.

I actively ignored all spoilers and trailers, so I came to the cinema expecting this to be a continuation of the X-Men franchise. I was initially disoriented because it was set years after the X-Men/Wolverine/Deadpool movies, with no direct mentions of those films in the first few minutes of this movie. I ignored everything and considered this a stand-alone movie in a parallel [fictional] universe. I enjoyed the movie after that.

The familiar character we have here is the titular character Logan, played by Hugh Jackman. In numerous interviews, he said this would be his last portrayal as Wolverine. After watching the movie, if this would be his last, it would be the end of an era. In this movie, Logan has a diminished healing ability. Because of that, his age is now showing; he became sluggish, and his claws prop out on command. Clearly, the adamantium is slowly poisoning him.

Sir Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Professor Charles Xavier. In this movie, he has a degenerative neurological condition. He frequently has seizures with a disastrous effect on everyone around him. Imagine the world’s most powerful mind is sick? You get the picture.

Also in this movie is Caliban, a mutant tracker sensitive to light, played by Stephen Merchant. We last saw Caliban in X-Men: Apocalypse but with a different actor.

New in this movie is Laura, played by Dafne Keen. She is designated X-23 by a sinister group that turns mutants into weapons. This group wanted her and the rest of the escaped children back.

Logan (2017) movie still.jpg

Cinemas might classify this as an action film, but it is not, for me, at least. Sure, it has action sequences, but this is a drama piece. While I like those sequences, I loved the drama presented. The interaction of Logan, Laura, and Charles tugged my heartstrings. The revelation of what happened to the X-Men is thought-provoking. Then, the events towards the end. I will not spoil it.

Some say that this movie is based on the comic book story “Old Man Logan“. Well, the similarity is that Logan is old. This movie is more in line with the origin story of X-23.

With the success of this movie and Deadpool and the lukewarm reception of the other recent X-Men movies, I am not entirely sure how the X-Men movies should continue. I am still hoping that this franchise will find its way.

X-fan forever.

In short


“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.” –Logan


rogue-one-2016-posterIt was the early years of the conflict between the evil Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance. The Empire captured scientist Galen Erso when his wife was killed while his little daughter, Jyn Erso, escaped. Little girl Jyn was then rescued by her father’s friend Saw Gerrera. After many years, adult Jyn was contacted by the Rebel Alliance to seek out her Saw to help locate her father after the Alliance learned of a super weapon, the Death Star, created by Galen for the Empire. Will Jyn and her crew of rebels can find a way to stop this super weapon?


This post will not contain spoilers. More or less.

I am not exposed to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, so I found this movie refreshing. Yes, a movie not featuring a Skywalker as the main character. After watching this movie, I see what Disney is doing: an expansion of Star Wars into a “cinematic universe,” just like what they are doing with the Marvel movies. Even if it is not part of the main line Star Wars movies (this is not Part 8 for those keeping score), this movie dramatizes one key background event before Star Wars IV: A New Hope and events on Rogue One explain the actions in the original trilogy.


Rogue One follows the story of Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones (Inferno). Her character starts from indifference to the Rebel Alliance to, in the end, joined by a band of rebels to find a way to destroy the Death Star. Her father is played by Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange). The Erson family drama is not as big as the Skywalker family drama, but it gives the emotional grounding of the film. She was joined by Captain Cassian Andor played by Diego Luna (Elysium), and the reprogrammed droid K-2SO, played by Alan Tudyk (Firefly). K-2SO is the comic relief character of the movie. I loved his one-liners! Also in the group is Chirrut Îmwe, played by Donnie Yen (Ip Man). Îmwe is a blind man with martial arts skills who believes he is one with the Force, though not a Jedi. But is he really? Îmwe is always protected by Baze Malbus, played by Wen Jiang. The technical person of the group is pilot and Empire defector Bodhi Rook, played by Riz Ahmed (Jason Bourne).

One does not need to know everything in the Star Wars movie to pick up what is happening in this film.  The movie has a solid story that can be stand-alone or as a prequel to A New Hope. I liked the scene where they are trying to get the plans of the Death Star and transmit them to the Rebellion. And, of course, the space battle scenes! A Star Wars film is incomplete without it. While much of the backstories of each character are not stated in the film, what we see in the movie is enough to give the story depth.

This is a stand-alone film in the universe of Star Wars, and I will definitely miss these characters. If or when Disney releases books based on these characters, I will dip my toes in the Expanded Universe. In the near future, I might also re-watch the original trilogy, as some characters made a cameo in this film.

In short:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is still showing in Philippine cinemas. This will — there is a high probability, crossing fingers — return to cinemas after the MMFF season.


“We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope!” –Jyn Erso