“It’s making something new.” So says biologist Lena (Natalie Portman) about the alien infestation occupying an area of coastal swampland in Annihilation. ‘Something new’ is exactly what writer-director Alex Garland has delivered, in his adaptation of the acclaimed science fiction novel by Jeff Vandermeer. I read the novel a few years ago, shortly after it … Continue reading Annihilation

“Alien: Covenant” Crew Remembers “Alien”

While researching my upcoming Cinefex article on Alien: Covenant, I spoke at length with supervisors in the visual effects, creature effects, and special effects departments. At the end of each interview, I asked everyone the same question: “What are your memories of seeing the original Alien for the first time?” As a long-time fan of the … Continue reading “Alien: Covenant” Crew Remembers “Alien”

The Picture Strikes Back

Rummaging through the attic, I came across this half-finished painting. I started it in 1983, but despite an initial youth-fueled burst of enthusiasm, never summoned the energy to complete the damn thing. If you're a movie buff or science fiction fan, you'll see immediately that it's a hodge-podge of ships and characters from popular films including Star Wars, Blade Runner, … Continue reading The Picture Strikes Back

Wasteland Transaction

This sketch is called Wasteland Transaction, but I've no idea what the transaction actually involves. Is the woman who's rolled up in the crazy off-road vehicle handing something up to the guy in the post-apocalyptic lookout post? Or is he handing something down to her? What exactly does that ornate-looking box contain anyway? I don't know, but I have narrowed it down … Continue reading Wasteland Transaction

Lana in Orbit

Sometimes when you sketch you screw things up. This was meant to be a drawing of a ship called Liana, which features in a half-abandoned manuscript that's currently gathering dust on my hard drive. Just before finishing the sketch, I decided to print the name of the ship on those pod-like things running down the side, … Continue reading Lana in Orbit

“Alien Outpost” – Cinefex Blog

This month on the Cinefex blog, I interviewed filmmaker Jabbar Raisani about his feature directorial debut, the low-budget sci-fi thriller Alien Outpost. Filmed in South Africa on a budget of under $5 million, the movie is a mock military documentary chronicling the fortunes of a squad of near-future soldiers as they mop up the planet … Continue reading “Alien Outpost” – Cinefex Blog

Interstellar – Film Review

Make no mistake, Interstellar is a big film. Big ideas, big images, big heart, all driven by the big ambitions of writer/director Christopher Nolan. Interstellar takes what might, in the hands of a lesser filmmaker, have been a too-familiar series of science fiction tropes (doomed Earth, maverick ex-pilot, the perils and wonders of space) and … Continue reading Interstellar – Film Review

Doctor Who – Behind the Scenes on the Cinefex Blog

You can always rely on Doctor Who to serve up ambitious special effects. So far this season, the long-running BBC TV show has featured clockwork robots, running space battles, a telepathic alien and a 200-foot T-Rex rampaging through Victorian London. I recently went behind the scenes on Doctor Who for the Cinefex blog, to talk … Continue reading Doctor Who – Behind the Scenes on the Cinefex Blog

The VFX of “Snowpiercer” – Cinefex Blog

Just published on the Cinefex blog is my Q&A with Eric Durst, Visual Effects Supervisor on Snowpiercer. In this science fiction film directed by Bong Joon-ho, a giant train circles an ice-locked, post-apocalyptic Earth on endless tracks. Its carriages contain a highly stratified society of survivors, from the working classes at the rear to the … Continue reading The VFX of “Snowpiercer” – Cinefex Blog

Birotech – “Limb”

Here's another of my Birotech doodles. Why "Birotech"? Because I draw them with a Bic biro. It's called "Limb" for no other reason than that it looks like some kind of robot arm. Maybe. The truth is I've no idea what it is, any more than I knew what my previous drawing in this series … Continue reading Birotech – “Limb”