A SCANNER DARKLY

New movies! Old movies! B-movies! Discuss discuss discuss!!!

With 10 being the best and 1 being the worst, how would you rate A Scanner Darkly?

10
1
17%
9
2
33%
8
3
50%
7
0
No votes
6
0
No votes
5
0
No votes
4
0
No votes
3
0
No votes
2
0
No votes
1
0
No votes
I Will Not Be Seeing This (aka MiltonWaddams option)
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 6

Postby Moriarty on Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:51 am

MiltonWaddams wrote:The trailer does look cool, it's just a vectorizer mixed with new school animation, but it's effective. Will it be good? Based off of Richard Linklater's track record of making nothing but some of the worst movies ever, I'm undecided.


Simply on behalf of BEFORE SUNRISE, BEFORE SUNSET, and DAZED & CONFUSED, I feel required to slap you with my naughty parts. Real, real hard.
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Postby MiltonWaddams on Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:19 am

Moriarty wrote:
MiltonWaddams wrote:The trailer does look cool, it's just a vectorizer mixed with new school animation, but it's effective. Will it be good? Based off of Richard Linklater's track record of making nothing but some of the worst movies ever, I'm undecided.


Simply on behalf of BEFORE SUNRISE, BEFORE SUNSET, and DAZED & CONFUSED, I feel required to slap you with my naughty parts. Real, real hard.


Linklater making good movies? I seriously doubt that, sir. But this is America, and I would die for your right to make outrageous claims.

Also, I don't ever remember Keanu destroying a conceptual sci-fi movie before. :roll:

That's my first emoticon.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:34 am

is it possible to slap someone with your taint?
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Postby DennisMM on Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:44 am

keepcoolbutcare wrote:is it possible to slap someone with your taint?


Only if you drop your groin onto them very quickly. Taint don't swing.
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Postby Cabiria on Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:29 am

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Postby buster00 on Sun Feb 19, 2006 5:13 am

MiltonWaddams wrote:That's my first emoticon.


It felt GOOD, didn't it, Milton?

Linklater is very hit-and-miss with me. I love Dazed and Confuzed, School of Rock, and CAN'T WAIT for A Scanner Darkly...but I've always thought Slacker was a bit windy and overrated, Waking Life put me to sleep, and who knows WHY the hell you remake The Bad News Bears.

I haven't seen either one, but my girlfriend really likes Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, for what that's worth. Having read Fast Food Nation, I'm interested to see how he's planning to direct the adaptation (presuming he's still involved with that).
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Postby Tubbs Tattsyrup on Sun Feb 19, 2006 5:27 am

Fuc.

King.

A!!!


Looks like a great adaptation of the book (hooray! A good Dick adaptation that's totally true to the story! I know Blade Runner was a good film but it missed out the whole Mercerism thing, which was key to the book IMO), and a great film. Love the "look", good cast (apart from Keanu, maybe)...can't fucking wait. Time for a new sig, I think.

MiltonWaddams wrote:The trailer does look cool, it's just a vectorizer mixed with new school animation...


It's not "just a vectoriser". They have animators working fucking non-stop on this. All animation is done by hand to give it a kind of other-worldly, tripped-out feel. Or at least that's what I gleaned from the Comiccon reports from last year.

Now we just need an adaptation of Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch...someone on IMDB said that book was like "an acid trip tripping on acid", which is true.
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Postby TonyWilson on Sun Feb 19, 2006 5:41 am

OH MAMA, that was brilliant. Whatever that syle of animation is, it's stunning. I think this trumps Miami Vice to third most anticipated film of the year.
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Postby Nachokoolaid on Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:39 am

Looked pretty cool. I might check it out. I liked the eyeball guy.
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Postby WinslowLeach on Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:11 pm

This film looks awesome!!! I'm definitely going to go see it. I love the look of it and I'm a big fan of Phillip Dick's work. Count me IN!
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:24 pm

so is there a trailer that has sound included? the link i clicked on lacks this important element.
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Postby magicmonkey on Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:04 pm

The trailer as advertised on the main site is still up and running. It had sound last time I checked.

Looks nice too, real nice. Don't do drugs kids!
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:21 pm

Looks neato. Although it appears they've changed the whole MARS thing.
Didn't this story originally take place on MARS? Not that it really matters...

I would love if somebody took it upon themselves to do a biographical
film about PKDick. This film should focus primarily on the Gnostic
Christianity induced psychotic break he had while addicted to pain killers
in which he became convinced that we were all actually living in ROME
and that the modern world around us was an illusion...

He learned this because a girl came to his door with a Jesus fish symbol
on her shirt. When he was talking to her, God shot a pink laser into his
eyeball and made him know the truth of the universe.

He actually believed this was true. Really, really true.

No doubt PKDick was brilliant, but he was also completely insane.
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Postby Bob Samonkey on Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:26 pm

I am not a big fan of Linklater but I really like this book. Hope it all goes well. It looks good.
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Postby MiltonWaddams on Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:27 pm

Tubbs Tattsyrup wrote:
MiltonWaddams wrote:The trailer does look cool, it's just a vectorizer mixed with new school animation...


It's not "just a vectoriser". They have animators working fucking non-stop on this. All animation is done by hand to give it a kind of other-worldly, tripped-out feel. Or at least that's what I gleaned from the Comiccon reports from last year.


I'd bet a huge chunk of money that they had a vectorizing/toon shading program on hand for every single frame. I'm sure they tweaked some of the frames by hand for extra color, lines, etc etc, but yeah..

edit: I'm not shitting on them, I'm sure they put a phenomenal amount of work into this movie. It just doesn't make any sense to NOT use a vectorizer and then produce a movie with frames that look like they were.. ran through a vectorizer. Why wouldn't they use the best tools to their advantage? If they would have done the thing with rotoscoping, it would have looked a LOT clunkier (waking life).
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:56 am

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gotta love that "Everything is not going to be ok" line...
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Postby buster00 on Mon Feb 20, 2006 5:28 am

From the movie's Wiki entry --

"A Scanner Darkly was filmed digitally and then rotoscoped and animated with Rotoshop, a proprietary graphics editing program created by Bob Sabiston. Rotoshop uses an animation technique called interpolated rotoscoping, and was used previously in Linklater's film Waking Life. Rotoscoping in traditional cel animation originally involved tracing over film, frame-by-frame. This is similar in some respects to the rotoscope style of 1970s filmmaker Ralph Bakshi. Rotoshop animation, however, makes use of vector keyframes, and interpolates the in-between frames automatically."

Hope that helps clear things up a bit. As an aside, A Scanner Darkly makes Bakshi's rotoscope experiments look like watery dogshit. Have you ever seen American Pop? It's worth fuckin' NOTHING. To be fair, of course, Bakshi didn't have this technology going in his favor at the time.
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Postby Tubbs Tattsyrup on Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:05 am

I love that the first name on the poster is that of Philip K. Dick. I don't love that Winona seems to be strangely photographic-looking (as opposed to Linklater-Toon mode).
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Postby brainiac on Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:47 am

Winona can't help it -- she's just drawn that way. :?
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Postby doglips on Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:29 am

That is the best one sheet I have seen for a long while.
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Postby Peven on Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:39 am

i like the trailer, but that animation effect is already being used for a tv commercial campaign for a financial services company (i forget the co's name)and it has been running for the last month or so, i mean the exact same look as is being used in this movie. for those who are fans of the source material it probably doesn't matter a bit, but for joe public, when they see the teaser/trailer/poster i think they may not respond as well; a "that looks just like that insurance commercial" kind of reaction.
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Postby doglips on Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:53 am

The new trailer is mental!

This HAS to be a Zoner meet-up movie........
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:29 am

thedoglippedone wrote:The new trailer is mental!

This HAS to be a Zoner meet-up movie........


Groovy idea.

That trailer was very, very exciting. At last - something to look forward to.
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:59 pm

The first Reviews are in from some test screenings

Richard Linklater's A SCANNER DARKLY gets scanned by a few more people!!!

Not looking quite as positive as I would hope but I'm still hopeful, these are early and the reviewer of the main one seems like a deutschbag from what I read from skimming it (it's full of Spoilers)
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Postby tapehead on Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:04 am

nothing to dissuade me from wanting to see this film immediately in these reviews.. I take it rumours of a radiohead ST were greatly exaggerated?
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Postby RogueScribner on Tue Feb 28, 2006 2:23 am

2/3 of a story? That doesn't sound too encouraging.
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Postby Tubbs Tattsyrup on Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:19 am

Thing is, the story that reviewer talks about (well, the twist and ending anyway) is verbatim from the book. And in the book, the ending seemed pretty satisfying. A lot of that was the way it was written, the last couple lines being kind of ambiguous as to the mental state of Fred/Bob/etc.

It sounds as though it's a really fucking good adaptation. I cannot wait for it, and a mixed review does not dissuade me from that - particularly if its main complaint is the ending, which I thought was good in the book.

So there.

And the dude is a douchebag. (I refuse to bring the German people into that insult.)
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Postby Quint on Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:25 am

Also, those aren't the first test screening reviews. There was a screening in Houston a few months back.

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=21701

and

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=22029

I have much faith in Linklater's adaptation. Can't wait to see it.
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Postby cc2kbob on Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:15 pm

Hey, guys, we have an advance review of A Scanner Darkly up over at our site. Unfortunately, our guy didn't like it. :(

A SCANNER DARKLY: the film equivalent of downers

Admission: I’ve never read Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly. I've also never seen Waking Life, Richard Linklater's other movie done in the same animated style.

I do admit to this: I saw a studio screener of Linklater's film adaptation of A Scanner Darkly -- and I was bored.

PKD stories do not lend themselves well to the screen as it is: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Screamers. The only reason Minority Report worked was that we had the writing talents of Scott Frank (Dead Again, Malice, Get Shorty) and the Spielberg Creative Package (Spielberg, Curtis, Mimica-Gezzan, Molen, Parkes and Kaminski). Darkly tries to be as original as Blade Runner, imaginative at Total Recall and as socially poignant as Screamers. Instead, it’s as slow as Blade Runner, as predictable as Total Recall, and as shallow as Screamers.

If I have been unsuccessful in deterring you from this film, be warned that spoilers are to follow.

Click here for more ...
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Postby Palmer_eldritch7 on Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:43 am

Some odd things about your review:
"Because the drug he deals, Substance D, causes schitophrenia, Fred doesn’t realize that he’s watching himself. Or at least he’s not supposed to, as that doesn’t come across very well in the film."


Actually, Fred is aware that he is Arctor, at least at the beginning of the story; he forgets over the course of the novel. It's this mental disintrigation that provides the drama and the comedy. On top of that, it's also a meditation on identity. Now, most of this PKD accomplishes through Fred/Bob's internal monologue. That might be hard to adapt into another medium. (Unless Linklater uses a lot of voice-over)

"This movie ought to be an intricate web of deception and schizophrenia accentuated by elaborate contrasts between hard-working America and the hallucinogenic imagery of freeloading addicts."


Again in the book, and since I haven't seen the movie I don't know how Linklater handles them, but in ASD society has split in two. There are the "straights" who live in a homogenous, plastic world where consumerism is everything, and the "dopers" who are individuals who are individually killing themselves. At no point is ASD about EVIL DRUGGIES who should conform and be good citizens and consumers. Dick, in his Author's Notes, says explicitly that it is not a novel with a moral, in the sense that the dopers were somehow morally wrong to do drugs instead of being stand-up citizens.

And why exactly do you seem so set upon to make sure no one sees this flick? Aren't we allowed to make up our own minds?

P.S. I thought Minority Report sucked floppy donkey dick.
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Postby raasnio on Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:00 pm

All the more reason not to see this film, considering some of the reviews coming out. Is it just me, or does anyone else just hate the animated look of this film? They use the same thing in commercials for H&R Block, I believe.

Minority Report is one of Spielberg's best films. I think it will hold up better over time than most of them as well. Then again, I'm not a huge fan of his.
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Postby tapehead on Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:25 pm

I dont hate it, but I haven't seen the commercials and I loved it's use in 'Waking Life'. It seems apt enough too, considering the distortions of reality, paranoid delusion and delirious hallucinations that drugs sometimes bring about, and the novel's themes of Arctor/Freds' fragmenting identity. When I read it, I always tried to picture how exactly the 'flicker suits' (that might not be exactly what they are called) would appear - I think the point is that you don't notice them; this animation technique seems a cool way of achieving that - I'm really keen to see it. I will definitely be going to see this at a cinema opening week.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sun May 14, 2006 8:34 pm

Twitch has a 40sec or so clip from the film Here.

I know others will disagree, but I'm loving the look of this film.

and man, what were they on? Was that a Substance D trip, or just gettin' stoned?
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Postby Alex DeLarge on Sun May 14, 2006 10:30 pm

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:Looks neato. Although it appears they've changed the whole MARS thing.
Didn't this story originally take place on MARS? Not that it really matters...


Nah dude it takes place in California, a lot of his books have to do with Mars though so it would be easy to confuse.

I agree with the idea of making a movie about him, I just read a biography about him and he's incredibly interesting. I listed the movie as one of my dream films. Who do you think should direct it? I'm thinking Kaufman.

Anyways, I'm thinking A Scanner Darkly is gonna kick some ass.
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Postby Brocktune on Tue May 16, 2006 5:12 pm

wow.

i cant believe im the only one who saw the trailer for this, and laughed out loud.
they showed the trailer for this at the last two midnight flicks i checked out down here, and motherfuckers were clapping and shit. i was like, are they for real?
i mean "you mean the two halves of my brain.... are fighting?". that was intended to be comedy, right?
but then i find that the clamor for "a scanner darkly" crosses over into the zone as well. maybe i'm the one living in bizarro world.

buster00 wrote:As an aside, A Scanner Darkly makes Bakshi's rotoscope experiments look like watery dogshit. Have you ever seen American Pop? It's worth fuckin' NOTHING. To be fair, of course, Bakshi didn't have this technology going in his favor at the time.


whoa! huge (undeserved) slam on bakshi out of nowhere! i couldnt disagree more. to me, it makes bakshi look ahead of his time, and makes him look cooler for having done it first. (not counting snow white and the seven dwarves). thats actually one of the first things i thought of when i saw this trailer. oh sure, everyone bashes bakshi, but they are eating this up. im sure im gonna get flamed about how shitty bakshi's stuff looked compared to this flick, and all kinds of other stuff. maybe i just have a soft spot for old school hand drawn animation.
and to say that american pop is worth nothing, is an insult to one of the most important and most original animators in history. bakshi brought a permanently absent, yet long needed fuck you asthetic to animation. it may not look as slick as a scanner darkly, but im sure all of the acting talent involved with american pop could act fucking cirlcles around keanu reeves, robert brown-y jr., and winona ryder put together times a million. besides, bakshi redefines the terms "cool" and "badass" and if the two were in a bar fight, bakshi would be mopping the floor with linklater's carcass. even if he did slacker and dazed and confused (which criterion is putting out this month i believe, buy it!)

oh well, gripe over. i just couldnt understand all of the love for this flick. shit, maybe i'm the one living in bizarro world.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue May 16, 2006 5:31 pm

Brocktune wrote:wow.

i cant believe im the only one who saw the trailer for this, and laughed out loud.
they showed the trailer for this at the last two midnight flicks i checked out down here, and motherfuckers were clapping and shit. i was like, are they for real?
i mean "you mean the two halves of my brain.... are fighting?". that was intended to be comedy, right?
but then i find that the clamor for "a scanner darkly" crosses over into the zone as well. maybe i'm the one living in bizarro world.


get the quote correct, it's "the two sides of my brain...are competing?"

oh, and a drug man like yourself should dig the source material the most. I've read a lot of Dick, and it's 'prolly my fave. The drug, Substance D, splits users minds, so that scene works comedically (I think it's funny too!) and structurally. Would you have preferred the non trailer friendly
"In many of those taking Substance D, a split between the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere of the brain occurs. There is a loss of proper gestalting, which is a defect within both the precept and cognitive systems, although apparently the cognitive system appears to function normally. But what is now received from the precept system is contaminated by being split, so it too, therefore, fails to gradually function."


Read the book brock, knowing what little i do know about you, it seems right up your alley.
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Postby Brocktune on Tue May 16, 2006 6:30 pm

you may be right. after all, 9 times out of 10 the book is way better than the movie. but not having read the book, my feelings about how the movie looks still apply.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue May 16, 2006 6:32 pm

Brocktune wrote:you may be right. after all, 9 times out of 10 the book is way better than the movie. but not having read the book, my feelings about how the movie looks still apply.


point was they were most likely fans of the book and were happy to maybe, just maybe, for once, see a faithful adaptation from the beloved author's source material.

'cuz while I love Blade Runner, loved Minority Report 'til the abyssmal ending, liked Total Recallfor the popcorn fun and the slivers of Dickian ideas that made it into the film, the most faithful adaptation so far has been Screamers.

and I would think you would like the animation 'cuz it's borrows so heavily from Ralphie. Think of it as an homage, the source material lends itself to the "druggie" look of several of Bakshi's films.

Not to say you're not entitled to your own opinion, just trying to give you some reasons as to why your fellow theatergoers and people like me are so damn excited for this.

Oh, and what two midnight flicks did you check out?
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Postby buster00 on Tue May 16, 2006 6:40 pm

Brocktune wrote:whoa! huge (undeserved) slam on bakshi out of nowhere! i couldnt disagree more. to me, it makes bakshi look ahead of his time, and makes him look cooler for having done it first. (not counting snow white and the seven dwarves). thats actually one of the first things i thought of when i saw this trailer. oh sure, everyone bashes bakshi, but they are eating this up. im sure im gonna get flamed about how shitty bakshi's stuff looked compared to this flick, and all kinds of other stuff. maybe i just have a soft spot for old school hand drawn animation.
and to say that american pop is worth nothing, is an insult to one of the most important and most original animators in history. bakshi brought a permanently absent, yet long needed fuck you asthetic to animation. it may not look as slick as a scanner darkly, but im sure all of the acting talent involved with american pop could act fucking cirlcles around keanu reeves, robert brown-y jr., and winona ryder put together times a million. besides, bakshi redefines the terms "cool" and "badass" and if the two were in a bar fight, bakshi would be mopping the floor with linklater's carcass. even if he did slacker and dazed and confused (which criterion is putting out this month i believe, buy it!)


I did qualify my Bakshi slam by stating that he didn't have Scanner's technology available to him at the time. If he had, maybe American Pop (and for that matter, Wizards and his LOTR adaptation) would have held up better with age. I'm sorry, but for me, the 70's style is just painful to watch now.

I won't for one moment discount Bakshi's trendsetting influence. I still love Coonskin (AKA Street Fight -- I wish I could dig up a copy of the soundtrack!), I ADORED his "Mighty Mouse," and without Ralph Bakshi, there would be no John Kricfalusi. However, I happen to be of the opinon that Bakshi's against-the-grain spirit (on which we agree) outweighs the overall quality of his output.

Maybe it's about time for Bakshi to take another stab at it. After a whole crop of kids got weened on "Ren and Stimpy" and its ilk, perhaps The Master could have a trick or two left to show us, eh? Especially with the new tools available to keep up with his tripped-out imagination.
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Postby Brocktune on Tue May 16, 2006 7:19 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:Not to say you're not entitled to your own opinion, just trying to give you some reasons as to why your fellow theatergoers and people like me are so damn excited for this.

Oh, and what two midnight flicks did you check out?


point well taken.

last week they showed Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom (the film never appeared so flawless)
this week they did Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
so awesome.

buster - i totally grok what you are saying. sorry about going instantly into defense mode where bakshi is concerned. i just have recieved a lot of grief from lotr marks that hate his movie, which i staunchly defend. i hope what you say about him having something left for us is true. last year at comic-con, i got a sneak peek at some super early test footage from his upcoming "Last Days of Coney Island". it looked like vintage bakshi, with a splash of modernity. he talked extensively about his thoughts and feelings on cg stuff. it looks like the new flick will be an interesting combination of the two.
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Postby Flumm on Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:10 pm

A very mixed review up at joblo...

[quote]PLOT-CRUNCH:

Orange County, the future, Big Brother is watching everybody. Junkie Bob Arctor (Reeves) is hired by the government to spy on his naggy drugged fiend friends who won’t stop talking or/and going paranoid. Eu????

THE LOWDOWN:

Although I've loved many of Writer/Director Richard Linklater’s previous films (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, Tape, Before Sunset) I can’t that say that I was too pumped for A Scanner Darkly. His last “drawn over real peopleâ€
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Jul 08, 2006 5:21 pm

this is a repost from another thread, nothing new here.

J. Hoberman's gushing review...

Brain Candy
Richard Linklater's literate Dick adaptation is a brain-bending D-light

Stoned babble and decomposing reality, A Scanner Darkly—Richard Linklater's animated version of the 1977 novel by Philip K. Dick—is the most literal of Dick adaptations and also, in a perverse way, the most literary.
Dick, as tactfully pointed out by his Polish colleague Stanislaw Lem, was less a writer than a man cursed with prophetic sight who "does not so much play the part of a guide through his phantasmagoric worlds as he gives the impression of one lost in their labyrinth." What's extraordinary about Linklater's animation, computer-rotoscoped in the fashion of his 2001 Waking Life, is just how tangible the Dickian labyrinth becomes.

Linklater renders coherent Dick's amorphous account of SoCal dopers addicted to the brain-destroying Substance D, the narcs who police them, and the shadowy corporation stage-managing the seedy drama. This straightforward version of Dick's anguished vision of drug-addled addiction makes Naked Lunch seem positively romantic. (Indeed, Linklater—or is it Dick?—even seems to be specifically mocking the "blue flower of romanticism.") The skin-crawling opener has D-generate Charles Freck (Rory Cochrane) frantically fending off a plague of nonexistent aphids erupting out of his scalp; like the book, the movie ends with Dick's dedication to his drug-casualty friends.

Animation allows Linklater to efface the distinction between hallucination and "reality," as well as unmediated reality and video surveillance. Everything has the same somber palette and heavy outlines. Faces disintegrate into paint-by-numbers light patterns; interior planes shift and slide. The nominal hero, an undercover cop posing as one Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves), is introduced addressing a businessmen's lunch from the safety of an identity-blurring "scramble suit." This shape-shifting outfit is made for animation and it's also the movie's ruling metaphor. Midspeech, the cop—who has, of course, been dabbling in the brain-fissuring D—snaps into his other personality.

Dick's novel may be a morass of unplayable dialogue, but Linklater, who has been orchestrating spaced-out riffs since Slacker, has a connoisseur's appreciation for druggy logic and crackpot conspiracy. At least half the movie involves Arctor rapping with his pals, motor-mouthed Barris (Robert Downey Jr.) and hysterical Luckman (Woody Harrelson), as well as their dealer Donna (Winona Ryder), whose source he is trying to ascertain. Most scenes are set in Arctor's living room and the movie is characterized by superbly putrid crash pad mise-en-scéne—Joint butts and dirty dishes on every surface, hand-scrawled signs ("Time to Thaw Walt Out," "Just Keep Keeping On") on the wall, an American flag stapled to the ceiling.

As an exercise in brain-fried absurdism, A Scanner Darkly is far darker than Dazed and Confused. The psychedelic stooges are perpetually paranoid while Donna, Arctor's nominal girlfriend, is viscerally so. Recoiling from Arctor's touch, she unconvincingly explains: "I have to watch it because I do so much coke." The bizarrely conceited Barris, his mind in perpetual overdrive and ears ringing with "news from the guinea-pig grapevine," has the best theories—even as Downey, who, having grasped that he's playing a cartoon character, delivers the most animated performance. (Midway through 2006, this supporting turn is the performance to beat in what seems the year's American movie to beat.)

It's Luckman, however, who has the key bit of jabber, droning on ad nauseam about a celebrated impostor who decided that, rather than impersonating all manner of individuals, it would be far less taxing to simply impersonate a celebrated impostor. This inevitably brings up the subject of cops disguised as dopers and leads Arctor, through a stoned non sequitur, to ponder his own fissured situation: "Shit, I'm spaced—posing as a narc, wow!" Dick's idea of a tragic modernist paradigm, Arctor is the character who suffers most acutely the loss of identity. (His name, realistically enough, sounds like "actor" on quaaludes.)

Once the D kicks in, Arctor is both beset by false memories and pathetically unaware of his current situation. He lives his junkie life and then goes to work to watch himself living it (hence the title), dutifully informing on his vegetative friends—at least one of whom is reporting on him to him. Arctor briefs his superior, each wearing a protective scramble suit; he's only himself when submitting to the required psychological tests that, indicating cross-chatter between his brain's two hemispheres, suggest he has no "self" at all.

After he no longer seems to realize that he is Arctor, nothing remains beyond a sad spiral through bogus rehab and meaningless group therapy. "Living and nonliving things are exchanging places," someone, possibly the bugged-out Freck, explains. Speaking of the group: People will complain that A Scanner Darkly is hard to follow. True, there's no use dropping bread crumbs in this maze. Just remember that everything in this grimly amusing world is its opposite—except, that is, when it's not.


Scoring a pretty good 73 at Metacritic.

Since it's opening this week (only in major markets I'm afraid, wide release is on the 28th) I'm moving this to Movie Reviews. If things go as planned, I'll be seeing this on Sunday night.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Jul 08, 2006 6:56 pm

figure most of our screenwriters and overall webgeeks would know about this already, but if you're curious as to what a Charlie Kaufman screenplay for A Scanner Darkly would be like, here it is..
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:35 am

I've read more books by Philip K. Dick than I have any other author (no small part due to the fact that he wrote 44 books and tons of short stories), and of all his works, A Scanner Darkly is amongst my favorites.

Richard Linklater is one of my favorite writer / directors working today; Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise / Sunset, and, yes, Waking Life (hate all you want, I smoked up beforehand, bugged out to the images and actually dug the philosophical meanderings) are all films that I hold dear.

For some reason or another, I've got a hard on for animation. Big time. Cartoons, anime, Pixar; maybe it's all the drugs, but to me drawing / programming something to life at 24 frames per second is one of mankinds greatest achievements, even though technically it's only a great leap foward technologically from cavepeople drawing on walls, but maybe that's part of the primal power of the genre for me.

So when I heard Richard Linklater was adapting Philip K. Dick's seminal drug warning novel to the big screen, with some damn near perfect casting choices, and was going to go the route he took with Waking Life by filming digitally and then use interpolated rotoscoping to achieve a sort of "lucid dreaming" (Linklater's words, not mine) effect, well, yeah, I was sold.

And if the following rave review comes off as biased, so be it. I'm with Moriarty in that all film watchers come to a film with their own preconceived notions, that the notion of objectivity and reviewing are mutually exclusive. Criticism is merely articulation of your tastes, and then arguing / defending them, nothing more.

Being slavishly faithful to the book is a major factor in my love for this film; suffice it to say this is the most Dickian of all the numerous screen adaptations of Dick's work. While that in itself would be a major accomplishment, the film also nailed the tone, feel and ideas of the book, sometimes to frightening versimilitude. Yes, some liberties have been taken; it's not Jerry Fabin with the aphid problem, but rather Rory Cochrane's Charles Freck who gets bugged out to comical effect at the films onset. I'm not quibbling, some things had to be changed up and made streamlined for a 2hr. film. And I love me some Slater San; envisioning him years later, slowly poisoning himself with Substance D adds a touch of meta, which, if you know my tastes, is always a good thing.

But it's not just Cochrane who shines, damn near the entire cast is spot on impersonations of the novels characters. Tell me, was Keanu not just born to play a befuddled, drugged up, "cross chatter" inflicted monotone voiced casualty of the drug war? And as perfect casting (in no small part due to Keanu's love for this sort of material. Say what you will about his acting, the man has had an interesting career, and I credit him with good taste) goes, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr. were just perfect as Ernie Luckman and James Barris. When I heard they were cast for those roles I knew they were the right choices, but even I didn't think they would be this accurate, this spot on. While Woody's Luckman is the goofy, good natured druggie who you want around during a good trip, it's Downey who steals the picture. You know he's been that whacked out before, so yeah, call it method if you want. Regardless, he just nails the fascinatingly fucked up Barris. Kudos to Wynona Ryder as well. Yeah, I've never been that impressed with her, but she doesn't bring the proceedings down, and her soul searching speech near the end was convincing enough. Good on her, just don't allow her near the jewelry.

If it's a bit strange to be talking up the performances of a rotoscoped film, well, that's one of the benefits of said technique. You get to see the actors, as it were, but there's a sense of disconnection, call it a heightened sense of dislocation from normal film reality. For the material, it works smashingly, most noticeably with the "scramble suits", what our undercover agents have to wear to disguise their identity. Changing appearance based on a database of hundreds of thousands, the suit is a sight to behold and I just couldn't take my eyes off it (I think it might've been explained, but I wonder how you can smoke and eat with one of those on...must be permeable but I missed / forgot the reference to it).

As a director, Linklater ain't exactly flashy, he's tells a story good enough, but obtuse angles and a great eye just isn't his thing. However, with the rotoscoping, he doesn't need any more tricks to convey the book's sense of paranoia, it's "trippiness" and, eventually, it's despair. And hey, Locke's former av reading to Charles Freck all of his sins...perfect. I'll 'prolly write more about the films look after I see it again when it opens wide, but I was dutifully impressed.

While visually I may slag a bit on Linklater, the man can write, and apparently he can edit as well, because his decisions on what stoner speak to bring to the film were on point. There's an interesting thing he did with one of the characters, and while it was superfluous to Dick's story, it works here. While it may take away from the utter mindfuck of the book, since it's presented as an afterthought here, with no great attention paid to it 'cept that it explains the bigger picture, I didn't have much gripe with it. And he stuck the landing, absolutely nailed both the visual and the brief glimmer of hope from the novel.

It's fucking late, I'm tired, but if I had this movie on DVD I would be watching it again, for the third time, 'cuz there's no way I would've written this review.

9 out of 10, the best American film I've seen all summer.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:56 am

^Ah ha! Awesome, coolness, wonderfulness! I was hoping this was
gonna be the savior of an otherwise lackluster summer... sweeeet!

One thing though; I've also read a ton of Dick books; to the point where
most of them run together into that theme of paranoid schizophrenia they
all have; and since you seem more of an expert on the mans work;
wasn't A SCANNER DARKLY orginally set on MARS? Like some kind of
MARS installation? Or was it that the characters just thought it was a
MARS installation? I forget...

Now what I really want to see is somebody do UBIK or VALIS... the one
where PKD writes about the hallucination he had of GOD's PINK LASER
beam of Gnosis shooting into his eye and revealing to him that the
Roman Empire never ended and that we were all actaully living in some
phantasmagoric past of the mind and body hole. This was something
he actually believed was true; of course he had this revleation while
strung out on pain killers, but he still believed it. Ah, drugs and genius;
two great tastes that taste better (or worse) together

Art Spiegleman had a great quote about PKD, "What Kafka was to the
first half of the 20th century, PKD is to the second half and beyond."

I have to agree...
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Postby tapehead on Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:58 am

This is one of my most anticipated films for the year, and I'm so very, very glad you liked it KCBC - and to hear it's faithful to Dick's novel, one of my all time fave reads.

is there any of Thom Yorke's solo album or radiohead tracks on the sountrack?
Last edited by tapehead on Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Spartan on Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:01 am

tis true, black swan plays over the end credits.
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Postby tapehead on Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:08 am

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:^Ah ha! Awesome, coolness, wonderfulness! I was hoping this was
gonna be the savior of an otherwise lackluster summer... sweeeet!

One thing though; I've also read a ton of Dick books; to the point where
most of them run together into that theme of paranoid schizophrenia they
all have; and since you seem more of an expert on the mans work;
wasn't A SCANNER DARKLY orginally set on MARS? Like some kind of
MARS installation? Or was it that the characters just thought it was a
MARS installation? I forget...
'Scanner' the novel is set in the U.S. in the 'near future', if I recall


...and black swan - that 'this is fucked up' chorus sounds like a sweet finish
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:11 pm

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:^Ah ha! Awesome, coolness, wonderfulness! I was hoping this was
gonna be the savior of an otherwise lackluster summer... sweeeet!

One thing though; I've also read a ton of Dick books; to the point where
most of them run together into that theme of paranoid schizophrenia they
all have; and since you seem more of an expert on the mans work;
wasn't A SCANNER DARKLY orginally set on MARS? Like some kind of
MARS installation? Or was it that the characters just thought it was a
MARS installation? I forget...

Now what I really want to see is somebody do UBIK or VALIS... the one
where PKD writes about the hallucination he had of GOD's PINK LASER
beam of Gnosis shooting into his eye and revealing to him that the
Roman Empire never ended and that we were all actaully living in some
phantasmagoric past of the mind and body hole. This was something
he actually believed was true; of course he had this revleation while
strung out on pain killers, but he still believed it. Ah, drugs and genius;
two great tastes that taste better (or worse) together

Art Spiegleman had a great quote about PKD, "What Kafka was to the
first half of the 20th century, PKD is to the second half and beyond."

I have to agree...


as tapehead said, Scanner is set in the future (book 1994, movie 7 years from "today"), in sunny Anaheim, California. While it's only touched upon in the book and only slightly expanded upon in the film, this future is a police state, with cameras on every corner. We are being watched, without our consent. And it's not just the government, big business is portrayed even more insidiously. The politics take a back seat to the story, but it's there.

The VALIS trilogy is what you're thinking with regard to the Gnosis. Gotta love an author who'll write himself into the story with a character called Stochastic studly.

But it's Ubik that I wanna see done, stat; it's between that and A Scanner Darkly for my all time favorite Dick books. Set in a future where even simple consumer goods like a coffee machine and refrigerator need to be fed coins to work, populated with Pre-Cogs, the half life dead, time displacing ditzy dames, it's a right mindfuck of a book. Hopefully A Scanner Darkly will be a success at the BO, leading to more faithful Dick adaptations.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:16 pm

from the mainpage, Merrick posted a link to IGN, which is hosting the first 24minutes of A Scanner Darkly on-line.

You have to confirm your age, but the quality is pretty good. You get a good look at Freck buggin' out, the scramble suit. Pretty daring move, you can determine whether you like the look of the film enough to check it out.
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