A Couch Potato’s Review of The Anomaly (2014)

A Couch Potato’s Review of The Anomaly (2014)

When it came to this particular movie, I heard nothing about it. No previews, no reviews, nothing in the newspapers, not even word of mouth from friends or Usenetters into Science Fiction. And if it’s enough to pique my interest to pick it up, it usually means it’s some sort of bomb that would make even the most casual and easily entertained of movie-goers groan in horror and eye-roll themselves into an epileptic seizure. Think movies like Battle Beyond the Stars, or Starcrash, or even Mutant Chronicles bad.

What can I say? One of the habits I picked up from my step-father is the ability to home in on the worst possible movies to watch while I idle away a few hours between the various other virtues (and vices) I have. The only difference between my step-father and I is I don’t try to entice others by saying things like “…I heard this was a good movie…” and hope they’re going to come along for the ride. No, these stinkers are only for me as I only subject myself to these sort of celluloid nightmares.

Surprisingly though, this wasn’t quite a stinker as I was expecting. Quite the opposite really. It was good. It was entertaining. While there were some glitches with the story telling, they were minor enough for me to ignore as I continued to figure out what was going on with the story

The story opens up with Ryan (played by Noel Clarke) as he finds himself unconscious on the floor in the back of an armoured car and wondering where he was and what was going on. In the back of this armoured car is also a young boy, chained up against the wall with his head covered with some sort of fabric bag. Ryan looks at his watch and realizes that he’s lost time, he’s not where he’s supposed to be and the boy’s name is Alex (played by Art Parkinson). The two of them escape from the armoured car and after a chase end up in a cemetery where Alex twists his ankle, the two of them hide from their captors. The driver of the truck catches up with them and after a surprising fight (to the audience as it’s not entirely leaked that Ryan’s ex-military), Noel beats his captor to the ground and returns to Alex hiding behind a tombstone. The boy explains that he had been abducted from his mother (who had been killed) by men in red masks and didn’t know where he was going. While Noel and Alex are trying to sort out what happened and why they were there to each of them, another of the accomplices (played by Ian Somerhalder) shows up near to them and dialing a mobile phone (this movie is clearly in the future as the phone looks like a simple piece of clear plastic), calls Noel and asks him where he is. After hanging up and putting the phone away, he begins picking through his coat pockets, first pulling out a pistol from one side, and then a red mask from the other. Alex realizes that he’s talking to one of his abductors and begins screaming blue murder. Noel begins pressing against the area just behind the ears and he (through the use of special effects) blacks out.

The story pretty much goes like this from beginning to end. You learn that Ryan is ex-military — which clearly explains his fighting prowess in certain scenes. You learn that he was being treated for PTSD for some reason (that unfolds later on in the movie). You learn that this movie is in some undisclosed future based on the buildings, the Blade Runner-esque billboard advertising floating up in the story along with the general technology used by the characters. You learn that there the villains are a father (played by Brian Cox) and son (Somerhalder) team. You learn that Ryan gets help from one of the unlikeliest places (although typical of Hollywood and only moderately typical of UK Production Companies) — a prostitute that he rescues during his “lucid” moments named Dana (played by Alexis Knapp). Finally you learn how he overcomes these black-outs which ties the story up rather nicely. And Ryan does this all within the 10 minutes each time he recovers his personality.

It’s pretty amazing all the things he learns within those 10 minutes and how much of it he remembers again when he regains lucidity. It’s also pretty amazing in the time between these moments, he finds himself in various places in the world: London, New York City, even Shanghai I think, some unspecified building with its windows boarded up, a secret lab, a secret location where he confronts who’s causing him these problems, out in the middle of a field in what feels like the middle of nowhere, a brothel with peep windows, and on and on. Even finding himself in an interrogation room on an airplane. It’s the sort of scenery choosing that lends an air of confusion when the protagonist is suddenly recovering his memory.

A sort of downside I found watching this is that while it’s good that there’s compressed time through editing, the impact of how much time that passes between these lucid moments is pretty much lessened by everything else going on. It took me a second run through of the movie for me to put together the amount of days and weeks that passed between the first occurrence and the last. There were even times you didn’t know when it was. While this isn’t too much of a detractor, it’s enough for me to pause a few moments to put it together in my head for without that timeline, it felt like a jumble between time and location.

The fight choreography in this movie is certainly better than its Hollywood counterparts (this movie was produced in the UK). None of this shaky-cam or CGI nonsense covering up the movements of the actors. And though I understand how such fight choreography works in the Western World — I really got the impression that the blows exchanged by the actors were connecting a lot harder than they actually were. There were a couple of scenes where the camera moved to odd angles in order to cover up the choreography (to maintain the illusion of realism), these change of camera angles weren’t bad enough to detract from the enjoyment of certain people getting the snot beaten out of them for being the assorted minor villains in the story (like the pimp Sergio (played by Michael Bisping) or his henchmen).

Storytelling was solid and flowed from scene to scene making it believable enough to keep me entertained without breaking the suspension of disbelief needed to make this story believable, Although I did find myself surfacing (back to reality) toward the end when I realized that the diabolical plan launched by the father and son team was a little too far-fetched for just one person to control the world in the way that they were proposing, at least the plot didn’t get far enough along for this aspect to detract from the story. I remembered when I started questioning my ability to suspend my disbelief it’s not as though the science for this diabolical plan hadn’t been introduced in the past — I remember stories dating back to the 60s that introduced something similar, so that didn’t completely distract me from the entertainment value of this film.

Looking at the credits and information on IMDB, I realized I caught that one of the piece of trivia: the picture of Ryan and his wife (shown later in the film) were of Clarke and Freema Agyeman which was used as a prop in an episode of Doctor Who where his character from that series was married to her character in an alternative timeline. No doubt Mr. Clarke was given that as a gift for the work he had done in Doctor Who and contributed it to this movie.

Bottom Line: Seeing that it had been released to US theaters, this had to have been a sleeper. One that I highly recommend to watch if you’re into science fiction and world-engulfing conspiracies. It’s entertaining, albeit a bit trite in some places (like the ending), but at least it’s not the typical insipid nonsense Hollywood grinds out ad nausea. And leaves the audience wondering, “What would you do if you were in the protagonist’s place?”

Satan Claus’ Inventory Clearance Sale

Satan Claus' Inventory Clearance Sale

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

I was actually starting with different base coding, but had some issues with it actually behaving when applying other bulbs and rounds on this.  Then sticking to what I know, I found it difficult to zoom and change perspective without it completely unravelling.  So I stuck with what I knew and went with it.

Name for this fractal was inspired by the colour choices and remembering an Old BBSer turned Internetter from way back known for his prolific posting of Pirated Software “for the public”.

Inspirational music while generating the code:  John Powell – Flying with Mother.

Bowl of Win

Bowl of Win Marble

Apophysis 7x (R15), Un-Retouched

The name says it all.  It’s time to have that breakfast in a bowl full of win \o/

You Know You’re an Influence When…

Someone chats me up on one of the local dating boards and goes off on a random rant about how so many people seem to come visit his profile but no one ever seems to hit him up. He blames it on queerfolk wanting Superman that lives a block away…

I responded with:

One of the biggest problems with profiles comes from the way people try to make their profiles all – for lack of a better word – hetero norm. Add to the fact that many of us here (and yes I admit I’m one of them) comes from the experience of personal ads in local rags and our inherent ability to try to read between the lines. Things end up getting translated from one thing to another and whatever charm one might have aimed for is translated to something completely different. Why do you think I wrote my profile the way I did? For people to translate the scary to terrifying and the good to bland. It would take someone of exception character to realize the truth of the paradox.

I then went on to say:

I can tell you the fact I didn’t respond was because your six things you can’t live without didn’t include coffee. With coffee not being on the top six (or some explanation as I had) I wasn’t sure whether you’d fully appreciate one of the few vices I live by. I also try to avoid people that live next door; instead looking farther away from the New England area. You see, I am a living example of, “writers – when they’re alone, they’re prophetic; when they’re with people, they’re pathetic. They’re just too in their heads. ” I am not in a rush to meet and have coffee. I like learning about people from their writing instead of face to face as I can learn more by what they write about than what they project.


 

The thing is that no sooner than he read my response, he updated his profile to include the hows and the whys. He even went so far as to accentuate the one thing I didn’t bring up: his height (I might get to that in a minute). He re-wrote it to being a little less (what I call) hetero-norm. He added elements that people don’t often talk about: spirituality… I mean sure I’ve seen plenty of people professing one form of Christianity or another, but not so much Buddhism or other spiritual paths. Of course the price for this wisdom and this change of approach with his profile is he stopped talking to me and then went to blocking me.

While I expected most of his response to the advice I had given him (stopping the conversation and perhaps even the block), it got me to thinking about the conversation I had with @JayTheManDater over on his blog on WordPress. While I found myself relieved that the conversation didn’t lead to embarrassing and potentially shallow admissions on my part (I am looking for someone taller than me, not shorter), at the same time I find myself modestly disappointed not even a “thank you” was given for what I said… After all this man was 12 years older than I was and was definitely raised to know what manners were…. It did also give me a giggle on how he had admitted that part of the reason why he moved away from Boston was because of the Non-Bostonian Hate that he would get for being from Boston. Why the giggle? Because Rhode Islanders call people from the state north of ours “Massholes” and it struck me ironic that he did precisely the thing that causes Rhode Islanders to call them that…

It also got me thinking about how manners in the Tundras of New England have changed so much. As a world traveler, I continue to be amazed about how people around here avoid anything and everything with strangers that require manners or politeness to be used. The older people (I’m talking Octogenarian) might nod in your direction or say “hello” as you walk by… My age and younger positively avoid it. During my daily walk I’ve watched people ignore me, look away, sometimes even so much as cross the street in order to avoid being remotely civil.

The only response I have for queerfolk here is, “and you wonder why I look outside of the area?”

Still though, it makes this old queer proud. I might not be thanked, I might even be ignored… But at least people hear what I’m saying and making use of it. And with that, I’m off. Time for some inspirational music and to read through some of my news sites before it’s time to take the Monster Child out for his afternoon walk. Until the next time.

Apo Bloom 2.0

Apo Bloom 2.0

Apophysis 7x (R15), Un-Retouched

A minimalistic approach to BD’s 3D Curled Synth script.  While not as complex as say Apo Ice Flower, it allows for more color variation than the original script.

Apo Ice Flower can be seen here: http://fav.me/d32hpz9

Duplo’s Diorama

Duplo's Diorama

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

Something a little brighter than what I usually produce.  Surprisingly the pixelation was kept to a minimum only by increasing the DE Stop to 1.  I was particularly impressed with the almost peacock blending going on in parts of it.  Pity I couldn’t focus in on that (without destroying the effect).

Yuletide Marble

Yuletide Marble

Apophysis 7x (R15), Un-Retouched

I was feeling a little guilty after making the last one…  It seemed a little too…  evil…  for the season.  So I went back this morning and worked with a couple of the older scripts I had lying about and made a marble out of it.

The best part, it looks like it belongs on my mother’s hideous (or in her words, “Pretty”) tree we put up yesterday.

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