‘Credence’ sci-fi film features LGBT family


On Friday, July 25, we at Dallas Voice will publish our 2014 Family Issue. To get ready for that, let me share with you this trailer for a new sci-fi film called Credence, from director Mike Buonaiuto.

Says TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com: “Ever wondered what it might look like if a science fiction film presented LGBT people the way it should be done? Credence will be the first sci-fi of its kind to challenge the way gay characters are portrayed in film.”

It is the story of the end of the earth, the last days, when ever-more-violent storms are making the survival of the human race impossible. Fortunately, new worlds have been discovered that will support the human race. Unfortunately, limited rocket capacity and the realities of the human life expectancy mean only children are being evacuated to these new worlds. And the cost means only the children of wealthy people are able to afford tickets to these new worlds.

Credence tells the story of a gay couple, fathers, who make the heart-rending decision to get their daughter on one of the rockets, giving up all their possessions to be able to afford the ticket, even though it means never seeing her again.

Buonaiuto has an Indiegogo account established to help fund the production of the film, in case you are interested. And by the way, thanks to my friend Misty Hillin who posted this on Facebook, where I saw it.

—  Tammye Nash

Deaths • 02.24.12

Larry Summers

Larry Wayne Summers, 44, passed away Feb. 12, at Medical City Hospital in North Dallas. Summers was an avid reader, largely of the sci-fi and fantasy genres. He enjoyed playing softball in leagues both in Seattle and more recently here in Dallas. In his spare time he enjoyed watching movies, playing video games, playing with computers, boating with friends, grilling and collecting books — but above all just enjoying time spent with friends.

One of his longtime interests was sitting for hours watching cartoons from his childhood. In recent months he picked up knitting again, a hobby he shared with his mother.

Summers was an easygoing man with uncomplicated demands. He was a loyal friend to many, and will be remembered as a soft-spoken, sweet man. Although a man of few words, he had an understated charm, sweet smile and an infectious laugh. He was always in a good mood regardless of the stresses in his life, which is a testament to the genuine good soul and the good person that he was.
Services were held in his hometown of Mart, Texas. He is survived by his parents, Leo and Frances Summer; his younger brother, Michael; his grandparents, Roy and Virgie Summers and Annie and William Beck; and his cherished cat, Alex.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Movie Monday: Almodovar’s ‘The Skin I Live In’

Almodovar’s psycho-sexual sci-fi comes off without a Hitch(cock)

At his best, Pedro Almodovar is a master of outrageous antics like Fellini and the tense, driving, investigative thrills of Hitchcock, though seldom in the same movie; at his worst, he allows mawkish sentimentality to be his undoing.

He’s finally hit the sweet spot with The Skin I Live In, a rangy, intoxicatingly compulsive mystery that blends spectacle with sci-fi with the cool suspense of David Cronenberg. Better yet, it explores big emotional themes that are as extreme as the crazed plot but frighteningly relateable.

The film, set one year in the future, reunites Almodovar with the Spanish actor he made a star, Antonio Banderas, for the first time in 21 years. Banderas, at 51, still has smoldering good looks and a dangerousness brooding under a controlled, respectable exterior.

He plays Robert Ledgard, a plastic surgeon who has pioneered an artificial skin that will revolutionize the treatment of burn victims — a passion, since his own wife was horribly disfigured a decade before. His methods skirt medical ethics, however, so his colleagues don’t know Robert has been experimenting on Vera (Elena Anaya), a prisoner in his house who has been changed, slowly but inevitably, into The Perfect Woman.

4.5 stars. Read the rest of the article here.

DEETS: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya. Rated R. 130 mins. Angelika Mockingbird Station.

—  Rich Lopez

Electric slide

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SHOCKING! | Of course the Volt is fuel-efficient; the fact it’s attractive and fun to drive is a bonus.

The Chevy Volt hybrid boasts green technology, but it’s also a blast to drive

CASEY WILLIAMS  | Auto Reviewer
crwauto@aol.com

After running errands one night, I drove my Chevrolet Volt electric car into my garage, plugged its charger into a standard outlet, connected the other end to a receptor on the side of the car and went inside for the night. According to the dash read-out, it would be fully charged before my first cup of coffee. Then, my mother texted me and invited me to lunch at their house — 50 miles away.

“If I go lightly on the throttle,” I think, “the Volt just might make it.”

I rarely go lightly on throttles and didn’t this morning, either. I rode gently through the Starbucks drive-through, but after that, I made myself giddy accelerating with whooshing abandon and

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HYBRIDIZED | The display makes it clear when you’re driving on electric power and when you transition to gas.

 

cruising along at 70 mph.

Exactly 41 miles into my amusement, the battery pooped out. And I didn’t care. The car changed its display screen priority from battery range to a gas gauge, woke the 1.4 liter, four-cylinder engine, and kept whirring along. When other electric cars, including The Holy Tesla, run out of power, you walk or call for a flat bed. I click to Elvis Radio and enjoy a sunny drive. Welcome to the future.

Anybody of my generation who drives the Volt will instantly transport themselves to the ‘80s and the movie Back to the Future. In case you’ve lost track of time, the DeLorean is now as old as the ‘50s cars were then; we’re only four years from the future depicted in Part II. Wall-sized televisions have come, we can video chat anywhere and libraries are obsolete. If you could have told Marty McFly about the Internet, iPads, or this car, his head would have spun off. Volt looks the part of a sci-fi star.

No other General Motors product spent more time in a wind tunnel than the Volt, which explains its perfectly honed, streamlined shape. It may not be as sexy as the original 2007 concept car, but it is much roomier, persuades wind with Chevy’s trademark crossbar grille, looks sharp in its creases, rolls on 17-in. polished alloy wheels, and pays homage to the original concept with a black strip under the windows.

A front splitter, spoiler on the hatch, and motorized grille shutters divert air with a minimum of drag — all important when attempting to inch up electric range. Some call it ugly, but I think it is handsome.

On a continuum from pure electric vehicles like the ‘90s GM EV1 and Nissan Leaf to full gasoline models like the Corvette is a wide middle band. A Toyota Prius is towards the ‘Vette side since it is a gas vehicle, assisted by batteries. The Volt is on the other half of the middle: An electric car, backed by gasoline.

Charging the Volt’s lithium ion batteries is easy. Connect the included charger to a standard outlet, open the little portal near the driver’s door by key fob or door release, plug in, and wait about 10 hours. Or install a 240v charger and cut it to four hours. (The cost per charge is about $1.50.) Regenerative per-charge brakes put some juice back into the batteries during deceleration. Chevrolet claims an all-electric range of 35 to 50 miles, but total range including gas is about 380 miles — very sizeable.

In 100-degree Texas heat with and the A/C running at full blast constantly, expect less battery range. The EPA rates the Volt 93-MPGe on electricity and 37-MPG on gasoline. Expect 60-MPG on average and low-40s, burning fossils on the highway.

That’s all cool and stuff, but I’d buy a Volt just for the driving experience. Step on the forward motion activation pedal and the car accelerates eerily smoothly, with ample torque and no gear shifts, up to 100 mph. A Sport mode makes the throttle more responsive, but eats power. Outside of tire noise and faint motor whine, the car is silent. Even with the gas engine running, there is only a distant rumble from under the hood. Since the engine powers the electric system and virtually never drives the car directly, Volt remains an electric car. Steering feel is near perfect, the chassis likes to play, and the car feels tomb solid with its 3,781 lbs. of weight. It makes some big name hybrids feel like science projects by comparison.

I couldn’t resist blasting “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News through the Bose audio system. Beyond sweet sounds, Volts come with options like heated leather seats, USB input for iPods, Bluetooth phone connectivity, automatic climate control, and front knee airbags. Navigation, audio, and climate are adjusted through a touch-sensitive center control panel. LCD screens display audio/NAV, MPH and a summary of energy usage during trips. It sounds complicated, but is as easy to use as an iPad.

Fold down rear seats and a big hatch makes it more practical than the Chevy Cruze with which it shares a basic architecture. A rear center console was necessitated by the battery pack, limiting passengers to four.

About 75 percent of us travel less than 40 miles per day, and in the Volt, we would never burn gasoline. However, if you want to drive to California, or just your parents’, fill up and go! Perhaps best of all, the Volt drives not like some cobbled-together prototype, but a fully-developed, completely-realized version of the future. This car is real, and it is a delight. To my dreadful sadness, the Volt has gone home and I am back from the future. But I know driving has forever changed.

Prices start under $35,000 after a $7,500 federal credit and include an 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty. (Prius PLUS Performance Package, available on the Volt, is the first wave of PLUS-branded upgrades coming from Toyota in the coming months. Through relatively simple enhancements, drivers concerned about efficiency and ecology can also have a lot of fun driving their green rides. The PLUS package is priced at $3,699 for Prius Two, Three and Four models and $2,999 for Prius Five.)

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 22, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: Fort Worth’s ‘Close Encounters’ night

A scene straight out of a sci-fi movie as transformers blow up in east Fort Worth

Maybe it’s just me, but dang! Seems like the weather here in North Texas is getting weirder and weirder! I mean, first we have the Great Snowstorm of 2010, followed by the ice this past winter. And now this year it seems like we’re having some extravagantly severe thunderstorms, with tornadoes happening every day last week and this week’s outrageous lighting storms.

I live in Fort Worth, on the east side, and on Tuesday night we had a pretty strong storm front move through. It didn’t last long, really, but for a couple of hours, the city seemed to be really getting hit hard by lightning. In fact, according to this report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, about 210 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes were reported between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. that night, with another 120 reported the following hour, between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

And apparently, a lot of those lightning strikes were hitting transformers — the kinds on the electrical poles, not the kind that are vehicles that turn into giant alien robots. But watch this video — which appears to have been recorded from a high-rise location in downtown Fort Worth, looking east toward the area just north of I-30 and was posted to YouTube by BrianLuenser — and it looks like it could have been a scene straight out of the next big sci-fi movie. We can call it “Close Encounters — The Fort Worth Way.”

It’s pretty frightening sometimes to realize the power of nature, but at the same time, frighteningly beautiful.

Just so you known, WFAA.com is forecasting more thunderstorms today — but hey, the weekend looks great!

—  admin

Screen Review: Men in bleccch!

ANGELS IN AMERICA | An adjuster (John Slattery, left) tries to keep a politician (Matt Damon) on course with his fate in this silly but never quite ridiculously fun time-waster.

‘Adjustment Bureau’ portrays God as bureaucrat. That’s its best quality

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

At the risk of being accused of picking nits, the first thing among the many that bothers me about The Adjustment Bureau is that a key plot point involves a former congressman and current Wall Street big-wig traveling through New York City by bus. Now, in a movie that deals with angels, fate and magic doors, the details of transportation may seem miniscule, but that’s the problem: If you want me to buy the big stuff, you have to convince me in the details. There’s a reason monkeys pick nits out of their fur: They are annoying.

So is, ultimately, The Adjustment Bureau. As a movie, it’s neither fish nor fowl: Does it want to be a chick flick, about how a romance between an ambitious politician (Matt Damon) and a free-spirited dancer (Emily Blunt) can overcome fate itself? Or is it a sci-fi action film with Matrix-like ambitions to reveal the One Big Secret: That what we think of as free will is actually an intense heavenly bureaucracy of angels wearing fedoras and God as a CEO who meddles in individual lives?

The script, based on a Phillip K. Dick story, is too gadabout for its own good. There are echoes of Men in Black, but not the humor. (The joke of MiB is that the agents look like clichés of spies; apparently, the best angels can do to disguise themselves in 2011 America is dress like 1950s G-Men, or extras who wondered off the set of Mad Men.)

This is a poor man’s Inception, and even though it makes marginally more sense, its style and its premises just don’t fly. Damon’s character wants to find Blunt’s but can’t — how could he possibly track her down? What, he’s never heard of Missed Connections on Craigslist? How about he goes on TV and mentions it — he is a damn national hero, after all. (If I worried about every profile on Grindr that fell off my radar, I’d never get any work done.) It’s also been done before, better, as the “City on the Edge of Forever” episode of the original Star Trek. Harlan Ellison should consider legal action.

Maybe if there was any romantic chemistry between Blunt and Damon it could work (there isn’t; a passionate kiss near the end looks like a painful prostate exam for both of them; Blunt seems far sexier when she’s dancing with the men of the Cedar Lake Ballet company, which gets the best P.R. since E.T. ate Reece’s Pieces). Or maybe we’d care if the climax didn’t hinge on weird rules, like Heaven having worse security safeguards than Los Alamos, water making angels ineffectual (on a planet covered three-fourths in oceans) and a sleepy operative allowing destiny to go off course. I’m not exaggerating at all. Perhaps if I were, it might actually entertain you, instead of drain you. If this is the destiny of movies, I say we all go off the map.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Best Bets • 08.27.10

Saturday 08.28

We’d go for the food and the beef

This has caused quite a dilemma. If we were going to Visions: The Women’s Expo this weekend, we’d want to nosh on Fort Worth chef Scott Jones’ culinary demonstrations, but there is no way in hell we’d miss the Hot Firefighters Auction. Along with fashion shows, style makeovers and exhibitors, we are learning one thing — it’s hard to be a woman.

DEETS: Dallas Market Hall, 2200 N. Stemmons Freeway. Through Sunday. $10. VisionsExpo.com.


Saturday 08.28

Marvin’s room is gonna be a big one

Composer Marvin Hamlisch may acheive gay icon status because of his work with Barbra Streisand (an Oscar for “The Way We Were,” yo), but he doesn’t need a diva to prove he’s amazing. He’s gonna give it up for Dallas George Gershwin style as part of the pops series of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Which means, you’ll witness a legend at his best.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m. $22–117. DallasSymphony.org.


Sunday 08.29

We get it — comics aren’t just for kids

A weekend of adults dressed in sci-fi outfits may be daunting but two things make this Dallas Comic Con worthwhile. Battlestar Galactica’s Edward James Olmos appears and Dallas’ own The Variants (aka Zeus Comics) make an showing.

DEETS: Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road. Noon. $10–$20. SciFiExpo.com/DCC.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010.

—  Rich Lopez