The Human Spark is a new three-part documentary special on PBS in which Alan Alda soldiers after the genetic and cognitive elements that make him smarter than your average chimpanzee. In the first episode, he travels to numerous archaeological sites and many of the world’s finest research centers to look at how humans diverged from neanderthals and why we’re the ones writing the history books. Episode two tracks a series of experiments on chimpanzees and human children to illustrate the psychological differences. The final installment shows off some of the latest brain imaging studies and and linguistics research to postulate a theory on the nature of the ‘human spark’. With an interesting scientific premise as a basis, a hot field in which a lot of exciting, new information has been discovered within the last decade, and financial sponsorship by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, one of the most generous and prestigious in all of science, this should have been a knockout for PBS. Sadly, the finished product is merely another example of a strong concept with poor execution, punctuated by bloopers that the documentary’s creators were too pressed for content to take out.
One of our most exciting continuing projects here at ScriptPhD.com is our “It’s Not Easy Being Green” series of articles, highlighting the environmental and green issues and technology solutions facing our time (see our recent Blog Action Day post). Dedicated to bringing you more in-depth and frequent green content, we are thrilled to add a new ScriptPhD contributor, CaptainPlanet, who will write exclusive movie reviews and issues for “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” He joins us with a review of The Cove, a recent documentary garnering Oscar buzz, about the secret dolphin-hunting industry in Japan and its environmental and emotional impact. If you hadn’t previously known about how majestic and advanced dolphins really are, and how deleterious the depletion of fish is across the oceanic biosphere, watch this film. ScriptPhD.com review, discussion, and ways to get involved, under the “continue reading” jump.
Remember back in high school, when youd skirt having to read the book by watching the movie instead, and your teacher would admonish you for not getting the most out of the experience? I never fully grasped what that meant until watching The Road, a new feature film adaptation of Cormac McCarthys Pulitzer Prize-winning survival epic. Though dedicated to realizing McCarthys scope of a ruined, uninhabitable planet and is a pleasant enough watch, the film ultimately cant translate the books introspective vision and humanistic totality. Sometimes, its better sticking with
the 1,000 words. Complete ScriptPhD.com review under the continue reading jump.
The Roland Emmerich Sci-Fi Terrestrial Destruction Tour continues. Not satisfied with immolating the White House by alien visitors in Independence Day or icing over Earth in post-global warming catastrophe in The Day After Tomorrow, the audacious director goes for cataclysmic broke with 2012, a bona fide disaster epic. Light on solid science, heavy on jaw-dropping special effects, the eradication of humanity and its habitation never felt so visually scintillating. ScriptPhD.com review and science discussion, under the “continue reading” jump.
Continue reading REVIEW: 2012 (It's The End of the World As We Know It)
Music. We all know what it sounds like when we hear it. It has the ability to create powerful emotions, or bring back memories from the distant past in our lives. We may use it when we exercise, study for exams, read, or for traveling form point A to point B. But what is music? Is it unique to human beings? How do we interpret music when we hear it? Are the emotions created by music universal, irrespective of the listener’s culture and country of origin? Can music teach us anything about how the human brain functions? These interesting questions and more are explored in the fascinating documentary The Music Instinct: Science and Song, a PBS production that was recently honored with the top prize at the prestigious annual Pariscience International Science Film Festival. ScriptPhD.com’s newest regular contributor NeuroScribe provides his review and discussion under the “continue reading” jump.
Continue reading This is Your Brain on Music
It seems like we just can’t seem to stop saying goodbye to Battlestar Galactica. Perhaps the defining science fiction show of my generation, BSG’s post-finale swan song has included a bevy of cast appearances, an issue of the complete series on DVD and Blu-Ray, a recent Bryan Singer-helmed feature film announcement, and now, an upcoming two-hour television movie event. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan takes viewers on a journey of the events that transpired two weeks before the Cylon colony attacks, and their subsequent war with the humans, all from the Cylons’ viewpoint. Compiled with a combination of new footage and key plot highlight clips over the course of the show’s run, The Plan is designed to be the ultimate retrospective with a different perspective. ScriptPhD.com review + trailer under the “continue reading” jump.
Continue reading REVIEW: Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
Part of every great Hallow’s Eve, in addition to carving Jack ‘O Lanterns, fake blood and candy, involves a good old-fashioned horror film. To help our loyal fans prepare in advance, ScriptPhD.com enlisted the help of our good friend Bryy Miller, screenwriter and president of Lefty Films, to grab sneak peek screenings of two Halloween-themed releases, Dark Country and Trick ‘r Treat, at the inaugural Long Beach Comic Con, as well as two very rare, special comics panels. His reviews and coverage, below the cut.
Continue reading Guest Post: Comics, Legends and Some Halloween Horror
Medical shows are a generational television stapleoften dramatic, rarely realistic, and only sometimes socially relevant. But tonight, on CBS, a different kind of medical show premiered. Three Rivers, based at a fictional world-famous transplant hospital in Pittsburgh, puts front and center an often misunderstood and ignored sector of modern medicineorgan transplantation. With wit, sensitivity, and a refreshing degree of accuracy, this important new show will shed light on the three branches of the organ donation and transplantation system: the donors, the recipients, and the transplant surgeons and staff who connect the two. Under the jump, ScriptPhD.com reviews the pilot and provides important information and resources for those who are considering signing up to be a donor.
In a recent interview with ScriptPhD.com, Watchmen screenwriter Alex Tse described Hollywood’s recent spate of comic book and graphic novel adaptations as jumping on a bandwagon. So let’s continue the momentum and hop aboard the South Pole Express to Warner Brothers’ Kate Beckinsale-starring remake of the classic graphic novel Whiteout by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber. ScriptPhD.com reviews this cool-as-ice thriller and provides some real-world gripping tales of scientific heroism in Antarctica under the jump.
Continue reading REVIEW: Whiteout (Adventures in Antarctica)
Science fiction has served as fertile ground for exploring sociopolitical issues through allegory: war, oppression, prejudice, and even, on occasion, the human condition. Bet every so often, a sci-fi project comes along—Blade Runner, Children of Men, Terminator, Battlestar Galactica—that so compels and provokes, it transcends its own genre in the process. District 9 is such a film. When humans become responsible for the well-being of a population of aliens stranded over Johannesburg, South Africa, they must confront their full capacity for fear, cruelty and self-identity. With an unknown cast, a newcomer in writer/director Neill Blomkamp, and a low-profile movie locale, District 9 manages to outshine all releases thus far as the best film of 2009, and one of the best of its generation. For the full ScriptPhD.com review, please click “continue reading”.
Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: District 9