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NEWS
August 19, 2005 | By Bill Bonvie
It was a cinematic coincidence that ranks up there with the debut of The China Syndrome just a few days before the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. I'm referring to the news of the discovery of a 10th planet in our solar system on the same day a network showed the movie K-Pax, in which a mental patient who claims to be from another world tells his psychologist that 10 planets, in fact, revolve around the sun. Apart from the bizarre timing, the observation by Kevin Spacey's self-proclaimed spaceman was one of the rare occasions when conjecture of this sort has turned out to be the right stuff.
NEWS
November 19, 2009 | By GARY THOMPSON, thompsg@phillynews.com 215-854-5992
The animated sci-fi spoof "Planet 51" makes you wonder if things might be more interesting on Planet 52. The movie's reverse "E.T. " premise has a cocky astronaut (voice of Dwayne Johnson) landing on a planet where the little green men and women live in a near-facsimile of 1950s America - with tailfinned vehicles and a paranoid fear of being invaded by aliens. The movie has fun with its proud lack or originality, up to a point - after a while, you realize even its sci-fi riffs are re-riffted.
NEWS
October 19, 2011 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
WOODSTOCK, N.Y. - Edgar Villchur, who went from repairing radios in his New York City shop to inventing groundbreaking audio equipment and hearing aids, has died. He was 94. Villchur died Monday of natural causes at his Woodstock home, his daughter, Miriam Villchur Berg, said yesterday. After serving as an Army electronics officer in World War II, the Manhattan native opened a radio repair shop in Greenwich Village, where he built custom home high-fidelity sets. He moved to Woodstock in 1952, and it was while living there and teaching an acoustics class at New York University that he came up with the idea for the acoustic suspension loudspeaker, said Berg, a Woodstock resident.
NEWS
February 18, 2000 | by Gary Thompson, Daily News Movie Critic
"Pitch Black" is a blatant, shameless, brazen pastiche of every popular sci-fi movie of the past two decades, and it's not half-bad. Shot in Australia with a mostly no-name cast from Down Under, this efficient little "B" flick follows survivors of a spaceship crash who find themselves menaced by cave-dwelling monsters on a desert planet. The movie's bleached-out, sun-saturated visuals dominate the early scenes, as survivors look for water on the planet's uninviting surface, constantly scorched by two separate suns.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 1998 | By Desmond Ryan, INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
When director Fred Wilcox embarked on the filming of Forbidden Planet in 1956, he ignored Shakespeare's advice ("Neither a borrower nor a lender be") and cheerfully lifted the plot of The Tempest. When Wilcox set it down on the remote planet of Altair-4, he made one of the enduring classics of '50s science fiction and a movie that still wears its years well. A serious Leslie Nielsen (yes, he used to be in his younger days) commands the expedition that lands on Altair-4. There Prospero is now the scientist Morbius, Miranda is his daughter Altair, Ariel is a cute robot, and Caliban one of the most imaginatively rendered monsters of the time.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 23, 2009 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
'By the hammer of Thor!" Tina Fey's Liz Lemon liked to exclaim in last season's 30 Rock . They could've used the line in Outlander , too. Maybe they did and I just missed it - in one of those mead-hall scenes, perhaps, where wenches serve Vikings their grog, just before a giant monster from outer space goes on the attack. That's when the hardy Norsemen shout "Bring me my blade, woman!" and trot off to get sliced and diced by this mysterious "dragon" that's descended like a curse.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 20, 2009 | By JEROME MAIDA For the Daily News
Some may view a comic whose two lead characters are a mentally sharp, physically formidable black man and an equally bright, tough-as-nails white woman as being progressive. However, the key element that makes "Stingers" fun is that it feels like a blast from the past. More specifically, it feels inspired by classic sci-fi movies from the '80s and early '90s like "Aliens" and "Predator. " Of course, as is usually the case with its publisher, Fort Washington-based Zenescope, "Stingers" takes the classic elements from those films and gives them a fresh, modern and fun spin.
NEWS
September 26, 2009 | By David Hiltbrand, Inquirer Staff Writer
Imagine a future in which you can sit in the comfort of your reclining chair, virtually experiencing the world through an idealized pleasure-bot version of yourself. If only the makers of Surrogates had. Instead, they've crafted a superficial sci-fi film loaded with inconsistencies and cranium-scratchers. For instance, if the whole point of this surrogate society is to appear as a perfectly beautiful avatar, why would Bruce Willis choose that ludicrous blond wig that looks like he plucked it off a mannequin at Boscov's?
ENTERTAINMENT
April 14, 1995 | By Steven Rea, INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
If the phrase Klaatu barada nikto means nothing to you, you owe it to yourself to hie over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Wednesday night for its screening of Robert Wise's 1951 sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still. A suspenseful black-and-white picture with a pacifistic, antinuclear theme, The Day the Earth Stood Still stars the lanky, melancholy Michael Rennie as a beatific alien who steps out of his spaceship in Washington to warn the world against the cataclysmic effects of atomic testing.
NEWS
March 9, 1995 | by Yardena Arar, Los Angeles Daily News
Jeff Goldblum says he's not particularly attracted to science fiction, but over the years sci-fi has shown a marked attraction to him. While he has played assorted yuppies, comic heroes and even a cowboy during the last two decades, some of his best-known performances have been in tales of futuristic fantasy, from cult favorite "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai," to the hugely popular, nightmarish remake of "The Fly" and, of course, the mega-blockbuster...
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BUSINESS
August 15, 2016 | By Jonathan Takiff, Inquirer Technology Writer
College life used to be so spartan. Residents couldn't even hang pictures on their dorm room walls. Now it's easier than ever for scholars to stay connected, with variants on the smart gadgets they've grown accustomed to having at home. Some even keep parents and friends plugged in . . . at a distance. Dorm room 2.0. A boring dorm room can earn an instant, sexy makeover, just by slapping a motorized Switchmate Smart Light Switch atop the faceplate of a standard light switch (toggle or rocker)
NEWS
June 10, 2016 | By Ellen Gray, TV Critic
You might think they're crazy, but the first thing to know about Robert and Michelle King's new CBS series BrainDead is that the creators of The Good Wife have not lost their minds. They've just taken their penchant for politics and public policy on a CBS-style summer vacation, the kind in which ant-like creatures from outer space picnic in people's brains. Though no sillier at heart than Under the Dome , Zoo or Extant , the Kings' Washington, D.C.-set BrainDead , which premieres at 10 p.m. Monday, is sci-fi with a healthy sense of the ridiculous.
NEWS
April 11, 2016 | By Jake Blumgart
Drexel professor André M. Carrington has been a longtime devotee of comic books, science fiction, and everything dorky. His first book, Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction , is a thoughtful analysis of the genre's attempts to grapple with ethnicity. In it he ranges over delightfully vast tracts of fiction, from the Marvel comics empire to the fantasy world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the representations of black women from the British imperial diaspora.
NEWS
December 2, 2015 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
City Controller Alan Butkovitz says he has found potential buyers for stacks of unused wireless network equipment collecting dust in a Philadelphia warehouse. In a letter sent to Mayor Nutter on Monday, Butkovitz said several companies contacted his office with uses for the WiFi equipment that the Nutter administration had concluded was obsolete. One company valued the items at more than $300,000. The inquiries and suggestions came after Butkovitz publicly asked in November that the administration determine the equipment's value and compatibility with current technology.
BUSINESS
December 2, 2015 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia's wireless venture Bamboowifi is showing some kick. Cofounders David Platt and James Gregory, who met as Muay Thai kickboxers, have secured a $15,000 grant in SugarHouse Casino community development funds to install six to eight Wifi hot spots on North Third Street in Northern Liberties. The duo also are talking with officials in Old City about extending the hot spots farther south on Third to Market Street - an area known as N3RD Street, or "nerd street," for its Web development and tech firms.
BUSINESS
November 23, 2015
The two visitors from England occupied window seats at HubBub Coffee in Center City on a recent rainy afternoon, huddled over hot drinks and the real reason they had stopped in: free WiFi access. Free for them, but not the coffee shop's owner. When Internet squatters' time at a small business lasts long after they've swallowed the last sip of their caffeinated cover, that WiFi becomes an even pricier perk, said Alan Jacobson. He and friend Jesse Bookspan are out to change that with GuestNet, a software and hardware product that aims to make small-business owners money off every log-on to the WiFi they offer.
NEWS
November 18, 2015 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dozens of shrink-wrapped boxes containing unused wireless network equipment have been stacked away for years in a city warehouse, the City Controller's Office has found. The equipment was part of a $2 million purchase the city made in 2010, with federal grant money, to launch a public-safety WiFi system. The plan was eventually put on hold. City Controller Alan Butkovitz is asking that the Nutter administration determine the equipment's value and compatibility with current technology.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 6, 2015 | By Howard Gensler
WHETHER IT WAS due to interest in Mars after the recent discovery of water there or because it led the Daily News ' Friday Features section, or maybe because it's just a good movie, "The Martian" won this weekend's battle for the box office. Ridley Scott 's 3-D space epic (just as enjoyable in 2-D) took in a propulsive $55 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates yesterday. The Matt Damon starrer exceeded expectations to nearly rank as the top October debut ever.
NEWS
September 18, 2015 | By Jason Laughlin, Inquirer Staff Writer
PATCO commuters will have full WiFi access at all 13 of the train line's stations by early October, Delaware River Port Authority officials said Wednesday. The service will be available for free through Comcast, said John Rink, PATCO's general manager. Comcast customers will be able to sign in with their Xfinity user IDs and passwords. Nonsubscribers will be able to register with an e-mail address after they accept the terms of use. "This is really big news for PATCO," said John Hanson, the DRPA's CEO. "You've just been radio silent in the tunnels and on the platforms.
NEWS
September 7, 2015 | By Jonathan Lai and Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writers
City officials billed this weekend's Made in America festival as a chance to test a beefed-up cellular network in advance of the pope's visit at the end of the month. The early returns? According to users, not great. "The phone service is really terrible," said Eliza Stoughton, of North Carolina. "Terrible," Elizabeth Harner, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, said of the cellphone service. "And this fake free WiFi - what is this?" Concert organizers had set up WiFi networks for attendees, but many said they had trouble connecting.
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