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The Reelist: Your Dystopian Future

The recent Eagle Eye proves that technology is scary. Check out some more paranoid visions in this week's Reelist.

Opening this week, D. J. Caruso's Eagle Eye (based on an idea from Steven Spielberg) utilizes the ubiquitous and scary presence of cell phones—and their Big Brother potential—to fuel an action-packed adventure starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan. As it turns out, technology and its discontents are ever-fertile topics for Hollywood. This week's Reelist takes a look at some of the classics and sweetly outdated flicks that explore the (potentially) dystopian consequences of our brave new world.



Dir. Fritz Lang (1927)

What happens when the ruling elite class of a futuristic city leaves their technology and the fate of their livelihood in the hands of neglected workers toiling underground? Well, it’s not rainbows and cupcakes. Speckled with questionable (but pretty) machines and everything art deco, this classic is all about the role of technology in society and how it can be the toast of one half of the population, while being the curse of the other.


2001: A Space Odyssey

Dir. Stanley Kubrick (1968)

2001 is generally regarded as the most monumental and abstract of all sci-fi movies. In other words, it will make you think twice, thrice, and then again about installing a Heuristically-programmed ALgorithmic Computer (HAL) in your spaceship! Unless you want a faulty computer that murders your entire crew and attempts to kill you before having its plug yanked (and then bursting into song), that is. Don't have a spaceship? Then sit back, relax, and watch technology of “the future” backfire, in a prime example of Kubrick's visionary eye. 



Dir. Steven Lisberger (1982)

Computer technology goes haywire in this geometric and colorful flick where Jeff Bridges’ character gets sucked into a computer game. His battle to progress through the levels and defeat Master Control in this visual stunner also helped garner Oscar noms for both Best Costume Design & Sound. A sequel to the iconic film has been in the works for years, and after a teaser was screened at the recent Comic-Con in July, it’s safe to say that the comeback will be electric.

stay tuned

Stay Tuned

Dir. Peter Hyams (1992)

Too much TV can rot your brain, but getting sucked into your television by a sadistic satellite provider is a different script altogether. After they get a new entertainment system from the devil, Roy & Helen Knable (John Ritter & Pam Dawber) find themselves fighting for their souls in such 666-rated shows as “You Can’t Win” and “Driving Over Miss Daisy.” The telecommunications industry may not have perfected this kind of technology just yet, but when they do… make sure you don't sign your contract in blood.


The Net

Dir. Irwin Winkler (1995)

The 1990’s were a great time to be scared of technology, what with the newfangled “World Wide Web” and all. When Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock), an expert on said World Wide Web, uncovers a network of hackers sneaking into secret government databases, they in turn hunt her down, making her one of the first cinematic victims of Internet identity theft. If this movie was made in 2008, it would probably involve Google and Nigerian email scams.


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