Listen to Stanley Kubrick explain the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey, if you dare

Few artists are interested in articulating the meanings of their works. To paraphrase David Lynch, many ideas manifest onscreen because they couldn’t be articulated in words. Still, that hasn’t stopped the masses from hounding the likes of Lynch for clear-cut explanations, an experience to which enigmatic filmmaker…

2001's Star Child is still out there, looking weird

Among the countless striking visuals in Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey—the towering monolith, the space ballet, the staring red light of the HAL 9000—there are few as baffling as the “star baby” that pops up in the movie’s closing moments. Goggle-eyed, mysterious, and full of strange…

James Cameron’s Story Of Science Fiction is a solid, albeit navel-gazing, primer

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When AMC announced its new pop culture docuseries, Visionaries, at the Television Critics Association 2017 summer press tour, the network made it clear that these explorations of genres and media would be informative, but informal—expansive, but specific to whatever prominent filmmaker or producer was at the helm of a…

Houston, we have problems: A cinematic guide to what can go wrong in space

The study of space dates back millennia, long before the same ancient humans pondering the sun could fathom just how we’d get beyond our own stratosphere (and before the word “stratosphere” even existed). Science fiction stepped in to fill that void, with the literary works of Johannes Kepler, Mary Shelley, and Jules…

The cosmic ballet goes on: 15 of our favorite pop-culture eclipses

The Simpsons has prominently featured a solar eclipse twice in its long run, but most memorably in the Season 20 episode “Gone Maggie Gone,” where Marge is stricken blind and Lisa goes undercover as a nun. Just kidding: Everyone actually remembers the eclipse from “Marge Vs. The Monorail,” in which the celestial event…

Adam Savage visits Peter Jackson’s huge prop collection in this Tested video

If there’s anything former Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage loves more than busting myths and walking around comic book conventions in ridiculously elaborate costumes, it’s movie props. We’ve covered his affection for that awesome gun in Blade Runner, his recreation of the Shining maze, and an enormous steampunk-y Hellboy glove

Flee to outer space with this cinematic mashup of interstellar travel

When Georges Méliès released his pioneering short film A Trip To The Moon in 1902, he was setting a precedent that filmmakers would follow for decades to come. If there’s one thing the movies still like to do over a century later, it’s putting human beings into rocket ships and firing them like bullets into the inky,…

Wired guest editor President Obama puts together the ultimate sci-fi marathon

The presidential election is now less than a month out—despite what Donald Trump tweets. The changing of the guard in January will leave President Barack Obama with a lot of time on his hands. Our current Commander In Chief’s plans for retirement include spending some time in Washington, D.C., though not in politics.…

2001’s HAL and Her’s Samantha would have made a cute couple

In a way, HAL-9000, the sentient computer from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Samantha, the hyper-advanced operating system from Spike Jonze’s Her, have a great deal in common. They are both examples of artificial intelligence that far exceeded their makers’ loftiest expectations. Though inorganic, they…

Silence is golden in this video on how film communicates without words

To paraphrase the hepcat jazz aficionado, sometimes it’s the words not spoken in films that have the greatest impact. At least, that’s the theory behind this video essay posted by Fandor Keyframe and made by Filmscalpel, which looks at key scenes from 15 films where the words of actors are drowned out for some reason…

Here’s (almost) all of the Kubrick homages from a quarter-century of The Simpsons

The Simpsons likes its pop culture references. There’s an argument to be made that the show leans on them a little too heavily in recent years. And if there’s one go-to grab bag for references in that Fox-sponsored writers’ room, it has to be the filmography of Stanley Kubrick. Allusions and outright parodies of films…

In “Space Baby,” a fearless neonate cruises the spaceways

Think of it as an extreme prequel to “Rocket Man” or “Space Oddity.” Singer-songwriter Ryan Maguire’s “Space Baby” tells the story of an infant who explores the galaxy “one star at a time” before he’s even developed object permanence or learned to feed himself. The bouncy, five-minute composition, brought to life via…