Source Code In his 2009 debut feature, Moon, director Duncan Jones established himself as an impresario of mind-blowing science fiction. Now he is back, throwing us for a different kind of loop.
Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal as military man Colter Stevens. Assisted by “source code” technology, he can experience the last eight minutes before a fatal bombing as seen through a dead man’s eyes—and interact with a mysterious woman named Christina (Michelle Monaghan, above, with Gyllenhaal). Stevens must do it repeatedly until he spots enough clues to find the culprit.
Fans of Moon (available on DVD) know that Jones loves to put a twist on classic sci-fi plot devices. Source Code poses its own cosmic question: Can reliving the past offer someone the chance to change it? In the right hands, time loops have motivated some of the richest stories in sci-fi cinema:
Primer. Despite its puny $7,000 budget, Shane Carruth’s 2004 cult classic stitched together one of the trippiest movie visions of time travel. Be prepared to watch it several times to decipher the convoluted time line.
Donnie Darko. A decade ago, the psychological trials of a time-displaced suburban loner put Gyllenhaal—and demonic rabbits—on the map.
Groundhog Day. “Well, what if there is no tomorrow?” Bill Murray asks. “There wasn’t one today.” Along the way he learns about a hundred ways not to hit on a smart woman.Source Code
opens April 1.
Cool It Lionsgate A decade after becoming a pariah to many green crusaders, Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg remains a polarizing force. Cool It, a documentary based on his 2007 book of the same name, continues Lomborg’s cry to rethink the world’s responses to global warming: Abandon toothless agreements about carbon cuts and instead invest in renewable energy, along with geoengineering as a fail-safe. Lomborg delights a tad too much in casting himself as a voice of reason (and the anti–Al Gore), and his film is just as manufactured as An Inconvenient Truth. But in the aftermath of yet another blasé United Nations climate meeting, it’s increasingly difficult to ignore his call to explore a different path. Available March 29
A Geek’s Guide to the Best Online Comics
xkcd. Randall Monroe’s consistent hilarity—interrupted by occasional heart-wrenching seriousness and cosmic awe—has made xkcd the top geek comic on the Web. In xkcd #482, the size of the observable universe is shown on a logarithmic scale, all in one handy panel. www.xkcd.com
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Zach Weiner’s dark and zany strip deconstructs science and delves into other geeky humor (below). www.smbc-comics.com
Ph.D. (Piled High & Deeper). Jorge Cham’s dead-on portrayal of the grad student life beautifully decodes the meaning of academic language: “Remains an open question” equals “We have no clue either.”
Abstruse Goose. More absurdist and given to drawn-out jokes than the rest, Abstruse Goose has science punch lines that deliver. In #320, The Flash learns a hard lesson about relativity. www.abstrusegoose.com