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• TV & Movie Reviews


9 9 (2009)
Animation, Action Adventure | 1 hr 19 min
9 is a strange film. Originally a short film created by Shane Acker for his thesis in computer animation, Tim Burton caught wind of it and decided to produce a full-length feature based on the short. I genuinely enjoyed it for its moody visuals and themes, which earned it its PG-13 rating, but at the same time felt it failed to live up to its full potential. (read more…)

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Agora Agora (2009)
Drama, History | 2 hr 7 min
The story takes place at the end of the Roman empire in Alexandria, 391 A.D., when Christianity was beginning to flex its new found political power to squash anything in their way, which would eventually plunge the Western world into the dark ages. (read more…)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Sci-Fi, Drama, Adventure | 2 hr 26 min
Is the acronym “A.I.” really so obscure that they felt they had to spell it out in the title? In any case, Stanley Kubrick’s vision for the film, based loosely on Brian Aldiss’ “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” would never reach the screen. (read more…)
Alice in Wonderland (2010) Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Fantasy, Action Adventure | 1 hr 48 min
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland isn’t either of those things. The story isn’t that of Lewis Carroll, but a kind of pseudo sequel that takes place years later. Alice is twenty years old and is facing an uncertain future, most pressing of which is an unwanted marriage proposal. (read more…)
Ancient Discoveries Ancient Discoveries (2003)
TV, History, Documentary | 40 min
This episode is only about 40 minutes long, and looks at ancient automatons and the longstanding human obsession with creating robotic beings, with commentary from Prof. Noel Sharkey. It begins with Leonardo Da Vinci’s mechanical knight, which has been recreated based on… (read more…)
Astro Boy Astro Boy (2009)
Animation, Action Adventure | 1 hr 34 min
As a fan of the ’80s animated tv series from my childhood, I was wary of the new Astro Boy movie by Imagi Studios, so I didn’t go see it right away. Besides Astro himself there are only a small handful of recognizable characters, while the rest of the cast is new and generic. (read more…)
Avalon (2001)
Sci-Fi, Action, Mystery | 1 hr 47 min
Avalon was released in 2001, so given its similarities to The Matrix it’s all too easy to write off as one of several rip-offs hoping to ride the coat tails of that film. Actually, it’s only fair that Mamoru Oshii took some ideas from The Matrix as payback, since many elements of that film were inspired by Oshii’s version of Ghost In The Shell. (read more…)
Avatar Avatar (2009)
Sci-Fi, Action Adventure | 2 hr 42 min
I wasn’t really sure what to expect of Avatar. I knew Cameron would deliver, but I wasn’t sure in what way or to what extent. In case you’re wondering, Avatar does deliver – in spades. (read more…)

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Beyond Human Beyond Human (2001)
TV, Documentary | 1 hr
Beyond Human is a PBS documentary from 2001 (shot a couple of years after Robots Rising) that explores ideas of transhumanism and how technology may impact society in the future. Originally divided into two parts, robots take something of a backseat in this one, as it begins with a look at retinal implants, nanotechnology, and wearable computers. (read more…)
Black Hole, The Black Hole, The (1979)
Sci-Fi | 1 hr 37 min
The Black Hole was suggested by a friend of mine as one of those rare classics that most people haven’t heard about or seen, and so we decided to give it a go. At the time of its release, The Black Hole was Disney’s most expensive film ever, billed at nearly $30 million dollars. (read more…)
Blinky BlinkyTM (2011)
Sci-Fi, Short | 13 min
I thought Blinky™ was decent, though it definitely couldn’t sustain a full-length film. Technically speaking it’s a great demo, used as an excuse to show off the director’s expertise with visual effects. The story focuses on a boy’s relationship with his pet robot during the break-up of his parent’s marriage. (read more…)

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Cloverfield Cloverfield (2008)
Sci-Fi, Horror, Adventure | 1 hr 25 min
By now the cat’s out of the bag, so I don’t feel like I’m spoiling anything by laying out the premise for the film. A giant monster of unknown origins begins attacking New York, and a group of friends manages to handycam their experiences during the event. (read more…)
Coraline Coraline (2009)
Animation, Fantasy, Adventure | 1 hr 40 min
I’m a stop-motion animation aficionado, mainly thanks to the directorial talents of Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James & The Giant Peach) but for whatever reason I missed seeing Coraline when it was in theaters. I recently made up for that mistake by watching the Blu-ray release, and came away quite impressed. (read more…)
Cove, The Cove, The (2009)
Documentary, Nature, Activism | 1 hr 32 min
Everyone knows about Japan’s whaling activities, but until this Oscar-winning documentary was made few people (including most Japanese) knew of the dolphin hunt that takes place annually in a small cove off Taiji. The film focuses on activist Ric O’Barry’s quest to film the secretive culling of more than 23,000 dolphins each year. (read more…)

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Day The Earth Stood Still, The (1951) Day The Earth Stood Still, The (1951)
Sci-Fi | 1 hr 32 min
After having watched the disappointing 2008 remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, I owed it to myself to watch the original, an understated black and white thinking-man’s science fiction film. I like to think the special effects were dazzling to audiences in the early ’50s, but there’s no denying they look quaint by today’s standards. (read more…)
Day The Earth Stood Still, The (2008) Day The Earth Stood Still, The (2008)
Sci-Fi | 1 hr 44 min
A classic sci-fi movie with strong anti-war themes made during the Cold War, updated for our own troubled times. Just replace the threat of all-out nuclear war with climate change, ocean acidification, rainforest deforestation, and other depressing problems looming just around the corner. Throw Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly into the mix and what could possibly go wrong? (read more…)
District 9 District 9 (2009)
Sci-Fi, Action | 1 hr 52 min
Shot in mockumentary-style for added realism, the film is set in an alternate history where aliens came to Earth 20 years ago and settled in Johannesburg. Director Neill Blomkamp hails from South Africa, and while the film can be viewed as an allegory of events that took place in the real District 6, it’s actually more of an action film than a provocative satire. (read more…)

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Daft Punk's Electroma Electroma (2006)
Sci-Fi, Drama | 1 hr 14 min
Electroma is the story of two robots (Daft Punk) who break from the norm to express their inner individuality in a world populated by robots, with disastrous consequences. This is an experimental film with no dialog whatsoever, running a generous 74 minutes, and some people may feel it drags on a bit in parts. (read more…)
Endhiran (The Robot) Endhiran (The Robot) (2010)
Comedy, Sci-Fi, Musical | 2 hr 35 min
Endhiran (The Robot) is the much-touted Indian sci-fi extravaganza that debuted last year. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll have a pretty good idea what you’re getting into. A roboticist builds a lifelike robot and begins teaching him how to become human. (read more…)
Eva Eva (2011)
Sci-Fi, Drama | 1 hr 33 min
Eva features an interesting depiction of robots in daily life. It stars Daniel Bruhl (probably best known as the lovestruck German sniper in Taratino’s Inglorious Basterds) as Alex, a roboticist who returns to his hometown after a ten year absence to finish work on an android project. (read more…)
Extreme Machines: Incredible Robots Extreme Machines: Incredible Robots (2001)
TV, Documentary | 48 min
Extreme Machines is a series that aired on the Discovery Channel, and in 2001 they did an episode on robots. It tries to capture the viewer’s attention with cheesy computer graphics and talk of robots replacing humans, but soon contrasts these images with reality. (read more…)

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Fantastic Mr. Fox Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Animation, Comedy, Family | 1 hr 27 min
Wes Anderson’s trademarked balance of comedy and character study shines through in this stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. I was a pretty big fan of Dahl’s work as a boy, but somehow this fox escaped me. (read more…)
Future Fantastic Future Fantastic (1996)
TV, Sci-Fi, Documentary | 22 min
Future Fantastic is a short television series hosted by Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) produced by the BBC and TLC in 1996. The series aims to show where the future may take us by comparing “predictions” from science fiction with real technological developments. (read more…)

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Genius Party Genius Party & Beyond (2007)
Animation, Short films, Omnibus | 1 hr 25 min
Genius Party and its sequel Genius Party Beyond collect a baker’s dozen anime short films by a company called Studio 4°C. Released in 2007 and 2008, the more surreal and stylistic films take advantage of the latest technology, blending 2D and 3D graphics to great effect. (read more…)
Gentlemen Broncos Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
Comedy | 1 hr 30 min
Director Jared Hess’ Gentlemen Broncos is an absurd coming of age comedy that manages to be even stranger than his more well-known breakout hit, Napolean Dynamite. This film takes its inspiration from bad fantasy and sci-fi novels… (read more…)
Ghost in the Shell Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Animation, Sci-Fi, Action | 1 hr 23 min
Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell, a sci-fi manga originally published back in 1989, was the inspiration behind the 1995 anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii. He and his Patlabor alumni take the Gibson-esque cyberpunk aspects of the setting they enjoyed most, ditching the humor and much of the character of the graphic novel. (read more…)
Giant Robo Giant Robo: The Animation (1991)
Animation, Sci-Fi | 7 episodes (45 min each)
Back when the original animation series Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still was new on VHS, I rented each episode in succession and was enjoying them up until episode 6 ended on one hell of a cliffhanger. Unfortunately for me and many other fans, the 7th and final episode in the series wasn’t out — and wouldn’t be out for almost three years! (read more…)

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Hinokio Hinokio: Intergalactic Love (2005)
Sci-Fi, Family | 1 hr 51 min
Hinokio is a tale of a sixth grader who was paralyzed and lost his mother in a car accident. Too depressed to leave his room, he’s given a telepresence robot through which he attends classes (incidentally, this has started happening in the real world). (read more…)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Fantasy | 2 hr 49 min
The first part, An Unexpected Journey, runs for almost three hours but (aside from one or two scenes) feels like it goes by all too soon. (read more…)

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Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The (2009)
Fantasy | 2 hr 3 min
Considering he lost one of his actors during production, it’s amazing that Terry Gilliam managed to complete Dr. Parnassus at all. He’s had a string of bad luck that left his version of Don Quixote incomplete, and then the studio decided to release this film so close… (read more…)
I'm Here I’m Here (2010)
Drama, Short | 29 min
There’s no question that I’m Here is very well made from a technical standpoint, but like Blinky I feel that the whole robot premise is hampered by foggy planning. When people are in a terrible accident or fall deathly ill, their loved ones often wish they could take their place. (read more…)
Inception Inception (2010)
Sci-Fi, Action, Mystery | 2 hr 28 min
I’m not a huge fan of director Christopher Nolan’s films (his Batman movies are overrated in my opinion), but his original scripts are quite interesting (Memento). For his part, Leonardo DiCaprio is quickly becoming the finest actor of his generation through his careful film choices. (read more…)
Interstella 5555 Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003)
Animation, Sci-Fi, Music video | 1 hr 8 min
I’ve always been a fan of Daft Punk, from the first time I caught the music video for Da Funk on TV. Spike Jonze created a totally surreal video that manages to tell a story at the same time. After that, their next big hit was Around The World, this time directed by Michel Gondry. (read more…)

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James May's Big Ideas James May’s Big Ideas (2008)
TV, Documentary | 60 min
In 2008 the BBC aired a three-part miniseries hosted by the affable Captain Slow (or James May, as he’s known outside of his duties on Top Gear). Each episode is a guided tour of new technologies; the first deals with flying vehicles, the second on robots, and the third on alternative energy. Take a guess which one we’re reviewing. (read more…)
Japanorama Japanorama (2002, 2006)
TV, Documentary | 25 min
As its title makes clear, Japanorama was a BBC television show that focused on pop culture from the land of the rising sun. Being filmed at the turn of the millennium, when Japan truly earned its reputation as a robot kingdom… (read more…)
Japan Robot Nation Japan: Robot Nation (2008)
TV, Documentary | 25 min
In 2008, Current Vanguard produced a short but thorough documentary about Japan’s aging population and how the government is planning to deal with it. It begins by introducing some of the trends that contribute to the problem; mainly women who choose… (read more…)
John Carter John Carter (2012)
Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi | 2 hr 12 min
John Carter is a veteran of the American civil war who gets inadvertently telegrammed to Mars when he stumbles into a cavern portal. Due to the weaker gravity on Mars he soon finds he can jump like Superman… (read more…)

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Machine that changed the world, The Machine that changed the World, The (1992)
TV, Documentary | 5 parts (60 min)
The Machine That Changed The World (aka The Dream Machine in the UK) is an exhaustive 5 part documentary about the history of computing produced by WGBH Television and the BBC in 1992. (read more…)
Memories Memories (1995)
Animation, Sci-Fi, Short films | 1 hr 53 min
I love animation collections, and Memories is one of the better ones. It features three animated shorts written by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steamboy) although I use that term loosely because the episodes are a decent length. (read more…)
Modern Marvels Modern Marvels (2004)
TV, Documentary | 45 min
Modern Marvels’ episode takes a look at the history of mobile robots in the United States. The show begins with the original Shakey and Stanford Cart, all the way up to the massive field robots developed by Red Whittaker at Carnegie Mellon to deal with nuclear accidents. (read more…)
Moon Moon (2009)
Sci-Fi, Drama | 1 hr 37 min
Moon is clearly steeped in some of the great sci-fi films of the past, from its calm computer a.i. companion GERTY who will remind you of the HAL 9000, to the stark moon base setting that could easily pass for the interior… (read more…)

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Neo Tokyo Neo Tokyo (1986)
Animation, Omnibus | 50 min
Made in 1986, Neo Tokyo is a collection of three animated shorts by famous animation directors Rintaro (Metropolis), Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll), and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) prior to their breakout hits. Also known as Labyrinth Tales, the stories aren’t connected by a central theme but go in a variety of directions. (read more…)

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Predators Predators (2010)
Sci-Fi, Action | 1 hr 47 min
The original Predator managed to achieve cult status and is often compared to the Aliens franchise, but it is unquestionably the lesser of the two. Several B-grade sequels and spin-offs have since tarnished whatever mystique the original film had, and well, the Predator’s design is simply too cheesy to be taken seriously. (read more…)
Prometheus Prometheus (2010)
Sci-Fi, Horror | 2 hr 4 min
The Alien film franchise has seen better days. The last few films, including spin-offs that combined it with the Predator franchise, are rightly despised by fans of the original. Even H.R. Giger (the artist responsible for the nightmarish alien design) railed against the ill-conceived fourth film with his own “Alien Insurrection” website. (read more…)

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River Monsters River Monsters (2009)
TV, fishing, documentary | 1 hr episodes
River Monsters is a show I found on Netflix that – horrible pun alert – had me hooked. Host Jeremy Wade is a biologist and extreme angler who has been traveling the world for the better part of a quarter century. (read more…)
RoboCop RoboCop (1987)
Sci-Fi, Action | 1 hr 42 min
RoboCop was one of the big hits of 1987, even though its title is a bit misleading (our hero is actually a cyborg, not a robot). It has much in common with the recent slew of comic super hero origin stories, but its R rating should not be taken lightly due to the… (read more…)
RoboCop 2 RoboCop 2 (1990)
Sci-Fi, Action | 1 hr 22 min
RoboCop 2 feels like a rehash of the first film, and the few new ideas introduced are bad ones. RoboCop is once again hunting down a drug cartel in Old Detroit, the corrupt mega corporation OCP is up to its old dirty tricks, and there are references to trendy topics like the Ozone Layer. (read more…)
RoboCop 3 RoboCop 3 (1993)
Sci-Fi, Action | 1 hr 44 min
I knew it was a bad sign when Peter Weller passed on the role of RoboCop in the third film. Having finally watched this train wreck for the first time, I don’t blame him. It’s almost hard to believe how many bad ideas and cliches are woven into this turd. (read more…)
Robosapiens Robosapiens (2003)
TV, Documentary | 50 min
Like Robots Rising and Beyond Human, Robosapiens is a documentary put out years ago by the Discovery Channel. Dating back to 2003, it is the most recent and enjoyable of the lot. Running 45 minutes long, it’s focused primarily on Japanese humanoids. (read more…)
Robot Carnival Robot Carnival (1991)
Animation, Omnibus | 1 hr 30 min
Robot Carnival is a Japanese animated omnibus in the grand ole fashion of Disney’s Fantasia: a collection of 9 animated short films by 9 directors. As the title suggests, each film takes a stab at the bridging theme of “robots”. (read more…)
Robot & Frank Robot & Frank (2012)
Comedy, Drama | 1 hr 29 min
Robot and Frank generated some buzz at the Sundance Film Festival, and I’m happy to report that it wasn’t just hype. It’s a genuinely entertaining character study set in the next 50 years that manages to be both funny and surprisingly touching. (read more…)
Robots Rising Robots Rising (1998)
Documentary | 2 hr 00 min
It’s now more than a decade old, but Robots Rising is a documentary that anyone interested in robotics should enjoy – and not just because it’s narrated by Linda Hamilton (of Terminator fame). (read more…)
Robot Stories Robot Stories (2003)
Sci-Fi, Short film | 1 hr 25 min
Rather than making one really good short film, director Greg Pak decided to film all four of his robot-themed short stories and compile them into one film. (read more…)
Rodney's Robot Revolution Rodney’s Robot Revolution (2008)
TV, Documentary | 53 min
Rodney’s Robot Revolution is an Australian documentary from 2008 about former MIT Professor Rodney Brooks’ attempt to build a Go-playing robot for the U.S. military. Go is a traditional board game similar to chess or checkers, where two players take turns placing black or white stones on a board. (read more…)
Runaway Runaway (1984)
Sci-Fi, Crime | 1 hr 39 min
The Terminator wasn’t the only killer robot in theaters back in 1984 thanks to Runaway, written and directed by the late Michael Crichton. The mustachioed Tom Selleck stars as a cop who specializes in neutralizing bots gone bad in a near-future where they’ve infiltrated nearly every aspect of life. (read more…)
Run Robot Run! Run Robot Run! (2006)
Comedy | 1 hr 22 min
This is a comedy with too much of a romantic twist thrown in. Kent, the hero of our story, gets replaced at work by a friendly android, and things take a turn for the worse when the mechanical man attracts the attention of his lovely coworker. (read more…)

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Scanner Darkly, A Scanner Darkly, A (2006)
Animation, Sci-Fi, Crime | 1 hr 40 min
From the moment I saw the trailer for A Scanner Darkly, in all its rotoscoped glory, I knew it was going be a trip. Every minute of screen time required 500 hours of work. (read more…)
SciFi Science Sci-Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible (2009)
TV, Sci-Fi | 22 min
In this TV series produced by the Science Channel, host Dr. Michio Kaku (a self declared sci-fi geek) explores how popular concepts from science fiction might actually pan out. He visits relevant experts to discuss each futuristic scenario, but there seems to be very little science and a whole lot of wild speculation going on. (read more…)
Secret of Kells, The Secret of Kells, The (2009)
Animation | 1 hr 15 min
The Secret of Kells is an animated film made in 2009 that draws its inspiration from the Book of Kells, a celebrated 9th-century illuminated holy book. The art style mixes the iconic characters and intricately detailed backgrounds from Celtic tradition, and it’s a welcome change from the glut of computer animated films. (read more…)
Short Circuit Short Circuit (1986)
Comedy, Sci-Fi | 1 hr 38 min
Short Circuit is one of the most beloved robot-related movies of all time. More than 20 years have passed since I had last seen it, so it was with cautious optimism that… (read more…)
Short Circuit 2 Short Circuit 2 (1988)
Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi | 1 hr 50 min
I must be a sucker for punishment because here I am, reviewing Short Circuit 2 (1988). This time around the writers copied the fish-out-of-water in New York City formula from Crocodile Dundee, which had been the surprise hit of 1986. (read more…)
Star Trek (2009) Star Trek (2009)
Sci-Fi, Action | 2 hr 7 min
I was never a huge fan of the original tv series from which this remake takes its inspiration. I’m more of a Next Generation kind of guy, which I watched religiously every… (read more…)

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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller | 1 hr 49 min
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of the best sci-fi action movies ever made. It was a perfect blend of all the right ingredients: a gripping story; spectacular action scenes; bleeding-edge special effects; and it managed to spin on its head the age-old adage that a sequel cannot, by definition, outdo the original. (read more…)
Tetsujin-28 Tetsujin 28 (2005)
Sci-Fi, Fantasy | 1 hr 53 min
Tetsujin 28, known as Gigantor in the West, is quite possibly the most iconic giant robot story ever told. It was a comic created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama in 1956 which made the jump to television screens in 1963. (read more…)
That's Impossible That’s Impossible: Real Termimators (2009)
TV, documentary | 45 min
History Channel’s series That’s Impossible explores the future and current state-of-the-art of battlefield robots in an episode subtitled “Real Terminators”. Although the focus isn’t on humanoids, they are presented as the final goal of the robotic arms race. (read more…)
Transcendent Man Transcendent Man (2009)
Documentary, Futurism | 1 hr 23 min
Regardless of what you think of Ray Kurzweil, his predictions, or the singularity, they certainly make interesting subjects for a documentary. If you’re new to the singularity, Transcendent Man gives a primer… (read more…)
Transformers Transformers (2007)
Action, Sci-Fi | 2 hr 24 min
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t like Michael Bay’s movies. Dumb science fiction sucks. From the disgustingly bad Armageddon to the brain-damaged The Island, there’s only so much a man can take before writing off a director. (read more…)
Tree of Palme, A Tree of Palme, A (2002)
Animation, Adventure, Fantasy | 2 hr 10 min
I’m not one to watch much Japanese animation anymore, but this one stands out amongst the flood of cookie cutter stuff that typifies what is popular these days. (read more…)
TRON Legacy TRON: Legacy(2010)
Action, Sci-Fi Fantasy | 2 hr 5 min
Let’s get the obvious out of the way; the original TRON hasn’t aged very well. It had some revolutionary animated sequences (which admittedly still look pretty cool as an artifact of early computer graphics) but putting these aside, the characters and plot were sorta boring. (read more…)
True Grit True Grit (2010)
Western | 1 hr 50 min
The Coen brothers are a wonderful writing and directing duo, so despite my general lack of enthusiasm for Westerns I gave True Grit the benefit of the doubt, and I’m glad I did. (read more…)

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Visions of the Future Visions of the Future (2007)
TV, Documentary, Futurism | 3 parts (60 min)
Visions of the Future is a three part mini-series hosted by Dr. Michio Kaku, produced by the BBC in 2007. The first part is titled The Intelligence Revolution, with Kaku making a broad range of predictions… (read more…)

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Where's My Robot Where’s My Robot? (2008)
TV, Documentary | 59 min
Where’s My Robot is an excellent documentary hosted by Danny Wallace for the BBC. In 2008, he traveled to laboratories around the world to learn why robots aren’t ready to move in with you, and approaches the various challenges from the position of a layman. (read more…)

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