A quick movie plug. I saw SUNSHINE, the new film by Danny Boyle(28 Days Later, Trainspotting) that may be one of the best "hard" SF pictures I have seen in a long time. They don't make 'em like this much in a vast sea of fantasy films(not that there is anything wrong with that, but good hard SF is vastly ignored these days). Essentially-the theory is that a "Q-ball" of dark matter has destabilized the sun(it's a theory by one of the science advisors to the film) causing the sun to become weak and thus, earth starts to freeze(not much time is spent on this, it's backstory). The spaceship Icarus 2 is headed toward the sun with a massive "solar bomb" designed to act like a small "Big Bang" and disperse the dark matter and re-ignite the sun. From an acting, and character point of view, this is one of the best casts I have seen-multinational, and it shows that even in space, on a vast ship with all the comforts of home, the effects of confinement and isolation take their toll in subtle and eventually dangerous ways. The CG visual effects-particularly the Icarus ship- are stunning and, while dazzling, they never take away from the characters who, from the get-go, you feel like you know personally. No spoilers, only to say, go see this one while it's still in a mere 400 theaters in the US. It's getting great reviews and, there hasn't been anything quite like it in a long time. It pays homage to both Stanley Kubrick's 2001 and, Ridley Scott's ALIEN film in places and in overall tone but only to logical ends. But that works for the good in this case. I saw it twice it left me with such images and resonance. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanda, Cliff Curtis and Benedict Wong.