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Originally published March 3, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Page modified March 3, 2011 at 1:46 PM

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Liked 'The Adjustment Bureau?' Scarecrow suggests 'Moon,' 'Sliding Doors,' more

It seems like every movie we've been to for the past six months or so has featured a trailer for Matt Damon's new sci-fi thriller "The Adjustment Bureau," which is apparently about how Terrence Stamp and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) from "Mad Men" like to wear snazzy fedoras and manipulate time and space so Damon can't hook it up with Emily Blunt.

It seems like every movie we've been to for the past six months or so has featured a trailer for Matt Damon's new sci-fi thriller "The Adjustment Bureau," which is apparently about how Terrence Stamp and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) from "Mad Men" like to wear snazzy fedoras and manipulate time and space so Damon can't hook it up with Emily Blunt.

It's based on a story by legendary author Philip K. Dick, who not only wrote numerous works that have made the jump to the screen, but also once claimed to have been visited, at his front door, by God, who in this case took the form of a beam of pink light.

Dick's most famously translated-to-cinema work would probably be "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" which became "Blade Runner," but he also penned novels or stories that became "Screamers" (Peter Weller vs. killer robots), the majestic Paul Verhoeven masterpiece "Total Recall" (Arnold Schwarzenegger goes to Mars...smarter than you think), Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report" (Tom Cruise gets convicted by psychics of a murder before he supposedly commits it), and the very silly John Woo movie "Paycheck," starring Ben Affleck as a man who inadvertently helps invent a time machine (takes place right here in Seattle but looks like it was filmed in a shopping mall in Vancouver).

My personal favorite of his books is "Ubik" — supposedly being filmed by Michel Gondry — which is about an aerosol spray that can alter reality. Dick's work frequently hinges on muddied realities and split or dual personalities, so we thought we'd highlight a couple of other films not based on his writing but containing some similar elements.

Duncan Jones, aka Zowie Bowie (yes, David's son) made his directorial debut a couple of years back with a great little sci-fi movie called "Moon," which stars the great Sam Rockwell as a miner assigned to a multi-year solo mission on the titular planetoid. Almost at the end of his tour digging up space-rocks, he's about to be sent home when he makes a startling discovery that we won't spoil here. You'll probably see it coming, but don't worry ... as twists go it's early in the film. It's the ramifications that are important, and on which the movie focuses. Suffice it to say that Rockwell gets to do a lot of heavy lifting acting-wise here, as he's pretty much the only one on camera the entire time (except for a creepy helper-robot voiced by Kevin Spacey). "Moon" almost plays like an extended episode of that old TV show "The Outer Limits," and it similarly does a lot with a little, especially as regards some incredible practical (meaning not computer generated) special effects.

In a slightly different vein is a largely forgotten little romantic drama from 1998 called "Sliding Doors." Gwyneth Paltrow stars as a woman whose romantic and professional life are tied, completely unbeknown to her, on whether or not she catches a particular train on a particular day. We see both versions of her life play out after that moment, and what transpires is, even more than a decade later, still one of the more original and thoughtful movies of its type. Paltrow was still in her brief effortlessly charming phase, and she's backed by a great turn by John Hannah (who you probably know from his countless appearances in BBC mystery series). Definitely worth checking out, and in this writer's opinion is a good "chick movie" that's also boyfriend-appropriate.

Till next week!

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