Category Archives: Science Fiction

The Illustrated Man (1969)

Director: Jack Smight
Starring: Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom, Robert Drivas . USA . 1h 43m

Based on the Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951)

A bold adaptation of an amazing groundbreaking anthology book from the legendary Ray Bradbury, really this film couldn’t go wrong, especially when you mix Rod Steiger into the mix, the classic actor is enormous in any role he puts his mind and body into and was a dramatic baluster in the many roles he played in this sometimes difficult science fiction movie.

The original book was a collection of  18 Science Fiction Stories, only 3 made it into the film, sadly the least provocative but certainly not the least shocking. The Veldt, The Long Rain and The Last Night of the World, along with some of the wrap around story were all adapted using the same three characters.  For me the movie was very influential, as a child I marveled over the amazing illustrations especially the rose in the palm, the first tattoo, although I chose a slightly different tattoo when I eventually got to that rather sensitive area myself. But even after seeing the demise of a once strong man, the lovely Felicia and her amazing mysteries still enchant audiences today. Continue reading The Illustrated Man (1969)

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Annihilation (2018)

Director: Alex Garland.
Based on: Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
Starring. Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac. USA. 1h 57m.

This newest visionary delight from Alex Garland, doesn’t fit into the typical science fiction category, with other Netflix releases like Bright (2017) and Cloverfield Paradox (2018), where the effects and story are both weak in the later and jarring this side step into the cerebral is exactly what a lot of dedicated science fiction fans have been craving for so very long now. Taking on a model similar to the legendary Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979) or Solaris (1971), Annihilation plunges it’s audience into a lavish and dangerous new world to explore along with a scattering of emotive flashbacks added purely for good measure. Continue reading Annihilation (2018)

Life (2017)

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya. USA. 1h 50m

 

The lack of originality in this horror sci fi is quite disturbing, not only the story pretty basic, but it could have lead to some riveting situations, but the set up is like a b movie horror, if there was a trail of blood leading to a room of screams the cast would trip over each other running into sudden death. But there is a blinding moment at the “oh fuck” ending which really hit a personal nerve with me otherwise the film would be a total disaster.

An unnamed interstellar mission uncovers a basic life form in some soil samples from Mars. The probe is recovered by the International Space Station and their 6 member crew manage to revive a cell sample, which quickly evolves into a multi celled organism which American school children name Calvin. I can only imagine it started out as a piece of space Slime Mold (Check out the docu film Creeping Garden for a ton of info)  An accident in the lab causes Calvin to become dormant, so Hugh Derry (Bakare) tries to shock Calvin back to life, this obviously pisses off Calvin who crushes his hands an in his hostile frame of alien mind then roughs up the doctor and starts smashing up the lab. At one point he breaks into a small cage and eat one of the lab rats,  and starts to grow larger. Despite initiating safety protocol, which means isolating the doctor and Calvin, the team still decide to enter the room in order to save the doctor, (DOH!), Calvin then see this is a free lunch. This is probably one of their more imaginative attacks, as he enters the scientist body and eats him from the inside out,  but upon reappearing he is larger, which is a pretty big indication to the fact that Calvin just consumes and grows. So after eating Ryan Reynolds our boy Calvin then decides to go on a murderous rampage  in and around the ship. Continue reading Life (2017)

Hardcore Henry (2015)

Director: Ilya Naishuller
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth, Russia/USA 1h 36m

It’s hard to know if we do actually need a first person shooter style movie considering the amount of computer games that are widely available on the market, but we definitely have one now,  after the success of both Crank (2006/2009) movies,  budding director Ilya Naishuller, took things one step further with his action packed Sci-Fi thriller Hardcore Henry which was promised to be a full of adrenaline rush for the whole 1 hour 36 minutes duration, and to be fair it achieve its’ goal but with a more detailed and complicated narrative than was expected. Continue reading Hardcore Henry (2015)

Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Director: Julius Onah,
Starring. Daniel Bruhl, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, USA. 1h 42m

There was an amazing phenomenon back in 2008 when the original  Cloverfield (2008) movie was released, it was interesting and enjoyable but it started and ended so obscurely, but the mystery gained the film fans and soon it became a franchise. The sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) is a brilliant, thriller, so very different from the original and yet so very scary with Alfred Hitchcock vibes but had hardly anything to do with the original film apart from the final 10 minutes. Looking forwards for a continuation of the story I was a bit shocked that there was a side step into the past but finally there is a reason why a giant bat-like beast appeared on the earth and took the head of the statue of liberty, but again this film has very little to do with the original movie, detail on why at the end of the review. Or just scroll on fanboy. Continue reading Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

X the Unknown (1956)

Director: Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey
Starring: Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman. UK. 1h 21m

There are a lot of familiarity about this 50’s Hammer Horror sci fi mystery film. Being from the classic horror company there are quite a few familiar faces especially the young round face of Michael Ripper who masquerades with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in a lot of Dracula and other Hammer monster projects.

Sadly Nigel Keale refused to give permission for his beloved character Bernard Quatermass to be used in this pseudo third chapter, but the similarities are there, and this contains the relevant allegorical threads revealing Cold War anxieties. Continue reading X the Unknown (1956)

Es ist nicht leicht ein Gott zu sein  / Hard to be a God (1989)

Director: Peter Fleischmann.
Original book same title by
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Starring. Alexander Philippenko, Edward Zentara, Werner Herzog. Russia/USSR/(West)Germany. 1h 59m.

While trying to get hold of the second remake of Hard to be a God (2013) I noticed a resurgence of the earlier remake from the 80’s and managed to watch them in chronological  order, not that it matters much as they are two extremely different movies which look at different fragments of a brilliant science fiction story, originally written by Arkand and Boris Strugatsky, this is a simplistic version of a deeper more complicated story but it’s easier to watch and at times stomach more than the 2013 version.

On another planet out in the vast universe a simple civilisation is going through their Medieval period and it’s quite similar to ours, this has sparked interest in the more advanced cultures, namely us! An employee of the institute of experimental history from Earth is sent to this planet disguised as a noble named Rumata of Estor and he’s tasked to observe the culture and find the previous person who was sent there to also observe, another spy who has perished while trying to raise an unlucky coup against the main palace and Rumata has to take his place as a resident. He soon discovers that many of the 30 others have also perished in this harsh society and is soon pulled into the next coup Soon he meets all the horrors of medieval society, war, palace coups, mass executions, peasantry and they prove to be too barbaric for scientist, and he’s disgusted to find out that people are slaughtered if they are considered to be too intellectual, and thus keeping the society in a permanent state of Medieval life. Continue reading Es ist nicht leicht ein Gott zu sein  / Hard to be a God (1989)

T-800 eyeball repair..

Terminator is definitely one of my all time favourite sci fi movies, and the only decent film form the franchise in my honest opinion. While the movie is limited with its mechanical effects apart from the metallic ending there is the iconic repair scene in which the Terminator T-800 machine acted by Arnold Schwarzenegger repairs some of the damage to the fleshy bits around it’s mechanical skeletal frame. Continue reading T-800 eyeball repair..

Land of the Lost  (2009)

Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: WIll Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma, Taccone. USA 1h 32m

This turned out to be a slightly psychotronic and fairly deranged movie. Having an air about it similar to the legendary Buckaroo Banzai while tossed into the Twilight Zone with the Flintstones.
A space-time vortex sucks scientist Rick Marshall (Ferrell), his assistant Holly (Friel) and a survivam nut Will (McBride) into a world populated by dinosaurs and painfully slow creatures called Sleestaks. With few resources at their disposal, Rick, Holly and Will must rely on their only ally, a primate named Chaka (Taccone), to try to survive long enough to figure out a way back home. Continue reading Land of the Lost  (2009)

Terminator  (1984)

 D: James Cameron W: James Cameron P: John Daly, Gale Anne Hurd C: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn. 1h 47m. USA.

This timeless science fiction classic from James Cameron amounts to the perfect combination of the modern fear of a robotic apocalypse and time travel. Since the H G Wells novella published in 1895 The Time Machine the unlimited possibilities of time travel and its effects have been fully explored and probed but never with such sharp violence and ultimate bad ass villain.
It is a remorseless on screen adaptation of good vs evil but it’s an evil that we created in our attempts to play god, which see’s a modern heroine in develop from a fragile waitress into a tough bitch making bombs, dressing wounds and learning some awesome kill skills. Continue reading Terminator  (1984)