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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Director:Travis Oates .
Starring. Brian Austin Green, Mena Suvari, Joanne Kelly, Zack Ward, USA. 1h 32m.
The overall feeling of this film is like a drawn out Creepypasta, and not one of the good ones either.
The principles is simple but the story doesn’t go anywhere, let me explain. A group of 10 friends are heading out on vacation divided into 4 cars, their destination is a small resort village in the middle of nowhere. When they arrive at the picturesque town, they are shocked to find the town is totally abandoned, despite finding this quite odd they are forced to stay as they have very little petrol and no cell phone reception.(but there’s always a signal!!) So they make the most of the resort and act like nothing is odd until one by one they begin to disappear. Because a deserted town doesn’t mean anything that you should run for your lives.. Continue reading Don’t Blink (2014)
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)
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..
D: David Ayer
S: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton. Noomi Rapace USA. 1h 57m
Described as the worst movie of 2017, I had to check this out, maybe it was a PR stunt but it worked, it got me looking and I was pleasantly surprised, while constantly looking for the loopholes, terrible acting and a story that I couldn’t understand I found the opposite and was a bit more confused about why this is was coined as being so bad when I was tempted to watch it again….
Not quite realising how long the film was going to be, as a lot of current films are getting shorter for the attention span of the masses, this is a bit of an marathon, being just shy of 2 hours, but it does use all that time quite wisely while being a sort of fantasy rip off of Alien Nation (1988). Instead of aliens descending upon us, this is an alternative reality where Orc’s, Elves and other mythical beings exist. Daryl Ward (Smith) is a know it all police officer who’s been teamed up with a pariah Nick Jakoby (Edgerton) who’s an “unblooded” Orc, we learn that this makes him a bit of a hipster, who’s from a long line of other hipsters who basically don’t kill, this gives him a bum status with all the other Orcs but the humans refuse to accept him as Orcs are famed for having accepting the “darker” more evil path as part of their nature so they can’t be trusted, in the locker rooms men boast about being Orc slayers.
Continue reading Bright (2017)
Day 5 – Night Caller
Director: John Gilling
Starring: John Saxon, Maurice Denham, Patricia Haines, UK. 1h 25m
There is always a huge amount of respect to be had for early sci fi, the imagination and passion that gave us so many of the inventions that are commonplace in modern times…. Or in this case the sciences is mostly about space and aliens and concepts which are a little out there… but are crazy enough to be enjoyable.
Scientist Jack Costain (Saxon) and his colleagues track and investigate a meteorite that crash lands in the British countryside, the strange spherical asteroid defies science as we know it. The asteroid is taken to the laboratory to be studied but it seems inert, but the army remain on stand by. Eventually Dr Morley (Dedham) discovers that it is an alien device from Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter and it acts like a gateway, this is only activated when people are alone, usually female. A creature emerges, and stalks Ann (Haines) eventually; using her as bait, they capture a tall alien and take it to their lab, but it escapes. Continue reading Night Caller from Outer Space / Blood Beast from Outer Space (1965)