It’s not often that a modern movie really grabs me. Especially a modern science fiction movie. Extra especially any science fiction movie involving time travel (because time travel makes no sense at all). When that movie is a first-time directorial effort with almost zero budget and shot on iPhones, it’s really something very special.
And when the story, despite time travel making no sense at all, exudes a sense of sheer joy and fun to carry it along (despite time travel making no sense at all), and delights even on a second viewing — where one can pay attention to how it was shot to appear as one long 70-minute take — it gets an enthusiastic Wow! rating from me.
I’m talking about Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (2020).
2 Comments | tags: science fiction, science fiction movies, SF, SF Movies | posted in Movies, Sci-Fi Saturday
Speaking of women-centric movies and TV shows, recently I watched Hulu’s Prey (2022), the latest entry in the Predator franchise. Not to be confused with the Aliens vs. Predators mini franchise, the crossover with the Aliens franchise.
The evening was a double feature. First, I watched the second entry in the AvP series, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007). I can’t say I’m a huge fan of these movies, but I’ve generally enjoyed them. Prey got lots of praise, and I’ve long wanted to see The AvP sequel (although I wasn’t expecting much from it).
As it turned out, AvP: Requiem won the night. Prey has a lot going for it but has too much Mulan and Dances with Wolves for my taste. I found it distracting and detracting.
6 Comments | tags: aliens, science fiction movies, SF Movies, women | posted in Movies, Opinion
I had plans today but woke up feeling less-than-great (still have a headache). Fortunately, friend was fine with tomorrow. Meanwhile, here’s a post planned for next Sci-Fi Saturday. Ironically, after my complaints about modern movies, here’s another delight.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), starring Chinese superstar Michelle Yeoh, written and directed by Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), is wild and wacky — a comedy action thriller about family, choices, and saving the multiverse. Also, a bagel with everything on it.
Gets a Wow! rating. Recommended (as ever: if you like that sort of thing).
6 Comments | tags: Michelle Yeoh, science fiction, science fiction movies, SF, SF Movies | posted in Movies, Sci-Fi Saturday
Last night I decided to enjoy a special double feature: Blade Runner (1982), the Ridley Scott classic (final cut), followed by Blade Runner 2049 (2017), the Denis Villeneuve sequel. I’ve seen the original many times, although not in years, so it was great to see it once again. For a 40-year-old science fiction movie, it’s stood the test of time well and is rightfully considered a modern classic.
The Villeneuve sequel, I think, will never be more than a forgotten footnote. It comes out the gate suffering from being an attempt to ride the coattails of an original work by another (better) artist. Stir in Villeneuve’s self-indulgent excessively languid pacing and tendency to put image over substance, and the result is (at least to me) unmemorable.
I started fast-forwarding scenes and ultimately turned it off 45 minutes from the end. I only lasted that long because I wanted to see the part with Harrison Ford.
32 Comments | tags: science fiction, science fiction movies, SF, SF Movies, storytelling | posted in Movies
I learned a very long time ago that, when it comes to movies, it’s the little ones from the filmmaker’s heart I find most interesting and worthwhile. This seems ever truer in an era of endless, empty sequels and mind-numbing blockbusters with no more depth than an amusement park ride. Nothing wrong with amusement park rides, they can be fun, but they’re rarely memorable, let alone creative.
Sorry to Bother You (2018), written and directed by Boots Riley, is exactly the sort of thing I mean when I say my main ask of a story is to take me someplace new.
A bonus for me is that it stars LaKeith Stanfield, whose work I’ve found so delightful in the surreal (and outstanding) TV series Atlanta (which also nails the “take me someplace new” thing).
9 Comments | tags: LaKeith Stanfield, science fiction, science fiction movies, SF, SF Movies | posted in Movies, Sci-Fi Saturday
Recently I posted about one of my new favorite YouTube channels, The Critical Drinker, which features reviews of movies and TV shows. The Drinker is the alias of thriller novelist (and YouTuber) Will Jordan, and one reason I like his channel so much is that our tastes seem well aligned. (I confess that I also love his extremely blunt presentation style.)
Another reason I enjoy his channel involves how he reviews and highlights unregarded movie gems. He and I share an appreciation for some fairly obscure, but very worthwhile, movies many have never heard of (let alone seen).
For Sci-Fi Saturday I thought I’d present some of his SF recommendations.
11 Comments | tags: Dark City, science fiction movies, SF, SF Movies, The Critical Drinker, The Fifth Element, Will Jordan, YouTube | posted in Movies, Sci-Fi Saturday
This has the potential to be short since it doesn’t feel that I have that much to say, but I did want to record a few thoughts. I have neither rant nor rave — just some heavy disappointment in one case. In the other case, for me, it’s more a sense of, “Well, what did you expect from a time-travel movie? Time travel is utterly absurd and inherently contradictory.”
The post’s title may have clued you in. This post is about Tenet (2020), the most recent Christopher Nolan movie, plus the most recent effort by his brother, Jonathan Nolan (and wife Lisa Joy), Westworld, season three (also 2020). I’m a little late to the party seeing both of these, but I was so disappointed in season two of Westworld, that I didn’t much care about season three (and nothing I heard encouraged me).
Last night (and into this morning) I binged on all that Nolan.
14 Comments | tags: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, science fiction, science fiction movies, science fiction TV, Summer Solstice, Tenet (movie), Westworld (TV series) | posted in Movies, TV
This post is a follow up to the one yesterday about TV shows I’ve been watching recently, but this one is about recent movies. Actually, there’s a dessert dish I snuck in to make it a four-course meal — I haven’t seen Hardcore Henry in a while, but it’s so unique and tasty I had to include it.
I have two entrées today, one an Amazon Prime original modeled after the great (but as it turned out not inimitable) Groundhog Day. The other, which I also saw on Prime, is an interesting and wry murder mystery with a great cast and an interesting twist on the whodunnit murder mystery.
The side dish is a Netflix animated comedy about the robot apocalypse.
13 Comments | tags: Amazon Prime, Hardcore Henry, Knives Out, Netflix, science fiction movies, SF Movies, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, The Mitchells vs the Machines | posted in Movies
Last Saturday, on Netflix, I watched Stowaway (2021) an engaging and compelling hard science fiction film by a new filmmaker, Joe Penna. The story, which has only four characters, is reminiscent of Gravity (2013) or Apollo 13 (1995), not only in how it involves a disaster aboard a small spacecraft, but in how it tries to respect physics as much as possible. (Apollo 13, of course, was a real story which made it a lot easier.)
It is, on both counts, also similar to The Martian (2015), in which it bears a third similarity — a connection to Mars. They differ, however, in that The Martian is about a guy trying to get away from Mars whereas Stowaway is about three people trying to get to Mars.
The disaster for them is the fourth person, the stowaway.
16 Comments | tags: hard SF, science fiction, science fiction movies, SF, SF Movies | posted in Movies, Sci-Fi Saturday
Fans of Doctor Who, at least those without an unreasoning dislike of Jodie Whittaker, may get a kick out of seeing her in the 2011 British alien invasion film Attack the Block. It’s a small rather unregarded film with a box office return of only half its £8 million budget (about $11 million USD at 2021 rates). Since its release it has gotten well-deserved critical praise and won a few international accolades.
I should note that Whittaker is not the lead. At best, she’s a co-star, and perhaps almost more of a major supporting character (she is present for most of the film). The film stars John Boyega, who many will know as Finn from the final Star Wars trilogy.
I highly recommend it for all science fiction movie fans.
8 Comments | tags: Doctor Who, Dredd (movie), Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, science fiction, science fiction movies, SF, SF Movies | posted in Sci-Fi Saturday