sci fi

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Style triumphs so resoundingly here that substance has been driven almost entirely from the screen. Cara Delevigne wins by virtue of playing the only character that vacillates. Well actually the CGI white masai people are kind of interesting but only

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Style triumphs so resoundingly here that substance has been driven almost entirely from the screen. Cara Delevigne wins by virtue of playing the only character that vacillates. Well actually the CGI white masai people are kind of interesting but only

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The Shape of Water

Some strong elements combine to achieve less than their sum. A fine cast acts out some hot topics and at the helm is the director possibly trying harder than anyone else today to make movies that look good. It does

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The Shape of Water

Some strong elements combine to achieve less than their sum. A fine cast acts out some hot topics and at the helm is the director possibly trying harder than anyone else today to make movies that look good. It does

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Blade Runner 2049

Deckhard is back, Hampton Fancher is back, the rain is back, as is some of the neon, albeit faded behind some kind of airborne filth with lumps in it. Blade Runner in the eighties was a world crippled and depressed

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Blade Runner 2049

Deckhard is back, Hampton Fancher is back, the rain is back, as is some of the neon, albeit faded behind some kind of airborne filth with lumps in it. Blade Runner in the eighties was a world crippled and depressed

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Alien: Covenant

As has been observed before regarding Prometheus, Alien: Covenant is trying to build conceptual sci-fi on the burial grounds of what began as a simple, stylish, terrifying horror story. This alleged prequel to the Alien saga, now in its second

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Alien: Covenant

As has been observed before regarding Prometheus, Alien: Covenant is trying to build conceptual sci-fi on the burial grounds of what began as a simple, stylish, terrifying horror story. This alleged prequel to the Alien saga, now in its second

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Ex Machina

According to the movies, programming your AI is apparently indistinguishable from a contract with the devil. Inevitably there is a hidden catch in the wording of the contract, or a clause that hubris encourages you to overlook. And the outcome for

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Ex Machina

According to the movies, programming your AI is apparently indistinguishable from a contract with the devil. Inevitably there is a hidden catch in the wording of the contract, or a clause that hubris encourages you to overlook. And the outcome for

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One feels like a heroine’s journey has been extracted from something originally conceived for an ensemble cast, leaving us with not quite enough of either. There are too many characters, talking so much about what they’re doing we don’t know what they’re doing.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One feels like a heroine’s journey has been extracted from something originally conceived for an ensemble cast, leaving us with not quite enough of either. There are too many characters, talking so much about what they’re doing we don’t know what they’re doing.

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Westworld (1973)

Michael “high concept” Crichton directs the film of his own screenplay (no novel this time). It becomes very clear where the idea for The Terminator came from as we watch Yuul Brynner reincarnate his The Magnificent Seven character in the form

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Westworld (1973)

Michael “high concept” Crichton directs the film of his own screenplay (no novel this time). It becomes very clear where the idea for The Terminator came from as we watch Yuul Brynner reincarnate his The Magnificent Seven character in the form

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

For the first ten minutes or so there is nagging despair, even mourning. It feels like an awkward Star Wars themed high school reunion in a room littered with lifeless artefacts, with Disney and JJ Abrams strutting around bragging “lookit all

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

For the first ten minutes or so there is nagging despair, even mourning. It feels like an awkward Star Wars themed high school reunion in a room littered with lifeless artefacts, with Disney and JJ Abrams strutting around bragging “lookit all

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Tomorrowland

Conflict being the essence of drama and all that, it’s not easy to pull an entertainment out of a pleasant scenario, unless it’s one under threat. In this case the utopian promise of Tomorrowland is in danger of never arriving. We’re presented with a rampant

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Tomorrowland

Conflict being the essence of drama and all that, it’s not easy to pull an entertainment out of a pleasant scenario, unless it’s one under threat. In this case the utopian promise of Tomorrowland is in danger of never arriving. We’re presented with a rampant

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Jodorowsky’s Dune

In this epic yarn, the filmic equivalent of Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Alejandro Jodorowsky, wild-eyed, possessed, regales us with the story of his five year mission to bring Frank Herbert’s Dune to the screen. It’s an extraordinary chronicle of

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Jodorowsky’s Dune

In this epic yarn, the filmic equivalent of Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Alejandro Jodorowsky, wild-eyed, possessed, regales us with the story of his five year mission to bring Frank Herbert’s Dune to the screen. It’s an extraordinary chronicle of

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Under The Skin

A disappointing adaptation that barely scrapes the surface of Michel Faber’s masterful and understated alien-incursion novel. The initial scenario is the same but Faber’s themes of class and industrial ethics are discarded in favour of more familiar gender politics, alien

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Under The Skin

A disappointing adaptation that barely scrapes the surface of Michel Faber’s masterful and understated alien-incursion novel. The initial scenario is the same but Faber’s themes of class and industrial ethics are discarded in favour of more familiar gender politics, alien

/ 2 Comments

Her

Technologically mediated relationships are the setting but not entirely the point here, because it seems Her is actually the first great movie about the technological Singularity since that term entered common parlance. And the idea being couched as a love story, albeit

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Her

Technologically mediated relationships are the setting but not entirely the point here, because it seems Her is actually the first great movie about the technological Singularity since that term entered common parlance. And the idea being couched as a love story, albeit

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Elysium

Another film about the rich seeking to purge themselves of the poor, taking their bat and baubles and exclusive health care and going home, or in this case moving to an orbiting space station. It’s a disappointing second outing for

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Elysium

Another film about the rich seeking to purge themselves of the poor, taking their bat and baubles and exclusive health care and going home, or in this case moving to an orbiting space station. It’s a disappointing second outing for

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The Purge

Extrapolated a few degrees sideways into a parallel future, America has undergone some kind of reboot. The ‘new founding fathers’ have reclaimed the night for freedom, the expression of which is an annual holiday where law and order are suspended

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The Purge

Extrapolated a few degrees sideways into a parallel future, America has undergone some kind of reboot. The ‘new founding fathers’ have reclaimed the night for freedom, the expression of which is an annual holiday where law and order are suspended

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Gravity

It’s rare for a movie to sustain a high level of tension for its entire running length. Gravity achieves this feat by playing in real time, or close to it, opening with a set piece that clocks in at 13

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Gravity

It’s rare for a movie to sustain a high level of tension for its entire running length. Gravity achieves this feat by playing in real time, or close to it, opening with a set piece that clocks in at 13

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Star Trek Into Darkness

The rebooted Trek franchise is already feeling like a dog-gnawed sneaker. One of the few still-twinkling christmas lights in JJ Abrams’ otherwise overstretched and underbaked portfolio is boldly going nowhere at the second instalment. Benedict Cumberbatch makes an arresting and articulate

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Star Trek Into Darkness

The rebooted Trek franchise is already feeling like a dog-gnawed sneaker. One of the few still-twinkling christmas lights in JJ Abrams’ otherwise overstretched and underbaked portfolio is boldly going nowhere at the second instalment. Benedict Cumberbatch makes an arresting and articulate

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Upstream Color

It’s not every day you get to puzzle out a serious experiment in cinematic narrative, so here’s your chance. Crimes are committed using some sort of telepathising mind-worm and two victims get together to solve, revenge and repair what was

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Upstream Color

It’s not every day you get to puzzle out a serious experiment in cinematic narrative, so here’s your chance. Crimes are committed using some sort of telepathising mind-worm and two victims get together to solve, revenge and repair what was

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Oblivion

If you don’t mind your futuristic production design looking like an off the plan real estate brochure, Oblivion is a watchable post-catastrophic sci-fi. Humanity appears to have moved out of home, Tom Cruise and his assigned companion (Andrea Riseborough) are ensconced in

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Oblivion

If you don’t mind your futuristic production design looking like an off the plan real estate brochure, Oblivion is a watchable post-catastrophic sci-fi. Humanity appears to have moved out of home, Tom Cruise and his assigned companion (Andrea Riseborough) are ensconced in

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Chronicle

This found-footage mashup of X-men and Akira is another meeting of low production values and teen movie cliches, the kind where the low budget is a means to break into the mainstream rather than break out. Its premise of alien-artifact-sourced

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Chronicle

This found-footage mashup of X-men and Akira is another meeting of low production values and teen movie cliches, the kind where the low budget is a means to break into the mainstream rather than break out. Its premise of alien-artifact-sourced

/ One Comment

Lockout

This could have been a lot better. The trailer makes it look pretty funny, and it is, but something went wrong from script to screen. Most obvious among its oopses are the hamfisted digital effects. Highly ambitious action set pieces

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Lockout

This could have been a lot better. The trailer makes it look pretty funny, and it is, but something went wrong from script to screen. Most obvious among its oopses are the hamfisted digital effects. Highly ambitious action set pieces

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