Jeff Nichols’s new sci-fi thriller, ‘Midnight Special,’ is like a masterclass in mood and style.
No amount of added action or plot twists can elevate ‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ beyond a glorified soap opera
A guide to the very best of one of TV’s most definitive genre series.
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is a welcome return to the franchise’s space opera roots
‘Evolution’ Movie Review – is as mysterious as it is beautiful and a masterclass in tone and restraint
It is difficult to discuss Evolution without giving away a lot of its surprises. Needless-to-say, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s masterful film (only her second in a decade) is disturbing, beautiful and restrained. Mysterious from beginning to end, the film challenges and intrigues, reaching down inside to grab hold of something within us all that is ancient and primordial, engaging on a level that exists within not only a collective imagination but our collective biology
Director Ridley Scott shows amazing restraint as he scales back the pyrotechnics and emphasizes human ingenuity in ‘The Martian.’
Writer-directors Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione mix satire, horror, and science fiction into an irresistible social experiment that puts all of us under the microscope in ‘Circle.’
Too solemn for Tweens, too violent for youngsters, and too goofy for adults, Brad Bird’s film about hope and change is betrayed by a subpar script and questionable casting choices.
Ex Machina is a superior techno-thriller that asks a lot more questions than it’s willing to answer. Filmmakers have long exploited the dangers of artificial intelligence, but few have the courage to examine the hubris behind Man’s technological self-destruction. Alex Garland’s assured directorial debut showcases a patient filmmaker adept at world building. Like all good sci-fi films with big ideas and bold visuals, you’ll be thinking about Ex Machina long after you leave the theater.
Writer-director Neill Blomkamp pushes all his chips onto the table with this fascinating sci-fi gamble that dares you not to be entertained. Derivative, ultra-violent, and completely baffling, Chappie also manages to be insightful and sweet at times. This technically-accomplished and thematically-suspect robot melodrama has something for everyone to love (and hate). Mostly, it offers the giddy exhilaration of a movie that’s determined to tell its story, no matter how bat-shit crazy it is.
That sound you’re hearing is a massive sigh of relief from David Lynch. He no longer holds the dubious distinction of producing the most expensive B-movie in the history of Hollywood. That honor now belongs to The Wachowskis, whose Jupiter Ascending has officially displaced Dune at the top (or bottom) of the heap. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. Jupiter Ascending not only looks spectacular, it’s a laugh riot. Ridiculous dialogue, hammy performances, and enough mythology to baffle Zeus make this disaster a must-see for all lovers of cheese.
In 2013, The Rock was named the highest grossing actor of the year with his films pulling in a combined $1.3 billion. Things were not always this great for The Rock though. When he first started out his initial run of action movies in search of action stardom, he didn’t have much luck. The Rundown and Walking Tall, while perfectly fine action films on their own, both underperformed at the box office. Then came Doom, which was either going to be his third strike or his home run. It ended up being the former, causing two things to happen – The Rock’s action career disintegrated for 6 more years, and the belief that video game adaptations are unsuccessful was bolstered.
Walking into Predestination clean is perhaps the best advice to offer any cinephile willing to hunt down this likely future cult classic. It would be easy to just describe Predestination as Looper tossed in a blender with Minority Report, but the Spierig Brothers are going in a very different direction here. A direction that may lose a few viewers along the way.
2004 was supposed to be the year of Riddick, at least as far as Universal Studios was concerned. In response to the adamant fan demands for a sequel to the 2000 cult-classic Pitch Black, Universal was attempting to seize an opportunity by building a multi-million dollar franchise out of one the sci-fi slashers surviving characters: Richard B. Riddick, better known as simply “Riddick”.
The Portal series is home to Valve’s most deliberately uneven and deliriously uncomfortable of narratives. The seemingly innocent fun of cutting holes between dimensions and using them to pass tests or accomplish tasks is offset by the brutal after-effects and the havoc which they can wreak. Likewise the witty banter and amusing dialogue of characters like GLaDOS and Wheatley are immediately rendered moot by the homicidal and power-hungry psychological states that each AI shows when challenged or placed in a position of authority.
The gateway movie to my full-blown film addiction was Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko (2001). Kelly has yet to create a film that matches the mood or magnitude of his first success. This supernatural thriller has sparked a cult following behind its intense narrative and themes. Countless arguments have played out discussing it’s a representation of madness. Made in only 28 days it utilised a low budget of 4.5 million. This made it a poster-child for indie films.
Interstellar begins at an indeterminate point in Earth’s future, when blight and drought are pushing humanity to the breaking point. “This world is a treasure, but it’s been telling us to leave for a long time now,” laments engineer-turned-farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey). He’s a practical man who set aside dreams of space travel in order to provide for his family, and yet his powerful intellect keeps him sneaking glances skyward. When he and his precocious daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy), decipher mysterious signals directing them to random GPS coordinates, Cooper is only too eager to indulge his curiosity.
The Giver Written for the screen by Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide Directed by Phillip Noyce USA, 2014 The Giver doesn’t want people thinking too much about its heavier themes, so it answers any nagging questions with the Hollywood truism, “Love conquers all.” That’s fine… if the love story works. Sadly, this adaptation of …
While many may still be reeling from Tatiana Maslany’s recent Emmy snub, fans of BBC America’s Orphan Black have something to get excited about as the show makes the jump from the small screen to the pages of comics. In a recent press release, IDW has announced that the show will be coming to comic …
The new children’s film, Earth to Echo, wants to be a Millennial version of E.T., but it sacrifices emotion in favor of realism. The end result is a one-dimensional robot that will disappoint younger children, and a repetitive action story that will bore older kids. Its heart may be in the right place but there’s just not enough imagination or excitement to clear this movie for launch.
South Korean filmmaker, Joon-ho Bong, has never been afraid of mixing genres. In his latest and most challenging film to date, Snowpiercer, Bong mixes action, sci-fi and satire to create a delightfully twisted prison break story. Snowpiercer owes much of its effectiveness to an ingenious script that uses 3 discrete acts to effortlessly shift its …
Quick question; does a flamboyantly camp and knowingly ridiculous science-fiction adventure costumed by Jean-Paul Gaultier and written by a teenager obsessed with 50’s and 60’s Belgian/French futuristic pulp comics sound like a good idea? The idea that any cynically minded executive would immediately stab his thumb in the air at the pitch of The Fifth Element is as fanciful as the bizarrely hypnotic and anachronistically beautiful world (or worlds) in which it is set.
If you flashback to the early 00’s, there was still a sense of excitement and anticipation at the announcement of Ridley Scott working on a new project. This was a visionary director who’s expansive, ambitious and heart capturing visual eye had given the world of cinema such wonders as Alien and Blade Runner, masterpieces of …