science fiction

Alien: Covenant (2017) © Fox 2017

“We don’t leave Earth to be safe.” | Alien: Covenant (2017)

From the moment Prometheus ended, I couldn’t digest it. There was something too Frankenstein-esque about how the story seemed to shoehorn and then outright bolt things on to get into the Alien universe so Ridley Scott had an excuse to do a sequel that got us closer to the first Alien film and its events. In essence, Prometheus is the film that nobody needed. So where does Alien: Covenant sit after the rancour of the first prequel? More after the jump plus NSFW trailer.

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Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

“That’s… definitely bigger than the last one.” | ID4 Resurgence (2016)

I knew that Independence Day: Resurgence was going to happen. One of the most iconic 90’s movie, an assured cast, good SFX, a captive US 4th of July audience and a decent box office haul meant a sequel was going to happen. So here we all are twenty years later, ready for the follow up with new and old cast members together. Does it work? Was it worth the wait? Trailer and review after the break.
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Supernova (2000)

“God, what happened to your robot?” – Supernova (2000)

In  a perfect world, Walter Hill’s record as a director would be unblemished. Streets Of Fire, 48 Hours, The Warriors, Southern Comfort, Red Heat. Any of them would define the 70’s and 80’s in American cinema and its goals. Unfortunately, everybody’s run ends somewhere. Hill’s ended with this abomination of a film, Supernova, and took him over twelve years to be trusted with another movie. Which is sad given that the film could have been a great film both in terms of pacing and execution.

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“I’m gonna have to science the sh^t out of this” – The Martian (2015)

After Prometheus, I really was wary of Ridley Scott going into sci-fi. He’s a guy who thrives when he was tackling different subjects one after another (Alien and Blade Runner led to Legend and Someone to Watch Over Me, Gladiator led to Hannibal and Black Hawk Down) so when he said he was going to adapt Andy Weir’s book The Martian to star Matt Damon so soon after his problematic return to the Alien universe, I was not in a great frame of mind to watch it.

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Aleksei German’s Hard To Be A God (2013)

Woooow, this is a long time to review a film. Russian film Hard To Be A God came out on the 14th of September but I’m only posting the review now. Why the delay? Partly in the fact that the disc arrived a week after the release date and partly the subject matter. Ostensibly about a world not unlike our own, the film is a science fiction film without any outward trappings of the genre. I had never heard of the film, the director or the original story it is based on. Is this the best tactic to tackle such a nebulously plotted film? Let’s find out.

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Nightmare City (1980) – Insert obligatory brainnnnssss line here (sorry, Umberto)

As I trawl through the Italian films of the 80’s, I’m reminded that when I was talking at one point to Oli (late of the Welcome to the Brain Palace podcast) about Italian giallo and zombie horror flicks, he kept saying two names: Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi. I’ve not seen Bava’s works yet but I just watched my first Lenzi film. A total mess of a film, it’s so bad it’s good and more than makes up for its problems by not caring about them. Nightmare City, a film about zombies that drink blood but shush, Lenzi doesn’t like you calling them zombies, dammit!

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‘See you in Pittsburgh.’ – Videodrome (1983)

I’ve never been a big David Cronenberg fan. I’ve seen some of his output but not all of it. That’s not to say I don’t like his films, I just wouldn’t call myself an expert. That said, Videodrome is the one that everyone talks about. More polished than Scanners, less commercial (ironic given its plot) than The Fly, the film represents, at least for me, the best of the Canadian filmmaker’s work.

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Contamination (1980) - Capricorn Theater Reviews

“Hamilton’s eyes were….were…HAMILTON!!!!” – Contamination (1980)

My first experience with Italian horror and science fiction has two rocky but excellent starts. The horror came in the form of Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond and House By The Cemetery (Thanks so much Mick, for recommending and loaning them to me). Watching them on the brand new DVD format (Wave of the future!), I loved Beyond and couldn’t finish House as I was too scared of it (Thanks so much Mick, for recommending and loaning them to me!). Watching them, I could understand their appeal: they were quickly edited, well paced and had decent actors in them who just tackled the work and nothing more.
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Timestalkers (1987)

“Draw, Doctor McKenzie. ” – Timestalkers (1987)

There are films from my yesteryear that I barely remembered into adult life. They came and went and often turned out to be cult classics. I have a good record in the cult classic department: The Last Starfighter, Krull, Big Trouble In Little China and The Care Bears Movie. All classics that people younger than me think are cool. Yeah, that’s what I keep telling myself. Back to the forgotten films. There was one film that came along and I’d had completely forgotten it was an actual film. This was around  the same time I watched Adventures of the American Rabbit and The Adventures of Mark Twain so it’s a bit hazy. The film was called Timestalkers and it was one of the first movies I ever saw that tried to explain the concept and problems of time travel. I had seen time travel before in things like Star Trek but that was always a kind of sanitized phenomena where everything was wrapped by the 45 minute mark. Here, the usual tropes of time travel are on display but it’s a more personal film. Let’s get started.

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Space Raiders (1983)

“It’s the adventurers who make it.” – Space Raiders (1983)

Can a film rise above crippling criticisms that it brought on itself and be a good film? Very few films that I know of can do this. Tim Burton’s version of Batman is such a film. Critics disliked it but it found it’s audience without them. Same goes for Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer. OK, I’m joking but you get what I’m saying. Space Raiders might fit the bill as well. It has two massive problems out of the gate but, by Jesus, it works hard to get me to accept it even with its problems.

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