Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Spoilers!

A rescue team from Earth are against the clock and must save humans on Sirius 6B from the robot Screamers before the planet is wiped out by a class 10 solar meteor strike.

None of the original cast return in director Sheldon Wilson’s offering, we are told that Peter Weller’s grumpy, in search of love, Joseph A. Hendricksson committed suicided on reentry to Earth, presumably in a tussle with the killer teddy bear screamer left on the spaceship.

The visual effects are surprisingly effective with some convincing composites and some impressive practical effects. There’s more gore, chopped of limbs, torsos, heads split open, impalement, a fist punched through a body and a head. The sets and production design are great but it’s has a direct to DVD look (especially in the first half) and lacks the filmatic feel that its low budget predecessor managed to achieve.

As the contingent of soldiers get picked off one by one, we’re introduced to some annoying feral people better placed in Mad Max. We find out that Victoria Bronte is Hendricksson’s daughter giving fans some much needed connection to the first. Arguably this could have been revealed much earlier on. Lance Henriksen turns up briefly as Orsow injecting some weight into the shenanigans. Both actors Gina Holden and Stephen Amell are notable.

Unfortunately, the Miguel Tejada-Flores (who also co-wrote the original) script lacks execution, it can be clunky in its delivery and at times lacks logic. What Tejada-Flores and Wilson do well is expand and attempt to build on the Screamer mythology. That said, sometimes less is more.

Amongst the explosions, shootings and blood the pacey sci-fi setups are more or less recycled from the first film. It lacks Philip K. Dick‘s philosophical questions, paranoia and sense of desolation that its predecessor attempted to touch on.

It’s a passable sci-fi B-movie, if somewhat cliched especially in the Alien/Terminator-like closing act. In fact, as DTV film and sequel, to Wilson’s credit, it’s probably one of the best of its kind.

May contain spoilers.

After a meteorite lands on a farm, a family find themselves infected by a mutant extraterrestrial organism.

From Richard Stanley the visionary atmospheric director of the sci-fi Hardware and occult thriller Dust Devil comes Color Out of Space, colour U.K. spelling?

After a long hiatus Stanley returns with a film more appealing to a wider audience, that said, the H.P. Lovecraft foundation source material with the director’s own touch it’s far from mainstream. Interestingly actor Elijah Wood is one of the producers. With practical effect visuals reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Brian Yuzna’s Society (1989) it excels Huan Vu’s 2012 impressive low budget film adaptation. The colour and digital effects rival 2018’s Annihilation.

It’s a film about every family’s worst nightmare. Nicolas Cage’s Nathan and children deal with rural life, in a bid to help their mother’s Theresa (played brilliantly by Joely Richardson daughter of Vanessa Redgrave) recovery from cancer. Shotgun touting Cage is on arbitrarily oddball form when things start to fall apart and people get mutated. Elliot Knight plays hydrologist Ward Phillips, who knows there’s something wrong on the property, Tommy Chong as Ezra, aptly the pothead hermit and Josh C. Waller as Sheriff Pierce are notable even if their appearances are brief.

Madeleine Arthur is impressive as troubled Wicca practising teen Lavinia Gardner. Brendan Meyer plays Benny but it’s young Julian Hilliard that steals the show as Jack who can hear the alien.

Some of most creepy scenes include the siblings especially the well staged black hole cosmic meteorite crash. Lavinia has a terrifying memorable attic scene where she comes face to face with her mutated mother and younger brother. Stanley offers strange coloured vegetation, a smelly glowing pinky purple meteor. Fingers are chopped off, bug creatures fly around, a squid-like creature appears, there’s mutated alpacas, bolts of purple lightning which fuses people, he successfully captures the madness of Lovecraft’s work.

It may not be as rounded as Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski Void (2016) that drew from Lovecraft but it’s is a Stanley film after all with all the cosmic infection galore trimmings. Stanley and Scarlett Amaris script possibly could do with some more meat on the bone as the dialogue is sparse. That said, Stanley naturally goes for the subtle, intelligent filmmaking route, at times ambiguous rather than a spoon feeding.

It’s a fine looking film with Steve Annis’s cinematography, there’s vibrant special effects and a complementing eerie soundtrack from Colin Stetson, it’s also dark, terrifying, emotional and gut wrenching at times. In true Stanley style it’s expectedly arty but there’s plenty there for diehard horror fans too.

Colour Out of Space may not be Stanley’s The Island of Dr. Moreau remake we’ve been waiting for since 1996 but it’s a solid H.P. Lovecraft adaptation and a welcomed return to the directing chair.

Spoilers ahead!

After staging his own suicide, a scientist becomes invisible using a suit to stalk and terrorise his ex-girlfriend.

This is yet another adaption of HG Wells tale The Invisible Man, the domestic abuse angle offers a fresh perspective on the classic source material. It also, takes some of the intriguing urban elements of Hollow Man (2000) but replaces the traditional invisibility with a suit that came straight out James Bond’s invisible car from Die Another Day (2002).

It’s well acted, Elisabeth Moss’ performance as Cecilia the abused partner add emotion and weight to the proceedings. Aldis Hodge is notable as James Lanier, a police detective but it’s Michael Dorman as Tom Griffin, Adrian’s brother and lawyer who steals ever short scene he appears in.

The invisible action and effects are well staged and executed. Director Leigh Whannell offers subtle touches from visible breathe from an invisible source to appearing knives and floating guns. That said, it’s terribly frustrating, if you’re not partial to the ‘no one believes me’ scenario type of films. In this case the police and family refuse to believe her story. There’s a nice reveal in the latter half but the final twist you can see coming a mile away.

Overall, Whannell’s film may not follow Wells’ story or be as much fun as Hollow Man and other film adaptations but it is a welcomed and effective serious toned Invisible Man film, that comes with a reminder of the horrific abuse one can suffer from a partner.

Some spoilers ahead!

Finn, Poe Dameron and the Resistance commence a final battle against new and old enemies of the First Order. As Rey tries to find out who her parents really were.

In terms of what a Star Wars film should be, director J. J. Abraham delivers a brilliant return form, layered with Lucas magic.

Rian Johnson’s Last Jedi as much as it tried to be different was too subtle in its script, and lacked fan execution. That said, whether by accident or design with the events of Rise it makes the dialouge of Last Jedi more pertinent, for example Luke says ‘he [Kylo] would bring destruction and pain and death, and the end of everything I love.’ So in retrospect he already saw the death of Han and Leia. Last Jedi actually works better now in since Rise of Skywalker and the lines especially between Rey and Ben have more relevance. Rise of Skywalker doesn’t pretend to be anything more or less than a Star Wars film. Adam Driver is impressive, thankfully many of the characters get room to breathe, John Boyega’s Finn, Daisy Ridley’s Rey and especially Oscar Isaac’s likeable Poe. Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) no pun intended gets to shine.

It’s packed with homages, throwbacks and treads new ground. Chewie gets his medal, Lando (Billy D. Williams) returns, finally we see a flashback of Leia (Carrie Fisher) training, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo cameos and the voices of many our favourite saga series main characters are heard. Denis Lawson even briefly appears as Wedge Antilles.

As much as harden fans would have liked all the force ghosts to appear it makes sense that Rey only saw those known to her, not just those who the audience knew. Leia, Kylo and Rey also get a fitting resolve. Even Hux gets closure. Mark Hamill’s Luke fittingly appears along with Ewoks, Jawas and Tatooine.

With excellent special effects, sets and music score it may not have the old school feel of Rogue One or Solo but it’s packed with action that echoes the likes of the Madalorian, Force Awakens and emotional energy of Last Jedi. It pushes buttons and fills satisfaction gaps that its predecessor couldn’t. It’s a great closure with on the nose fan satisfaction.

As a Star Wars film (while you could argue that no films should have been made since Return of the Jedi) it’s great, as a sequel to Last Jedi it excels.

Overall, Abraham’s delivers an almost impossible feat, some Star Wars magic.

An expert hitman is pitted against his own clone run by a government sanctioned security service Gemini.

Director Ang Lee offers a solid fun actioner with an injection of science fiction that echoes the likes of Assassins (1995) and the 6th Day (2000) with a feel of John Woo’s Face Off (1997).

With a notable supporting cast that includes the likes of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Douglas Hodge, Benedict Wong and (somewhat wasted) Ralph Brown you’d think it would be a entertaining dramatic hit however everyone feels so relaxed that there’s no real sense of danger. With paper thin motive the Jason Bourne-like government conspiracy scenes never quite hit the mark lacking some much needed weight.

Even though the whole film seems an excuse for Will Smith to face off against the parallel universe Fresh Prince of Bel-air assassin, Smith is great in the duel young/old roles along side a menacing Clive Owen. Smith, however, like the reset of the cast feels flat, even during the emotional highs, possibly due to the colourful locations, cinematography and Ang Lee’s general directing style.

The CGI de-aged effects are a mixed bag at times as excellent as the wacky fight setups but at others not as effective as the young Sarah Conner in Sky Dance’s other release Terminator Dark Fate.

With global-trotting fights, chases and shoot outs throughout there plenty to like right up-to a little clone twist in the closing act along with a surprise death.

Overall, Gemini Man is a lot better then the trailer makes it out to be but it’s odd tonally flawed entertaining action film.

In Mexico City a young woman named Dani Ramos becomes the latest target of a cyborg assassin, Rev 9, from the future sent by ‘Legion’.

Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) offers a standup Terminator outing correcting Genisys working as a sequel to Terminator 2. However, opening with Endoskeleton Terminators which are wiped out because of the events in T2, a young John and (excellently CGI rendered young) Sarah Connor – it then takes a sudden story turn to present day. Miller flashes forward at times to a possible or inevitable future (never clarified in Dark Fate if it can be prevented as in T2). These snippets introduce a Salvation like future with bizzare fast moving tentacle Terminators and the creation of an technologically augmented super soldier.

It has better casting than Terminator 3 (namely poorly cast Danes and Stahl). But don’t get too excited though as it barely has the grit or grounded practical feel of The Terminator nor the substance and style of the second. Frankly there’s too much CGI which takes centre stage ripping you out of the action. That said, as a CGI driven modern action film younger viewers may find it more appealing, but this is where the likes of Halloween (2018) and also Mexican themed Rambo: Last Blood have a slight edge over Miller’s loud big outing as the aforementioned focus is on the characters not just the effects.

Emotionally the film belongs to it’s cybernetically enhanced soldier Grace brilliantly played by Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton, who returns as Sarah Connor. Both actors have great chemistry. Hamilton is great here, Miller keeps it refreshingly female orientated.

Gabriel Luna’s advanced Terminator model whose skin and skeleton can function as two separate bodies is interesting but his incognito infiltration element, to blend into any surrounding is wasted as he blatantly goes on wacky outlandish killing sprees in plain sight.

Schwarzenegger lights up the screen as Terminator but it leaves very little impact, it’s a pitty he didn’t show up in the flesh in Salvation. His 101 model has some good lines and generous amount of screen time. Many elements are rehashed from T2, others echoing the underrated Salvation, Dani Ramos (played by Natalia Reyes) is the new the Sarah Connor but with a welcomed little twist on the story.

Miller and writers thankfully keep it coherent compared to the last outing, but they never really explore the time travel whys and what. Also Kyle or Ginger never get a mention from Sarah’s lips, given her subtler scenes with both leads it felt like a missed opportunity.

Overall, with less CGI it could have been great, never the less it’s an enjoyable Terminator film, maybe coming from an analog age it’s just not my Terminator film.

On the research station lab on the planet of Xarbia a flesh-eating mutant is loose that feeds on the dwindling scientific group who created it.

With the same vibe as Galaxy of Terror (1981), Roger Corman’s Forbidden World a.k.a Mutant is an excuse for director Allan Holzman to put some cheap icky specimen effects, jumpsuits and scantily clad actresses on screen. It also comes complete with some disco/electronica music from Susan Justin and a little robot called SAM104 who looks as if he should be in sci-fi films Silent Running or Saturn 3.

June Chadwick’s blonde Barb bloody life form encounter scene is short but impressive. Jim Wynorski fingerprints are all over this, Brunette Dawn Dunlap lights up the screen screaming with unnecessary skimpy outfits throughout taking off her clothes whenever the script calls for it. Hammy Fox Harris doctor is entertaining enough, reminiscent of, but predating Brad Dourif’s Alien Resurrection performance. There’s also an interesting desert scene which echoes an episode of Star Trek in terms of style and execution.

Forbidden World is as clunky as some of ‘Subject 20’ effects, editing and dialogue. To its credit and inconsistency aside many scenes are well lighted and a handful of the practical special effects including the cocoon and kills are not too shabby. It’s common knowledge that some sets and footage is recycled from other Corman productions, including Battle Beyond the Stars and Galaxy of Terror but it’s all seamless unless your already privileged to the knowledge as it fittingly looks as if it belongs to this low budget production.

Overall, it’s energetic and amusingly gruesome even if at times for all the wrong reasons.

SPOILERS!

In the sleepy small town of Centerville, the dead return to life when the earth shifts on its axis.

The Dead Don’t Die has an unprecedented atmosphere of doom and gloom in a small town which captures an odd eerie feel
echoing The Night the Living Dead. However, it’s marred by hanking issues that prevent it becoming what could have been a cult classic.

Jim Jarmusch’s writing decision to break the fourth wall and have the characters talk about the script within the film steals all the novelty from the zany characters and their convincing emotional sentiments. Especially from Cloe Sevigny who gives her deputy believable touching grief. It simply sucks the life out from his solid directing offering.

Adam Driver’s Ronnie and Bill Murray’s Chief Robinson are wonderful as the smalltown law men along with the rest of the cast. Steve Buscemi as a small minded farmer, samurai swinging Tilda Swinton and Danny Glover’s Hank are notable, even if a little wasted. Iggy Pop’s coffee yearning zombie extended cameo is memorable.

As a side note, it’s reminiscent on places of the 2003 Australian film the Undead, including borrowing a wacky alien contact moment. Along with three teens who escape there’s another subplot involving Selena Gomez’s Zoe and her two friends. Neither story threads really pay off, aside from fleshing our Driver’s officer character with Zoe’s demise. This leaves the two separate groups fates slightly wasted and if not moot. That said, the knowing observational hobo in the woods played by Tom Waits strings the film all together.

The make-up effects, Frederick Elmes’ cinematography and location setting is great, even if some CGI is a little iffy. It’s rare for a film to seemingly go out of its way to spoil itself especially when it was so wonderfully setup. It takes away the multiple reward of rewatching value. The abruptness of the ending doesn’t help either.

When it’s being played straight the comedy wit presents itself like the joy of Lake Placid’s satire. But when it’s breaking the fourth wall and trying to be too clever, it stumbles, sadly pulling the carpet from under Driver and Murray’s stellar performances.

Overall, the haphazard script decisions rip the heart of what could have been a contemporary zom-com Return of the Living Dead type classic.

Paratroopers with a mix of experience on a mission to destroy a communication point just before D-Day discover secret base carrying out Nazi experiments.

High concept super soldiers are nothing new, but don’t expect a low budget affair, director Julius Avery’s offering of a Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith screenplay is wonderfully delivered with high production values. From a parashoot drop that could easily belong in Saving Private Ryan to like a small French town setting echoing the likes of The Keep and The Piano, Overlords hooks the viewer in from the outset.

The B-film concept is executed by Avery with blockbuster gusto, high production values, excellent locations sets and costume. The cast is on form, the lead Jovan Adepo is excellent as thoughtful Private Ed Boyce who uncovers the Nazi experiments below the church and radio tower. Taking a leaf from 1982’s The Thing with surprise deaths and sacrifices the supporting cast is out standing notable are edgy Wyatt Russell as Ford, memorable Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe, John Magaro as sniper Frank, to be honest you could list them all.

With first class gross out special effects, as the gore amps up and mutations showing inhuman strength plays-out with an end baddy showdown granted it loses the realism of the WWII shooting and explosive action setups throughout. Nevertheless, it’s still an entertaining, tense at times, finely crafted film from Avery. Recommend.

Orin, an escaped slave must free his people from an underground mine but first journey across the galaxy to fulfil his destiny.

Directed and produced by Steven Hahn, and written by Jeffrey Scott Starchaser borrows from Flash Gordon, Star Wars, the King Arthur Legend, even a bit of Blade Runner and many more. It’s more young adult orientated, almost in the ballpark of Ralph Bakshi, there’s disturbing 2000 A.D-like half-human, half-machine Man-Droids, Fembots. with some above PG choice language and surprise deaths, it offers an emotional clout and punch.

While the pace is at times is a little clunky like the Battle Star Galactica carbon robots, the animation (with no use of rotoscoping) is outstanding for the time. The music Andrew Belling is fitting. The characters, especially the robot leads are quite likeable, the evil overlord Zygon is notable. The voice acting is great and there’s even a nice little twist to close of the proceedings.

Overall, refreshingly made before CGI it borrows from the best and worst of sci-fi and comes out on top. Recommend.