Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) — Screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth.
When science-fiction neophytes first lay their eyes on the marketing material for Denis Villeneuve’s latest science-fiction film, Dune, they should be forgiven, if they immediately remark that it looks like an imitation of Star Wars — or other similar films. Obviously, they would be under a false impression, but, after all, it is a little bit strange that one of Star Wars‘ most obvious sources of inspiration — Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune — has not previously generated a widely known or appreciated adaptation.
In fact, the Dune property is perhaps especially renowned for being difficult to adapt. Famously, Alejandro Jodorowsky tried but failed to get an adaptation off the ground, while David Lynch’s adaptation from 1984 was critically panned. Those ‘failed’ attempts are, in fact, more widely known than the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series that the franchise also spawned. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have now entrusted auteur Denis Villeneuve with the job of adapting Frank Herbert’s rich, influential, and dense source material, and I think that was a very smart decision.
Directed by Mikael Håfström — Screenplay by Rob Yescombe & Rowan Athale.
In 2020, Netflix found some success by placing a Marvel star in a fast-paced action movie with a somewhat forgettable plot with the Chris Hemsworth-led Extraction, which I liked. Now, in 2021, Netflix is hoping that they can do the same thing again with Outside the Wire, a science fiction action film starring Anthony Mackie, from the director of the John Cusack-led 1408, which I actually also like quite a bit. Unfortunately, Outside the Wire is nowhere near as effective of an action film as Extraction was, and they forgot to make it as fast-paced as the aforementioned film. Instead, we’re left with a serviceable but incredibly forgettable and generic science fiction flick. Continue reading “REVIEW: Outside the Wire (2021)”→
Directed by George Clooney — Screenplay by Mark L. Smith.
I don’t think I have a favorite genre, per se, but, it is true that I usually am a sucker for science-fiction. It is probably the genre that I find the most interesting, and, whenever a new film is on its way, I do get excited about what new ambitious story is about to be told. George Clooney is no stranger to science-fiction and space films since he has appeared in films such as Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris, Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, and, possibly most memorably, Alfonso Cuarón’s incredible Gravity. Due to Clooney’s own experience with the genre, I was very interested in seeing what kind of story he had planned to tell with The Midnight Sky, which he both starred in and directed. Unfortunately, it ended up being a bit of a disappointment, for me. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Midnight Sky (2020)”→
As has been announced previously, now that the 2010s have come to an end, I want to highlight, recognize, and, in a sense, reward the best films not just of a year but also of the last decade. Previously, I’ve written Best of the 2010s-lists on Comedy, Directorial Debuts, Biopics, and Horror films. The next genre-specific top ten list for the 2010s is all about one of my very favorite genres: Science-Fiction. However, before I list the best science-fiction films of the decade, let me describe my criteria for putting the list together. Continue reading “Best of the 2010s: Top Ten Sci-Fi Films”→
The following is a review of In the Shadow of the Moon — Directed by Jim Mickle.
Not to be confused with the David Sington documentary of the same name, Jim Mickle’s In the Shadow of the Moon is a science-fiction crime film that follows police officer Thomas Lockhart (played by Boyd Holbrook), a father in waiting, as he tries to catch a criminal whose actions have caused several civilians to display suspicious wounds and then violently die as they bleed from their heads’ orifices. The suspected murderer is a young African-American woman (played by Cleopatra Coleman), and Lockhart eventually catches up to her on the night of the murderers.
His night ends violently as he makes her fall onto subway train tracks where she is swiftly run over by an oncoming train. When the suspected murderer returns back to life nine years after she died, Lockhart starts to entertain the thought that she was literally carried away by a moonlight shadow, to quote a 1980s hit song, to a different place, or time, entirely, which was suggested to him by an elusive scientist on the night of her first appearance. Continue reading “REVIEW: In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)”→
The following is a review of Ad Astra — Directed by James Gray.
As we are getting closer and closer to the end of a decade, we naturally get the urge to take a look backward and reflect on the films that have shaped a decade in film history. One genre that has thrived in the 2010s is science-fiction. It almost feels like every year of this decade has had at least one science-fiction or space-set film that appealed to an adult audience and included challenging themes or stories. Just like 2013 and 2014 had Gravity and Interstellar respectively, 2019 has James Gray’s Ad Astra — an intimate, meditative, and introspective science-fiction film about a son following in the footsteps of his father to complete a mission. Just like both of the two aforementioned films, Ad Astra is ambitious and exceptional. Continue reading “REVIEW: Ad Astra (2019)”→
The following is a short updated review (2019) of Spike Jonze’s Her (2013).
Written and directed by Adaptation.-director Spike Jonze, Her is a science-fiction love story set in a ‘futuristic’ American city. The film follows Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) — a writer of other people’s personal letters — who is separated from his wife (played by Rooney Mara). Continue reading “REVIEW: Her (2013)”→
The following is a review of ANNIHILATION — Directed by Alex Garland.
There is this really sad quote about daring cinema that I once found as I was searching the Web for some interesting thoughts on the film industry. Actor and filmmaker Sean Penn reportedly once said that “if you put three thoughts into a movie, you’ve broken the law and no one will come [see it].” It is a quote that I’ve used before to describe cerebral cinema that was rejected by audiences. But I think the quote’s best companion piece is Alex Garland’s ANNIHILATION, a smart science-fiction film that was literally cast aside by a major studio because the film ‘broke that law.’ Continue reading “REVIEW: ANNIHILATION (2018)”→
The following is a review of the Netflix Original Film MUTE — Directed by Duncan Jones.
Duncan Jones’ fourth feature film MUTE, which is dedicated to his late father David Bowie and his late nanny Marion Skene, is a science-fiction film in the vein of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. It tells the story of a search for a missing person in the melting pot of a futuristic and dirty Berlin, which, in true Blade Runner fashion, is bathed in neon lights and bluish colors. The film’s protagonist is an unlikely outsider — a tall and mute bartender named Leo (played by Alexander Skarsgård) who lost the ability to speak as a child in a violent motorboat propellor accident. Continue reading “REVIEW: MUTE (2018)”→
The following is a quick review of The One I Love – The feature film debut for director Charlie McDowell
The One I Love follows Ethan (played by Mark Duplass) and Sophie (played by Elisabeth Moss), a married couple going through a rough patch, who have been advised by their therapist (played by Ted Danson) to go on a weekend retreat to a secluded estate. But once they get there, they realize that their partner is only fun to be around in the guest house. Continue reading “REVIEW: The One I Love (2014)”→