Archive for the ‘Sci-Fi’ Category

Sense8: The Finale

June 10, 2018

Never have I loved such a flawed show as much as I love Sense8. The plot can be ridiculous, the story lines impossible to follow, the back story baffling, and the violence over the top gross. And yet, in-between lives an arc of love, connection, compassion, and a sense of wonder. Gloriously filmed in Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Nairobi, Reykjavik, San Francisco, and Seoul, this finale movie wrap-up lands in Paris where the sensates gather to do battle with the Chairman and save their race from enslavement and extinction. I forgot much of the plot between Season 2 and the wrap-up movie. I sure wish Netflix and other streamers would create “last season on…” trailers to remind us where we left off in the previous season. Instead I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the ride. There’s way too much violence for me, and Daryl Hannah’s face work never stops being distracting. Still Sense8 imagines a world of possibilities for love and friendship. And for that I will end this series content and fulfilled. What’s not to love about a kooky, over-the-top, sex positive TV show that has a HEA ending? My girls found their moment after the battles ended. 4 out of 5 for the ambitious Sense8 from the Wachowskis.

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Sense8: The Series Finale (trailer)

May 20, 2018

From Netflix,

Together until the end. From our cluster to yours, the Sense8 Series Finale comes to Netflix on June 8 (2018).

No matter the limitations with this series, remembering Sense8 fills me with excitement and hope – a world united in every aspect. A dream which needs to become reality. I will miss these characters. For now let’s celebrate the show as we get once last glimpse at Capheus, Sun, Nomi, Kala, Riley, Wolfgang, Lito, and Will.

Reel Charlie’s review:
Sense8: Season 1
Sense8: A Christmas Special
Sense8: Season 2

El ministerio del tiempo (The Ministry of Time): Season 1, Episode 1

May 3, 2018

Caught the first episode of the Spanish time traveling television series, El ministerio del tiempo (The Ministry of Time) last night on Netflix. I love this genre and was hoping El ministerio would be centuries of fun. Instead, I found it awkward. The three leads didn’t to mesh. I felt like the show runners were trying for a modern-day Three Musketeers, but the combination of characters from three different eras fell flat. Also, it had the production value of a b-movie Sci-Fi network show. No elegance. 2 out of 5. Next.

Lost in Space (2018)

April 13, 2018

Are you ready for the Lost in Space Netflix reboot? Season 1 crashes into your streaming content today.

Mute

April 4, 2018

Duncan Jones’ sci-fi nightclub Netflix drama, Mute showed lots of promise. A story taking place in near-future Berlin with Alexander Skarsgård as a man with no voice. Watching the film proved problematic. First there was the Amish back story. Then there was his character’s dismissal of technology. Too easy. Then there was the über-tired future nightclub with female strippers and one non-binary gender male. Lots of colored hair and even a stripperbot acting as a chandelier. Yawn. The future can be anything. Why do people settle for one-step removed from contemporary culture? Or not even one step? C’mon. We can take it. Give us something spooky imaginative we can really sink our teeth into. So after 30 minutes I was bored with Mute. Not even Skarsgård swimming in a pool could keep me watching. And don’t even get me started on Paul Rudd looking like an extra from The Deuce. Oh, right he and Justin Theroux were supposed to be characters from Altman’s MASH. 2 out of 5. Next.

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1

March 18, 2018

Released this week on disk, Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood‘s book, The Handmaid’s Tale exceeds all expectations. Why? Well first there’s the obvious: the production value swings off the charts – writing, directing, acting, costumes, set design, cinematography all outstanding. The tenor of the production brought literal chills to my body. By episode three I was curled up in a ball on the sofa. The Handmaid’s Tale might possibly be the first excellent television series I don’t suggest binging on. Let the terror settle in a bit similar to how Hulu released it – one episode per week. But the real reason I felt wrecked to my core was that this 1985 Sci-Fi novel now reads as a warning to our potential future. And not something in the distant future we need to pay heed. Instead it feels very much like the possibility of what might happen to our country if Trump walks away from the Presidency for even more greed and power leaving the executive branch shattered and ripe for Pence and his insane far-right christian cronies to take over the country once and for all declaring martial law on all of our freedoms. And by all I mean every woman, all men who don’t follow strict heteronormative behavior, people of color, the poor and disenfranchised and my own personal group – LGBTQ folk. So the creators at Hulu have done their job well scaring the shit out of me and making The Handmaid’s Tale a call to arms. Each of us is required to do what we can to keep these lunatics not only at bay, but to bury this hatred for diversity and freedom once and for all. Love truly must win in all its beautiful colors and permutations.

Shout out to a crazy great cast including Elizabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, Yvonne Strahovski, Max Minghella, Amanda Brugel, Joseph Fiennes, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Ann Dowd (shudder), and Alexis Bledel (shattering her Rory Gilmore curse forever). Words cannot describe how visceral my reaction to The Handmaid’s Tale has been. It deserves all the praise your friends have doled out, it deserves all the awards, it’s deserves attention and it deserves to be an artistic warning to every decent human being to do everything in their power to crush this hatred and darkness in humanity once and for all. 5 out of 5.

Netflix Reboots Lost in Space

February 21, 2018

Had no idea this was happening: Netflix reboots the 1965 television series, Lost in Space. My first thought was how will they cast and write the Dr. Smith character without making him an awkward and offensive gay stereotype? No, I don’t hate fem men. And I am fine with LGBT characters being evil. But the original Dr. Smith character hearkens to a time in film and television history where gay people were either punch lines or villains. So Netflix has two words for my concern: Parker Posey. Yup, the producers turned the character on its head and made him a woman. Genius. Brilliant. And if anyone can play evil and fun simultaneously, it’s Parker Posey. Now I can’t wait to watch the reboot. Also looking forward to Toby Stephens (Cambridge Spies) as the Dad.

Lost in Space launches April 13 on Netflix.

Read Nerdist’s take on Parker Posey as Dr. Smith.
Bonus question: who is actor Toby Stephens mother? (Hint: she’s British acting royalty.)

Watch the Lost in Space trailer on YouTube.

Blade Runner 2049 (Blu-ray)

January 15, 2018

I try hard to love Sci-Fi. Novels are easier. They come in all sizes, shapes, and stripes. Hollywood’s adaptations tend to follow a set of standards I find boring and reductive. So I came to Blade Runner 2049 with my usual sense of hope mixed with dread. Luckily the film is not awful. But is it great? Definitely not. Certainly the style, the sets, the CGI, the mood of the film rockets to the top. And it’s not even the story, adapted from the Phillip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? that’s mediocre. The core premise of Dick’s idea proves fascinating: what if AI were to reproduce? What would that mean for humanity? Unfortunately, the film doesn’t dig deep enough to answer any of these questions. It uses well tread Hollywood images to keep the film from being too cerebral. There are quiet, dirty, macho heroes. There are a lot of naked women. Please someone make a film with quiet, dirty, female heroes and lots of naked sexy-toy men. To the film’s credit, there are two strong female characters who unfortunately are underutilized. There are one-dimensional villains. There’s always too much violence. Why does a human have to shoot an AI in the head with a gun? Why can’t they deactivate the unit? And my biggest gripe with these colossal films – they are too damn long. Two hours and 43 minutes? Really? Did the 150 million run out before the editing crew got there? Filmmakers need to check their ego and keep these films around 90 minutes or go into episodic television work.

So in the end, did I hate Blade Runner 2049? No. Did I fall asleep and have to rewind part of it? Yes. Did I sigh over the same ole same ole? Definitely. 3 out of 5 because there are elements of the film worth experiencing. Although maybe you should just read the book.

Travelers: Season 2

January 8, 2018

Netflix continues importing the Canadian Sci-Fi comfort food show, Travelers. And boy am I happy. Season 2 finds the five travelers from the future digging deeper into their host bodies’ lives. More than one mistake is made, but of course these are humans from a world ruled by AI, so it’s almost encouraged they screw up. I love the interplay between the team. Eric McCormack holds his own as star and producer. Just as strong are his team, MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman, and Patrick Gilmore who plays non-traveler David. Travelers proves to be the perfect winter comfort food show. Especially if you’re looking for low-key Sci-Fi with little CGI. Travelers is definitely more about the human experience. I’m up-ing my rating to a 4 out of 5. Would definitely watch this again.

Dark: Season 1

January 2, 2018

The Netflix German television series Dark dropped this season heralded to be an international take on the Stranger Things phenomenon. I’m not a fan of Stranger Things, so I came to this series assuming it would be better since it’s produced outside of the U.S. Yes, I have a bit of international snob in me. Even though Tom Tykwer is not associated with Dark, the series has a real Run Lola Run feel to it. Instead of three possible paths to an outcome, Dark imagines three time periods, 1953, 1986, and 2019 all happening in tandem with each other through time travel. Four families are affected by the disappearance of children. Dark slyly combines science with science fiction with suspense. The drama takes place in a small German town that has been home to the country’s first nuclear power plant. It’s unclear throughout the season if the disappearances are part of a possible serial killer, the power plant, or a disruption in time. I found part of the series to be fascinating, the pace and characters perfectly in tune with the horrific unfolding of events. The time travel seemed plausible. And the torrential rainstorms became their own character. I kept wondering how cold the actors must have been filming those scenes. What troubled me was the amount of characters I needed to keep track of and the difficulty in telling the teenage characters apart. They all looked too similar to me and I kept forgetting who belonged to whom. In the end, I enjoyed the series. I was able to drop in and drop out without feeling the tug of an outstanding series. I give Dark a 3.5 out of 5. Certainly the final moment made it clear they have a green light for Season 2. Perhaps not all is lost for those characters currently stuck in time periods not connected to their own world.


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