Archive for the ‘Sci-Fi’ Category

Alien (Blu-ray)

November 3, 2017

Rounding out my scary Halloween week movie watching, I turned back time to 1979 and caught Alien on Blu-ray. I remember being scared the first time I saw the film. Alien in 2017 reads as a very simple film with a camp monster. It harkens back to B movies such as Creature from the Black Lagoon and classic films such as James Whale’s Frankenstein. Why do so many science fiction films portray characters as scrappy? Is that an American thing? It’s a trope I’m frankly tired of in a big way. Alien is worth watching for Sigourney Weaver and other cast members John Hurt and Ian Holm. Veronica Cartwright’s screaming gets on my nerves. In the end, it’s the kind of film you watch for the set designs and animation more than the story. 3.5 out of 5 for Alien.

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Halloween Favorite Films and Television 2017

October 27, 2017

Twas the weekend before Halloween, and all through the blog.

Each year I repost my favorite spooky reviews: films and shows worth watching during Samhain season. Blessed be and trick or treat.

From the archives,

American Horror Story – first couple seasons are the best
The Bat – give Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead some sugar
Black Mirror – get your Sci-Fi, near future tech savvy freak show on
The Cabin in the Woods – new-ish camp classic
The Conjuring – Connecticut ghosts!
Halloween – the original
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special – can it possibly get any more camp than this?
Paranorman – genius animated film with zombies and witches centering around bullying!
Les Revenants (The Returned) – amazing two season French television ghost story.
Rosemary’s Baby – what’s not to love about a nice NYC couple living next door to a coven of witches?
The Shining – the original
True Blood – Alan Ball’s adaptation of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris

Reel Charlie spooktacular categories to peruse:
Directors – Alfred Hitchcock
Horror
Supernatural
Suspense

Journey to the Center of the Earth

September 20, 2017

I usually love most classic films Steve Hayes recommends. This time I simply couldn’t arouse any excitement for the 1959 Jules Verne adaptation, Journey to the Center of the Earth. Not even Alan Napier in a pre-Batman’s Alfred role, Pat Boone singing, or a nearly always shirtless Peter Ronson could help me sustain interest in this sci-fi classic. I loved the silly effects, but the story snoozed me out. 2 out of 5. Next.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

August 29, 2017

So I really loved Guardians of the Galaxy so much I gave it a 4 out of 5 which is enormously generous of me for a big Hollywood blockbuster film. I came into the sequel hoping for fun and distraction from our cruel world. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 started out hopeful with some good dialogue and outstanding special effects. Soon it morphed into too many battles and the same old shtick. Even Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) and Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls) couldn’t save this. Too bad because the franchise started out strong. Oh well, the curse of the sequel. 2 out of 5. Next.

‘Sense8’ is back in production, and the finale is going to be totally ‘epic’ (Queerty)

August 12, 2017

Has your cluster been informed yet? Sense8 is coming back for one final epic wrap-up movie. The Netflix series that was too big for just two seasons is back in production and due to release their final film in 2018. Watch an extended “thank you” video from creator Lana Wachowski, her cast and crew. Adorable clips abound. I still get chills when I think of this series. For all its imperfection and limitation it certainly did propel storytelling forward. It created a world where everyone is equal, where everyone’s voice and love are honored. Sense8 wrote the manual for the future of humanity.

Read the full article on Queerty and check out Lana’s fifteen minute video.
Check out Reel Charlie’s reviews of Sense8: Season 1, the Sense8 Christmas Special, and Sense8: Season 2.

Instead of sharing a pic of the cast or creators or a poster, I want to share two pics of my favorite supporting actors – Max Mauff who plays Felix and Michael X. Sommers who plays Bug.

 

Max Mauff (Felix)

Michael X. Sommers (Bug)

 

 

 

Star Trek: Discovery (official trailer)

July 26, 2017

The television series, Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24, 2017 on CBS All Access. This new Trek incarnation boasts a Chinese female captain played by Michelle Yeoh, the first-ever openly gay crew member on a television series played by Anthony Rapp (Rent) and starring Sonequa Martin-Green as the first officer and Spock’s step-sister. Rapp told a recent Comic-Con audience that Wilson Cruz will play his love interest. The Klingons are back. The series also stars Jason Isaacs. Very excited to see what the writers do with the series. This might be a reason to add CBS All Access to my streaming line-up.

Watch the official trailer here.

The Brother from Another Planet

July 23, 2017

John Sayles’ 1984 indie film The Brother from Another Planet blends the best elements of several genres using a science fiction overlay to tell the story of race, class, and immigration and the many ways these issues frighten the dominant culture. With now historic outdoor scenes of Harlem in the early 80’s along with many trips on the A train north to 125th Street, New York City becomes synonymous with the issues of the time. Location shooting on the streets, in crowded tenements, in dreary offices, and a neighborhood bar set the ambiance of this classic indie film. Sayles’ long-term life and work partner Maggie Renzi produced and has a small role in the film as one of the office workers. Sayles wrote, directed, and edited his fourth film using funds he received from a 1983 MacArthur Fellows award. He even has a role along with one of his regular actors David Strathairn as they play the men in black seeking the alien who escaped from his imprisoned planet. Other John Sayles’ regulars include Joe Morton in the title role playing the alien who never utters a word, Bill Cobbs as a reminiscing bar patron, and Tom Wright as another frustrated office worker. The Brother from Another Planet stands out as a snapshot of the early 80’s and an excellent example of the creativity indie films can produce. 4 out of 5.

Sense8: Season 2

May 30, 2017

Took my damn sweet time making my way through the triumphantly gorgeous insanity that is Sense 8: Season 2.

Sun Bak
Riley Blue
Wolfgang Bogdanow
Kala Dandekar
Will Gorski
Nomi Marks
Capheus “Van Damme” Onyango
Lito Rodriguez

Seoul
London
Berlin
Mumbai
Chicago
San Francisco
Nairobi
Mexico City

Eight humans in eight cities around the globe connected both mentally and emotionally. We discover more about their origin in Season 2. More about Whispers and why they are being hunted. Some episodes are violent, some are corny, all are full of love. Sense8 breaks Sci-Fi barriers leading with love… friendship, romantic, familial, no matter what color, religion, gender, or sexuality. All are equal. All are full of love. I can’t stop thinking about this beautiful series. Sense8 continues to be flawed, but that’s part of its beauty. It’s busting through convention, experimenting with many different tools to tell their story. It’s contemporary, hip, sexy as all hell, nerdy, fun, dangerous, and dark with flashes of evil. These eight characters represent the future of humanity. We need to connect with others around the planet. Share what makes us unique and bond over what makes us the same. I’m excited to continue the journey hoping Season 3 will happen in 2018. Meanwhile discover, revisit, embrace Capheus, Kala, Lito, Nomi, Riley, Sun, Will, and Wolfgang streaming on Netflix. 4 out of 5 for their brave new world.

 

 

Oasis (Amazon Pilot)

March 25, 2017

Oasis (Amazon Pilot) puts a spin on a well-worn sub-genre. Science Fiction story about a group of people selected to populate another planet while Earth dies. Only this time, a mysterious decision finds a priest being selected to travel to the new colony. When he arrives, he realizes soon enough that no one else is aware of the founder’s decision to bring him aboard. Unfortunately the premise wasn’t enough to make this story pop. The show relies too much on overused tropes and not enough time spent on developing a unique and interesting story. 2 out of 5. Next.

Travelers: Season 1

February 25, 2017

travelers-s1Really enjoyed the Canadian television series, Travelers starring Eric McCormack (Will & Grace). I joked with a work friend that if Homeland and Sliders had a baby, it would be Travelers. That is a bit much, but it is Sci-Fi with a FBI angle, so perhaps not that far from the truth. Travelers is comfort food for Sci-Fi lovers. In the future, they’ve (and by they I mean AI) figured out how to send consciousness back in time. So of course a group of humans are sent back in time to save the world. They land in all sorts of bodies and lives. Engaging, exciting and fun all around. 3.5 out of 5.


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