Here comes another romantic comedy —fluent enough at incorporating time-loop without getting tangled in the familiarity. It's fluent enough not to beat the dead horse and give away any exposition about the temporal anomaly's nature. It's fluent enough to give the time-loop a purpose in the narrative greater than a mere gimmick. It's fluent enough to make the titular Map of Tiny Perfect Thing a worthwhile journey.
Christopher Nolan is cinema's own golden son—the prodigy to save the so-called cinematic experience and the giant screens from the impending extinction. His latest spectacle, Tenet, becomes the solid proof of how the cinema's grandiosity must survive amidst atrocities. This is an original action blockbuster at its finest with a clear-cut demand: to be indulged in the best available cinema. From the cutting-edge practical effect showcases; blustering globe-trotting set-pieces; exhaustive narrative that demands re-watches; to Ludwig Göransson's electrifying scoring complemented Jennifer Lame's merciless edit; everything about Tenet is cerebral.
It's hard to tell whether Mike Cahill's Bliss is a sci-fi drama or simply a wicked rom-com at least until half-way through the film. The film basically gives away the same promise his previous sci-fi dramas, Another Earth and I Origins, tries to deliver rather profoundly and philosophically albeit seeming comical at some intersections. This time, however, the premise ends up being more interesting than the actual film is—even when Salma Hayek's recently rare leading performance sparks some lights.
Extraterrestrial exploration has seen its resurgence on screen again in the recent years. Brad Pitt has gone into space looking for his missing father in Ad Astra; Eva Green has parted with her daughter for an ISS mission in Proxima; Matt Damon was stranded alone on Mars in The Martian. Now, it’s time for two-time Academy Award winner, Sean Penn (Mystic River, Milk) to go ad astra per aspera himself, but on a smaller screen. Starring in FIRST, Penn portrays Tom Hagerty, an astronaut prepared for the first human mission to Mars.
South Korea's film industry hits another new height with their first space opera, Space Sweepers, directed by blockbuster specialist, Jo Sung-hee (Phantom Detective). Assembling a band of cheeky space misfits, Guardians of the Galaxy style, this sci-fi bonanza puts together unprecedented ensemble of casts in a dystopian space adventure. The star-studded casts to thrive among the stars ranging from Song Joong-ki (the director's collaborator in A Werewolf Boy and star of popular drama, Descendants of the Sun), Kim Tae-ri (The Handmaiden), Jin Seon-kyu (Extreme Job), and Yoo Hae-jin (A Taxi Driver) with a special performance from Richard Armitage (The Hobbit Trilogy).
We've seen it before and we'll see it again: a problematic guy is doomed to repeat the same day over and over again in a seemingly endless time-loop. Now, imagine putting together the phrase ‘time loop’, ‘rom-com’, and ‘original’ in the same sentence as ‘one of this year’s best.' Then, add 'not trying to be the next Groundhog Days' and 'relevant to the current situation' into the equation; and you'll get Palm Springs, a directorial debut by Max Barbakow, written by Andy Siara. Coincidentally, the premise somehow mirrors the condition of almost everyone around the world—trapped in a devastating loop and a cycle of tedium during the quarantine period.
Laotian first and only female director, Mattie Do, rewards those who patiently follows the tangled story in her latest feature, The Long Walk, written by her frequent collaborator, Christopher Larsen. Her film dives deep into a rural Laos village, intertwines a chilling yet barely scary ghost story with time-travel tropes, and presents it with an art-house sensitivity. The connection between one element and the others isn't always bleak and the whole plot demands commitment as well as full, undivided attention; but, when the dots are connected, the rewards paid off.
Jessica Hausner (Lourdes, Amour Fou) delivers a high-concept sci-fi horror that could have been a decent prequel/spin-off of M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. With premise that sounds closely grounded to the reality—about commodification of plants to produce new breeds that defy the ordinary, Little Joe offers a grounded approach to the storytelling as well. There's no spectacle nor explicit horror on the go, but the tension is real, built only by raising suspicions.
Richard Stanley is no strange figure for mind-bending B-movies inspired by classic sci-fi literature. His last tenure, the beleaguered The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)—in which troubled productions got him fired by New Line Cinema—is an adaptation of H.G. Wells' early classic sci-fi horror of the same title. It took him at least 20 years for him to bounce back from that disastrous experience before he began conceiving another classic sci-fi horror, The Color Out of Space by H.P. Lovecraft. With panache reminiscing his early works in Hardware and Dust Devil as well as Nicolas Cage's newly-found B-movie charisma, Color Out of Space gives Stanley the well-deserved come-back.
Humans, created by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley—based on a Swedish series, Real Humans—explores a futuristic world where humans employ androids to do menial works. The story focuses on poignant themes like discrimination, social inequality, and abuse with allusions to real-world stereotypes. In delivering the message, it poses a though-provoking question to ponder upon for the whole 3 seasons (now streaming on Mola TV). What makes us human?
In Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr.'s full-feature directorial debut, Black Box, a visionary doctor stores human's memories, consciousness, and soul as brain waves in a device that works like an airplane's black box. The neuro-tech experiment comes into use when a braindead patient arrives at the hospital after a fateful car accident that kills his wife and wipes his memory. In a hope of restoring his memory, the patient agrees to sign up for the experiment. Unbeknownst to everyone, what initially appears as a hopeful sci-fi drama takes a sinister turn into a Black Mirror-esque tech-horror passage.
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Mamoudou Athie (The Get Down) portrays the patient, Nolan, excellently. His portrayal of a blank-slate man is enticing; he helps making audiences question h...
Less is more in Andrew Patterson's directorial debut, an intimate yet ingenious sci-fi feature titled The Vast of Night. Written by himself under the pseudonym of James Montague with co-writer, Craig W. Sanger, the story immensely takes place over a fateful night in a sleepy New Mexico town where strange sounds interrupted phone lines and radio broadcast. The conflicts, unraveled through a series of dialogues and grounded investigation carried by two teenagers, might be vast but never spectacular; however, it guarantees one of the most suspenseful sci-fi mysteries in recent years.
Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia's 2019 sci-fi movie, The Platform (known as El Hoyo or 'The Hole' in Spain), is an enigmatic social commentary about social class and wealth distribution, much like Snowpiercer but this one is vertical. It is elusive from beginning to end, probing more questions than answers, but at the same time delivering the message quite smoothly.
The story sets in a prison-like facility called 'Vertical Self-Management Facility' where inmates ranging from the clueless ones to the most brutal are randomly placed and paired in each level. Every day, a platform filled with sumptuous gourmet foods descends each level and stops for a while to allow the inmates to feed themselves. The rule is simple: the foods will not be refilled and you can eat as much as you want, but the platf...
Vin Diesel single-handedly bears the burdens of spectacles in Bloodshot, a live-action adaptation of a Valiant Comics property. With narrative reminiscing the story of RoboCop, the super-human story is meant to a throwback to retro-action movies involving conspiracies, tech-wars, and cold action sequences. A while ago, Bloodshot was intended to open a certain kind of shared universe (involving another Valiant property, Harbinger); but, the idea was now scraped, even when the projects still develop, and that's possibly a correct decision.
Diesel is an ex-military man who was kidnapped and assassinated with his wife (Talulah Riley). He's then brought back to life by a group of scientists led by Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) with literal bloodshot transfused into his dead body in the enti...
There's no doubt that The Terminator is an instant classic when it comes to sci-fi bravado with lauded action sequences and a compelling narrative. It was an accomplished mission impossible. When Terminator 2: Judgment Day came off in 1991, however, it immediately cements itself as the epitome of sequels that outdid the original. Aside from the bigger, tougher and grittier action sequences, the most pivotal step in engineering T2 is Cameron's bold move to grant Linda Hamilton her wildcard. Making Sarah Connor a more vital role than even the Terminator is inarguably the reason why T2 matters.
Both Cameron and Hamilton did not return in any sequel that came after Sarah Connor ' canceled the apocalypse.' From there, the franchise only went downhill with long-awaited sequels (Rise of the M...
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