Archive for the Sci-Fi Movie Review Category

Basic Science – 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT

Posted in Basic Science Segment, Contributor: Ray, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , on October 27, 2011 by raywagner

This month, we’ll shine the spotlight on a pair of films that can only be described as a collective win for movie science – 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact2001 of course, needs no introduction: it’s long been heralded as a high water mark in cinema, and its 1968 release helped  cement the auteur status of director Stanley Kubrick.  Recently, however, I found myself in a lecture with an audience much more interested in spaceflight mechanics than filmmaking, and an offhand comment from the old NASA salt leading the discussion piqued my interest.  He billed 2001 as the most accurate space movie ever made, so I decided to turn a critical eye in this article to it and its 1984 sequel.

2001, in particular, is such a visual feast that it’s easy to lose sight of how rooted the production is in hard science – though this should come as no surprise, as Kubrick’s co-author, Arthur C. Clarke, was one of the heavy-hitters of 20th Century science fiction.  Clarke himself was a student of real-world space science, suggesting early on that geostationary orbits would be useful for communication satellites and popularizing the concept of a space elevator.  In fact, we need to go back only as far as a landmark series of articles appearing in Collier’s magazine in the early 1950s to find some of Clarke’s and Kubrick’s influences for 2001.  Ostentatiously titled “Man Will Conquer Space Soon!”, it described Apollo Program godfather Wernher Von Braun’s plans for a fully functioning space ecosystem, culminating in a human presence on Mars.  The inaugural article’s illustration in the March 1953 edition of  Collier’s depicts an orbital space station with a striking resemblance to the iconic “wagon wheel” station in 2001.

(l) Von Braun’s space station from Collier’s in 1953, (r) Kubrick’s space station from 2001 in 1968.

Considering that the release of the movie predates the experience gained in the Apollo moon missions, not to mention the first Soviet and American space stations, it’s amazing how accurately 2001 depicts the realities of living  and working in weightlessness, luxuriating in the absolute strangeness of a life where up and down are relative.  Kubrick  maintains an obsessive focus throughout on getting the details right.  Continue reading

Borders Line: Here’s A Bunch Of Stuff You Should Watch

Posted in Action Movie Review, Comic Book Movie Review, Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Sci-Fi Movie Review, Television Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2011 by xymarla
 
Today I’m offering up some odds and ends. I’ve intended to write a separate post for most of these shows and movies that I’ve lately enjoyed (or in many cases, enjoyed for the fourth or fifth time), but the days are waning and I’m experiencing an increasingly desperate need to push these recommendations on you as soon as possible. Much of the below is available free-streaming, because that’s how I relish most of my entertainment. Cheaply, and from the pajamas-clad comfort of my couch.
 
Read them all over at Badass Digest!  

Fantastic Fest!

Posted in A+ Review, Action Movie Review, Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2010 by xymarla

fantastic fest

You guys! I went to Fantastic Fest last weekend! True, I was only there for 2 days with a daytime badge, so I missed just about every single huge premiere. AND YET! I had an amazing time, saw incredible films, hung out and sang karaoke with celebrities, and I can’t wait to go back next year! Let this be a lesson to you, friends. You can totally do Fantastic Fest with no money and no time. It’s doable!

So I’m not going to get into the parties/celebrities aspect of it, even though that’s definitely a significant part of the festival, just because I know my bestie poshdeluxe will be doing  a far more thorough job of that very shortly. I’ll be sure to link to her FF post as soon as it’s up, and in the meantime, I’m going to stick to the movies!

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Machete Maidens Unleashed (2010)

machete maidens unleashed

Director: Mark Hartley (in attendance)

Writer: Mark Hartley Continue reading

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Posted in Action Movie Review, Comic Book Movie Review, Contributor: Jon, Fantasy Movie Review, Film Review, Movie News, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by Jon

by Reverend Jon

Each generation loves nothing more than to revel in the nostalgia of their collective childhood experiences. As time passes, the negative aspects fade and what remains is a mythologized patchwork of rosy memories and optimistic historical events. For the baby-boomers, this translates into the narrative of perfect, happy, family-centric post-war America where the men were men and the women were ornamental that fuels so much of the Andy-Rooney-ish kvetching about the current state of affairs.

"Guhrrrr"

For my generation, born into culturally-relativist-post-post-war TV Land, this nostalgia translates into the current trend of pro-unicorn, 8-bit-loving, three-wolves-howling, super-hero-horny, i-love-the-80s, pop-up-video memedom. And it is this fuel that propels the pitch-perfect Scott Pilgrim vs. the World through its hour and fifty-two minutes of awesomeness. Continue reading

Inception

Posted in Action Movie Review, Film Review, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by xymarla

When I was a child, I had lucid dreams about twice a year. I experienced around a dozen, and in my memory, each dream is still startling in its clarity.  I remember manipulating the boundaries of my dream in order to make myself 2 inches tall, running through a field of skyscraping wildflowers. Once I dreamt myself into a space ship; another time I influenced the dream to make myself a detective like my hero, Hercule Poirot. I flew, I swam, I skated, I spun. I made my mother into a princess and my sister into a boy as the ultimate childhood revenge. My last lucid dream was in fifth grade, when I exploited the process to satisfy my growing boy-craziness by dreaming that all of the cute boys in my school were lined up to compliment and kiss me. I’ve always blamed myself for having used my imaginative powers for something so frivolous as, after that particularly gratifying reverie, I lost the ability to lucid dream. I have dearly missed those lucid dreams, yearning for the experience ever since.

Christopher Nolan recreated it for me.

This will not be a long review. I walked into Inception knowing as little as I possibly could about the film, especially given that I am a fiend for the Internet. I’m glad to have been able to enjoy the movie so virgin-brained, and I am loath to ruin that experience for you. So here’s what you get: Inception is a movie about a dream heist. And that is all you need to know. Continue reading

David Cronenberg Retrospective: The Fly

Posted in A+ Review, Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective: David Cronenberg, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2010 by xymarla

  

Welcome back to the David Cronenberg Retrospective! Our next entry marks a transitional period for Sir Cronenberg, an evolution into the more accessible, character-driven stories that make up the latter part of his career. Cronenberg’s 1986 film The Fly, a remake of the 1958 flick by the same name, is a human story swathed in genre trappings. Really icky, awesome, genre trappings.  

 

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Splice

Posted in Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2010 by xymarla

 

You should know that Splice is not a movie for the feminists among you. Or the scientists. I’m frankly flummoxed as to how to proceed with this review, as Splice is about a dozen movies rolled into one and it’s very nearly stumped me. Some of those movies are pretty sweet. Some of them are tedious and stupid. And some of the movies are offensive and infuriating. Allow me to break it down for you!

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David Cronenberg Retrospective: Videodrome

Posted in A+ Review, Contributor: Jon, Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: David Cronenberg, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , on February 4, 2010 by Jon

by: Reverend Jon

When Marla allowed me to choose which movie to review for the David Cronenberg Retrospective, Videodrome was my answer. The movies that resonate with me are those that explore real issues and fears and cause me to think differently about life and the world around me. Videodrome is undoubtedly that kind of movie.

Videodrome is about intersections, or perhaps even collisions, between loaded concepts: pain and pleasure, technology and the human body. I will say right now that it is easy to watch this movie and dismiss it as dated and irrelevant, cheesy even, but I argue that the underlying ideas are relevant today.

From the very beginning, we know that this is no ordinary movie. We are introduced to Max Renn (James Woods, whose waxy complexion lends itself to the manual effects) by his wakeup call, which at first seems eerily prescient, a woman on TV addressing the viewer by name and who knows the date, but then later we realize that this was recorded in advance. Continue reading

David Cronenberg Retrospective: Scanners

Posted in Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: David Cronenberg, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , on January 14, 2010 by xymarla

Scanners! You were far sillier than I remembered!

20 SECONDS...YOU EXPLODE! Awesome.

Cronenberg’s next film after The Brood lacks its gravitas. Scanners actually differs from almost all Cronenberg films in that there is far less emphasis on psychological and physiological irregularity, and almost none of the skewed sexuality that permeates his other films. Scanners is, dare I say it, a pretty straight horror/sci-fi flick.

With simply outstanding manual effects, of course!

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Avatar

Posted in Action Movie Review, Fantasy Movie Review, Film Review, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by xymarla

Wow.

Since I was a little girl, I have loved going to the movies. That feeling of fluttery elation, of arriving to the theater in plenty of time to grab my favorite seat, guessing which trailers will precede the feature and mocking the ones that look awful, squeezing the forearm of my date in giddy anticipation and squealing under my breath, “It’s about to start!”—I wish I could bottle that feeling.  Working at a movie theater didn’t lessen my enthusiasm for movies. Becoming a film critic (of sorts!) hasn’t eroded my rapture at a cinematic outing. Hell, I met my husband at a movie theater, and anyone who knows us knows how poetic that really is. I am a girl who simply LOVES the movies, and on Friday evening at the IMAX theater in Houston, Texas, James Cameron reminded me why.

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