sci-fi

Russian Resurrection Film Festival 2017

October 27, 2017
Tonight, the ballet... Valery Todorovsky's ''The Boshoi

Why Russian Resurrection Film Festival? Is it a reference to Tolstoy’s famous novel, or to the revival of the Russian film industry in the post-Soviet era? A bit of both, I imagine, as the 14th RRFF is preocuppied with history and the literary classics. This year’s festival features a retrospective of films by Andrei Konchalovsky … More


Blade Runner 2049

October 13, 2017
How advertising works in 2049

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) is the epitome of a cult classic. It didn’t set the box office on fire at first appearance, but with every year its grimy vision of the future reappears in one film after another. If Scott had kept possession of the original sets he could be running a useful little … More


Alien Covenant

May 19, 2017
Katherine Waterston meets the Alien

Damien Hirst must feel pissed off that the release of Alien Covenant occurred after he’d already completed his massive Venice Biennale exhibition, Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable. Amid bronze and marble effigies of every conceivable mythological creature, every pop culture icon from Mickey Mouse to Yo-Landi of Die Antwoord, the only character missing … More


Arrival

November 18, 2016
Amy Adams in Arrival. Photograph: Jan Thijs

Anyone who enjoyed Independence Day (1996), or some similar tale of alien invaders trashing Planet Earth, would be well advised to give Arrival a miss. For those who feel an evening’s cinematic pleasures to be incomplete without two full hours of Armageddon, Denis Villeneuve’s cerebral, atmospheric sci-fi flick will be a massive disappointment. For the … More


Midnight Special

April 21, 2016
Michael Shannon in 'Midnight Special' (2016)

Midnight Special begins in the middle, as if we had just loaded up episode two of a series. It’s late at night in a seedy motel room, and there is an item on the TV about the kidnapping of an eight-year-old boy named Alton Meyer. We swiftly realise that we are looking at the boy … More


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December 17, 2015
John Boyega & Daisy Ridley in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (2015)

In preparation for the new Star Wars movie I planned to work my way through the six previous installments in this never-ending saga. At the end of the of year there is virtually nothing to write about until Boxing Day brings a swag of new releases, so I had time to do my homework. It … More


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

November 26, 2015
Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2' (2015)

After four gruelling installments the lucrative Hunger Games franchise has finally ground to a halt. Just as The Hobbit had to be extruded into a trilogy, with the entire third part based on only a few pages of the actual book, so too has Suzanne Collins’s young adult series been stretched beyond the point of … More


The Lobster

October 23, 2015
Colin Farrell in 'The Lobster' (2015)

Yorgos Lanthimos could never be accused of a lack of originality. All over the world, one imagines viewers wandering out of The Lobster, asking: “So what was that about?” If I say it’s an allegory, that will do little to ease the confusion. Think of the late, deadpan surrealist comedies of Luis Bunuel and you’ll … More


The Martian

October 2, 2015
Matt Damon in 'The Martian' (2015)

In 1964 Paramount released a movie called Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which may be viewed on YouTube. It tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars who must learn to survive in a hostile environment. Sound familiar? This is roughly the plot of Ridley Scott’s The Martian, based on a best-selling novel by science … More


Self/less

August 1, 2015
Ryan Reynolds in 'Self/less' (2015)

Tarsem Singh’s Self/less is another movie that strives for profundity but has no qualms about including the special effects, car chases and combat scenes discerning viewers seem to expect nowadays. Even allowing for these concessions to public taste the film has copped a hiding in the United States. It may have something to do with … More