sci-fi

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


Terminator Genisys

July 11, 2015
Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Terminator Genisys' (2015)

If Sophie Barthes expects viewers to be already familiar with the story of Madame Bovary, the producers of Terminator Genisys seem to expect audiences to be intimately acquainted with every aspect of a franchise that began as far back as 1984. I’m reliably informed this new film skips the third and fourth sequels, and relates … More


Jurassic World

June 27, 2015
Chris Pratt in 'Jurassic World' (2015)

Far From the Madding Crowd may have induced feelings of melancholy, but I felt grief stricken upon reading that Jurassic World had broken all box office records in its first weekend. The revenue is now over a billion dollars, and rising, which speaks volumes about the state of popular cinema. Just because Jurassic World is … More