sci-fi

Mad Max: Fury Road

May 23, 2015
Tom Hardy in 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (2015)

Last week I got off a plane from Europe and within a few hours found myself at the movies waiting for the jet lag to kick in. I need not have worried because there is never a moment’s respite in Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s like absorbing a triple expresso on an intravenous drip. Some … More


Chappie

March 14, 2015
Hugh Jackman in 'Chappie' (2015)

Chappie is destined to divide its audience. A quick look at the Rotten Tomatoes site reveals a chasm between the critics’ approval rating of 28% and the audience score of 95%. I felt the same conflict within my own mind. I began by thinking it was one of the silliest films I’d seen in a … More


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

November 29, 2014
Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' (2014)

Although it rocketed to the top of the box office in its first week, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, is a holding operation in this popular Hollywood franchise. As the title suggests, this is only the first part of a grand finale. It has been described as “half a film”, and that’s largely true. … More


Interstellar

November 22, 2014
Matthew McConaughey in 'Interstella' (2014)

After the intense, inward-looking focus of a film such as Winter Sleep, it’s almost disconcerting to turn to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, a genre-scrambling science fiction blockbuster that poses the usual big questions about the future of our planet and the species. It is also an old-fashioned Hollywood drama about a hero torn between the love … More


The Giver

September 13, 2014
Brenton Thwaites in 'The Giver' (2014)

Lois Lowry’s The Giver has sold more than 10 million copies, but until the film version arrived many of us will have been completely ignorant of the book and its author. This is because Lowry is an exponent of ‘young adult’ fiction – a genre that can only remain a mystery to people like me, … More


Predestination

September 6, 2014
Sarah Snook in 'Predestination' (2014)

If you haven’t seen enough of Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, he reappears – and disappears, and reappears – in Presdestination, the third feature by identical twins, Michael and Peter Spierig, who were born in Germany but raised in Brisbane. The film is based on Robert A. Heinlein’s All You Zombies (1959), a short story about … More


Lucy

August 16, 2014
lucy

“The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity,” reads the tag line for Luc Besson’s science fiction thriller, Lucy, “Today she will hit 100%.” It’s tempting to explore some variations on a theme: “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity, but Luc Besson makes motion pictures using only a fraction of this … More


Under the Skin

May 31, 2014
Scarlett Johansson in 'Under the Skin' (2013)

Michel Faber’s novel, Under the Skin (2000), was that rarest of beasts: a science fiction story with real literary merit. I say that as a reader who has dipped into science fiction for decades and identified only a handful of authors – notably Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem – that ever made me feel … More


Godzilla

May 24, 2014
Elizabeth Olsen in 'Godzilla' (2014)

When Godzilla rose out of the ocean in 1954 and proceeded to trash Tokyo, no-one could have foreseen that he would still be wreaking havoc 60 years later. The durability of the “king of the monsters” owes something to the personality he developed in the 1960s, and something to his connections with nuclear energy, which … More


The Zero Theorem

May 17, 2014
Christoph Waltz in 'The Zero Theorem' (2013)

After cutting his teeth with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Terry Gilliam is habitually viewed as a maker of dark, fantastic comedies. The truth is that he makes essentially bleak films festooned with comic touches, like Rococo decorations on a coffin. The Zero Theorem has been mooted as the third part of a dystopian trilogy, along … More