Harsh Texture

Film Reviews > Science Fiction

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    • mindfuck
    • Science Fiction
    | Jan. 28, 2017, 5:33 p.m.
    We’ve moved past 2001. Every man, woman, and child carries a personal computing device with capabilities Stanley Kubrick could barely imagine. In geo politics too, the Soviet Union is long gone, nuclear war (thankfully) has remained a fools errand since WW2. In terms of film technique, CGI effects are available to even low budget films that could allow any wannabe Kubrick to create their own space environs. Yet 2001 remains, somehow, as important as ever. I think the key, despite all of the progress achieved in the real world, we’re no closer to perfection than
    • action
    • Science Fiction
    | Jan. 7, 2018, 3:22 p.m.
    Tom Cruise’s character Cage is a military spokesman, a draft dodger who found the best way to avoid combat was to enlist. He smugly puts a positive spin on five years worth of failed conflicts with an alien race that’s methodically captured much of Europe. After the humans miraculously win their first battle in Verdun, the military plans an all-out assault around a landing on the beaches of Normandy. How then to read Tom Cruise in “Edge of Tomorrow”? It’s tempting when dealing with an actor who’s actively shaped his films around his desired screen persona to
    • action
    • drama
    • Science Fiction
    | July 22, 2017, 5:47 p.m.
    At its core Gravity is a classic survival fable. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is no astronaut, but NASA sends her into orbit as a matter of necessity. She’s the only person who can fix a key component on a telescope. While performing the repair, the detonation of a nearby satelite causes a debris field to leave Ryan stranded thousands of miles above the Earth. In describing his 1971 film, Get Carter, Mike Hodges remarked on his good fortune to have Michael Caine at his disposal. At last he was working with a real movie
    • action
    • Science Fiction
    | May 11, 2017, 10:32 p.m.
    The Marvel process is very familiar by now: hire critically acclaimed directors to add flavor to the scenes between the CGI battles. Hire as many best supporting actor nominees as possible, rounding out the cast with a winner or two for good measure. Center the film around a good looking guy starved until his abs show, and have everyone play it safe. Through these simple steps Marvel has become the premier studio of the day. They aim low--I seriously doubt any of these films will get awarded for their acting, direction, or screenplays--but the quality is so consistent at the
  • Her
    • drama
    • Science Fiction
    | June 19, 2017, 1:53 p.m.
    Art in western society has always viewed technology as an omniscient menace. It follows that since computers far outstrip humans in a few narrow disciplines, that narrow inherent superiority begats real superiority and will in some way lead them to lay judgement on the human race. Chief among all such threats are the “thinking machine”. In films such as The Terminator and Wargames they use their processing powers to bring mankind to the brink of extinction. “Her” may belong in the sad western tradition, but it at least acknowledges that technology is now a central facet in
    • low budget
    • Science Fiction
    | Aug. 28, 2016, 6:50 p.m.
    We all want to be the alpha, the hero of the story. Col. Van Heusen is convinced he fits the bill. Made to order tall, dark, and handsome with the confidence of a man who’s only known success. He commands a spaceship whose crew includes his spouse, Ann, herself a beauty. Heusen’s mission is to retrieve Col Carruthers the lone survivor from mankinds first expedition to Mars. Carruthers is suspected of going mad and murdering his crew immediately upon landing on the red planet. For Heusen, it’s not enough to bring Carruthers to Earth for trial. He wants
    • comedy
    • horror
    • low budget
    • Science Fiction
    | Sept. 30, 2017, 6:16 p.m.
    After losing his minimum wage job, Otto (Emilio Estevez) is conned into helping Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) repossess a car. After getting the taste of the repo man life, Otto finds himself drawn to the profession. Meanwhile, a renegade scientist (Fox Harris) slips into town in a Chevy Malibu. In the trunk lies destructive evidence of extraterrestrial life. Repo Man’s most interesting comparison is probably Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Whereas the former was more a vehicle for Spielberg to test out big budget filmmaking and hone his voice, the latter runneth over with ideas
    • action
    • Science Fiction
    | May 28, 2017, 2:53 p.m.
    Snowpiercer is promoted as a dystopia. That’s partially correct. More accurately, this a dystopian sci-fi in the vein of 80’s direct-to-video dystopian sci fi. These begin with a ridiculous premise and double down, heaping on more outrageous twists where a more self conscious film would try to justify its conceit. They build their cast from a rainbow of ethnicities, awkwardly assembled. Ultraviolence punctuates the plot, lest the wooden monologs drive away the intended audience. Snowpiercer’s true forebears are films like Trancers, Escape from New York, Eliminators, Day of the Dead, and The Terminator, not Metropolis or 1984. In one
    • Science Fiction
    | July 18, 2016, 11:03 p.m.
    The ponderous, turgidly paced Star Trek: The Motion Picture managed to eek out enough box office to warrant a sequel. However, the studio slashed the budget. The job of director went to Nicholas Meyer, who’s sole directing credit was the quaint “Time after Time” and was otherwise ignorant of the Star Trek universe. He turned out to be the perfect choice to revive the franchise. Meyer’s vision, “Horatio Hornblower in space”, would recast Trek in the vain of colonial era nautical combat. This meant adding layers of rules, regulations, and protocols common to navies. It also informed the space
    • Science Fiction
    | March 4, 2018, 2:46 a.m.
    A fierce storm forces an emergency evacuation and cuts short the first manned mission to Mars. In the chaos, the crew abandons biologist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) believing he died. Watney survived though and immediately begins working to reestablish communications with NASA and to survive with limited resources in the harsh Martian climate. The Martian follows Gravity: hard sci-fi survival stories built around NASA and fronted by A-List actors. Coupled with smaller but still interesting pictures like Duncan Jones’s Moon and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, there appears to be a bit of a renaissance for
    • action
    • Science Fiction
    • thriller
    | June 30, 2018, 1:12 p.m.
    In the greatest example of VHS sci-fi, a cyborg assassin from the future relentlessly hunts the mother to-be of a resistance leader.