Archive for category: Science Fiction

Film Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

31 July, 2014 (06:58) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

The giant apparatus required to create a 21st-century comic-book/sci-fi/action movie is expensive and unwieldy. Little wonder so many of these behemoths eventually collapse under their own weight, content to destroy a city while laboriously setting up the next installment in the franchise. Even the good stuff—Robert Downey Jr.’s antic presence in the first Iron Man, […]

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Videophiled: Scarlett Johansson gets ‘Under the Skin’

15 July, 2014 (18:08) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Under the Skin (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, Cable VOD) isn’t a film that wants to make things easy for the viewer. The experience is not unlike that which I suppose its unnamed protagonist, an alien reborn in the body of a human host (Scarlett Johansson), goes through as it (she?) settles in to its new body […]

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Film Review: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

11 July, 2014 (08:49) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Robert Horton

After much adversity, Caesar — the leader of the simian takeover of Earth — must admit a hard truth. His bickering, backstabbing ape brethren are much more like humans than they’d care to admit. Ouch. Caesar’s grunted insight comes as no surprise as we’re watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: the human population […]

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Film Review: ‘Earth to Echo’

3 July, 2014 (06:36) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Robert Horton

Charm is in short supply in the kiddie sci-fi opus Earth to Echo, a mechanical imitation of E.T. Mechanical is the key word here, because the movie’s method is all about digital technology, and its extra-terrestrial is a little metal robot. We are watching a video supposedly created by the film’s characters. It’s a chronicle […]

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Videophiled: New Model ‘RoboCop’

3 June, 2014 (12:49) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

RoboCop (Fox, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, On Demand) – We gripe about remakes all the time, but when you approach something with the status of the original 1987 RoboCop, Paul Verhoeven’s perversely violent, savagely smart, and wickedly funny science fiction action blast laced with political and social satire, it gets personal for a lot of […]

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Videophiled: ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ – The Birth of Doctor Who

27 May, 2014 (11:00) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction, Television | By: Sean Axmaker

An Adventure in Space and Time (Warner, Blu-ray+DVD Combo) is a TV movie made for the BBC but it is a movie nonetheless, a bit of pop culture celebration that takes on the creation of Doctor Who in 1963 (just in time for the 50th Anniversary!). Scripted by veteran Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss and […]

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Videophiled: 11 Classic ‘Godzilla’ Romps Across Three Decades

18 May, 2014 (08:06) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Horror, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Remakes have a tendency to revive interest in the originals, at least as far as the studios are concerned. They roll out new editions rolling on disc and digital streams in anticipation of interest and the new Godzilla has no shortage of ancestors: 28 Japanese Godzilla features (and one American film that is best not […]

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Film Review: ‘Godzilla’

16 May, 2014 (09:22) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Robert Horton

It must be getting tiresome after all these years. You’re trying to sleep off a terrific atomic hangover, but they keep pulling you back from your reptilian slumber. Another city to crush, another opponent to battle. Power lines everywhere. They send missiles at you, but they don’t work; they never do. Pretty soon, they unleash […]

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‘The 10th Victim’: Give the People What They Want

17 March, 2014 (08:57) | by Sean Axmaker, Essays, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Before The Hunger Games, before Battle Royale, before The Running Man, there was Elio Petri’s The 10th Victim. Based on Robert Sheckley‘s short story “The Seventh Victim” (Petri upped the body count), this 1965 feature is set in a near future of unlikely fashions and pop-art stylings, where comic books are the literature of the day […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Darkman’

15 February, 2014 (17:40) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Sam Raimi always wanted to make his own superhero movie. It was a natural fit for the director, as the Spider-Man films so clearly prove, but in 1990 no one was ready to trust him with a comic book hero on the strength of a couple of Evil Dead movies. So he created his own […]

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‘RoboCop’: The Bionic Lawman Lacks Much Personality

12 February, 2014 (06:23) | by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

The 1987 RoboCop was a perversely violent, savagely smart, and wickedly funny science-fiction action blast, laced with political and social satire. Twenty-five years later, it seems more prescient than ever, which puts the onus on this new RoboCop to justify itself: Just what does it have to say about a world where unmanned military drones […]

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Blu-ray: ‘A Boy and His Dog’

26 December, 2013 (05:00) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

A Boy and his Dog (1975), the directorial debut of longtime character actor and Sam Peckinpah regular L.Q. Jones, is not the first post-apocalyptic vision of America but it does offer a different approach to the empty streets and ghostly cities that previously stood in for the life after the end. Where films like Five […]

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‘Elysium’: Matt Damon as Sci-Fi Spartacus

8 August, 2013 (08:14) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Robert Horton

Elysium hangs in orbit, a giant spinning space station of deluxe McMansions and WASPy country clubs; it’s a brief supersonic ride from the filthy, overpopulated Earth of 2154. Elysium looks like the most boring place imaginable. But every home has a healing machine (like the auto-surgery modules in Prometheus), which is handy if one has […]

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Review: Phase IV

22 July, 2013 (06:51) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 37, November 1974] Saul Bass’s first feature film seems consciously to take as its premise the conviction of the mythical Dr. Nils Hellstrom that insects, given the opportunity, will inherit the earth. Phase IV offers a more startling hypothesis than The Hellstrom Chronicle, however, suggesting a set of circumstances in […]

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Blu-ray: ‘They Live’

20 November, 2012 (12:28) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, John Carpenter, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

A year after Oliver Stone elevated the phrase “Greed is good” to a satirical double-edged mantra in “Wall Street,” John Carpenter put it more bluntly in a scruffy little genre movie with a subversive subtext. “Why do we worship greed?” asks They Live in the opening scenes, as images of homeless people fill depressed urban […]

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