Archive for category: Science Fiction

‘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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Blu-ray Election Day Special: ‘They Live’ all over again!

6 November, 2012 (17:28) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, John Carpenter, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

You can argue that They Live: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Factory) would have been a perfect Halloween week release. And you’d be right, of course. John Carpenter’s skewed invasion movie is witty and weird and has the most extreme knock-down, drag-out fistfight ever. But I have to say, it’s weirdly even more perfect as an election-day […]

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Blu-ray/DVD: Happy Anniversary, ‘E.T.: The Extraterrestrial’

10 October, 2012 (09:22) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

E.T.: The Extraterrestrial – Anniversary Edition (Universal) – Steven Spielberg’s suburban fairy tale for kids who think they are too hip to believe in fairies debuts on Blu-ray in its original, uncut, untampered form. Henry Thomas is Elliot, an emotionally bruised kid suffering under his parents’ separation who finds and bonds with another lonely, lost […]

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Blu-ray/DVD: The Cosmic Mysteries of ‘Prometheus’

9 October, 2012 (08:08) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Ridley Scott has taken pains to explain that Prometheus (Fox) is not a prequel to Alien, but a film that comes from the same DNA. That’s a bit disingenuous, considering how meticulously (and often very cleverly) it sets up the building blocks of Alien, but his pointed use of the term DNA is telling. It […]

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DVD/Blu-ray Cult Classic: Jack Arnold’s ‘The Space Children’

19 June, 2012 (09:37) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

The Space Children (Olive) is one of the most intriguing science fiction films of the cold war, part alien invasion thriller and part anti-nuclear message movie, with the children of Earth essentially conscripted by a throbbing disembodied brain from outer space to sabotage a nuclear test. Director Jack Arnold and William Alland collaborated on some of […]

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The Last Temptation of Sigourney Weaver: ‘Alien’ X 3

11 June, 2012 (10:45) | by Kathleen Murphy, Essays, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Kathleen Murphy

[originally published in Film Comment, July-Aug 1992] A Greimasian semantic rectangle will foreground the structural importance of the cat in the complex of signifiers generated from the notion “human”: [see diagram at right] The founding term in the film is human (S), represented by the image of Ripley as the strong woman. The antihuman (-S) […]

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DVD/Blu-ray: ‘World on a Wire’

8 March, 2012 (08:48) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire, a TV mini-series shot during a break on Fassbinder’s biggest and most prestigious project to date, Effie Briest, and broadcast on German television in 1973, begins as a corporate conspiracy thriller by way of a psychodrama, a stylized piece of pulp fiction in a near-future world. Fred Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch), […]

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Review: Logan’s Run

21 February, 2012 (11:23) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 50, June 1976] Several people have assured me that Logan’s Run is a well-above-average science fiction novel; not having read it, I’m hardly about to contradict them, or attempt to blame the failure of the film version on the novelists. But as Logan’s Run dribbled out via a hasty, convenient, […]

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“Breaking new ground has always been in the medium itself” – An Interview With Douglas Trumbull

11 February, 2012 (02:42) | by Sean Axmaker, Industry, Interviews, Science Fiction, Technology | By: Sean Axmaker

On Saturday, February 11, Douglas Trumbull will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his contributions to the technology of the industry. Trumbull has over a dozen patents in his name, and developed or improved upon many of the filmmaking techniques that are standard in today’s […]

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