Tag Archives: Sci-Fi

Kin

Kin

Written and Directed by: Jonathan and Josh Baker (adapted from their short film)
Starring: Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, Zoë Kravitz, James Franco, Dennis Quaid
Rated: PG-13 for gun violence and intense action, suggestive material, language, thematic elements and drinking

“Kin” opened without much fanfare, and no surprise – it’s the feature film debut of not only its star (Myles Truitt), but its writer-director team, Jonathan and Josh Baker as well. The product of these newcomers’ work is good, though, especially considering that they’re new to cineplex screens. This is a competent, solid film with a few things to say and a driving, focused plot.

A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place

Directed by: John Krasinski Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe Rated: PG-13 for terror and some bloody images How often do you make noise? So many actions are audible. A shoe sole slapping or squeaking on the floor, dropping a hard object, biting into an apple. Even without speaking, we humans are generally noisy creatures. “A Quiet Place” puts us into a position where noise – even a creaking floorboard – means death. At some point in the near future, deadly creatures appear and start eating people. The creatures are blind, but have incredibly sharp hearing. They’re almost impossible to kill, thanks to what looks like armor covering their eyeless heads and the rest of their bodies. By the time the film starts, the world is silent. Animals that make noise? Gone. People? Almost all gone. The film focuses on a single family trying to survive in this unforgiving and lethal world.

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A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time

Directed by: Ava DuVernay Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine Rated: PG for thematic elements and some peril. Since its first publication in 1962, Madeleine L’Engle’s novel “A Wrinkle in Time” has been continuously in print. It’s an enduring classic of science fantasy, a young-adult-ish novel that’s accessible to just about everyone. Adapting it for the big screen is a tall order, and director Ava DuVernay has thrown herself into her work with undeniable passion. DuVernay has said it’s meant to be viewed by children and those with a child’s wonder, and she’s right. Some folks will love it and some will be dismissive. It depends on the attitude you bring to the film. This is a coming-of-age story. Our heroine Meg (Storm Reid) sets out to save her father (Chris Pine), who’s been missing for four years. Along the way, she breaks through

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Annihilation

Annihilation

Written and Directed by: Alex Garland Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. Rated: R for violence, bloody images, language, and some sexuality. You know that feeling when you really enjoyed a movie or TV show and a little later, you find yourself saying, “but what about…?” The nickname for that is “fridge logic,” and “Annihilation,” based loosely on the bestselling novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, has some major fridge logic issues. Everything else about it is pretty great, so if you’re looking more for an experience than for an intellectual challenge it’s a good bet. Our hero, Lena (Natalie Portman), is a former-soldier, current-professor who teaches oncology to medical students. Her still-a-soldier husband Kane (Oscar Isaacs) has been missing for a year. When he shows up in their house, disoriented and largely unresponsive, she’s thrilled – until he collapses, and the two of

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Written and Directed by: Luc Besson Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Kris Wu, Sam Spruell Rated: PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, suggestive material and brief language Luc Besson’s films tend to be deeply strange and more than a little suspension-of-disbelief-crushing. “Lucy” had such bad science, it was actively painful, for example. But then, his films also have such strange and beautiful weirdness that if it’s your thing, you can gloss over the parts that don’t make sense or are otherwise annoying. “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is no different. There are a thousand things to love about it, and a thousand things to hate, and which of those will make you, as an individual, love or hate the film as a whole is almost impossible to say. The story boils down to a mystery involving a missing planet, a miraculous (and thankfully indestructible) alien creature, and a pair of

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The Martian

The Martian

Directed by: Ridley Scott Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Askel Hennie, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean Rated: PG-13 for some strong language, injury images, and brief nudity. The castaway tale is not a new one, but “The Martian” brings us a sci-fi take on it: rather than being stranded on a deserted island, our protagonist is stranded on Mars. While experts and enthusiastic amateurs will doubtless find plenty of errors to point out, this is a ripping yarn suitable for anybody who likes to see human spirit and ingenuity overcome impossible situations. Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is one of six astronauts on a manned mission to Mars when a dust storm forces them to abandon their base and cut the planned month-long expedition short. When Watney is blown away by debris and they can’t find him or any trace of his various signals, Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) makes

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Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

Directed by: Brad Bird Starring: Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy Rated: PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language Remember when the future was hopeful? The original “Star Trek” series offered us a vision of a time when Americans and Russians could work together, where things were clean and orderly and all sorts of different people – non-humans, even! – came together to do great things. Somewhere along the line, though, the future became less “Jetsons” and more “The Matrix” – a cool-looking place, still, but all black leather and vinyl and dystopia. We no longer think of the future as a great place we’re heading to. Cynicism and pessimism are the order of the day. It’s not hard to see why – global climate change, the human tendency toward self-destruction, everything seems to be going down the tubes. “Tomorrowland” brings us Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), who

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Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by: James Gunn Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan Michael Rooker, Glenn Close Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language Marvel Studios has been bringing out big, fun superhero movies for several years now, and they’ve reached the point where viewers can trust that a Marvel flick will be a good time, regardless of whether you know the source material. “Guardians of the Galaxy” banks heavily on the Marvel brand, since it focuses on a fairly obscure group of heroes most non-comic fans have never heard of. Fortunately, Marvel has proven once again that it can be trusted. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a big summer movie in all the right ways. It includes familiar tropes, but mercilessly skewers most of them. It presents us with a group of protagonists who are all either antiheroes or deeply strange

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Riddick

Riddick

The “Chronicles of Riddick” franchise (which began with the fabulous B-movie scifi/horror flick “Pitch Black” in 2000) has grown to include two movies, a direct-to-DVD animated feature, and two video games. Now, another installment on film has come out, this time titled simply “Riddick.” Rather than following the previous film (“The Chronicles of Riddick”) and focusing on interstellar politics and opulence, series creator David Twohy has wisely returned to the formula that made the first film so good: a bunch of people who don’t necessarily get along forced to work together to survive a mass assault by freaky-looking monsters. In the vein of all great sequels, “Riddick” is more of the same, but different.

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

“Pacific Rim” is one of those movies where the trailers don’t do it justice, but can still make it pretty obvious whether you want to see it or not. If the idea of Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”) directing a movie in which enormous robots fight enormous alien sea monsters fills you with glee, run – do not walk – to the movie theater and see this film if you somehow haven’t already. If you think that concept sounds stupid, or dislike big, loud movies, stay away.