Science Fiction: Films & TV

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Tau: Julia (Maika Monroe) a grifter and petty thieve is kidnapped from her flat and wakes up in a house of horrors. It is the den of mad computer scientist Alex (Ed Skrein). The building is controlled by an AI, Tau (voiced by Gary Oldman). Along with her co-captives Julia has an implant which records her reactions to various tests and stresses. The only way to escape from Alex may be to form a relationship with Tau.

This is Federico D'Alessandro's debut as director and while not a classic neither is it the disaster some critics allege. While Skein is a rather camp stage villain (anyone who tortures an AI would kill kittens), Monroe puts in a convincing performance as she battles killer robots and sweet talks Tau, in the early stages of the film she even manages to cause an explosion, this is one streetwise grifter . And a nasty robot it is, impaling escaping test subjects, inflicting pain, makes Bender look angelic. Tau also has a fleet of mini-drones to clean up and monitor the captives.

Some pretty well framed shots especially in confined spaces when the robot pursues Maika and returns her to captivity. Mainly shot in the "smart" house the film seems to drag at times, this is in part due to a script which fails to provide background details- eg Julia's apparent military training. Gary Oldman is rather wasted as the voice of Tau who is not the most convincing AI in SF cinematic history. 6/10. On Netflix.
 

MrRING

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Naughty_Felid

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Tau: Julia (Maika Monroe) a grifter and petty thieve is kidnapped from her flat and wakes up in a house of horrors. It is the den of mad computer scientist Alex (Ed Skrein). The building is controlled by an AI, Tau (voiced by Gary Oldman). Along with her co-captives Julia has an implant which records her reactions to various tests and stresses. The only way to escape from Alex may be to form a relationship with Tau.

This is Federico D'Alessandro's debut as director and while not a classic neither is it the disaster some critics allege. While Skein is a rather camp stage villain (anyone who tortures an AI would kill kittens), Monroe puts in a convincing performance as she battles killer robots and sweet talks Tau, in the early stages of the film she even manages to cause an explosion, this is one streetwise grifter . And a nasty robot it is, impaling escaping test subjects, inflicting pain, makes Bender look angelic. Tau also has a fleet of mini-drones to clean up and monitor the captives.

Some pretty well framed shots especially in confined spaces when the robot pursues Maika and returns her to captivity. Mainly shot in the "smart" house the film seems to drag at times, this is in part due to a script which fails to provide background details- eg Julia's apparent military training. Gary Oldman is rather wasted as the voice of Tau who is not the most convincing AI in SF cinematic history. 6/10. On Netflix.

Despite Maika Monroe being in it I found it very dull. It's worrying how Netflix keeps butchering SF films. 5 out of 10.
 

GNC

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Ah, got to the end of Missions right before it left iPlayer. It looked great, I'll give it that, but I have no clue what it was about. AI developed on Mars? Something like that. They were obviously hoping for a second series too. Loved the opening titles, really classy.
 
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This is sort of SF, near future.

The First Purge: The New Founding Fathers of America have won the Presidency and control Congress, now they must deliver on their promises. Instead of Bread they offer a Circus: sociological research suggests a Purge, involving a 12 hour spree of violence, robbery and murder without penalty would be popular. Staten Island is chosen as a pilot experiment and residents are offered $5,000 each to remain on the island during the 12 hours with extra payments if they participate in the purge supplying contact lenses with cameras in them to monitor activity. A community worker, Nya (Lex Scott Davis) tries to get locals to refuse to participate, her ex-boyfriend, Dmitri (Y'lan Noel) drug gang leader intends just to protect his business.

When The Purge begins, Skeletor (Rotimi Paul) a psychotic local makes the fist kill on a guy robbing an ATM, he then launches a knife attack on residents holding a block party. Two crazy old women hide bombs in dolls and teddy bears. Things don't go smoothly for Dmitri and Nya and they have to progress through the violent streets. Strange gangs appear from nowhere and shoot up churches and massacre residents at random. Dmitri will have to defend more than his business.

THis origin story has echoes of Escape From New York with an island cut off and a derelict urban landscape but he complexity of the developing battles brings Bushwick and it's community fightback against outsiders to mind. Some really disturbing scenes of violence and mass slaughter, not a film for the squeamish. Doesn't play the political satire angle quite as well as it might have. 7/10.
 

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Someone's recently posted this ace episode of SPACE 1999 over at B3ta .. my Mum bought me the command craft toy from this show that just looked like a shuttle space craft with scaffolding in the middle to me when I was little, I was absorbed with STAR WARS instead in the late 70's as a little kid (and space lego, me and James Dent made a crude stop motion film using that with cap gun gunpowder as explosives), I remember playing with the space ship but I can't honestly remember watching any episodes of this TV show until now .. my loss ..

 

Frasier Buddolph

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Attack The Block (2011)



A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion. Give it a chance; I think you will like this movie a lot. Not your typical alien invasion yarn.
 

Peripart

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Someone's recently posted this ace episode of SPACE 1999 over at B3ta .. my Mum bought me the command craft toy from this show that just looked like a shuttle space craft with scaffolding in the middle to me when I was little, I was absorbed with STAR WARS instead in the late 70's as a little kid (and space lego, me and James Dent made a crude stop motion film using that with cap gun gunpowder as explosives), I remember playing with the space ship but I can't honestly remember watching any episodes of this TV show until now .. my loss ..

Space 1999 originated from a proposed continuation of UFO - that didn't quite happen, so Space 1999 was the result. Those spaceships were great, weren't they?
 

Frasier Buddolph

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Pity the main cast never went anywhere!
Jody Whittaker (Sam) has gone on to a successful career in film and TV, and John Boyega (Moses) has appeared in several major films. As for the others, you're right, they seem to have pretty much dropped off the radar. It's a shame, because I thought most of them had real presence on the screen.
 

GNC

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Jody Whittaker (Sam) has gone on to a successful career in film and TV, and John Boyega (Moses) has appeared in several major films. As for the others, you're right, they seem to have pretty much dropped off the radar. It's a shame, because I thought most of them had real presence on the screen.
Um, I think he was joking! Don't forget Nick Frost was in it too.

Nice to see that Joe Cornish has a new film out soon, anyway (a fantasy thing).
 
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Hotel Artemis: Los Angeles 2028, riots rage as a corporation which controls the privatised water supply turns it off to get higher prices. A privatised police force attacks the demonstrators. In the midst of this a bank robbery goes wrong and the injured crooks seek refuge in Hotel Artemis, a clinic/sanctuary run by Jodie Foster. But one of the robbers has stolen diamonds belonging to the mob boss of LA who is also injured and on the way to the Hotel. Will the no violence rules hold up?

Jodie Foster is excellent as The Nurse who has run the clinic for 22 years, we see her past life through flashbacks an indeed that history along with the death of her son 20 years before compels her to give shelter to a wounded cop. The Hotel is a mixture of old style furnishings with futuristic autodoc medical systems. Sofia Boutella is an injured assassin who has a secret agenda (doesn't everyone in this film?) while Jeff Goldblum is the boss of LA.

This is one of those few films which would have benefited from a longer running time to enable more character development and societal background but a lot is packed into it's 94 minutes. Written by Drew Pearce in his directorial debut, Hotel Artemis tells a coherent SF/Gangster story with a some interesting hints at how LA has arrived at this conjuncture. 8/10.
 
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Xanatic*

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I just tried to watch Blade Runner 2049 again last night. Nope, didn't make it through. I can see why it flopped.
 

GNC

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Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema this week was about science fiction. Really smart and erudite, loads of great clips too (though a few spoilers, tut). On iPlayer for those wanting recommendations for their next SF entertainment. The nice thing about this, and the other episodes, is you feel they could have made a whole series on one genre, there's that much in it.
 

GNC

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Handmaid's Tale season finale on C4: Couldn't help but let out a "Yay!" when June thumped Fred, but you could tell she wasn't going anywhere at the end, to give us the cliffhanger where she goes back for Hannah. Difficult to believe they want ten seasons out of this, Elisabeth Moss will be suffering serious dehydration by the end if that's the case.
 
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Extinction: SF/Horror Thriller. A tale of Alien Invasion with interesting psychological twists. Peter is married with two kids, he has strange dreams, violent ones, he even has daydreams causing damage to work equipment. The visions seem to involve an alien invasion which involves mass death and destruction. He also sees strange lights in the sky; sent for counselling he finds he is not alone in having these episodes.

Finally an actual alien invasion occurs. Flying ships attack both office and apartment blocks. Alien soldiers are landed and go apartment to apartment exterminating the occupants. It looks as if the invaders want to preserve some of the infrastructure. Ambushing an alien soldier, Peter links up with other humans and fights back.

Interesting spaceship and space/battlesuit designs, larger ships carrying out heavy attacks, smaller gunships for tactical situations. The suit design terrifies as is no doubt intended. The odd behaviour of some characters will become clearer as the film unfolds and indeed there are several levels of revelations which cannot be described here without spoiling the film for future viewers. A good SF Thriller. 7/10 On Netflix.
 
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Radius: SF/Horror thriller. Liam has crashed, staggering from the wreck he flags down a motorist who drops dead at the wheel. Birds fall from the skies. He is suffering from amnesia but finds his name and address in his wallet. He goes into a diner but but all of the staff and customers are dead. Realising that he may be the cause he works out a death radius beyond which people cannot approach. Meeting up with a woman who is also amnesiac he discovers her presence counteracts the death effect. She was also in his car when the accident occurred. Returning to the scene they find a burned circle in the grass nearby.

Mayhem ensues as they strive to convince the authorities to stay away from them or at least to keep them together. Naturally the police know better and mass deaths occur. Finding out who Jane really is and what happened before the accident, indeed what caused the accident itself will be crucial to the solution of this mystery. A few plot twists with one major reveal. Directed by Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard with the script by Labrèche this is an intriguing SF/Horror mystery. 8/10.
 
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Radius: SF/Horror thriller. Liam has crashed, staggering from the wreck he flags down a motorist who drops dead at the wheel. Birds fall from the skies. He is suffering from amnesia but finds his name and address in his wallet. He goes into a diner but but all of the staff and customers are dead. Realising that he may be the cause he works out a death radius beyond which people cannot approach. Meeting up with a woman who is also amnesiac he discovers her presence counteracts the death effect. She was also in his car when the accident occurred. Returning to the scene they find a burned circle in the grass nearby.

Mayhem ensues as they strive to convince the authorities to stay away from them or at least to keep them together. Naturally the police know better and mass deaths occur. Finding out who Jane really is and what happened before the accident, indeed what caused the accident itself will be crucial to the solution of this mystery. A few plot twists with one major reveal. Directed by Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard with the script by Labrèche this is an intriguing SF/Horror mystery. 8/10.
Saw it on The Horror Channel, likely to be repeated.
 
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