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Science Fiction: Films & TV

dr wu

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I'm a latecomer to this - and it's probably very old news to a lot of you - but I recently stumbled on an American science fiction series from way back in 2005 called Threshold. It's all there on Youtube and I am much impressed with it.

The initial set up reminds me of the film Species: an assortment of geeks, security specialists and mercenaries are rounded up and more or less coerced, by the FBI, into partaking in a top secret study of what appears to be First Contact with an extraterrestrial lifeform. (Some sort of multidimensional object reduces the occupants of a military naval ship to gibbering mania). Within the S.F there are shades of horror as well as Spy Fi. It references Body Snatchers and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

It's somewhat noisy with an overplayed soundtrack and full of cliches (the kick ass young female heroine, the cynical FBI overseer hiding a heart of gold, and the various insecure but brilliant geeks etc) but what impresses me about it is the ideas in it. These are far more advanced and interesting than you would expect on a TV show.

Anyway, here's the first episode:
I liked Threshold...if you are into that type of series I recommend Fringe also.

I'm also enjoying Man Who Fell To Earth....a bit quirky but interesting.
 

ramonmercado

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Welcome To Eden: Young adults get invited to a festival to launch of a new drink at a secret island location. But of the 100 who attend, 5 will not leave. A cult runs the island, they worship Mother Nature but aren't above using the latest surveillance technology to enforce strict obedience. A rather dark conspiracy thriller in which layer after layer is gradually revealed. Some rather graphic violent scenes. this is very much an adult series. The idea isn't new but this is an interesting iteration. Created & Written by Joaquín Górriz and Guillermo López Sánchez. Directed by Menna Fité and Daniel Benmayor. Eight episodes on Netflix. 7/10.
 

ramonmercado

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Everything Everywhere All at Once: A voyage through the Multiverse as Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) tries to survive an IRS audit. She is contacted by her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) from a different universe as he dybbuks this one. She must battle a supreme villain, Jobu Tupaki who is also her own daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). The IRS agent Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis) is also Dybbuked by a murderous acolyte of Jobu. Great fun as alternate Evelyns possess her body and use their skills to fight back. There is even a universe where everybody has hotdogs instesd of fingers and this segment has a great pastiche of apemen discovering weapons from 2001: A Space Odyssey. There is also a film within a film, actually it's kind of this film, watch by it's star another Evelyn. The traverse of the Multiverse occasionally brings the Marvel TV series Legion to mind, both in production design and charcter traits. Essentially it's a story about the search for meaning, understanding and love. Great performances by Yeoh, Hsu, Curtis, Quan along with James Hong as her father. Written and Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. 8.5/10.

In cinemas.
 

ramonmercado

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Archive: It's 2038, corporations fight over Intellectual Property Rights as they strive to develop operational AIs. These battles occasionally spillover into armed conflict with raids on laboratories. George (Theo James) is working at an isolated site in rural Japan, he is developing robots to house his developing AI. Odd events occur as the robots seem to compete with each other. Georges wife, Jules ( Stacy Martin) recently died in a car accident and he has access to her memories for a limited period of time through a device called Archive, unknown to his superiors George has based his AI on data extracted from his wife's Archive. A dark Cyberpunk tale with some interesting plot twists as George has to fend off a service representative from Archive (Toby Jones) and demands from his increasingly inquisitive boss (Rhona Mitra) for more details of his research results. The anthropomorphic behaviour of the robots is intriguing especially in the advanced model; more poignant though are the video calls between George and Jules as she is unaware that she is dead. Written and directed by Gavin Rothery. On Netflix. 8/10.
 

MrRING

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When a foster home placed teenage rebel suspects that her father is not dead but kidnapped by UFOs, she takes help from a UFO association to find out the truth. Together, they embark on a risky adventure that takes them far beyond the law's borders and into a world filled with UFO expeditions, conspiracies and inexplicable phenomena. UFO Sweden is film collective Crazy Pictures' new big movie adventure. A nerve-wracking and touching film experience located in a 90s Sweden. It can almost be described as a cross between Stranger Things and The X Files straight down in Sweden. The story is inspired by a real association called UFO-Sverige which was formed in 1970 and is still active. More information about the real association UFO-Sverige can be found at www.ufo.se
 

Xanatic*

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Has anyone watched the tv-series Counterpart? It's about an employee at the UN who discovers we are in a conflict with a parallel universe. Is it worth a watch?
 

MrRING

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This looks like it will be fun!
BRIAN AND CHARLES follows Brian, a lonely inventor in rural Wales, who spends his days building quirky, unconventional contraptions that seldom work. Undeterred by his lack of success, Brian attempts his biggest project yet. Three days, a washing machine, and various spare parts later, he’s invented Charles, an artificially intelligent robot who learns English from a dictionary and has an obsession with cabbages. What follows is a humorous and entirely heartwarming story about friendship, family, finding love, and letting go.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Saw Matrix Resurrections, today. Thomas Anderson is a chronically depressed Software Designer, whose bit hit was a trilogy of games 20 years ago, called The Matrix, and the gaming company Deus Machina, he works for have been ordered by the owning company, Warner Brothers, to produce a fourth instalment. Then he meets a woman in a coffee shop called Tiffany, who seems strangely familiar and resembles one of the characters in his games. Then events from the games start to break in, and he meets a character from the game who offers him a choice. This sequel brings back a lot of the characters from the originals, some of very changed, there's more the of twistiness about levels of reality than in the others sequels, and though it doesn't stint on the action sequences, they're not so overloaded as in the other sequels. Also they restore some of the mystery as to who or what some of the characters are. A solid sequel though it can't reach the originality of the first Matrix. It's also a bit Meta.

I've mentioned elsewhere that I get Migraine Aura without Headache, scintillating scotomata, and the slight feeling of light-headedness and disconnection added something to this film.

I only watched Matrix Resurrections when it came onto Sky movies last week.
My expectations weren't high, given the panning it received by fans of the original.
For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised though.
It all looked amazing in UHD and the soundtrack was truly inspired (loved the use of White Rabbit), with some nifty use of surround sound too - it really did feel like that helicopter was circling around behind me.
The way characters and plot elements from earlier instalments were gradually coaxed out from half-recalled memories was quite clever and the action scenes, as you would expect, were truly spectacular.
If you sense there is a "but" coming, there is.
I felt the ending was ...

.... a bit meh. I mean Neo and Trinity, after having their revenge on Doogie Howser, discovering they can actually fly, have a good snog and zoom off into the sunset, struck me as rather weak and far too saccharine-sweet to be in keeping with what had gone before. I wanted hard sci-fi, not Mills and Boon!
 

ramonmercado

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The Midwich Cuckoos: SF/Horror with a bias towards SF due to the children's powers being due to Extra-Terrestrial intervention. This adaptation is updated but remains true to the spirit of the novel by John Wyndham. A blackout occurs around the village of Midwich which attracts government attention, everyone within the area is unconscious. All of the women of Midwich become pregnant and produce children who mature more rapidly than usual. A special school is set up and allowances are paid to the parents to keep everything quite. Disturbing and violent at times especially when children are killed, it's sometimes difficult to see them as Aliens. But the actions of the children through mind control and telekinesis in their attacks on those who oppose them develops from being disconcerting to downright terror inducing. Great performances by the child actors involved. Some plot twists and secrets which cannot be revealed here or it would ruin the enjoyment of this conspiracy thriller series. My only quibble is that it's slightly too long, they could have brought it in at six rather than seven episodes. Created and Co-Written by David Farr. On Sky Max. 8/10.
 
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PeteByrdie

Privateer in the service of Princess Frideswide
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Over the last few days I've been watching Night Sky on Amazon Prime. J. K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek are an elderly couple in rural Illinois who happen to have an alien teleportation chamber beneath their tool shed. They spend many an evening gazing out on an alien landscape. One day, a secretive young man turns up in the chamber. This series is slow moving and predictable in places, but the cast is great and I was engrossed. If you get invested, you'd better hope they make another season as the first leaves many a question unanswered.
 

ramonmercado

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Just watched Spiderhead on Netflix, pretty good though not the classic it could have been, it's got mixed reviews. Review to follow.

Spiderhead is a research facility experimenting the affects of emotion-altering drugs. The test subjects, technically prisoners of the state, are volunteers for the project, aiming to reduce their sentence time. The program is overseen by the sympathetic and hospitable Steve Abnesti, along with his assistant, Mark. The subjects go through daily test runs of various drugs, all of which alter your emotions and your perceptions of your surroundings.
 

Bad Bungle

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Thought this might be worth a punt - although the novelty of a Mexican comedy western sci-fi horror musical usually wears off quite quickly.

Ship Of Monsters - 1960.jpg
 

ramonmercado

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Spiderhead: Certainly not a new trope- prisoners agree to participate in experimental drug tests in exchange for a reduction in their sentences. This version had promise though, not all of the possibilities are explored however and it just ends up being a good SF prison movie rather than a great one. All seems sweet at Spiderhead, state of the art facility with a lax regime, guards are usually only visible when prisoners are taken off the remote island site and they can win outdoor privileges. The living conditions may be high class but the prisoners have to participate in daily tests using various drugs. It soon becomes clear that the experiments are being carried out in an unethical, even abusive manner. There are some plot twists which reveal an even darker truth. While a strong strain of dark humour runs through the film there are more than a few disturbing scenes. even ones of horror where test participants are exposed to phobias and undergo existential despair. Good performances from Chris Helmsworth as the chief scientist with Mikles Teller and Jurnee Smollett as two of the prisoners with a strong supporting cast. "One Flew Over The Island of Dr Moreau" could have been a classic but I'll settle for this worthwhile thriller. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, from a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. On Netflix. 7.5/10
 

bugmum

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The Midwich Cuckoos: SF/Horror with a bias towards SF due to the children's powers being due to Extra-Terrestrial intervention. This adaptation is updated but remains true to the spirit of the novel by John Wyndham. A blackout occurs around the village of Midwich which attracts government attention, everyone within the area is unconscious. All of the women of Midwich become pregnant and produce children who mature more rapidly than usual. A special school is set up and allowances are paid to the parents to keep everything quite. Disturbing and violent at times especially when children are killed, it's sometimes difficult to see them as Aliens. But the actions of the children through mind control and telekinesis in their attacks on those who oppose them develops from being disconcerting to downright terror inducing. Great performances by the child actors involved. Some plot twists and secrets which cannot be revealed here or it would ruin the enjoyment of this conspiracy thriller series. My only quibble is that it's slightly too long, they could have brought it in at six rather than seven episodes. Created and Co-Written by David Farr. On Sky Max. 8/10.
I saw a brief teaser-trailer for this on Sky News, and the purist in me was disgusted that the children all looked different. Part of the point in the book was that they were all identical. I don't have Sky but that fact alone would stop me watching it.
 

ramonmercado

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The Lazarus Project: An organisation which can rest time to 1 July when an Extinction Level Event occurs, they also they and stop them from happening in the first place. They will pursue those who steal nuclear weapons or weaponise viruses. But they won't intervene to put the clock back to avert personal tragedies. This causes problems for some of their agents who end up defecting. Not all problems are easily resolved, sometimes to avert a nuclear war numerous resets are necessary. The agents involved watch nuclear Armageddon time after time. Others repeatedly suffer losses as memory of the past timeline is retained. Most agents take a serum to retain memories but there are naturals who spontaneously develop the ability. A good techno-thriller series with some of the feel of Tenet about it. Very personal as well as political/military story lines are entwined through flashbacks. Such an organisation though would have better internal security displayed by the Lazarus Project and the background details of the time travel device are scanty. Still, I hope there's a second season. Created and written by Joe Barton. Eight episodes on Sky Max. 8/10.
 

Earthly oddity

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The Lazarus Project: An organisation which can rest time to 1 July when an Extinction Level Event occurs, they also they and stop them from happening in the first place. They will pursue those who steal nuclear weapons or weaponise viruses. But they won't intervene to put the clock back to avert personal tragedies. This causes problems for some of their agents who end up defecting. Not all problems are easily resolved, sometimes to avert a nuclear war numerous resets are necessary. The agents involved watch nuclear Armageddon time after time. Others repeatedly suffer losses as memory of the past timeline is retained. Most agents take a serum to retain memories but there are naturals who spontaneously develop the ability. A good techno-thriller series with some of the feel of Tenet about it. Very personal as well as political/military story lines are entwined through flashbacks. Such an organisation though would have better internal security displayed by the Lazarus Project and the background details of the time travel device are scanty. Still, I hope there's a second season. Created and written by Joe Barton. Eight episodes on Sky Max. 8/10.
I just watched this...rather enjoyed it and hope a second season continues the stories...

I was a bit disappointed not to find out how to travel through time e.g. how to build a device.....

Maybe they have invented invisibility too so security staff are hidden? You can't defend yourself when you can't see the attacker...... :hahazebs:

But yes, didn't look very secure. I worked out what building in London they used for the eternal of the bank - it is used for a lot of filming. Whether the internal was the internal of the same building or not I wouldn't know because I have never gone inside. If I was a big nerd I would watch it again and try to work out where the headquarters were.

When I saw a building with a statue outside I got a deja vu thing....I am sure I have seen it before (if not it was one that looked similar...).

And the statue inside the headquarters - maybe it is a copy of a famous one. That made me look, thinking "where have I seen that before?"
 

Mythopoeika

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I watched The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot on DVD last night. I bought it because of the 'Fortean' element in it.
A very poor and uninspired title, but it describes exactly what happens in the film.

I think it's OK, probably a 5 out of 10. It is a slow-mover, apart from the few action scenes. As you'd expect, Sam Elliott is getting on a bit, but he pretty much carries this film. The Bigfoot itself is a bit of a let-down, as the Elliott character remarks in one scene.

Probably not worth buying a DVD, but then... will it ever get shown on TV?
 

ramonmercado

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I watched The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot on DVD last night. I bought it because of the 'Fortean' element in it.
A very poor and uninspired title, but it describes exactly what happens in the film.

I think it's OK, probably a 5 out of 10. It is a slow-mover, apart from the few action scenes. As you'd expect, Sam Elliott is getting on a bit, but he pretty much carries this film. The Bigfoot itself is a bit of a let-down, as the Elliott character remarks in one scene.

Probably not worth buying a DVD, but then... will it ever get shown on TV?

I saw it on Netflix, I think it was on TV as well, probably Film4 or BBC2.

I liked it better than you; I see that I gave it 8/10 on IMDb.
 

Trevp666

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There are 4 sci-fi films about time-travel that I watched years ago and can't re-find (or possibly episodes of something like 'The Outer Limits' or similar). And I can't even remember their titles, but I can give a sort of plot summary from my memory for each, if anyone could tell me what these films or TV progs are that'd be grand. I would say they are all from the late 80s or early 90s.

1. A modern fighter/bomber 'stealth' aircraft is somehow transported back to Nazi Germany and it changes the future when it is reversed engineered and allows domination in WWII creating a new timeline in which the present is ruled over by the descendants of the Nazis.
Somehow it is discovered to have happened and someone uses the same time travel device to put things back to how they should be.

2. Two chaps who are involved in the Philadelphia Experiment get displaced in time to the present day and spend the entire film trying to get back to their own time. One of the 2 guys manages to get back but the other doesn't and at the end of the film the 2 men meet up again, one as a very old man, the other (because he got stuck here) still young. Or something like that.

3. Chap has a hand held device which allows him to time travel (but not change location) and he is being pursued by some other chap who has a similar device, and is able to track the movements of the first chap. Chap 1 is on some kind of mission or something and in order to gain access to military bases etc he travels back to the 1800s when it was all open empty countryside (in the US) before walking to a spot he knows to be inside a base and travelling back to the present day.

4. Chap is some sort of professor or historian in the near-future who has a time travel device and travels back to observe historical events unfold. He travels back to watch the assassination of JFK, wanting to identify the person 'on the grassy knoll', and somehow gets involved and (IIRC) has to travel back and forward multiple times to correct the time-line. It somehow ends up with him being the person who was 'on the grassy knoll' all along, and to prevent a time paradox he sees himself disappear. Or something similar.

(it's possible that 3 & 4 might even be different parts of the same film)
 

Ronnie Jersey

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There are 4 sci-fi films about time-travel that I watched years ago and can't re-find (or possibly episodes of something like 'The Outer Limits' or similar). And I can't even remember their titles, but I can give a sort of plot summary from my memory for each, if anyone could tell me what these films or TV progs are that'd be grand. I would say they are all from the late 80s or early 90s.

1. A modern fighter/bomber 'stealth' aircraft is somehow transported back to Nazi Germany and it changes the future when it is reversed engineered and allows domination in WWII creating a new timeline in which the present is ruled over by the descendants of the Nazis.
Somehow it is discovered to have happened and someone uses the same time travel device to put things back to how they should be.

2. Two chaps who are involved in the Philadelphia Experiment get displaced in time to the present day and spend the entire film trying to get back to their own time. One of the 2 guys manages to get back but the other doesn't and at the end of the film the 2 men meet up again, one as a very old man, the other (because he got stuck here) still young. Or something like that.

3. Chap has a hand held device which allows him to time travel (but not change location) and he is being pursued by some other chap who has a similar device, and is able to track the movements of the first chap. Chap 1 is on some kind of mission or something and in order to gain access to military bases etc he travels back to the 1800s when it was all open empty countryside (in the US) before walking to a spot he knows to be inside a base and travelling back to the present day.

4. Chap is some sort of professor or historian in the near-future who has a time travel device and travels back to observe historical events unfold. He travels back to watch the assassination of JFK, wanting to identify the person 'on the grassy knoll', and somehow gets involved and (IIRC) has to travel back and forward multiple times to correct the time-line. It somehow ends up with him being the person who was 'on the grassy knoll' all along, and to prevent a time paradox he sees himself disappear. Or something similar.

(it's possible that 3 & 4 might even be different parts of the same film)
Film #4 about JFK sounds very interesting, if you find out the name of it, please let us know!
 

ramonmercado

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There are 4 sci-fi films about time-travel that I watched years ago and can't re-find (or possibly episodes of something like 'The Outer Limits' or similar). And I can't even remember their titles, but I can give a sort of plot summary from my memory for each, if anyone could tell me what these films or TV progs are that'd be grand. I would say they are all from the late 80s or early 90s.

1. A modern fighter/bomber 'stealth' aircraft is somehow transported back to Nazi Germany and it changes the future when it is reversed engineered and allows domination in WWII creating a new timeline in which the present is ruled over by the descendants of the Nazis.
Somehow it is discovered to have happened and someone uses the same time travel device to put things back to how they should be.

2. Two chaps who are involved in the Philadelphia Experiment get displaced in time to the present day and spend the entire film trying to get back to their own time. One of the 2 guys manages to get back but the other doesn't and at the end of the film the 2 men meet up again, one as a very old man, the other (because he got stuck here) still young. Or something like that.

3. Chap has a hand held device which allows him to time travel (but not change location) and he is being pursued by some other chap who has a similar device, and is able to track the movements of the first chap. Chap 1 is on some kind of mission or something and in order to gain access to military bases etc he travels back to the 1800s when it was all open empty countryside (in the US) before walking to a spot he knows to be inside a base and travelling back to the present day.

4. Chap is some sort of professor or historian in the near-future who has a time travel device and travels back to observe historical events unfold. He travels back to watch the assassination of JFK, wanting to identify the person 'on the grassy knoll', and somehow gets involved and (IIRC) has to travel back and forward multiple times to correct the time-line. It somehow ends up with him being the person who was 'on the grassy knoll' all along, and to prevent a time paradox he sees himself disappear. Or something similar.

(it's possible that 3 & 4 might even be different parts of the same film)

No. 4 sounds like 11/22/63 a novel by Stephen King. It was made into a TV serial.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2879552/

@Ronnie Jersey
 

EnolaGaia

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There are 4 sci-fi films about time-travel that I watched years ago and can't re-find (or possibly episodes of something like 'The Outer Limits' or similar). And I can't even remember their titles, but I can give a sort of plot summary from my memory for each, if anyone could tell me what these films or TV progs are that'd be grand. I would say they are all from the late 80s or early 90s. ...

4. Chap is some sort of professor or historian in the near-future who has a time travel device and travels back to observe historical events unfold. He travels back to watch the assassination of JFK, wanting to identify the person 'on the grassy knoll', and somehow gets involved and (IIRC) has to travel back and forward multiple times to correct the time-line. It somehow ends up with him being the person who was 'on the grassy knoll' all along, and to prevent a time paradox he sees himself disappear. Or something similar. ...

I suspect you're referring to the TV movie Running Against Time (1990):

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100529/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_Against_Time
 

Trevp666

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Running Against Time


No that's not it. Similar sort of era for production though. However I like this story too but in 'Running Against Time' it's a chap wanting to stop the assassination, not merely observe it for historical record. (and I have a feeling I saw it 'back in the day' too)

I remember some other bits about the film #4 I'm looking for.
The historian has a recording device that he disguises to look like a hand-held movie camera of the period.
He arrives in the past a day or two too early, and a few miles away, and has to get to Dealey Plaza.
He manages to materialise/dematerialise inside a moving vehicle to speak to some other politician of the time (IIRC but that might be a mis-remembered bit from something else)
 

Ronnie Jersey

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Can it be the past does not want to be changed, or cannot be changed?
Anyone know or have any thoughts on that?
 
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