Category Archives: Sci-fi-Fantasy

Snowpiercer (Sci-Fi-Action-Thriller)

Snowpier“Social status has a predetermined position and must not be disturbed”

A gifted man by the name of Wilford built a train that travels around the world in 365 days, coincidentally completed during a time of great environmental change. Once an ice age eventually freezes the world over and everyone on the planet is destined to become popsicles, 1,000 lucky survivors were given the opportunity to become the only living civilization left on earth by boarding this locomotive. Having the train cars split into societal classes, a hard 17 years of predestined ranks in the rear brought forth a revolution to disrupt the social order.

Aside from the premise of the actual rebellion and bloodshed, there are also back-stories explained and other mysteries unraveled at every steel-encased venue.  Accompanying the development of the story with every open door, the overall tone became more vibrant and elegant entering each upgraded compartment. This framework took a very unconventional and enlightening turn when they reached the front, obscuring the lines distinguishing the rich and poor.

Taking this very centralized idea revolving around the caste system, a stage was set to proclaim that even after the gift of life a certain level of decency is merited. Over the span of human existence, uprising have taken place revolving around this same situation and many can sympathize and admire this spirited underdog story. Unfortunately, this awareness of discrimination became a bit too overindulged and preachy to the point of ignorance. The main character began to become so consumed with the hatred that good judgment, a clear vision, and common courtesy left him all together. Most audiences will begin to understand the reason the adults don’t invite the children to the grownup table, and in hindsight this revelation made a slight mockery of the entire revolts backbone.

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Under the Skin (Sci-Fi-Thiller)

index“Once tempted by the flesh, all men will lose their inner being to a dark and unrelenting abyss”

After changing into the clothes of a young lifeless woman found in a ditch on the side of the road, a beautiful creature (Scarlett Johansson) begins driving around Scotland in a large white van. After a few minutes of consciously observing with the demeanor of a lioness on the prowl, she picks up a man on the street and begins to effortlessly flirt with him. Once she has him under her spell, she leads him to a dark and empty room with a floor that begins devouring him with each willing step into a murky pool of goo.

The search for the right man became harder as the film progressed, slightly slowing the pace of the film down along with it.  This ingeniously had a mostly positive effect on the overall tone, since it built up the anticipation and importance for the inevitable hypnotic capture to follow.

Using the vehicle of an obscure and alluring sci-fi film, the exemplification of a modern day man-eater is depicted. Within this possible interpretation, an oversimplification of the sexual nature of men is bluntly exhibited, along with the mindless behavior they adhere to within an erotic encounter.

These powerful and captivating scenes of seduction brought the anticipation to an arousing level, paired with a tantalizing score that orchestrated a sonata of desires encapsulating the mesmerized viewers without shame. One of the most powerful scenes occurs when one of these men encounter a previous victim within this liquescent chamber, only to bear witness to his eventual demise.

After this theme is explored another is introduced, involving the main protagonist and the evolution within herself. Her apparent aspiration to become more human than her restrictive mission allows, which unfortunately only brings more confusion to a climactic final scene that goes up in smoke.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Action-Sci-Fi)

fire“The elite shall bring the game to another level, as well as a hidden agenda that could bring a new rebellion”

After Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are the first “Couple” to win the hunger games, they take a tour to speak to all the districts. In turn, small uprising are making their way to select districts and the president is nervous of another rebellion. With Katniss being the centerpiece of hope for the people, what better way to diminish her than to put her into another hunger game for the 75th anniversary with all the previous winners. Just before the games begin, the odds seem to not be in her favor, but interestingly enough alliances fall into place were they are least expected.

Coming off of a very successful initial film by both critics and audiences alike, the series is on the path to become a fruitful franchise.  In a matter of speaking the same elements are used, the flashy parties, holograms, futuristic technologies, and social class systems holding animosity for one another.  A few things didn’t work as well with the sequel and most noticeably the pacing, which is attributed to the first half of the film with little to no action. This was no surprise, since the backstory was essential especially as this film is not the last of the series.

The problem wasn’t so much of the plot itself, but more that the over dramatization was being used in place of any substance.  Once realized this came off as a bit of a cheap way to rushed the meaningful development of the tale all together. There was also quite a bit of crying, mostly from Katniss, leaving the viewers ready for combat uninterested in the melodrama and emotional love triangle.

Once the games did begin, a few new obstacles were introduced and creative plays to the game, which had you on your toes through the remainder. This all led up to a brilliant cliffhanger that brought viewers into an amnesia to the slow start and created anticipation for the third installment.

Coneheads (Comedy-Family-Sci-Fi)

index“Human Authority Figures! Nyaaaaaah!!!”

While on a surveillance mission of planet Earth, Beldar (Dan Aykryod) and his partner Prymatt (Jane Curtin), crash their spacecraft and become stranded until further notice. To adapt to their new environment, Beldar works as a productive appliance mechanic and his partner a trophy mobile home wife under the alias Donald and Mary Margret DeCicco. Once Beldars green card has been discovered to be fraudulent by the INS, they quickly move camp leaving their belonging and are forced to start their lives over once again. Prymatt soon births a daughter Connie and they create an identity as Mr. and Mrs. Conehead who are French immigrants attempting to live the American dream as they wait to be retrieved by inhabitants of their home planet Remulak.

Based off of a Saturday Night Live skit, this goofball Sci-Fi comedy will bring the viewers laughter to “mass quantities”. Mr. and Mrs. Coneheads obtuse articulations of the human language create a dry and hilarious dynamic between everyone they encounter.  Chris Farley, Jason Alexander, Jon Lovitz, and a few others from the SNL crew make up a supporting cast that effortlessly create humorous scenarios keen to all types of audiences.

Going into the screenplay, it was simply the full backstory of these beloved cone-headed characters using the same framework that made this duo memorable to begin with.  Since these scenes were obviously not recorded live; special effects and other components restrictive on stage gave free range to the directors’ portrayals of these aliens and their bizarre attributes they inherited. It would be a distinctly plausible position that this strip of framed sequences played at quantifiable levels will not be forgotten for at minimum 40 zurls or until mass extinction of all earthlings.

Mr. Nobody – (Drama-Romance-Sci-fi)

nobody“If you don’t make a choice then the possibilities are endless, well, actually that is choosing and realistically you’re left with nothing”

Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) is a 117 year old man and the last mortal on the planet.  This makes him the only remaining window to the past, and before he perishes it is vital for his insights to be documented.  So through a hypnotist and journalist, the recollections of his life are recorded for the generations to come.  The only problem is, he is either extremely senile or he is intentionally contriving a story of multiple imaginable lives with different partners to express his philosophies on life.

This daring futuristic rom-dram uses an oversimplified version of string theory and relates it to the choices we make (or don’t make).  An even more impressive feat was encapsulating this theory into the realms of romance and companionship, and vaguely alluding to the concept of multidimensional love.  Entranced in the past lives he may or may not have lived, the audience scrambles to decipher the best choices he could make and empathizes with the poor ones.  If this sounds familiar to another film you may have seen, you too will be frustrated with the lack of originality and almost identical events that take place.

Another fault was that initially the pacing of the film was a delight for about an hour or so, but this momentum slowed drastically when the different realities were continuously regurgitated even after the audience comprehended the relational dynamic and possible mates qualities.  This lead to a drawn out second act that overdeveloped the characters, which deteriorated the initial appeal of the relationships. The irony is that the director is known for short films, and with a more structured screenplay and competent editing work he could have had a recommendable film at half the length.

On a final note, the ending portrayed Nemo as completely senseless and contradictory to his creed once he made a definitive love selection before his last breath.  This could have been seen as either random or a weak attempt at a metaphor that a clear choice was the true reason for his passing.

 

Upstream Color (Drama-Sci-Fi)

UC“Self awareness is exalted in its purest form after trauma obliterates ones ego, allowing enlightenment to emerge from the ashes”

A young woman is drugged and then hypnotized over the course of several days.  She is persuaded into giving away her life savings to a thief, inevitably loses her job for her absence, and is left with nothing more than a vague recollection of what happened, as tangible as a dream.  After having to start her life over, she meets a man on a bus with a haunting familiarity that draws her to him.  Together they slowly rebuild their identity while also unraveling the mystery that brought them to their current state.

The director (Shane Carruth), who also played the supporting actor, used his craft to represent the human psyche without reservations.  The portrayals of inner turmoil within the two main characters was genuine, which complimented the authenticity of their chemistry.  Having two very broken individuals, with separate issues, and developing them in harmony on screen was impressive as well as engaging.

From the opening scene the viewer is pulled into a surreal sequence of imagery that only intensifies through each act.  The narrative of this film is given to the viewers in short fragments providing just enough information to keep you guessing.  The ambiguity of how these events were presented brought intrigue, along with a whirlwind of possibilities.

Giving the audience the option to focus on the several motifs instead of simply follow the captivating storyline, lead many to unveil abstract interpretations of film.  This style of storytelling encourages people to reminisce on what they saw, and after it digests, share what they took from the experience with others.

The direction of this film was risky and will not appeal to all audiences, but the fluidity created by the sounds, allegories, and the overall ambiance was choreographed into an artistic masterpiece.

Big Trouble in Little China (B-Movie-Fantasy-Action)

cina“They stole my truck and my friends girl, and I’ll go through all the Chinese hells to find them!”

A hard-ass truck driver by the name of Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), is passing through Chinatown and visits his local “buddies” to play a few games of cards.  When he cleans out his friend Wang Chi for all his cash, he agrees to give Wang a lift to pick up his fiancee at the airport.  Once Wangs fiancee arrives she is kidnapped by knife wielding men.  After finding her location, Jack and Wang try to rescue her when a turf war begins accompanied by the awakening of supernatural forces, forcing them to flee and leave Jack’s truck behind.  With word of Jack’s truck and Wangs fiancee being held captive by a dark mystical Chinese sorcerer and his minions, they begin a dangerous quest to recover them.

Just leave your brain at the door and prepare yourself for a dark magic film with non-stop PG-13 dumb action.  If you are unable to look past a script so bad that the characters actually have to narrate you through the ludicrous plot-points, then don’t even bother.  Please keep in mind that this film was made for teenagers, which is apparent throughout.  From the decision making, immature relationship mindset, and contrived Chinese myths that you never learned in history class you can clearly see the target audience.

Nevertheless this film had so many surprises it was hard not to get sucked into the adventure.  If you’re into oriental stereotyping, Kurt Russell playing himself, a two-millennium old decrepit man, random mythical beasts pop outs, unexplained sorcery, exploding heads, or constant Kung-fu that defies the laws of physics this is the film for you.