Five sci-fi movies to stream
Questions, Questions: At their best, sci-fi movies think and ask, then are so convincing that you forget you always wanted an answer. This month’s pick will especially reward viewers who have no patience for easy resolutions – or distinct genre classifications.
Stream it on Netflix.
Taiwanese director Cheng Wei-Hao’s ambitious film will frustrate viewers who like to define their genres. Set in 2032, it follows the efforts of prosecutor Liang Wen-Chao (Chen Chang) to solve the gruesome death of a local business tycoon, slaughtered by his estranged son – at least that’s what it looks like. A giant question mark also hovers above the deceased’s second wife, Li Yan (cold and disturbing Anke Sun).
Liang is especially desperate to understand what happened because he has cancer and this could be his last case.
Nothing in the convoluted plot seems, and “The Soul” evolves madly from one red herring to another, from horror and procedure to sci-fi, melodrama, thriller and romance, and vice versa.
For the most part, Cheng manages to keep his disparate themes in the air: it’s like watching someone juggle a knife, ball, pin, and glass, only dropping one occasionally. time. And under the “oh no, they didn’t!” Plot twists, the film’s bittersweet preoccupation is our inability to come to terms with the inevitable and let things – or people – go.
Buy or rent it on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu.
Some movies come preloaded with long exposure. Others distribute information in a slow, steady drip. And then there are those who dare the public to embrace a state of bewilderment. “Doors” fall squarely into the latter category, and your reaction to it will vary depending on your tolerance for unexplained events with a touch of metaphysics. If the final part of “2001: A Space Odyssey” drives you crazy, step away from this anthology effort, in which millions of title objects appear overnight, with no clue of their origin.
The best of the three separate parts of the film is the first and the last. In the introduction “Lockdown”, director Jeff Desom brings up a horror mini-movie as a group of kids taking a test must figure out what to do about a door that has popped up in. a corridor. Saman Kesh’s meandering “knockers” take place after millions of people have disappeared through doors and into… another reality?
“Lamaj”, directed by Dugan O’Neal, is back on solid ground as Jamal (Kyp Malone, of the TV group on radio) watches a door deep in the woods. One day, the door speaks to him – not to explain what’s going on, however. For this we still have to use our imaginations.
Buy or rent it on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu.
There is little science in this new Swedish film, let alone fiction: it’s hard not to think that events could happen too easily.
“The unthinkable” belongs squarely to the pre-apocalyptic genre: mysterious explosions paralyze Stockholm, the Swedish electricity grid collapses, no one can understand what is going on and in no time the country collapses completely. As usual in Tales of Survival, the film – which is credited to film collective Crazy Pictures – follows a small group of archetypes trying to get through the ordeal: a tormented guy (Christoffer Nordenrot, who helped write the scenario) trying to reconnect. with her childhood sweetheart (Lisa Henni), herself desperately in search of her baby girl; a conspiracy theorist (Jesper Barkselius) who may or may not be right about what is going on; a senior government official (Pia Halvorsen) trying to do the right thing.
The first third of the film feels like a fairly mundane family drama, with a flashback to traumatic childhood events. And then the machine shifts into high gear and you’re too distracted by the awe-inspiring sets to be bothered by the obscure explanations – an unnecessary coda during the end credits feels like a wacky escape. And the bigger question remains unanswered: How did Crazy Pictures accomplish this on a $ 2 million budget?
Stream it on Hulu.
Try not to get stuck in the convoluted plot – time travel paradoxes are hell for writers. What counts in this Australian ecodystopia is the human element. Specifically, Kodi Smit-McPhee’s performance as Ethan, a humble worker sent from 2067, when an oxygen-plagued Earth is in the throes of death, in a time of centuries to come that could hold the key to salvation. Tall and slightly gaunt, with splayed eyes that make him look haunted, Smit-McPhee – first noticed 12 years ago as a young boy in the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel “The Road – does not look like the men usually assigned to alone to save the world. But that’s exactly what makes it so appealing here.
Seth Larney’s movie doesn’t always make sense, and you want it to make better use of Ryan Kwanten and Deborah Mailman in key supporting roles. But Smit-McPhee is a solid anchor. That Ethan accepts less the mission to save humanity than to save one person (his wife), has a terrible meaning.
When a crisis strikes onscreen, characters often seem to instantly become experts in survival no matter what their job – remember, Tom Cruise was a simple tank top in “War of the Worlds.”
But what if the people facing an alien invasion were woefully incompetent, for a change? This is the case in this very funny satire by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson. Brooklyn hipster couple Jack (John Reynolds, of “Search Party”) and Su (Sunita Mani, “GLOW”) are spending a week off the grid in the upstate when mysterious furballs shoot up. overwhelm space. Lacking follow-up and entirely devoid of practical skills – the film suggests over-reliance on smartphones is partly to blame – our two Earthlings sink rather than rise to the occasion, and soon Su and Jack are on the run, screaming, of the killer. “Pouffes” (whose resemblance to the Tribbles of the old “Star Trek” cannot be accidental).
The movie pokes fun at both sci-fi conventions and pampered millennials, while beating plenty of other comedies by not miraculously running out of gasoline halfway through.