Saturday, November 09, 2019

Movie Recommendations

I watched a couple of good sci-fi movies recently that are worth recommending.

Anymore it seems like sci-fi movies are the only movies I'm interested in. (But not books, so far.) I'm not sure why, since I didn't grow up steeped in sci-fi. I watched and liked Star Trek (the original series), and read books like 1984 and Animal Farm and Brave New World, but not Asimov's fiction or Heinlein or pulp sci fi. (I did read a lot of Asimov's nonfiction during my teens.) I never got into comic books or superheroes or such. I still can't get into them. The harder the sci-fi, the more I like it.

I did read a lot of Heinlein's fiction later in my 20s. Saw Asimov at a sci-fi con in Stony Brook. Looked kinda like a sad gig for him.

The two films I saw recently that I'll recommend are Apollo 18 and Automata.

Apollo 18 (2011) is about a last, secret Apollo mission to the Moon -- "found footage" (like the Blair Witch Trial) -- that tells the story of one last Moon landing on behalf of the Department of Defense. It's a little cliched in terms of (...spoiler alert...) what the astronauts find there, which are extraterrestrials but not an especially interesting kind. (They creep and crawl, and can exist in a vacuum. Boo.) But it's a good story with a great deal of verisimilitude, which is what these recovered footage films live or die on. This one lives. 7.5 of 10.

Automata (2014) is a film I saw a while back but forgot about, so watching it again was a pleasant surprise. It's really quite innovative with a hard, realistic edge, about (...spoiler alert...) an insurance adjuster who must find out why a robot in his dystopian era of manmade robots has started to self-repair. Such repairs and improvements are a violation of the "second protocol" of the robot's programming (similar to Asimov's laws of robotics, but with only two). But the automata have been learning and growing and evolving and getting rather creepy, with, in the end, nothing humans can do to stop them. Antonio Banderas is really excellent in this movie, and so unlike what I remember seeing of him in the '90s. He carries the entire movie, which is set in a novel environment, with some great minor characters played by pre lip job Melanie Griffith and by Dylan McDermott from The Practice. 8.5 out of 10.

Other than these, you can always watch another episode of Firefly. They never get old. Afterward you can cry (again) that so few episodes were ever made.


thefordprefect said...

"Enders Game" is a good to excellent movie, The Ender Wiggin series of books are worth a read - author Orson Scott Card

Anonymous said...

Check out Predestination with Ethan Hawke. Got good reviews. Don't read too much about it as it gives away some of the plot.

David Appell said...

Thanks. I saw "Predestination," but should watch it again. I didn't realize, then, that it had Sarah Snook in it, from "Succession." Definitely will watch again.

nowadaysclancycantevensing said...

Another good sci-fi movie about highly intelligent extraterrestrial life forms is Life w Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhall, et al.. Excellent yet frightening stuff.

Thomas said...

Maybe "Gattaca" is old enough that not everyone know about it nowadays, but it's still a good movie about eugenics. "Arrival" is interesting too with aliens that really are alien.

Ned said...

Just tossing out a few here, in reverse chronological order. I'm sure I could easily double this list if I thought about it for a few minutes.

Arrival (2016)
The Martian (2015)
Interstellar (2014)
Gravity (2013)
Moon (2009)
The Abyss (1989)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

OnymousGuy said...

I watched “PredestInation” after reading these comments. I rather enjoyed it.

I also recommend the science fiction films of Andrew Tarkovsy:
- Stalker (eerie and hypnotic - you must watch it uninterrupted)
- Solaris (disturbing)
- The Sacrifice (his last, and like Solaris, a Palm d’Or winner)

David Appell said...

Others I really liked:


and Ink (though I'm not sure it's sci-fi)

Coherence for sure.

David Appell said...

Also very good (I thought):

The History of Time Travel

David Appell said...

Another Earth
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The Man From Earth
The Perfect 46
District 9