In the world of young adult book adaptations with a fantasy/science fiction edge, “Divergent” is one of the few to actually fall in between really good and intolerable. It’s no “Hunger Games,” but director Neil Burger (“Limitless”) and writers Evan Daugherty (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) and Vanessa Taylor (“Game of Thrones”) do a respectable […]
“Oblivion” is so visually crisp and clean that you could actually brush your teeth with it. Director Joseph Kosinski, who pieced together the aesthetically immaculate “Tron: Legacy” takes a similar approach in adapting his graphic novel for the big screen, and with some solid screen writing help, “Oblivion” feels especially worth of the “science-fiction” label.
My how things would be different today if in 1995, instead of getting Sylvester Stallone in “Judge Dredd,” we were treated to director Pete Travis’ “Dredd.” And I’m not just talking about visual effects advances in the last 17 years. “Dredd,” starring Karl Urban as the helmeted anti- hero, does classic, ’80s and ’90s-style action […]
The rules of time travel in fiction can make your head spin. As a writer, you have to be so meticulous in your vision that all the rules of your universe don’t collapse upon each other and bring your entire concept crumbling to the ground. Or, like Rian Johnson does in “Looper,” you can be […]
“Total Recall” came out in 1990, and as with any remake — especially of a film not even 25 years old — it will beg the question of why Hollywood sees it fit to (fittingly) implant memories of a new one in our brain.
After 10 years it’s tough to imagine “Men in Black III” having any kind of meaningful impact on audiences. No one has spent 10 years clamoring for another entry after “Men in Black II” disappointed — at least no one who would go on the record publicly. Yet despite no attachments to the series but […]
A return to the “Alien” universe from the man who originally envisioned it? Hard not to sign up for that adventure, even knowing that “Prometheus” appears to be quite far from an “Alien” movie. This film dares to ask bigger questions about creation and the purpose of life while thrusting us into an un-fathomable sci-fi […]
The horror genre clings onto and feeds off of audience expectations. From a fan perspective, horror-lovers tend to flock to films that appear as if they will evoke the feelings of previous successes, even to the point of supporting blatant mimicry. From a filmmaking perspective, a horror director’s go-to card is expectation—the audience recognizing those […]
It’s fair to say Luc Besson has gotten a bit giddy ever since “Taken.” The man who once upon a time brought us “La Femme Nikita” and “Leon: The Professional” has instead taken to lighter action fare, in this case recruiting amateurs James Mather and Stephen St. Leger to help write and direct his “original […]
The hype, the fan base, the skeptics—the skeptics created by the hype and the fan base—all of these make adapting an insanely popular novel anything but easy. Given the breadth of the age and gender demographics that Suzanne Collins’ young adult science-fiction story “The Hunger Games” has reached, there are so many niches to please. […]
When we think of science fiction, we so often think about the future. We expect it to stretch our imaginations in ways we never thought possible with groundbreaking concepts beyond our current understanding. “John Carter” appears to aspire to that level. Yet in spite of the film’s hefty price tag, use of latest in motion-capture […]
Since the Golden Age of comic books, folks have been imagining what it would be like if ordinary people came across extraordinary power. But not until 2012 with “Chronicle” has anyone truly attempted to capture this notion with a sense of realism. Josh Trank and Max Landis have done just that with their low-budget found-footage […]
They say “time is money,” and so it seems filmmaker Andrew Niccol took them too seriously. “In Time” imagines a dystopia in which humans have been genetically modified to stop aging at 25 and at that point receive a year to live as indicated by timers on their forearms. The only way they can prolong […]
Never underestimate robot boxing. Despite reaching for nearly every cliché in the family-oriented sports underdog drama handbook short of titling the film “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots,” DreamWorks delivers a undeniable crowd-pleaser with “Real Steel.”
The one thing that always made the “Planet of the Apes” a bit campy was actors in make up and monkey suits. So in one instance, here’s where technology, specifically the use motion-capture technology as seen in “Avatar,” can almost single-handedly justify revisiting an old franchise. But the apes of “Rise of the Planet of […]