First on the Moon [Pervye na Lune] (2005)

In 1936, years ahead of the West, the Soviet Union began an epic program to create the first manned space rocket. Or at least that’s what this extraordinary faux documentary would have us believe. In 1939, a mysterious fireball crashed to Earth in Chile.  In 2005, the team of researchers making the documentary travel there […]

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Decoder (1984)

It’s 1984 and Big Brother is definitely listening. Counter-cultural oddball William S. Burroughs’ psychedelic novels have generally been considered impossible to adapt.  Which isn’t to say that there haven’t been a few attempts.  The best known is, of course, David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch, which is more of a film about Burroughs’ novel.  But perhaps the most […]

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Criminal (2016)

There comes a point with science fiction where ideas which are still in the realm of fiction somehow get introduced into mainstream films which would sneer at anyone who dared call them SF.  Think of Eagle Eye, say, whose nearly omnipotent AI is a total fantasy.  We’ve been convinced that such a machine is just a […]

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Stingray Sam (2009)

There are some films you know you have to see long before they ever reach the theaters. For me, anything made by Cory McAbee and The Billy Nayer Show is quite high on that list.  His first film, The American Astronaut remains one of those inexplicable pleasures of life – an often surreal lo-fi Western/Sci Fi/Musical/Comedy/Performance Art […]

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The Veldt [Veld] (1987)

Ray Bradbury has rarely been well served by the movie adaptations of his work. Or is the situation really that dire?  Somehow one forgets that there have been several quite good adaptations:  Fahrenheit 451 is excellent, even if it is more Truffaut than Bradbury, and Something Wicked This Way Comes is nearly perfect – or it would be […]

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La Antena [The Aerial] (2007)

Silent film has existed in its own little ghetto since the coming of sound. It doesn’t help that silent films have often been played far too fast, thanks to the changes in film standards, or that often all people see of them are short snippets, often with absurdly silly noises added, or that those who’ve […]

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Andromeda Nebula [Tumannost Andromedy] (1967)

I first encountered this one in film critic Phillip Strick’s Science Fiction Movies [Octopus Books: London, 1976] He was quite dismissive of it, saying that it “…appeared to draw its cast entirely from the Olympic weight-lifting team, conducting their conversations while performing back-flips, diving into baroque swimming pools and absent-mindedly flexing their biceps” and “leaves little […]

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Æon Flux (2005)

This is one of those films which has garnered an impressive amount of hate. I actually quite like it. Æon Flux started its life as a series of short but extremely stylish animated films by Peter Chung, notable for their rather extreme imagery, often inexplicable events and the fact that Æon died in most episodes.  This was […]

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Avalon (2001)

After a six-year hiatus following the release of Ghost in the Shell, anime legend Mamoru Oshii returned to directing with this utterly remarkable live action film. During that break, he’d godfathered the production of Blood:  The Last Vampire as a test bed for new CG animation technologies that allowed him to bring dramatic movie lighting to animated film. […]

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