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COOL SCI-FI MOVIES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED


We have seen all the Alien, Star Wars and Terminator movies. But what about all those videos gathering dust on the science fiction shelf? Surely some of them have to be worth seeing as well?

 

The Arrival
(Unfairly ignored)

Neat little paranoid thriller starring Charlie Sheen that somehow got lost in the huge hype surrounding Independence Day.

Battle Beyond the Stars
(Can you say hormonal imbalance?)
Pure B-movie material as has-been television stars battle it out with invading aliens with green blood.   One of exploitation producer Roger Corman's most expensive efforts, Battle Beyond the Stars is worth the price of a rental only to see the incredible outfit worn by busty Sybil Danning . . .

A Boy and his Dog
(Must see - despite the cheap sets.)

It might gathering dust under another title (such as Apocalypse 2011) on your local videostore's shelves, but this black-humoured movie made on a shoestring and based on a novella by sci-fi great Harlan Ellison is a must-see.

Brazil
(Over-the-top, grotesque, sick, great . . .)
If you're a Monty Python fan then you'll know who Terry Gilliam is. Having made such off-beat films such as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys, Gilliam is one of the most original and singular talents haunting the Hollywood byroads. If you're not a Python fan, then that's no excuse to miss this wildly surreal movie about an Orwellian dystopia.

Dark Star
(Waiting for Godot meets Arthur C. Clarke)
Made by cult director John (Escape from New York, The Thing) Carpenter while still a film school student, Dark Star runs like a mixture between French absurdist theatre and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The effects are surprisingly good for such a cheaply made movie. 


The Day The Earth Stood Still

(An "oldie" but good . . .)
Even if you don't like Black & White movies this one is still worth seeing . . .

Death Race 2000
(One of my favourite bad movies of all time)
Bad outfits, music, acting, hairstyles and a wickedly twisted screenplay makes for an excellent bad movie.

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Demolition Man
(Violent and funny actioner)
Fancy lots of explosions? You've got that and a screenplay that slyly makes digs at the type of macho character usually played by Sylvester Stallone . . .

Disaster In Time
(Uneven, yet thoughtful)
Time travel story with an intriguing premise. This movie doesn't always deliver on its promise, but is still worth catching on late-night television if you can. . .

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Enemy Mine
(Lame ending, good acting, gripping)
More sci-fi than anything recently thrown in our direction, Enemy Mine ultimately suffers from an extremely unlikely ending. However, if your literary tastes includes "hard" sci-fi such as Asimov and Clarke, then you'll be, er, hard-pressed to find a better way to spend two hours of your life.

Fahrenheit 451
(French art house movie - but without the subtitles)
See this movie based on the novel of the same name by Ray Bradbury about "firemen" who burns in a future dystopia  before Mel Gibson finishes the Hollywood remake of it he is busy with right now.  

handmaid.jpg (9941 bytes)The Handmaid's Tale
(Cautionary feminist parable)
This, er, tale set in a future patriarchal dystopia in which women serves as nothing else than breeders may be slow moving, but is suitably weird and interesting.

The Hidden
(Violent, clever, funny)
This unexpectedly good violent sci-fi action movie reminds one most of the first Terminator movie.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 - the Movie
(Funny)
This extremely funny spin-off of the "cult" television show may start off unpromisingly, but soon you'll find yourself rewinding the tape and watching it again because you couldn't hear all the dialogue because everybody watching it were laughing so loud.

Not Of This Earth
(B-movie - be in the right frame of mind, beer not optional)
Pure Roger Corman exploitation pic starring ex-porn star Traci Lords. Lots of beer and pizza are required while watching . . .

Repo Man
(Weird)
Weird and off-beat are the adjectives that spring to mind when watching this flick that features street punks, mad scientists, repo men, stolen Chevies, mad scientists and flying saucers.

Retroactive
(Not bad sci-fi action movie)
If you're looking for undemanding action movie stuff then you can do a whole lot worse than this engaging Groundhog Day-style time travel story.

Screamers
(Effective at times)
Based on a Philip K. (Blade Runner, Total Recall) Dick short story called Second Variety, Screamers may play like a downbeat version of Aliens, but it has its moments.

silent.jpg (11702 bytes)Silent Running
(Thoughtful, understated, melancholy)
Forget the scientific implausibility's and immerse yourself in this 2001-like lament on man's disregard for nature. Directed by special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull, the effects are above-average for its time but doesn't overwhelm the movie.

Slaughterhouse-Five
(The book's better, but this isn't bad)
You'd be better off reading Kurt Vonnegut's off-beat classic of the same title, but this film adaptation will at least make you want to read the book to more clearly understand on-screen events.

Split Second
(Trashy, yet fun)
Rutger (Ladyhawke) Hauer in pursuit of an Alien lookalike monster in future semi-submerged London. Trash - yet enjoyable trash.

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
(Often forgotten)
This last movie to feature the original television show cast has lots of Shakespeare quotes being thrown around and is one of the few sci-fi movies that can be described as Agatha Christie in Outer Space . . .

Strange Days
(Underrated)
Violent end-of-the-millennium action movie with unlikely hero Ralph Fiennes. Cyberpunk thriller ultimately worth seeing despite its unlikely ending.

They Live
(Difficult to dislike despite its flaws)
This alien invasion story that gets its shots in at Reaganite 1980s materialism is a welcome return to form for cult director John Carpenter.

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THX 1138
(Bleak)
You worship the very ground George Lucas walks on and you've seen Return of the Jedi more times than you can be bothered with to count, but have you ever seen Lucas' directorial debut - a bleak 1984 type of affair?

time.jpg (10373 bytes)Time After Time
(Entertaining and light-weight)
"What would H.G. Wells say if he saw how things turned out in the end?" a character in CopLand asks. This time travel story supplies some hints: he spends a lot of time trying to get back to his own time!

Tremors
(Fun)
Dune lookalike worms attack a small desert town. Enjoyable and funny mayhem ensues mostly because of the local survivalist gun nut couple.

12 Monkeys
(Clever, intelligent)
Don't be put off by people who claimed that the plot is too complex: this Terry Gilliam movie is intelligently crafted and beautifully shot and filmed. 

The Wings of Honneamise
(Great animation but not really for kids)
Want to check out anime - or rather Japanese animated movies? Then this is the place to start . . . Stark, surreal, at times violent - Wings of Honneamise isn't quite Disney.

Zardoz
(Bad 1970s movie or great art?)
Love it or hate it - but you probably won't understand what the heck it's all about . . . Stars Sean Connery in a red leather S&M outfit - if that's your type of thing.

 

 



 

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