Category Archives: SciFiNow

‘Maniac’ creator Patrick Somerville on making you question reality and normalcy

Based on a Norwegian show of the same name, Netflix’s limited series Maniac reunites Superbad stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, alongside a formidable ensemble cast that features Justin Theroux, Sally Field, Sonoya Mizuno, Billy Magnussen, Julia Garner, Jemima Kirke and Gabriel Byrne in recurring roles. Directed in full by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), the dystopia-tinged dark comedy sees two strangers drawn to the late stages of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial, for mind-repairing pills sold as being able to solve all of a test subject’s problems permanently. What they experience is hallucinations of different worlds and realities.

Ahead of Maniac’s arrival on Netflix, we spoke to writer, executive producer, and the man with the ‘Created by’ credit on the show, Patrick Somerville. Also an author, his previous writing and producing work in television includes fellow Scandinavian series adaptation The Bridge and The Leftovers, the latter also starring Justin Theroux…

Full interview for SciFiNow

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Piercing (Nicolas Pesce, 2018)

Following debut The Eyes Of My Mother, writer/director Nicolas Pesce delivers Piercing, a brisk mix of S&M horror and pitch black comedy that’s based on a novel by Japanese author Ryû Murakami, the man behind the source novel of Takashi Miike’s Audition. And if you know anything about Audition, you can guess the territory of some of Piercing’s own plot rug pulls…

Full review for SciFiNow

Possum (Matthew Holness, 2018)

Best known for co-writing and starring in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Matthew Holness goes to very dark places with his debut feature as a writer and director, Possum. Starring an unnerving Sean Harris, an equally upsetting Alun Amstrong and a human-arachnid hybrid that joins the ranks of cinema’s scariest puppets, the film’s a two-hander horror with eight limbs…

Full review for SciFiNow

Solis (Carl Strathie, 2018)

A low budget debut feature, Solis comes across like Gravity meets Sunshine. The Gravity link is that – spoiler for Gravity – it’s a one-actor show in which said star fights for survival in the wake of a space accident. The Sunshine tie is the fact the lead’s ship is heading towards, well, the sun.

One-actor show isn’t quite accurate, actually, as there’s also the disembodied voice of a familiar performer for the visually present star to converse with. Moon had Kevin Spacey perform this role, while Solis has Alice Lowe as the commander of a ship looking to save the film’s protagonist before the vessel he’s on is obliterated by the sun. So, one might say this Sunshine-resembling film also has a bit of a Moon–shine to it…

Full review for SciFiNow

Anna and the Apocalypse (John McPhail, 2017)

The pool of Scottish film musicals is small but notable – there’s Sunshine on Leith, a jukebox musical of The Proclaimers’ hits; Stuart Murdoch’s God Help the Girl; and culturally insensitive Gene Kelly vehicle Brigadoon. They can step aside for the new baby in the family, and this one’s got some bite. Anna and the Apocalypse is (probably) the world’s first Christmas-set high-school zombie comedy musical. Less Brigadoon, more Brigadoom…

Full review for SciFiNow

Mari Okada on her anime directorial debut ‘Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms’

Mari Okada has become one of the most prolific writers in modern Japanese animation, not only contributing scripts to various beloved shows, like a new version of Lupin III, but also writing entire seasons of others and seeing her work adapted across anime, manga, video games and live-action cinema.

With Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms, an intimate story set against an epic fantasy stage, she turns to directing her own material for the first time. It sees title character Maquia, a young woman from an elf-like race, lose her home, family and friends when her land is attacked by bandits intent on capturing its women. Legend has it that her kind never age, making them valuable to other kingdoms.

After Maquia escapes into the unfamiliar outside world, she stumbles across an orphaned baby, whose parents have been slain. She takes him into her care and tries to raise him herself. The film follows the pair over several decades, as one ages but the other doesn’t, while it also becomes clear that Maquia may not be the last of her kind after all…

Full interview for SciFiNow

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (Mari Okada/Toshiya Shinohara, 2018)

Genre fiction has many explorations of romantic love between an immortal being and a human protagonist – vampire stories are especially good for it. What’s less common is a focus on familial love between someone who’s fated to live forever, or at least several centuries more than most, and a human who won’t be alive for nearly as long.

Maquiaisn’t about vampires (and it’s not a horror), but does follow the parent and child relationship between a woman of fantastic origin and the mortal boy she takes under her wing…

Full review for SciFiNow