Category Archives: SciFiNow

The Legend of the Stardust Brothers (Macoto Tezuka, 1985)

Some backstory first: the legend behind The Legend, if you will. In the early ‘80s, Makoto Tezuka, the son of “godfather of manga” Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy), was a film student with few credits to his name beyond some experimental shorts. In 1985, at age 22, he met musician and TV personality Haruo Chicada, who had composed a soundtrack for a movie that didn’t actually exist yet: The Legend of the Stardust Brothers.

Chicada used his clout to get an adaptation of his fake soundtrack made into a feature-length musical, with Tezuka directing. The budget was sizeable and some of Japan’s most famous musicians of the time were on board, while various prominent names in manga were among the assembled crew; Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a director who would become much famous later for films like Pulse and Cure, even has a supporting role as an actor…

Full review for SciFiNow

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Coincoin and the Extra-Humans (Bruno Dumont, 2018)

After helming some of the most austere, polarising films in French arthouse cinema, writer-director Bruno Dumont made a surprise swerve into the world of TV in 2014 with P’tit Quinquin, a miniseries that premiered at Cannes in a (still long) film version later released in UK cinemas.

A blackly comic murder mystery, the show starts off as a macabre riff on police procedurals like Midsomer Murders, crossed with kids-up-to-mischief comedies like The Little Rascals, as Van Der Weyden (Bernard Pruvost), a bumbling detective and his deputy, Carpentier (Philippe Jore), try to solve a series of grisly deaths while a group of youths, led by the eponymous Quinquin (Alane Delhaye), watch. What is gradually revealed about the rural southern France setting is the deep prejudices of its residents, particularly towards Arab or African Muslim immigrants, some of whom end up being murder victims. Even the initially ‘good’ leads, the arguable points of identification for the audience, turn out to be belligerent bigots.

Given all of the above, you may be wondering why the sequel miniseries, Coincoin and the Extra-Humans, set years later, is being covered by a genre magazine. One word: aliens…

Full review for SciFiNow

Zoo (Antonio Tublen, 2018)

When films open with establishing shots of a city, it’s normally to evoke a sense of place for a story that will, presumably, mostly take place there. When a horror opens this way, it can also be a way of setting up locations for third-act set-pieces.

Zoo, written, directed, edited and scored by Antonio Tublen, disobeys this. It establishes that London is the broad setting for its zombie outbreak story, but the actual film takes place almost entirely within the confines of one couple’s flat. And when it doesn’t, the shots are relegated to the immediate surroundings of their home – e.g. wreckage just across the street or fleeting glimpses of their floor’s corridor. It’s almost as though its characters are confined like animals in a… well, you get the idea…

Full review for SciFiNow

‘Mortal Engines’ star Robert Sheehan on being subconsciously obsessed with mortals

It’s the festive season, so naturally it’s time for a new epic fantasy film from The Lord Of The Rings‘ Peter Jackson. That film is arriving in the form of Mortal Engines, based on the novel by Philip Reeve, which is what some people are calling a steampunk LOTR. However, Jackson isn’t directing this time — that task has gone to Christian Rivers. The film stars Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan and Jihae as citizens and visitors of the travelling town of London as they all get caught up in a plot of murder and oppression.

Robert Sheehan, who genre fans will know as Nathan from E4’s Misfits, has a surprising story regarding the Mortal Engines casting process: “Leila George, who plays Katherine, and I went to San Francisco, to Peter Jackson’s hotel room, and we just sat around, started chatting shit and taped over four hours because Peter’s camera battery kept dying. So, we’d do a take and then he’d go off and he’d sit it in charge for 15 to 20 minutes and we’d have another natter and show each other YouTube videos…

Full interview for SciFiNow
This is an extract from a bigger print-exclusive Mortal Engines preview feature in SciFiNow #152

‘Anna and the Apocalypse’ interview: horror comedy musical is “The Breakfast Club meets Gremlins”

By all accounts, Anna And The Apocalypse would appear to be the world’s first feature-length zombie comedy musical set in high school… and at Christmas… in Scotland. Shot around the likes of Port Glasgow, Greenock and Falkirk, the film premiered to considerable buzz at last year’s Fantastic Fest in the US and is now making its way into cinemas nationwide to unleash some festive fear…

Full interview for SciFiNow
This is an extract from a bigger print-exclusive Anna and the Apocalypse feature in SciFiNow #152

I Think We’re Alone Now (Reed Morano, 2018)

In the majority of post-apocalyptic stories, when there’s seemingly a lone survivor in the world, one of the major struggles the character tends to face is intense loneliness. I Think We’re Alone Now differs from most in the genre in that its lead is content in their solitude. When it turns out more of humanity’s survived than they thought, it’s actually an inconvenience…

Full review for SciFiNow

MFKZ (Shôjirô Nishimi/Guillaume Renard, 2017)

Scattered throughout animation MFKZ (aka Mutafukaz) – a collaboration between French company Ankama Animation and Japanese studio Studio 4°C (Tekkonkinkreet, Mind Game) – are a number of narrative-interrupting title cards that reflect something about the film’s various eccentricities. Some are posed as questions before expository information, such as in the case of ‘Who Are These Mysterious Wrestlers?’ One, in particular, stands out: ‘The Movies Have Never Seen Sh*t Like This!’ Although you can trace the DNA of a few notable influences, They Live and Akira among them, one might find that an accurate summation of MFKZ as a whole…

Full review for SciFiNow