Category Archives: SciFiNow

The Prince’s Voyage (Jean-François Laguionie/Xavier Picard, 2019)

In 1999, Jean-François Laguionie, a French animator with directing credits dating back to 1965, made his third feature, Le Château Des Singes (The Castle Of Monkeys). It followed a rebellious teenage simian discovering an ostensibly more civilised society of simians, only to get caught up in a plot to murder a king. In the UK in 2000, the film was released as A Monkey’s Tale. The screenplay was considerably reworked in the translation to English, Rik Mayall played a comic relief villain, and the marketing campaign heavily promoted a soundtrack song by Westlife. It’s basically the epitome of a dawn of the millennium bastardisation of a foreign animation.

What does any of this have to do with Laguionie’s charming new film, The Prince’s Voyage, co-directed with Xavier Picard? Well, although it is not an explicit continuation, the new film sees Laguionie explore new ideas and stories within what seems to be the same universe. The lead of this film shares the design and royal lineage of a supporting character from A Monkey’s Tale, and that previous film’s lead character is alluded to in a flashback. But The Prince’s Voyage requires absolutely no knowledge of A Monkey’s Tale to follow its story – a relief to many…

Full review for SciFiNow

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Stacie Passon, 2018)

Stacie Passon’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle premiered on the festival circuit before the Netflix launch of Mike Flanagan’s series based on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, but it’s certainly set to benefit from a resurgence of interest in adapting Jackson’s fiction for the screen. A feature-length take on Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, is also in development…

Full review for SciFiNow

I See You (Adam Randall, 2019)

Written by Devon Graye and directed by Adam Randall, I See You flirts with multiple genres across its runtime, keeping viewers guessing as to the exact nature of what they’re watching. Wildly different modes of horror and thriller storytelling are presented across the film. The protagonist(s) you think you’re following may not retain that status for the whole thing.

To compare it to other notable horror hits of late may provide an accurate sense of the film’s tone or plot, but that would only apply to a certain section of the story or the mood for just part of the film, rather than a precise picture of the whole. That said, ‘Hereditary meets Don’t Breathe’, with shades of Scott Derrickson’s forays into detective-led horror, wouldn’t be a terribly erroneous description…

Full review for SciFiNow

The Furies (Tony D’Aquino, 2019)

The Furies is a curious mix of slashers, The Running Man and Predators. Kayla (Airlie Dodds) is kidnapped, waking up in a coffin-like box in the Australian wilderness. Meeting a few other young women who barely know more about their mysterious circumstances, Kayla tries to both locate her fellow kidnapped friend and evade the grotesque masked maniacs hunting them. An epilepsy-sufferer, Kayla has fits that reveal that the women’s armed pursuers may be tracking their movements through implanted cameras. And they may not be the only ones watching this most dangerous game…

Full review for SciFiNow

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Rob Letterman, 2019)

With his background in CG animation, Goosebumps director Rob Letterman makes sense as a choice to helm the live-action translation of one of the 90s’ most enduring media properties. The best parts of this adaptation of the Pokémon games, based on 2016 spin-off Detective Pikachu, are the textures of its reimagined designs of beloved creatures from the series, which vary from cute to unsettling. If you don’t yet know what a Lickitung is, you might not forget after this.

Then again, maybe you will, because when it comes to making a story to engage a wider mass audience beyond the admittedly large established fanbase, the filmmakers don’t seem to have been that concerned with catching ‘em all…

Full review for SciFiNow

Cities of Last Things (Ho Wi Ding, 2018)

Taking place across multiple decades, Cities Of Last Things is an inventive triptych narrative movie from Malaysian-born Taiwanese writer-director Ho Wi Ding. It presents three tragic episodes related to one man, in reverse chronological order, so as to examine how these events informed the way his life would develop…

Full review for SciFiNow