Category Archives: 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

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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

Junk Head (Takahide Hori, 2017)

As behind-the-scenes footage at its end shows, Junk Head is a true labour of love for Takahide Hori, who directs, writes and edits this stop motion animation, as well as voice work, composing the score and most of the other odd jobs.

A funny and both cute and creepy dystopian tale, it’s a truly unique vision, though for a taste of its style, imagine if Henry Selick or the Quay brothers made a film designed by Clive Barker, influenced by slapstick…

Full review for SciFiNow

The Cloverfield Paradox (Julius Onah, 2018)

Nothing dates reviews quite like discussing the marketing surrounding a film, but when it comes to the Cloverfield franchise, the pre-release hoopla inevitably becomes part of the conversation regarding the final product.

During Super Bowl 2018, an ad revealing the title and first footage of The Cloverfield Paradox ran, announcing that the film would be available on Netflix once the game ended. This reveal followed rumours that the long-delayed movie, previously titled God Particle, would be skipping a cinema run from the franchise’s usual distributor, Paramount.

It’s quite the mic drop when it comes to movie marketing. Unfortunately, and excluding the encouraging choice to have a woman of colour (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) lead an effects-heavy sci-fi, that stunt may be the only positive part of this film’s legacy…

Full review for SciFiNow