Tag Archives: Sci-Fi

Absolute Denial: Ryan Braund on his indie animation

Some filmmakers have been very productive during the COVID era. Ben Wheatley (In the Earth) and Doug Liman (Locked Down), to name just two, have directed and already released films that first came to screenplay fruition relatively early on during the pandemic. But few can claim to have knocked out an entire feature-length animation, the majority of which was made after the UK went into its first lockdown period. And probably even fewer can say they not only directed and wrote such a film, but that they were also the sole animator. And that it was their debut feature.

Sheffield-based filmmaker Ryan Braund can, though. Absolute Denial, which receives its UK premiere at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, is a vaguely cyberpunk, black-and-white independent animation he was loosely working on in late 2019 in terms of scripting and general feelers, before properly throwing himself into its making in January 2020…

Full interview for The Skinny

I’m Your Man ( Maria Schrader, 2021)

Maria Schrader’s funny and touching I’m Your Man is a German romantic dramedy with light sci-fi touches that purposefully draws attention to its own artificiality and the (arguable) artificiality of many romantic customs. The reason? It concerns the growing bond between a sceptical woman and an artificial intelligence, as hosted in the body of a prospective humanoid partner…

Full review for The Skinny

Tides (Tim Fehlbaum, 2021)

A German-Swiss co-production with Roland Emmerich among its executive producers, Tides is an atmospheric sci-fi anchored by an engaging performance from Nora Arnezeder. Although computer-generated vistas are employed for the presentation of a dystopian Earth, Tim Fehlbaum’s film benefits greatly from the tactility of the sets and real-world locations he employs, particularly the mudflats of Northern Germany…

Full review for Little White Lies

I can remember it for you wholesale: The making of ‘Total Recall’, 30 years on

Total Recall was one of my favourite experiences. When was it released? 30 goddamn years, my god.”

Michael Ironside may not immediately remember just how long ago it was that Total Recall was released, but few have been able to forget Paul Verhoeven’s slippery sci-fi action blockbuster since it came out in 1990, nor his memorably intense performance as Richter. The primary heavy in this adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story ‘We Can Remember It for You Wholesale’, Richter is in constant pursuit of amnesiac protagonist Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) across both Earth and Mars, leaving a trail of devastation in his wake.

One of Canada’s most prolific actors, with more than 260 screen credits to his name, Ironside is perhaps best known to a certain generation for various antagonist and authority figure roles in fondly remembered films from the 1980s and 90s, including Verhoeven reunion Starship Troopers (1997), Tony Scott’s Top Gun (1986), David Cronenberg’s Scanners (1981) and Charles Burnett’s The Glass Shield (1994). 

Ahead of the release of a new 4K restoration of Total Recall, Ironside spoke to us via Zoom about both Verhoeven collaborations; his own lifelong affinity for science fiction; the on-set experience of making one of the last massive-budget movies based around mostly practical special effects; and how he thinks Cronenberg’s scrapped adaptation of the story might have turned out…

Full interview for the BFI

The Vast of Night (Andrew Patterson, 2019)

Andrew Patterson’s incredible debut feature The Vast of Night feels like a spiritual successor to Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Set over the course of a single night in late 1950s New Mexico, it follows radio presenter Everett (Jake Horowitz) and switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick), who begin to suspect that strange things are afoot when mysterious sounds disrupt lines and broadcasts. With the aid of callers describing sightings of UFOs, they embark on a scavenger hunt of sorts to get to the bottom of the town’s apparent alien activity…

Full review for Little White Lies

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

Elysium (Neill Blomkamp, 2013)

South Africa-set District 9 had a clear apartheid allegory built into its hyper-violent sci-fi stylings, and writer-director Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up film is similarly concerned with social commentary, this time to do with accessible healthcare and immigration. District 9 wasn’t subtle, but the solemn Elysium is even more thinly veiled and oppressive with its socialist slant; it also proves a much weaker film overall…

Full review for The Skinny