Tag Archives: 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

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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

The Death Cure (Wes Ball, 2018)

The Death Cure, the final adaptation of James Dashner’s dystopian Maze Runner novels, starts with a combination train robbery/prison break sequence that recalls not one, but two set-pieces from the first act of Fast & Furious 5 – or Fast Five as it’s known outside the UK. The success of that formula-shifting entry in the Fast series is credited with rejuvenating a franchise that had gone stale, bringing aboard lots of new fans who were entertained by the change-up in execution.

Fittingly, considering the possible homage in the opening action scene, The Death Cure is akin to Fast Five in that it’s a noticeable upgrade when compared to prior series instalments…

Full review for SciFiNow

Jupiter’s Moon (Kornél Mundruczó, 2017)

Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó made a bold breakthrough on the arthouse circuit with 2014’s White God, which concerned a mistreated dog leading a canine uprising. With Jupiter’s Moon, he’s back with another high-concept story and back in social allegory mode…

Full review for SciFiNow

‘Lu Over the Wall’ director Masaaki Yuasa on mermaids, vampires, Netflix, ‘Adventure Time’

Masaaki Yuasa’s background in animation goes back decades, but he’s probably best known to international audiences for his debut feature as a director, 2004’s Mind Game: a psychedelic trip of a movie that incorporates life, death, sex and yakuza feuds into one mind-bending package. Yuasa has mostly directed TV series, shorts or contributions to anthology movies since then, but 2017 has seen the long-awaited release of two new feature films from the man: comedy The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl and fantasy Lu Over The Wall.

Yuasa’s film and TV output is characterised by deceptively simple animation that’s prone to expressive outbursts of manic energy. Lu Over The Wall is no exception, though here it’s filtered into material that’s a little more family-friendly than some of his prior work. The story focuses on Kai, a gloomy middle school student in a small seaside town where interests outside of a future in the local businesses are largely discouraged. He reluctantly joins a band with two fellow classmates and they practice in secret. Halfway through the first practice, Kai finds they already have a fan: a music-loving mermaid named Lu who wants to sing and dance with them…

Full interview for SciFiNow

Lu Over the Wall (Masaaki Yuasa, 2017)

Lu Over The Wall, the latest film from Japanese director Masaaki Yuasa, is an ace new entry in the small but strong pool of animation centred around mermaid or fish-people, alongside Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo

Full review for SciFiNow

The Bad Batch (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2016)

In 2014, writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour made a striking debut with A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. That black-and-white vampire drama was a blend of many disparate influences, from spaghetti westerns to a Jim Jarmusch-ian brand of cinematic cool.

While Amirpour’s genre hybrid was a mixed bag in terms of lasting emotional resonance, A Girl Walks was a fully realised vision; the work of a filmmaker in complete control of their high concept. This is a trait sadly, and sorely, absent from her star-studded follow-up, The Bad Batch

Full review for SciFiNow