Oct. 22, 2021: a date that for many science-fiction followers can’t come quick sufficient. That is when these of us who don’t attend film festivals will lastly be capable to watch Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited “Dune,” both in a theater or on HBO Max. Amusingly, a few enterprising indies are banking on some impatient viewers’ not paying close consideration and being drawn to the microbudget British production “Dune Drifter,” with its intentionally antiquated aesthetics, or to the stupefyingly inept “Dune World,” which entails “wormlike beasts” on a “hostile and barren planet.” Better to take a look at this month’s number of ignored sci-fi nuggets, none of which tries to coast on Frank Herbert’s universe.
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Henriksen plays an Arizona charlatan whose ill-gotten powers finish up making the bullied teen Kelly (Elijah Nelson) fairly much invincible. This, in flip, permits Kelly to exert bloody revenge on the soccer gamers who’ve wrecked his life.
It’s disappointing to see Henriksen exit so quick but Martin Guigui’s film maintains a terrific cheap-and-nasty momentum. This is as close as we get these days to basic Nineteen Seventies or ’80s B fare, full with off-brand, endearing actors who throw themselves into this entertaining spin on superpowered high schoolers.
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Many of the best science-fiction movies camouflage allegorical messages with action-driven plots — looking at you, “Planet of the Apes.” And then there are movies like “Mnemophrenia,” where what you see if what you get: a considerate dialogue of the character of reminiscence and what makes us human. This might sound like a lecture stretched over the course of a feature, particularly for the reason that director, Eirini Konstantinidou, teaches film research on the University of Essex. But “Mnemophrenia” achieves a fragile steadiness between concepts and relationships, and has a real heat. The film is ready in an all-too-relatable near-future where digital actuality has become so commonplace that it has rejiggered people’s sense of identification — the title refers to a (made up but credible) situation “characterized by the coexistence of real and artificial memories.”
For some characters, mnemophrenia is just not an issue but “a new way of being,” one other step within the long recreation of human evolution. Others are much less taken with the lack to tell apart the true from the pretend, the precise experience from the VR journey. They don’t discover life in a perpetual holodeck notably fascinating, to not point out the potential neurological results of the new “total cinema,” which replicates contact, style and odor. At the heart of the movie is a tricky query: Does it matter if something’s pretend as long because it feels actual?
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That this South African alien-possession movie is streaming on the horror platform Shudder is an efficient indication that it isn’t for the faint of heart. Just know that the extraterrestrial presence enters the physique of Barry (Gary Green) by what appears like every potential orifice, and some newly carved ones as properly. And that’s just the start.
Barry wasn’t the most healthful automobile by which to discover Earth: A heroin addict, this down-on-his-luck outsider doesn’t even get respite at home, where he continually bickers along with his wife, Suz (Chanelle de Jager), in a hysterical mixture of English and Afrikaans. So possibly internet hosting a horrible vacationer isn’t the worst factor that would have occurred to him. The movie principally consists of a series of encounters because the newly empowered Barry, bulging eyes suggesting all is even much less properly than common, teeters round city.
Ryan Kruger’s debut feature has a relentless gonzo vibe — be prepared for medicine, intercourse and a revolting fast-forward being pregnant — that falls someplace between the cinema of transgression of the Eighties and the outrageous world of the South African music duo Die Antwoord. It is so decided to be cult, it screams to be watched on VHS.
Ray (Dean Imperial) is so determined to earn cash to pay for the care of his sick brother that he indicators up to work for CBLR, one of many massive gamers within the thrilling new world of “quantum cabling” — there’s even an industry expo, where workers can store for equipment.
Quantum cabling and CBLR are terrifying in a well-known way: a new monopolistic industry that spouts “disrupting” platitudes (its slogan is “challenge your status quo”) whereas stopping those that don’t buy in from being absolutely functioning. This is even worse for workers, who should pay for the honour of working by shopping for a medallion, then are subjected to fixed surveillance.
This all makes Noah Hutton’s movie sound terribly darkish and ominous, but “Lapsis” is a delicate, usually goofy satire, led by an endearing doofus who finally finds the resistance within the person of fellow employee bee Anna (Madeline Wise). Make no mistake, although: the observations about expertise’s ever-encroaching power and the gig financial system’s exploitative streak land with an uncomfortable familiarity.
Admittedly, you may query whether or not the British director Ben Wheatley’s eco-mystical thoughts journey qualifies as science fiction. Written during lockdown and shot underneath Covid-19 restrictions, the film is ready during a pandemic and makes references to isolation and successive waves of the illness. The premise is a little bit on the nostril — we’re still residing this and may not but be prepared for the docu-fiction model — but Wheatley rapidly takes off in surprising, and utterly weird, instructions. That his goal is to create a sort of freak-folk fairy story is clear from its start line: Alma (Ellora Torchia) guides Martin (Joel Fry), a scientist, right into a mysterious forest straight out of the Brothers Grimm. He doesn’t seem frightened when she tells him about a spirit of the woods called Parnag Fegg. Soon, although, they realize the animals seem to have disappeared: “they sense something,” and in flip, we sense that this something is just not good.
Wheatley provides to this framework with abandon, from scenes of physique horror that may make a podiatrist cowl his eyes to many administrators’ favourite “I can’t think of anything else to do” trope — hallucinations. The movie overplays the cryptic card but stays absorbing for one easy cause: You never know what is going to come subsequent.