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quietearth [Celluloid 04.10.08] movie scifi

I was originally going to put in Zero Population Growth (ZPG) and Phase IV, but since it was recently announced they were going to finally be released on DVD, I decided to take them off the list. Instead, we have 5 lesser known science fiction films, one which is quite old and really caters more to the arthouse crowd, but nonetheless they're all worth watching in my humble opinion. So check after the break following for details and trailers!

5. Dark Mind
Don't let the star of the film fool you, this is quite a thriller which somehow got buried. (Actually the director told me there were reasons for that but didn't elaborate) We reviewed this before it came out last year and I loved it's mix of 1950's noir, McCarthyism, paranoia, science fiction, and mystery.
"Paul, an optimistic inventor, turns into a recluse after facing a brutal betrayal. Convinced that Russians are spying on him, he struggles to protect his greatest invention: The Cube. When an accident thrusts him into the spotlight, his sense of reality is threatened and his world becomes twisted beyond recognition."

4. American Astronaut
Cory McAbee is a genius, and so is his first feature, American Astronaut which mixes elements of retro scifi, musicals, westerns, rock and roll, and plain old silliness. This is in my top 100.
"Space travel has become a dirty way of life dominated by derelicts, grease monkeys, thieves, and hard-boiled interplanetary traders such as Samuel Curtis, an astronaut from Earth who deals in a rare goods, living or otherwise. His mission begins with the unlikely delivery of a cat to a small outer-belt asteroid saloon where he meets his former dance partner, and renowned interplanetary fruit thief, the Blueberry Pirate."

3. Forbidden Zone (1980)
Richard Elfman, brother of the famous Danny Elfman who's done the music for umpteen million films, made this in 1980 with who knows how much and who really cares. This is so off the wall it's unbelievable that it actually found distribution, but don't get me wrong here, the colored, flimsy cardboard sets and mish-mash of all different types of music mix together for something totally enjoyable, and least of all, predictable. This is in my top 100 favorite films.
"A mysterious door in the basement of the Hercules house leads to the Sixth Dimension by way of a gigantic set of intestine. When Frenchy slips through the door, King Fausto falls in love with her. The jealous Queen Doris takes Frenchy prisoner, and it is up to the Hercules family and friend Squeezit Henderson to rescue her."

2. Alphaville
Done by Jean-Luc Godard, this film may have a narration from a guy with crap in his throat (see the trailer) but it mixes elements of science fiction and private eye noir quite well. It's definitely classy. This is in my top 100.
"Lemmy Caution, an American private-eye, arrives in Alphaville, a futuristic city on another planet. His very American character is at odds with the city's ruler, an evil scientist named Von Braun, who has outlawed love and self-expression."

1. Puzzlehead
The first feature from director James Bai, this film combines aspects of Hitchcock, dystopia, and science fiction ala androids mixed together with an arthouse feel. It premiered at the Tribeca film festival in 2005 but didn't get a DVD release until last year and it is quite stunning. This is also another of my top 100 films.
"Set sometime after the decline, in a world of no-place, this Hitchcockian story of an android, painstakingly created in the likeness of his maker, is a Frankenstein fable for the millennium. The dark and eerie world of Puzzlehead is one where betrayal, deception, and murder lurk just beyond each twist and turn of this meditative plot. Special effects wizardry and sure handed direction drive this tour de force thriller by first time director/writer James Bai in this unusual and very strange tale of love, passion, and the conflict between man and machine."

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Balthasar (14 years ago) Reply

Hi ! Be sure I wont miss these films! I already saw Alphaville and I liked it instantly.

Off topic : May I suggest you Kin Dza Dza ? A Russian cult sci-fiction comedy. Koo!

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