List Film

Reviews & features: Sci-Fi

The best film releases and events – Oct / Nov 2014

22 Oct 2014

Including Fury, Mr Turner, Love is Strange, Ghostbusters and Frankenstein

Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder This autumn’s BFI screenings celebrate sci-fi on screen all over the UK. From October to December, its Scottish programme includes classics like Alien and The Thing, with screenings spanning the length and breadth of the…

I Origins

23 Sep 20144 stars

Brit Marling and Michael Pitt feature in Mike Cahill's ambitious sci-fi thriller

Actress Brit Marling made a name for herself in the low budget, conceptually ambitious sci-fi thrillers Sound of My Voice, from Zal Batmanglij, and Another Earth, which she co-wrote with director Mike Cahill. Both films were characterised by thoughtful…

Earth to Echo

30 Jul 20142 stars

Dave Green's directorial debut is an artless retread of the Spielberg-inspired Super 8

Debut director Dave Green’s family film rehashes JJ Abrams’ pleasingly retro Super 8 using herky-jerky footage, supposedly captured by the children involved. It’s a gimmick that results in a spew of ugly, hard-to-watch images; audiences who like to…

Guardians of the Galaxy

28 Jul 20144 stars

Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana star in triumphant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Based on little known comic-book characters, Guardians of the Galaxy represents something of a leap of faith for Marvel Studios, especially since the film's ties to the all-conquering Avengers franchise are largely superficial, consisting only of brief…

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

14 Jul 20144 stars

The simian sci-fi sequel proves you can marry visual spectacle with heart and intelligence

Complexity is something that’s all too rare in modern blockbusters but Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – like Rupert Wyatt’s Rise – proves you can marry visual spectacle with something to engage the heart and the head too. Thought-provoking…

Transformers: Age of Extinction

1 Jul 20142 stars

A gratuitously lengthy addition to Michael Bay's sci-fi action franchise, starring Mark Wahlberg

The fourth film in the Transformers franchise may mark a freshening up of sorts but it still suffers from the same problem as both previous sequels: the presence of Michael Bay. Never one to shy away from excess, Bay here outdoes his own ridiculous…

The Anomaly

19 Jun 20142 stars

Noel Clarke's sci-fi puzzler squanders an interesting premise with repetitive action

You have to give Noel Clarke credit. Not only for his role as Mikey in Doctor Who or as an actor in Centurion, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Star Trek: Into Darkness and many others but he’s also written, directed and produced a series low budget Brit…

Snowpiercer

18 Jun 20142 stars

Leaden and confused all-star movie of interest only to fans of expensively botched sci-fi money-pits

Much anticipated, Joon-ho Bong’s's futuristic train epic, expensively adapted from a French graphic novel called Le Transperceneige, finally arrives at UK platforms way behind schedule and in a somewhat disheveled state. The high-powered concept for…

Edge of Tomorrow

28 May 20144 stars

The Tom Cruise-starring sci-fi actioner is witty, thrilling and consistently inventive

Based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow is directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and plays like Groundhog Day crossed with Starship Troopers. Set in the near future, where the Earth is under deadly attack…

X-Men: Days of Future Past

15 May 20143 stars

Bryan Singer's directorial return is triumphant but may leave non-fanboys scratching their heads

Where most superhero movies strive to win ever more fans by reinventing themselves with each new sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past is content to reward the loyalists. Not only does it mark the return of co-creator Bryan Singer (for the first time since…

Godzilla

13 May 20144 stars

Gareth Edwards delivers a visually stunning, if emotionally flawed, monster-sized blockbuster

Having impressed with his low-budget debut Monsters, British filmmaker Gareth Edwards now delivers a visually stunning, if emotionally flawed, monster-sized blockbuster with Godzilla. A self-confessed Godzilla geek, Edwards has stayed true to many of…

The Last Days on Mars

9 Apr 20143 stars

An intelligent and engaging sci-fi thriller with strong performances and, oh yes, space zombies

Based on a 1975 short story ('The Animators') by pulp sci-fi author Sydney J Bounds, The Last Days on Mars is directed by Ruairi Robinson and stars Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai, Johnny Harris and Olivia Williams as members of a team of astronaut…

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

9 Apr 20144 stars

Marc Webb's superhero sequel delivers a sparky blend of thrills, laughs and heartfelt emotion

Marc Webb's sequel to 2012's franchise reboot finds Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) juggling his daily superhero duties as costumed crime fighter Spider-Man while agonising over whether or not he should honour the promise he made to girlfriend Gwen…

Divergent

31 Mar 20142 stars

Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet star in this derivative adaptation of Veronica Roth’s YA series

It’s always disappointing when a film that places so much emphasis on the need to be free-thinking and different from the masses conforms so rigidly to other movies. Yet Divergent, the latest adaptation of a young adult book series hoping to become the…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

24 Mar 20144 stars

The Cap's latest adventure cleverly taps into topical fears surrounding the activities of the NSA

The second Captain America movie is a terrific, stand-alone thriller that delivers exciting action sequences and engaging characters wrapped up in a satisfying and cleverly resonant plot. Co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo (best known for TV's…

WATCH: There's a new Transformers: Age of Extinction trailer around - does anyone still care?

5 Mar 2014

Do we really need another instalment of Michael Bay's brainless, CGI-heavy shenanigans?

A new trailer has landed for Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth film in Michael Bay's robotic smash-'em-up franchise – you can have a look at it below. Once again, it features a small, human element caught between two technologically advanced…

Almost Human

4 Mar 20143 stars

Solid low budget sci-fi / horror hybrid from first-timer Joe Begos

Horror is one of the few genres that can still have a massive impact even with a limited budget. Evil Dead and Bad Taste are now considered classics of the genre and both directors (Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson respectively) have gone on to become two of…

Mindscape

3 Mar 20141 star

An outdated and unoriginal 'subconscious thriller' starring Mark Strong and Brian Cox

Poor dialogue, wooden acting and a lack of originality are the major sins which scupper this pseudo-cerebral neo-noir from Jorge Dorado. Mark Strong frowns his way through his first leading role as John, a 'memory detective' tasked with investigating…

The Congress

27 Feb 20143 stars

Psychedelic animation/live action hybrid from Waltz with Bashir director Ari Folman

Robin Wright hasn't had a good part in 15 years. Her entire career has been blighted by poor choices – in relationships as well as roles. At this point in time, it'd be better for her if she bowed out of showbusiness entirely. This is the rather…

LFO

24 Feb 20143 stars

Lo-fi black comedy about a trance-inducing sound engineer

Maladjusted sound technician Robert (Patrik Karlson) has stumbled upon an amazing discovery: a sound frequency which immediately puts the listener into a hypnotic trance, susceptible to any suggestion they might hear. Armed with speakers, a pair of…

WATCH: The new trailer (plus images) for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

19 Feb 2014

Chris Pratt and a talking raccoon feature in the trailer for the sci-fi action comedy blockbuster

An extended teaser trailer for Marvel's upcoming blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy debuted on US chat show Jimmy Kimmel last night – you can take a look at it, along with a gallery of images, below. What with the footage being billed as 'teaser'…

Under the Skin producer Jim Wilson on secret filming in Glasgow

18 Feb 2014

'We thought people would recognise it was Scarlett Johansson in a van in Scotland, but nobody did'

‘One of [director Jonathan Glazer’s] dreams was to have Scarlett [Johansson] carry out the action of the film spontaneously and improvising, and you couldn’t do that with a camera visibly attached to the vehicle. So, the task was to create a way to…

Interview: Jonathan Glazer delves Under the Skin

14 Feb 2014

In addition to Scarlett Johansson's alien character, the film features secretly-filmed Glaswegians

Under the Skin is nothing if not accurately named: once seen, it will burrow into your consciousness. It has been described as both sci-fi and horror, but the word that most accurately captures its unsettling tone is ‘alien’. That’s apt, because in the…

The Zero Theorem

14 Feb 20143 stars

Terry Gilliam's latest is a tale of love and loneliness that sadly fails to touch the heart

Existential equations are the at first pleasingly perplexing order of the day in the third part of Terry Gilliam's dystopian trilogy, following 1985's Brazil and 1995's 12 Monkeys. Set in the near-future and boasting an eclectic international cast, The…

Under the Skin

14 Feb 20145 stars

Jonathan Glazer's Michel Faber adap is a genuinely unique, full-on sensory experience

It has been ten years since British director Jonathan Glazer’s last film – the understated, enigmatic Birth – and for much of that time he has been working away at this adaptation of Michel Faber’s cult novel. It has been time well spent, as Under the…