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Reviews & features: Sci-Fi

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer frame-by-frame analysis

17 Apr 2015

Many Bothans died to bring us this information

JJ Abrams, you're really spoiling us. The new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit the web last night and caused everyone to collective lose their minds, whilst simultaneously regressing to the childhood selves. Unless you were born mid-90s…

Download Star Wars: all six films coming to Digital HD online

7 Apr 2015

Star Wars episodes I-VI now available to legally download in HD with bonus features

Huge news for sci-fi fans as Disney, Lucasfilm and Fox have announced that for the first time ever the Star Wars franchise will be available to download on Digital HD. Even if you already own all six films on DVD, the release includes new bonus features…

The Signal

23 Mar 20153 stars

Promising indie sci-fi with Laurence Fishburne and Brenton Thwaites

US indie sci-fi has been booming since Colin Trevorrow went from directing Safety Not Guaranteed to being handed the reins of Jurassic World. William Eubank’s The Signal might seem like just another entry for the ongoing pile of lo-fi, stargazing fare…

Robot Overlords

23 Mar 20152 stars

Derivative British sci-fi adventure featuring Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson

The worldwide popularity of young adult franchises The Hunger Games and Divergent certainly hasn't escaped the attention of UK filmmakers. After Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now mined the dystopian sci-fi seam, Robot Overlords – from Northern Irish…

The Divergent Series: Insurgent

16 Mar 20152 stars

Underwhelming adaptation of the second in Veronica Roth's YA trilogy

Those who found Divergent one young adult dystopia too far will find little in Robert Schwentke's sequel to lessen bewilderment. The walled, post-apocalyptic version of Chicago where society is regimented into five factions is now at war, with the Big…

Back to the Future with live orchestra score at Edinburgh International Film Festival

12 Mar 2015

Film festival and RSNO to present 30th anniversary screening with Alan Silvestri’s legendary score

Edinburgh International Film Festival is celebrating timeless classic Back to the Future by teaming up with Royal Scottish National Orchestra for the 30th anniversary of the festival’s UK premiere of the film with a live scored performance at the…

Chappie

6 Mar 20152 stars

Disappointing third film from Neill Blomkamp that melds Short Circuit and RoboCop

Do androids dream of electric sheep? A question Neill Blomkamp’s third feature (co-written with his wife Terri Tatchell) approaches with a childlike sensibility, often recalling the PG-rated Short Circuit (thankfully minus Fisher Stevens browning-up…

Harrison Ford to return in Blade Runner 2

27 Feb 2015

Craggy leading man confirmed for long-awaited future-noir sequel

Harrison Ford will return to the rain-lashed future-noir streets of Los Angeles in a sequel to Blade Runner, with Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve in negotiations to direct. The long-mooted follow-up will be produced by original director Ridley Scott…

EastEnders star Ben Hardy announced for X-Men: Apocalypse

25 Feb 2015

Bryan Singer’s X-Men sequel gets a new addition to the cast, while Fox’s superhero universe expands

After a week of shocking revelations and argy bargy on Albert Square as part of EastEnders’ 30th anniversary celebrations, Ben Hardy (aka Peter Beale), a key player in the ‘Who Killed Lucy Beale?’ storyline, should be well prepared for future film work.

Neill Blomkamp's Alien project gets green-light

19 Feb 2015

District 9 and Elysium director to direct new film in the franchise

It's one of the most beloved yet badly treated properties in Hollywood. Its first four films were helmed by some of the best directors in the world, and now District 9 and Elysium director Neill Blomkamp is to join the illustrious list after confirming…

Predestination

16 Feb 20153 stars

Confident, puzzling sci-fi from the Spierig Brothers, starring Ethan Hawke

Strangely alluring and memorably absurd, Predestination – written and directed by the German-born, Australia-raised identical twins Peter and Michael Spierig – is a guilty pleasure sci-fi that’ll almost have you leaving the cinema believing you’ve just…

Project Almanac

16 Feb 20152 stars

Dean Israelite's derivative sci-fi follows a group of teen time-travellers

A MTV Films co-production whose producers include Michael Bay, this found-footage teen time travelling adventure from director Dean Israelite is pitched at those too young to be well versed in time travel / time loop flicks. That's just as well since it…

Sequels announced for Paddington and Fifty Shades of Grey

10 Feb 2015

We look at some upcoming sequels and ask: really?

In keeping with the entertainment industry's fundamental principle that if it worked once then do it all over again, it's been announced that sequels are in the works for two very different films: Paddington and Fifty Shades of Grey. According to…

Coherence

9 Feb 20154 stars

Micro-budget, character-driven sci-fi from James Ward Byrkit

Coherence suggests that the thing which should scare us the most is our own potential, presenting us with a carefully crafted exploration of this unsettling notion. With its quantum mechanics-referencing title and Twilight Zone-style plot, it's a…

The troubled cinematic history of The Fantastic Four

29 Jan 2015

A look back at the difficult journey of comics' first superteam to the big screen

As the trailer for the new Fantastic Four reboot drops, we finally get a (very) brief glimpse of Mr Fantastic (Miles Teller), The Invisible Woman (Kate Mara), The Thing (Jamie Bell) and The Human Torch (Michael B Jordan). It’s suitably dark and brooding…

Ex Machina

19 Jan 20154 stars

Smart, skilfully constructed sci-fi from Alex Garland featuring Alicia Vikander

Novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland’s directorial debut is an unsettling, teasing and thought-provoking sci-fi, centred around artificial intelligence. When Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a work competition to fly to his CEO’s home to take part in a…

Profile: Alicia Vikander on Ex Machina

16 Jan 2015

She's Hollywood's next big thing with a huge 2015 ahead, so we decided to find out more

Born in Gothenberg, Sweden in 1988, Alicia Vikander trained as a ballerina for nine years before switching to acting. She's currently best known for her roles in A Royal Affair and Anna Karenina. Her latest film is British sci-fi thriller Ex Machina…

The Best Films of 2014

22 Dec 2014

As the year comes to a close here are our cinematic highlights

After much scratching of heads, pulling of hair and changing of minds, The List's film team have assembled our Christmas present to you. It’s our five favourite films of 2014. Drum roll please...

2015 Highlights: Film

5 Dec 2014

From arthouse to multiplex, The List previews the must-see cinema of 2015

Romance gets salacious, Julianne Moore vies for an Oscar, Marvel enters the age of Ultron and, well, Star Wars does its thing – 2015 promises to be a bumper year for movie-goers. Emma Simmonds previews the cream of the cinematic crop...

Opinion: gender depiction in sci fi ahead of Teknowomen film season

11 Nov 2014

'Sex and sexual politics have often played a significant part in its mainstream manifestations'

Those of us who grew up in the 80s or 90s might reasonably have expected social friction about gender roles to be a matter for the history books by the unimaginably futuristic 21st century. Surely all that was going to be sorted out, along with world…

Africa in Motion 2014 film festival round-up

3 Nov 2014

Featuring Robots of Brixton, Afronauts, Beri and Amare, Picture Perfect Heist and Four Corners

Science-fiction is usually the preserve of Hollywood; new African film-makers take the visual cues of Soweto-shot sci-fi hit District 9 back to their roots. Kibwe Tavares' Robots of Brixton (●●●) mixes footage of real-life riots from 1981 with…

Ten things we know about Interstellar

31 Oct 2014

'No green screen. They were chucking dust in my face every day.'

Mind-bogglingly ambitious, Interstellar looks set to be Christopher Nolan’s craziest film yet. Karen Krizanovich discovers what inspires The Dark Knight and Inception director to go bigger every time, and what key Interstellar cast members – Matthew…

Monsters: Dark Continent

24 Oct 20141 star

Derivative sci-fi sequel from debut director Tom Green starring Joe Dempsie and Johnny Harris

Four years ago, British director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) made his stunning debut with Monsters. Working with a miniscule budget, Edwards' expert balance of a high concept premise – two civilians thrown together in the aftermath of an alien invasion…

Highlights of the BFI's Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder film and TV festival

24 Oct 2014

Inculding events at Bletchely Park, the Eden Project, Caerphilly Castle and Dungannon Film Club

The BFI’s new film and television festival Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder is taking place across the length and breadth of the UK at 124 locations, from the Isle of Skye to Falmouth. Until December, 576 screenings and events are set to take place…

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…