Mortal Engines (2018)

How to describe such a unique fantastical premise…

Entire societies are mobile; each hierarchical city functions within its own feat of engineering (think interlocking collapsable compartments). These giant robotic apparatuses roam the globe vying for power, forcibly assimilating anyone who gets in their way. The plucky young heroes could’ve been in The Maze Runner!

Until now, such an imaginative book series couldn’t have been adapted for the screen. Fortunately, The Peter Jackson specializes in bringing fictional worlds to life via intricately detailed sets and props enhanced by state-of-the-art computer animation.

I Think We’re Alone Now (2018)

To pidgeon- hole this as a post- apocalyptic story would be too crass for such a nuanced satire that intimately explores the Human Experience; few films capture such a raw and visceral perspective. One of its co-leads compared this to Harold and Maude, which is apt given its subtle dark humor. However, the isolation the characters […]

The Maze Runner (2014)

Unfortunately, I need to preface this by saying that, despite being both sophisticated and dark, this was supposed to be a kids’ movie. It’s a significant consideration because, for some reason, it seems to garner recurring criticism over the supposedly impossible group dynamic. If we’re going to split hairs, it’s only fair to point out […]

Sunshine (2007)

A mesmerizing yet contemplative movie about a mission through space to refuel the dying Sun with a bomb. In place of aliens and lasers battles, breathtaking visuals coupled with a visceral urgency illuminate the self-sacrifice that undergirds its characters’ fierce determination to save Humanity.

In Time (2011)

That so many sociological/ psychological/ economical/ political themes are presented in one Sci-Fi action adventure will either intrigue or infuriate you. When and where time is money– literal currency– one of the poorest teams up with one of the richest to become Bonnie & Clyde with a Robinhood complex. Intentionally or not, the story explores […]

Mystery Men (1999)

The ensemble’s inability to reach consensus– both on and off screen– works for their chemistry, or scripted lack thereof. The final product ultimately fell flat for a large portion of its audience because it’s an awkward meld of spoof, satire and homage. But isn’t that– like it or not– the essence of superhero status? Comic […]

Batman: the movie (1966)

Now that superheroes of all shapes and sizes permeate every inch of the galaxy, it’s hard to imagine a time when Geeks were Nerds and that wasn’t cool. There had been caped-crusader themed TV shows before but this one was deliberately campy. No one knew what to make of its dry humor (my personal favorite: […]

Radius (2017)

A man wakes up in a crashed car.

What happened?

Where is he?

Who is he?

He stumbles down the road looking for help. A car comes into view. He flags it down but then it crashes.

He keeps walking and finally arrives in town…

To discover that everyone is deceased. As he frantically seeks shelter, even animals drop dead.

Polarizing expectations seem to be inevitable with any small budget Indi but sometimes less is more, especially to maintain an air of mystery. Though there are a few instances of slightly deflated acting, the nuances of the characters are intriguing. Despite apparent bypasses around expensive effects, the cinematography is striking. The ending is abrupt, if not enigmatic, to some while wholly satisfying to others, which could generate discussion if the audience is so inclined but don’t expect a thematic message. Overall, the engaging M. Knight Shyamalan-style premise proves to be an entertaining story.

Dark City (1998)

It’s hard to imagine any alternate dystopian reality prior to “The Matrix” but Roger Ebert considered this the best film of the year it was released. Though thoroughly entertaining, the aforementioned blockbuster borrowed heavily from this movie, specifically several pieces of the set. What it lacks in state-of-the-art visual effects it more than makes up for with mysterious twists and turns without losing any of the philosophical/ intellectual references for which its counterpart is so famous.