Oct. 22, 2021: a date that for a lot of science-fiction followers can not come quick sufficient. That’s when these of us who don’t attend movie festivals will lastly be capable of 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 shut consideration and being drawn to the microbudget British manufacturing “Dune Drifter,” with its intentionally antiquated aesthetics, or to the stupefyingly inept “Dune World,” which entails “wormlike beasts” on a “hostile and barren planet.” Higher to take a look at this month’s choice of neglected sci-fi nuggets, none of which tries to coast on Frank Herbert’s universe.
Henriksen performs an Arizona charlatan whose ill-gotten powers find yourself making the bullied teen Kelly (Elijah Nelson) just about 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 however Martin Guigui’s movie maintains a terrific cheap-and-nasty momentum. That is as shut as we get these days to basic Seventies or ’80s B fare, full with off-brand, endearing actors who throw themselves into this entertaining spin on superpowered excessive schoolers.
Lots of the best science-fiction motion pictures camouflage allegorical messages with action-driven plots — taking a look at you, “Planet of the Apes.” After which there are movies like “Mnemophrenia,” the place what you see is what you get: a considerate dialogue of the character of reminiscence and what makes us human. This may occasionally sound like a lecture stretched over the course of a characteristic, particularly because the director, Eirini Konstantinidou, teaches movie research on the College of Essex. However “Mnemophrenia” achieves a fragile steadiness between concepts and relationships, and has a real heat. The movie is about in an all-too-relatable near-future the place digital actuality has change into so commonplace that it has rejiggered individuals’s sense of identification — the title refers to a (made up however credible) situation “characterised by the coexistence of actual and synthetic recollections.”
For some characters, mnemophrenia is just not an issue however “a brand new manner of being,” one other step within the lengthy sport of human evolution. Others are much less taken with the lack to differentiate the actual from the faux, the precise expertise from the VR journey. They don’t discover life in a perpetual holodeck significantly fascinating, to not point out the attainable neurological results of the brand new “whole cinema,” which replicates contact, style and scent. On the coronary heart of the film is a tricky query: Does it matter if one thing’s faux so long as it feels actual?
That this South African alien-possession film is streaming on the horror platform Shudder is an effective indication that it’s not for the faint of coronary heart. Simply know that the extraterrestrial presence enters the physique of Barry (Gary Inexperienced) via what appears to be like like each attainable orifice, and a few newly carved ones as effectively. And that’s just the start.
Barry wasn’t essentially the most healthful automobile via which to discover Earth: A heroin addict, this down-on-his-luck outsider doesn’t even get respite at dwelling, the place he consistently bickers together with his spouse, Suz (Chanelle de Jager), in a hysterical mixture of English and Afrikaans. So perhaps internet hosting a horrible vacationer isn’t the worst factor that would have occurred to him. The film principally consists of a collection of encounters because the newly empowered Barry, bulging eyes suggesting all is even much less effectively than common, teeters round city.
Ryan Kruger’s debut characteristic has a relentless gonzo vibe — be prepared for medication, intercourse and a revolting fast-forward being pregnant — that falls someplace between the cinema of transgression of the Nineteen Eighties and the outrageous world of the South African music duo Die Antwoord. It’s 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 as much as work for CBLR, one of many large gamers within the thrilling new world of “quantum cabling” — there’s even an trade expo, the place workers can store for equipment.
Quantum cabling and CBLR are terrifying in a well-recognized manner: a brand new monopolistic trade that spouts “disrupting” platitudes (its slogan is “problem your established order”) whereas stopping those that don’t purchase in from being absolutely functioning. That is even worse for workers, who should pay for the distinction of working by shopping for a medallion, then are subjected to fixed surveillance.
This all makes Noah Hutton’s film sound terribly darkish and ominous, however “Lapsis” is a mild, usually goofy satire, led by an endearing doofus who ultimately finds the resistance within the individual of fellow employee bee Anna (Madeline Sensible). Make no mistake, although: the observations about expertise’s ever-encroaching energy and the gig economic system’s exploitative streak land with an uncomfortable familiarity.
Admittedly, you would possibly query whether or not the British director Ben Wheatley’s eco-mystical thoughts journey qualifies as science fiction. Written throughout lockdown and shot beneath Covid-19 restrictions, the movie is about throughout a pandemic and makes references to isolation and successive waves of the illness. The premise is a bit of on the nostril — we’re nonetheless dwelling this and may not but be prepared for the docu-fiction model — however Wheatley rapidly takes off in surprising, and utterly weird, instructions. That his purpose is to create a form 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 appear frightened when she tells him a couple of spirit of the woods referred to as Parnag Fegg. Quickly, although, they understand the animals appear to have disappeared: “they sense one thing,” and in flip, we sense that this one thing 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 consider the rest to do” trope — hallucinations. The film overplays the cryptic card however stays absorbing for one easy motive: You by no means know what is going to come subsequent.