"You two seem to be getting on very well…" An official trailer has debuted for a new sci-fi drama titled Zoe and the Astronaut, a super low budget indie film that hasn't played at many festivals yet. The film is the directorial debut of English-Nigerian actor Eke Chukwu, telling the story of a woman with leukemia. One day, a young astronaut crash lands near her home. New to all things on the planet, she spends her last days teaching this astronaut about the wonders of Planet Earth. Oh I'm sure she does. Kirsten Foster stars as Zoe, along with Max Scully, Ian Reddington, Lisa Moorish, Lara Heller, Rob Oldfield, and Mike Fury. This looks like one of those extra campy, cliche love stories filmed without any budget. Take a look.
"I just don't have any coordinates…" Blue Fox Entertainment has revealed the full trailer for a sci-fi thriller titled Solis, from writer/director Carl Strathie making his feature debut after a number of shorts. Following an accident, asteroid mining engineer Troy Holloway wakes to find himself trapped inside an escape pod helplessly idling towards the sun. Now he must endure the horrifying limits, physical and psychological, of human survival. Canadian actor Steven Ogg (most notably playing Trevor Philips from Grand Theft Auto V) stars as Troy, with Alice Lowe voicing Cmdr Roberts. I'm a bit pissed off by the blatant First Man poster ripoff (see below). Thankfully the footage isn't bad, but it's not good either. This definitely looks cheap and is trying so hard to be a mix of Sunshine and Gravity, but nowhere near as good as either. Bad sci-fi is bad.
"This is how we stop them. You've got me… and I'm not going anywhere." Paramount has debuted the full-length, official trailer for Travis Knight's Bumblebee, the new spin-off movie from the Transformers series that's set in the 1980s. The first teaser is fantastic, but this looks even better. Even though they do introduce two other Transformer robots who will be the bad guys. The film is about the friendship between a young woman named Charlie and Bumblebee, on the run and living inside a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Hailee Steinfeld stars as Charlie, along with John Cena, Martin Short, Pamela Adlon, Megyn Price, Kenneth Choi, and John Ortiz. This is the first live-action feature from Laika's Travis Knight, and there's no Michael Bay around, and it looks damn good. Like really, really shockingly good. I'm so into this.
"Standby to initiate neural imprint. All functions: go." Entertainment Studios has revealed another official trailer for the sci-fi thriller titled Replicas, starring Keanu Reeves as a mad scientists who tries to figure out how to bring back his family after they are killed in a car accident. He eventually tries to clone them but we all know how that turns out. The first trailer for this showed up last fall, almost a year ago, and after an appearance at the New York Comic-Con this film dropped off the schedule. There's still no release date, but it looks like they're planning to finally release it sometime soon. The full cast includes Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, Emily Alyn Lind, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, and Nyasha Hatendi. Unfortuantely this doesn't look any better than it did last year, perhaps trying to mix too many concepts in one big movie.
"I can offer protection…" Gunpowder & Sky has released the full-length official trailer for an indie sci-fi film titled Prospect, which first premiered at the SXSW Film Festival this year. This excellent little sci-fi set on a far away moon is a feature adaptation of a short film made by Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell in 2014 (watch here). The film is about a teen girl and her father who travel to a remote moon on the hunt for elusive riches. They discover others hiding in the moon's toxic forest and their visit quickly devolves into a desperate fight to escape. Jay Duplass and Sophie Thatcher star, with a cast including Pedro Pascal, Andre Royo, Sheila Vand, and Anwan Glover. I had a chance to see this and it's an outstanding film that achieves so much with so little, very much worth a watch. Especially if you dig sci-fi as much as I do. Check it out below.
Space. The final frontier. This is the story of the starship Aniara. If you know me, you know I'm a huge sci-fi geek. Especially when it comes to space travel, and anything involving space and planets and spaceships. I discovered a film at the Toronto Film Festival this year titled Aniara, a Swedish sci-fi film adapted from Harry Martinson's epic poem of the same name. This astounding sci-fi film is set in the near future and is about a big spaceship taking colonists from Earth to Mars, usually a three week journey for batches of lazy humans. But it gets irreversibly knocked off course, causing the passengers to descend into madness once they begin to accept their fate: drifting into the void of space. This film is AMAZINGLY good, perhaps the best indie sci-fi I've seen since Arrival, perfectly executed and invigorating in its rigorous sci-fi storytelling.
"Mostly you find echoes of tragedy… But then - something finds you." Whoa. Now this is something. I love discovering a mesmerizing new short film that affects me in a deep, meaningful way. Scavenger is a sci-fi short film created by filmmaker Raphael Rogers (follow him here) by weaving stock footage and original content together. The story follows a planetary scavenger who has been scouring planets to find something new or useful. He hasn't found much, but one day he comes across an ancient probe sent from planet Earth - what happens next changes him forever. The short stars Jowaan Sullivan and Lauren Gottlieb. This is a really beautiful film that's impressive not only for its story, but because it was made by using mostly existing stock footage, yet it still feels entirely authentic and unique. This is a must watch - only three minutes long.
"Let's run away together." An official festival trailer has arrived for a sci-fi drama titled Cities of Last Things, a Taiwanese production. It sounds intriguing and looks crazy cool. This is a story about a common man who has extraordinary events in his mundane life. The film depicts the protagonist's turns of events in three eras, three seasons, three nights, in the same city, as told with reverse chronology. It just premiered at TIFF this month, though not too many reviews are around yet. "Spanning generations, Cities of Last Things builds a seering, non-preachy portrait of societal and political change through the lens of an emotional drama. Reminiscent of the early work of Wong Kar-wai, it finds its heartbeat in the pulse-pounding rhythm of the underbelly of the unnamed city." Starring Jack Kao, Li Hong-Chi, Louise Grinberg, Ding Ning, Stone, Huang Lu, Liu Rui-Chi, Hsin Yin, Liu Juei-Chi, and Shin Yin. You might want to take a look.
There's a line in 1987's original Predator movie that sums up the machismo and bravado of '80s action cinema. Blain, played by professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura, is a member of an elite military rescue team on a mission to save hostages in guerrilla-held territory. In the aftermath of a jungle-leveling firefight, a fellow soldier informs Blain, "You're hit. You're bleeding, man." With a plug of chewing tobacco in his jaw, the gruff, cocksure commando ripostes, "I ain't got time to bleed." Written by brothers Jim and John Thomas and directed by John McTiernan (of Die Hard), Predator grossed $98 million in its initial release, cementing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s box office bona fides and turning its eponymous antagonist, an extraterrestrial trophy hunter designed by special make-up effects creator Stan Winston, into a sci-fi icon.
"Please rise to greet our legislature!" Focus Features has launched the first teaser trailer for an original sci-fi thriller titled Captive State, the latest from director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Gambler). The story is set in Chicago and takes place nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force. The movie explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents. It seems to be another fascinating look at the societal divide in America, but framed around the sci-fi concept of alien overlords - a bit like District 9, but set in Chicago. Captive State stars Vera Farmiga, Madeline Brewer, John Goodman, Alan Ruck, Kevin J. O'Connor, James Ransone, Jonathan Majors, D.B. Sweeney, Ashton Sanders, Kevin Dunn, Ta'Rhonda Jones, along with Kiki Layne (from If Beale Street Could Talk) and Machine Gun Kelly. I've been waiting to see something from this, and this is a clever introduction. I wish we could see more of these aliens, but I like that this is a true tease.
"My big boys a hunter - brought his dogs with him." 20th Century Fox has debuted one final, extra bloody red band trailer for The Predator, a new take on the Predator sci-fi action franchise, this time directed by Shane Black (of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys). The ensemble cast of this R-rated action movie is lead by Jacob Tremblay, who "accidentally triggers" their return to Earth again, along with Sterling K. Brown, Yvonne Strahovski, Olivia Munn, Lochlyn Munro, Thomas Jane, Boyd Holbrook, Jake Busey, Keegan-Michael Key, Niall Matter, Trevante Rhodes (from Moonlight), plus Edward James Olmos. This is premiering at the Toronto Film Festival at Midnight in a few weeks, and hits theaters soon after - tickets are available now. They have dogs! Gnarly. I'm so ready to see this film.
"She's different from the others." Gravitas has debuted an official trailer for an intriguing indie sci-fi film titled At First Light, originally just First Light. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, the second feature made by filmmaker Jason Stone. At First Light is about a young woman named Alex Lainey, played by newcomer Stefanie Scott, who has a close encounter with mysterious orbs of light that leave her with extraordinary powers. As they flee from their families, the police, and a government agency, Alex and her friend Sean find themselves at the center of an unprecedented event in human history. The cast includes Théodore Pellerin, Kristin Booth, Kate Burton, and Josh Cruddas. This actually looks pretty damn cool. Even though we've seen plenty of superpowers movies recently, I'm a bit more curious about this one.