"These would not have been the clones that will ever carry your primary consciousness." It's out now! Don Hertzfeldt's latest mind-melting sci-fi short film World of Tomorrow Episode Three is now available to watch online. This final chapter is a continuation of his radical, remarkable World of Tomorrow sci-fi series about a girl named Emily. If you haven't seen any of them, we recommend starting with Episode One and Episode Two before this one. Don explains: "at one point this was going to be in theaters across the country but unfortunately the world had other plans. but i do think there's something so intimate about it that suits it very well for the small screen. may i suggest watching with good headphones?" Hertzfeldt's shorts may have stick figure characters, but they are vastly intelligent, awe-inspiring works that explore existentialism, cloning, consciousness, and much more. This one also has a healthy dose of social commentary baked into it's distant-future story following David. And if you need more convincing, read this glowing review. Enjoy.
"There's no honor in killing crazy." Holy crap! Where did this thing come from?! Highland Film Group has released an official trailer for Jiu Jitsu, an insanely awesome sci-fi fantasy action martial arts movie from Greek-American filmmaker Dimitri Logothetis (director of 2018's Kickboxer: Retaliation). IGN describe the film as "basically Predator meets Mortal Kombat meets National Treasure." An ancient order of Jiu Jitsu fighters faces a vicious race of alien invaders in the form of a fighter named Brax, who they must battle for the survival of Earth. That's basically all you need to know besides the killer cast: Nicolas Cage along with Alain Moussi, Frank Grillo, Rick Yune, Marie Avgeropoulos, Juju Chan, and Tony Jaa. And best of all - this will be out on VOD in November. Not too long of a wait! This looks absolutely ridiculous, but the good kind of ridiculous, along with just the right mix of people having a good time on camera. Let's rumble.
"Does it think like you, or does it think it's you?" This is another fantastic example of no-budget, homemade filmmaking and how much anyone can pull off with almost nothing to work with (besides an idea / script). Droid is a new sci-fi thriller 5-minute short made by filmmaker Daniel Mattei - we previously featured his excellent horror short 404 a few years ago. Droid was made entirely in quarantine by Mattei during the pandemic summer. The tone is neo-noir, in the style of films like Blade Runner, about lifelike androids that are so realistic people have decided to clone themselves and let them do all the work. More questions: "A droid that thinks like you seems harmless enough, but a droid that thinks it is you is a bit more complicated. Can A.I. be programmed to be moral? Or is it survival of the fittest, man vs machine?" The short film stars Daniel Mattei, Grace Mattei, and Daniel Schwab. It's a fun little exercise in low-key sci-fi storytelling.
"Every decision you make today affects the next seven generations." Level Film is releasing this new sci-fi thriller film titled Parallel Minds, an indie creation about Artificial Intelligence and a future where we record our memories to transfer to the next generation. When the programmer of a self-aware A.I. computer systems ends up dead, her colleague and a police detective investigate and try to find out what's going on. This is another of these high concept, modern sci-fi films that tries to play with ideas like A.I. and memory and computers and what is possible in the future, and how it can get out of hand. (As it always does…) But they're getting so much cheesier every time they make another. Parallel Minds stars Greg Bryk, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Madison Walsh, and Wilma Pelly. Apparently this was already released in September, but didn't make a dent. We didn't even hear about it until a month later. At least the trailer is free to watch.
"I used to punch holes through space-time!" Holy hell this looks badass! RLJE Films has revealed a full-length trailer for a gritty new genre film titled Archenemy, which premiering at Beyond Fest this month. This film is the latest creation from Daniel Isn't Real director Adam Egypt Mortimer, billed as intriguing superhero sci-fi action adventure horror crime thriller (aka a genre mashup!). We posted the teaser trailer earlier in the year, but this new trailer packs quite a punch (literally). Joe Manganiello stars as Max Fist, and he claims to be a hero from another dimension who fell through time and space to Earth. But here he has no powers. No one believes his stories except for local teen Hamster, played by Skylan Brooks. This also stars Glenn Howerton, Zolee Griggs, Joseph D. Reitman, and Amy Seimetz. I dig the gritty, brutal style and all of Manganiello's lines. I bet he really does have powers - can't wait to see him use them.
"Don't let that door close behind you." Colossal Content has debuted an official trailer for an indie science fiction / parallel universe film titled Expulsion, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmakers Aaron Jackson & Sean C. Stephens. Scott & Vincent are top recruits at the prestigious Cicero Market Technologies Corp. where they are tasked with the development of cutting edge technologies. They push the boundaries of particle collision science to undiscovered levels stumbling upon a parallel universe with an alternate version of Scott. Of course they discover that others seek their tech to advance their own agendas. Agendas that they intend to fulfill at any cost. Colton Tapp gives a multidimensional depiction by taking on two roles as both the antagonist and protagonist. As his character crosses over to another universe he inadvertently invites a different version of himself home creating a ripple that threatens his very existence. Also starring Lar Park Lincoln. This looks like a Primer wannabe, but nowhere near as smart or as sleek as that indie sci-fi film.
"The mind can be a precarious thing… It can either serve or deceive." The Talash Video Centre and Digital Boulevard have released the official trailer for a peculiar new sci-fi project titled Cognition, the first film made by filmmaker Ravi Ajit Chopra. Cognition is a 27 minute short dystopian sci-fi drama / thriller about a son confronting his past trauma. Journeying through the symbolic landscape of the subconscious mind, the story follows an unbreakable bond between father and son…. A bond that transcends space and time. This uncompromising short fuses two distant worlds in a hallucinogenic roller-coaster ride through the darkest chasms of the mind. Starring Andrew Scott, Jeremy Irvine, Lucy Russell, Wolf Kahler, Milo Panni, and Georgia Sandle. The making of this short film has been a labour of love for the team involved - watch a featurette about Ravi's family video shop "Talash Video Centre" and about the making of the film. This has some stellar visuals + stunning shots of future worlds - hopefully there's a coherent story to go with all that.
"Prepare yourselves… for a new form of extra-terrestrial terror!" Bleecker Street has released a fun "retro" trailer for Save Yourselves!, a relationship comedy mixed up with an alien invasion sci-fi. This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and is opening next month. A young Brooklyn couple heads to an upstate cabin to unplug from their phones and reconnect with each other. Blissfully unaware of what's happening, they are left to their own devices as the planet falls under attack. "What if you unplugged from technology for a week and really reconnected with your partner? It’s not like the world would end, right? Right? Right?" Starring John Reynolds and Sunita Mani as Jack and Su, with a small cast also including Ben Sinclair, John Early, and Jo Firestone. This is a great trailer, I just wish it was only the old B&W trailer and not the bookends. But still! The voiceover is perfect. And the description of the story is hilarious.
One of my favorite things about film festivals is discovering exceptional filmmakers by stumbling upon their break-out features. This film is one of the best discoveries of the 2020 Toronto Film Festival, playing in the prestigious Midnight Madness category. Shadow in the Cloud has a crazy, wickedly impossible concept - follow a woman who gets on a rickety B-17 Bomber, known as the "Flying Fortress" in WWII, as she escorts a special classified package that must not be opened. The whole film takes place on this B-17, nicknamed the "Fool's Errand" (yeah) by the crew. This means they could film it on a very small set but also somehow have to make the entire thing believable and authentic. To top it off, once she gets on the flight (and is relegated to the ball turret), she spots some gnarly gremlin crawling around and ripping apart the plane. This creature feature element of the film is a distinct nod to "The Twilight Zone" gremlin, yet isn't even the main conflict.
"Too late… we're here!" Time for a killer sci-fi short! Or maybe you've already watched but are just reading the post now? The Speed of Time is a funny time travel short directed by William J. Stribling, and written by Russ Nickel & Stribling. John Hennigan stars as Johnny Killfire, a future cop who must go back in time and team up with his former self in order to stop the TimeBorgs from getting their hands on an app that could break the space-time continuum by delivering pizzas into the past… before they were even ordered. This also stars Sean Marquette, Alex Jennings, and Nic Nemeth. And features "The Speed of Time", an original song by Dylan Glatthorn. It doesn't reinvent the time travel wheel, but it is an amusing sci-fi action short with one killer Killfire performance that makes it a tasty "steaming hot belly bomb." This is a fun one.
"I want to know… that there's meaning in the things I do." Well Go USA has released the full-length official trailer for Synchronic, the fascinating new sci-fi thriller from acclaimed filmmaking duo Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead (Resolution, Spring, The Endless). This premiered at TIFF last year, and also played at the Sitges and London Film Festivals, plus Fantastic Fest and a few others. Two New Orleans paramedics' lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects. It's a refreshing new take on time travel, involving a technique that we've never seen before. Of course Benson & Moorhead are always innovating even in low key ways. The film stars Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan, with Katie Aselton, Ally Ioannides, Natasha Tina Liu, Martin Bats Bradford. I saw this last year and loved it, writing that it's "a worthy new addition to the time travel sci-fi subgenre."
"I'm not infected, I was shot! You were there!" Tempest Studios has released a trailer for Monochrome: The Chromism, marking the first narrative feature from Texas-based filmmaker Kodi Zene. The film is set in a dystopian "black and white world", where color (known as "hues") has become Earth's most valuable resource. Traded and sold like currency, the outcast people known as "Hues", are hunted down after turning color in a black and white world. Josh Bangle stars as Isaac Ward, one of the first "Hues" discovered when he bleeds red blood after being shot in a skirmish. The world goes mad trying to capture and comprehend these new unexplainable "hues". Also starring Cat Merritt, Devin Leigh, Ryan Barnes, Andre Pelzer, and Shashana Pearson. This looks like they took the turning-into-color concept from Pleasantville and turned it into a social commentary sci-fi thriller. But the production value is so bad, it doesn't look too good.