"There's been some kind of anomaly. The crew has vanished. Can you resist?" For die-hard Trekkies only. A new Star Trek fan film has finally launched, after nearly six years in development. Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly is a feature-length (two part) fan film made by Samuel Cockings, described as a "love letter to all of Star trek! The first fan film to combine all of the eras into one project." This throwback to Trek series of past brings various timelines together into one story. It was originally funded on Kickstarter back in 2013, and has been in the works ever since. "From using antiquated video game engines for the space visual effects and green screen sets, to spending hundreds of hours learning the very same VFX software they made the space effects in Voyager/Enterprise/DS9." It's finally available to watch for those who want to check it out. But beware - this is old school Trek, with sketchy acting and even sketchier sets. But it is a true labor of love.
It's time to meet your new Mother. There's a surprise, original sci-fi film premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this year titled I Am Mother, an impressive creation that is worth your time if you're a sci-fi geek like me. I really love that there's original, epic sci-fi projects like this being made out there without us even knowing, getting funded somehow, with the ability to go all-out with crazy ideas and make something new and unique. Then the film shows up at Sundance and while it's an odd fit for the festival, I'm still all for it, bring on the sci-fi goodness, please. It's best to see this film knowing as little as possible, so I won't reveal anything major and only give a fairly vague description. All you really need to know is this sci-fi film packs a punch, plays around with some big ideas, and features a crazy cool practical robot built by Weta Workshop.
Indian-American filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan first gained major acclaimed for his 1999 supernatural horror drama The Sixth Sense. That film was a commercial and critical success and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. His next big feature released in 2000, the ambitious Unbreakable, kickstarted the modern comic book movie boom alongside Bryan Singer's X-Men, also released the same year. Shyamalan's Unbreakable, which co-stars Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, is a serious-minded deconstruction of the superhero subgenre before movies like Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, Jon Favreau's Iron Man, and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy made it the industry mainstay it is today. He finally follows up this with Glass, continuing the story 19 years later.
Surprise! Sony Pictures has revealed that filmmaker Jason Reitman has been secretly working on a brand new Ghostbusters movie, officially set for release in the summer of 2020. To go along with the reveal of this news, they've released a very short teaser trailer that Reitman himself shot. It's nothing much, just a re-reveal of the original Ecto-1 hiding out waiting to be found again. Jason is the son of Ivan Reitman, who directed the original two Ghostbusters movies back in 1984 and 1989. Jason tweeted out yesterday: "Finally got the keys to the car." The cast and details on the new movie have not been revealed, only to say that it will continue with the storyline from the first two (and skip right over Paul Feig's female-Ghostbusters movie from 2016). "This is the next chapter in the original franchise. It is not a reboot. What happened in the ‘80s happened in the ‘80s, and this is set in the present day." Can't wait to find out more about this. Check it out.
"Break the laws of nature, and you'll pay for it." A24 has finally unveiled their own full-length trailer for the indie sci-fi film High Life, the latest from acclaimed French filmmaker Claire Denis (Beau Travail, 35 Shots of Rum, White Material, Bastards). This low budget, "eerily sexy" sci-fi space drama premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and is also playing at the New York and Sitges Film Festivals last year. The story is about a man, as played by Robert Pattinson, stuck on a spaceship heading to a distant star. He tries to interact with the rest of the crew who are slowly going mad on the long voyage. Reactions from the festivals have been divisive, with extreme love and hate for this super artistic, slow burn sci-fi drama. The full cast includes Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, Mia Goth, Lars Eidinger, Agata Buzek, and Claire Tran. If you've been curious about this, check it out - it is considerably weird and wacky and very cerebral.
"Managing your attention effectively is key. The aim is to achieve a laser focus…" Now this is something different. Merger is a 360-degree sci-fi short film (meaning you can interact / move the camera as it plays) made by by London-based designer and architect Keiichi Matsuda, who was also behind the trippy short film Hyper-Reality. "Set against the backdrop of AI-run corporations, a tele-operator finds herself caught between virtual and physical reality, human and machine. As she fights for her economic survival, she finds herself immersed in the cult of productivity, in search of the ultimate interface. This short film documents her last 4 minutes on earth." Starring Sarah Winter. I wanted to feature this short because it's so unique and cool and thought-provoking, not only technically but narratively about what our future might look like.
"It is in our soul to seek life no matter what." Netflix has unveiled the first official trailer for an indie sci-fi thriller titled IO, or just Io - the name of Jupiter's moon, from director Jonathan Helpert. Set in the "near future" the story follows a young scientist named Sam, one of the last survivors on a post-cataclysmic Earth, who is dedicated to finding a way for humans to adapt and survive on this planet, rather than abandon their world. But with the final shuttle scheduled to leave the planet for a distant colony, her determination to stay is rocked by the arrival of another survivor, Micah. She must decide whether to journey with him to join the rest of humanity and begin life anew, or stay to fight for Earth’s survival. Aw. It's a bit like Wall-E, but with humans and not only robots. Margaret Qualley stars with Anthony Mackie, plus the voice of Danny Huston. This has a cool concept, and has some cool shots, I just hope it's better than the usual Netflix fare.
"You pick your facades, yet?" This isn't so much science fiction, more science reality, because we're closer than ever to this technology actually existing. But it's still fun to see them play with this technology concept in a short film anyway. Face Swap is a fun short film made by filmmakers David Gidali & Einat Tubi, inspired by (and utilizing) the "deepfakes" AI technology from the internet. It's the same tech that Jordan Peele use to create his infamous Obama speech. A couple decides to try out the Face Swap service, choosing Rachel McAdams and George Clooney as their temporary "fantasy" personas. The short (actually) stars Troy Caylak, Megan Gray, and Noelle Urbano. This is another cautionary tale, of course, but it's also a mesmerizing and clever look at where technology is taking us - and some of the worrisome implications of it.
"We both know the truth - the Moon is not going to be here for long." The fight isn't over yet… A brand new trailer has debuted for the long-awaited, delayed-for-years sci-fi sequel Iron Sky: The Coming Race, which has been in the works since 2014. We ran a teaser trailer for this way back in 2014, but they've been struggling to get it finished for the last five years. Now it's done and ready to go - The Coming Race will be released in Europe over the next few months, but still no US release set yet. The plot is just as absurd as the first Iron Sky - the Nazis are back after lying dormant in a secret base on the Moon, now they're attacking with an army of ancient shapeshifting reptilians riding dinosaurs. Starring Julia Dietze, Götz Otto, Udo Kier, Christopher Kirby, Tilo Brückner, Peta Sergeant, & Stephanie Paul. After such a long delay I don't have high hopes for this, but maybe it is the perfect slice of absurd cinema we need right now. Or not.
"Does this mean war, Madame President?!" Uncork'd Entertainment has released an official trailer for an indie sci-fi alien film titled Crossbreed, a low budget action thriller starring Vivica A. Fox as (highlighted by PR) the first black female president. The film is about an "alien bio-weapon" created inside a top secret facility orbiting Earth. A team of mercs are sent to retrieve it, until the weapon escapes, and starts wreaking havoc onboard the space station. The full cast includes Daniel Baldwin, Stink Fisher, Devanny Pinn, Antoine Lanier, John T. Woods, Mu-Shaka Benson, and Vernon Wells. It's described as "an action-packed throwback in the tradition of Aliens and Escape from New York" though it does not look anywhere near as good as either of those. Crossbreed is heading straight to VOD next month if you do want to see this.
"If you meet your other self while time traveling, that's when the demon comes." Dark Sky has released an official US trailer for a time travel indie comedy titled Mega Time Squad, made in New Zealand, finally arriving on US shores in February. Described as The Castle meets Looper, Mega Time Squad is a "study in high-meets-low, combining elements of the sci-fi, the crime thriller and the comedy to make a comedy heist film with a time-traveling twist." It's about a small time criminal who finds an ancient Chinese device that can help him pull off a heist and start a new life – but he may not survive the consequences of tampering with time. This stars Anton Tennet, Jonny Brugh, Hetty Gaskell-Hahn, Arlo Gibson, Eru Wilton, Milo Cawthorne, & Simon Ward. Looks very low budget and wacky and dumb, and maybe entertaining.
"Always remember: the universe has a way of leading you to where you're supposed to be at the moment you're supposed to be there." Sony Pictures has launched the first two trailers (domestic + international) for Men in Black International, the fourth movie in the Men in Black series, which seems to be more of a reboot than a continuation. This one introduces us to two new MIB members: Chris Hemsworth as Agent H, and Tessa Thompson as Agent M. The plot involves them tackling the "biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization." The impressive main cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, with Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson. This looks fun, but nowhere near as good as the others. Since when is MIB only about fancy weapons and black suits and sunglasses? I want more than that. Take a look and let us know what you think.