Brainee's 2016 DVDTalk Summer Sci-Fi Challenge List
: not much
First Time Views
= first time viewing
For the first half of the month I've been out of town, and I'm fuzzy on specific dates. But here's what I have so far:
1. ☼ The Purge: Anarchy
(2016): I should've known better than to see this on opening weekend. A theater full of talking jackasses pretty much ruined it for me
(2016): Repeat viewing watching with my family (who didn't see it before). It was a big hit with the household!
3. ☼ The BFG
(2016): Minor Spielberg is still entertaining. Though I think I'm well past the age where fart jokes are funny (and which unfortunately this movie has an abundance of).
4. ☼ 10 Cloverfield Lane
(2016): I managed to keep myself from being spoiled ... not that I still didn't see the ending coming from a mile away. Still good. Is there supposed to be any link between this and Cloverfield
? Because I sure didn't see any.
5. ☼ Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World
(2014): Really low-key documentary that was less of a life story of Giger than what I was expecting ... and more of a portrayal of Giger in his final days.
6. ☼ Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
(2014): Really fun documentary. I figure with all the sci-fi and fantasy movies Cannon did that this should be an easy wildcard (if not qualifying for a full-blown entry). Wildcard #1
7. ☼ The Dead Lands
(2014): There were enough fantasy/supernatural elements that I guess this could be a wildcard too. Though the basic story is nothing new, the Maori setting makes it unique. Wildcard #2
8. ☼ The Boy and the Beast
(2015): The last feature by Mamoru Hosoda, who in my book has taken over the title of best anime director with Miyazaki's retirement.
9. ☼ When Marnie Was There
(2014): Sadly Studio Ghibli's last movie
It's not listed as a fantasy, but I certainly think it qualifies (even if the fantasy elements are more reality-based).
10. ☼ Kung Fu Panda 3
(2016): More of the same, which I guess isn't a bad thing.
11. ☼ The Mermaid
(2016): I've seen most of Stephen Chow's other movies, so I knew what I was in for: a mix of cartoon slapstick, mugging for the camera, startlingly inappropriate violence, some rousing action scenes, a weird romance, and a good score. But with enough stuff going on that I was kept entertained. It's hard to believe the budget was $60 million (US dollars), since the effects were distractingly bad (on the level of a SyFy channel original movie). If China has the budgets for big-time fantasy and sci-fi movies, I wish they would outsource the technical work or do a big step-up of their in-house production. But this made so much money, I'm sure they don't care. The one part of the movie that had me laughing the most was completely effect-free:
☼ Stranger Things
(2016): Ep 1
12. ☼ Midnight Special
(2016): This is the new release from the director of Mud
and Take Shelter
, starring Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon, and Adam Driver). It was alright. Very well made, but I wish it went somewhere (or at least went somewhere a bit more).
13. ☼ Stranger Things
(2016): Ep 2
14. ☼ The Lobster
(2015): As a single guy, this is a lot more disturbing than most horror movies (especially with hearing political rhetoric from the right how the only acceptable state for people in their "ideal society" are married men and women). Comparisons to Black Mirror
are apt: this has the same unsettling tone with a twist on something we can already see starting today.
15. ☼ Stranger Things
(2016): Eps 3 and 4
16. ☼ Hardcore Henry
17 and 18. ☼ Stranger Things
(2016): Eps 5-8
19. ☼ Time Lapse
(2014): Pretty decent indie ... like a mix of Shallow Grave
with the familiar time-travel trope of a machine that lets you see into the future (an idea that's shown up in movies and tv episodes before). With such a power, one has to question the decisions of the nitwit main characters. But I guess that's kind of the point (lazy slackers with a power way beyond their ability to handle).
20. ☼ Magnetic
(2015): I guess you have to rate these kinds of movies on a curve ... ultra-micro budget with a single actress (who can't particularly act). I got the sense the filmmakers ambition far exceeded their ability. Still, an interesting soundtrack and a short running time made it watchable.
21. ☼ The Zero Theorem
(2013): I'm not sure how I completely missed this when it first came out. A Terry Gilliam movie through and through. Very evocative of Brazil
(but with a brighter color palette).
22. ☼ Tale of Tales
(2015): This I really liked. Visually reminded me of The Fall
, with a great classic fairy tale feel (albeit one for adults).
23. ☼ Southbound
(2015): imdb lists this a fantasy so I'm counting it ... but I would say it's a straight-horror movie (more appropriate for the October challenge). Some effective moments, but I really wish the filmmakers made things a little more coherent.
23.5. ☼ Star Wars Rebels
(season 1): eps 1 and 2.
24. ☼ Star Wars Rebels
(season 1): eps 3 and 4.
25. ☼ Dollhouse
(season 1): eps 1 and 2
26. ☼ Holy Motors
27. ☼ Patema Inverted
(2013): Never saw the live-action Upside Down ... which came out before this (but this was based on a manga that predates everything). I really needed a good bit of sci-fi entertainment after the head scratcher that was Holy Motors
27.75. ☼ Star Wars Rebels
(season 1): eps 5, 6, 7
28.5. ☼ Star Wars Rebels
(season 1): eps 8, 9, 10
29. ☼ Dollhouse
(season 1): ep 3
29.75. ☼ Star Wars Rebels
(season 1): eps 11, 12, 13
30.5. ☼ Star Wars Rebels
(season 2): eps 1, 2, 3
31. ☼ Dollhouse
(season 1): ep 4
32. ☼ A Letter to Momo
(2011): Very sweet and well-done ... my only quibble is that the running time seemed a bit long for the story that was told.
33. ☼ Dollhouse
(season 1): ep 5; ☼ Star Wars Rebels
(season 2): eps 4 and 5
33.5. ☼ Dollhouse
(season 1): ep 6
I really didn't want to end my list on a fraction, but I lost power later in the day on Sunday and ended up just going to bed