Vivarium works as jet-black satire about the pressures of fulfilling roles that have been imposed by a seemingly unanimous understanding of tradition. It’s existentially dour, but these dissatisfied emotions from director Lorcan Finnegan and screenwriter Garret Shanley are supposed to identify how normalized expectations are not so much a failsafe plan for people, but actually a suffocating framework.
Blood Machines (DIR. Seth Ickerman) The cinema is a visual and narrative medium, but the narrative is often king. Way too many films will give up on the visuals to tell a story, leading to slightly stagnant results. As such, it is sometimes oddly refreshing to get a film which will sacrifice narrative cohesion in order to produce a spectacle of light and sound. Seth Ickerman is such a filmmaker and Blood Machines, a collaboration between…
James vs. His Future Self (DIR. Jeremy LaLonde) Jeremy LaLonde’s recent movies have truly owned their genre in a unique way. The Go-Getters was a gleefully foul play on the traditional buddy formula, and How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town was a charming sex comedy. With James vs. His Future Self, LaLonde takes a swing at crossing science fiction with a romance – it’s a sweet success.
After making a decent impression with her unsettling segment in the horror anthology XX, Canadian filmmaker Jovanka Vuckovic takes a swing at directing a feature-length story with Riot Girls.
If you prefer science fiction to be grim, perhaps Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja’s Aniara will be your “thing”. Although I can’t comment on the film’s faithfulness to its source material (Harry Martinson’s Nobel prize winning poem of the same name), Aniara is very good in terms of riveting near-future sci-fi, but it’s definitely for a specific crowd.
I’m arriving to the Replicas party late. The room is empty, the snacks have been picked over, and there’s an exhausted Keanu Reeves in the kitchen asking me if I could stick around and help with the dishes.
Baby Driver’s Ansel Elgort plays the title character in Bill Oliver’s Jonathan, a sci-fi tale that benefits from its modesty yet is hampered by its lack of ambition.
Filmmaker Zack Russell and actor Kayla Lorette team up for another surreal short film with 7A.
7 Splinters in Time advances from a well-timed reveal. It’s a wordy spiel of exposition delivered by the dependable and always admirable character actor Austin Pendleton, but it’s a scene that justifies the film’s frenetic style and narrative; turning incomprehensible details into awesome creativity.
Director Asif Akbar (Smoke Filled Lungs) misses the mark with Astro, a sci-fi thriller that gets bogged down by its exposition-heavy script and convoluted plot.