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Tag: the truman show

Editorials

10 Great Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix

January 31, 2021
Netflix Sci-Fi [Source Variety]

Sci-Fi is an incredibly versatile genre because it allows you to explore new worlds and interesting scientific theories in many entertaining, thought-provoking ways. And today we’re going to recommend 10 great sci-fi movies that are currently available on Netflix for you to watch.  

1. Netflix Original Sci-Fi – Okja

A corporation sends 26 creatures, which were developed as a food source, across the world as a PR stunt. However, when they take one of the creatures (Okja) away, Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn), sets out to get her back. What makes Okja special is its direction, which mixes many different elements (Science fiction, horror, comedy) together without feeling tonally confused, and Seo-Hyun Ahn’s performance which easily invests us in her struggle to get Okja back.

Netflix Original Sci-Fi Okja [Source: The Guardian]
Netflix Original Sci-Fi, Okja // Credit: Netflix

2. Hard Sci-Fi – The Martian

Mark Watney (Matt Damon) becomes stranded on Mars after his expedition team evacuates. Mark has one goal, survive. Thankfully, the world’s space agencies begin mounting a mission to rescue him. The Martian is great sci-fi. The entire cast makes their characters and the technical dialogue feel very natural. The special effects really sell the experience. And, it does a great job making the science feel accurate.

The Mars landscape in The Martian [Source: Time Magazine]
The Mars landscape in The Martian // Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

3. Sci-Fi Comedy – The Truman Show

Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) slowly realises that his life is a TV show. He’s being filmed from every angle 24 hours a day. And lives inside the world’s biggest set. The Truman Show is a fantastic dark comedy that uses its sci-fi trappings to make great statements on humanity’s voyeuristic nature. In fact, with the continual expansion of surveillance technology, the Truman Show is more relevant now than ever.

Living in a set in The Truman Show [Source: Vulture]
Living in a set in The Truman Show // Credit: Paramount

4. Sci-Fi Action – Dredd

While on a training exercise Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and rookie judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) get locked inside a futuristic skyscraper full of bloodthirsty gang members. With no retreat, the only option is to fight to the top to get out. Dredd’s futuristic setting explores many pressing issues such as the justice system and overpopulation, but it also facilitates some of the best action of the past decade.

Dredd is a wonderful sci-fi action film [Source: Syfy]
Dredd is a wonderful sci-fi action film [Source: Syfy]

5. Sci-Fi Horror – A Cure for Wellness

Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) goes to a remote wellness centre to retrieve his CEO. However, he soon becomes injured, meaning he can’t leave, and he begins to believe the facility is hiding something sinister. But what is happening and can Lockhart escape? A Cure for Wellness feels like a classic Universal horror film. Where the gothic atmosphere is thick and engaging. And the minor sci-fi ingredients greatly amplify the horror.

The Doctors are hiding something in A Cure for Wellness [Source: New York Times]
The doctors are hiding something in A Cure for Wellness // Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

6. Sci-Fi Drama – Proxima

Sarah (Eva Green) is training to become an astronaut but she must try to balance her training with her family life, particularly preparing her daughter Stella (Zélie Boulant) for when she leaves. Proxima is an amazing look at the physical and emotional hardships astronauts go through to prepare for space travel, but it’s also an affecting family drama and an inspiring tribute to female astronauts. It’s also buoyed by Green and Boulant’s excellent performances.

Eva Green gives a fantastic performance in Proxima [Source: Screen Daily]
Eva Green gives a fantastic performance in Proxima // Credit: Dharamsala

7. Alien Sci-Fi – Close Encounters of the Third Kind

After Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) has a mysterious encounter with an unidentified flying object he and the government begin investigating and trying to contact alien life. Close Encounters is a fantastic exploration of how obsession with the unexplainable can negatively affect people and can also be used to cross boundaries.

Close Encounters is a classic sci-fi film  [Source: mxdwn Movies]
Close Encounters is a classic sci-fi film // Credit: Columbia Pictures

8. Steampunk Sci-Fi – Castle in the Sky

Sheeta (Keiko Yokozawa) holds the key to finding Laputa, the castle in the sky, and along with Pazu (Mayumi Tanaka), she must try to outrun the pirates and a government agent trying to find Laputa for greed and conquest. A touchstone of modern steampunk fiction, Castle in the Sky is a thrilling adventure with a fun story and wonderful characters who populate an inventive fantasy world that melds modern and primitive technology together beautifully.

Castle in the Sky is a great mix of sci-fi and fantasy [Source: Dazed]
Castle in the Sky is a great mix of sci-fi and fantasy // Credit: Studio Ghibli

9. Children’s Sci-Fi – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

When Peter Parker dies Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) must become his world’s Spider-man and defeat the Kingpin with the help of the spider-people of several realities. Into the Spider-Verse is perfect kids science fiction because it’s full of great action, gorgeous visuals, and creative use of sci-fi concepts like alternate realities. But it’s also grounded by a fantastic lead, a great supporting cast, and a positive message about carving your own path.

The Spider-people of the multiverse [Source: We have a hulk]
The Spider-people of the multiverse // Credit: Sony Pictures

10. Surreal Sci-Fi – Sorry to Bother You

Cassius (LaKeith Stanfield) begins losing touch with his roots after being promoted at his telemarketing company until he discovers a new project the company is working on. Sorry to Bother You is a vehicle for social commentary. This movie critiques capitalism, race, media and uses sci-fi elements to create a riveting dystopian portrait of contemporary life.

Effective, surreal sci-fi in Sorry to Bother You [Source: Vox]
Effective, surreal sci-fi in Sorry to Bother You // Credit: Annapurna Pictures

Those are just 10 great sci-fi movies available on Netflix. If you have any favourites we missed, let us know.

Also Read: The Future Is Now: How Sci-Fi Imagined the Future

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Editorials

The Brilliance Of The Truman Show

August 25, 2020
The Truman Show

Spoiler Warning – Massive spoilers ahead for The Truman Show

The Truman Show is a brilliant film. A short review but it gets to the point. In our difficult to socialise times, I have watched a number of old movies and decided to rewatch this film, which I hadn’t watched in years, and loved it as much as I ever did.

The Film

Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank – a man who was adopted by a television company as a baby and has been filmed and broadcast to the world for just about every moment of his life. Everyone around him is an actor and the world as he knows it is completely controlled by the show’s director, Christof. Truman knows none of this and thinks he has a perfectly normal life. At the start of the film, events take a turn that lead Truman to suspect that there is something wrong with the world and he begins to pick at some of the loose threads of this reality.

Jim Carrey’s Performance

Carrey as Truman (slashfilm.com)

When I saw The Truman Show, Jim Carrey was the guy from The Mask and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a super over the top turned up to eleven comic actor and, at the time, I really liked that Jim Carrey. I daresay Jim Carrey’s involvement was what first made me want to see The Truman Show. Carrey’s performance was not only brilliant, it was surprising, I simply did not know this was something he could do. At times Carrey’s performance is genuinely heartbreaking. Memorable scenes are those of his young romance with one of the extras who tried to tell him the truth, to the conquering his phobia of the water to sail away from his fake home, to his final confrontation with Christof. There are a few moments of Carrey breaking out his wilder side, when Truman is realising something is wrong, and as we can probably assume this is him in the middle of a nervous breakdown it makes perfect sense. The fact that Jim Carrey was not even nominated for an Oscar has gone down in history as a famous “Oscar snub”.

After this film, Carrey would be considered a very talented actor – adept with comedy and drama, giving equally sensational performances in Man On The Moon and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, whilst remaining a regular comedic actor.

And Laura Linney’s For That Matter…

Laura Linney in The Truman Show (imdb)

While we’re talking about acting a quick note on Laura Linney, who played Truman’s wife (or rather the actor playing Truman’s wife). I had never picked up before just how sinister a character she is, more than any of the other actors she is tasked with keeping Truman in the dark – with the possible exception of the actors who played his parents. She undermines his confidence, she plays on his fears and while many of the actors and those making the show are lying to Truman many seem to have some kind of affection for him – not so much with Linney’s character.

The Audience

An “article” about Truman (30a.com)

The show is hugely popular around the world and the film has a great deal of fun dealing with this and how the set works. There are legions of actors who simply exist to make it seem like a real town or the “adverts” that exist in the show – Laura Linney is fantastic at talking to Truman about new products like she’s in a commercial. We do see a number of people watching the show; there is a Truman bar that screens it non-stop, and the final third of the film has a lot of shots of people simply reacting to Truman’s escape attempt. Those watching are shown to be ecstatic when he does escape – one viewer is watching in the bath and as Truman’s boat is nearly capsized his frantic clinging to his shower curtain is amazing. Of course, there is the massive problem of the show’s audience – we are meant to see Truman as a prisoner, someone who has suffered, those watching the show have kept him in that prison.

Relevant Today

The Truman Show (archdaily.com)

The Truman Show came out in 1998, just around the time reality television was really taking off. Obviously The Truman Show’s premise is a lot darker than actual reality television (well, most of it) the question of what an audience will watch for entertainment and ignore any associated moral problems is more relevant now than ever. The show’s director, Christof, passionately defends what he has done to Truman but even in the most benevolent light he has done terrible things to him – manufacturing phobias, killing Truman’s family members, regularly placing Truman in stressful situations. In the film, the show is a huge worldwide success, more than justifying the huge cost of making it, and it is a genuinely interesting question – would this show be popular in real-life?

Relevance To Me

I saw this film as a child when it first came out and it is very important to me. Before The Truman Show most of my favourite films were silly comedies and action/scifi blockbusters – this was one of the very first films I loved that could be called a “drama”. Now, there’s nothing wrong with silly comedies and blockbusters but that’s not all there is. The film, in an odd way, taught me something about myself. I saw the film at the cinema on the weekend, on Monday morning I was back in school and we were discussing what we did over the weekend. I said I watched The Truman Show and was asked if it was any good. I responded by praising the film in the most eloquent way my teenage self could. What I learned was that it’s not a good thing to like things too much, you’re not meant to love films or be passionate about them, they’re meant to be “okay”. And that could be applied to much of life – it’s just meant to be okay. To be passionate about something is to reveal part of yourself and to make yourself vulnerable – and that is something you should never ever do. Of course, not long after I realised this was nonsense and I embraced my love of films (and more) and my life is infinitely better for it.

And In Case I don’t See Ya, Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Goodnight

This really is an amazing film and would highly recommend it to just about anyone. It has just about everything – great acting across the board, an interesting and original idea, it’s funny, moving and meaningful. It is a film that will actually leave you happy and uplifted after being put through an arduous experience.

Also Read: 1994: The Year of Jim Carrey

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